Monday, 15 July 2019

The Three Pavilions Challenge

Celebrating Architecture 2019 with Urban Learners have been holding Architecture workshops this summer for groups of creative school children at three London pavilions; at the Architecture Foundation, Serpentine Gallery and the Dulwich Picture Gallery.  I was fortunate to attend the last two and assist some of the children with their design creations.

Workshop at the Serpentine Pavilion and RCA.
Workshops were held with a variety of age groups from key stage 1 to 4.

The workshops began investigating the pavilions.  The children experimented with drawing, measuring and photographing aspects of the pavilions to understand form, space, scale and proportion.  This knowledge was taken by the children into the studio after lunch, to design and create model pavilions of their own.

Workshop at the Dulwich Picture Gallery and Colour Palace Pavilion.
The workshop kits and materials were developed to match the design and aesthetics of the actual pavilions.  

The days were fast-paced and fun.  The working dynamic of children with architects created an infectious buzz of excitement.  The work-flow focused the children towards the highlight of the afternoon's creative events; designing, building, documenting and presenting their own pavilion.  Everyone came away with a strong sense of accomplishment!

Thanks to Venetia and Neil for organising the events and giving so much creative enjoyment to the school children and grown-ups alike.  Keep an eye on out for their next series of events. 

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Project Management

To further DesignBox's credibility in project management, we are pleased to announce that we now have PRINCE2 Practitioner certification.

PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a process based methodology for effective project management.  It is used widely in the profession of project management internationally and used exclusively by the UK government.  PRINCE2 protects the business justification of a project, builds a planning approach focused on achieving the project products, and divides the project in to manageable and controllable work stages.  The PRINCE2 methodology helps to provide greater control of project resources, focus on the business goals and manage project risk.  This helps project teams work efficiently and gives assurance to Clients.

For architecture and project management, PRINCE2 will prove invaluable to DesignBox for assisting the development of building projects, realising wider project and programme items, and tackling any innovation requirements.  We look forward to applying it to our next relevant projects.

Monday, 8 July 2019

The Human Bug Hotel

Furzedown Primary School's year 6 class (11 year olds) have been doing a series of Architecture workshops investigating
  • structure and materials,  
  • space, form and light, 
  • scale and proportion,
  • design narrative and story-line,
  • response to a chosen site and its environment.
The workshops were carried out with a sequence of lessons following the methodology documented in our 'Architecture for Kids' post, which include a progress of design sessions developed around structure, drawing, making and building.

Designing spaces: 
Models representing individual spaces developed from
the children's design narratives and story-lines.

With the brief of creating a space (pavilion, shelter or den) one design that stood out was for a kid-sized human bug hotel.  This clever design played with scale and proportion, shrinking children down to the scale of a bug to experience life in a bug hotel.  It also was a very simple solution to a design proposal requiring only a few components to make it work.

Drawing in 3D is a skill. 
Here axonometric paper was used to recreate the designs in drawn format,
to understand how this drawing technique works,
and to develop the designs with annotations and details.

The bug hotel chambers were cut from plastic water barrels from Smiths of Forest Dean with the acrylic domed lenses from Project Plastics.  The class assisted with fabrication, cutting the barrels with a jigsaw and drilling holes for the fixing points which were make with bolts, washers and wing nuts.

One very simple and playful design to create a kid-sized bug hotel;
creating an environment where children can imagine what life might be like for
insects living in an environment of vegetation and greenery. 

Building the human bug hotel.
Measuring, cutting, drilling, bolting and assembling.

The assembly was placed next to a willow frame which had lots of foliage to dress around the chambers which made it look in place.  To add to the fun, the willow frame had a space inside where the children used to play.  The resultant human bug hotel gave a project where kids could engage in an insect-world, observing more bug-like kids in the play space habitat beyond.

Experimenting with the spaces of the human bug hotel.