Exploring Structure Through Kite-Flying

One of the electives that many of us in the design-build studio take is David Pastre’s Intro to Craft course. This class introduces us to design as informed by craft through a series of hands-on labs where we learn basic craft operations and material properties.

For our first assignment, we were tasked with building a kite without doing any research, and instead relying on our own base knowledge of kite construction. Everyone in the class showed up with a unique kite, but high-speed winds along the beach at Sullivan’s Island demolished most of our projects.

Our class took a second stab at constructing a kite after some brief reflection and discussion about the flaws of our first iterations. Equipped with new research and tips from online, almost the entire class successfully build and flew a diamond-shaped kite, with some projects flying over 500′ and 1000′ in the air!

While building kites might seem like a silly project for architecture school, the task of designing and building a kite has taught us a lot about structure, balance, form, and aesthetics. As we begin to explore structure and materiality for our main design-build studio project, many of us are thinking back to some of the main principles that we learned through the kite-building process.


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