East Boston EEC Architects Learn About Zaha Hadid


This year, our Young STEAM Inventors are getting the chance to study two influential individuals in the exciting world of architecture. There are multiple curricular tie-ins with this project to our Foss Units, included geography, environmental studies-STEM, language arts, and art to support the development culturally responsive curriculum interwoven into Paper and Wood (PreK and Kindergarten) and Grade 1 Solids and Liquids Foss Units. The Engineering Trajectories for Preschool-Grade 2 Standards were used to guide my curriculum. We first read books about Arabic culture architecture – such as The Storyteller about Morocco – for background information. As a quick aside, this is a great book that has been leveled for Grades 1-4. The School Library Journal published the following review on this book:

Folktales involving water abound in all cultures, but this tale is unusual in using water as a metaphor for story: just as we need water to nourish our physical selves, we need stories to feed our spirits. In Turk’s fable, a lone storyteller remains in a Moroccan city where the water sources have all dried up. When a young boy seeks water, the water-seller has only a bowl to give him, but the storyteller tells him a tale that miraculously fills the bowl. In a series of nested stories, the boy’s thirst is quenched, and by retelling the stories Scheherazade-style to a sandstorm in the form of a djinn, he is able to save the city and also replenish its water supply. The author successfully melds two equally important concerns of our time—the need to keep storytelling alive and the need to protect and conserve our drinking water.

~ Susan Stan, Professor Emerita of English, Central Michigan University

Stan, S. “The Storyteller by Evan Turk | SLJ Review.” School Library Journal, 31 May 2016. http://www.slj.com/?detailStory=the-storyteller-by-evan-turk-slj-review.

I also invite you to read the following excerpt from The Storyteller, titled “The History of Storytelling in Morocco”:

Morocco’s public storytellers, or blaykia, havebeen learning, preserving, and sharing stories for nearly one thousand years. These stories have been passed down from generation to generation and have become a part of the cultural fabric. The power of these storytellers lies in their audience, or Hlaykia , meaning “circle”, “ring”, or “link”. With the Hlaykia in the center, the audience forms an expanding circle and is linked with the generations who came before them through the stories. Recently, there has been a resurgence in storytelling in Morocco. It is up to all of us to preserve our many cultures stories to pass on to the next generation of storytellers.


We then read The World is Not a Rectangle about Zaha Hadid, a female architect from Iraq who was a pioneer and who won international awards for her work. Please enjoy the following quotes from Zaha Hadid and photos of our East Boston EEC Architects in action.


“The world is not a rectangle. You don’t go to a park and say, ‘My God, we don’t have any corners’!”

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“I can’t sop thinking of ideas.”

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“I still believe in the impossible.”

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“You should do what you like.”

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From Ellie, an East Boston EEC architect:  “I designed and built a building that looks like glasses you wear. I was inspired by Zaha and her ideas. This is my idea. I thought about building like little bridges first and then I thought of putting squares for the glasses and then Little Rock’s for eyeballs. Then Kampala blocks like a bridge and rope to hang down.”

From Zaha Hadid:  “Never give up.”


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