Mini Modernists: 15 Designer Toys for Young Architecture Fans

Build Me: Training Future Architects

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This game by Cinq Points pits players against each other to build towers, asking them not only to solve site challenges, create something imaginative and deal with logistical aspects of designing architecture, but also engage in a little bit of sabotage to prevent each other from finishing first.

Naef Tectus Cube Wooden Puzzle Construction Toy

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Sleek white blocks and square black surfaces fit together like a puzzle when not in use, and become foundations, walls, roofs, columns and furniture in whatever configurations your mind can come up with. Billed as “Swiss minimalism redefined,” the Tectus Cube toy’s white wooden cube is divided several times in adherence to the golden ratio. It can even be configured to look like a Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin floor lamp.

Bauhaus Models
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Created by sculptor Gidon Bing as a showcase for the New Zealand paint company Renese, this set of doll houses adhere to the Bauhaus design principles. The colors are combined “from an emotional point of view rather than a technical one.”

Wooden Ship Models
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Miniature reproductions of famous ships like the Arctic Princess, the TI Asia and the Emma Maersk break down the complex elements of each vessel into basic shapes. The Emma Maersk looks particularly fun to play with, as the kids can stack the containers however they like. Says design firm PostlerFerguson, “The Wooden Toy Ship mini-series is about reintroducing a sense of the grandeur of current technological feats to the wooden toy. The quality of the materials, reduced aesthetic and sense of technological optimism draw on the classic language of wood toys, while the updated subject matter introduces essential aspects of global modernism into the home.”

Kaleidoscope House
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The vivid Kaleidoscope House is the only example of an American dollhouse included in the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood, and was designed by architect Peter Wheelwright, who has created homes for New York artists, as well as artist and photographer Laurie Simmons.