Apr 29th, 2014

Elementary Kids Build Dream City

This spring, 200 school kids learned that building a dream city is easier when it’s made out of cardboard than from steel and concrete, but the principles of design still apply.

“Box City” — a miniature community of cardboard, construction paper and pipe cleaner “people” went on display at the Salt Lake City Main Public Library from Monday evening April 28. On Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., students, their families, teachers and architect volunteers will gather to view their miniature city and recognize the students’ accomplishment. The public is invited.

“Box City” was created through a program called Educating Elementary Children Through Architecture (EECTA), developed by AIA Utah and now directed by the Utah Center for Architecture, a new non-profit group. Architects and architectural graduate students worked with the 4th, 5th and 6th-graders and their teachers to explore the basics of design, the physics of structure and the essentials of city planning. The program’s seven architectural lessons coincide with classroom curriculum and reinforce the students’ knowledge of math, science, social studies, and communication skills.

“Creativity is perhaps the best part of this program,” says Evan Haslam, an architect who organized EECTA this year. “By the end of the seven-week period, a classroom of students and architects have not only created a minature city, they have developed an understanding that architecture can be beautiful no matter its size, shape, or color, and that the built environment is worth the thought and effort to make it truly ours.”

The schools that participated include Canyon View Elementary and Oakdale Elementary in the Canyons District, and Highland Park Elementary in Salt Lake City.