Monday, December 6, 2010

What Do Architects Do?

What do architects do? Our fourth and fifth graders had a chance to find out when Jay Szymanski came to talk to them. Mr. Szymanski works at The Architectural Team, the company that designed the new buildings for Old Colony.

FYI--Mr. Szymanski has appeared on our blog before. When one of our students asked, "What will our new homes look like?" we started our Ask The Experts column. If you'd like to know what Mr. Szymanshi said then, just click here.

Anyway, this time Mr. Szymanski came in and talked about being an architect. He explained that architects draw up plans for buildings and showed us pages and pages of blueprints for Old Colony. But before architects start designing, they must think about what the buildings will be used for, the size the rooms should be, how to make the building safe, and how to make the people who use it feel happy to live or work there.

Mr. Szymanski showed the kids some of the software he used to help design the buildings. Using a computer made it much easier to make the layouts and change the sizes of rooms so everything fit perfectly. Some kids came up and experimented making their own buildings with different shapes. They could even change the colors of the buildings to ones they liked best.

For the Old Colony project, the architects also had to think about ways to use make the buildings green (energy efficient). Computers helped the architects decide how to place the buildings so the sun would shade them in June and shine on them in winter. When someone asked why this matters, Mr. Szymanski explained that the sun moves across the sky at a different angle depending upon the season. Keeping the buildings in shade in summer means using less air conditioning. Letting the sun shine in helps heat the buildings in winter.

Letting the sun do the work means paying less for other kinds of energy!

The kids learned a lot from this visit. But like any good, new information, it also made them more curious. To find out what they were especially interested in, come back tomorrow when the fourth grade will weigh in with their thoughts.

This is Architect Visit Week on the PerkinsBlog!