In the past few years, as part of the International Festival of Architecture and the Prague's Architecture Week, an annual exhibition of children`s drawings takes place. The children, aged 11-12, are instructed to draw the heritage sites in their environment. Underlying this event is the notion that the acquaintance with the sites through experience will create awareness to heritage sites, to their history and to the civilization creating them.
It is assumed that when these children become adults they shall be conservation guardians. It is no wonder, then, that UNESCO sponsors this international initiative. Every year more and more countries participate these events. This year, the Israel National commission for UNESCO joined the initiative as well.
The acquaintance of the Israeli children with local heritage sites was made possible through encounters with 4th year architecture students of the NB Haifa School of Design, as part of their research studio. The students were instructed to promote discussion of the site as a heritage site and its relation to local society and culture. The students guided the children in touring the sites as well as in drawing them. At the end of the process, the drawings were gathered and chosen for the exhibition.
In order to represent the cultural and urban variety in Israel, schools from six cities were chosen: Haifa, Ramat-Gan, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Be`er-Sheba and Sderot. In Haifa, two schools were chosen: a secular school and a religious school.
The children`s drawings stand for themselves; they reveal the children`s inner world, just as every work of art represents the artist. Through them one can, on the one hand, analyze the urban objects, and on the other - the child`s vision.
The textured details are evident in the drawings of the children of Nazareth, where a large part of the city is built in stone. In the drawings of the children of Sderot, on the frontline, the bomb-sheltered areas and spaces are evident; in the same way deliberately added color is manifest in the drawings of the Brutalist grey campus of Ben Gurion University in the Negev. All these reveal the interrelationship between the urban environment – either rich, terrifying or grey - and the child`s world.
As part of the research studio, the encounter with the children was combined with acquaintance with their schools. This resulted in a design project where the students were required to suggest a "Tikkun" - "repair" - for the school. This "repair" combined design, research and the search for the unique identity of the specific place for understanding the child's world.
Instructors: Prof. Architect Baruch Baruch and Dr. Architect Hadas Shadar
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