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August 1, 2012
by Adam Rubin Center for Architecture Foundation

CFAF Volunteer Catherine Dillard (center) helps 3rd-5th graders collect rubbings of textural patterns in Greenwich Village.

Adam Rubin

Summer@theCenter students visited a wide array of New York buildings and sites, including Tomás Saraceno’s Cloud City on the roof of the Met.

Adam Rubin

Standing before a jury of peers and experts, a high school student presents his design for an addition to the Storefront for Art and Architecture to be built out of shipping containers.

Adam Rubin

The Center for Architecture Foundation has been busy this summer with its annual Summer@theCenter studios! From June through August, the Center hosts a series of weeklong workshops for youth entering the 3rd-12th grades, with each workshop exploring a different topic in architecture and design through art and building activities, walking tours, and special site visits. What better way to stay engaged and active while school is out than to spend time designing models and exploring some of the coolest places in New York City!

The summer kicked off with From Design to Construction, where participants learned the basics of building structure, materials, and decoration. The elementary school students enthusiastically strapped on face masks and donned rubber gloves as they mixed their own concrete to create ornamental façade details for their own building models. The class also sculpted terra cotta ornaments with clay, and collected rubbings of textural patterns from buildings around Washington Square Park. In addition to their own projects, the students visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art to explore some of the architectural details and sculptures from Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome – and all that was just the first week!

In other sessions, students visited a wide array of sites around around the city, including the Guggenheim Museum, Eldridge Street Synagogue, the U.S. Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows, Governors Island, MoMA P.S. 1, Lincoln Center, The Julliard School, Cooper Union, and Battery Park City, as well as several practicing architecture firms and work spaces. High school students in the two-week Architecture Design Studio developed conceptual designs and models for an addition to the Storefront for Art and Architecture in Nolita to be built entirely out of corrugated metal shipping containers. Middle school students in the Architecture and the City workshop considered how buildings are shaped by their social, geographical, and temporal contexts through a series of site visits, sketches, and photo collages. In the Digital Dream House and Digital Green Design labs, students learned how to navigate Google Sketch-Up to create mock-ups of their buildings, and used their computer-generated images to guide them in constructing complimentary physical models.

Our young participants come from a diverse cross section of the city and the greater Tri-State area, and while some students may already want to be architects when they grow up, others are exploring the world of designing and building for the first time. Expert or novice, the Foundation staff has enjoyed getting to know all the kids and watching the sparks of inspiration begin to fly!

The Foundation would like to thank all of its Design Educators, volunteers, and site hosts. There are still a few spaces left in Architectural Scavenger Hunt for grades 3-5 (August 27-30). Visit the Foundation’s website for more information: To join the mailing list for updates on future programs, send an e-mail to


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