RIBA Schools Programme

Our new schools programme aims to provide the next generations with experience, knowledge and understanding of architecture and the built environment around them, and the skills and confidence to become involved in debates surrounding it.

School children in front of a carved wooden screen, RIBA, London

Image: Primary school class  exploring the RIBA's headquarters at 66 Portland Place, London

Based around the RIBA’s unrivalled collection of over 4 million architectural objects, our exhibition programme at 66 Portland Place and the skills, expertise and passion of our members, we tailor visits and projects to link to a variety of curriculum subjects.

For Teachers

We have two free options for both primary and secondary school teachers:

1. Visit to 66 Portland Place
 

School children making models, at the RIBA

Image:  Primary school class learning through model making, at the RIBA

We offer two-to-three-hour curriculum-linked architecture visits to the RIBA’s Headquarters and public building, 66 Portland Place, to explore the original 1930s building, our RIBA collection and seasonal exhibitions. Ideas are applied and consolidated through engaging activities such as model making, sketching from the exhibition, and digital drawing on iPads.

We offer visits linked to maths, science (physics and biology), ICT, art & design and design & technology.

Visits are led by RIBA staff members, but teachers and/or parents will be expected to accompany children at all times during these visits.

2. Architecture Ambassador Partnership
 

Students working together to create a group drawing, at the RIBA

Image: Secondary school students collaborating on a drawing, at the RIBA

Architecture Ambassadors are RIBA architect members who volunteer to partner with schools on an architectural project of their choosing. Typically the partnership will consist of a visit to 66 Portland Place (as above), after which the architect/s come back into school to help students respond to a design brief, drawing on the visit to the RIBA, the school site, a theme being explored in class, or the local area.

The length of the project can vary from one half day workshop, to weekly sessions throughout a half term, depending on consultation between the architect and the teacher.

Group of architects, teachers and school children with their models, at the RIBA Schools Programme
Image: Architects working with students and teachers
in the classroom

Support from RIBA staff is provided throughout the duration of these partnerships and all of our Architecture Ambassadors are given training before visiting the school. There is also an opportunity for Architecture Ambassadors and teachers to meet and plan their project in advance of any sessions with children.

There are a finite number of Architecture Ambassador partnerships available each term, and places are allocated to schools on a first come, first served basis.

If you are interested in either of the above options, please email Fiona on Fiona.Macdonald@riba.org  to book a visit or discuss an Architecture Ambassador Partnership for your school.

If you teach children over the age of 16 who are particularly interested in architecture, design and the built environment, you can encourage them to join our Young People’s Forum for those aged 16-24.

 

For Architects

Group of architects, teachers and school children with their models, at the RIBA Schools Programme

Image: Group of architects, teachers and school children with their models in the classroom

Student drawing in an RIBA exhibition
Image: Student drawing in the Architecture Gallery, RIBA

To help give children an insight into architecture and to inspire them about the potential of the built environment, we encourage you to sign up as a RIBA Architecture Ambassador and share your skills and knowledge.

Every term we run Architecture Ambassador partnerships where we link a school and an architecture practice to work on a joint project together. Typically the partnership will consist of a visit to 66 Portland Place (as above), after which the architect/s go into school to help students respond to a design brief, drawing on the visit to the RIBA, the school site, a theme being explored in class, or the local area. The length of the project can vary from one half day workshop, to weekly sessions throughout a half term, depending on consultation between the architect/s and the teacher/s.

There are a finite number of Architecture Ambassador partnerships available each term, and places are allocated to schools on a first come, first served basis. The partnerships are open to primary and secondary schools, and are currently offered free of charge.

iPad drawing workshop with primary school students, in the Architecture Gallery, RIBA
Image: iPad drawing workshop in the
Architecture Gallery, RIBA

Support from RIBA staff is provided throughout the duration of these partnerships and all of our Architecture Ambassadors are given training before visiting the school. There is also an opportunity for Architecture Ambassadors and teachers to meet and plan their project in advance of any sessions with children.

