April 20, 2011
by Kristi Tremblay Center for Architecture Foundation

A student displays her skyscraper design during the Center for Architecture Foundation and Skyscraper Museum dual program.

Tim Hayduk

In 2008, the Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF) and the Skyscraper Museum began a new initiative to expand their K-12 educational programming. Because CFAF emphasizes a hands-on approach to learning, and the Skyscraper Museum displays historic and contemporary examples of skyscrapers, the two organizations designed a program to capitalize on both institutions’ strengths to serve the NYC community.

The dual program begins with a visit to the Skyscraper Museum. As students are given a 40-minute tour, they learn about the function and structure of a skyscraper, down to the rivets, as well as the past, present, and future of these inspiring buildings. After students learn about the skeleton, curtain wall, and other architectural elements, they head to the Center for Architecture to put their newly discovered knowledge to practice during a 75-minute workshop, building their own skyscrapers out of toothpicks, spaghetti noodles, and marshmallows. They problem solve how to build a strong yet tall structure that is able to withstand external and internal forces. The dual program concludes with the creation of a skyscraper skeleton that both demonstrates the command students have of architectural infrastructure and expresses the unique designs of each student. It is because of interactive educational programs like this that students are able to experience the benefits of both institutions.

The CFAF offers Student Days throughout the year to K-12 school groups. Programs are adapted to meet the abilities of different age groups. For more information, and to learn about ways to get involved, visit http://www.cfafoundation.org, or contact Catherine Teegarden at cteegarden@cfafoundation.org.