This Fall, my 10th grade English students created architectural models inspired by the novel, Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. The project was based on a course created by Matteo Pericoli called The Laboratory of Literary Architecture. Matteo teaches the course at the Scuola Holden, a creative writing school in Turin, Italy. This past summer he also taught the course at the M.F.A. writing program at Columbia University School of the Arts in New York.
I read about the project in a New York Times piece Matteo wrote over the summer about the course. I was immediately inspired to attempt this with my 10th grade English class at Montgomery Blair High School High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. My English Department agreed to give us $200 to buy all the supplies we needed.
We were very fortunate to collaborate with many different people, both in person an online via Skype, throughout the project. Matteo Pericoli, who created the course, Skyped with us multiple times from his home in Italy to offer his guidance and support (and encouragement). We also Skyped with students at Columbia University who participated in Matteo's course over the summer. And we invited two architectural graduate students from the University of Maryland, David and Abraham, to come in and help us develop our model building skills. They also taught us how to properly make our cuts with our exacto knives without cutting ourselves. One of the coolest parts of the whole project was meeting all these great people.
I've posted all the student work here on this site in the right sidebar. Thanks for checking out the project website, Constructing Holden Caulfield. I definitely want to try this again next year.
Writers as Architects
The Laboratory of Literary Architecture | A Workshop With Matteo Pericoli
Thanks to everyone for helping us:
Montgomery Blair High School
Matteo Pericoli, Architect, Illustrator, Author, Journalist, and Teacher
Bridgett Potter, Writing Instructor at Columbia University
Stephanie Jones, Graduate Teaching Assistant a Columbia University
Kevin Le, Associate of Architecture at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture
Beth Judy at the Washington Architectural Foundation
Julie Bujnowski & Abraham at Torti Gallas and Partners, Inc.
Julio Bermudez, Associate Professor at CUA School of Architecture and Planning
David Ensor, University of Maryland School of Architecture
Photography by Ben Lickerman, Miles Royce and Hannah Rapp (Blair 10th Graders)
Site Header created by Paris Bustillos, Blair teacher