The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday December 6th

Presentations Focus on Twin Towers

First-year seminar students decided to refocus their studies on the World Trade Center soon after Sept. 11.

Led by students who took the first-year seminar, the presentation featured various aspects of the popular American edifices that were destroyed by a terrorist attack on Sept. 11.

The students tackled the development of the trade center project in the 1960s and 1970s, the building's architecture and construction components, and the structure's impact on the city of New York.

Seminar Professor Emil Malizia introduced the presentation, which took place in 39 Graham Hall. He described how the course was adapted from its original plan after Sept. 11.

Students kept the original content of downtown revitalization but switched the attention from their hometowns to New York City. They began to study the trade center's construction and the impact of the popular American icon on New York City.

Malizia, who attributes the course's success to student efforts, said he saw light bulbs go off over the heads of his class of freshmen Sept. 13 when he mentioned the possibility of studying the towers.

The students were then split into three groups of four students each. Class convened only about twice a month and became more of an independent study, students said.

"The entire class thought (studying the trade center) would be a great idea, since it does involve city planning," said class member Colin Scott. "Oddly enough, we were in class when it all happened."

The visual highlight of the presentation was a 3-D model of the towers, standing about 5 feet tall. On his own initiative, one student constructed it as part of the engineering component of the project.

Jeremy Irwin, the model's maker, said he built the towers and the base using various materials such as plywood, black vinyl and mesh fencing. He said he worked from late September to mid-January and is actually still adding finishing touches. "It was so tedious," Irwin said.

"I didn't realize what I was getting myself into, but it was a great learning experience," he said. "I was so interested that I just went all out."

Through speeches and a PowerPoint presentation, other students presented the findings of their research on related literature, which they said was surprisingly difficult to find. "We overestimated what we would find in the literature," Malizia said.

Students ran into some difficulties, but they worked hard with few complaints, Malizia said. "They showed a lot of maturity to hang in there."

The University Editor can be reached at

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.


The Daily Tar Heel's 2022 Year in Review

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive