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Friday, July 10, 2009

Architects in the Making camp gives students a taste of architecture

We're now in our third year of being the sponsor for the AIA Miami Summer Camp. Every year 60 students, ages 8 to 14 get the opportunity to learn the world of architecture and every year we teach the kids Revit for a day. Not only do they love it, but we poison their little minds to never want to use AutoCAD. There's nothing like getting them when they're young before it's too late.

Seriously though, we teach them how to model homes and we also tie in green building components so they can appreciate the need for energy efficient design. They love it and I love being able to provide them a foundation for learning BIM. I feel really bad because I couldn't personally volunteer to help my Revit techs because I had the LEED AP exam the next day. Mark Rothman, my star (#2 Autodesk Nationally Ranked Revit Instructor) was running around for 6 hours to every kid's computer. He said he's never been so exhausted in his life.
I'm sorry Mark, I'll make it up to you next year.

This is a very simple week long program that every local AIA should start in their local area. Please contact me if you want information on how to start this program. The kids love it and it's a great way to promote architecture for future architects.

Katherine Diaz, 8, works on her site plan for her water park during the Architecture at the University of Miami School of Architecture in Coral Gables.

Alongside the waves of Crandon Park's South Beach stood the Taj Mahal, a Spanish fort and a race track.

These sites were among those built by the 65 children and families in the sand sculpture competition held by the Architects in the Making camp, developed by the Miami chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Started by Miami architect Rick Ruiz three years ago, the week-long program offers instruction in drawing, sketching, computer design programs and includes tours of significant historical sites in Miami-Dade County.

A few days before the competition, the campers, ages 8 to 14, worked at the University of Miami's design studios, perfecting their sand sculpture concepts.

Throughout the week, two advanced teams worked on town planning with Humberto Ramos, an architect who has assisted Ruiz with the camp for two years. He assigned one team the Hialeah Race Track and the other the Orange Bowl after educating them about green architecture.

Danielle Diaz, 12, a student at George Washington Carver Middle in Coral Gables, was on the team to redesign the Hialeah track. Danielle was inspired by Central Park to create a family get-together area at the track. Although she doesn't intend to be an architect, she is practicing her design skills. ''I'm looking forward to my dream of being a cake designer,'' she said.
In the nearby lecture hall, another group of students learned how to use Revit, a computer-assisted design program.

Gustavo Gonzalez, 11, a student at Mater Academy in Hialeah, and his teammate focused on green architecture when designing their house. They planted fruit trees to avoid having to go to the supermarket, included many windows and relied on solar power to illuminate their home.

The Coral Gables Museum organized field trips to the Merrick House, the Biltmore Hotel and the Kampong, the former home of David Fairchild, the founder of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. The children also visited the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, the Bayfront Park Amphitheater and the Adrienne Arscht Center for the Performing Arts.

But it was the sand sculpture competition that was the week's denouement.
Gage Plotner, 9, and Isaac Pittman, 10, had been planning ''Sand City,'' since the first day of camp, designing a race track, airport and Mount Everest as part of their city.
Isaac, a student at Florida Christian School, has long dreamed of becoming an architect. In fact, he saved up $200 by March to put toward the camp before discovering it was free.

Two sisters, Anastasia, 10, and Anna Alvarez, 8, both students at Howard Drive Elementary, decided to include a mote, bridges and shells in their sand sculpture.
''We work for them today,'' said mother Anna Alvarez of Palmetto Bay with a smile.
Gift cards were awarded to the top three sculptures.

Julieanna Keclik, 12, a student at St. Louis Covenant School in Miami, and her team finished third for their replica of the Taj Mahal.

Danielle Diaz, working with her dad and her two sisters, constructed a beach house that included a covered terrace, archways and a lighthouse. They finished second.
The winner was Milton Logo, 11, a student at Ada Merritt Elementary in Miami. He and his family created a Spanish fort that they named Logo Fort, surrounded by windows and equipped with a cannon.

When the day was over, David Bloom of Morningside was glad he let his son take over the design of their castle.

``If you let kids do their own thing, they tend to surprise you with their creativity.''


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