Another Summer of Discovery at the Center, with Special Thanks…

As the dreams of summer drift away and the gravity felt in going back to school or work takes hold, we are reminded of the incredible work that took place here at the Center for Architecture in 15 workshops for K-12 children over nine summer weeks. About 277 students called the Center for Architecture home over the summer, as they spent hours drawing, sketching, taking photographs, and building elaborate models of their own designs. They visited places as diverse as backstage at BAM; the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum; the Knoll showroom; the Hudson Yards site and showroom; and the architectural offices of Grimshaw and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. We were glad to welcome Molly Hughes, production designer for the Harry Potter movies, and Roderick Romero, a “Treehouse Master,” to share their work with students at the Center. Many others, both young and old, shared their interest in architecture, design, and the city, and the students found a forum for sharing their own design ideas with each other, both in class and during their final presentations at the end of each week. Through all of the hard work, the students also had a lot of fun making things. Continue reading “Another Summer of Discovery at the Center, with Special Thanks…”

Center for Architecture Foundation and Mueser Rutledge Collaborate to Bring Hands-On Exhibition Workshops to the General Public

The Center for Architecture’s exhibition, “Considering the Quake: Seismic Design on the Edge,” brings to life the architectural and structural challenges of building in earthquakes-prone areas. The Center for Architecture Foundation hosted two hands-on public programs in April for adults and families to explore how earthquakes affect our built environment. Experts from Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers (MRCE), a leading firm concerned with the engineering of building foundations, provided the latest fundamentals in structural design as it relates to seismic events that was quite captivating and understandable to the respective audiences. Continue reading “Center for Architecture Foundation and Mueser Rutledge Collaborate to Bring Hands-On Exhibition Workshops to the General Public”

Towering Ambitions for Students Attending the Center for Architecture Foundation’s Studio@theCenter Programs this Spring

Over a decade has passed since New York City was faced with the wrenching decision of how to rebuild the World Trade Center site after 9/11. Skeptical that we would ever build tall again, the tremendous resolve demonstrated by New Yorkers laid the groundwork for what is now the third tallest building in the world – One World Trade Center. Our magnificent skyline has been restored with a tower that inspires new generations, including the students enrolled in the Center for Architecture Foundation’s Studio@theCenter. Continue reading “Towering Ambitions for Students Attending the Center for Architecture Foundation’s Studio@theCenter Programs this Spring”

A Healthy Dose of Competition Makes Olympic Game Design a Gold Medal Winner

The Center for Architecture Foundation hosted its first school break program of the season 02.18-20.14. The program, titled “Olympic Game Design, coincided perfectly with the 30th Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, allowing 3rd through 7th graders to learn from the Games in real time. With a focus on garnering inspiration from an Olympic event, students learned about the design of the event’s venues – think bobsled or luge course, ski jump, ice rink or swimming pool, from either the Winter or Summer Olympics. Students then designed a model that doubled as an arcade-style game. Part of our inspiration for the program came from Caine’s Arcade, a touching short documentary about an inventive boy in Los Angeles who builds his own arcade games out of discarded boxes from his father’s auto parts dealership. Continue reading “A Healthy Dose of Competition Makes Olympic Game Design a Gold Medal Winner”

Summer@theCenter 2013: Many Contributors Equal One Great Big Success

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.

Continue reading “Summer@theCenter 2013: Many Contributors Equal One Great Big Success”

Bridges and Treehouses

The Center for Architecture Foundation conducted a series of vacation camps this spring, providing elementary and middle school students with a chance to explore how bridges and treehouses are designed and built. The season started off in February with a one day Bridges program. Students explored a variety of bridge types, drew up their own designs, and made their own bridge models. Continue reading “Bridges and Treehouses”

CFAF’s Summer Guided Exhibition Tours Feature Emerging Architects

ENYA Co-chair Amanda Rivera, Assoc. AIA, provides the contextual background for “The Harlem Edge: Cultivating Connections” as part of the Center for Architecture Foundation’s Guided Exhibition Tours.

Eveline Chang

The “New Practices New York 2012” exhibition tour was guided by Tim Hayduk, Lead Design Educator for the Center for Architecture Foundation. The exhibited work prompted interesting dialogue amongst the attendees.

