My husband and two daughters (ages 12 and 15) are all enthusiastic builders of models and sets. They are even making an elaborate N-gauge model railway. When Arckit got in touch to say they are launching a Kickstarter – and offered us the chance to review their architectural model building kit – I knew my family would be keen.
Arckit in a nutshell
It’s tempting to describe Arckit by saying what it is not. It is not Lego; it is not Playmobil; it is not an Airfix model kit or anything like that, and yet it has a lot of the same appeal. You can build it up into the picture shown on the box or alter it to your own design. The similarity ends there, because it is not something to build and play with, it is something to play at building. It is an opportunity to play at being an architect.
Building with Arckit
In terms of skill, this is a step above other building sets and is aimed at older children and adults. It does take a bit of pushing to get certain pieces to stick together and line several bits up at once. The pieces push together; there is no glue or mess.
Building from the instructions needs concentration. Some of the dots appear covered on the drawing, when in fact they need to remain uncovered when you make the model. However with adult help, my children did get there in the end. In fact it took only about 30 minutes to make. However there’s no need to build from instructions, they are just one suggestion. Your imagination can run wild.
It was a bit hard for my 12 year old but my 15 year old daughter went on to take the model apart and create her own house. She designed a house with a first floor cantilever conservatory. I would love that to be real!
The nice thing about getting one box set of Arckit is that it comes with plenty of spare pieces. This means that there are plenty of changes and personal designs that you can make. The plastic feels like really good quality. There are decoration sheets to stick on with tile, brick and floor patterns.
Endorsements and Kickstarter
My daughter says that she needs even more pieces, so I think that is an endorsement! It’s certainly true that the architecture bug can grab children fairly early, often moving on from things like Minecraft. Arckit is ideal for teens who are keen on design or have a fascination with the act of building. In fact it is compatible with 3D design software and there’s even a STEM education programme using Arckit for schools.
If you just look at the list of places which sell it, you can see that Arckit already has a reputation for both quality and intellectual value: It is stocked globally in prestigious retailers and design museums such as Harrods London, Barnes & Noble across the US, Brown Thomas Dublin, Hamleys Singapore, The Smithsonian & Guggenheim museums NY and many other stores worldwide.
Arckit is a startup with real passion behind their mission to bringing design to life. In order to expand their range they have launched a Kickstarter this month. This will expand their range and allow the design of whole cityscapes with a dozen new sets.
Disclaimer: We were given an Arckit set for the purposes of this review but all views and opinions are entirely my own.
Read a previous review blog post by clicking here.
Read blogs about parenting teens by clicking here.