RIBA Ambassadors Workshop at Thomas Tallis School\

Over the last academic year Hawkins\Brown RIBA Architecture Ambassadors had a pleasure to run four workshops with pupils from four different schools in London. The final workshop took place at Thomas Tallis School in Kidbrooke where Year 9 Design & Technology students were invited to design a home in response to a natural disaster.

First visit

A group of architects and interior designers from Hawkins\Brown were involved in a design project throughout the term with Year 9 Design & Technology students at Thomas Tallis School in Kidbrooke. Their brief was to design a home in response to a natural disaster in a specific country, taking inspiration from the recent RIBA exhibition ‘Creation From Catastrophe’. These ranged from hurricanes in Mexico, earthquake in Japan, drought in Zimbabwe or air pollution in China.

During the first visit we presented the brief to the classes and gave them some inspiration for concepts, materials and users including some example projects and involved the students in a series of initial drawing tasks.

“My favourite part of the project was making the house, even though I didn’t finish it, it was a lot of fun…I would love to be an architect.”

Year 9 Design & Technology student at Thomas Tallis School

Second visit

Mid-way through the year we were able to return to assist the students in developing the concepts of their projects and ideas for model making. At the end of the term the students presented their proposals, drawings and models. Although many of the students were not used to presenting, it was a valuable exercise for all involved in clearly communicating a design concept.

Through developing a brief to the students, the designers from Hawkins\Brown were able to re-assess their own training and imagine new ways of communicating architectural concepts to a young audience. The students developed their own innovative ideas in response to the brief which were great for us to observe during the term.

“It was very fun and maybe my favourite modelling experience.”

Year 9 Design & Technology student at Thomas Tallis School

The Hawkins\Brown team gave every student a certificate to mark their involvement in the project and gave medals to the best three groups in each class for the 'Best Concept', 'Best Presentation' and 'Best Project'. We were really excited by the great ideas the students came up with and we hope they gained a lot from tackling such a challenging brief.

The final models were hugely varied and it was very tough to choose which groups to award with the medals! It was a great experience for all involved and we would like to thank Leighton Pountney, Design & Technology teacher at Thomas Tallis for accommodating Hawkins\Brown, and Fiona MacDonald and RIBA Education for facilitating and supporting the Architecture Ambassadors workshops.

“I enjoy drawing and making new innovative things to help improve the society and environment. In addition, I think architecture is interesting.”

Year 9 Design & Technology student at Thomas Tallis School

“Working with the Hawkins\Brown team has been both a rewarding and educational experience for both, my Year 9 students at Thomas Tallis School and myself. I was a little apprehensive before joining this coalition as I am a newly qualified teacher and was unsure of how well the project would progress. The subject area is Graphic Products (DT) and I was also a little concerned that studying architecture was straying too far from my subject’s curriculum however, I found the project to be strongly design focused which gave my students the chance to not only explore their creativity, but use skills and techniques very closely related to that found in other graphics projects. The iterative design process was the same and gave my students the important opportunity to work collaboratively to achieve a final outcome. The Year 9’s were also able to use a variety of materials and machines we use in Graphic Products to construct a final model thus enhancing their skills and understanding in the subject area. Their visual and verbal presentation skills were tested at the end and some were deservedly rewarded for their efforts throughout the project. The Hawkins\Brown team produced high quality workshops in which all pupils were keenly involved. The team professionally interacted with the students encouraging them and providing information and skills that I would not have been able to provide. Unfortunately, architecture does not play a big part in the curriculum at the moment but with a subject like Graphic Products and Design Technology it would be a wasted opportunity not to pursue this. On behalf of Thomas Tallis School I would like to say thank you to RIBA for making this possible and to Hawkins\Brown for all the amazing effort, professionalism and fun that they brought to the project.”

Leighton Pountney, Design & Technology teacher at Thomas Tallis School

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