February 6, 2013
by Eveline Chang Center for Architecture Foundation
Students listen to a visiting juror talk about his profession at their midterm critiques.Catherine Teegarden
UASDC Intern Jennifer Rodriguez assists families at CFAF’s Bridges Family Day program.Braulio Sotomayor

On 01.16.13, the Urban Assembly School for Design and Construction (UASDC) on West 50th Street welcomed a number of design professionals and recent UASDC graduates to serve as jurors for the architecture program’s midterm reviews. The student designers in grades 9-12 presented their drawings and models of houses and museums to the assembled juries as the culminating piece of their semester-long architecture class led by the Center for Architecture Foundation’s design educator Yves Roger.

Roger is himself a licensed architect who has taught at the Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF) for more than 14 years. His course is a requirement for 9th and 10 th grade students at this architecture-themed public high school. By the end of their second year in the program, students have learned the fundamentals of architectural scale drawing, model-making, and the design process as they complete numerous classroom studies on geometry, measurement, planning, and problem solving, as well as several larger-scale studio projects. UASDC Principal Matt Willoughby sees CFAF’s Design Seminar and Design Studio classes as essential to the school’s mission and a great way to challenge students to “utilize innovative design thinking to create three dimensional solutions.”

CFAF is also pleased to be hosting Jennifer Gonzalez, a junior at USADC, for a year-long internship in our office. Jennifer assists with our FamilyDay@theCenter workshops and with administrative tasks. We asked Jennifer to comment on how her experience at UASDC has prepared her for her work here and what she has enjoyed so far:

Eveline Chang: How has your studio class with Yves Roger prepared you for working at CFAF?
Jennifer Gonzalez: With my model-making experience at USADC, I’m able to help kids and their families elaborate on their ideas. For instance, in my high school program we learned how to strengthen bridges with different support systems and test them with block weights. At the FamilyDay@theCenter on Building Bridges, one child’s model was sagging in the middle. I was able to help her to create a column to support her bridge.

CFAF: What are some of the rewarding aspects of your apprenticeship? What are challenging?
JG: I love working with the kids and seeing their energy and smiles. It is also great to see the parents participate – the workshops bring out the kid in them too!

CFAF: What else have you learned about architecture through your apprenticeship?
JG: When it comes to the kids’ imagination, the sky’s the limit! They have the most innovative ideas and come up with creative solutions. I also enjoyed the Family Day workshop, Design a School of the Future. We used “The Edgeless School” exhibition as inspiration. The exhibition introduced me to exciting new school designs, including libraries on the top floor with lots of light and seating in the hallways as a kind of classroom. All of this has given me new ideas for my own design work.

CFAF would like to thank Exploring the Arts (ETA) for its generous support of both the Learning By Design:NY residency program and apprenticeship at UASDC. ETA is a non-profit organization founded by Tony Bennett and Susan Benedetto that supports the arts in public school education. To learn more about Learning By Design:NY, please visit www.cfafoundation.org/lbd.