Reimagining the Neighbourhood - Architectural Design Academy

Sunday 4 August 2019

New London Architecture Learning ends the academic year with its annual week long Architectural Design Academy for young people aged 16-18.

From 29 July–2 August NLA welcomed 12 budding built environment professionals to the NLA galleries to take part in an exciting week of workshops, talks, and tours. The course was free to attend, and all materials were provided. The Academy is an opportunity for the young people to explore their own creativity, engage with professionals from the sector and get a better understanding of where architecture can lead you. 

NLA Facilitator Alisha Fisher led the creative workshops with the aim of making a zine with all their ideas for reimaging their neighbourhoods. On the first day, hosted at Gardiner and Theobald, the young people thought about their neighbourhoods through poetry and sounds. The young people came from all over London, from Swiss Cottage to Elephant and Castle, so we had a lot of areas to explore. The young people went on a tour of Soho to discover the unique sounds of the city and how these compare to their areas. This enabled the young people to tell stories of their neighbourhood and encouraged them to problem-solve by highlighting ways in which they hope to improve their areas.

On day two at The City Centre, the day began with a speed-networking workshop with a range of female engineers. Jane Wernick CBE and volunteers from Elementa Consulting, Costain Group, Atelier Ten, Simple Works and Women in the City spent five minutes with each young person to discuss their careers, the young people’s career options and the future of engineering. This was a great opportunity for the young people to engage with professionals from the sector.

In the afternoon young people were joined by Akil Scafe-Smith from Resolve Collective and Public Practice who gave an inspiring talk about his work in urban design and community engagement. This gave the young people a foundation to start working on their own designs and models for an urban art intervention for their areas with support from Jacob Szikora, FCB Studios. 

Day three was spent at U+I PLC, in the morning young people were joined by Marcello Burbante, a member of U+I's regeneration team who talked about his route into development after studying architecture and some of the projects he is currently working on. This was a chance for the young people to see the alternative routes that architecture can take them to. They were also given a tour of their inspirational offices. 

On Thursday the young people took part in a portfolio advice surgery led by volunteers from University of East London, University of Bath and Newcastle University. The volunteers presented their impressive portfolios and gave the young people valuable advice for when assembling their own portfolios. 

In the afternoon, artist, illustrator and zine-maker Millie Nice led a creative workshop for the young people. Her workshop explored what a zine is and how to make one. She helped them collate their content and gave them tips on how to make their zines eye-catching and exciting. 

On the final day young people were joined by London School of Architecture alumni Charlotte Hurley who supported the young people in finishing their zines. The week ended with an incredible final crit where each young person presented their zines and ideas for reimagining their neighbourhood to NLA’s Curator-in-Chief Peter Murray and Director Lara Kinneir. 

The young people responded extremely well to the challenges, showed a vast amount of creativity, were incredibly professional and were able to talk about their areas with passion and awareness and really well. The response from both Peter and Lara was extremely positive and will be very valuable to the young people in their future studies. 

Hamid, 17, said:"I just wanted to thank you and your team for taking your time to give us the opportunity to attend this course and develop our knowledge about Architecture. It was a fun week and I really enjoyed it"

Rhoda, 16, said: "Thank you so much for this amazing week, full of so many activities and opportunities"

NLA Learning will continue in the Autumn Term with opportunities for young people to engage with architecture and the built environment.

If you would like to be the first to hear about upcoming workshops, then join our mailing list here.

If you are interested in volunteering with NLA Learning then contact Lettie McKie.

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