Architecture: The Study of Humanity

Architecture: The Study of Humanity 

"Architecture is the most universal of all the arts. It is also the most expressive of all the arts, expressive not only of the artist, but of whole peoples and their times.
Furthermore it is the one art which touches everybody." 
~Joseph Watterson 

"Architecture is a speech known and read for all men: and it is by its great buildings, even more than by its literature, that a country or an age is estimated by posterity." 
~H. Wykeham 

Why Architecture? 
Architecture tells the story of humanity. It is a study in the values, pursuits, talents, failures, struggles, triumphs, and impact of each age of history, and it is both an art and a science that gives insight into the world. From the pyramids of Egypt to the cathedrals of the middle ages to the log cabins of the western settlers to the skyscrapers of today, every study of humans will include a study of their structures. 

Charlotte Mason identified Architecture as History, Art, and Science and scheduled it in various ways, utilizing various books. She mentions its importance in the study of any period of history, suggests it as a Handicraft (building clay models of buildings), and scheduled it as a "general science". 

We too can study Architecture alongside our History, as an Art Study or Handicraft, or as a Science, but it also benefits from its own place in the schedule in which all aspects of its study are pursued. 

A Few Principles of Architecture: 
*Architecture is a study that appeals to all learning modalities and is accessible to all ages and types of people (making it perfect for communal learning) 
*Architecture is the study of the history of humanity, not just of structures. Buildings are intimately associated with the life of humans and even when looking at Architecture through the lens of science, humanity should never be removed from its study. 
*Architecture is a prime example of, and a great opportunity for, the science of relations to occur
and be displayed. 
*The study of Architecture contributes to a greater and more holistic understanding of and appreciation for history, science, art, religion, culture, math, Scripture, Shakespeare, Literature, practical skills, and politics. 

Here are a few examples of the connections between Architecture and the rest of a living education. 
(See if you can discover and understand each connection and its significance!) 

A Breakdown of Architecture as History, Science, and Art

Architecture as History

To know and understand buildings is to know and understand men. 

1. Study the Most Important Buildings of Your Current Time Period 
2. Study the Most Important Features of Your Current Time Period
3. Add to BOC and History Charts 
4. Discuss the Architecture Involved in Significant Events 
5. Study Artifacts and Buildings Individually

Architecture as Art 

"The artist has indispensable lessons to give us, whether he convey them through the brush of the painter, the vast parables of the architect, or through such another cathedral built of sound..." 
1. Do "Picture Studies" and "Picture Talks" With Images of Buildings 
2. Make Building Models as Handicrafts 
3. Study Design and Its Connection to Architecture 
4. Discuss the Elements of Buildings and Eras That Are Aesthetic in Purpose 

Architecture as Science 
1. Study Technique, Design, Technologies, Physics 
2. Follow Development of Architectural Science and Advancement Over Time 
3. Compare Modern Methods w/ Ancient Ones 
4. Examine Specific Materials and Their Evolution and Use  (example: concrete) 
5. Examine Specific Design Elements and Their Physics (example: domes) 
6. Examine Specific Structures and Their Physics 

Whether you choose to combine Architecture with History, Science, or Art or whether you give it a place of its own, you can structure all lessons in this format: 
1. Read
2. Narrate (oral, building, or drawing) 
3. Examine (photos, models, etc) 
4. Timeline (History Charts or Discussion) 

How We Do Architecture Lessons
My family gives Architecture a place of its own, combining elements of Art, History, and Science in
1-2 lessons each week, dividing our lessons into: 

1. Architecture Study (History and Art) 
2. Practical Architecture (Science) 

Architecture Study 
Each term we study Architecture related to our History time period. We have studied Pyramids for Egypt, Log Cabins for the Westward Expansion, Cathedrals and Castles for the Middle Ages, Indigenous Homes for Early America, the many structures of Ancient Greece, the library of Congress, and much more. 

For two terms we read and narrate a book; these narrations include building models (with lego, clay, etc), drawing plans and diagrams, and orally narrating. 

We love the books by David Macaulay and read one every time there's one available for our current time period. We also love the Fast Forward Series and books by Bobbie Kalman. 
We spread each book out over a term, reading two each year. 

For our last term each year, we do Picture Studies and Picture Talks of the structures and artifacts of our time period, using the Stuff They Left Behind Portfolios. 

Practical Architecture 
Every other week, we study the Science of Architecture by applying its various elements to practice exercises and activities. 

For lessons, we use Architecture for Kids, which guides children through a variety of activities to explore architecture's elements and understand them contextually and through a scientific lens. After repeating this book a few times, we will (as a family) move on to Architecture for Teens

Each boy also looks at Architecture as a career in one term of their Career Studies, and one of them pursues it as an Occupation of his own. For this, we love the Architect Academy and Architecture Scribble Book from Usborne. 

Other Resources We Love/Use/Plan to Use: 

Archidoodle: The Architect's Activity Book
The Future Architect's Handbook and The Future Architect's Tool Kit
Sketch Like an Architect
Draw 50 Buildings and Other Structures
Dover Architecture Coloring Books
The Story of Buildings
Architecture: A Visual History
Dover Architecture Series
Architecture Shown to the Children
Architecture: Five Thousand Years of Building (out of print-watch for used copies) 
Architecture of the World Series (for older students/reference) 
Great Buildings Collection Website


No comments:

Post a Comment