Students Design Resort Islands While on School Vacation at CFA

CFAF Lead Design Educator Tim Hayduk and students investigate tropical and ocean eco-systems at the American Museum of Natural History.

Claire Buckley

Twenty 3rd-5th-grade students spent their winter break creating their dream island resort.

Claire Buckley

Students worked with a variety of materials, developing their interests and skills in design through hands-on activities.

Claire Buckley

Design Your Own Island participants developed friendships while closely working together over the 3-day workshop.

Claire Buckley

Students proudly display and present their completed projects to parents and friends.

Claire Buckley

Detail of one of the many inventive deserted islands created during CFAF’s February Vacation Programs.

Claire Buckley

At first, the islands were deserted. Just bare ridges of brown earth forming hills and valleys, encircling ponds and reaching out like fingers into a still, turquoise sea. Then buildings began to appear on choice land at the higher elevations or marching down hillsides through bright green foliage to the sea. Eventually, these were joined by docks, walkways, activity centers, swimming pools, and beach umbrellas you’d expect to find at an eco-resort. An exciting new vacation destination was realized in this new tropical archipelago, improbably located at the Center for Architecture and created by a group of 8–11-year-olds at the Center for Architecture Foundation’s February Vacation Camp, Design Your Own Island.

Held during the public school winter break, this 3-day design program gave students who had stayed home for their holiday a chance to create their own tropical vacationlands under the guidance of CFAF Lead Design Educator Tim Hayduk. The students looked at examples of an environmentally-sensitive resort at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts where Hayduk had spent time last summer, to see how buildings might be designed to create a harmonious setting by the sea. The group also took a trip to the American Museum of Natural History to study tropical and ocean eco-systems, giving them ideas about the kind of flora and fauna they would find on their islands.

Each student drew a map of their island design, then learned how to transform this into a 3-D contour model that became the base for their resort design. Using colored cardboard, foamcore, toothpicks, wire, and other craft materials, they created the buildings and structures for their island resorts, and turned green tissue paper and “sushi grass” into shrubs, grasses, and tiny palm trees. As a final touch, the students created brochures describing their islands and resorts to potential visitors — their parents and friends who arrived at the end of Day 3 to be treated to tours of the 20 different islands by their designers.

The Center for Architecture Foundation’s upcoming Vacation Camps, March 27 – 29 and April 10 – 12, 2012, will focus on Skyscrapers for 3rd-5th graders and Digital Design for 6th-9th graders. For more information about these programs, or to register, visit www.cfafoundation.org/studio.