My Twitter feeds have been filled lately with the unveiling of…dun, dun, dun… Architect Barbie (opinion to be shared later).

This had me thinking, I have always been given advice in regards to how to answer the question: What has inspired you to become an architect?

Consecutive advice: Don’t say it’s because you loved playing with a. Legos b. Lincoln Logs c. K’Nex  d. fill in the blank with any other classic building systems toy here.

Alright, that makes sense, the cliche stands (hence the subtitle of this blog “don’t we all want to be architects when we grow up), but what about now? Toys have changed, but do they really help lead future generations into the discovery of architecture? Or have they by-passed cliche and become irrelevant and novelty?

Here is an example (more to come):

Young Architect, by Poof Slinky

According to reviews and even the product description, this set is not only extremely limiting, but also what does this really say about what the role of an architect.

Here is the product description from the Manufacturers from Amazon:

Attention, Aspiring Architects! The box says “ages 10 and up,” but we think it will be way, way up in this case. Young Architect” is a monster design and layout kit on a 24″ x 18″ acrylic sheet with (6) sheets of tracing paper in that size; (50) pieces of 1″ sq x 3/8″ thick 4-way wall supports; (10) pieces each (60 total) of 2″ tall wall partitions in lengths of 1-1/2″, 3″, 4-1/2″, 5-1/4″, 6″, and 9″; an 8-3/4″ x 12″ sheet of self-adhesive window and door stickers; (9) clear plastic room templates; (3) sheets of furniture cutout templates; and (4) colored pencils. Plan your dream house and when you get done you could add a screen top and have the only 12-room gerbil habitat on the block. No roof? Think hermit crabs; they can’t jump. Made in China for Slinky Science”.

Pre-packaged, pre-sized kits of parts? Yeah, yeah, yeah: prefab has pretty amazing potential and has been exercised throughout the globe in very innovative ways, but the kit isn’t called the Young HUD Architect, or Learn-How-To-Design-Like-Charles-and-Ray-Eames-by-using-their-Innovative-Expertise-of-1950s-Architecture.

The idea has potential, I’m sure it would still be fun to play with, but it is poorly executed, in my opinion. Thoughts? Has anyone used this toy set?

To be continued…