The Benefits of Dual Educational Programming

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, or contact Catherine Teegarden at

FamilyDay@theCenter: Jugaad Urbanism — Designs for City Life

Event: Family Day: Jugaad Urbanism: Designs for City Life
Location: Center for Architecture, 02.19.11

Families visited the “Jugaad Urbanism” exhibition and then developed their own resourceful solutions to urban growth.

Deborah Ni

I particularly liked the solar-powered lamppost idea. I could see it being incorporated into public parks and playgrounds. What a fun activity for kids, to pedal for electricity. I thought… we should try some of these methods in America.
— Jonathan Neroulias, student visitor

Families gathered at the Center for Architecture to explore the new exhibition “Jugaad Urbanism: Resourceful Strategies for Indian Cities.” Using the exhibition’s printed Family Guide, they learned about the struggles facing the population in a place lacking resources, including not having access to clean water, habitable housing, privacy, and sanitation. They also explored the wide range of designs produced by Indian citizens, architects, urban planners, and governmental and nongovernmental organizations that address India’s current urban crisis. Families compared these solutions with NYC’s approach to similar issues.

The workshop following an exhibition tour provided an opportunity for visitors to develop their own solutions to urban problems. Families collaborated on resourceful, multi-purpose designs that could enhance the quality of life for any community. Projects included solar-powered homes that collect rainwater; a mechanical recycling robot; covered bridges that give access to people with disabilities; and eco-friendly vehicles.

The Center for Architecture Foundation offers Family Days once a month on Saturday at the Center for Architecture. The Foundation also hosts Studio@theCenter, three-day design programs for students in grades 3-12 during school vacations and Summer@theCenter, weeklong design programs over the summer holiday. For more information about the Foundation’s Programs@theCenter or ways to get involved, visit, or contact Catherine Teegarden at