Architecture is not a laboratory science where ideas are hatched in test tubes and confined to the realm of pure academics. Nor is it an art to be viewed with a certain degree of separatism as something one must access is a specialized setting such as a museum, gallery or the homes of those with means to afford it. The beauty of architecture lies in its accessibility and its experience is quite direct. Those who possess the gift of sight, who contain within the seeds of curiosity, can explore the repertoire of offerings architecture has to offer. They can look upon a building and marvel at engineering feats, at structural elements (and how they mimic or decry nature), at the use of design, scale, proportion, symmetry and ornamentation. They can appreciate the interweaving of materials, the use of line, Color, texture. Once this appreciation is gained and then deepened, it can prove to be life changing. It can infuse the student of architecture with the deep relationship between the natural and the man-made. By viewing buildings, they can learn to read the language of different eras, to enjoy the symbology of different times. As the student becomes steeped in such experiences, they will naturally feel more connected to the universality of man and what he has created.
One underlying assumption of this project is that all of us contain a creative core, energy that can, with the application of technique, training and insight, be applied in numerous ways. Just as the areas of art and science are blended in the realm of architecture, likewise the creative core can intermarry experiences. Otherwise stated, the same energy that allows one to create or even appreciate a drawing can be applied in the field of dance, art, drama and so forth. Thus, this project attempts to marry several fields, without imprisoning each within strict boundaries. In the simplest of terms, a basic knowledge of architecture will be used to inspire creations in the world of drama. But what are plays without words (with apologies to pantomimes)? Thus, we will use the written word in the form of play writing and improvisational acting to further evolve the creative experience. And, just for fun, since students of the fifth through eight grades (for which this unit can be adapted) are so intrigued by drawing, the element of cartooning is also introduced.
In essence, the students will learn about architecture, visit buildings, make sketches or cartoons of what they see, create three dimensional models, create improvisational routines based on their experiences, and write and act in a short skit. The end result, thus, would most likely be an infusion of creativity, molded by the guidelines of architecture. Students will see this wonderful interconnection between the arts and between nature, which is at the core of much of architecture. It will provide them with a forum to explore, and thus, to expand.