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July 1, 2015
by Catherine Teegarden Center for Architecture Foundation
7th graders at IS 102Q at the final presentation of their model of the Piazza San Marco in Venice, completed with Design Educator Jessica Castillo (far left) and PS 102Q art teacher Mary O’Donnell (far right). All students at the school study Italian as a foreign language. The project helped students learn about Venice through its architecture. Credit: Center for Architecture
7th grade students from IS 220K present their Mondrian-inspired design for a new fire station in an empty lot in their school neighborhood at the school’s annual Design Expo event at the Center in June. Credit: Center for Architecture
PS 42 2nd graders worked in teams to design their own bridges after learning about beam, truss, arch, and suspension bridges in their classroom and on trips to the nearby Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Credit: Center for Architecture
1st graders at PS 102M in East Harlem recreated a local streetscape, studied through photos, drawings, and notes they made on visits to the site. Credit: Center for Architecture

The start of summer marks the completion of the school year and the culmination of the Center for Architecture’s in-school Learning By Design: NY (LBD: NY) program for 2014-15. June was filled with student presentations from the LBD: NY program, both at the Center and in schools throughout the metropolitan area. This year’s program served nearly 2,000 students and teachers through in-school residencies and teacher training workshops in twenty schools in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Westchester.  

The program pairs a Center for Architecture Design Educator with classroom teachers to develop and teach a multi-week design program, integrating architecture into existing classroom studies. As an interdisciplinary subject, architecture lends itself well to enriching almost all areas of the curriculum. In every program, students were introduced to key concepts in architecture and design by studying existing buildings in their own neighborhood or  in other countries or time periods. In some programs, students recreated famous structures to learn more about their design and place in history. In others, students created new buildings and structures, giving form to their own design ideas. Students were justly proud of their work and their presentations before parents and classmates were met with smiles and applause, thanks to the excellent work of our design educators who brought these topics to life.

Although school is done and the projects completed, we know students will continue to look at and learn from the architecture around them, as parents and teachers report back to us every year that their children see the city in a different way after participating in the program. As a 2nd grade teacher at PS 42 in Chinatown, Sally Wang-Hoffner, described her class’s 10-week LBD: NY program on bridges, “the goal of the unit is not only to support students in reaching the (curriculum) standards in a meaningful and engaging way, but to nurture their curiosity and have them inquire about the world in which they live, or if you will, to equip them to become independent thinkers and life-long learners.”

Look for a reprise of the work from the 2014-15 LBD: NY program, as well as student design work being created now in our Summer@theCenter studios, in the annual Building Connections exhibition, opening at the Center in November 2015.

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