Panel Systems works with architects to raise awareness of street children

Sheffield-based insulation distributor Panel Systems has helped to raise awareness across the UK of the plight of the millions of children across the world that live on the street, by supplying cut Styrofoam models for two special exhibitions which were held recently in London.

As one of the UK’s leading suppliers of Styrofoam insulation, Panel Systems responded to a request from Threefold Architects, based in London, to provide charity Street Child World Cup with Styrofoam models to enable three London schools to make models of the cities of Rio de Janeiro and London. Panel Systems designed the Styrofoam base models using their CNC machining capabilities to cut 16 blocks of Styrofoam into two basic pyramid shapes, a rectangular shape and a circular shape. Panel Systems also provided design and technical support to the architects behind the project for the construction of the models which were over 2m2.

Threefold Architects chose Styrofoam for the base material of the children’s cardboard city models as it is lightweight yet strong, making it ideal for transporting the models to and from the workshop to St Pancras and St Paul’s Cathedral, where the models were displayed. Panel Systems designed and produced the Styrofoam components at its hot-wire cutting facilities in Sheffield.

Matthew Driscoll, Director of Threefold Architects, said:

“We identified Styrofoam as the best material as it is lightweight yet strong. It was important within the design to make component parts that could easily be transported, assembled and disassembled. Panel Systems used their expertise and experience of shaped Styrofoam blocks that could achieve this. We are delighted that Panel Systems were able to work with us at short notice to produce the Styrofoam blocks that were so crucial to the success of these exhibitions.”

Prior to the workshop, Threefold Architects worked with an artist and with Street Child World Cup to develop the design for the models and construct the bases and some of the components to enable the children to decorate the bases, assemble the iconic buildings and make and decorate the houses and favelas to fill the tiers of the models.

The models were displayed at St Pancras Station and St Paul’s Cathedral in London on 23rd July 2013, coinciding with a service to commemorate the 1993 Candelária massacre of street children. Street Child World Cup is now hoping to find a permanent home for the models to be displayed after the event.

This year, Threefold Architects have held their annual three day architecture and design workshop for secondary school students in collaboration with the charity Street Child World Cup. The workshops aim to give children aged 11-16 a deeper insight into architectural design and the role of the architect within society.

Street Child World Cup is a global campaign that challenges the negative perceptions and treatment of street children through football and art. Their mission is to ensure that street children are given the protection and opportunities that all children are entitled to.