Touch, hear, feel - these are the slogans accompanying the architectural education project that the Wrocław Museum of Architecture has been implementing since 2021. The first real Laboratory of Architecture is a space for experiments and research on architecture, with children playing the role of lab technicians.
The Architecture Laboratory is a two-year pilot educational program designed for early school-aged children. During the weekly meetings, which have the character of interdisciplinary and multisensory workshops, the participants learn about the successive components of architecture: structure, material, texture, plan and module. And they get to know them with all their senses: sight, touch, hearing and even smell!
From the very beginning, we planned to invite children and young people with intellectual, visual and hearing disabilities to this project That's why we knew that these could not be ordinary lectures on the theory and history of architecture, but classes that engage all the senses and that completely change the perspective of how architecture is perceived," explains Agnieszka Gola, an educator from the Museum of Architecture in Wroclaw and co-initiator of the project.
photo: Mirosław Łanowiecki
TheArchitecture Laboratory breaks the traditional way of thinking about architecture, seen in terms of erecting structures or juxtaposing solids defined by the style of the era. The aim of the project is that through experimentation the children begin to perceive architecture not only with their eyesight, but also with their other senses: smell, hearing and touch. During the classes, for example, samples of building materials are used, including natural ones such as wood and clay. The smells of places enclosed in jars are released, and the sound properties and temperature of wood, brick and metal are studied.
All workshops are divided into three thematic blocks:
- Architecture and the Senses,
- How does architecture work?
- Me and architecture.
The result of the classes conducted over two years will be a book - a compendium of knowledge, experiences and exercises for teachers to create their own art education lessons. All materials will also be made available free of charge on the project's website.
Photo: Miroslaw Lanowiecki
Yoga in a museum?
The idea is not new, because yoga is practiced almost everywhere today, but only in the Architecture Laboratory does yoga allow you to feel your favorite and famous building. The Parthenon, the Eiffel Tower, or maybe the rosette of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral? No problem!
During a special yoga class held at the Architecture Laboratory, we learned how to discover the true forces of architecture in our bodies: statics, dynamics, balance, or the distribution of arches. Through a combination of movement, smell, sound, and observation of themselves and their surroundings, children were able to experience the fullness of architecture! - says Patrycja Mazurek, co-initiator of the program.
Photo: Mirosław Łanowiecki
me and architecture
The third and final block of workshops, which the Museum of Architecture will implement throughout 2022, is an attempt to put the knowledge and skills gained earlier into practice. Research walks around Wroclaw and exploring parts of the city together will serve to build a sense of agency in shaping our surroundings and awareness of how this space affects our physical and mental well-being. The role of the historical and urban context of a place will also be explored, with the model WuWA estate and the exhibition grounds around the UNESCO-listed Centennial Hall serving as examples.
Laboratory of Architecture is an educational project implemented by the education department of the Museum of Architecture in Wroclaw. The project is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
- duration: from may 2021 to the end of 2022
- Project coordinators: Agnieszka Gola, Patrycja Mazurek
- visual identification: Paweł Mildner