The brief for the workshops was designed around the school playground - a real development opportunity that the school is considering. The practical application of architecture skills to a site that the students could easily relate to gave them a lot of enthusiasm, and a great understanding of what a career in architecture involves.
In the first session the pupils were introduced to the role of the architect, and the process of designing and constructing. They were shown examples of interesting playground and urban realm projects, and the importance of site analysis and materiality. The pupils then got to work in groups, designing their own playgrounds by arranging cut out images of equipment and sketching onto a scale plan. They were asked to consider elements such as weather, safety, accessibility, noise and materials.
The second session focused on maths, to show the students the importance of skills they learn every day in the real world. Using a price list for all the elements of their playground design, including per metre cost of materials and landscaping, the class were asked to cost their playground design.
The final session was a chance to practice presentation and communication skills. Students were given some time to create a hand drawn ‘winning’ image of their proposal. The session ended by pitching their designs to their headteacher, with each group presenting their plan, costs, and final images.
The school was keen for the workshops to raise the pupil’s aspirations, and we were thrilled with the enthusiasm and creativity of the class throughout the project. We would like to thank the teachers and pupils at Christ Church Bentinck School, as well as Fiona McDonald for the continuing success of the RIBA Ambassadors Programme.