November 20, 2013
by Catherine Teegarden Center for Architecture Foundation
Alice Stryker, CFAF Director of Development and Outreach; Catherine Teegarden, CFAF Director of Education; and Judy Hunt, CFAF Board member admire student work in Building Connections 2013. Credit: Carolyn Hart, courtesy Center for Architecture Foundation
CFAF Board Member, Stanley Stark, FAIA reads a book on bridges created by second graders at PS 42. Credit: Carolyn Hart, courtesy Center for Architecture Foundation

What do the Renaissance villas, tree houses, and mosques on display at the Center for Architecture have in common? They were all designed and built by students in the Center for Architecture Foundation’s school and vacation programs, and are gathered together in the “Building Connections” exhibition, which opened on 11.14.13. This annual exhibition showcases K – 12th-grade student design work from the CFA Foundation’s Learning By Design:NY school programs and Center-based vacation studios. The exhibition’s designers, Jill Ayers and Rachel Einsidler of Design360, created colorful graphic icons that highlight the range of topics covered in these programs, illustrated by the projects in the exhibition. An accompanying activity guide provides short explanations and drawing activities to help younger visitors engage with the exhibition themes.

Through the Learning By Design:NY program, CFAF’s Design Educators collaborate with classroom teachers to integrate architecture and design into existing classroom studies. The Italian Renaissance villas, for example, were created by 8th-grade students in an eight-week program that brought together the Art and Italian language teachers at PS 102 in Elmhurst, Queens. CFAF’s Design Educator Hilary Taylor taught students about the development of perspective drawing and key elements of architecture from the Renaissance period, then had them create their own perspective drawings and villa designs. A group of home-schooled students learned about the effect of culture and climate on architectural traditions in the Middle East, and built a typical model town from this area, with a souk and mosque, as a final project. The tree houses were a fun vacation project created by 3 – 5th-graders during a three-day program during their spring break.

“Building Connections” will be on view until 03.01.14. Families are invited to a special exhibition tour and workshop where they will create their own architectural models at our Design By Kids! FamilyDay@theCenter on 12.14.13. For those looking to be included in next year’s exhibition, save the dates for the Center for Architecture Foundation’s Studio@theCenter 3-day vacation programs, where kids will have an opportunity to create ski jumps and stadia for the Olympic Games or their own skyscrapers, during public and private school breaks 02.18.14-02.20.14, 03.18.14-03.20.14, and 04.15.14-04.17.14. Schools interested in having a Learning By Design:NY residency can still book programs for 2014 by contacting CFAF Director of Education Catherine Teegarden at 212-358-6135 or