Classroom blueprint for design

Architects in Scotland want to build bridges with schools to increase young people's awareness of buildings and change their attitude towards design.

The Scottish Architectural Education Trust launched its initiative last week in Glasgow and announced proposals to involve architects in craft and design projects.

The trust, a registered charity, has tailored a programme of activities linked to 5-14 environmental studies and expressive arts as well as courses such as Standard grade art and design and craft and design. It is also keen to support work at 16-plus and in higher education.

Kirsteen Bunting, aged 25, a sculptor, told educationists and architects about the pilot scheme she led last year on behalf of the trust at Galston primary school in Ayrshire. Primary 5 children explored the theme of shelter and designed and built a Chinese hospital from newspaper and cardboard in only six weeks.

"They learnt to work as a group and then as a team. They learnt about discussion and planning. At the end of the project they were talking about buildings in an adult way," she said.

Mary Faulds, the headteacher, said: "The children learnt an enormous amount about buildings, their structure, their shapes, their beauty, their emotive qualities. They can now discuss so many aspects of creating a building in a very adult and informed way. It was a wonderful experience for all of us. "

Pupils at Hyndland primary in Glasgow were involved last April in discussing what to do with an area of waste ground next to the school. A group of 60 students at the Mackintosh School of Architecture drew up plans for the playground and two were chosen which combined planting, play and performance areas. The project is now seeking funding with a view to completing the Pounds 100,000 design in the summer of 1998.

Ben MacDonald, aged nine, said the children chose the winning design because of its different areas and levels and the possibilities it offered for playing safely.

Lord Prosser, the trust's chairman, said that architecture should be brought into education. "We are not trying to teach people to be architects. We are trying to put this together because everyone should have architecture as part of their education."

The trust has produced three education elements to support its partnership with schools. They focus on 5-14 levels and comprise a starter pack of teaching materials, related projects in schools centred on architects' residences and associated in-service activities for teachers.

A one-day residency for primary or secondary schools costs Pounds 175, in-service for one day costs Pounds 250 and a day's workshop for children Pounds 175.

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