Colloseum   Structures

Project developed by Patricia Clifford and Sharon Friesen

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"How has the need to be strong and to support various necessary loads influenced the development of all sorts of creatures, devices and systems?" J.E. Gordon

This is wonderfully intriguing question about structures, both naturally occurring and humanly constructed. In speaking about "the need to be strong", it asks why things don't fall down, which is an issue of mechanics, and why they don't fall apart, which involves issues of aesthetics, philosophy and all the social sciences. Human beings seem to be intuitively attuned to structures.

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Notes and Assignments
Project Requirements

Project Overview |  Design Process |  Design Report |  Design Portfolio

Getting Started

Useful links

Samples of Student's Work

Horse Barn
Office Tower
Rainbow Bridge

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Learning to see the structure of the world around us is an important part of life. Wherever you look you see examples of structures. They occur in nature, and in the things which people make to solve problems to satisfy needs.
Crystal Iceberg

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Look around you for natural and human-made structures that you can draw and think about. Select at least 3 natural and 3 human-made structures. For each structure that you choose, we would like you to do these things:

  1. Draw the structure, or part of it, as accurately as you can. Take your time! Colour your picture if you think the colour is an interesting part of the structure. You make wish to take photos of the structures. Look at the structures from more than one point of view. You may want to draw the same structure from more than one point of view.
  2. Write about the structures. We have thought of some questions that might help you think about the structure, or there may be other things that you also want to say about it.
    • Is this structure natural or made by people? Was it difficult to decide?
    • Can you tell what the structure is made of? Does it have parts that seem to be made of different things?
    • What shapes do you see within the structure? Can you see any patterns in the structure? Are these patterns repeated anywhere else in the structure?
    • What does this structure do? What is it used for?
    • Why do you think this structure does not fall down, or does not fall apart? What holds it together?
    • What questions do you have about this structure? What does it make you wonder about?