by Tim Hayduk
The Center for Architecture is a tad bit quieter today than it was just a few weeks ago when the exhibition spaces were filled with the bustle of 250 school-aged children who spent their summer exploring architecture and design. For nearly a decade, the Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF) has hosted Summer@theCenter. The immensely popular programs sell out thanks to the wonderful partnerships established with local architects, designers, businesses, and cultural institutions related to the built environment. CFAF’s summer programs bring 3rd-12th- grade audiences through the design process, and the experience is enhanced exponentially by visits to cutting-edge sites such as the QueensWay, small architectural practices including Marpillero Pollak Architects’ work/live space and Adam Kushner’s breathtaking design/rebuild home and studio. The staff at Anderson Architects presented their retail work to students enrolled in the Store Design studio, while Heintges explained their important role in curtain wall technology to students in the 21st Century Skyscraper studio.
Middle school students in the Rails to Trails summer program took a guided tour with Friends of the QueensWay pioneer Frank Lupo, FAIA, through a section of the right-of-way, challenging their guide with a variety of design and transit-based questions. Design Educator Ian Harris helped students envision their own designs for different portions of the abandoned railway proposed to become a linear park.
High school students benefitted from a tour and design charrette hosted by Grimshaw Architects. Students then went on to use the firm’s gallery and adjacent Tunnel space as the site for their own project – a gallery for viewing their own collection. Students experienced a welcoming, supportive, and creative work environment, and came to understand the variety of skills and opportunities available to them in a large office setting. Another high school group learned about social justice and the practical application of design for people with unique needs at the Adaptive Design Association. Founders Alex Truesdell and Antoinette LaSorsa demonstrated the gravity of both design and building using cardboard as a way to customize furniture and provide mobility to individuals who would otherwise have unequal access to many things that “able–bodied” people take for granted.
With 15 unique programs provided over the summer, there are many other individuals deserving of thanks. One final thank you goes to Amy Schellenbaum, editor at Curbed and author of the series Amateur Architect, which highlighted three distinct summer programs. You can also see additional photos of the summer programs on our website or by checking us out on Facebook.
For a full listing of fall events visit the calendar section of our website.