Saturday, February 02, 2008

The American College of the Building Arts in Charleston, South Carolina was founded in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo when community members amidst destruction realized the immense value of their architectural legacy, and that the present society had left them with very few trained artisans to restore and preserve it.
"The American College of the Building Arts believes in graduating well-rounded, highly qualified and knowledgeable artisans. Our students will simultaneously evolve academically and artistically resulting not only artisans who can utilize materials to high levels of sophistication, but also professionals who can become leaders in the process of creating and preserving our building legacy.

Historically, building artisans were seen as equals to doctors, lawyers, and clergy. Unfortunately, the manual trades have lost much of the aura and respect they previously held. This trend must be reversed. The College is dedicated to reawakening the respect people once had for master builders and artisans. Students will receive an excellent general education and the best training available in the building arts. With this education and training in hand, the College’s graduates will help change the face of America for the better."
The American College of the Building Arts and the few others like it are a important first step. But we are a very long ways from the hands reaching the Ivies. Someday schools like Columbia University, Harvard and Yale will come to an understanding of the value that the hands impart to the learning and intelligence of all. Until that day, like stone masons of old, we will keep chipping away.

In making small wooden mallets at Clear Spring last week we talked about the masonry tools that were used to create the architectural masterpieces we take for granted today. Small men, smaller tools, immense effort, clear creative vision. There are those who've come up with strange notions that the pyramids of Egypt were built by aliens. They, like way too many others have lost comprehension of human power and creativity. Like the tapping of our small mallets, small tools in rhythmic acts over time have great power to transform. If we don't act to create beauty, our only lasting marks will be the immense volume of trash we've contributed to the nation's over-flowing landfills and the massive scars left by our voracious consumption.

No comments: