Project Piece House at Elementary School
Design project with children at local elementary school in Kamakura, Japan. Creating a “house” together with everyone was the first interaction with architecture for the children and definitely a very memorable experience they will keep with them for many years. Many people might not realize it but architecture can be a very powerful learning tool.
“Piece House” was a work presented at an art event at Kamakura Elementary School in Kanagawa, Japan.
The interaction one has with their environment in their childhood has a major impact on one’s interpretation of environments in adulthood. How a child interacts with architecture and their environment is an important aspect of the development experience.
Approximately 500 L-shaped wood pieces where used in the construction with the participating children including their own writing or drawings in the pieces. The brick-sized pieces were then combined to form a “house”.
The wall was, during the daytime, a colorful representation of the unique and individual personalities of the children coming together, and, during nighttime, transformed into a poetic symbol of hope with light shining from the inside of the structure.
For the children, it was an inspiring experience to see how so many small pieces could come together to form a large structure. Naturally, each child went to find their own piece in the structure. However, no matter how much thought they put into making that piece or what feelings were behind it, in the end it’s only one small piece in a group of five hundred others. Nevertheless, no matter how insignificant each individual piece may seem, it’s these small pieces coming together that form the overall structure. In a sense, it’s an artistic representation of our society at large.
Through this experience, the children were not only able to see first hand the importance of architecture but also to understand the enjoy and humility involved in building a team or society with their friends and peers. For this reason, the “piece” in “Piece House” can also be interpreted as representing “peace”.
This project definitely had a positive impact on shaping the attitudes of the children and opening their eyes to a wide array perspectives they’ll need as they go through life.
Although, as architects, we rarely have the chance to participate in these types of projects, for us, it was a priceless opportunity to promote and demonstrate our belief that architecture should be used as a tool to improve and support human relationships.
text by salta