RIBA Architecture Ambassadors programme
October 2016
By Ione Braddick

Archio are delighted to be taking part in the RIBA Architecture Ambassadors programme, an initiative by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) which partners architecture practices with schools, to encourage and inspire younger people to learn about and understand the built environment.

We believe that this is a great opportunity to make meaningful connections with a younger generation of Londoners, and with those outside of the architecture profession; we want Archio to be outward-looking in our approach to our work, clients and design, and look to expand our outlook through meeting and communicating with many different age groups and members of society.

We also want to be involved in expanding the understanding of architecture and what it can do; highlighting and celebrating the many different processes, collaborations and outcomes, and the sheer variety of ways to be involved in architecture. The aim is not to ensure that an entire class of schoolchildren become architects, but instead to discuss how communities can be brought together through architecture, and understand how spaces and cities can change and grow.  We are keen to encourage the next generation to develop a critical and good understanding of design and the built environment from a young age.

For the RIBA Architecture Ambassadors programme, Archio have been partnered with the Oasis Academy Southbank, and will be working with teachers to plan a six week project based on the subject of 'Retail' for Year 9, to take place in November and December this year. We will be visiting the school for three workshops over the six-week period, and will be undertaking a wide range of activities with the students.

For us, a playful and active approach, with plenty of making and doing, is a crucial way to engage any age group, and so we will be aiming to encourage students to learn about architecture and test design ideas through making models, drawings, role play, debates, games and site visits. Archio have previously been involved in a number of dynamic installations, workshops and consultations, for the Bloomsbury Festival, London Design Festival, Bournemouth Arts by the Sea, London Community Land Trust, and others. Each time we aim to engage people in a vibrant and open way; we've used ice cream vans, laser cutting, gold curtains and playing cards!

We will be posting blog updates on the Archio website after each workshop with the students, with more information about the specific activities and outcomes of the day. We are hugely looking forward to taking part, and want to extend our thanks to Fiona Macdonald, from the RIBA Learning Team, for coordinating and promoting this excellent outreach programme.

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