Final Fun- All done! – Annika L.

Hello all!  Annika here again.  As you may have read about in Dana’s blog, this morning we presented various topics relating to our project to a panel of judges.  Topics such as SketchUp, our design matrix, materials, and the aggravating process of leveling were covered.  I was in charge of discussing the client and design brief of the project, and why we choose to build a courtyard over anything else.  Here is what I said;


The purpose of designing and building this courtyard, this community space, is to give the upperclassmen an area to hold study groups and formal meetings, eat lunch, play games, relax and mingle.   Because the Ann Richards School accommodates both middle and high school, we must do all we can to make use of the available space for the academic and social needs of the students.

Personally, when I discussed this project with other students in either the Bio-Medical or the Media Technologies pathway, most people had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned the airstream and the area around it.  The use of the courtyard next year will allow us students to fully utilize the space we have here at the Ann Richards School.  Unlike in middle school, where it is not difficult to find a place to sit because everyone gathers in the cafeteria, high schoolers are constantly trying to find quiet spaces around the school to sit, eat, and/or study.  The courtyard will help serve this need as a quiet, contemplative place for high schoolers to gather.

The Ann Richards School is known to emphasize collaboration and teamwork.  What better way to promote these attributes than to have a comfortable, inviting, and aesthetically pleasing courtyard created by the creative and collaborated efforts of Ann Richard’s students?  Not only did we make a beautiful space for teams to use, we are proving that teamwork can work beautifully.  In addition to working with each other, my class and I “hired” the seventh grade art classes to design and build fairy houses to place by the empty patch of land.

Even at the beginning stages of designing the courtyard, my classmates and I agreed on building a few large tables instead of multiple smaller ones.  This allows for larger study groups and for more interaction between students who don’t know each other well.  Our hope is there will be more interaction juniors and seniors.  We want our seating design to allow for clusters of people instead of individual seating areas in the hope it assists in promoting communication.

Relating to the topic of communication, this courtyard can be used as an outdoor classroom.  The tables and deck area my classmates and I built face the brick wall of the small gym, so any teacher can stand by this wall and have all their students focusing on them.

This courtyard is also designed to serve as a place for students to display their work and for people touring the school to see what types of projects students have been working on.  Already it includes items made in the Maker Studio Class, such as the garden box letters, and we plan on displaying more art and student work in the future.  Our hope is that the exhibits will allow high schoolers to see work done by middle schoolers and vice versa.   


I absolutely loved being a part of this project.  Every one of my engineering classmates brought brilliant ideas and positive attitudes into class every day, and it was so much fun to work with them.  Together, we were able to learn, laugh, and grow.  I will definitely remember this project when I look back on my sophomore year.  Thank you Ms. Jo for supporting us through our endeavors!


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