Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thinking in 3 Dimensions

Thinking in 3D is the basis for all environmental design. Frank Lloyd Wright played with Froebel Blocks as a child and later said they are "in his fingers still". Playing with blocks, making models, Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets, Kinex, or any other construction type activity should be part of every person's ongoing dexterity learning. Even dentists and surgeons benefit from ongoing practice in 3D manipulation.

Here is a quick project for any age student using a pencil, a piece of plain paper, some clear tape and a pair of scissors. Cut a two inch square corner from a piece of tagboard for each student to use to establish scale. The square represents the heighth and width of a one story building. Students can make two-story buildings, wider or longer buildings, and make different shaped roofs or angles to their buildings using the square as their template. They can attach extra paper as necessary.

In a short period of time students can create a variety of building shapes by cutting and taping little buildings together. To focus on the structural 3D aspects of the lessons, don't do any drawing or decorating of the buildings. Leave them plain white and make any additions (doors, windows, chimneys, etc.) by attaching white shapes to the main building. It is the 3D form that is important at this point, not any decorative details.

Some hints - do any drawing or planning on the side that will be inside the structure and not be seen in the end. Use clear tape or glue so that the structure isn't marred by visible masking tape or other joining devices that might distract.

The point is to learn to think with your hands as preparation to be an environment designer (architecture, urban planning, interior design, parks, playgrounds, stage sets, movie lots, etc.) or an industrial designer (packages, products, etc.).

Click on the heading above to go to the website of the Association of Professional Model Makers.

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