Those magnificent architects and their flying machines

Sam Fox students launch experimental kites on Art Hill

WUSTL freshman Rebecca Ridderhoff’s kite design soars above Art Hill. (Credit: James Byard/WUSTL Photos)

As the Sun breaks above the ground
An old man stands on the hill
As the ground warms to the first rays of light
A birdsong shatters the still
His eyes are ablaze

— Iron Maiden, “Flight of Icarus”

From Daedalus to da Vinci, from Kitty Hawk to Cape Canaveral, the dream of flight has powered some of the world’s most ambitious feats of design and engineering.

This spring, dozens of freshmen in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis explored both the challenges and the heroic myths surrounding the act of making as part of “Architecture 112: Introduction to Design Processes II.”

The five-section course, led by associate professor Sung Ho Kim, centers on the creation of a kite. This not-so-simple task allows students to explore a wide range of subjects and skills, from research and design to materials, joinery, fabrication and assembly.

On April 28, the students had the chance to launch their own aeronautical experiments from the top of Art Hill in Forest Park.