One of the greatest gifts I have ever been given in life was finding my passion. I love serving others and it feeds my soul. One of the ways I am able to do this is by sharing my knowledge about architecture with others. I do this in blogs, on social media, lectures, and recently through a week long summer camp at Massanutten Technical Center. I had a class of 11 middle school students that signed up (most of them) or were signed up for my course because architecture sounded interesting. This week was a chance to explore a future career option, flex some design muscles, stretch their comfort zone, and get exposed to the built environment in a new way.
The main project I used for this week long course was designing a floorplan. In just 20 hours it is hard to do more than conceptualize a familiar kind of space. We talk about styles of architecture, scale, famous works of architecture, famous architects, color, light, and more. It’s a fun week for me to share something I love – the process of creating design.
The students take on the challenges along the way with a tower building challenge using marshmallows and toothpicks and a bridge challenge using one sheet of paper. We watch a variety of videos on sketching to learn different techniques and talk about how to sculpt space. We investigate room sizes and learn about architectural scales as a way to convey information to others.
Each day has a new challenge and by the end, each student has a floorplan designed for a family they have imagined. Some of the students get to the point of building a 3D version of their floorplan so they can better see the spaces. This allows them to think about a roof and vertical form of their creation.
Taking on this summer camp while keeping up at work is a challenge each time I have done it. However, it is so worth it to see these students grow. Over just a week, I could see them becoming more confident in their abilities to design and think through spatial design problems. If you have the opportunity to share your passion with others, in a summer camp or just a conversation, I encourage you to take the chance to share.