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Lesson Plans


[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Tue, 17 Nov 1998 20:28:07 EST

My partner Adam and I are working on a project that focuses on environmental
architecture. We have been taking a look at architecture that has been
constructed not only to compliment the environment but also use formal
elements of the landscape in the design of the building. Previously, we have
constructed a question strategy to introduce the idea of environmental
architecture to students. We discussed the concept of complimentary shapes,
lines and colors in conjunction with examples of architecture that use natural
"cues" as a basis for their design.
We now need to develop an activity that further explores this idea. My
activity discusses the aesthetics of environmental architecture by using the
example of Frank Lloyd Wright's "Taliesin." This would primarily be a writing
assignment for high school level art students.
1. Get detailed slides of "Taliesin." Engage the class in a discussion
of the description of Wright's work. "What kinds of elements about the house
accent to surrounding rolling hills of Spring Green, WI?" "What kinds of
choices did Wright make in designing "Taliesin."" Discuss the 'formal'
choices of the design the 'work' with the environment. Also discuss the
motivations of Wright's and other architects that build environmental
architecture. "What purpose does environmental design serve?" "What do these
designs say about the building if we were to go there and visit the site?"
"What do these designs say about the people who live in these buildings?"
"What do these designs say about the intent of the architects?"
2. From here we could pursue a more philosophical approach by posing
questions like, "What is the value of harmonizing the architecture with the
environment?" "Are these buildings really more aesthetically appealing than
building that disregard the landscape?" "Why?"
3. After the discussion, have students write a short essay on their own
impressions of Wright's "Taliesin." "What formal qualities did he 'pull' from
the landscape to design this building?" "In your opinion, was Wright
successful?" "Why or why not?"
4. Collect the essays and make comments. This allows the students to
establish their own opinions about the material without being open to debate
from the rest of the class. This also allows you (the teacher) to be able to
guide the students who are having difficulty.
5. For the next assignment, I want to use Marilyn Stewart's idea of
'object ranking.' 'Object Ranking' is discussed in Chapter Five of "Thinking
Through Aesthetics," page 72. Have students find three buildings in town that
use the environment in their design. Rank the buildings in order of how
successfully the buildings design uses the environment. "How do these
buildings use the environment and in what ways?" "Why did you choose these
buildings?" "What do you like about their design?"
6. Have students find three buildings in town that are inappropriately
designed for the surrounding landscape. "Why do these buildings fail in
complimenting the environment?" "What would you change to make them better
suited for the environment?" Have students rank these in order of least
successful and why.
7. Have a class discussion about the outcomes of the students'
rankings. Are there buildings that more than one person chose? Discuss
these. "What do you think motivated these architects to make these design
decisions?" Try to establish a consensus with the class about these popular
building choices. Does everyone agree why these buildings were successful/not
successful? "How are these buildings pleasing or awkward?"

Eric Johnson Art Ed 596