Charlotte, NC, March 21, 2012  – Students from Union County Public Schools’ East Union Middle and Sun Valley High visited LS3P to learn about the profession and open their eyes to the built environment. They were asked to think about familiar places they know in a new light. Are they  engaging and good neighbors in context? What are building features and details? What materials are used? Is furniture placement accidental?

LS3P volunteers explained the design sequence starting with an idea or hand sketch and getting it down on paper in the form of technical architecture and engineering drawings and specifications. Once the plans are approved, construction can begin. Architects and engineers stay involved during construction and follow the progress until the building is completed and turned over to the Owner. One highlight was a time-lapsed movie of a 2-year construction project that unfolded in 1.5 minutes.  Another segment on green architecture, lighting and glare analysis and renewable materials reinforced their understanding of sustainable design.

Architecture and engineering firms have moved beyond the traditional CAD and instead use Building Information Modeling (BIM) to manage team projects.  Students saw demonstrations of Revit Architecture software, building animation and took virtual tours of Marshville, Charlotte, Chicago, New York and Hong Kong. They were encouraged to explore Google SketchUp to develop their own basic plans and 3-D models and even see their designs in Google Earth.


The group was introduced to Romare Bearden, the Charlotte-born African American artist, now honored with a beautiful 5.2 acre urban park; Swiss architect Mario Butta and Swiss sculptor Jean Tinquely, known for his kinetic machines. After observing LS3P working studios, the students toured the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art to see mid-20th century exhibits and the 17-foot Firebird on the museum plaza.