This summer graduate students from Massachusetts College of Art and Design transformed an unused parcel of land into an outdoor learning space for a neighborhood charter school in Boston. The Codman Academy, Charter Public School, serving students from kindergarten through high school, now has an outdoor learning space that, through its design and assembly, engages young minds to think about the built environment.
The MassArt architecture graduate students who designed the space chose to express the assembly connections, material characteristics and the dynamic geometry with a goal to excite younger students to think about design and their environment. The graduate students, guided by faculty and a structural engineer, completed every aspect of the project from proposing the concept to completing the working drawings, and installing the plantings. In fact, they even used the college’s metals shop to weld and assemble the steel supports. This project is one in a long series of community building projects that MassArt students have completed through the years and it is a required part of the Master of Architecture curriculum.
MassArt graduate students—across eight majors—come from many backgrounds, however they share a common interest in learning through making. Architecture students enjoy the benefits of learning about design in the context of these other creative disciplines within the nation’s only public independent art college. As such, Massachusetts College of Art and Design provides affordable access to students who seek an education that focuses individual creative development through the process of physically putting things together.
M.Arch students have a chance to work in the college’s hot and cold glass shop, foundry, state of the art woodshop, ceramics and fibers studios. This approach to learning is practiced collegewide and students are encouraged to work across disciplines. The architecture department designs courses that take full advantage of these resources, thus broadening students’ understanding of how to develop ideas from drawings to reality.
The architecture program brings together faculty with a shared commitment to professional practice, which helps to shape the studio curriculum. Many of the faculty have focused their professional careers on social equity work such as affordable housing, childcare facilities and schools in underserved regions and this work by nature is collaborative. Collaboration, therefore, is folded into the curriculum while maintaining the need to support each student as an individual designer. Over several years, the department has collaborated with community partners on the creation of design, construction and development projects. These partnerships are central to professional education at MassArt and to the development of architects who are socially responsible citizens.
The latest project at the Codman Academy illustrates the possibilities that exist when energetic designers apply their individual vision in a collaborative setting. And then, pick up a hammer, or in this case, some welding gear.
To learn more about the M.Arch and other Graduate Programs at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, join us at our Open House, Saturday October 17. Register at: massart.edu/gradopenhouse