Common Sense Review
Updated October 2015

Apprentice Architect: Fondation Louis Vuitton

Examine an architectural masterpiece from the comfort of the classroom
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating
Not Yet Rated
  • Six activities explore different aspects of the design, construction, and utilization of this Frank Ghery building.
  • A 360-degree virtual tour highlights and explains particularly interesting engineering or architectural features.
  • Interactive quizzes get kids thinking.
  • In this Where's Waldo-like game, kids learn about the different roles involved in the life of this building.
  • Experiment with natural lines and forms, just like Frank Ghery.
Accessible, multi-faceted look at the whole story behind an architecture project.
Content doesn't move much beyond the specifics of one building (Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris).
Bottom Line
App has superb activities for kids who can visit the building themselves that are worthy enough for kids who can't, especially those interested in architecture.
Mieke VanderBorght
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

Kids who like architecture or engineering should have no trouble getting into this app. There's even enough to briefly grab other kids' attention. Yet, it won't take long to do it all, and there's little to call kids back again.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Most activities are narrowly focused specifically on the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Interactive virtual tours and kid-friendly explanations provide background information. Hands-on creation tools put kids in the designer's seat.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

A number of modalities -- images, maps, text, design tools -- convey information. Kids are encouraged to use the app as they explore the Fondation Louis Vuitton building -- though a visit to Paris is unlikely for most.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Teachers can use Apprentice Architect: Foundation Louis Vuitton as a case study in a unit on art, architecture, contemporary buildings, or engineering. Kids will learn about Frank Gehry and his work, as well as the how architecture combines art and principles of engineering. Combine individual exploration of this app with research into other Frank Gehry buildings, other contemporary architects, artists that might show their work at the Foundation, or architectural history. Have kids email the sketches and models they make with the app and explain their artistic process. Older kids who are particularly interested in architecture or engineering might enjoy using the building as inspiration to make 3D models with clay, cardboard, or other materials. On the off chance that there might be a class trip to Paris in the works, use the app to introduce the building before leaving, then use it again once there to explore further.

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What's It Like?

Apprentice Architect: Fondation Louis Vuitton takes kids on a tour of a Frank Gehry-designed building in Paris. Six activities give kids an in depth look from design to construction to function. Experiment with making sketches inspired by forms and lines from the world around you or make a 3-D model of a Frank Gehry-like building. Share finished projects through the email option. Take a virtual 360-degree tour of the building and learn about the engineering feats behind some unique features. Place glass panes in the roof, or find people (e.g., a climber, an engineer) in a Where's Waldo-like game to discover what each one does.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Budding architects and engineers will enjoy Apprentice Architect: Foundation Louis Vuitton as a kid-friendly overview of the process of making a new building from ideation to function. The best way to use is it to make a trip to the building itself. Study up on the design and construction process and then take the app with you as you explore the building to find all the features the app references. There's even a game where kids have to find where certain views of the building or surrounding area can be seen.

However, if a trip to Paris isn't in the cards, kids can still get something meaningful out of the app. There's some good general -- though very basic -- information about design and the building and engineering process. The design sections are fun, but drawing tools are quite simple. Without extra support, it may be hard for kids to see how these very esoteric shapes can be functional buildings, however they can get a good sense of the playfulness and artistic quality to architecture, especially that of Frank Gehry. Overall, this is a fun (and free!) peek inside the head of a visionary contemporary architect.

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See how teachers are using Apprentice Architect: Fondation Louis Vuitton