Schools often bring classes to a luminarium during quiet times in the week and Architects of Air frequently exhibits on university campuses.
There are a variety of educational ways a luminarium can be used to engage the attention and enthusiasm of the young visitor and can be used as inspiration to explore different curriculum themes in Science, Technology, Art and Design.
The luminarium provides a springboard to reflection and learning. Here is just a sample of themes:
How the luminarium reflects the influences of Islamic architecture and Gothic cathedrals. What analogies can be used to describe the space? Consider the dome as ‘vision of heaven’ in world architecture.
Cultural context – 60’s counter-culture, happenings, Ant Farm, community art, immersive art, sensory environments. Develop creativity and imagination by exploring visual, sensory and tactile qualities of materials and processes.
The complete history of inflatable structures – from 2000BC and inflated pigs’ skins as flotation devices to cross the Euphrates to 2000 AD and inflatable space stations conceived for a Mars colony. Pneumatics in nature – cell structure, pneumatics in civilisation – car tyres, footballs. How does being ‘pneumatic’ affect shape? What laws must pneumatic shapes follow?
From Archimedean solids through to Buckminster Fuller, geometry is a source of inspiration for the luminaria and a practical tool used in their construction. Look at questions like What is a pentagon? How is a dodecahedron built? What is a truncated icosidodecahedron? How do these forms lend themselves to being translated into an inflatable?
Light and Colour
How colours blend together to create new colours. How clothes and skin change colour depending which space of the structure you are in. Explore light colour vocabulary transparency, translucency, opacity etc. Look at light and colour from a cultural perspective and a physicists’ perspective
How the luminarium is designed. The process from drawing board to manufacture. Materials and their properties. How the luminarium is made. How a luminarium is exhibited. As well as a springboard to learning the luminaria may also be a stimulation to creativity where, back in the classroom, the luminaria have inspired children to create paintings and write poems reflecting their experiences.
To support AoA’s educational initiative we offer a touring exhibition package containing small inflatables structures and framed photographs that illustrate the history of the luminaria. Architects of Air’s book, The Most Beautiful’ is an informative ‘how-to’ guide to luminaria design and build.
"Once again thanks for a great experience that was extremely well received by the HND and the Diploma students. I’d be really interested in arranging a field trip and working together again, particularly in relation to Barnsley’s International Festival”. Ian Latham, Head of Department, Art and Design, Barnsley College