High school students design better communities alongside architects

Submitted by vcb_prod on Thu, 08/08/2019 - 14:03
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"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"For most high\nschool students, getting to know an architect is a rare opportunity. Many may\nhave only ever seen one in a movie or briefly met one at a career day, but AIA is\ncommitted to changing that. Building on the success of a "],[0,[0],1,"2018 wo"],[0,[1],1,"rkshop"],[0,[],0," to envision safer schools, "],[0,[2],1,"Chicago\nI"],[0,[3],1,"deas"],[0,[],0," and AIA brought\nstudents and architects together once again for a second youth lab, this time\nwith new technology in hand. More than a dozen high school students from around\nChicago gathered at Gensler\u2019s downtown office at the end of July, where they\nwere met by architects ready to walk them through the process of designing a\ncommunity building. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cOne of the things we\u2019ve been trying to do is develop tools that help\npeople understand what architects do and how they make a difference in their\ncommunities,\u201d said Peter Exley, FAIA, AIA\u2019s Vice President-elect, introducing students\nto \u201cBuild the Block,\u201d a new tablet-based game."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Game play begins with an architect briefly describing the task at hand:\ndesign a building that addresses the needs of your community. Students are then\neach assigned a role to play such as client, mayor, local business owner, or\nanother community member like retiree or firefighter. At July\u2019s event, Oswaldo\nOrtega, AIA, and Jose A. Esquinca, Assoc. AIA, joined Exley in the role of\narchitect, each queuing up the design challenge within their small groups of\nstudents and describing the empty site where the project would be built. Unsurprisingly,\neach group determined to place their buildings in neighborhoods around their\nnative Chicago before jumping in to discuss what type of structure to build and sketching their ideas."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Community concerns such as housing, education, safety, health,\nrecreation, and business all factored into the decision for what type of\nproject to pursue. The options? Affordable housing, a hospital, or a school. As\nthe game progressed, architects facilitated dialogue and project planning,\ndemonstrating the way they work every day. When the design phase came to a\nclose, students presented their ideas using the game\u2019s digital interface to\ndisplay photographs of drawings they had made. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Exley\u2019s group chose to design a three-story affordable housing complex\nwith senior housing and parking. Students emphasized the importance of generating\nrevenue and increasing security as primary drivers behind their choices. \u201cI wanted to stress safety and a strong\ncommunity,\u201d said the student playing the part of mayor during a final\npresentation."]]],[10,0],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The other two\ngroups\u2014led by Ortega and Esquinca\u2014opted to build hospitals in their community.\nStudents selected wellness as a primary goal, advocating that their design must\nreflect the needs of a diverse group of residents. \u201cWhen we were thinking of\nwhat we need in a community, we wanted to help out the elderly,\u201d said a student\nwho acted as a client. The two teams proposed public green spaces as well as private\nand public activity areas that would encourage mobility and mental health."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Offering some feedback about\nthe game, the teenage participants said they found their first experience\nworking with an architect to be productive and rewarding. The \u201cclient\u201d students,\nin particular, said that the architects taught them to consider everyone in the\nneighborhood and how their choices could potentially impact them. \u201cThey made\nyou think about the people surrounding the building,\u201d one said. \u201cThey helped us\nunderstand cause and effect,\u201d said another, adding that the architects listened\nand responded to their ideas with understanding. \u201cThey stayed where I was and\nhelped me and the group build the building how we wanted it to be.\u0022"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cBuild the Block\u201d is the latest way AIA is engaging young people through\nin-person events so they may become more aware of architecture and learn enough\nabout the field to consider becoming architects themselves. AIA chapters across\nthe country engage K-12 students through a variety of in-school and "],[0,[4],1,"out-of-school\nprograms"],[0,[],0," like summer camps and workshops. AIA hopes to replicate events like the\none in Chicago across the country in the future, bringing more young people and\narchitects together with \u201cBuild the Block.\u201d"]]],[1,"blockquote",[[0,[],0,"\u0022They helped us\nunderstand cause and effect.\u0022 - Chicago high school student"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"To\ndevelop \u201cBuild the Block,\u201d AIA worked with "],[0,[5],1,"Integrated Co"],[0,[6],1,"mputer Solutions"],[0,[],0," (ICS), a\nMassachusetts-based company that has created\ninteractive games and digital experiences for organizations including "],[0,[7],1,"Boston Scientific"],[0,[],0," and the "],[0,[7],1,"New England Journal of Medicine"],[0,[],0,". \u201cBuild the Block\u201d was an opportunity for ICS to branch\nout. \u201cThis is the first project we\u2019ve worked on that is specifically\naimed at high school students,\u201d says Scott Lozier, director\nof development at ICS who led game play design and project management.\n\u201cThe AIA team allowed us to try some new ideas, integrate exciting game-play\nelements, and create a learning experience that would resonate with players\nlong after the game itself concluded.\u201d"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Part of AIA\u2019s\nBlueprint for Better "],[0,[8],1,"public awareness e"],[0,[9],1,"fforts "],[0,[],0,"include partnering with mission-driven\norganizations like Chicago Ideas, a unique nonprofit fostering connectivity\nthat crosses industry and social boundaries. \u201cWe believe that is important for\nthe community to connect with diverse people and ideas,\u201d says Amanda Salhoot,\nvice president of strategic partnerships. Youth programs like the one held at\nGensler are at the core of their mission. Last year, Salhoot says, they engaged\nover 1,900 students from under-resourced communities. The multi-year\ncollaboration with AIA has resulted in connecting hundreds of Chicago area\nresidents with architects. \u201cTogether we have created immersive experiences that\nbuild awareness about architecture and the vital role it has in sustainable\ncommunity development and growth,\u201d she says."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Looking forward, it\u2019s events like the AIA\nand Chicago Ideas youth lab that will continue to improve the pathway to more\nequitable design practices and a more diverse profession. Those improvements\nstart with tools like \u201cBuild the Block\u201d and meaningful connections between\narchitects and young people. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cHopefully it will give some insight into what\narchitects do, how we impact communities, and how we work with people to build\na better future,\u201d Exley said. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[7],1,"Learn more about AIA\u2019s commitment to strengthening the\npath to architecture through "],[0,[10,7],2,"K-12\ninitia"],[0,[7,11],1,"tives "],[0,[],1,"as well as our efforts to build stronger communities\nwith the "],[0,[8,7],2,"Blueprint\nfor Better campaign"],[0,[7],1,"."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[12],1,"Kathleen M. O\u2019Donnell is a writer\/editor at AIA,\nspecializing in practice and professional development topics and Institute\ncoverage."]]]]}
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At an AIA and Chicago Ideas youth lab, teenagers discovered how architects collaborate to build stronger communities.
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With the help of Oswaldo Ortega, AIA, a Chicago high school student evaluates his community's needs while playing "Build the Block," a new interactive game that teaches the design process.
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chicago ideas, build the block, design process, architecture, community engagement
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