SchoolArts Magazine

MAR 2009

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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SchoolArts March 2009 SchoolArts March 2009 Henry Dreyfuss, one of America's most influential industrial designers, attempted to combine two popular modes of transportation—the airplane and the automobile—in one experimental vehicle. Designed for the busy person on the go, the Convair Autoplane was intended to allow the user to go from the air to the ground uninterrupted. After the vehicle landed in airplane mode, the car disconnected from the plane and the user could drive the vehicle to his or her next destination. To create this prototype, Dreyfuss had to design a car that weighed less and had more power than typical road-only cars. Although this craft was never produced for public con- The Convair Autoplane, 1947. Designed by Henry Dreyfuss (American, 1904–1972). Henry Dreyfuss Collection, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Gift of Doris and Henry Dreyfuss, 1972. GalleryCard The need for affordable, sustainable housing is not a new issue. Architect R. Buckminster Fuller spent most of his career concerned about whether or not the human race could sustain itself on the earth. In 1928, Fuller addressed this challenge when he developed the concept for the Ten-Deck House. The drawing shows a design for a towerlike single-family home that resembles a rocket about to take off. To cut down on costs, the structure was designed to be made of aluminum and supported by cables. The homes were to be factory assembled and transported by blimp to their final destinations. Although Fuller was a believer in scien- R. Buckminster Fuller (American 1895–1983), Design for the Ten-Deck House. United States, June 16, 1928. Mimeograph print, brush and blue watercolor on paper, 11 x 8½" (28 x 21.6 cm). Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Museum purchase from Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program Fund, 1991-53-1. Photo: Matt Flynn. GalleryCard By Allison Valchuis, education programs assistant, and Kim Robledo-Diga, professional development manager at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Designers learn just as much from their unrealized attempts as they do from their successes. What can you learn from making several prototypes of one design? Things to consider: sumption, Dreyfuss went on to design other types of vehicles and modes of transportation that were likely influenced by the lessons he learned through designing this concept for a flying car. This design was one of the first in a long line of prototypes of automobile-plane hybrids from many different designers, and to this day, no one has created a design that has been available to the public. By Allison Valchuis, education programs assistant, and Kim Robledo-Diga, professional development manager at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Design your own concept for future affordable housing. What will affordable housing of the next century look like? What features would you add to the next generation of standard family housing? What materials and energy sources would you use? Things to consider: tific and economical solutions, he, like other designers of the time, was enamored by the futuristic style and the idea of building upward. This design was never put into production; however, Fuller created many other commercial and residential structures with similar ideals and aesthetics. One of Fuller's bestknown designs is the geodesic dome, which inspired the iconic Spaceship Earth structure at Walt Disney World's Epcot theme park in Orlando, Florida. SchoolArts March 2009 SchoolArts March 2009 What type of information is vital to you when you are on the go? What objects do you take with you? Maybe a cell phone, a laptop, a watch, or a compass? This prototype for a futuristic wrist computer was created in 1988 by Lisa Krohn and combines the functions of several existing objects into one new compact item (much like the cell phones of today), but with the notable difference that it is wearable. The design for the wrist computer makes it possible to make telephone calls, tell time, and detect location via communication with a satellite and a built-in compass. Krohn designed this wrist computer thinking beyond available technologies. An object of this size that was capable of all of these Wrist Computer Regional Information and Communication Port (concept model). Designed by Lisa Krohn (American, b. 1963), United States, 1988. Plastic, resin, metal, rubber, glass. CooperHewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Gift of Lisa Krohn, 1991-64-1. Photo: Matt Flynn. GalleryCard When you first look at a building, how do you know what might be inside? Most residential buildings have small, protected entrances and some public buildings have wide, open entrances. Architectural details like this give us a hint at the purpose of a building. In the case of the structure shown here, the contents of the building resemble the exterior. This drawing illustrates the construction of the Aviation Pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Designed by William Lescaze, the Swiss-born modernist architect, and J. Gordon Hugh Ferriss (American, 1889–1962), Aviation Building by William Lescaze and J. Gordon Carr Associates for the 1939 New York World's Fair, 1937. Architect: William Lescaze and J. Gordon Carr Associates, Architects. Black chalk on white wove paper, 14½ x 24½" (37 x 62.8 cm). CooperHewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Gift of Mrs. Hugh Ferriss, 1964-5-7. Photo: Matt Flynn. GalleryCard By Allison Valchuis, education programs assistant, and Kim Robledo-Diga, professional development manager at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. How can you enhance the products you use every day to become more functional? By making them smaller? Changing how they are carried? By combining one with another product? Pick an object or product you use every day, and think of three different ways to increase its functionality. Things to consider: functions was unheard of at the time and was never fully realized. However, designs like this may have influenced the designers of today's cell phones and PDA units. What makes this object uniquely different from today's devices, however, is that it is designed to utilize the energy generated by the user's body and the sun. Although the technology needed to harness one's own energy is not yet available, Krohn's vision may act as a catalyst to research this technology. By Allison Valchuis, education programs assistant, and Kim Robledo-Diga, professional development manager at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. What other designs echo their use in their shape, look, or feel? For example think about how fast-food chains have unique and uniform rooftops or how large corporations are often encased in modern skyscrapers. In addition to structure design, how else can a building reflect its business? Things to consider: Carr Associates, this hangar-like building was designed to echo the shape of an airplane because airplanes were exhibited inside.

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