Teenagers Redesign Access to the White House


WASHINGTON, D.C.Twenty-fourDistrict of Columbia middle-school students have some interesting ideas about to how to get visitors into and around the White House.
The students are part of the National Building Museum’s (NBM) award-winning CityVision urban planning and architectural design program for teenagers. During the fall semester, the D.C. Public School students were asked to rethink the neighborhood around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Their challenge: develop a design solution for a new White House Visitor Center, welcoming millions of people to America’s most famous home—and making the area more inviting for local residents. The students also addressed security concerns, ways to preserve the environment, and methods to minimize traffic impacts.
On January 8, 2010 the teens will present their proposals to a public audience and jury of professionals. The students, working in teams, will share their ideas for a new White House Visitor Center through scaled models, computer-aided design renderings, drawings, and images. Each team will discuss their concept and design influences, including what they learned from planning and design professionals at the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), and representatives from the U.S. Secret Service, General Services Administration, Capitol Visitor Center, National Park Service, and White House staff.
The fall 2009 CityVision course was developed in partnership between the NBM and the NCPC. Staff at the NCPC have participated in past CityVision programs and once again enjoyed contributing time and expertise to help mentor the city’s youth.  NCPC staff worked with White House staff to provide the students with a tour of the White House, in recognition of their hard work.
The award-winning program now in its 16th year, works to introduce DC Title I Public School students to the building arts and sciences, with a particular focus on urban planning in the District of Columbia. During the 14 week program, the teenagers are taught about land use, historic preservation, environmental sustainability, and transportation in addition to learning how to produce technical drawings and computer graphics. With professional mentors from the NCPC and other organizations, the students then conduct site visits and collaborate in teams to produce a design solution. The course seeks to help students become active participants in shaping their communities. In addition, many graduates of CityVision have gone on to higher education in architecture, design, planning, and construction.
For additional background and up-to-date information on CityVision visit www.nbm.org.
The National Building Museum is America’s cultural institution dedicated to exploring and celebrating architecture, design, engineering, construction, and planning. Chartered by Congress in 1980 and open to the public since 1985, the Museum has become a vital forum for exchanging ideas and information about the built environment through its exhibitions, education programs, and publications. The Museum is located at 401 F Street NW, Washington, D.C. Museum hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. Admission is free. Museum Shop. Café. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448 or visit www.nbm.org.
The National Capital Planning Commission is the federal government’s central planning agency in the District of Columbia and surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia. The Commission provides overall planning guidance for federal land and buildings in the region. It also reviews the design of federal projects and memorials, oversees long-range planning for future development, and monitors capital investment by federal agencies.