International Masonry Institute Blog

The Masonry Camp Experience

As we look back on this year's Masonry Camp, the commitment and creativity of the participants stands out.  Asked to design a masonry museum, and then construct an element of that design, the campers produced amazing work in a very short timeframe.  As they've returned to their offices and job sites, we've heard from them about the impact that Camp had on their understanding of masonry.

"When I came here I didn't know what to expect, but I've been very excited by all the hands-on learning opportunities I've had with actual craftworkers.  It's been an unbelievable experience. I think it'll directly affect how I draw, and how I think about architecture." 
  
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"I highly recommend this.  I think it should be part of the apprenticeship program.  Everybody should get this experience to work with architects and understand both sides -- how the design works and what goes into that."

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"It's really interesting to be able to express an idea and then get immediate feedback.  Then you know how far you can push things and what really can and can't be done.  The hands-on component was important, though I use the IMI website a lot, and use the details there."

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"It's incredible working side by side with these people, it's really inspiring watching them work.  It's much harder than I thought.  And then we get the opportunity to show them what we do and trade roles, step out of our comfort zone.  It's all part of the greater whole." 

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"We both speak the language of a craft, just different ones.  We both liked using the computer models, with a 3D image.  When we looked at it together, we were both speaking the same visual language, even though we hadn't built it yet.  That was interesting.  It helped us get on the same page."

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"I never knew so much training and skill went into the craft.  I learned about how it's done in the field versus what I'm drawing.  Being able to talk with people in the trade has expanded my knowledge.  This whole program tried to bridge the gap between designers and craftworkers and that does need to be addressed."

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"It's extraordinary.  Working so closely with the architects -- I've never done that.  It's a learning experience for us all, seeing what masonry is and what it can be." 

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 "To be able to come to a conversation and have more knowledge about how things work, or fill in my colleagues, and have the background knowledge, is great." 

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"I had been doing some research on masonry construction and incorporating it into BIM software, and I came here at my professor's recommendation and this exceeded my expectations.  I had a really great time, my team has been such a fun group to work with.  I think we challenged the craftworkers, as much as they challenged us.  There was a great back and forth throughout the process."

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"Because you get to touch and play with the materials, I'll never forget this learning opportunity.  Sometimes when you're just looking at information on paper, it doesn't register as much as the tactile experience."

"This experience has been terrific, I've learned so much about what architects do. I can share all this with other apprentices and my local union."

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