Design Professionals Share Their Expertise with Aspiring High School Students at the Center

On 01.15.15, the Center for Architecture hosted staff and students from our partner school, the Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction (UASDC), for a semi-annual presentation by students in the school’s architecture program, led by CFA Design Educator Yves Roger. Roger has been teaching at the school through our Learning By Design:NY program for eight years, introducing students to the process of architectural design. Ninth-grade students begin exploring fundamentals of scale, structure, and shaping space through 2-D and 3-D design exercises, culminating in their designs for a cube house and a bridge. Tenth-graders delve deeper, working in teams to design a high school, a museum, and living space based on the complex geometries of the ancient Chinese tangram puzzle. Eleventh- and twelfth-graders who choose to continue with architecture move into advanced classes, working independently on studio projects, and developing their portfolios for college applications.

Tenth- through twelfth-grade students presented their fall 2014 semester’s final design projects to a range of guest reviewers at the Center, including professional architects, structural engineers, architecture school students, recent UASDC graduates, and others from the building industry. Students’ projects included a beach house that could be moved during storms, a playground design for a housing complex on 52nd Street near the school, and their design portfolios. The projects were an apt segue between the work of college and graduate students in the “Arch Schools” exhibition on display around them in Tafel Hall, and the K-12 projects featured in the KPF/HLW Gallery’s annual “Building Connections” exhibition. Thanks to the reviewers’ generous donation of their time, students were able to present and receive one-on-one feedback about how to improve their work, tips on applying to college, and more.

Architects and others in the field interested in participating in the school’s spring design critiques at the Center on 06.01.15 are invited to contact us at The school also welcomes architect volunteers throughout the school year to speak to students, host a visit to their office, or assist in the classroom. Donations of model building materials and other supplies that an office may be discarding are also needed – topping the wish list right now is a flat file to store students’ drawings.

The Center for Architecture’s Learning By Design:NY program serves more than 1,800 K-12 students and teachers throughout the city each year, helping them to explore architecture and design, and enriching the classroom curriculum. Programs are customized to target the age level and learning goals of each group, creating a wide range of topics and projects, from traditional Japanese teahouses to 21st-century bridges. These and other examples of student work from the 2013-14 LBD:NY program are currently on view through 02.28.15 in the annual “Building Connections exhibition at the Center.