Thursday, May 8, 2014

Drawings from the Gillette Garden at Sabot - Arches

Our campus affords us yet other ways to get out and think more deeply about domes and the arches that create them. It is a lovely luxury, sketching arches in our school garden on a glorious sunny day...and having the time and space to think about stress fractures and the need for wooden supports and buttresses, which our walls have.  How do materials act over time?  How does this affect the structural integrity of an archway?  

ARCHWAY #1:  Nearest our classroom - ascending from Founders Hall into the Gillette Garden.  We noticed the patterns in the wall design (squares and rectangles) as well as cracks at the top of the arch.  This wall was buttressed on the inside of the archway with two pieces of wood:  
Using observational drawing to record how bricks are used to construct an archway in our garden wall 

Sketching arches 
en plein air...

Using our eyes and hands to think about symmetry at work in the construction/design of an archway 

ARCHWAY #2:  The wall arch in the garden looking onto to Preschool Playground:  here was an arch in need of a buttress on the outside of the wall to support it.  
We noticed that this wall was falling outward, and conjectured that it needed the wooden props to keep it standing up.   

ARCHWAY #3:   A "living" arch way extending from the garden:  a classic post and lintel arbor with wisteria vines:

We wondered why the post and lintel structure of the arbor was leaning a little bit:
E.K.:  The ground shifted.
P:  The vines were growing and made it shift.

G:  The weight of the vines…

ARCHWAY #4:  And then we saw another arch, this time, serving to mark a window in our Main House.  This arch was made of stone, not bricks, and the keystone in the arch was far more prominent.  We noted how the cut stones created the archway for the window, and how the others were aligned differently for the supporting wall.  

N.S. notices the keystone in the middle of the arch

A.L.:  The house holds this arch up.  
Does having something inside the arch help to support it?

M: The corners of the windows might help.  The wall holds it up.  

Nearby, E.K. exclaims that she sees another living arch in the bushes - and then near the basement windows of the Main House: 
we’re seeing arches everywhere!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Wow, I have spent so much time in the garden and never noticed the multitude of arches that one can see from there. The drawings show evidence of very focused attention and careful noticing - and rendering - of detail and proportion. I am struck by the fact that in several of the children's drawings they were able to create a sense of three-dimensional stairs.