Posts categorized: teaching

teaching /

Sustainable Architecture for Children

Avoid obvious, architecture, children, high-rise, city planning, sustainable, green, towers, buildings, paper, model, making

Architecture for Children with Collective Intelligence

We are teaching children about sustainability, architecture and city planning. Below are 9 exercises to be conducted in 20 classes. Special thanks to Pua Owen, Elizabeth Corts and Chi Tam for their ideas. See our other syllabus.

Sustainability with Architecture

Fall 2016

  • Environmental problems and causes – part 1.
    • Discussion in teams. We will conduct a role playing game with different sectors in our society – landlord, native residents, business owners and government – to identity causes and solutions to several environmental problems – heat island, noise, air pollution, lack of green space, lack of community.
  • Environmental problems and design – part 2.
    • City planning design in team competition to conclude previous discussion and to redesign a development complex based on their discussion. The design award will go to the best team that address the environmental problems.
  • Environmental problems and design – part 3.
    • Buildings Swap. Team is ask to inherit another team’s building and to add improvement to it to address new environmental problems. The design award will go to the best team that address the environmental problems.
  • Water: pollution and shortage – part 1.
    • Discussion of water issues. Identify methods to save, filter and treat water. Design architecture that can filter polluted water.
  • Water: design with water. – part 2
    • Design architecture that harvest rainwater.
  • Water: Architecture for a flooded city. – part 3
    • Design architecture that can sustain on water
  • Air: pollution and reduction – part 1
    • Understand different sources of air pollution. Competition to design a device to reduce construction dust.
  • Air: design – part 1
    • Design a building that can clean air.
  • Wind: How to harvest wind
    • Understand aerodynamic design and begin to design a building that can rotate in the wind
  • Wind: Architecture that can harvest wind energy
    • A competition with wind towers. A rotation test to see who has the most turbine with the most rotation in 20secs.

Spring 2017

  • Survey Part 1 – Existing school:
    • Survey Lasalle Primary School and make documentation of the school
  • Survey Part 2 – Ideal school:
    • Transform Lasalle into a dream school using data they have collected.
  • Transportation design part 1
    • Railroad design and discussion of transportation
  • Transportation design Part 2
    • High speed vehicle and assembly of cars mechanism.
  • Multi-functional design part 1
    • Buildings that can transform to fit multiple purpose
  • Multi-functional design part 2
    • Competition of building with the most configurations.
  • Light: Solar house part 1
    • Discussion on solar energy and the assembly of solar panel
  • Light: Solar house part 2
    • Competition of the best solar hose design
  • High Rise Design part 1
    • Pro and cons of living in a high density building
  • High rise design part 2
    • Competition of building the tallest tower and the most sustainable tower.


Avoid obvious, architecture, children, high-rise, city planning, sustainable, green, towers, buildings, paper, model, making




Installation, teaching /

Buildings as 3D Puzzles

3d puzzle, children game, paper puzzle, la salle primary school, architecture, 3d toy

Magnetic Puzzles:

We setup a booth with 3D puzzle challenge at La Salle Primary School Spring Festival. To make the event fun and challenging, we designed and built three sets of 3D puzzle based on three landmark buildings. There are three difficulty levels. Students could win prizes if they could assemble the puzzles within certain time limits. Bank of China is level 1 with 6 parts to assemble. Space museum is level 2 with 12 pieces and Louvre is also 12 pieces at Level 3. Children was having fun while learning about history of the buildings and their geometries. They learn how to identify and build 3d puzzle by recognizing similar 3d patterns. We also get to see how different children react to complicated forms. Some understands the 3D relationship immediately, but some have hard time even with two basic pieces. Some of the children and parents enjoyed the game so much. They came back to challenge multiple times. Our booth was placed third in the competition among all other booth designs in the Festival.

This is actually third time we created educational toys for children. The first project was Magnestic Play which was done at New York Hall of Science. The second one is Big Book with New York University. Both Projects were collaborated with Hsin Factory. We are a big believer of Jane McGonigal said about gaming. She gave a TED talk and said it is possible to solve the real world problems by playing more games. Of course, she was referring to intelligent games with realistic issues. Our toy on the other hands are inspiring children in a micro scale. We do believe those toys will slowly let children to understand the concepts of efficient structure and sustainable designs. When they grow up, they will solve real world issues in creative ways.

Special Thanks to Edmund Chung from La Salle Primary School and Parent Association who helped us to organize the Spring Festival.

-Vicky Chan, Architect and Educator