aeThe Architecture + Education in Buffalo Project (A+E) is an innovative in-school residency program that uses architecture as a tool for student development, connecting to art, science, technology, and math curriculum in grades K-8. Offered in three public schools this year through support from the New York State Council on the Arts, A+E is the unique collaboration of Young Audiences WNY, the American Institute of Architects in Buffalo/WNY (AiA), and the Buffalo Public School District.

Through a collaboration brought together by Young Audiences, this school year, over 250 students participated in the A+E program, including students at Lovejoy Discovery School #43, Buffalo Public School #81, and Dr. Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence #89. Curriculum was designed with four teacher teams in collaboration with members of the AiA Education Committee and architect Lindsey Graff.  Graff is a recent graduate of the University at Buffalo’s masters program in Architecture, and was hired by Young Audiences to implement the residencies with the support of the architect volunteers.

During the five-session residencies, Graff, with the assistance of architect volunteers, led students through hands-on workshops in architecture designed to build skills in English language arts, math, science, teamwork, critical thinking, design, and technology.

  • PS 89 Kindergarten – Each day students learned about the different parts of a house and how they work together to create the place we live. Students wrote stories and designed their own house in the form of a book, and house illustrations.
  • PS 43 Third Grade – Students learned about color, texture and three-dimensional objects as they pertain to building design. They built a façade of a building using a loom-like structure to weave in and out materials of different colors and textures.
  • PS 43 Fourth Grade – Students learned to understand the floor plan of their school, and the relationship of form, functionality, and shape. Students designed and created bus shelters, and the basics of scale.
  • PS 81 Eighth Grade – Students were briefed by their teacher on thermal mass before beginning the residency.  The students then learned the power of sunlight to warm and light a space in an energy efficient manner.  They then created a structure on which light would reflect and hold and then designed a room around it using methods of wood construction.

“This has been a wonderful collaboration for us,” said Young Audiences WNY Executive Director Cynnie Gaasch. “A+E is an excellent example of how professionals in creative fields may support the learning of Buffalo’s children through explorations of their field.  We were pleased to expand our offerings beyond traditional art forms in order to work with the American Institute of Architects Buffalo/WNY. The quality of the projects was made possible by the committed volunteers in the architectural community.”

Projects from the A+E program are on display to the public in an exhibition of student work hosted at Starlight Studio and Art Gallery, located at 340 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo through May 20. The Architecture + Education in Buffalo Project is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York States 62 counties. More information about this project is available online at www.yawny.org or by contacting the Young Audiences office at 716.881.0917.

Pictured above: Students at PS 89 demonstrate the basics of structural support with assistance from architect Lindsey Graff.