Teachers Learn How to Teach Architecture & Design


Teachers learning about architecture and design.

Glenda Reed

Some 30 classroom teachers came to the Center for Architecture on 11.03.09 for “Learning from the Built Environment,” a professional development workshop put on by the Center for Architecture Foundation. During the four-and-a-half hour workshop, design educators Catherine Teegarden and Tim Hayduk modeled ways that teachers can incorporate architecture and design into classroom activities.

One of the more challenging exercises asked teachers to build a scale model of the Center’s library, where the workshop was held. Working in groups, they measured the room’s dimensions and drew scaled plans and elevations. Using the drawings as templates, each group transformed their two-dimensional drawings into a three-dimensional scale model of the library space. Walking through the process demystified a project for the teachers that could be daunting to a class of fourth graders. The event culminated in a guided tour of student projects in the Foundation’s annual exhibition on view in the lower level of the Center. One educator claimed the show “helped me to visualize what children are capable of constructing, and that these design projects can be expanded into whole units of study.” Teachers left the workshop equipped with new ideas and a classroom-ready activity packet.

This professional development workshop was part of the Foundation’s larger mission to promote public awareness and a broader appreciation of the impact of architecture, design, and planning in the built environment. The Foundation’s professional development initiative most often occurs in conjunction with Learning By Design:NY (LBD:NY), an in-school residency program that pairs design educators with classroom teachers. By educating teachers, the Foundation can reach many more young people than would otherwise be possible. For more information about LBD:NY and future professional development opportunities please visit