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Storytelling Igloo Teaches Children About Architecture

Thursday, January 18, 2018

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Aberrant Architecture recently collaborated with five north London schools and local arts center Artsdepot to create an igloo-shaped installation that served as both a way to get young people to connect with art and design and express themselves through hand-craft.

Storytelling Igloo

To bring the project to life, 140 children between the ages of eight and 14 used 3D computer modeling software and CNC molds. During this process, children were guided to think about what defines meaningful space.

First, students drew ideas that related to their own identity and sense of space onto pieces of paper. From there, the designs were modeled by hand into prototypes.

"This process allowed children to compare the relative ease of 'modelling' three-dimensional forms by hand as opposed to digital translations," the architects said.

From bespoke design to 3-D modeling software, each creation was then transferred into CNC-modelled molds produced in collaboration with the University of Westminster Fabrication Laboratory.

Each brick was made from papercrete, a construction material composed of recycled paper and adhesives, and each school was assigned a different color. Clay ornaments were added to some of the bricks, and each lintel also featured the name of a certain school, which encouraged the young builders to take ownership of what they had created, noted the architects.

To assemble the igloo, each brick was labeled and numbered.

“This process has really provided us with an insight into how students and young people experience the city around them,” said Aberrant Architecture co-founder Kevin Haley, in a November writeup.

“I was quite fascinated in some cases with how they decided to recall their memories of their favorite place in their neighborhood. It was not just a tree; it was the tree with the excellent branches for climbing. […] Through drawing and modelling these ideas I noticed that the students would recall their own kind of order to the city based on criteria quite different from those of adults."

The installation was composed of 300 bricks, and was on display at Apthorp Gallery at the Artsdepot Dec. 13-31.


Tagged categories: Color + Design; Design build; Project Management; Recycled building materials

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