RIBA Ambassadors Workshop at Alfred Salter Primary School\

Recognising the crucial relationship between architecture and its context, this workshop invited pupils of Alfred Salter Primary to embrace the extraordinary and design floating buildings for communities, taking inspiration from the docks and canals of their surrounding Canada Water area.

Following a brief introduction to what architects do and how we work, pupils were asked to consider the ingredients of a community and to think about their activities and what types of open spaces, buildings or infrastructure they need. Focusing on specific user groups, we helped to paint the picture of how design can facilitate and enhance our daily activities and the importance of identifying and understanding clients’ needs. On establishing this understanding, the students delved into their creative and imaginative minds to progress this concept and design floating architecture for specific clients that would form part of the community. The result produced colourful collages of designs for floating homes, schools, hospitals and urban farms, each with their own wacky twists and kinks reflective of each group’s personalities.

The second workshop saw the pupils use different materials to construct and realise their designs from the previous workshop, modelling intricacies such as stilt structures and flotation dinghies and most importantly learning how to test 3D ideas through model-making. The pupils were encouraged to work as teams and to not only to explore the architectural features of their designs but also to think about how the spaces would be used, how energy could be generated and what materials they would be constructed from. The final outputs from the pupils presented varying design responses each with their own character, which were celebrated at an award ceremony as part of the final workshop.

It was a fantastic experience for all involved and we would like to thank Fiona McDonald from RIBA, Janine Stacy and the teachers at Alfred Salter Primary School, and most importantly the Year 4 pupils for taking part in three brilliant workshops!

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