This past week I was invited back to my old high school in South Paris Maine to meet the students and be a judge for "Tech Night" in the Architecture and Engineering program. Daelynn Elizabeth is a high school classmate of mine who also became an architect. She has set up an amazing program to introduce the kids to architectural design. She uses teaching models from the early years of architecture school to introduce her students to 2d and 3d design. The students in the first class did two projects straight out of first year architecture school. The Cube project which I'm sure you architect readers all know and the small urban park. The students presented with models and a board with views and vignettes from a sketchup model. The second class had more of a path and place project and I was pleased to see students starting to bring their own layers of meaning to the program (poetry!)
The students in the third class did a project of their own choosing. One student did a house buried in a mountainside designed to allow for the survival of a holocaust which brought up more questions than answers (which is good) The second student designed a training facility in Portland Maine for the US Marines delayed entry program. This project was clean and trim and used a real site which has the potential of addressing the urban fabric. The third student presented a research project and design based on how to create a hurricane resistant house. She had a real location (In NJ in think) and had researched precedents. She also presented her project extremely well which was part of the judging criteria. She is headed off to architecture school next year where she will kick ***. In my opinion.
My critiquing skills were certainly a bit rusty but I managed and I hope I was constructive rather than mean. I got to hang out a bit with Dave Matero of David Matero Architecture who graduated from this high school as well but a year earlier then went to Roger Williams College and graduated 4 years ahead of me. (I got distracted) and Robert Sherman who does what Daelynn does at another school district. I was very impressed by the professionalism of all the students and especially by the respect and affection they had for their teacher.