Eveline Chang

Amanda Rivera and Javier Caracamo share the jury’s thought process behind selecting “Sym-bio-pia” the First Prize winner by Linearscape’s Ting Chin and Yan Wang.

Eveline Chang

The Center for Architecture Foundation’s summer series of Guided Exhibition Tours showcased two AIA New York Chapter Committee-based exhibitions, “New Practices New York 2012” and “The Harlem Edge: Cultivating Connections.” Both the New Practices and Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) Committees focused their attention on work by young architects in these two biennial competitions.

“New Practices New York 2012” began with 51 submissions by practices in all five NYC boroughs founded after 2006; thus the exhibition is a dynamic cross-section of firms. Some of the work featured was born out of university studies and theses, while others rose out of designers’ collaborations outside of the realm of architecture. Tour participants experienced an array of thought-provoking ideas that challenged traditional practice or redefined architecture by crossing geographic and ecological boundaries, even proposing building materials derived from bacteria fueled by renewable glucose.

Javier Caracamo and ENYA Co-Chair Amanda Rivera were on hand to walk attendees through “The Harlem Edge,” which focuses on the redevelopment of the West 135 Street marine transfer station. Both Caracamo and Rivera were deeply involved with the competition: from choosing the site, to soliciting Nourishing USA as the programmatic sponsor, to participating in the jury process, and planning the exhibition and affiliated events. Tour participants were surprised to learn that most of the competition came together through ENYA Committee members volunteering their time and energy. Unlike the heterogeneous collection of “New Practices New York 2012” entries that were juried, selected, and exhibited, “The Harlem Edge” entries were limited by a site, client, and program. Despite these constraints, 98 entrants from around the world submitted work that may help the West Harlem community to envision its own future.

The next Guided Exhibition Tour@theCenter will focus on “The Edgeless School: Design for Learning” and “The Best School in the World: Seven Finnish Examples from the 21st Century” on 10.04.12 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. On 11.16.12 and 1.7.03, CFAF will reprise a tour of “The Edgeless School” and include a look at “Building Connections 2012,” CFAF’s annual exhibition of K-12 student design work. For more information and to register, please visit

Students Take on Manhattanville


Student proposals for Manhattanville.

Courtesy Center for Architecture Foundation

The evening of June 16 marked a commencement of sorts for sixth-grade students at P.S. 161 in Harlem. A presentation of models for a future Manhattanville was created by the students in response to Columbia University’s expansion in the Manhattanville/West Harlem neighborhood, a few blocks away from their school. Throughout the presentation, a wealth of knowledge was shared by the students who provided their own perspectives on how Manhattanville should be transformed. Ideas such as ferry terminals, hospitals accessible to everyone, recycling centers with green roofs, college dorms with practical amenities nearby, and open space were on the top of the list of programmatic elements.

The student investigation of Manhattanville was conducted by Jane Cowan, a design educator for the Center for Architecture Foundation. A partnership with the school first began when the students were in the fourth grade, and has continued as part of the Foundation’s Learning By Design:NY in-school residency program. The focus of the residency was to introduce the students to the history and architecture of Harlem with an emphasis on the inevitable notion of change in the city and in our lives. Students investigated the community’s history through its landmarks — constructing models of 25 significant sites, and writing and performing plays using those landmarks as the backdrop to historical and social events. Then they focused more specifically to the history of Manhattanville, where they researched buildings in the expansion area, photo-documented the streetscapes, and conducted interviews with people in the neighborhood.

A visit to Columbia provided students the opportunity to learn more about the university’s plans, as well, giving the students a perspective on the professional side of development and an opportunity to envision themselves on a path toward higher education. The resulting work was a synthesis of the many projects which took place during the residency. The students have been exposed to Manhattanville’s historic and architectural fabric and are informed of the changes to come. Their documentation of the area is an important record, and hopefully their memory of this neighborhood will remain with them and be passed on to the next generation of Harlem residents.

In addition to the participation and input of students and staff at P.S. 161, Leila Vujosevic of OMNI Architects and Hermes Mallea, AIA, from M(Group) offered their support, sponsorship, and time to the endeavor.

For more information about the programs offered by the Center for Architecture Foundation, visit