The Next Generation of Urban Designers

Event: Studio@theCenter — City Design; 3-D Digital Design with Google Sketch-Up
Location: Center for Architecture, 2.16.10-2.18.10
Educators: Catherine Teegarden; Erik Ratkowski


Studio@theCenter takes on urban design and 3-D skyscraper design.

Inge Hoonte, Skyscraper designed by Dean Sadik

Does growing up in an urban setting give kids insights into city planning? One would think so, judging from the work of the 17 young people who took part in the Center for Architecture Foundation’s Studio@theCenter program, “City Design,” during the public school vacation week last month. Over the course of three days, these budding designers in 2nd-5th grade created their own 3-D model of an ideal city. As inspiration, the group looked at plans of cities and visited the Panorama Model of NYC at the Queens Museum of Art. Once the group had determined the features, layout, scale, and buildings to include in their city, they got to work. They created mixed-use zoning so residents wouldn’t have to go across town to get to services and places used every day, a feature they appreciated about NYC. Each student developed his or her own block and collaborated with others to create city-wide elements, like a riverside park, a beach front, sky trams, subways, and elevated trains. The developers toured their parents through CFA City at the end of the session and took their little pieces of it home to roost.

Meanwhile, students in 6th-12th grade were creating their own skyscraper designs in the IBEX Learning Center, the Center for Architecture’s computer lab, using Google Sketch-Up. They learned the basics of the program and created 3-D renderings of their skyscrapers’ exteriors, as well as close-up views of interior spaces. They made cardboard models of famous skyscrapers and structural models using toothpicks and marshmallows. Parents were treated to a PowerPoint presentation of their projects at the end of the three-day session.

The Center for Architecture Foundation is offering two more Studio@theCenter sessions this spring. During 03.23-25.10, the independent schools’ break, students can choose to design The House of the Future (2-5 grades) or to learn 3-D drafting and design in our Digital Design class (6-12 grades). Theater Design (2-5 grades) and our final Digital Design class (6-12 grades) will be offered 03.30-04.01.10, during public and private school vacations. The 3-day programs run 9 AM-4 PM at the Center for Architecture.

The Center for Architecture Foundation’s innovative programming continues over the summer with Summer@theCenter workshops for 3rd-12th graders. Programs include a two-week architectural design studio for high school students and week-long programs focusing on the design of Waterfront Parks, Bridges, Playgrounds, and A Room of One’s Own for elementary and middle school students. Details and registration forms for all programs are at