GSBS Earth Day - Glendale Middle School / by SHOKO SMITH

Fifteen years after designing Glendale Middle School, GSBS architects returned as teachers on Earth Day 2017.  

For Earth Day 2017, GSBS put on the “Build a Better World workshop” about engaging new generations in sustainability and architecture through building a scaled modeled tree house.  The “Latinos in Action” students at Glendale participated in this workshop. The students first had to conceptualize their dream tree house, then learn how to draw their own floor plans tomake their ideas come alive, and then build a model. They were encouraged to consider environmental conservation and protection in their project.

According to the GSBS architect who led the workshop Ben Lowry, AIA LEED AP, “We tried to engage the students in the ideas of sustainability through solar panels, rainwater collection and green roofs.    Most of them really seemed to benefit from the activity.” 

The class teacher said one of his students had a difficult time expressing interest or understanding what to do on a previous hands-on project.   In the tree house project he totally embraced it. He got all of the materials he needed and focused on his project, building two tree houses in the allotted time that the other kids built just one.  Lowry said, “Once the kids started to build things and dive into the project their excitement, creativity, and interest in the project was all there.”

Over the years GSBS has sponsored school events to honor and promote the principles of a clean, healthy, green planet through architecture and help expose and interest young people in the field of architecture. One year students at Bountiful Elementary School learned from GSBS architect the “Top 10 Principals to Go Green,” earning a bookmark and seeds to plant an herb garden.   Another year, at Hillside Middle School designed by GSBS Architects as the first LEED-designated building in the Salt Lake City School District, art students photographed the “green” elements of the new building for an assembly program.

The idea of having the workshop on Earth Day was to reinforce environmental conservation and protection efforts.  Lowry said GSBS team leaders Melissa Gaddis, Kelsey Madden and Baylee Lambourne did a great job engaging the students and “all of us look forward to doing another hands-on project with students based on the same commitment to building a better world.”