We welcome architects, architectural assistants and architecture practices to sign up as RIBA Architecture Ambassadors. Participation counts towards official RIBA CPD for architects and architectural assistants.

If you are interested in signing up or hearing more, please contact Fiona on Fiona.Macdonald@riba.org

 RIBA ARCHITECTURAL AMBASSADORS:
NOTE OF ENDORSEMENT FROM THE PRESIDENT  

"Raising awareness of the importance of innovative problem solving though architecture, and the positive impact of excellent buildings with future generations is a key priority for the RIBA. I wholeheartedly support and endorse the RIBA Architecture Ambassadors who are leading the way in doing this through our new National Schools and Young People’s Programme. 

We recognise that a well-informed generation of young people will go on to champion a high quality built environment, and will understand the invaluable part played by architects to make that happen.

RIBA Architecture Ambassadors undergo comprehensive RIBA CPD-accredited training in working with schools and communicating architectural skills to young people. They then work closely with their partner teacher and the RIBA Learning team to develop a scheme of work to take into the classroom:  a creative brief focussing on responding to a local or school-based challenge, supported by the RIBA’s temporary exhibition programmes and its unique architectural collection of drawings, photographs, models and books. RIBA Architecture Ambassadors go into school for at least two hours (often more) to share their inspiration, creativity and expertise with children.

Initial feedback from the children and their teachers during the pilot has been fantastic and gone well beyond our expectations. We hope support and momentum will continue grow. Many thanks to all our members who have volunteered their time so enthusiastically, it is very much appreciated."

Jane Duncan
RIBA President 

 


 

the RIBA at the Victoria and albert museum

As part of the V&A + RIBA Architecture Partnership there are a number of options for teachers, both self-guided and supported, available for groups.

There are a number of options both self-guided and supported available for groups.

  • book a  resource box  to use with your group in the RIBA study rooms
  • download  teachers' notes  on a variety of different subjects to support your visit
  • investigate the collections on public display in the Architecture Gallery (Room 128) at the V&A

For bookings or to discuss your visit, please contact library.education@riba.org  

Resource boxes
 

Exploring skylines 

  • Key stage 3-5 Art & Design

This resource focuses on city skylines and explores how individual buildings, their design, structure and materials, combined create an important aspect of a city's visual identity: its skyline. The resource asks students to explore a range of drawing approaches, discuss their views on historical and contemporary architecture and think about what they would like cities to look like in the future. It investigates drawings models and fragments of buildings from the V&A and RIBA's unique architecture collections. It identifies key designers and historical events that have influenced the design of London's skyline and considers what factors make some skylines more distinctive than others.

Designing pattern

  • Key Stage 3-4 Design & Technology
  • Key Stage 3-4 Art & Design

This resource provides an innovative approach to teaching pattern and design. Explore the outstanding V&A and RIBA architecture collections and the decorative V&A building with students to discover how patterns are used in architecture and interior design. Investigate how pattern motifs can reflect different cultural values and identity. Give students an exciting design brief to create their own pattern designs, inspired by their research.

Design processes 

  • Key stage 3-4 Design & Technology

This resource explains the design processes used in architecture and shows how they can inspire and facilitate other design projects. It draws on the V&A collections and the RIBA archive of architectural drawings, manuscripts and models. Suggested activities in this resource will develop students' design knowledge and skills. With reference to major building projects including Stansted Airport, Sydney Opera House, the Eden Project and 30, St Mary's Axe (the Gherkin), students will learn how to translate ideas and inspiration into practical designs and how to present their designs in sketches, scale drawings and models.

Architects drawings and ideas 

  • Key stage 3-5 Design & Technology

This resource contains a selection of some of the different types of drawings architects produce at different stages of the design process in order to develop and communicate their ideas. Produced in the 1770s to the late 1990s they also demonstrate how architects’ approaches to drawing and techniques have evolved over time.

 

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