English for art and design:
Künstlerheim Luise hotel room project (1998)

This project walks students through the language and argumentation route of a studio art / design project.

R.J. Preece (EFL)
Creative Business & Entrepreneurship | 24 August 2010
The following is an excerpt of an educational project brief previously published in Peter Master & Donna Brinton (Eds.), New Ways in English for Specific Purposes (pp. 132-5) (1998). Alexandria, VA, USA: TESOL. Click to see the English for Art and Design overview page.
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EFL Language Level
Intermediate +

Aims
> Talk about a
collaborative studio
project

Class Time
1-2 hours +

Preparation Time
Minimal

Resources
> Künstlerheim Luise
brochure (optional

> Handout (provided
here)

For teachers: In specialized language training on the creation and presentation of studio projects, collaborative design speaking projects offer an alternative to having students talk about their work. The [Künstlerheim Luise artist hotel room project] is one such activity; it asks students to think, act, negotiate ideas in a group, and speak “on their feet”. Visual arts production is downplayed but acts as the vehicle for accelerated, specialized language practice.

Procedure

1. Introduce the [Künstlerheim Luise artist hotel room project] (see Appendix below).

2. Ask the students to work in groups to prepare a brief presentation [of a floor plan and perhaps an illustration] in order to display their ideas for the class.

Caveats and options

1. Have the students do the project within a set, in-class time period so that they will spend time communicating ideas quickly rather than concentrating on art / design production. Quick conceptual sketches on a marker board should help them communicate their ideas effectively.

2. Use the activity to supplement a unit on presentation skills development.

3. Extend the project over two classes. In the first class, brainstorm about the [Künstlerheim Luise hotel room project]. For homework [or in the second class, have the students design and present their ideas].

4. Have the students who are not presenting take notes about each project, using the questions in the Appendix as a guide.

5. Have the students write brief essays about their designs.

References and further reading
> Künstlerheim Luise (Berlin, Germany) brochure.
> R. J. Preece. (1997). “Art lodging”. World Sculpture News, 3(1), pp. 12-3. (Click to see comprehension questions for this article.)
> R. J. Preece. (1997). “Modelling language instruction on collaborative design projects”. Journal of the Imagination in Language Learning, 4, pp. 108-110.

Appendix: Künstlerheim Luise Interior Design Project

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The Künstlerheim Luise is an unusual, low-cost artists’ hotel next to the old Berlin Wall in former East Berlin. Each room at the hotel was designed by a local artist in order to create an interesting environment for guests. Many visiting artists, and people interested in art, stay there because it is cheap (about USD$20-$30 per night) and because they can select the room they like. Also, the artists who design the rooms get a part of the money for each night’s stay.

1. Using the Künstlerheim Luise as an inspiration, please do the following:

> Select an area near you that would be an interesting place for an artists’ hotel.
> Design a 14-ft by 14-ft room with furniture for your guests; the bathroom will be down the hall. The design should be low cost but unusual (and unforgettable).
> Create a floor plan for the room and a presentation outline.

2. Address the following questions in your presentation:

> What is your main idea or concept for the room? What feeling do you want the guest to have? Why did you choose this?
> What things in the room express this idea or concept? Describe their design and materials.
> What will you do about lighting for the room?
> Do you want the viewer to focus on one or more things in the room?
> Explain [how] the design is low cost.