Cities may be on lockdown, but imaginations aren’t. As the social distancing and household isolation measures necessitated by the COVID-19 crisis continue into the spring, architects Foster + Partners have devised a series of DIY activities to keep young minds engaged with the urban – and architectural – world around them.
From designing a skyscraper to building an entire city in miniature, the #architecturefromhome activities require only basic household items – and a spark of creativity. For example, the paper skyscraper design provides a series of printable templates for geometric shapes. From there, all it takes is paper, glue, scissors and a few cocktail sticks to create a one-of-a-kind design.
The same simple materials – and design principles – are also at play in the “create your own city” template, which expands the scope of the design to include a variety of building types and an opportunity to create an urban street grid. The activities are available via a series of free PDF templates available on the Foster + Partners website.
But cities are more than streets and buildings – and so is #architecturefromhome. An exercise in drawing trees reveals the “(not so) secret techniques that we use to make perspective drawings of our green friends,” note Foster + Partners. Available in two iterations – a technique-oriented worksheet for older children and a colouring page for smaller kids – the sketch allows youngsters to fill out their cities with greenery. Aimed at kids from 2 to 12, 10 tasks have been published so far, along with a short online children’s book called What Makes a Building?
With the fun tasks designed to – literally – build on one another, the #architecturefromhome activity set fosters a holistic understanding of the built environment. When the perfect city has been built, Foster + Partners invites photo submissions of the project – many of which are set to be shared by the firm on social media.
The photos are a way to celebrate the creations, while the visual storytelling also “teaches children about scale and prompts them to think differently about space and buildings,” says Katy Harris, senior partner at Foster + Partners. For city-builders in the making, it’s a step up from those ubiquitous street-grid rugs.
From designing the skyscraper of the future to imagining a whole city, the #architecturefromhome activities get kids thinking like an designer.