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A
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The value of outreach — reflecting on our school engagement with RIBA Architecture Ambassadors
Current
2020
list Article list

The value of outreach — reflecting on our school engagement with RIBA Architecture Ambassadors

Posted 24.03.2022
By Andrei Dinu, Mariangela Iodice. Serwan Saleme

At Make, we recognise that the architecture profession doesn’t accurately represent the communities it serves. It’s why we kickstarted Make Aspire in 2021, the outreach team of our in-house Equity, Diversity and Inclusion group.

As we look to expand and formalise existing partnerships with the likes of RIBA and Blueprint for All, we’re also capitalising on new opportunities like the People’s Pavilion and No Building As Usual initiatives. This means we support educational institutions across the UK by offering a wide range of engagement activities for students, from primary and secondary schools through to universities. Outreach is becoming an engrained part of everyday life at Make and we actively encourage new volunteers to sign up.

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As part of our RIBA Architecture Ambassadors partnership with The St Marylebone CE School for Girls, we organised a three-part workshop series last November to inform students about the world of architecture. Our current three ambassadors (Serwan Saleme, Mariangela Iodice and Andrei Dinu) led the workshops, talked through their day-in-the-life as architecture professionals and challenged the budding creatives to design a modern workspace for a post-pandemic world.

 

The first workshop at the beginning of November involved a group of 17 students arriving at our London studio to tour the space. They explored different breakout areas, the library, meeting rooms and, most excitingly, the model shop. After the tour, we held a presentation and Q&A session on the different roles within a studio like ours, such as architecture itself, BIM and copywriting. Students were next briefed for the upcoming workshops where they were asked to reimagine the workplace and consider the future of office design post-COVID-19. They had to consider key workplace features including breakout spaces and meeting rooms, as well as personal and shared workspaces for their industry of choice.

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The second workshop saw our RIBA ambassadors head out to The St Marylebone CE School, where they shared a glossary of terms with students and conducted an architectural drawing class. The participants learned how to make plans, sections, perspective views and isometric drawings using a de-constructable model of 20 Ropemaker Street. Using the skills they learned, the students were able to produce a board for the upcoming final workshop to present their work to a panel of judges. A pre-university crit!

The final workshop was held in the last week of November, where the three groups presented their work to a group of Makers. Their projects varied from an athletics team coordination office through to a classical recording studio and music producer’s space. The designs were creative and beautifully drawn, and some renders were made by recreating the buildings in the virtual environment of the video game The Sims! The judges were impressed, and we felt the students had a lot to take away from an activity-packed workshop series.

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We were excited by the level of interest and enthusiasm from the students. They were inquisitive and attentive with many being genuinely interested in how a building stands up. A few were quite surprised by the level of creativity behind designs, and it was rewarding to see their ideas develop when the boundaries between the real and imagined world were blurred. We were also impressed by their constantly improving drawing skills and presentation techniques which they developed over the course of the workshops.

We enjoyed the fact that they were thoughtful about how their designs would impact the environment too, with many opting for sustainable materials. However, the most fulfilling thing for us was hearing some students say they were becoming interested in a career in the built environment! As we continue to reflect on our engagement with various schools and educational institutions, our hope is that it not only provides students with ample learning opportunities but also allows us to view a young person’s perspective on this ever-evolving industry.

Learn more about Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Make here.