In their first ten days of school, first-year Architecture students collaborated on designing, making and flying air vessels, or kites. The students were led by Architecture faculty Tamar Zinguer, Shooka Motamedi, Dayton Clark, Jordan Loofs, Hunter Read, Ted Reeds and Chris Morrey.
In order to create a successful air vessel, students had to design in terms of lightness and lift. Unlike most works of architecture which are heavy and anchored to the ground, the success of a kite is measured primarily by its ability to be airborne. Their kites also needed to be visible from the ground and responsive to wind and the hand pulling it.
When designing their air vessels, students looked at kites designed by a variety of different scientists for inspiration. Specially, they examined the large tetrahedral kites designed by Alexander Graham Bell. While kites are typically viewed as objects of play, many designers have adapted them to a variety of purposes. For generations, kites have also been used to carry messages, measure the direction and force of wind and mimic birds and planes.
This project allowed first-year Architecture students to have fun while simultaneously planning and thinking critically about design. Zinguer expressed her excitement for the project, “Despite the unusual lack of wind in Oklahoma, we all witnessed a few successful designs. Most successful was the sense of collaboration that the project initiated from the very first days of the semester.”