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Design: Education

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School Close Ups



What I got out of the experience of Multicultural Partners was a family and sincere appreciation of the affection children offer those who help them. It was humbling to be viewed with such respect and an honor to have them left in my charge. In addition there were two projects that responded to my desire for physical constructive responses to community issues. They are, of sorts, capstones for my efforts.

I honestly can't say I ever stopped playing, but many adults do. Unfortunately, many of them work in school districts. The models displayed here are the result of play by students in Multicultural Partners afterschool program. What's impressive about both projects is the unself-conscious process that brought them to completion.

A New School

City Arts and Technology started out as a reading exercise. The City had plans for a new library across the street from us. As a field trip I took a few students to look at it. On the way I commented on how A Pattern Language might be used to address the needs of the entire block.

One student picked up on my comments and wanted more information, so I directed him to the book. Next thing I knew, he had the book from the library and wanted further explanation on how to use it and how it could be applied. Then, midway through the semester he pressed me. He wanted to design.

On a whim we went on the internet to see if we could find some guidelines and discovered a national competition for "redesigning your high school". Using those guidelines we began working together.

I had him draw out his ideas on tracing paper and then use Google SketchUp to create 3d forms. He and I worked closely on the school design at the corner of the site, after which I turned the overall site design to him. At the end of the semester he turned in the SketchUp model to me, and left for vacation in Pakistan.

It was hard for me to believe a high school student could achieve what he did. Nonetheless, I couldn't allow his work to go unrecognized. I packaged it in presentation format and sent it off to be considered by the competition.

His submission won honorable mention.

I believe our acts of play and discovery provided pleasure to both of us.

The next project addressed this issue.

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