Students need more opportunities in school to explore spatial relationships. Spatial relationships consist of objects (3D) such as product design and environments (4D) such as architecture and landscape design.
Legos and other 3D modeling materials are good ways for students to move beyond the predominantly 2D (drawing and painting) projects to explore three dimensions without making another clay pot or a papier-mache mask.
Architecture is different than 3D (objects) so we refer to it as 4D to reflect the spatial character of environment design. This makes it important, in selecting architectural projects, to keep students from thinking they are making an object (a sculpture) and help them realize that they are making a model to represent a spatial environment people would walk around in. They have to imagine themselves inside the environment to really learn something about spatial design.
A current exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. shows architectural models made with LEGOs. LEGO® Architecture: Towering Ambition will run through September 5, 2011 so any school planning a trip to Washington, D.C. should include the National Building Museum in their itinerary.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is a collection of replicas of 15 buildings from around the world made entirely from LEGO bricks created by Architect Adam Reed Tucker. Tucker, one of 11 LEGO Certified Professionals worldwide, created large-scale models of some of the world's most famous structures including the Empire State Building, St. Louis' Gateway Arch, and Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece Fallingwater.
Visitors to the exhibit are encouraged to create their own LEGO buildings to include in a LEGO community. Based on the principles of good urban design, participants are invited to create a building from one of the four categories—residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial—and then place the LEGO models on a large-scale map of a city.
Click on the heading above to see the National Building Museum website about the LEGO architecture exhibit.