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History Comes Alive through Architecture

Teaching history well means making it come alive for students in as many ways possible. Learning history classically includes learning it in context with related subject matter. Architecture is an important component of history as it can represent a purpose as well as serve a purpose.

Dr. Andrew Selby teaches 10th grade Honors Bible/Medieval History and rather than just discussing medieval architecture, he invited in a guest speaker. Andrew Wilson, CEO of AWC West, an architecture firm, came in loaded with a comprehensive and fascinating Power Point presentation to give visual aids for the different architectural styles. He explained why architecture is important and how it's more than the design of buildings; it is the design of spaces - inside and out - that are created and changed when things are built. Dr. Selby said, "I'm hoping it will open students' eyes to the possibility of being an architect; classical Christian education prepares people well for that field."

Wilson spoke about the history of architecture with an emphasis on Ancient Roman Architecture, and Romanesque features including domes, vaults and arches. He covered church architecture like basilicas and cathedrals, castle architecture, and gothic architecture and its features.

Tenth grader Arianna Laolagi said, "After he showed the significance of each building (i.e. the Roman structure of almost every capitol and how it represents that we identify ourselves as similar to the Romans), it became much more clear that each building is not blindly made, but is carefully thought out. I loved how he expressed the 'why' behind certain buildings and how they advertise their ambitions, bring form to who they are, and impress power, wealth, and values upon the beholders of the structure."

Ella Gonzales said, "I appreciate getting to understand the different styles between certain architecture and buildings. I'll now be able to recognize certain buildings and know what type of influence they had."

A few students expressed that they were either already interested in architecture as a career or that this presentation provoked curiosity and interest in pursuing a career in the field.

When these students visit Italy on their senior trip, they will remember what they learned from Andrew Wilson and it will be another layer that adds depth to their education as they view the many Roman architectural features live and in person.