Architecture For Kids

Please tell us about Amag.

Jorge Raedo: Amag an architecture magazine for children 5-10 years old. It is a free Open Educational Resource.

The idea germinated in Helsinki. Architects Carlos and Anabel Maushaus are the editors. They make the website and graphic design and I am the director. The issue “2012″ is made by twelve articles by professionals in architecture education for children and youth from all over the world.

Amag was created not to be read, but to be printed and played with. Playing with the two dimensional object (the paper) transforms it into a three dimensional experience. A text for teachers explains how to use the A4 (now in English, Spanish and Finnish). And a video shows how to play with the article.

What role do you think design plays in how kids learn?

Jorge Raedo: Design is to improve our day by day life. If a child finds a solution to build a stronger slingshot, she is doing design. If a kid makes a better way to arrive to school saving two minutes every day, he is doing design.

To think in a practical way is “to design” but beauty is an attribute of the practical objects and actions. If kids learn to think in that way they will be able resolve problems in a way that is practical, durable, and for the benefit of all.

Design makes our common and personal life better.

Architecture deals so much with the understanding of space and how it’s used. How do you translate these concepts to kids?

Jorge Raedo: Architecture is an art. The main tool we have to experience Architecture is the human body. Houses, cities, and landscapes are the consequences of the movements of our bodies, of our desires, strengths, weaknesses and nobleness.

When we teach art we teach both technique and passion for our profession.

The techniques of Architecture are useful to build houses, to create spaces, and to order the territory. They allow us to understand the materials around us, to measure them, and to model it to be useful for our needs.

The passion for the profession translates the respect for tradition and ancestors, for the effort and study, for the research and freedom in the process of creating.

How do you think this basic understanding helps them to find their own place (in space) each and every day?  

Jorge Raedo: We help them to develop their spatial thinking. The movements of our body impact our brain second to second; the spatial thinking is a consequence of all our movements. That is why dance is essential for kids.

We should be able to show them professionals tool and techniques, but adapted for their age. How? By playing.

What else are you working on? Seems like you’ve got some really cool stuff in the works!

Jorge Raedo: I direct a project called Rakennetaan kaupunki! that joins opera and architecture, produced by Maria Nordin (architect) and Anna Rombach (conductor). Kids work for eight months during their school year to prepare an opera. We are preparing new operas with schools in Finnish cities. Two of the schools are for children with visual and hearing impairments.

I collaborate with the Helsinki Art Museum, Kiasma (Museum Of Contemporany Art), and Lastu School of Architecture For Children and Youth. In Spain I collaborate with Docomomo doing workshops of architecture for teachers of schools, and I am designing an International Encounter on architecture education in schools organized by ProxectoTerra.

I have other projects in my heart. I hope my brain will be able to make them.

The only way to improve arts education for children and youth is working together.

Thank you, SquagTM.