Over the last few months, select students have been working on projects to pay homage to the storied history and current energy of New York City jazz. Partnering with the New York City Department of Buildings and Architecture Grille, students learned an array of technical skills and built their networks for the future.
WHSAD would like to thank all of those who worked with our students through the creative process. In particular, Keldwin Portes and Jason Allocco from Architecture Grille; Lisa Lewis from the Department of Buildings; Dr. Mambo and the Experience Ensemble; and First Baptist Church of Crown Heights.
The following are narratives from some of the participating students.
The Jazz Grille project was a great experience. The process was fun, and it taught me things as well. First, each student had to brainstorm things that remind them, or comes to mind, when they think of Jazz. We mostly looked up pictures and pasted them to AutoCAD and then outlined them. The next step was to go to the area where we usually met and discuss our sketches and or print out our projects. We went to the site to get critiques for our designs so we could later improve them and get the yes that we all needed to print our designs. During this project I learned time management. Time is really what we had to be careful with. Everything took time to produce. After the procedure, Mr.Codio assembled a team of students to create light boxes for our grilles to light up. They looked amazing in the painted and glossed wooden cases. There was even a laser printed wood piece with the faces of all the students who contributed to the project. We displayed our projected at a church on 450 Eastern Parkway. In addition, we talked about our projects to the visitors during the church’s jazz festival. It was super calm and relaxing. The Jazz grille projects were amazing as well as the festival.
Throughout the week, I was able to explore a new type of music hands on: jazz. Because of the great Dr. Mambo and his jazz band, our school was able to hear the music our ancestors listened to and created. So many different kinds of instruments were played that no one would expect them to sound great together, but it ended up sounding phenomenal.
He played on his radio show and website (wbai.org) and promoted the jazz club projects we had been working on since February. The next day we presented our jazz projects and gave a deeper insight on what they meant to us and why we decided to create the structure the way we did. Due to the publicity on Dr. Mambo’s radio show, people from all over came and got to see our projects and experience the process in making these projects.
I will forever be grateful for being able to experience jazz the way I did and hope to remember this forever.
Back in February, Mr. Codio, the Senior architect teacher, was asking for participants for a project about jazz clubs. He said we would be working in 3-D, and this was seen as a great opportunity to learn some new skills. I hadn’t had much experience using 3-D before, so I’m glad I took the opportunity. After I was assigned a jazz club, I started to brainstorm things I could make. I started off simple, making rectangular and triangular prisms. And now I’m able to do so much more, to the point where I can feel comfortable helping my classmates with their 3-D modeling troubles. However, I still enlist the help of Mr. Codio and Mr. Rodriguez, the architect teacher for the freshman class, because I’m no expert on this software. If I am having an issue, then they were there to help me, or at least give me some hints, so I don’t rely on their help.
The purpose of this project was to pay homage to jazz. Although I cannot consider myself a die-hard jazz fan, I have learned a lot. I even started listening to and doing some research on jazz. Going to events and seeing people who love jazz commend the work we’ve done put a smile on our faces.
This process has been going on for almost four months. While this process has definitely been long, it has had its benefits, one being able to meet new people who show interest in the models and grilles we’ve made and people who think we’ve done a good enough job to sell the pieces. Another benefit is the completion of my goal. Being able to use AutoCAD efficiently, in both 2-D & 3-D, was one of my goals before I graduate. By doing this project, I am one step closer to achieving my goal. There is still a lot I don’t know. For example, rendering, but I’m ready to learn. I am glad I have had this opportunity to be a part of this project.
From February to March I have been a part of a Black History Month project to help people notice the former places jazz was being expressed. The people of the Black History Project teamed up with Architectural Grille. I was given the old jazz club, Esther and Carol, and I was able to create a design that incorporates the location and the music. I wanted to put the letters “E” and “C” to stand for “Esther and Carol,” and I created a lady in the middle singing her heart out. I don’t want people to see my design as just a design, I want people to see it as a way to remember their stories when it comes to jazz. As the project came to an end, the club and I were able to experience a live jazz performance with the employees of Architectural Grille. It was a great experience and it was a lot of fun.