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There Are No Really Tall Sea Shells—An Exploration of Architectural Space, by Patricia Gaffney Ansel


Guide Entry to 84.01.01:

We spend our lives in and around buildings yet we know little about them or how we are influenced by them. All of us make daily decisions related to architecture. We select a color for a room, rearrange furniture, plan a garden or buy a house. With some fundamental knowledge of architecture introduced at an early age decision making can be easier. This unit will not attempt to develop future architects but to widen the student’s awareness of architecture and the design of man-made environments.

“There are no really tall sea shells” was written to introduce students to the relationship between themselves and the architectural space they move in.

For discussion, I have focused on the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, 1867-1959. I have analyzed three of his buildings for their design and especially for Wright’s use of space. In an historical context, Wright is but one of many whose ideas have had a profound effect on architecture. His work has been a special interest and source of inspiration for me.

“There are no really tall sea shells” may be used separately or as a follow-up to “Looking At History Through Architecture” which I wrote during the 1983 Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.

There are many lessons included; their purpose is to develop perceptual, organizational and technical skills which the student may apply toward a better understanding of all architecture and environmental settings. The lessons are designed to provide the opportunity for students to observe and manipulate space.

(Recommended for Art classes, grades 6 through 8)

Key Words

Architecture American Prairie Style

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