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Architecture can be a personal project


Art, Math  


6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12  

Architecture is one of those subjects that some students would like to explore, but it isn’t always possible to do as a classroom activity.  Really understanding architecture as an art form takes a lot of books and movies.  A teacher may not have these resources available.  However, drawing a blue print of a remodeling project is one way to let students explore this subject. It meets the requirement of exploring a career in art, and it makes a good lesson plan to keep on hand for substitute teachers or make-up absentee assignments.

Architecture uses a set of symbols for things like doors and windows.  These symbols are found in Word, in the Autoshapes menu in the drawing function.

Blue prints are made on large graph paper so that corners will be square and lengths can be measured.  Tile is sold by the square foot and carpet is sold by the square yard.  A designer needs to know the length and width of a room so that they can figure the area of the floor and buy enough material to decorate it.

Designers have to take other needs into consideration when they are designing a building, too.  The Baptist Medical Building at University Parkway and Nine-Mile Road was designed to be stairless. From door to door, there isn’t a single step anywhere in the building.  Doctors and nurses can roll carts, wheelchairs and gurneys from one end to the other without having to pull it up or down a step. This is interesting because the floor isn’t level, either.  The waiting area is lower than the front desk so that the nurse can see all of the patients the same way a life guard will use a tall chair to be able to see the entire pool.  Areas that have chemicals and liquids have floors that slant towards a drain.  The floor does not use stairs, but it rises and falls from one level to another anyway.

When an architect meets with a customer, they will usually ask them what they want the building to do, who is going to use it, and what it is going to be used for.  They take into consideration things like the budget, the limitations of the materials being used, and local building codes.

Here are two assignments that a middle school or high school art teacher can use for an absentee assignment in which the student is both the architect and the customer:

Your parent was on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” and won.  Your family has decided to use the money to build a new house.  Draw the floor plan using a ruler, compass, or other drawing tools.  Use a scale such as 1/4″ equals 1 foot.  Use these architectural symbols: door, sliding door, window, bathroom fixtures, stove, sink, stairs.

Your family has decided to add a swimming pool to your backyard, and has asked you for your ideas about this project.  Draw a layout that includes a pool (any size or shape), a patio with picnic table, 2 chaise lounges for sun bathing, a flower garden, and a 5 x 10 pump house/tool shed.  Use these symbols: bush, tree, chair, table, umbrella.

Assessment:If each assignment has 10 design elements to be included in the plan, each item is worth 10 points.

 This article is reprinted from Paula’s bi-weekly column in that covers children’s arts and crafts.  Her articles are of interest to art teachers, after school care, home school and religious youth groups.  Subscribe to the column for free and receive email updates every time a new article is posted.


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