Architectural Design Academy

Monday 13 August 2018

© Agnese Sanvito

© Agnese Sanvito

© Agnese Sanvito

© Juliana Vasquez

© Juliana Vasquez

© Juliana Vasquez

New London Architecture and The City Centre’s Learning programme is now wrapped up for the 2017-18 academic year. Welcoming a total of 2,431 students on our Schools and Young People programme we have now been fully operational across both sites for 12 months, engaging a huge variety of young Londoners with built environment careers.

The week of 6-10 August was our annual Architectural Design Academy for 16-18 year olds, generously supported by BLP Insurance.

This unique opportunity for teenagers considering a career in the sector
engaged 14 participants who had the rare chance to spend a week during the summer holidays meeting and learning from professionals via workshops, talks, tours and site visits.

Representing roles from architect to engineer, planner to site manager, these volunteers came from a diverse range of backgrounds and were at all stages – from student to those boasting long and prestigious careers. Our thanks to all our contributors including the London School of Architecture, PLP Architecture, Make, Hawkins/Brown, Publica, Gardiner & Theobald and Multiplex.

The week was entirely free for all students who came from London state schools, chosen from 40 applicants who expressed an interest in attending the course to gain an insight into study and career opportunities within architecture and related careers. Through this course students learnt how buildings shape our city, our environment and our way of life via a range of hands-on practical activities and via our 1:200 scale model of central London. The theme for the week was the Eastern Cluster of tall buildings in the City of London.

Special mention should be given to the range of inspiring speakers the students learnt from. NLA’s Chairman Peter Murray kick-started the project with an introduction to tall buildings in London, followed by the City of London’s Head of Design Gwyn Richards giving a comprehensive overview of planning for the Eastern Cluster. Another highlight was AECOM engineer Roma Agrawal’s ‘recipe for a skyscraper’ presentation, which exposed students to the fascinating history of the engineering innovations that enable us to build tall.

Working closely with the City’s Public Realm team students visited four key sites that are part of the current area consultation: Leadenhall Market, Jubilee Gardens, St Mary Axe and Creechurch Lane. Working in design teams they used the many inspiring experiences during the week, including a trip to Make’s studio and an exclusive construction site tour of 22 Bishopsgate, to inform their own original concepts for improvements to their chosen sites in the Eastern Cluster.

Through a series of volunteer-run workshops students created drawings, models and Sketch-Up designs for their final chosen site. They were asked to focus on easing flow, minimising traffic, prioritising pedestrians and improving greenery and public space. The week ended with a final crit session where each group presented their ideas to a panel of judges led by Richard Saxon CBE, Non-Executive Director of BLP Insurance. The panel chose a final winning group and also selected specific work for inclusion in an exhibition to be held at NLA’s upcoming On Location event – ‘The City of London - a global leader’, on 19 September at Exchange House, Broadgate.

The young people who attended were all enthusiastic and articulate, a point which was picked up by the judges who highlighted their strong presentation skills alongside the high standard of their practical work. All the students responded positively to the challenges put to them by working hard and showing professionalism throughout the week. They also had a chance to have fun, meet new people their own age and expand their horizons to understand the huge breadth of possible careers in construction, planning, engineering, urban design and architecture available to them.

Feedback from students was extremely positive including this email from 16-year-old Jamie:

‘Thank you Lettie for this great opportunity. I learnt so much and had an amazing experience.’

The NLA and City Centre Learning programmes will continue in the autumn term with more formal and extra-curricular opportunities for young people to engage in London’s built environment.

By Lettie McKie, Head of Learning, NLA

Click here to find out more about the NLA Learning Programme

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