Celebrating Architecture

Tahmid Miah and Louise Morley, both design assistants at Ryder, discuss their experiences of a recent mentoring programme with Gateway Academy School.

Celebrating Architecture introduces architecture workshops to Key Stage 2 London state school pupils.  The aim of the workshop was to engage and enthuse the pupils into the world of architecture and the possibility of a future career in the field of design and construction.  Our architectural experience at Ryder allows us to guide the young students through the workshop by observing, discussing and challenging their design decisions.

The programme was held at the Serpentine Gallery and involved a group of 10 pupils, a mixture of Year 5 and Year 6 pupils from Gateway Academy, Lisson Grove.  After being briefed and meeting our chosen school, we discussed the definition of the pavilion and split into two groups - one learning about scale and size, the other sketching and photography.  Both groups were fully engaged with the tasks. It was interesting how we were able to take elements of their school education, such as ratio, unit conversion and sketching, to complete these tasks.

In the afternoon, we asked the different groups to explain to the other pupils about what they learnt in the morning.  This taught the pupils how to quickly summarise the conclusions and opinions drawn from the earlier tasks.  Afterwards, they were put into small groups and had the task of designing and modelling their own pavilion. They were all very enthusiastic about this task and implemented their new found skills to create a narrative for their design.  They were thinking about programme, user, mass, flow and materiality.  Using the materials at hand, the pupils created some creative and unique structures.  Prizes were rewarded to star pupils such as Architect of the Future and Best Design. At the end of the day, we asked "who wanted to be an architect when they are older?", resulting in a positive 6 out 10 hands up.

The young students felt empowered to discuss architecture and their views on the built environment.  It gave them a voice to contribute to the design of the model and equipped them with the necessary skills they needed to build it.  It was really refreshing to see such young children knowing they wish to pursue a career in architecture.

This was a fantastic experience and an opportunity that was not open to us when we were of that age.  We believe and hope that this programme will be able to continue year after year to inspire young individuals to find and express their design capabilities.