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Re: New school nightmares

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From: linda eastman (lindacharlie_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Aug 30 2002 - 18:05:24 PDT


this all reminds me of the old joke:
    Q. what's a camel?
    A. a horse designed by a committee
some years ago, the building i referenced earlier got some big grant money
to completely redo their art room and, you guessed it, the architect
designed this beautiful but totally non-functional space. now, either he had
never heard of louis sullivan's famous quote about form following function,
or his company knew they were presenting to a "client" who didn't know
diddly about function but they wanted to sell the job. (read school board
members, supers, etc.) when the art teacher saw the plans, by accident of
course) she flipped and convinced her principal the design was impossible by
explaining the flaws in great detail. the principal stopped the whole
process, had the design firm send the architect back and he actually worked
with the art teacher to redesign. naturally they had to deal with budget
constraints, so things got cranked down a notch here and there to fit. this
is how the flat files got to be made more flimsy than they needed to be.

i think the key here is to somehow weasel our way into the design process
however we can! maybe this can happen by keeping our ears to the ground and
finding out in advance if any plans are being made to upgrade our rooms. i
was sooo lucky this year that circumstances prevented me from cleaning out
my room in a timely way in june. i had to come back at the end of the month
and it HAPPENED to be the day the district superintendent of maintenance was
there discussing replacement cabinets for the entire building with the
principal and the brand new custodian. i seized this opportunity to present
a solid case for having a dedicated art room, which up to this point has
been just a regular classroom with industrial shelving screwed to the walls.
next summer i'll be getting a new counter top with a penninsula and an
additional sink; vertical and flat storage areas for large size
paper/folders, etc. plus a whole wall of functional sized cupboards. the
kiln is still in the boiler room but i'm not complaining. now that i realize
how things happen like this, i plan to keep my principal informed that i
WANT to be consulted about possible changes even if it's summer vacation,
and give her a wish list such as "if you ever decide to downsize the lobby,
please CALL ME! i could capture a closet there!" sorry about the rambling,
group...

linda in michigan

on 8/31/02 10:56 AM, Maggie White at mwhiteaz@cybertrails.com wrote:

> barbara antebi wrote:
>>
>> Why is it so hard for these fools to get it right when they design
>> schools?
>
> Because the people who actually USE the buildings each day never get a
> chance to give input or approve the plans. It's the board members and
> superintendants who are wowed by the architects' presentations who get
> to approve them.
>
> Maggie, who thinks architects are a bunch of fatheads

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