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KIDS IN SPACE: Documenting the Child’s Perspective of Architectural Design

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NO. 3 – Downtown Cleveland

panel commentary

architect  Humans – like all animals – possess an exquisitely attuned spatial sense. Unfortunately, because we are so caught up in own inner worlds, most adults are not very observant. Children instinctively know how to inhabit space. An enormous, ornate space like this one can be overwhelming at first. Wisely, Evelyn holds to the edge, placing herself squarely in the floor pattern that rings the space. While an adult would stride right over it, never noticing the difference, Evelyn senses the power of threshold, even when marked only in the ground plane.   She is captivated by the metal grating, perhaps by the way her own shadow dances on its slender bars. Or maybe she’s curious to catch a glimpse of what lies below.   Evelyn climbs the stairs with determination and daring, delighting in this chance to move vertically rather than horizontally. Each step is huge and must be negotiated with care. The railing is higher than her head yet she gamely makes use of it. Imagine yourself scaling two-­foot high steps clinging to a six-­foot railing! -Julie Gabrielli, Go for Change

parent / psychology BA  I love watching Evelyn embark on a new locality in Cleveland.  At first, she approaches her surroundings timidly…clinging to me, her mom.  But with gentle persuasion she’s ready to pounce onto a leaf or leap off a step on her own.  While Evelyn does not stop exploring, she does however, take time to study the setting.  She knows she’s a little girl in a big space; looking up towards the seemingly tallest ceiling she’s laid eyes on.  Or, after climbing the never-ending steps, she explores the next floor; peering over the balcony.  After watching her balloon fall slowly to the first floor, she’s ready to try it all again!  Once kids know that they’re safe and with their parent’s blessing, they use every opportunity to delve into a learning experience; testing where their boundaries lie. -Julie Meivogel, mom to Evelyn + BA in psychology

photographer  Having spent the better part of the past decade in NYC, a city constantly reinventing spaces, it is inspiring to see Cleveland revitalize old downtown spaces in new ways.  There is a lingering perspective of Cleveland that seems to not yet reflect this new life, so it was refreshing to see it through the eyes of Evelyn, not even 3 years old, who was fascinated with so many of the aspects of the space around her.  The old converges with the new in dense urban areas, creating a confluence of cognitive experiences audio-visually, and viscerally as well.  It’s no wonder artists flock to urban areas for inspiration and camaraderie, when you consider these subtle experiences made obvious here by focusing on Evelyn’s perspective of them.  From the awe-inducing threshold of the old Arcade, to the discovery of a balloon across the street at the Colonial Marketplace, she helped highlight the magic of downtown Cleveland for me and my camera. -Sarah Sloboda

kids in space

kids in space

kids in space

kids in space

kids in space

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