This November, RIBA launched a national school program devoted to providing children between the ages of 4-18 access to architecture programs. This will be the UK’s first nationwide architecture program. The instructors, formally known as Architecture Ambassadors, are volunteer architecture professionals donating their time to partnering schools at which students participate free of charge.
Before launching the nationwide program, RIBA conducted a pilot version - gaging interest and success from students, school administrators, and ambassadors. The pilot phase visited over 200 schools in England and 18,000 students. Each school’s architectural workshop was highly individualized to the community and location, adding a personal aspect to the student’s introduction to the vast field of architecture. These tangible projects investigated local areas, assessing their needs, issues that affect the community, and their hopes for the future.
The program aims to integrate the power of design into the school curriculum, emphasizing the social impact of our built environment. One workshop, in particular, was conducted at the Ladypool Primary School in Birmingham. Architect Jyotsna Sudev conducted two creative sessions for 30 students to redesign the school’s neighboring forest area. Not only were the students exposed to the role and responsibilities of an architect, but they also learned about proportions, scale, and elementary perspective.
During the pilot phase, other architecture ambassadors were driven to volunteer to broaden students’ access to architectural thinking and options for future employment. Others like ambassadors from Matthew Springett Associates introduced architecture to children with mental and physical disabilities through the patterns and drawings of Andrea Palladio. This exercise culminated in a suspended bamboo model that highlighted elements from the Palladian images.
News via RIBA