Rice U. students build an AWESOME Spider-Mam room for Willy Week

HOUSTON – (March 22, 2018) – Rice University students have built a carefully constructed replica of Spider-Man character Peter Parker’s upside-down bedroom inside commons of one of the university’s residential colleges, Martel College.

The students’ work is part of Martel’s theme for Willy Week, “The Amazing Cider-Man!” Willy Week is a Rice tradition in which each residential college engages in a week of activities centered around a theme leading up to Beer Bike, an annual intramural bicycle race and water-chugging competition.

A trio of students began the build in January and unveiled their upside-down bedroom Monday. Through this weekend’s festivities, Rice students will be able to step inside, strike a pose on the floor, have a friend snap their photo, rotate it 180 degrees and voila!: They’re suspended from the ceiling like Spider-Man.

All in, the $500 project took 350 hours, during which the students stapled down real carpet and baseboards, painted the walls, hung blinds and found innovative ways to keep all of Parker’s stuff from falling “up” along the way.

“The bed is actually just PVC,” said senior Gigi Rill, a mechanical engineering major who has been in charge of Martel’s Willy Week build for the last three years. “Everything needed to be light.” Sustainability was also a core focus for the students, who used leftover paint, scrap wood, carpet remnants and their own college-created detritus -- Post-it notes from a chemistry study session, an empty jar of Nutella -- to stage the room and enhance the illusion.

Rill was joined on the build by freshman Amanda Suarez, a materials science and nano-engineering major who created theater sets in high school, and Jonathan Bunt, an electrical engineering major who last year constructed a motorized couch that he drove around campus until the wheels fell off.

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