The first meeting of my GPU class was this past Thursday; we met in front of the Foust Building on the corner of Spring Garden St and College Ave. The point of this class, as I understand it, is to take the time to become familiar with your surroundings first hand. We are acknowledging technology, but using our own five senses to find our way around Guilford County.
We were first introduced to Foust by taking time to just walk around the building and simply look at it from different angles and perspectives, and take pictures. After this warm task in the sun, we took refuge under a tree to reflect in our journals on what we had just seen. The first questions we responded to were; What is the building? Of what material is it made? What are the elements that comprise the building? What information might you be able to discern about the building based on hints within the building in front of you? How did it get where it is when it did? We then took time to look at the building for a few more minutes and think about what we did not see in the image. Finally we were asked to consider the building in context.
Here are the items I observed: At first glance, you can see the building is older. The architecture is not from this time period. The bricks are older and worn. Around the windows and under the gutters, which have a beautiful arched shape, is green and red trim. Many of the windows are occupied with air conditioning units. Not visible in the front but found around the rest of the building are fire escape metal stair cases. The stair cases lead up to doors; all of which are quaint and simple, but welcoming and interesting. The front entrance, and balcony above are somewhat elaborate with the lighter stone in the arches, putting up a strong front. I do not see any shutters, or any source of electricity. Another thing I notice missing, is much traffic in or out of the building. In comparison to the buildings around it, and other buildings on campus, Foust is clearly one of a kind. Most other buildings have white trim, and white or black shutters. The front of the building is different, although I have a hard time deciding exactly how. The big stone seems, as I said earlier, strong; other buildings have entrances that make a statement, but I think those are more beautiful than protective.
As we were finishing up with our journal entries we came back together to discuss as a class what we had observed. Our teacher, Patrick, pointed out to us all the earthquake ties lined up along the back of the building to prevent the structure from bowing outward, along with the fact that the gutters ran into the ground, providing us with evidence of an underground system of some kind. Patrick showed us details I had noticed, but did not realize the effect of the item. As with the gutters, I did notice them on the building, but not where they went.
I was not sure of what I was doing on this first adventure outside of the classroom and out into the real world, but I am excited about the opportunity to go out twice a week and just observe and see what I can conclude from my observations. I have confidence in myself that I will get the hang of the process of becoming my own GPU, and look forward to acquiring the skills necessary to do so.