‘Artkitecture’

Posted: 7th September 2016

A Summer of Art and Architecture

As we look forward to next week when elements of the ‘Artkitecture’ summer course’s sculptural building will be exhibited in the Rose Garden we look back at the adventure of this week long workshop which took place earlier in the summer.

In what seemed to be the hottest week of the year in July, St Augustine’s Priory opened its grounds to a host of enthusiastic participants for ‘Artkitecture’, an art and architecture workshop run by Ealing Makers, architectural designer David Shanks and our Head of Art, Ms Cai Jia Eng.

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The opening day saw Augustinian students aged 7 – 14 debating what they believed architecture to be through drawings and discussion.

With a thirst for making, students then set about learning to make their first of two kites: the One Piece Delta Kite, culminating in a joyous first flight in the afternoon. Students learnt about angles and wind speed with Melanie, aged 9, declaring as her kite soared above the others, ‘my kite is just made for flying!’

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By the next afternoon, a host of Vietnamese kites had been made for the second flight, with coloured streamers twisting confidently across the sky. Earlier that day, students had gained a fundamental grasp of planning structures through visiting and measuring their site, learning about tension and compression and creating their own architectural models.

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Wednesday and Thursday saw the most ambitious part of the workshop: making the building using scaled-up kite structures. Students formed a production line for a day, sawing bamboo, drilling, creating tension and fabric covering kite-shaped building components.

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They then used their practical understanding to build two prototypes with much exhilaration before splitting into two teams to model and design the two final parts of the building, a tower and a shelter.

Amba, aged 7, said ‘my favourite part was sawing and drilling things myself’.

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As is an Augustinian tradition, an exhibition was planned on the afternoon of the final day, and parents were invited. Final adjustments to the building were made on site on the Outdoor Stage, with self-directed students making considered choices much to their teachers’ delight, erecting a full shelter minutes before parents arrived in glorious sunshine.

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A parent commented, ‘I’ve never seen a workshop like this before. The girls have just loved it, they come home every night telling us about all the things they have learnt and made, it really is brilliant. All my nephews want to do it next year.’

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Monica, aged 17, prefect on the workshop and former Art student, commented, ‘I really enjoyed seeing everyone grow as people. They have been so much more confident in their artistic styles, and people are really understanding what architecture can mean.’

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Ms Eng, Head of Art at St Augustine’s Priory said ‘Our first workshop here was really beyond our expectations. We have just had the most fun, and all our students really challenged themselves, whether in their making and problem solving skills, or even speaking on camera or learning to take care of new friends. It goes to show what students can learn given independence and time to make mistakes. We are already looking forward to running a workshop next year, with the best suggestion for the name being ‘Art-slide-tecture’!’

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Thank you to prefects Sophie, Aneae and Monica who worked tirelessly to document and assist on the course.

Bookings for the Ealing Makers’ next summer course will be opening in the Lent Term 2017. Parents wishing to register their interest and join the mailing list should email ealingmakers@gmail.com to request further information.

Meanwhile, explore the journey that is ‘Artkitecture’ by visiting the exhibits of sculptural building in the Rose Garden throughout next week.

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