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Architecture for Kids

9 • 24 • 2018

“Architecture for kids “: Why all children must learn architecture !!!
written by Arch2O Editorial Team

“Architecture for kids “: Why all children must learn architecture !!!

In 2015, an educational initiative of a local project called “Arquitectura Para Niños” or “Architecture for
Children” had taught an introductory architecture course to fourth-year students of the Ceip Praza de
Barcelos primary school in Galicia, Spain.

“Society today is under information overload, children need to learn to locate and filter it through
and develop their own content, explains the initiative team led by Ana Barreiro, Marta Guirado
and Africa Martinez.”

The project succeeded through the collaboration of students, teachers, and parents who have been very
interactive and receptive to this innovative idea and are now working on extending the educational
project. Through hands-on experience, children are now able to observe and reflect on architectural
content while learning other school subjects like Natural Sciences, Geography, Mathematics, Art
Education and English.

The project was selected for the EducaBarrié scholarly program from 2014 to 2015 and was supported
by the Barrié Foundation to be considered as a new model of education in the public school in Galicia.

The program was developed to adopt active learning methodologies to encourage children to learn
through activities designed to explore specific content more deeply. The children learn critical thinking
and become more aware of their environment through guided play and discovery-learning.

It consists of seven units where children explore the characteristics of materials, make observations
about space and discover more about the areas they live inhabit.

The seven units or sessions that children are taught are:

Session 1: Shelter. Animal and human behavior: The children learn all about building a shelter using a set
of bars and nodes to understand structural systems.

Session 2: Housing. Territorial and social factors: They learn about the Construction of a model: Each
child builds a model of an imaginary house from a cardboard box using colored paper, markers, scissors
and glue.

Session 3: Anthropometry. Measure and proportion: Children learn about planning and measurements
through various processes as:

a) Staking a standard room, each child recreates a room at a 1:1 scale using colored tape.

b) Measurements, where each child uses a tape measure to take measurements of the chair and desk
that they use every day.
c) Planning out a room as each child draws the floor of his room on a grid of 30 x 30 cm. They then place
the major aspects of their bedroom (doors, windows, furniture) and record their dimensions.

Session 4: Scale and basic architectural vocabulary: The kids play various games and undertake activities
to learn architectural vocabulary through

a) The scale game: where each child draws a stick figure person to demonstrate the appropriate size.

b) Architecture for kids: Each student writes a story with an architectural theme titled “My favorite
house” using some words from an assigned vocabulary list (at least 6 of the 30 words).

Session 5: Tools of the architect: Models and plans: In this session, the children go from plans to the real
word in a Fieldwork where their task is to identify objects on plans in reality and then correct the plans
to include objects that didn’t appear on their sheets.

Session 6: Immediate surroundings. Observations: Group brainstorming session are undertaken on an up

to date model of the Plaza de Barcelos made at 1: 100 scale, where each student makes a list of
advantages and disadvantages of the space. Then the students move on to a related exercise where,
over the course of two weeks, they work individually on a new proposal for the space.

Session 7: Immediate surroundings. Action

All the individual proposals made by students to transform the environment are collected, and the most
commonly repeated aspects are combined in attempting to solve the problems of the spaces.
THE BLOG 05/15/2012 03:02 pm ET Updated Jul 15, 2012

Architecture Classes for Children? Why Is It a Good Idea?


By Alla Kazovsky

You may wonder: “Architecture classes for children ... hmm ... Why would I subject my child to any kind
of professional training at this stage of her development? I could be steering him in a direction of a
career path that is totally wrong!”

The authors of a study published by Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development titled
“Design as a Catalyst for Learning” assert:

“...[W]hen children are engaged in the process of designing, they are learning to identify needs, frame
problems, work collaboratively, explore and appreciate the contexts within which a solution must work,
weigh alternatives, and communicate their ideas verbally, graphically, and in three dimensions.”

I happened to agree! Teaching architecture to kids has nothing to do with grooming future architects.
What they learn serves them no matter what career path they might choose in a distant future. It is
about experimenting with new, unexpected ways to problem solve that can be part of their life

No one will argue that children are naturally creative. But it is our responsibility as parents and
educators to nurture their inherent abilities. For the opportunity to knock, you have to build the door.
Yes, children possess innate talents; however, they need to be put to use, recognized, and honored.
Architecture classes for children focus on igniting and developing something yet uncovered inside of
these kids of ours.

Without zeroing in on any particular discipline — as music or art lessons do — building exercises
embrace kids’ universal desire to make things with their hands. This almost automatic pastime is
brought to a level where it is consciously cultivated and transformed into a vehicle for disciplined
exploration. While “playing” with blocks and putting together three-dimensional constructs, children are
given an opportunity to explore life-affirming concepts, to become aware and make sense of the world
around them.

You know the saying: “You are never going to get anywhere if you think you’re already there.” Here are
11 skills children are invited to practice and master while being fully immersed in a fun, age-appropriate,
design-related activities:
1. How to envision new possibilities — finding balance between familiar and fresh

