Growing up in Oak Park, kids see Victorian homes all the time. Working with Architecture
Adventure coordinator, Adrienne McMullen, Longfellow 4th and 5th graders have been getting the
uncommon opportunity to actually study and recreate them.
Using a large folded piece of poster board, the 4th graders are designing and drawing the
exterior of their Victorian homes on the front and filling the inside with interior rooms. The students
have seen a slide show of Victorian designs as well as examples right here in Oak Park to give them
ideas. Leo B. explained that a key feature was “lots of teeth, or ‘dentil’ detail.” Other students noted
additional signature details, such as turrets and stained-glass, and incorporated those into their designs.
4th Grader Baxter F. used turrets to accent his house. “The turrets are like in castles, but it’s not
like you’ve got guys with bows and arrows, but just to be fancy.” His classmate, Kai Y., whose house was
quite detailed, said she’d like to live in a house like that since there “are lots of little spots to hide.”
A considerable amount of problem-solving and trial-and-error went into the sketches. Will S., a
5th grader, was pointing out the features of his house and debating whether to make his front door
bigger. “I could make one of those stained-glass windows around the sides.” The 5th graders are doing
larger exteriors and are working with colors to achieve a “painted lady” effect.
All the students will cut out their final pieces to reveal realistic profiles of their houses–a whole
neighborhood of Victorians!