Featured Library: Salt Lake City

Forrest Kunz carries a section of his "box city" in the Salt Lake City Library

Collaboration has been mentioned often on Programming Librarian lately, and this month’s featured library continues the theme. The Salt Lake City Public Library recently hosted a box city developed by local fourth- through sixth-grade students, the result of a partnership with local elementary schools and the Young Architects Forum of the American Institute of Architects’ Utah chapter.

The box city is the culmination of an eight-week program, “Educating Elementary Children through Architecture,” that involved thirty architect volunteers teaching such concepts as scale, space, structure, rhythm, typology, planning, and presentation in the elementary schools. While learning about building design and city planning, students gained hands-on experience as well as teamwork and negotiating skills.

The program is very low-cost; boxes are supplied by students, and additional building materials are created from typical classroom or architect office supplies, including scissors, paper, and rulers. It also reinforces Utah schools’ core curricula principles, stimulates the learning process, accommodates different learning styles, strengthens visual perception, and expands the learning perspective.

The 99-block city features schools, houses, businesses, municipal buildings, and churches built around trees, hills, and water. About 350 children participated.