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May 26, 2016
by Catherine Teegarden Center for Architecture Foundation
Second- and third-grade students at PS 132 in Washington Heights showcased the bridges they designed in a 10-week Learning By Design:NY program .Credit: Center for Architecture
Bridge designs by second graders at PS 33 in Chelsea. Credit: Center for Architecture
Architectural “blueprints” designed by PS 261’s first grade students as part of their neighborhood architecture study. Credit: Center for Architecture

As the school year draws to a close, students around the city are busily charretting to complete the structures they are designing in the Center for Architecture’s Learning By Design:NY program. Others are proudly displaying their completed work and sharing their design ideas with peers, parents, and teachers. Active in 26 schools this school year, the Center’s signature K-12 education program pairs a design educator with one or more classes at schools throughout the city. The courses provide weekly lessons on the structure, design, and history of the built environment, and develop students’ design skills through hands-on architecture projects. Teachers use this partnership to enrich and expand their curriculum, and to challenge students to think creatively and collaboratively. As a result of teachers’ involvement in the planning of each Learning By Design:NY program, topics and projects vary widely, tapping into school needs, teacher and student interest, and differing curricula.

Some projects relate to Social Studies themes, such as the neighborhood study by first graders at PS 261 in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, which culminated in students’ designs for buildings for an ideal classroom neighborhood. A third grade studied the traditional buildings of Eastern Woodland Indians at the Peck Slip School in Lower Manhattan. Others were focused on math topics of scale and measurement, such as the program with 6th-8th grade students at IS 392 in Brooklyn, who will present their drawings, digital renderings, and scale models showing their proposals to redesign a computer classroom to serve as a student journalism center; 4th and 5th graders at PS 132 in Washington Heights designed their own apartments. Still others focus on structural engineering, such as the bridge design programs at PS 276, PS 363, and PS 102 in Manhattan, and PS 372 in Brooklyn. Architectural design classes are taught at our partner high school, the Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction (UASDC), a themed high school in Midtown. High school students from UASDC will present their semester-end projects for schools, houses and museums at the Center for Architecture on 05.26.16 from 5-7 pm. Visiting architects are welcome to stop by to see their projects and talk with students about their work and the profession.

Thanks to grant funding this year from generous donors, government agencies, and foundations, we have been able to subsidize program costs for low-income schools, making this opportunity available to a diverse audience citywide. The School of Design and Construction, one of our Title One school participants, will be hosting its own annual fundraiser, Iron Designer, on 06.08.16, 6-9:30 pm on the school’s rooftop at 525 West 50th Street. This exciting design challenge helps support the school’s partnerships, such as our LBD:NY program, and gives students an opportunity to work with professionals in the field. The public is invited to attend and enjoy the action first hand. Tickets available here. Hope to see you there!

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