'If You Build It' Documentary Screening

Published: Monday 31 August 2015

On 17 August, over 50 CEFPI WA members and friends gathered at the WA State Library Theatre for our first ever movie event. If You Built it - a Patrick Creadon documentary, was highly regarded by architects, educators and student teachers for its simple premise of students learning through doing.

Dr ‘Z’ or Chip Zullinger is considered a visionary within Bertie County and was charged with the responsibility of improving the failing public education system. He engaged the help of architects Emily Pilloton and Matthew Millar who, with minimal funding, established a Program called Project H. Based around the notions of Humanity, Habitats, Health and Happiness, Project H’s aim was to teach the students some basic problem solving skills through a design and making high school course.

The movie equally documents the successes as well as the trials and tribulations of Studio H’s process of ‘going against the grain’ over a school semester. Dr ‘Z’ gets fired by the ultra-conservative School Board and Emily and Matthew’s minimal salary is revoked. After pleading with the Board and presenting the benefits of the program at no cost, the two humanitarians are allowed to continue to teach, surviving only from limited grant funding and donations.

Creadon's documentary provides us with a small window in which we peer into the lives of 10 students of the Project H Program, follow their remarkable progress and take delight in the surprising outcomes. If it currently isn’t, studies of this documentary should be included in all tertiary education and architecture courses. Problem solving through design engages most students in active learning and as proven in this documentary, teaches valuable fundamental life skills in students which they carry for life.

Check out Emily’s TED talk at : http://www.ted.com/talks/emily_pilloton_teaching_design_for_change?language=en

For more information on the movie, check out the website: http://www.ifyoubuilditmovie.com/

Paul Edwards, Site Architecture