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Communication Dans Un Congrès Année : 2018

Architectural Toys: The Construction of an Education


Towards the end of the XIX th century and the beginning of the XX th century, the toy market created a number of toys based on an emerging educational method underlined by a constructivist approach. Indeed, both in Europe and United States, many companies were inspired by what was happening, almost at the same time, in several schools of Art and Architecture, in which the design studio teaching was based on an "atelier" system and pupils developed skills and autonomy through their own action. The paradigm of practice based on task simulation, either scientific or artistic, is still clearly visible in a number of toys which promoted skills development through playing. German Anker blocks, Meccano or Guilbert construction sets, are perfect examples of toys which require intellectual and manual skills to successfully complete a specific exercise or experiment. The design of these kinds of toys reflected the shift in educational paradigms. The classical method was based on reproducing an existing solution, supported by instruction booklets provided by the toy's manufacturer. The new method afforded the user the opportunity to create something novel, not directed or limited by illustrations. These differences were reflected not only in the references provided by the toy companies or filtered through an adult worldview, but also in the toy design itself. Indeed, some construction sets were developed to be assembled in a limited number of forms, while others permitted a wide variety of permutations including the construction of unconventional shapes which may not be recognized as everyday objects like vehicles or buildings. Based on this background, this article highlights the idea that some toys facilitate actions which are similar to the propaedeutic exercises set, for example, during the first year in several architecture schools. Therefore, it is possible to consider specific kinds of toys, called architectural toys, as real educational devices.
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hal-02090933 , version 1 (05-04-2019)


  • HAL Id : hal-02090933 , version 1


Marco Ginoulhiac. Architectural Toys: The Construction of an Education. 8th International Toy Research Association World Conference, International Toy Research Association (ITRA), Jul 2018, Paris, France. ⟨hal-02090933⟩
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