TMS Architects volunteers, Retta Fitch, Gillian Baresich, Jason Bailey, Tim Giguere and Nicole Martineau, have spent recent after-school afternoons at a local elementary school assisting students with a nationally-recognized program called “Box City”. In this innovative curriculum, students learn how to plan and build a city – using donated boxes. With the help of skilled volunteers, they learn about zoning, scale, design guidelines, the planning process, deadlines and group-decision making.
A specific area in Portsmouth was mapped out and with the assistance of city planners, lots were developed and students designed and built specific buildings for each lot. In the end, they had created an aviary, a greenhouse, McDonalds , City Hall, a library and a recycling center among other buildings.
This innovative program is an ideal way to start students on the process of learning about their community and help them gain three-dimensional knowledge about executing a two-dimensional plan. The TMS volunteers were able to help brainstorm solutions with the students, inspire their creativity and encourage quality work. At the end of the seven session program, the students were able to display and explain this year’s “Box City” to fellow students, teachers and parents. The Center for Understanding the Built Enviornment (CUBE) has more information about the program and how it is used nationwide.