While you’re strolling around Oak Park this holiday season, check out the impressive work of District 97 students on display in store windows on Lake Street and on Harrison Street.

At Red Hen Bread, 736 Lake Street in Oak Park, Whittier 4th and 5th graders’ whimsical creations are on display. Students in Mr. Patterson’s art classes were asked to “break the box” by designing skyscrapers with unusual shapes using cardboard and tempera paint. Thanks to architect and program coordinator Adrienne McMullen, assistant program coordinator Lisa Sorensen, and volunteers Soumya Netrabile, Kelly Matyas and Susan Pierson for their assistance with this project.

At Three Queens Organic Gallery, 140 Harrison Street in Oak Park, Mr. Leban’s Brooks 7th/8th Applied Arts classes’ work is on display. Students recreated existing structures from around the world, using traditional architectural model making materials and tools to build their 3D models. Their structures will be displayed through Dec 10. Stop by and see them!

With the help of Architecture Adventure coordinator Adrienne McMullen and other OPEF volunteer architects, students selected buildings that inspired them and drew sketches, focusing on the building’s prominent architectural features. They then used traditional architectural model-building materials–foamcore, strathmore, chipboard, and balsa wood–to create a 3-D model.

Eighth grader Miles K. who built a replica of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater said, “I made this last year here, but I did it again because I wanted to make it better. This time I used the actual floor plan. It was more detailed and pretty tedious.”

When asked why one would do architecture in an art class, Miles replied, “It’s art, but essentially in a building.”

Sean C., a seventh grader, recreated Amsterdam’s Matchbox building because “it’s strangely shaped, not just squares on squares. It has a lot of different angles put into the building so I thought that was really cool.”

Eighth grader Carlee K. said the trickiest aspect of constructing her version of the proposed new Strasbourg Cathedral was “having to make something curved instead of square. I had only one picture to go on, so I had to guess a bit and use my imagination about the rest of the building’s parts.”

Grayson F., another 8th-grader, explained that he benefited from a volunteer architect’s advice on how to support the oval structure of his Museu Oscar Niemeyer.

Mr. Leban noted, “It’s interesting how two different students brought out different aspects of the same building in their models. For the University Library, Reims, one student focused on the shape of the building while another student emphasized the glass aspects of the building.”

You can see a slideshow of a small sampling of the work of both Brooks and Whittier students here.