by Catherine Teegarden
Building Connections, the Center for Architecture’s annual exhibition of K-12 student work opened on Friday, November 15th and will be on view until January 4th, 2020. Many of the young designers whose work is featured in the exhibition were at the opening to celebrate this exciting milestone in their nascent design careers. This year’s exhibition focuses on the intersection between architecture and nature, highlighting projects that bring the built and natural environments into greater harmony with each other. The exhibition was designed as a leafy bower by the Center for Architecture’s School Programs Manager Dustin Atlas, with students’ models supported by large cardboard trees that arc over Helfand Gallery and are repeated on the storefront window with graphics by airspace. The exhibition continues in the adjacent 532 LaGuardia Place window gallery.
Projects were created by 2nd – 8th grade students in the Center’s week-long Summer Programs and multi-session Learning By Design:NY school residencies. They include replicas of indigenous dwellings that illustrate traditional sustainable building practices; designs for new buildings that incorporate solar panels, kinetic energy tiles, and other green design innovations; and treehouses, which put architecture and nature on an equal footing. Exhibition visitors are asked to contribute to the installation by writing their ideas for ways to green the city and combat climate change on a leaf, to be added to the exhibition’s tree canopy. These will continue to be added to the exhibition as long as it is open. Exhibition display materials will then be recycled or reused in the Center for Architecture’s Education programs.
Many thanks to the K-12 education donors whose contributions during 2019 have made need-based scholarships for schools and individuals possible. The Center’s Annual Education Fund for 2020 is now underway, with the goal of raising $25,000 to support our educational programming in the year ahead.
The Center’s Education Department is committed to educating students about climate change: helping them understand how our built environment and daily actions have contributed to the problem, and what we can do to address this and reduce our negative impact on our environment. In addition to our ongoing Green Architecture Student Day school visit programs, which serve about 1,000 students per year, sustainable design will also be the theme of our upcoming After-School programs for 3rd– 8th graders and our new Design Discovery series of weekend workshops for teens running January – May 2020.