Thursday 16 March 2017

The RIBA Architecture Ambassador Partnership

The Architecture Ambassador Partnership, part of the RIBA’s Schools Programme, offers an exciting opportunity for RIBA members to engage with pupils in an effort to inspire and encourage them to think about their built environment and the communities that occupy them.

Two members of the xsite team have been working closely with teaching staff from two local schools, developing projects which are being delivered to pupils. The project workshops, which are being run over a number of weeks, provide opportunity to celebrate the creative process and to promote understanding and awareness of the endless possibilities of architectural design and the build environment. 

 Workshop 1 at Monkseaton High School - Cardboard Model Making

About the school: Monkseaton High School is a mixed comprehensive school for 13-18 year olds, in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.

About the project: The initial meeting, spent with the teacher one evening at the Baltic, was very motivating. We discussed possible topics, shared interests and considered the best possible ways to engage the children with the RIBA programme. Working with two Year 9 classes (13-14 years old), they got into groups of 2-4 and were asked to design their dream house for friends. The workshops are held over 5 weeks, culminating with an exhibition at school. An excitable introductory lesson established the key ideas of architecture, group discussions on favourite places, drawing floor plans of their own homes and familiarising them with the brief. The rest of the workshops will focus on cardboard model making, experiential drawings of the spaces, and photographing models to be printed and shown at the exhibition. I hope the project enables the students to recognise the importance of continuing their artistic education into GCSEs and beyond, broaden their understanding of the built environment and while having fun, get them interested in the world of architecture!

 Workshop 1 at Northern Saints Primary - 1:20 Scale Pupils

About the school: Northern Saints Church of England is a mixed Primary School for 5-11 year olds, in North Hylton.

About the project: Upon hearing about the RIBA Architecture Ambassadors programme, I was excited to get involved. I met the art co-ordinator of Northern Saints Primary at a RIBA hosted training day at the Baltic. In planning the project, we wanted to capture elements of as many construction and arts disciplines to equip the children with the understanding that the possibilities of what they can do ‘when they grow up’ are infinite. In year 1, this term the topic is castles and a 15 minute walk away from the school sits Hylton Castle, which is currently undergoing a period of change and regeneration. We decided to give them a ‘real life’ design project. Our first session involved discussion on what an architect could be, thinking about the best design for Hylton Castle (pizza and marshmallows were a reoccurring theme) and designing their own 1:20 scale versions of themselves. Over the next few weeks they will visit and survey the castle where they will take photographs and measure and experience the building with all of their senses. From then, they will have the opportunity to re-imagine the castle with as much imagination as possible in 3D – the perfect design project! Similarly to Caitlin, we will host an exhibition at the end to celebrate the children and the mini town of castles they will have produced.

If you are interested in the Architecture Ambassador Partnership visit the link below for more information.