When most of us think about the diversity that exists within the Dallas Central Business District or Downtown Dallas (as many of us know it) we think about cars, DART buses and trains, and business associates hustling to work in the various towers that make up our skyline. We do not typically think of young school children walking down Commerce Street approaching a doorway of one of those towering structures and entering a classroom to begin their day of learning. Well the reality is, this does happen on a daily basis.
Last week I was invited to visit 67 seventh and eighth grade math students at the Pegasus Charter School of Liberal Arts and Sciences in downtown. Their instructor contacted me to volunteer an hour to present how mathematics applies to our daily process of creating structures for our clients and end users. The title of the presentation was Math and Architecture. As I hung up the phone I was excited about the chance to talk about what I love to do for a living, but challenged to think about how to present the subject in a manner that would appeal to that age student without boring them to death or losing several along the journey. What I presented is not the key topic of this blog post, it was the reaction and the spirit of what I encountered that is the lesson here.
Pegasus Charter is a Tier 1 charter school that gives children the opportunity to receive a quality education; many of the students are from urban environments from around the Dallas area that come from financially challenged households. What I experienced was a large classroom full of faces eager to learn and attentive to the subject matter I was discussing that morning. As we journeyed together through a small cross section of architectural / mathematic history and the more recent history of Dallas architecture it was enriching to hear them ask questions and at times recognize buildings they had experienced. At the close of my visit I asked them to sketch on a 4×6 card I passed out to each of the students. What was returned was a variety of creative ideas, colorful art work, several floor plans and some included very kind comments about what they retained from our conversations.
I, indeed, left with more than I had arrived with!
I want to thank the teachers and staff at Pegasus Charter for allowing me to share the world of architecture with their wonderful students.
POSTED BY: DOUG HANKINS, ASSOC. AIA