The built environment is a great platform for bringing together knowledge from different areas and combining them to understand a relevant, complex part of our everyday. Teaching architecture in schools will raise citizens who understand it as a discipline and in relation to politics and economics, and who know more about public space and ways of contributing to a better city. Student projects have great potential in involving their parents, local communities or governments and peers, and reach many people outside the school. Urban planning is reformed as a more participatory process all over the world making spatial education of all citizens essential. Teaching about the built environment at schools is in many countries slow to catch on. We need a good collection of engaging and educational architecture topics and activities, available in many languages, that make noticing architecture, wondering about architecture, creating architecture fun, challenging and rewarding.
Reason #4 why to teach kids about architecture: Hands on! Building something yourself is a good experience of creating real change in the real world. A ping-pong table changes the way a space is used.
Reason #3 why to teach kids about architecture: Interdisciplinarity. Architecture offers real-life examples of various fields of knowledge coming together. Building a hut is a lot about knowing trees.
Reason #2 why to teach kids about architecture: Inevitability. We can’t get out of space, we’re always in a space. Understanding planar representations of space allows more substantial participation in planning processes.
Reason #2b why to teach kids about architecture: The current moment. As of 2005, more than a half of the world’s population lives in the city. A play city is a good basis for discussion about what makes a city a home.
Reason #1 why to teach kids about architecture: To be a good person. Architecture is a good way of learning how and why to be considerate of others. It might start with trying to think like a chimp.
The Danish Building & Property Agency with the Aarhus School of Architecture have announced the three winning teams of the open competition to design the NEW AARCH project. These designs include new buildings for the Aarhus School of Architecture and the development of the surrounding area in Aarhus known as Godsbanearealerne.
The call for ideas received 235 proposals from 47 countries. The three winners are: Erik Giudice Architects (Sweden/France); Brian Vargo, Jonas Nielsen & Mathias Palle (Denmark); and Atelier Lorentzen Langkilde (Denmark).
The winning submissions were chosen by the jury based on their connection with the site’s context, access to outdoor spaces, and on their ability for the Aarhus School of Architecture to have adequate space for robotic experiments and other workshop facilities. Torben Nielsen, Rector of Aarhus School of Architecture and jury member stated, “We have chosen three winning entries that all give the school the necessary space to persistently engage in a high-profile dialogue with the outside world about what architecture actually is. The three proposals are open, in the best sense of the word, rather than inward-looking. They point us towards being an open architecture laboratory – or a factory of architecture – that will benefit not only the school, but also the city and the industry -perhaps even on the international level.”
The winning entries show potential for development, which will be further processed by The Danish Building & Property Agency, Aarhus School of Architecture, user groups, and NORD Architects to refine the framework of the final project. These designs will be used to inspire the following project competition. The winners of the open competition will be invited to compete with three pre-qualified teams including BIG, Lacaton & Vassal, and SANAA. The project competition will begin in the late summer of 2016.