Fabrick takes over as director
of Campus Planning
"Did you know giraffes sleep standing up?" This is Jennifer
Fabrick, Emory's new director of Campus Planning. "They do, resting
their head on one hind leg and making an arch with their neck."
Fabrick knows this because after she came to Atlanta in 1979, one of
her first projects as an architect was to construct the giraffe barn at
Zoo Atlanta, for which she had to learn about what's it like to have a long
neck and sleep standing up. "It's fun doing different kinds of projects
like that," she said.
Now working on buildings for two-legged creatures, Fabrick joined Emory
in January after spending more than eight years at the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. As assistant director for design and construction,
Fabrick worked on projects at every CDC facility in the country. Though
her new position is limited to a smaller geographical area, the task is
no less daunting as Fabrick appears in the middle of Emory's ambitious campus
master planning process and expansion. (see related story on new FMD directors,
In fact, her brief tenure at the University has been so busy that she
hasn't even had time to clear her office of moving boxes six weeks after
starting. It's only fitting that Campus Planning is located in a house behind
Uppergate designed by Emory's original architect, Henry Hornbostel; Fabrick's
corner office overlooks the front entrance, and stacks of documents and
other materials adorn her desk.
"Meetings," Fabrick sighed, citing her main activity of 1998.
"Meetings and more meetings. We have eight projects we're trying to
get going, either selecting the architects and starting design or just getting
"I knew I was jumping into a major challenge, and that's what I
was ready for," she continued. "I needed a challenge-it's exciting.
It's a lot of work, a lot of juggling, a lot of people to meet.
A challenge, definitely, but one for which Fabrick has prepared for many
years. And even beyond having worked for several years literally just down
the road, she already has experience building buildings at Emory; before
moving to the CDC, Fabrick spent 10 years at Rosser Fabrap, during which
time she helped design the pedestrian bridge on campus, along with being
project manager for the design of the Rollins Research Center. She spent
four years of her life on the latter, but the former had the more lasting
impact, since she met her husband while working on the bridge.
"He was an architect at Fabrap," Fabrick said. "We worked
on the project together, trying to figure out all the mathematics of the
slope angle, the handrail patterning, the dimensions and specifications.
It was a real complex little project."
The Fabricks have a complex little project of their own now-her name
is Robin and she's 5 years old. Asked what she does when she's not working,
Fabrick laughed. "Before my daughter or after my daughter? There's
life before and life after. Seriously, my husband and I have been building
a cabin up in North Georgia for the past five years, next to the Rich Mountain
wilderness area. It's built to the point where we have plumbing, hot water,
shower, stove, refrigerator, all the necessities. We heat it by wood stove
only. That's been a major project."
Fabrick likes the outdoors, and that's one factor that drew her to the
University. One of the principles behind Emory's master plan is to create
more green spaces, to become a walking campus, to incorporate environmental
aesthetics into state-of-the-art facilities. It actually gives Fabrick a
chance to integrate concepts that have sometimes clashed in her life.
When she began college at the University of Colorado in Boulder in the
early '70s, the '60s had not yet loosed their grip on campus sensibilities.
Architecture in its classic sense was considered "establishment,"
and the faculty in Boulder very much supported the anti-establishment sentiment
of the time. As a result, Fabrick's early studies centered on ecological
concepts and paid little attention to the practical aspects of architecture.
"It was a fine beginning, but it wasn't a means to an end,"
Fabrick said. "My first classes were in ecology, communal aspects of
design, geodesic domes, things like that. But learning how to build buildings
in the normal shape and form? That wasn't discussed. So I went to [Louisiana
State University] and studied architectural design with a heavy emphasis
on engineering aspects."
Now her work at Emory gives Fabrick a chance to blend both sensibilities
into a natural, sustainable form. "One of the real enticements for
me to come here was the forward-seeking nature of President Chace's vision
of ecological principles and the importance of how people are treated in
their environments," she said. "It's a very 'people' job, and
I have great interest in working with people."
Chace is indeed one of the people with whom Fabrick will be working,
and soon. Conversion of Asbury Circle into a pedestrian thoroughfare, á
la North Kilgo, is at the top of Chace's priority list, and Fabrick said
preliminary work on the project could begin as early as this summer. Other
priority projects include the Performing Arts Center, phase one of the Physical
Sciences Complex, the new nursing school, a new research building for Health
Sciences, a comprehensive cancer center and new parking decks.
Quite an agenda, but for Jennifer Fabrick it's the reason she's here,
in more ways than one.
to February 23, 1998 Contents Page