For pre-college students and others who are interested in exploring what architecture is about, Cool Spaces! and the Northeastern University School of Architecture have teamed up to present introductory exercises based on NEU’s 2014 Summer Design Studio. Learn more here. Two weeks from now we’ll post the next exercise, and on this page we’ll add images showing how students solved the exercise.
Download this exercise as a PDF here.
Exercise 1: Paper Shelter
In order to explore the notion of making shelter, you will create a canopy large enough to shelter two people in conversation. Students will explore the capacity of a single sheet of 8.5×11 paper to create shelter. You may use any operation on the paper (for example fold, cut, slice, bend, pleat, staple, etc.) in order to make a module or prototype that can be repeated many times over to create a 4’ x 8’ canopy in two hours’ time.
Materials (you may use some or all of these):
- 8.5” x 11” paper (required)
- hole punch
- You should spend approximately 15 minutes experimenting with the paper (folding, bending, stapling). Rapidly generate at least three “prototypes” — test objects that might serve as the building blocks for a larger canopy.
- Consider the relative advantages and detriments of each prototype, considering the following questions:
- How strong/stable is it?
- How will it attach itself to other objects to form a canopy?
- How easy/difficult is it to make and replicate many times?
- What qualities (sensory, visual, auditory) does the object(s) produce?
- Will we have time to make all of the objects we need and then join them into a 4’x8’ canopy in 2 hours or less?
- Based on your observations above, decide which object(s) you will use as the building blocks for your canopy, and develop a strategy for assembling them into a canopy of approximately 4’x8’ (finished size).
- The finished canopy may be self-supporting, or may rely on walls/ceiling to support itself. You may use string and/or push pins to suspend the canopy for display.