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June 9, 2021
by Catherine Teegarden
Melinda Cashwell Edwards crop (1)
A workshop participant designs a building with newly-learned architectural vocabulary. Photo: Melinda Cashwell Edwards.
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Participants show off their work for the March 9 Skyscraper Design workshop. Photo: Vanessa Kasabach.
K12 News Rowhouse Drawing Trudie Stoddar Barrett crop
A young student shows off her rowhouse drawing. Photo: Trudie Stoddar Barrett.
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A student shows off his green roof design. Image: Center for Architecture.
K12 News Bridge
A participant presents his suspension bridge design. Image: Center for Architecture.

The Center for Architecture’s Education Department launched Architecture at Home a little over a year ago, as the COVID-19 pandemic shifted learning from schools, after-school centers, and our own classroom to the bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens of young people across the city. Initially supported by the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development, our collection of short, easy-to-follow design activities was expanded in January of this year to include weekly, educator-led online workshops introducing these resources to students and their families. These programs have been free to the public thanks to grant support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation Philanthropic Arts Program.

With a significant percentage of students still learning from home at least part of the time over this past semester, these Architecture at Home workshops enabled us to reach new audiences both in NYC and much farther afield, with young people from Turkey, the UK, and many other US states dialing in as regular participants. Nearly 250 households have enjoyed these weekly workshops, while over 54,000 unique visitors have explored the activities posted on our Architecture at Home resources webpage. Through these resources and workshops, young people of all ages have learned about building design, neighborhood history, and bridge engineering, and created their own architectural drawings and models using simple, readily available materials from home.

While these resources will continue to be available on our website, we’ll be ending our Architecture at Home workshops for the year with a final session on Saturday, June 12th on the theme House of the Future. This program will draw inspiration from the very first homes designed and built by Native American tribes to help us imagine futuristic homes that follow similar ideals of environmental sustainability and balance, and respect for others and the earth . This special, double-length program is offered in partnership with the inaugural designers in the Center for Architecture Lab’s residency program, the Indigenous Scholars of Architecture Planning and Design (ISAPD) from Yale University’s School of Architecture. Workshop participants can choose to enter their designs into the Indigenous Futurism Model-Building Competition, an architectural call-for-entries open to all ages and one of ISAPD’s Lab initiatives.

Young designers interested in continuing to build their skills this summer can choose from a wide variety of both online and in-person Summer Programs running June 28 through August 20, 2021. We look forward to continuing to expand on our Architecture at Home materials, even as we return (hopefully!) to in-person school and youth programming in the upcoming school year.


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