The Architectural Thinking School for Children was founded in July 2016 by curator and artist Elena Karpilova and architect Alexander Nokikov. Elena Karpilova is a designer, curator, art historian and head of Minsk Design Week. She studied at the Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts as well as the Minsk State Art College. Alexander Novikov is an architect and partner at KARAKO Architecture Studio. He studied at the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design and the Belarusian National Technical University.
Future architecture from future architects
By Architectural Thinking School for Children
The Architectural Thinking School for Children is located in Minsk, Belarus. It teaches architectural thinking as a tool for understanding the contemporary world. Founded in 2016 by architect Alexander Novikov and art historian and designer Elena Karpilova, the idea behind the institution is that extra-curricular education can play a decisive role in a child’s future development.
There are 16 studios at the school focusing on a variety of different disciplines – from contemporary art to storytelling to biology – all through an architectural lens. Each studio is tutored by practicing professionals. Today there are around 50 tutors and 80 students, age 7-13, at the school. The main programme takes place over two years. The first year is dedicated to systems thinking and each semester dedicated to one large project, such as the production of a film or book. Students complete each project by progressing through a range of different studios. The second year is dedicated to research. Students take Minsk as their subject, considering it from the perspectives of different disciplines and making their own speculations regarding the future of the city. The result is an interactive map available online at minskeye.by.
The following extracts are project descriptions by second year students asked to design the Apartment House of the Future (2067):
Valery Volodko, aged 11
My building is very compact because of the probable overpopulation in the future. It looks like a frame with cylindrical suspended modules. The building is also envisaged for the end of the world. It is distinguished from the other contemporary buildings by its compactness. The building is made of plastic; power lines are connected to it. It will be erected on the water (there will be a pole from the bottom). All and everyone will live in it. It is also very easy to buy an apartment in this building. All the modules are very compact. They have everything you need. In case of a hurricane or an earthquake, modules will move down under the water. And if there is no water, the modules will be very tightly pressed against the frame. This means that people are safe. There are ten modules in the building. Each accommodates up to five people.
City of Parks
Zhenya Muravsky, aged 7
My house is glassy, comfortable, strong, big. There is a lot of nature in it and it can fly with the help of wing-engines. Actually, it is a smart palace. Strong and cool people will live in it. My house is made of glass, crystals. There is a horror park on the fifth floor, you can come there and laugh if you are feeling moody. I will build this house in the park. And people with the same name will live there. It will have 1-20 apartments and there will always be a lot of sweets in them. The house is too strong. It will not remind you of anything you’ve seen before.
Green House – Green Town
Kirill Klebanov, aged 11
I see my project as a big green house. In the future, I want people to have a lot of space and light. I believe that people should spend time on the streets and in parks. My building is “cylinder-expanded”; round, because there are too many square buildings in big cities. The Green House is not a prefab panel building. It is deconstructed. And this building fits Minsk and other green cities perfectly. The world needs environmental friendliness and my building meets all standards. The Green Town is provided with green energy: ultra-solar batteries generate ten times more electricity than usual. There are also 16 buildings on one floor, that is 64 apartments and 28,608 people.
Anna Bezenson, aged 8
This is a normal standard house. It does not differ from ordinary panel houses. It has a rectangular shape. There will be even more nature by 2067, but my house will not harm it. It is above it. It will produce energy from the sun and lakes. It will be above the forest. Adults and children will live in it. In the adult house there will be a kitchen, a hall, a bedroom, a toilet. In the house of a teenager there will be a hall, a bedroom, a toilet, but without a kitchen, because children do not know how to use kitchen appliances. This is my house.
Sonia Prudnikova, aged 10
Welcome to the “Snail” eco-house! Not many changes will take place in 50 years in Minsk, but the city will become bigger and many forests around the city will be cut down to build houses. That’s why I designed Snail eco-house, which will not spoil the ecology, but on the contrary – it will restore it.
Who will live in the Snail? People who care about the environment. And, of course, their animals 🙂 They move around the city on electric bicycles or ordinary bicycles. They collect energy during the day and then park in a special parking lot on the 0 floor and give energy to the house.
What kind of house is this? Snail is a technological ten‑storey house, which moves on a special air cushion.
It is made of organic materials. There are solar panels for heating and electricity installed. The house moves itself to places where nature needs to be to restored. Snail plows the ground and sows the seeds of plants and trees. To do this, there is a floor where the soil, seeds, fertilizers are stored and a special system for sowing is in place. The sewer system is made in such a way that everything is processed into a fertilizer and mixed with soil for seeds, so the plants from Snail grow fast! ■