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Design Quest Summer School - Exploring Edges: Inside and Outside
​Amy Butt

Design Quest Summer School - Exploring Edges: Inside and Outside

​Join us for this five day workshop led by Involve Architecture and design, make, test and construct your own spectacular shelters. For ages 6 to 10 years.

Involve Architecture lead this five-day workshop that invites you to design, make, test and construct your own spectacular shelters. You will start off as architectural detectives to discover how designers keep us warm and dry and make models which resist the wind and rain, before developing your own den designs. Finally, you will build your designs outdoors and test them against the forces of nature!

For ages 6 to 10 years.

This summer school takes place daily from Monday 7 August to Friday 11 August 11am to 4pm and is led by professional educators. Lunch is not provided, so please provide a packed lunch for your child to eat in their break.

With Amy Butt and Ceri Williams from Involve Architecture

Please note, the last day of this workshop (Friday 11 August) will include a day of building off site at an Adventure Playground which is integral to the workshop. Participants are expected to meet and be picked up from Pearson Street Adventure Playground on this day. You will need to provide parental permission for your child to work off site, supervised by RIBA staff, educators and volunteers, in the registration form.


Over the course of the week we will undertake a series of investigations and experiments, looking at how architects around the world react to the demands of the climate to design buildings that shelter us from the wind, sun and rain. Through drawing, model making and materials testing you will develop your own skills as an architectural designer, before putting these to the test on the last day designing and making your own shelter.

Day 1: Monday, 7 August – RIBA

WIND! - How do structures stay standing in the wind?

The week begins with an introduction to the workshop and an overview of what an architect does, and how you will become architectural designers over the next week.

In the morning we will look at examples of buildings from around the world drawn from the RIBA archive of photographs, to investigate how different types of structural frame resist forces like the wind and gravity. Working in small groups you will build and test paper models that are strong enough to hold a small weight, before developing these in the afternoon into your own individual design. These paper structures will then be tested against an onslaught of fans and hairdryers to see which shapes best resist the wind to stay standing.

Day 2: Tuesday, 8 August – RIBA

SUN! - How do buildings and materials shade us from the sun?

In the morning we will look at examples of different buildings from around the world and investigate how they keep us cool and shady in different climates. In groups we will build a scale model to try and create shade at different times of day, to learn about how the geographical location and sun-paths influence architectural design. In the afternoon you will develop your individual shady space design, using a selection of clear, translucent and solid materials in your model. We will use cyanotype (light sensitive) paper to test where the light and dark areas are in your model designs, and explore how a building design can create patterns and atmosphere with shade and light

Day 3: Wednesday, 9 August – RIBA

RAIN! - How we stay dry inside building when it rains?

In the morning we will look at examples of different buildings from around the world and investigate how their occupants stay dry using different materials to shed water and resist damp. In groups we will test out different materials to see which will keep water out of a model house, exploring how materials can be jointed and overlapped. After lunch you will make your own choice from different materials to make a model building capable of keeping its occupants dry. At the end of the day we will test these models out in a model monsoon, to see which materials and methods work best to keep the insides dry.

Day 4: Thursday, 10 August – RIBA

BIG SHELTER DESIGN! - How do we draw and model a building before it’s constructed?

This will be a day of preparation before Friday’s Big Shelter Build. We will replay videos and photographs of the models built over the first three days, to see what we can learn from our experimentation with structures, form and materials. We will look at images from the RIBA’s exhibitions and archives to explore the ways that architects draw and model buildings to before construction. Using everything we have learnt we will then draw our own designs for a structure than can shelter us from wind, sun or rain. In the afternoon you will work in pairs to build a scale model of your final design, using the materials available on the Big Build day.

At the end of the day we will document our designs and you can take home all of the models you have produced over the week.

Day 5: Friday, 11 August – Pearson Street Adventure Playground

BIG SHELTER BUILD! - A day outdoors building a shelter.

Over the last day you will work in pairs to construct a structure big enough for you to shelter inside. In the morning, we will focus on building the structure and frame which will create the form or shape of the shelter. In the afternoon, we will add cladding to create areas of shade and to protect the shelter from the rain. At the end of the day we will test our shelters against the forces of nature, exposing them to the wind, sun and rain. At the end of the day participants will receive a certificate in recognition of their expertise as architectural designers, and the wonderful models, drawings and structures that have made over the course of the week.

Educator Bio:

Amy is an architect and client advisor, lecturer and design tutor in architecture at Newcastle and Brighton University, and independent researcher. She has a passionate interest in education building design, with a strong belief in the importance of wider consultation and narrative communication, to create spaces which can engage and inspire all users of the built environment.
Visit Amy's website for more info.

Ceri is an architect and independent designer based between London and North Wales. His work includes small scale architectural commissions, product development and computer game design and illustration. Alongside practice he is an architectural tutor, most recently running a studio at Newcastle University.
Visit Ceri's website for more info.