Barbican Box Primary School Workshops

Location: Tower Hamlets / Lewisham, London
Type: Youth Workshop
Client: The Barbican
Collaborators: Marcus du Sautoy
Duration: 2020
Status: Ongoing
Photographs: Betty Laura Zapata, Okra

Barbican Box is an ongoing educational project organised by the Barbican and delivered by Okra as a series of workshops in primary schools. The project is a collaboration between mathematician and author Marcus du Sautoy and Okra.

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The project investigates the golden ratio and recurring patterns that repeat in nature, humans, the cosmos and architecture. The project seeks to inspire a new generation from mixed backgrounds to feel empowered in the fields of mathematics, design and architecture.

Initial workshops asked students to be inquisitive and analytical by walking in their local areas, discussing and drawing the city around them. The students then planned their ideal homes using golden rectangles, squares and spirals scaled to the Fibonacci sequence.

Students were then tasked with exploring how their own bodies related to the golden ratio, creating their own versions of the Vitruvian man at a 1:1 scale. In small groups the students made models of their ideal bedrooms to golden proportions and based on their ideas developed in previous workshops.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, Okra and the Barbican have been exploring ways of how to complete the programme remotely.