The Power of Architecture – By Guest Blogger Jason McGee
For today’s blog we are joined by Jason McGee who instructed the Architecture and Construction Management program from Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools embedded in Gahanna Jefferson Public Schools. What Jason doesn’t know is that we are capping of the blog with two thank you notes from two of his former students who are interning at Triad this summer. Enjoy…
When I first met with the architects at Triad, I was invited to sit in on a client meeting. The meeting got underway, and the clients started throwing out ideas for what they wanted to include in the project: “Plants.” [Ok.] “Bright colors.” [Sure.] “A drawbridge” [?] “A hidden wall to a secret room.” [Um?]. I was sitting in Gahanna elementary school library and the clients were a group of fourth grade students.
I teach the Architecture program for Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools and Triad invited my students and I to sit in on the meeting. The students from my own class were encouraged to help lead the discussion. Everyone was given a seat at the table, and everyone participated in the discussion. There are no kiddy tables in a meeting with Triad.
After more fantastical ideas for the new elementary school were given, Triad deftly shifted the conversation towards ideas that the Gahanna School Board were more likely to approve. “Tons of daylight.” “A place to learn outdoors.” “A hallway just for the first graders, so they don’t get lost and feel safe at school.” A young lady, with all her life experience that comes with being in the fourth grade, was suddenly empathizing with the building users and discussing wayfinding.
In a debrief with my own students back in our classroom, the students were struck by the dynamic nature of the meeting; instead of just asking questions and taking notes, Triad was engaging in discussion that highlighted the power of architecture. Our conversation turned into a discussion about inclusion in the design process and not being afraid to throw out ideas or flippantly discarding silly ones. By simply inviting us into the room, Triad was engaging, learning, and teaching, all at once.
In my own experience as a teacher, I have been lucky to have Triad as a partner. They have served as mentors to my students and advisors to me. Triad’s commitment to education and design allows them to be experts in their market sector while simultaneously contributing to the education of the very clients that they serve. I appreciate the time and commitment that Triad has donated to my program and community. My students can reflect on the formative experience that they have had discussing their own projects with the help of Triad just like the fourth-grade student walking the halls of her new elementary school and noticing the first-grade hallway, can know that, that building is hers.
WRITTEN BY JASON MCGEE
I believe the difficult nature of teaching is using your knowledge and experience to mentor your student and cultivate their passion for the subject while simultaneously separating yourself enough to allow your students to develop their own path. Jason has embraced this nature and brought up many passionate young architects, like me, who don’t just want to design the tallest or most abstract building that would etch our names in the annals of history, but desire to truly contribute to the built environment; improving it for everyone to enjoy.
It is easy to steer your students from the front, using your position at the head of the classroom to preach to your students what you believe is right or wrong with the subject. However, what I am grateful to Jason for is leading from behind, pushing his students toward a brighter future while supporting those who fall behind. I don’t believe my experience with ACM would have been the same without your leadership.
Thank you, Mr. McGee!
WRITTEN BY AKEEN BOOKER
One of the most important characteristics to note about Mr. McGee is how passionate he is about architecture. This passion radiates off him, unspoken yet clear as day in the way he teaches and presents himself in his classroom. The teachings and discussions I’ve had one on one with him sparked my own passion for architecture. He understood that no architect was the same and instilled the idea into his students that our thoughts and ideas were unique, and our voices were important. It is this idea that has molded me into the budding architect that I am today. My ideas and questions were always encouraged, never regarded as insignificant, and that confidence has stayed with me.
The opportunities for real world experience in his class were numerous, and he encouraged us to volunteer for as much as we could. Through those experiences in creating floor plans, going out and measuring sites, and meeting with clients, I was able to declare my major with zero hesitation. I understood the long road ahead of me, and the hard work it would take to achieve my dreams, but I was never in any doubt that Mr. McGee believed I could achieve my goals, and I know my peers felt the same. Without Mr. McGee as my teacher, I would not be where I am today. I am thankful for the time I spent in his class, and forever grateful to have taken the chance to apply for the ACM program.