A problem working as a visiting artist in a school delivering a programme of creative work that lies outside of the curriculum is a lack of interim stimulus. The pupils selected to be involved in the design workshop did not meet again, as a group, for 7 days, and this resulted in - understandable - forgetfulness.
At the end of the last workshop William requested that the young people did homework: begin to think about, and put down on paper, their perfect community pad ideas.
7 days later
Workshop No 2.
Only three had remembered their homework. This was a shame but ultimately did not hinder our next steps for design development.
The three pupils who had remembered to bring in their homework talked about their ideal community pad design: the shape, why they chose the shape, what the structure was made from, alternative technology features, environmental features, and functional features. All three had chosen the basic cube shape, however, one pupil flipped the cube so that the only point of contact with the ground was one corner of the cube: creating a Trigonal trapezohedron
Of course this raises a number of issues, not least, what is stopping the cube from falling over? If the pod we are designing is a Trigonal trapezohedron, structurally, how do we make it stable? This was the starting point for today's workshop. Split into groups, given large sheets of paper and bright coloured felt tip pens, the pupils worked collaboratively to solve design problems presented by a familiar shape being tilted into a position that, without support, is structurally impossible. In addition, the shape presented further design problems: where is the floor level? And, with a raised floor, what use can be made of the void created beneath?
Their works on paper became a visual dialogue: they talked amongst themselves whilst scribbling on the sheets of paper; resulting in interesting visual imagery loaded with ideas.
After the one-hour workshop session they were bursting with ideas and full of enthusiasm. The bell rang too soon for us. We had just got into our stride and had started to discuss eco-build issues and solutions.
Their homework for this week: to find out about alternative energy.
To be continued…