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"...Pavilions, Pop Ups & Temporary Structures. Is architecture meant to last forever?..."

Alongside running our practice, last year I also became a RIBA Architecture Ambassador. This wonderful scheme is part of RIBA Learning’s National School Programme, creating free and bespoke architecture workshops for local schools designed and delivered by architect volunteers, known as Architecture Ambassadors. The workshops aim to develop awareness and engagement with architecture in a fun and professional way. Students from the ages of 4 to 18 can take part, including those with special educational needs. I really enjoy taking part in the Architecture Ambassadors scheme and have recently led workshop sessions with Year 6 pupils at one of our lovely local schools, Bleasby CofE Primary School.

The first session of design began with me introducing the children to ideas of what architecture is and what the role of an architect entails. The children were also shown some examples of the projects completed by our practice, in order to visually familiarise them with architectural design. I then introduced the project Pavilions, Pop Ups & Temporary Structures, exploring the concept of pavilions and woven structures, explaining what they are and their potential uses. From this, the children were tasked with the end goal of designing and making their own temporary woven pavilions in the school grounds.

However, they firstly had to know who their client was, what the building was going to be used for and what location the structure would be sited in. They were given 6 different options for clients, building uses and locations and then had to roll a dice in order to determine each outcome for their own brief. The students then sketched their designs individually and started to make small scale models using paper, card and art straws.

The second session of making was led by the school. During this session the students had to work in groups, merging their individual designs to create their 1:1 group pavilion structures. The RIBA provided various materials for the children to use (willow, wet/dry tissue paper, cable ties, string) which enabled them to quickly construct their ideas. The children then individually photographed their structures ready for the next stage.

In the third session of evaluating, I returned for the children to present their final structures, explaining their design and construction process. The pop ups were fantastic, and I gave them lots of positive feedback and suggestions for improvements or alterations. The children were able to reflect on their work, evaluating how their structure would change if they had to make their structure permanent and weatherproof, or if the type of location and client was changed. They concluded by annotating the photograph of their structure in their sketch books thinking about how they would improve or change their designs.

I was so impressed with the children’s creative ideas and how they had translated these within their groups into their pop up pavilions, which are still standing in the playground today! They really threw themselves into the process and a few of them even expressed ambitions to become architects. Being involved with this RIBA Learning project provides a great opportunity to be a positive role model to children but most importantly to help build a child’s confidence and expand their horizon. I whole heartedly urge fellow architects to volunteer with a school near them.

If you have any queries or a workshop which you would like to discuss with Julie, please don't hesitate to contact her on the details below.

Julie Richards Architecture & Design Ltd

Tel: 01636 814624



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