NEXT.cc

NEXT.cc is an eco web that develops ethical imagination and environmental stewardship. NEXT.cc introduces what design is, what design does and why design is important through over 100 journeys.

Each NEXT.cc journey may be associated with scales:

and subjects:

Back to all Journeys

Buildings as Bodies

Buildings are actually like people! They have personalities and expression. They live a life and have different experiences. Buildings actually move-expand and contract with changing temperatures; buildings age over time. Buildings also can ‘speak’ if you can understand their language. They may tell you about their function, where to enter, about a time in history, about events that occurred inside, or even how to interact with them. Most of us spend 90% of our lives inside of buildings so our relationship with buildings is important. Like people, some buildings are healthy and some buildings are actually sick. Buildings may contain memories or information from other people’s experiences with them. Next time you step outside, take a longer look at a building on your block and see what you can learn by looking and listening. Then think about how the building invites you to interact.

Building Terms
1. Facade
2. Door
3. Windows
4. Outside Walls
5. Structural Framework
6. Electrical System
7. Plumbing System
8. Ventilation

Human Term
1. Face
2. Mouth
3. Eyes and Ears
4. Skin
5. Skeleton
6. Nervous System
7. Digestive and Excretory System
8. Respiration

Healthy bodies- healthy Buildings!

Activity 1 Construct a Human Building

Take a digital picture of yourself standing upright. Print your picture. On the left of your body neatly print the 8 Human Terms across from your corresponding body part. Lay trace paper over your photo and draw a simplified skeleton and label it Skeletal. Lay trace paper over your photo and draw a simplified digestive and excretory system. Finish with a layer of tracing paper with a simplified version of your respiratory system. Now comes the fun part. Draw a façade or face of a building at least as tall as your photo (it can be taller if you wish!). Draw an entry door and windows. Your building can be more than one story tall. It can be several stories tall. Lay trace paper over your building and add a skeletal system, then use another piece of trace to map a conceptual electrical system. Electricity to most buildings comes through wires above or below ground so pick a source and then distribute a wire to each floor and to each room. (The source of your electrical system as a person is your brain!) Add plumbing supply and waste removal to each floor. Lastly, lay in ventilation ducts.

Your building is like your body!

Activity 2 Wear A Paper Bag Building!

Build a building that you can wear! Use a recyclable 30 gallon paper garden bag for your building. Cut a hole in the bottom for your head. Add slits on either side of a circle to get your building on and off. Cut slits in the sides for arm holes. Using poster paints, paint a front entrance to your building. Make it as simple or as ornamented as you desire. Add windows on either side of the door or a base of a textured material. Add windows in a pattern. At the top of the building add the cornice or the crown. After wearing your bag you can stuff it to stand up!

Wear a building, build a building!

Activity 3 Dress a Building

Buildings respond to the climate just like people do. For instance, when it is sunny, many people wear sunglasses. People in buildings use sunshades for sunglasses in the forms of curtains, scrims, shudders, and blinds to stop heat gain from direct sunshine when the weather is hot. Open windows, ceiling fans, fans on counters, or floor fans can move air throughout a building creating a cooling affect. When people are hot they fan themselves or move to where a breeze is blowing. In the summer would you like to stand next to a light colored building or a dark colored building and why? When it is very very cold outside, people close and cover their windows with curtains, shudders, scrims and blinds to keep retain the heat. People wear boots when it is raining or snow boots when it is snowing. In the same way, buildings seal their basements to keep out water and cover their foundation walls with insulation. Can you think of other ways you adapt to changes in the weather? Can you find parallel a similar system in a building?

Review

  1. Buildings are like bodies.

  2. The walls of a building are sometimes called the skin.

  3. Windows can be like eyes into the soul of the building.

  4. Ventilation or fresh air intake and exhaust is like our nervous system.

  5. The entry of a building is like the mouth of the temple.

  6. A horizontal building might be like a person laying down.

  7. Most of us spend half of our lives indoors.

  8. Windows can show us the inner life of a building.

  9. If a building is sick it might make us sick.

Explore

Back to Top

Relate