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Design LAB: Learn And Build


Design LAB is an exciting, FREE, hands-on K-12 education program offered to teachers in the Cincinnati area that builds awareness, knowledge and community!

This year’s theme is FOOD FOR THOUGHT and we will be challenging students to push the limits of where and how we make, buy, and enjoying eating food. Restaurants and other places we eat food have been pushing the limits of what they serve and how they serve it since their inception. Join us as we investigate the power innovation has to change the way we produce & consume our food!

Registration for 2018 is now OPEN!

Click Here for Teacher Registration

Click Here for Volunteer Registration


2017-18  PROGRAM CALENDAR (Tentative Dates Only)

Educator Registration Opens…….July 24, 2017

Volunteer Registration Opens……August 15, 2017

Educator Registration Closes…….Sep 30, 2017 

Volunteer Registration Closes……Oct 30, 2017

Orientation Workshop………………December 5, 2017

Orientation Workshop………………December 6, 2017

Educ-Vol Team Assignments by…Nov 30, 2017

Program Kick-off………………………Jan 8, 2018

Program Conclusion…………………Apr 27, 2018

Project Drop-off……………………….Apr 28, 2018

Design LAB Exhibit Week…………Apr 30-May 6, 2018

Design LAB Exhibit Jury Review…………..May 1, 2018

Design LAB Exhibit Reception…..May 5, 2018



Learn about Design LAB from our Volunteers & Educators:

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We are very pleased to present Design LAB: Learn And Build, the next generation of Architecture By Children (ABC)!  The Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati, in association with AIA Cincinnati, is pleased to offer this FREE, hands-on, project-based learning experience to our community’s schools, educators and students, grades K-12.

Design LAB is a project-based K-12 education program tailored to broaden and deepen student awareness, appreciation, and active participation in our natural and built environments.  Local professionals team with educators to guide students through a real-world, themed design problem, emphasizing the development of: research, critical thinking, problem solving, verbal and visual communication, creative expression, collaborative team-building, STEM and presentation skills.

This 16-week program engages a minimum of once per month classroom visits by professionals in the built environment. Each classroom session is approximately 45-60 minutes, and is assisted in partnership with the lead educator. Essential materials including the Educator & Volunteer Resource Guide, PowerPoint kick-off presentation and tri-folds are provided by Design LAB.

This year’s project theme is ‘FOOD FOR THOUGHT’.  Have you imagined what food production & consumption will look like in the future? Students will be challenged to research, design and build models of food production or consumption (or both!). As in previous years, students will have the opportunity to create a 24″x 24″ three-dimensional model and tri-fold panels for students to describe and document their creative process including:  concept images, sketches/drawings, vocabulary, written data, planning, etc. At the end of the work period, submitted projects will be displayed during Design LAB Exhibit Week  where students may present their ideas, methodology and solutions.

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We look forward to working with you to engage and inspire students in exploring, designing, and building their environments!

If you have any questions, please contact Christen Lubbers, Education Director


(513) 421-4469


“Working with the kids gave me new energy and enthusiasm for my work. Seeing it all through their eyes was really fun and inspiring.”  – Classroom Volunteer

“I learned all about teamwork. You’ve got to trust your team, especially when building.” – 4th Grade Student

Design LAB 2017: BRIDGE Winning Projects

Design LAB 2016: Learning Spaces Winning Projects