If you stroll along W. Town Street in Downtown Columbus this month, take special notice while looking through the windows of the historically iconic Lazarus department store. Through the glass, you will find beautifully symbolic works by seniors from Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools’ Architecture/Construction Management satellite program.
Seniors from the Architecture/Construction Management program, housed in Clark Hall at Gahanna Lincoln High School, undertook the challenge to build a model for The Center for Architecture and Design’s contemporary holiday train exhibit - The Orange Line. For the fifth consecutive year, the program participated in building a LEGO® model to be displayed during the holiday season.
Each year, participants are provided a theme to guide their creations. Builders then use their own creativity to interpret that message as they wish and represent it through their submitted model. This year, the theme is Rise Up in a Post-Pandemic World.
This year, the class had the opportunity to construct two models with the aid of business partner TRIAD Architects, allowing for multiple interpretations for students to express themselves through this year’s theme. Students split into two groups, built individual sample models, and then shared their proposals and discussed how to move forward.
The first model was built to show the spirit of a Phoenix rising from the ashes and spreading its wings to take flight once again. The second model’s foundation resembles ruins of destruction, however, a tower protrudes from the rear of the structure and takes a life of its own showing “pristine rising from the rubble of an old building.”
Senior Amari Fisher (Canal Winchester High School) was part of the group that conceived the Phoenix Rising model, citing that the objective was to build something that was uplifting and showed flight toward a better place. Fisher also revealed for as much planning that went into the idea’s origins, the structure evolved as it was being built.
“As we built it [the model] it was coming to life a lot more, and while you’re building other ideas start coming to you,” said Fisher. She cited new ideas that manifested during the construction process inspired structural changes to allow the model to be built with greater height than originally planned.
“These two towers were the best that we’ve ever done!” said instructor Jason McGee. “I am very proud [of the students] for their work on these models.”
Mr. McGee began the class’s involvement in The Orange Line shortly upon his arrival to Eastland-Fairfield. To his knowledge, Eastland-Fairfield was the first school to have students allowed to participate in the winter tradition. With limited space available the number of student submissions is still few, but now schools such as The Ohio State University have joined Eastland-Fairfield as regular participants.
While in years past an opening reception has been held to support the unveiling of the exhibit, that has been absent due to caution being taken involving the global pandemic. The change in routine has morphed this project into more than just an assignment. What has manifested are new traditions that allow the students in the program an opportunity to further bond and call a piece of this annual undertaking their own. Mr. McGee said that in lieu of an official reception, he now takes the class to Condado’s Tacos before walking over to the gallery to see their hard work being displayed among professional architectural firms. After admiring the train exhibit in its entirety, the class then spends quality time together enjoying the Columbus Commons where holiday decorations adorn the area.
“It’s really turned into a fun break at the end of the semester,” said McGee. “It is a breath of fresh air being embedded in a fun project like this.”
The act of togetherness may culminate into an enjoyable field trip, but it began in the classroom. Fisher noted that this project would not have been as successful had it not been for the group’s teamwork.
“It [teamwork] was very important,” said Fisher. “That was how we got the unique ideas for our tower. Everyone participated. Ideas from everyone were used in the tower. It would not have been as good as it was without that teamwork.”
In addition to the fun surrounding the project, Fisher noted that seeing their lab’s work on display and knowing others will see it, too, was a satisfying treat. “It was very fun to be able to go downtown, meet people, and see our work. To be only one of three student towers that fit in perfectly with professional architects was really cool. Seeing it [the model] with the lights and among the other buildings just said ‘we made it’.”
The Orange Line exhibit and all models within will be on display through the month of December. Visit the Lazarus Company Department Store Museum, located at 50 W. Town Street in Downtown Columbus, to see our students’ work within the exhibit.
And now, the Architecture/Construction Management students are using their skills and collaborative efforts in their next holiday project - building gingerbread houses.
If you are interested in Eastland-Fairfield’s Architecture/Construction Management satellite program at Gahanna Lincoln High School, visit www.EastlandFairfield.com/ACM for more information.