Planet Princeton

Princeton University commissions designer Walter Hood for Scudder Plaza installation on Woodrow Wilson’s legacy

Landscape architect and designer Walter Hood. Photo: Hood Design Studio. 

Artist and designer Walter Hood has been chosen by Princeton University to create an art installation for Scudders Plaza about Woodrow Wilson’s legacy.

Hood, an Oakland, Calif. based designer and architect who specializes in urban landscape architecture and teaches at the University of California-Berkeley, has completed major landscape design projects  at the New deYoung Museum and Yerba Buena Lane in San Francisco, and Baisley Park in Queens.

Scudder Plaza at Princeton University is located in front of Robertson Hall, the home of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In 2015, Princeton students from the Black Justice League held a rally and staged a sit-in in the president’s office to demand that Princeton dissociate itself with Wilson due to his “racist legacy.”

In 2015, a Princeton University trustee committee was established to make recommendations about how the University should mark the legacy of Wilson, the University’s 13th president and the 28th president of the United States. One of its recommendations was that a permanent marker be installed at the Woodrow Wilson School that educates the campus community and others about the positive and negative dimensions of Wilson’s legacy. A committee was then formed to collect information about how other colleges and universities have created markers to reflect their history and recommend an installation that would educate the campus community and others.

Hood’s commission for Princeton, called “Double Consciousness,” will be a vertical sculpture of two columnar elements, wrapped with surfaces of black and white, etched with words representing the complex aspects of Wilson’s legacy. The work’s name is drawn from W.E.B. DuBois’s 1903 publication “Souls of Black Folk,” which articulated for the first time the concept of a double consciousness, or having an identity divided into dual facets.

“The committee selected this proposal for its honest reflections on the complexities of Wilson’s legacy and its innovative and compelling design,” said Cecilia Rouse, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School, who served as a committee co-chair.

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Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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