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Need your architectural wisdom...

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Trying to crowdsource some wisdom for an architectural project.

What are the important ideas in architecture that could be communicated to children (approx 6-8 years) embodied in the following buildings:

1) Forbidden City
2) St. Basil's Cathedral
3) Coliseum
4) Eiffel Tower
5) Empire State Building

For example, the Eiffel Tower was one of the most significant iron structures of its time. The Empire State Building is really, really tall. Etc.

I'm looking for insight from those who really know architecture. So fire away...
post #2 of 14
nvm
post #3 of 14
1) Forbidden City- Designed to emphasize the boundary between the common Chinese people and the emperor. In contrast to American government architecture, in which the openness and accessibility of the buildings represents Americans' participation in elected government, the Forbidden City asserts that the emperor's power is beyond dispute. 2) St. Basil's Cathedral- This building is actually a complete anomaly in Russian orthodox architecture. It represents almost nothing except the vision of the architects, which is a decidedly anti-Russian trait. The building is neither completely European or Asian in lineage, so it's basically an odd mix of forms and design elements. But there isn't much to say about it beyond that. 3) Coliseum- It's a gift to Roman society, in which the common people can enjoy leisure activities (killing humans and animals ) with the rankings members of government. It's size is meant to represent the magnitude and extent of the Roman empire's greatness. The design is uniformly ordered, which represents the disciplined and thorough organization of society. 4) Eiffel Tower- Represents the beauty of modern engineering. Incorporates decorative form into the steel work, which glorifies the work of society's laborers. It is an optimistic vision of the future technology. 5) Empire State Building- Represents the rise of America. It's size is meant to showcase America as the most technologically advanced and powerful society in the world whose future is unrivaled in potential greatness. The skyscraper was an American invention, and was specifically seen as a way for Americans to distinguish the freedom of their lifestyles compared to their mostly European ancestors, whose cities were still filled with architecture built by oppressive monarchies. The skyscraper was the American response to grand royal palaces because it represented that Americans had more power and authority than their government.
post #4 of 14
fia
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Stephen. Very good ideas. Helps a lot.

And Venessian, thank you, too. You're right about the facts vs. principles of architecture, but it's hard to put myself in the mind of a six year old. The idea is basically: here are some cool buildings that really exist, so behold the splendor of the world.
post #6 of 14
please videotape the 6 year olds when you read that to them!
post #7 of 14
St.Basils was designed by an Italian architect, and when it was built the Czar ( forget which one ) had his eyes gouged out so that he could never repeat such an extraordinary building anywhere else. I know that doesn't answer your question but I think the kids might enjoy hearing the story.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenHero View Post

2) St. Basil's Cathedral- This building is actually a complete anomaly in Russian orthodox architecture. It represents almost nothing except the vision of the architects, which is a decidedly anti-Russian trait. The building is neither completely European or Asian in lineage, so it's basically an odd mix of forms and design elements. But there isn't much to say about it beyond that.

I think it sums Russia up perfectly which is the building's genius,i.e the eclectic mix of European and Asian design which has been the constant battle in Russia's long history: which way to turn it's face,East or West?
post #9 of 14
nvm
post #10 of 14
post #11 of 14
you guys are so cute
post #12 of 14
fia
post #13 of 14
post #14 of 14
I find that adults with post-secondary educations have trouble with basic architectural concepts, and I don't mean to ply any sophistry. Most adults don't get it at all. I have direct personal experience with this.

At 6-8 years old I'd think that exciting them about the possibilities of architecture by exposing them to images of a variety of 'great' or even just unusual buildings, while hinting at basic concepts like solids/void, symmetry/assymetry, and climate response would be ambitious enough. I think tectonics is overboard, but you might be able to address basic materials. To start getting into the cultural aspects like meaning or significance is to ignore your audience.

Others have said you will lose them... +1
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