Architects in School Program – The Final Chapter for 2012

On May 3rd, 2012, the elementary schools around the tri-county area that participated in the Architects in School program will display their final projects. This event aligns itself with the First Thursday Art Walk that is held in downtown Portland. I had the privilege to work with two classes at the Willamette Primary school in West Linn along with Tim, the U of O architect intern. The students’ projects will be displayed between 5:00 to 8:00 pm at The Center for Architecture, Opis Architecture, US Bank Tower and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca (where our school’s display is located).

One of the sessions, prior to their final project, required the kindergarteners to describe the kind of mask they wanted our classes to make. Then our classes were required to follow the instructions and make the mask. Sound familiar in a real world application? Yes, a developer describes the project they want developed or the architect designing the project (mask) and the mask being built (by the contractor). The types of mask were unique and how the students brought them into fruition was fun to watch. Some used enough scotch tape to make 20 mask, enough glue to fill a mixing bowl and creative juices beyond imagine. I enjoyed watching the kids as they ranged from perfectionist to a carefree crafting of a mask. The teacher and I would interject suggestions now and then to help the student move in the direction required and to complete it in the one hour time frame.

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The next weeks project found them focused on Cities of the Future. They talked about what a city in the future might look like, what it needs might be and how the people would live in them. They had prepared for the project by making columns from construction paper the day before. Then the day of the project, they assembled in groups of 3-4 students, brain stormed ideas and began forming their city. My visit is usually one hour and by the end of my hour, they were still hard at work. The slideshow above captured the creative masterminds at work.

The following is from the Architecture Foundation of Oregon Newsletter this week from a student: “Ashley Eddy, a 3rd grader at Rieke Elementary in SW Portland, gave us permission to share with you her recent 5-minute free-writing assignment: “Do you like to biuld stuf? If you do I sugjest becoming an arcatect. It’s not that hard to be an arcatect, there are 4 basic steps if you want to becom one. 1. Ask your parents for a little tool-box. 2. Practice desining buildings. 3. Practace your building skils by building little things like toys. 4. When you go to colage sign up to study arcatecture.  When you have thoes 4 steps down, boom! You’re an arcatect! Just like that.  You’ll be biulding biuldings in no time!””

I am looking forward to seeing the final project. I was unable to attend one class due to work schedule conflicts and second one was conflicted with school programs that were in motion at our usual meeting time. Hopefully you can find time to visit this week.

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