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Anna Campas ’71
Campas ’71 Enjoys the Ups and Downs of Recent Projects

Anna Campas ’71 can’t have a bad day at work.

That’s because the product of her latest project, a restored turn-of-the-century carousel installed in the New York State Museum’s new Terrace Gallery, located in Albany, N.Y., is up-and-running every day.

“I always know I can go for a ride on the carousel to take my mind off things,” says Campas. “There are usually as many adults riding it as children!”

The carousel is the centerpiece of the museum’s newest exhibit, “Windows on New York,” which opened in November in the brightly renovated fourth-floor gallery. The exhibit includes splashy displays of seven regions around the state, showcasing such items as a New York Stock Exchange stock-trading station, the 1932 Packard driven by state governors, and an Adirondack fire-spotter’s biplane, suspended from the ceiling.

“It’s an impressionistic collage of New York state in the 20th century,” says Campas, who provided structural engineering expertise, as well as serving as project manager for the gallery renovation and carousel restoration.

A focus of the renovation was the addition of a 3,500-square-foot glassed-in enclosure for the carousel, which offers riders sweeping vistas of Albany and beyond in three directions. The enclosure is a circular space supported by exposed steel trusses.

“The design challenge was to take the organic, warm elements of the wooden carousel and juxtapose them successfully with the ‘cool’ materials—steel, glass, and marble—of the existing monumental structure,” says Campas. “The contrast of the two makes for a visually stimulating setting.”

Campas, who earned bachelor’s degrees in building sciences and architecture at Rensselaer, is a registered architect and professional engineer with New York state’s Office of General Services, where she works with Jim Davies, AIA ’71, director of design, and William O’Connor, AIA ’65, deputy commissioner for design and construction.

Other high-profile projects Campas has managed include the recent “facelift” of the State Education Building, also in Albany, a neoclassical structure boasting a 520-foot-long colonnade.

“The project was to repair and clean the marble facade of this National Register building, and the results are stunning,” says Campas, noting that the marble hails from the same Danby, Vt., quarry as that used in the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

On both projects, Campas worked closely with David Biggs ’72, whose firm, Ryan-Biggs Associates, provided structural engineering services.

Campas is currently working with the N.Y.S. Department of Transportation on the design of an equipment management facility based on renewable energy sources. In keeping with the current shift in the architectural profession toward sustainability, Campas says, she is pursuing certification as a green building designer.

Rensselaer Magazine: March 2002
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