Architect Asks Student to Create Video on Renovation

Matt Thompson knows his way around a computer pretty well and has plenty of experience with video games. So creating an architecture firm’s animated video about the new Northview High School came naturally to him.

“It wasn’t as fun (as video games), but it was very similar,” Matt said of his two-minute video illustrating the $38 million expansion and renovation. “I feel pretty good about it.”

The Northview High School senior created the piece as an intern at the TowerPinkster architectural and engineering firm in downtown Grand Rapids. It will be used to help the public visualize what the new school will look like when completed next fall.

“Not many people have been able to see what their tax dollars are going to go to,” Matt said. “This is a nice way for them to be able to see it.”

He began working eight hours a week at TowerPinkster in September after Matt Slagle, who designed the school expansion, asked for an intern from the school. Slagle had created a 3-D illustration of the project but wanted something more tangible for the public.

“It looks so much more real to people,” Slagle said of Matt’s video, which required him to learn a software program called Lumion that creates “photo-realistic” images.

The video simulates a walk-through of the building’s different sections, past animated students and with a catchy soundtrack. It is featured on the Northview Public Schools Web site and will be used for public presentations, Slagle said.

 “He’s a brilliant kid,” Slagle added. “He out-performed our expectations.”

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Video of Northview High School expansion, created by student Matt Thompson and TowerPinkster

Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ MLive.com. As a reporter for The Press from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine, Religion News Service and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles' full bio.

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