Published January 9, 2014
Owen Gangloff’s bedroom on Saturn has two refrigerators: one next to his indoor hot tub and one beside his bed for easy snacking when he’s watching basketball on TV.
The third-grader dreamed up these dream digs while designing an outer space habitat through the Architecture + Education program in the Buffalo Public Schools. After learning about the solar system and design principles, Gangloff and his classmates broke into teams to build models of houses fit for survival on a planet of their choice.
As they planned their dwellings, each group had support from their teachers, Genevieve DeCarlo and Trish Reese at the Discovery School, as well as UB architecture student Olivia Arcara and UB graduate Danielle Johnson, a volunteer architect from local firm Carmina Wood Morris.
The goal of Architecture + Education is to introduce young people to architecture as a profession and show them how architecture relates to topics they’re studying in class. For example, eighth-graders learning about the industrial revolution designed tenements and factories, while a preschool class created an alphabet neighborhood.
The program is run by the Buffalo Architecture Foundation, which enlisted 23 professional architects, 11 UB School of Architecture and Planning students and one interior design student from SUNY Buffalo State to work in 20 K-8 classrooms this year.
An opening reception for an exhibit of works from this year’s Architecture + Education program will take place from 5-8 p.m. Jan. 10 in the CEPA Gallery in the Market Arcade Building, 617 Main St., Buffalo. The show runs until Jan. 24.
In DeCarlo’s classroom, Gangloff wasn’t the only young mind with creative ideas. A band of students on Mercury topped their home with a spherical solar array, capitalizing on their proximity to the Sun. A home on Venus included an antenna for communicating with friends on Earth. And though you can’t see it, Gangloff’s group surrounded its house with an invisible force field for protection from Saturn’s high winds.