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Home > Clerc Center > Deaf Architect Visits KDES

Building Ideas for the Future: KDES Math Students Invite Deaf Architect for Classroom Discussion


Chris Hoffmann, of the Virginia commercial architectural firm Wisnewski Blair & Associates, visited the KDES grades six, seven, and eight math classes on September 11. The team teachers invited Hoffmann to share how architecture and design incorporate many of the math skills the students will learn and apply this year. The students prepared a range of questions to ask Hoffman about his work as an architect and his own educational and personal background.

Hoffmann introduced the students to some of the most famous architects and their buildings. The students especially enjoyed the uplifting bird wing design of the Eero Saarinen airport terminal building at Dulles Airport, the bright blocks of colors Le Corbusier included in his house designs, and the fanciful overlapping metal roof panels of Frank Gehry's Disney building in California.

Hoffmann showed the students some of the "tools" architects use, such as computer-generated site plans from different perspectives, blueprints, and scale drawings. After his PowerPoint presentation, Hoffmann gathered the students around a model of a building to demonstrate how the triangular architectural scale ruler helps an architect "scale up" from model dimensions to the actual building measurements.

The students will be creating their own model buildings this fall. They invited Hoffmann to come back at the end of the semester to see their work and he willingly accepted!