By Architect and Educator Janine Lovejoy Wilford
When we meet in the architecture class, Ms. McCarthy’s fifth-grade students become an amazingly creative “office of architects” as we call ourselves. The last two weeks, they worked on building models showing the connection between inside and out, and the importance of entrance. Building on their geosphere studies, we discussed different door types and how the climate can affect the decision of placement and form.
First, they shaped “the client” using a pipe-cleaner. This way they had a scale for their project and entrance. From a flat piece of paper, they designed the door, cut it out so it would swing in the direction they designed, and added windows and other details on the façade using pens and white pencils. Then, they folded their flat sheet and using glue, create a 3D model of a partial house, adding interiors and exterior details using recycled caps and other materials. Afterwards, they measuredand drew a floor plan, to scale, of the walls and door of their model. The focus on this part of the project was the process of seeing and drawing (observational drawing), a skill that is valuable to all (not just artists and architects!), in my opinion. This drawing task was challenging for some students, but in the end they all completed thoughtful projects with determination and pride.
With all the models and plans in a row, we discussed the designs, and what are good attributes of a neighborhood. This will lead us into the next week’s section; mapping and community assets of San Rafael, as we prepare for the “Real World” challenge of envisioning the future growth for San Rafael in 2040.