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RIBA Ambassadors Workshop at Earlham Primary School \

Earlier this year, we met with sixty Year 6 pupils at Earlham Primary School to deliver a series of architectural workshops and presentations. To link with the year group’s focus topics of migration and settlements, the workshops aimed to engage the pupils in ideas relating to home, communities and culture through model-making and drawing activities.

Our first visit to the school began with a presentation to the entire school assembly to give an introduction on what architects do and how we work. The Year 6 pupils then took part in a quiz about London as a multi-cultural city, looking at photographs of buildings and public spaces in and around the city and discussing how different cultures have influenced these styles and types of architecture. For the model-making workshop, the pupils were asked to design their own homes and to make scale models of their designs using recycled card, coloured paper and photographs of building elements. We encouraged the pupils to think about their choice of materials and style and how the design and layout of their homes relate to their habits, culture and hobbies.

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The focus of the second session shifted from the scale of the individual home to the scale of communities and cities. We introduced a variety of examples of urban planning, sustainable design, public spaces and community engagement. The classes were split into groups: each group was assigned a particular environmental context and asked to work together to decide their brief for what their community needed and wanted. The pupils were engaged in communicating their ideas to one another and making collective decisions. Each group had the task of producing a large A1 drawing of their settlement for their community. Some groups drew plans with 3D pop-up elements whilst others drew skylines and birds-eye views to illustrate their imaginary underwater or dessert communities. It was important at the end of each workshop to give the pupils opportunity to present their work back to the whole class and receive feedback from the H\B team as well as their own classmates.

The pupils’ models and drawings were exhibited at our final session and we worked with the whole year group to create a large collage of their ‘Vision for London’. Each pupil contributed by each creating a small drawing of what they envisioned for the future of London’s housing, travel, manufacturing, play and public spaces. The most memorable moment of the workshop was working with all the pupils to combine their individual ideas into a collective vision for the city, creating a vibrant collage that is filled with diverse, playful and imaginative ideas.

“I like when everyone got together and shared ideas to make a huge community. I enjoyed it because I could learn other people’s creative thinking.”

Year 6 Pupil Earlham Primary School

Huge thanks to everyone at Earlham Primary School for participating and to Fiona MacDonald and Wilson Lau at the RIBA.

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