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July 18, 2022

Designing for the Future – Architecture Edition!

Summer Camp With Strang

For all the kids who enjoy playing with Legos…Strang partnered with Art + Lit + Lab to host students aged 11-14 at Strang’s Madison office to learn all about the world of architecture. As part of Art + Lit + Lab’s Summer Arts Camp, this program was all about teaching the fundamentals of architecture with interactive, hands-on learning.


Alec Hembree, a Design Architect from Strang hosted the session, aiming to change the way that students see and understand space inside architecture, outside architecture, and within an urban context. He helped students translate that newfound knowledge into designing spatial arrangements. Read on to find out what students learned each day.

Monday - What Is Architecture?

On Monday, we challenged students to answer this question for themselves and come up with reasons why some things are considered architecture and some things are not. Students also created 3D models of what they thought would be considered architecture.

Tuesday - Creating Space

We discussed points, lines, and planes and how they create space and volumetric relationships. Students created several small-scale models to help identify spatial relationships.

Wednesday - Connecting Space

On Wednesday we took a field trip around the neighborhood and identified how urban spaces feel, work, and look. This led to discussions of how hierarchy, axis, symmetry, and proportion guide connected spaces and urban sequences. 

Thursday - Final Projects

Students were asked to design a bus stop and covered space for local art to be displayed as well as redevelop Kerr-McGee Triangle Park at the corner of Jenifer and Williamson Street. They began by drawing floor plans and progressed to physical models of their designs. This day was when the design thinking process really started to come to life!

Friday - Final Presentations

On the last day, students completed their 3D models and individually presented their ideas for design feedback from the instructor, the class, and a special guest critic from Strang. Students received feedback on how well they were able to create successful public and private spaces, where they chose to position program elements and formal design choices. It was particularly exciting to see everything the students had learned over the week come to life as a physical creation.

Mitchell Branscombe, Architect joins students for their final presentations.

As the camp wrapped up, Alec summarized the week by saying, “The most rewarding part of the week was watching the students recognize and understand urban space during our field trip. It was amazing to watch as the students translated our classroom discussions about point, line, plane, hierarchy, and axis into a real-world context.”

Thank you, Alec, for your architectural instruction, and thank you Art + Lit + Lab for your partnership! 

Arts + Literature Laboratory is a community-based contemporary arts center supporting the visual and literary arts, music and performance, and youth and adult arts education. To learn more about them check out their website here

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