Wednesday, 27 August 2014

It all began with a giant shoe…

The shoe in question was in the Swindon outlet shopping centre and made out of lots and lots of Lego (an estimated 80,000 bricks according to the video of it being buillt by Bright Bricks).

This sparked the idea to use Lego for our family sessions this summer have centred on the archive of architects Francis Johnson and Partners. 

With the help of a couple of enthusiastic adult lego builders we have already demonstrated that in a couple of hours it is possible to recreate the fa├žade of a particular building (see Blaydes house, right)

What can (or should) we do for 2017 when Hull celebrates City of Culture??

We purchased some new Lego via Lego Education but at the same time we also appealed for any donations as we knew that the more we had the more we could build.  We have been very fortunate to have received a number of generous donations already. 

One such appeal to members of staff at the University led us in an expected direction

“…just wondering if you had considered setting up a Minecraft server to extend the building activities that go on in the physical world to the virtual world?”

The question from Joel Mills (from the LEAP team) led to a meeting – I had heard of Minecraft but never seen it and Joel showed me a walkthough of his childhood home and I was convinced.

Over the space of a few weeks the idea quickly germinated into a proposal and then a fully blown website! 

Joel worked on the general website design and implemented the open badges element whilst Claire (project archivist working on the Francis Johnson collection) and I digitised a selection of plans from the archive and added this to the HullCraft website

The site was given a soft launch at the first of our family event days on 6th August and with only a few bits of promotion has already started to attract minecrafters to build things.

Simon Wilson
Senior Archivist

Friday, 8 August 2014

Summer fun celebrating architecture and buildings in Hull with, wait for it… Lego!!!!

Well it’s August which means school holidays and fun activities at the History Centre. Last year we had our summer of music and kids activity sessions which went down so well we wanted to do something again. 

So a few months ago we sat down in a project meeting to thrash out some ideas. The Francis Johnson project seemed ideal to create activities around. With the firm’s restoration and new build work, it’s local focus and many commissions in the East Riding, and with FJ’s interest in Georgian architecture, the collection provided us with the chance to explore Hull’s architectural heritage and Georgian influences.

Did we mention the Lego...!
Working with Fifty6Ninety6, we came up with lots of ideas (most of which involved using Lego!!) After many weeks of brainstorming and planning we came up with 4 sessions to be run throughout August on Wednesday mornings. 

With help from Lego Education and some very generous donations from individuals (you can't have too much Lego can you?). Staff have spent several days sorting the bricks, by colour with distinct piles for base plates, building bits (doors, windows and roof tiles) and figures (lots of Stormtroopers!).

On Wednesday (6th August) we held the first of these sessions and learnt about the design process of an architect. Budding architects got the chance to design their own dream home in pencil, paint or Lego. Have a peak at our gallery to see some of the amazing creations.

Lucy with her design, drawing and model house

The next session will feature a ‘Georgian Gent’ telling people all about his exciting new house on the 13th August. We will then be designing a Georgian style house just like his, or maybe re-creating some of FJ’s own work in Lego. We will also be making masks inspired by FJ’s love of the Georgian Society and their Masquerade Balls.
Claire Weatherall

On the 20th August young craftsmen and women will be able to create their very own stained glass window design. This is to celebrate the ecclesiastical architecture that FJ worked so extensively on. And finally, on the 27th August, little city planners will get the chance to show us what a future Hull might look like by using pencil, paint or Lego to create a city scape.

Throughout all, we will be using photographs of buildings worked on by FJ, as well as digitised images of his drawings and sketches to help inspire some fantastic designs. If the weather is nice the History Centre is a perfect picnic spot so people should feel free to bring their lunch boxes with them! All ages are welcome from 2 to 102, we only ask that children under 16 bring a responsible adult with them!

The sessions run 10am-1pm on Wednesday mornings throughout August. So come along and see what’s going on! We will be adding more photographs to the gallery pages after each session.

Project Archivist
Claire Weatherall