Glass House Presents

Alexandra Lange on the Design of Childhood

Join design critic Alexandra Lange for a free reading at New Canaan Library from her new book The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids, which reveals the surprising histories behind the human-made elements of our children’s pint-size landscape.

Please note: this event takes place at New Canaan Library. Please register by emailing rsvp@theglasshouseorg. The lecture will begin at 6:30pm, preceded by a reception beginning at 6:00pm.

Parents obsess over their children’s playdates, kindergarten curriculum and every bump and bruise, but the toys, classrooms, playgrounds and neighborhoods little ones engage with are just as important. These objects and spaces encode decades, even centuries of changing ideas about what makes for good child-rearing—and what does not. Do you choose wooden toys, or plastic, or, increasingly, digital? What do youngsters lose when seesaws are deemed too dangerous and slides are designed primarily for safety? How can the built environment help children cultivate self-reliance? In these debates, parents, educators and kids themselves are often caught in the middle.

Alexandra Lange is the architecture critic for Curbed. Her essays, reviews, and profiles have appeared in numerous design publications as well as New York Magazine, the New Yorker, and the New York Times. Her new book, The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids, was supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. She is also the author of Writing About Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012), The Dot-Com City: Silicon Valley Urbanism (Strelka Press, 2012), and co-author, with Jane Thompson, of Design Research: The Store that Brought Modern Living to American Homes (Chronicle Books, 2010).