RECAP: 2019 Project Pipeline Summer Camp
Another year is in the books! I-NOMA successfully held our 2019 Project Pipeline Summer Camp at Crown Hall at IIT. The five day camp enables middle school students to investigate the built world around them while inventing solutions to solve their community’s problems. With over 130 students and over 70 volunteers the camp educated children from across the city about the architecture and design industry.
Students learn design through scalar activities. Starting at personal space, the students learn how to design the space immediately around them (i.e. rooms and houses). The activity ends with each student designing their house on the plot provided to them. Moving to neighborhood space, students think about what exists and what can be improved in their own neighborhoods. Each group designs and constructs their dream neighborhood. Together they figure out what is needed in a neighborhood, how various programs fit together, and how to design to-scale using constraints and imagination. Finally, students are inspired to design a skyscraper that fits into the city scale. The team comes up with one design that will represent their group. Seeing each student present their ideas to the group is inspiring as the students are excited to blend their ideas together. Seeing Crown Hall fill up with these tall towers is a special moment. There is a combination of both wanting to build the tallest tower and understanding the structural stability. The imagination and innovation was full in Crown Hall as teams competed to design their best tower!
A very special tradition with the I-NOMA Project Pipeline Summer Camp is the annual visit to Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). EQ Office, one of I-NOMA’s largest sponsors, graciously hosts the entire camp to visit the SkyDeck of Willis Tower, followed by a tour of the building. This year, the students and volunteers were able to explore one of the newly opened lobbies and the in-progress public atrium. The look of awe on the faces of the students - and the volunteers - was special as Jim from EQ Office toured them around.
Another great moment we had was Juan Moreno of JGMA speaking to the students on how he became an architect. To hear the story of such an accomplished designer resonated with many of the students. Many were having discussions about how they wanted to follow in his footsteps on their way to the design profession.
The final day of the camp brings the full I-NOMA city together! The houses, stores, libraries, community centers, FERRIS WHEELS, and skyscrapers create an entire urban dreamscape. The groups get together and present their designs to their parents and the volunteers. We were all so proud of the work put into creating the designs! We also had a special guest, Kimberly Dowdell - NOMA National President. She talked to the students about understanding the power they hold in the future of their world - especially the built environment.
We could not have accomplished this successful summer camp if it wasn’t for our gracious sponsors and our wonderful volunteers who gave their time to not only educate students about the architecture and design industry but connect with them in meaningful relationships during the camp.
We celebrated the end of the summer camp by participating in the 90th Annual Bud Billiken Day Parade. Stretching down MLK, Jr Boulevard from Bronzeville to Washington Park this parade celebrates the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. Bringing an old tradition back, I-NOMA had a float that was designed by our awesome volunteers, including Lorin Jackson, that showcased I-NOMA and models from the Pipeline Summer Camp! Afterwards, we continued the celebration with a cookout at Washington Park. It was an amazing day and it was great engaging with the community as we marched down the parade route.
A very special thanks goes to Alexus Davis for running the Project Pipeline workshops and the Project Pipeline Summer Camp this year! It was a great one in the books and we are all looking forward to next year!!