A good way to understand something is to experiment it, live it or feel it in your own body. Building structures are an essential part of architecture. In order to design and build you should know how the structure system works. You have to know how beams, pillars, arches and so on work. Getting to really understand what these elements “feel” is key to make a better and more efficient design, and so that it does not collapse. How does strength behave inside a column? What is the reaction in a heavily loaded beam?
We decided to bring this concept into practice, and we would become structures for a day. It was actually easy to improve since our skeleton is a structure itself that supports and protects our body. If we do the correct exercise it will behave similarly to a building structure. We came up with the idea of yoga for this purpose, and so we prepared a workshop linking Yoga and Structures.
We were lucky to have Michelle Cohen from the USA coming to the workshops. She was instructing us throughout the session. She is a skilled yoga teacher and was able to guide us in this body and structures connection we were trying to accomplish. She does a wonderful job in her business Savorit Studios.
We prepared a series of yoga poses that could link a body position with a building structure – or a structure element. The human body with the skeleton stands up just as a building does. There are many similarities between them, and we can use our body to help us understand how a building structure works. We can relate concepts like: shape, balance, proportions, weight and strength, and so on. We made a series of asanas (yoga postures) that were connected with basic structural concepts. We would like for them to feel through their bodies and to see how buildings support themselves: what happens in an arch, why the column stands upright, what is going on in a bridge, why it does not colapse, or why it would.
The children worked with a partner in many of the poses and they had to look for the proper shape and proportion of the pose, for balance, and for a good distribution of the weigh and the strength they used.
They had to collaborate and work together, otherwise the poses would not work and they would collapse. This was key to this project, the team work. And I think it was a good way for them to understand what we were doing; and to have some fun!