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The Amateur Architect: A Look at Mod Cardboard Chairs Designed and Built by Teens


Welcome back to The Amateur Architect, wherein Curbed drops in on kids’; summer classes hosted by The Center for Architecture Foundation in NYC. Now in its 10th year, Summer@theCenter offers 8 to 18-year-olds weeklong programs in such fields as dream-house designing and rooftop planning. This column will feature some of the stories, projects, and, of course, the young designers themselves, so, please, do follow along. Next up: Chair Design.

066-1.jpgPhoto courtesy of Center for Architecture Foundation

On a recent rainy Thursday, a trio of teenagers wielding Xacto knives were busy building cardboard furniture, one an undulating chaise lounge, another a contemporary perch, the third a rounded chair with a complementary side table. The CFA’;s Chair Design and Build class is the only offering after which the students get to take home something in real-scale, something they built using familiar materials and strange construction methods (there was a lot of YouTube learning involved). During the weeklong class, the 3 pupils went to a handful of furniture stores around NYC’;s soho neighborhood (to glean inspiration), built scale models, and, the grand finale, created—with the help of 4 classroom assistants—the designs in real life. And, naturally, life lessons abounded: accept imperfections (“I like the deformed one.”), love your work enough to save it when it’;s in peril (“AH! My child!”), and, of course, value knife safety above all else (“I’;d rather do it quick and lose an eye.”)

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