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Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

September 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM

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Kids dream up cities in architecture class (II)

Posted by Gabriel Campanario


Sketched Aug. 31 at Dora Taylor's living room.

[Continued from Wednesday's post.]

When Dora Taylor's students arrived at 9 a.m., they didn't waste a second to start drawing and cutting pieces of paper. "We are going to be working on the models," said Leah Murphy, 10, one of three kids attending the architecture summer camp session.

Her mother, Meg Ferris, of Queen Anne, said Leah became interested in architecture from reading "Percy Jackson and The Olympians," a series of adventure and fantasy books with a lot of references to Greek and Roman architecture.

Leah's friend Iman Lavery, 10, and her brother Declan, 7, also signed up for the class. Their mother Yazmin Mehdi said Declan is often building with Legos, but this experience is new for him since he can't rely on three-dimensional pieces.

But that didn't stop him from taking on an ambitious project: building the Taj Mahal. "He saw it when he was 3 years old and he has never forgotten it," said Mehdi, whose parents are from India. "He thinks of the buildings he's seen when we have travelled."

The kids enjoy learning the process of designing and building using tools they have to be careful with like scissors and cutters. It's also a great opportunity for them to get an introduction to a subject they don't get at school, said Mehdi.


Taylor has been teaching architecture workshops for kids out of her 140-square-foot living room for the past year. Models built by students like Leah, Iman and Declan crowd shelves blocking the only window in the room and line on the chimney's mantel -- a theme-park layout made out of candy canes and gum drops and a water-park resort to name a few.

While the kids didn't seem to mind the tight quarters in the classroom, Taylor is looking forward to teaching in a bigger room. After this week, she starts a three-month artist residency at a 200 square-foot, rent-free vacant retail space near Occidental Square. "I can't wait to stretch out," she said.

The move is made possible by Storefronts Seattle, a community-driven initiative to revitalize empty spaces around Pioneer Square and the International District.

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