New Canaan Library and The Glass House are pleased to welcome design critic Alexandra Lange, presenting a reading from her new book, The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids. Ms. Lange’s book reveals the surprising histories behind the human-made elements of our children’s pint-size landscape. The event will be held in the Library’s Adrian Lamb Room on Tuesday, September 25 at 6:30 p.m., preceded by a light reception at 6 p.m. Please register online at newcanaanlibrary.org.
Parents obsess over their children’s play dates and every bump and bruise, but what about the importance of the toys, classrooms, and playgrounds little ones engage with? The Design of Childhood explores how these objects and spaces encode decades, even centuries, of changing ideas about what makes for good child-rearing—and what does not. Are wooden toys better than plastic, and what about 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).