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Re: [teacherartexchange] Greek and Roman Architecture and Today

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From: Marvin Bartel (marvinpb_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Mar 08 2012 - 12:47:57 PST


Sarah,

This is a great challenge. If I were coaching it, after showing the classical designs of older buildings in their city, I might explain and motivate with contemporary musical examples, but no contemporary visual examples. Music mashups can explain the concept of much postmodern design. They would more likely understand how postmodern design emerges as well as understand a creative process if they have to transpose from one art form to another. Then after they had completed their project, I would review by showing postmodern professional architecture.

Their project would be to compose (mashup) new ways to use classical building design. Ask them to make beautiful harmonious modern work that references the classic designs you show them from the older buildings in your city. Memorable means that the design is original enough that it sticks in your head like a song you can't get rid of. Today, the most famous architects all work hard to provide a unique and memorable identity for every major project. Often their unexpected scale relationships or juxtapositioning of classical elements is used to produce the memorable and original design.

What if you give each student a choice of any public building function, such as post office, court building, prison, library, school, park pavilion, museum, police station, fire station, city hall, etc.? They might be aided by developing descriptive word lists for the building they are working on. Teams could compete on forming descriptive word lists for buildings.

Consider having them make a series preliminary idea solutions in pencil that steal from classical motifs, but they would be asked to combine or apply the classical motifs in unexpected ways that still feel right to them. Some kind of collage technique might also work. Team reviews of the preliminary ideas can help generate feedback from the preliminaries in the way an actual architectural firm would approach the challenge. Teams would include at least one member playing the role of the client, and another that plays the role of senior partner in the firm. The role of the team is to use the preliminary ideas to help them make design discoveries that can be exploited in the final proposals.

The preliminaries might be pencil, with final proposal presentation piece done in ink and watercolor. I would ask for the preliminaries to be turned in with the final product so that they can explain how they developed their idea.

Let us know what you decide to do. Share your experiences with the group.

Marvin (retired)
bartelart.com

On Mar 8, 2012, at 7:31 AM, sarah k wrote:

> My seventh grade students are currently studying Ancient Greece and
> Rome. I would like to complete an architecture lesson focused on the
> influence of the style on buildings in the U.S. I plan to take the
> students through a "photo tour" of our city then ask them to design a
> new building for the city that includes aspects of Greek and/or Roman
> architecture.
> Does anyone have suggestions for materials to complete this activity
> (watercolor, pen and ink, pencil) or suggestions for resources for me
> to check out before presenting the background information to the
> students? I have never taught architecture or Greek or Roman art, but
> both are a part of the curriculum at my new school.
> Feel free to email me off the list.
> Thank you!
>
> Sarah Kerns
> Quincy, MA
>
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