by Hadley Beacham
The Center for Architecture’s K-12 Education Department recently collaborated with several NYU departments to host a playground design contest for NYU families called “Draw, Design, Build.” The collaboration involved NYU’s Faculty Housing Division; The LaGuardia Studio, NYU’s digital design workspace and printing facility; and the Kimmel Center for University Life. This multi-faceted program began with a workshop about playground design at the Center for Architecture on 03.25.17. After being inspired by images of some of New York’s most unique playgrounds, children were asked to brainstorm and imagine what their dream playground would look like and then create a collage of their ideal play area. The artworks created by the children were then taken to the designers at LaGuardia Studio, where top projects were transformed into 3D-printed sculptures. The program culminated in an awards ceremony on 05.22.17, recognizing the children for their efforts, alongside an exhibition of their collages and the final 3D-printed sculptures of the winning designs at the Kimmel Center. The awards included categories such as “Best Theme,” which was awarded to a playground design with a sea life theme, realized in seashell-shaped swings, a dolphin fountain, and a slide with shark fins running down its length; and “Most Shovel-Ready” to a project that included instructions complete with materials and measurements.
This was a special experience for the children and their parents because it not only introduced them to thinking about the design of their local environment, but also exposed them to cutting-edge design processes, as their 2D designs were transformed into 3D models. Families had an opportunity to tour The LaGuardia Studio and see how the 3D printers and scanners worked. The K-12 Education staff at the Center for Architecture also very much enjoyed the opportunity to build a relationship with the innovative LaGuardia Studio designers across the street, and to make connections with neighboring NYU families. Special thanks to Erin Donnelly, NYU Community Liaison for Faculty Housing & Residential Services; Shelly J. Smith and Taylor L. Absher at The LaGuardia Studio; and Pamela Jean Tinnen, Director/Curator of Kimmel Galleries, for their part in making this joint project a success. We look forward to further collaborations with NYU families, The LaGuardia Studio, and other NYU departments on future projects.
The students’ collages will be on view at the Stovall Family Galleries, 8th Floor of the Kimmel Center, until 06.11.17.