2. How to study a situation in depth — engaging all senses, paying attention, asking questions,
keeping an open mind

3. How to face the unknown — cultivating the love of mystery

4. How to make unexpected connections — thinking by building

5. How to prioritize — making choices

6. How to give form to ideas — visualizing potential solutions and rapidly prototyping them

7. How to think across boundaries — solving a problem in a variety of ways

8. How to embrace ambiguity — allowing for success to arrive in stages

9. How to share insights in a collaborative manner — unfolding and opening up while enjoying the

10. How to make an impact — distilling lessons learned to what is relevant in their lives

11. How to care deeply — looking at the world with a fresh eye, appreciating and valuing what is
around them

Design is all about experimentation regardless of outcome. It is about making and doing without
inhibition. According to Jane Alexander of National Endowment for the Arts, it’s about “putting ideas to
work in situations that allow children to test themselves and the value of learning in everyday life.” It is
about honoring authenticity while focusing on the process, not the finished product.
The Architecture Didactic Project for children has been selected in the III convocation of
educaBarrié school projects 2014-2015. EducaBarrié is a network of people (teachers, students,
parents, researchers, ...) interested in a new model of education and a
platform through which the Barrié Foundation supports teachers and is
committed to new technologies and educational innovation.
Architecture for children is an initiation to architecture in a broad sense; a geographical, historical,
ecological and formal inquiry about housing and its meaning, its evolution and the environment that
surrounds it. The program is developed in connection with the areas of Nature Sciences, Social
Sciences, Art Education and English. It is a plastic experience about architectural contents and a
cross-sectional study to find out why a town or a species is based in a precise territory. It is
discovered how materials are used and techniques arise, and children are invited to get to know the
landscape and reflect on the environment in which they live, turning them into active agents of their
environment. The specific vocabulary is worked in the foreign language area (English).
In this case, the interaction with the students of the 4th year of primary education occurs through
interpellation and the open question, and the pursuit of learning by discovery is pursued. It is a
practical proposal inside and outside the classroom to discover the territory where you live and know
the elementary features of nearby and remote architectures. The action of the student is
encouraged, a critical attitude towards the landscape and the constructed, in order to favor the
formation of the child as a responsible agent and sensitive to the environment.
To achieve significant learning, an active methodology is used, in which the teacher is a facilitator of
the process and the student is the one who builds his own knowledge.
The project is developed in seven blocks carrying out various activities aimed at the established
purposes. A journey is made from the most elementary refuges (animals and primitive man) to
reflection on the immediate surroundings of the school, where the child carries out a large part of his
daily activity. Between these two points, different types of housing are analyzed, the characteristics
of the materials, the concept of scale, the interpretation of plans, and new specific vocabulary is
acquired. In the last activity the students make group proposals for the chosen study area that will be
reflected in their own model.
In today's knowledge society, children must learn to learn, know how to locate and filter information
where significant content is given, to elaborate their own contents.
In this program there is an approach to disciplines other than curricular programming, such as
Architecture, Urban Planning and Anthropology, based on what the child already knows and is
familiar with. Architecture for children facilitates direct experimentation and manipulation of new
theoretical, practical and technical materials. In addition, it provides the teacher with a tool-guide to
discover the importance of Architecture, not only understood as a built element, but as a conditioner
of the landscape and life.
This web space is created to gather the inquiries and the work of the students, which will serve as a
means of work and dissemination of the project.
What is the importance of architecture in society?

Architects create the spaces and places we work, live and play.

A building is not just an empty shell. 4 walls and a roof. A buildings form is developed through its
purpose. What is the building to be used for and how can i make that experience the best it can be.

For example, imagine living in a warehouse. It is big, cold, lots of empty space, not very cosy, would take
days to heat up and just isn’t very homely. You know how there’s a trend these days to wards green
office space? We used to all work in drab cubicle filled offices which were boring and depressing. Now
most modern office buildings are light filled spaces which create an environment where you don’t feel
like a salve to the wage. This is very deliberate. Void spaces in big buildings are very important because
greater natural light and circulation creates a much healthier work environment to what we used to

Without the thought architects put into how we design spaces, we’d all live and work in boxes with 4
walls and a roof with some windows punched out. That’s not to mention the environmental implications
of unsustainable buildings. A building which isn’t designed well will have poor air circulation, poor light
utilisation, would take forever to heat up and cool down, will use tremendous amount of electricity and
gas to heat and cool and i haven’t even begun to describe how choosing the right materials or even
something as simple as the type of glass you use impact greater Co2 and we all know where that
leads….global warming.
The Importance of Architecture
In an odd but quietly very important way, works of architecture ‘speak’ to us.
Some buildings, streets and even whole cities seem to speak of chaos,
aggression or military pride; others seem to be whispering to us of calm or
graceful dignity, generosity or gentleness.
However, a dominant strand of modern opinion doesn’t think it matters very
much what our buildings speak to us about. It is deemed pretentious or over-
sensitive to suppose that something as external as a building could really
have much of an effect on our inner mood. We’d rather see ourselves as able
to generate our psychological states independently of the colour, shape and
texture of the walls.

And yet a more modest, permeable idea of who we are would accept with
good grace that we remain in truth, very vulnerable to the voices of the
largest, most public objects in our environment. Our inner states are heavily
open to influence and we may be as harmed by architectural ugliness as we
are by moral evil. Our spirits can be decisively sunk by a grid of city streets
designed without any talent or care.

In modern commercial society, buildings are seen largely in terms of finance,

cost and return on capital. Politicians impose some restraints on developers.
There are frequently a few rules about height and environmental
performance. But the full range of the kinds of damage that ugly buildings
create for us has not been recognised or granted political expression. There’s
nothing unusual in this. Many forms of public harm can be real yet ignored; it
took many decades for industrial pollution of rivers to be interpreted as any
real threat to the public good.
If we better understood the impact that ugly architecture has on our lives, its
power to sap our spirits and give assistance to our worst selves, we’d surely
legislate against it. But as yet, no politician who announced an intention to
make the built environment more beautiful would prosper – or even be
deemed sane.
In the utopia, architecture would more fairly be interpreted as a branch of
mental health, with a crucial role to play in public contentment. And bad
design would – at last – be interpreted as the crime it is to the health of the
collective spirit.