“Architecture is the art form we use the most. It’s something everyone takes part in, even if they may not recognize,” said 20-year-old Aboudi Kabbani.His philosophy of the art he’s majoring in as a multifunctional, purposeful medium is at the heart of his and his classmates’ final project for Architecture 10B, Design Fundamentals.
With the abandoned Van de Kamps Bakery in Los Angeles serving as the basis for their hypothetical renovation, architecture professor Coleman Griffith asked his students to design an Olympic sports training center for paraplegics.
The long since vacant building is the property of L.A. City College, and will be used as a satellite campus.
Like LACC, the architecture students are interested in preserving the integrity of the original architecture in their redesigns, Griffith said.
“With the project this semester, we’re exploring the concept of rehabilitation from three different points of view,” he added.
“They’re rehabilitating the former Van de Kamps Bakery for use by paraplegics. The people involved in training would be nonviolent criminals, participating as part of their rehabilitation from the criminal justice system,” he explained.
Griffith tries to pick projects for his students that illustrate the connection between design and contemporary social issues.
For this assignment, his inspiration came from “the overcrowding of our prisons and those disenfranchised in our society.”
Although only hypothesized, the utilitarian, real-world purpose of their work makes the project more conceivable for students.
“Having that inspiration makes it easier. If it were all hypothetical it would have been a lot more difficult,” said 19-year-old architecture major Keith Arky.
Students were required to incorporate an archery stadium into their designs, as well as a second sport of their choosing.
Some choices include table tennis, wheelchair dancing and fencing.
The final has been a semester-long undertaking. The students sized up the building on a class field trip to the site.
When Professor Griffith proposed archery as the mandatory sport to be worked into the design, the class headed out to Arroyo Seco to try their hand at the sport.
While there, instructors passed on useful design tips that the class incorporated into their work.
Besides constructing two traditional models, the students must create four views of the buildings interior using three-dimensional computer modeling.
To architecture major Frances Silaqon, 21, the project emphasizes the process of design.
“All elements of art and design go into the architectural process,” said Silaqon, commenting on architecture’s increasing standing as an art form.
The project also presented an opportunity for students of different levels to work together. “The integration between different levels compels the students to communicate and allows them to see their work in relation to the other levels,” said Griffith.
At the end of the semester, the finals they’re working on will be judged by a panel of three working architects.
As Arky worked on his project, he reflected on the time that had gone into his efforts so far. “There can be a lot of late nights spent working on your project at home, but I’ve enjoyed seeing how architecture is a living, workable thing,” he said.
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