After designing the Center for Architecture Foundation’s Building Connections exhibition in 2010, Poulin + Morris was invited back in 2011 to design the subsequent year’s exhibition. The Center for Architecture Foundation offers interdisciplinary programs on architecture and design that encourage students to take an active role in shaping the world around them. Celebrating its 20th-year of design-based education, the Learning By Design: NY program provides a hands-on, project-based approach to teaching design to students from diverse communities. Building Connections is an annual exhibition that showcases K - 12 student work from the Center’s 2010 - 2011 Learning By Design: NY in-school residency program, as well as its summer studios, illustrating the benefits of design education.
Poulin + Morris shared 3 critical objectives with the Center in developing the design of the Building Connections 2011 exhibition: that the design allow for an immediate interaction between visitors and the students’ work on display; that the exhibit emphasize the hard work and talent of the students; and that it illustrate the Center's unique methodologies and benefits of design education. The design team collaborated with the Center's project team on the exhibition's thematic organization and development, as well as the overall design of the 1,000-square-foot exhibition, including displays, interpretive and information graphics, wall murals, maps, and didactic labels.
A bold blue, grey, and white typographic wall mural, located at the entrance to the exhibition, functions as a thematic introduction for Building Connections 2011 by presenting the visitor with large-scale numerical data culled from the 2011 program, such as the number of students served, schools participating, models built, and educators involved.
Lightweight recyclable and reusable materials are used extensively for all exhibition displays, as well as interpretive and information graphic panels. Video monitors display classroom activities and interviews with students, teachers, parents, and the Center’s design educators while large-scale dictionary definitions of key thematic words function as organizational and informational guideposts throughout the exhibition. Celebrating student work through an intimate and organic experience, the exhibition allows visitors to connect with the blossoming talent of each student.
A coordinated series of print materials, including a promotional brochure and an e-vite were also designed, further establishing a strong visual identity for the exhibition as a cohesive whole.