The following article is shared from its original page, courtesy of the Architecture Foundation of Oregon.
Bringing Design to Schools Across Oregon
At AFO, we are passionate about the future of the built environment in Oregon. The best way to ensure we have great places to live, work and play is to ensure that future generations are exposed to the importance of design and creative problem solving.
The Architects in Schools (AiS) program aims to do just that: introduce the youngest Oregonians to the power and possibilities of design with the end goal of creating lifelong learners and critical thinkers who have a voice in their community. This is AFO’s longest running program.
Administered by AFO since 2003, the program has grown from annually serving 800 students to currently serving more than 4,800 third through fifth grade students in the Portland metropolitan area, Central Oregon, Salem, Eugene and Southern Oregon.
Architects in Schools delivers arts programming, environmental understanding, awareness of cultural links to history, understanding responsibility to the natural environment, career awareness and communication skills – all through the principles and practices of architecture and design while addressing Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.
How it Works
AFO recruits professionals from the building community (architects, contractors, engineers and more) and matches them with Oregon teachers in their geographic area. Together, they choose lessons from our curriculum guide and create a unique and engaging experience that introduces third through fifth grade students to the basic principles of design over a six-week residency.
AFO provides a training workshop, staff support, public exhibition of final projects and a copy of Architecture as a Basic Curriculum Builder which includes:
- Simple drawing techniques that quickly improves students’ abilities and their confidence
- A pictorial survey of architectural periods and styles that coincide with studies of NW Native Americans, Pioneers, Victorians and several distinct periods in the 20th century
- Lessons for measuring and designing floor plans
- Structured activities around questions, like: “What makes structures stand up?” “What will cities look like 25 years from now?” and “What is Green Building?”
- and much more!
Design/Building Professional Application & Resources
AFO encourages participation by design and building professionals including architects, engineers, contractors, interior designers, city planners, architecture historians, architecture students and more. Design/building professionals volunteer around twenty hours total, twelve of those hours spent in the classroom over a six-week period and eight hours of planning time.
Participating architecture students assist the design/building professional in the classroom and work with the team to design, plan and present a residency.
Teacher Application & Resources
Architects in Schools is offered free-of-charge to third through fifth grade classrooms in the Portland metropolitan area, Salem, Eugene, Bend, Medford and Ashland. Priority is given to schools with no more than two classes participating in the same grade level per school per academic year. If more than two teachers need to participate together, please contact AFO staff prior to applying.
Student & Parent Resources
Third through fifth grade students participating in Architects in Schools gain an understanding of the designed and built environment through lessons taught by architects, engineers, contractors and other design professionals. The ‘hands-on’ approach of the program enhances learning in multiple subjects and helps students gain a better sense of how school relates to the ‘real world.’ AFO’s goal is to use design and the design process as a tool to help students develop skills that improve team work, observations and creative problem solving, while connecting students back to the communities in which they live, learn and play.
Contributors & Collaborators
Bloomfield Family Foundation | The Carpenter Foundation | ESCO Foundation | Herbert A. Templeton Foundation | Juan Young Trust | MDU Resources Foundation | Oregon Arts Commission | The Oregon Community Foundation | Regional Arts & Culture Council | Women’s Architectural League | AFO Corporate & Individual Members
AIA Southern Oregon | AIA Southwest Oregon | Bend-LaPine School District | Frank Lloyd Wright Gordon House | KPFF Consulting Engineers | Kelley Imaging | OMSI | PSU School of Architecture | Salem Keizer Education Foundation | Sandy Library | UO College of Design
Cover image and video courtesy Architecture Foundation of Oregon.