On Saturday, November 4, 2006 internationally recognized architect Moshe Safdie addressed High School students from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and suburban schools at the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF). Mr. Safdie was brought in from Cambridge, Massachusetts to speak at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies for the Humanities Festival here in Chicago. The CAF quickly took advantage of this opportunity and made arrangements for Mr. Safdie to speak to the students enrolled in their program “Saturday in the Studio” which is designed to give local High School students advancement in architectural studies.
This program is designed for High School Students that are interested in pursuing architecture as a career and provides them with skills to help them in college. Each of the separate sessions focuses on different aspects of architecture such as: City Planning, Photography, Model Making, and Portfolio Design. Mr. Safdie spoke on City Planning.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation has made a concerted effort to work with the Chicago Public Schools in an architecture studies curricula project. This project entails the creation of a comprehensive three year Architectural Drafting lesson plan. Complimenting this plan is a text book that the CAF staff is writing and editing in conjunction with the faculty of the Chicago Public Schools. The program is administered through the Chicago Public School’s Education To Careers program (ETC) which is headed up by Jill S. Wine-banks, Officer of Education To Careers for the Chicago Public Schools.
Dorothy Chatfield a counselor at Juarez Academy (CPS) that works with the ETC programs has been a strong proponent of this join venture between the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Juarez Academy has one of the leading Architectural Drafting programs in the Chicago Public School’s system do to her vision. Natividad Loredo, Juarez Academy’s Principal, has had a long standing commitment to architecture at Juarez and has emphasized articulation of this kind for the Academy. Now test scores and grades at Juarez are higher because of ETC.
Mr. Safdie and his wife Michal were elegantly pickup up in a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow by faculty members of the Chicago Public Schools and personally escorted to the CAF. Upon arriving Mr. & Mrs. Safdie were warmly greeted by Krisann Rehbein, the Education Specialist for the CAF. Ms. Rehbein then introduced Mr. Safdie to other speakers and members of the program. The students were currently engaged when Mr. Safdie arrived.
Upon completion of their project Mr. Safdie was escorted to the podium by Krisann Rehbein and introduced him to the audience. Following the introductions Mr. Safdie started to speak on City Planning. He brought with him special slides depicting the development of City Planning and then spoke on how it has evolved to the present day. The students had just finished creating drawing for city plans thus tying together as a capstone the aim of the project. Mr. Safdie emphasized ethics in architecture as the vision for the future. At the close of his lecture students were invited to ask questions and did so with eagerness to learn. The day’s program was a rich and meaningful experience for all the students.
Stephen F. Condren – Artist