STIMULATING KNOWLEDGE OF ARCHITECTURE
Architecture is linked to people: we inhabit our homes, streets, neighbourhoods, cities, etc. It helps us to understand our environment and, at the same time, to have the critical discernment needed to improve it.
Aware of this vital role, at the Open Centre we actively promote knowledge of architecture among children and young people.
With this objective in mind – and supported by the Law on Architecture, designed to promote architecture among school-age children – in 2017, the Architects’ Association of Catalonia launched an educational programme. The result was the creation of the ArquiEscola, a cross-cutting educational project based on the new teaching strategies of meaningful and project-based learning.
The ArquiEscola educational programme is aimed at primary and secondary schools. Its goals include encouraging children to participate in the construction of urban environments, stimulating their criteria for deciding on the spaces we inhabit, and creating awareness of the influence of architecture on our health.
To this end, it focuses on five basic concepts – dimension, light, form, materials and use, and four transversal concepts – gender perspective, functional and cultural diversity, sustainability and identities.
The programme is supported by the Generalitat de Catalunya Ministry of Education and Barcelona City Council. It has also obtained the seal of approval of the Council for Teaching Innovation of the Barcelona Municipal Institute of Education.
ONLINE LEARNING BITES
We offer children, young people, families and schools a series of online workshops, in video format or as presentations, developed by professional architects. These learning bites present activities that can be done at home, such as building a model or playing with light and shadow. Workshops can be searched for by educational level, from the first years of primary education to secondary school.
For secondary school students, there is also a Sustainable Architecture learning module available with information and questionnaires, created in collaboration with the digital newspaper Junior Report (published by La Vanguardia).
ARCHITECTURE IN THE CLASSROOM
In celebration of Architecture Week, held in Barcelona during the second week of May, since 2019 we have organised more than 300 talks and workshops in more than 100 educational centres. The activities carried out can be consulted both on the Architecture in the Classroom 5.0 interactive map and on the Architecture in the Classroom board, organised by skills and educational levels.
The ArquiEscola project aims to implement architecture in the classroom in a way that is both stable and meaningful. For this reason, it is deployed throughout the country and involves the creation of long-term partnerships with local educational centres.
The piloting of the schools participating in the project is coordinated by the different branches of the Open Centre: in Terres de l’Ebre we have worked with the Mercè school in Tortosa; in Girona, the Mas Clarà School in La Bisbal and the Camins school in Banyoles have been involved; and in Barcelona, pilots have been carried out in the Martí Pous and Octavio Paz secondary schools through the project El carrer (The street).
Through the Magnet partnerships programme, we also collaborate with the Camps Elisis school in Lleida – under the slogan Construïm junts (Let’s build together) – and the Marià Fortuny school in Reus – under the slogan Transformem la llum (Let’s transform light).
Magnet is an initiative of the Jaume Bofill Foundation, the Generalitat de Catalunya Ministry of Education, Barcelona Provincial Council, the Barcelona Education Consortium and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Institute of Educational Sciences (ICE).
The aim of the programme is to tackle the issue of school segregation through partnerships with leading institutions. Over the past few years, the two schools have become benchmarks in their respective regions.
NEW LEARNING SPACES
The different spaces that make up education centres play a key role in the learning processes of children and young people. Aware of their importance, at the Open Centre we wish to contribute the expertise of architects in this field in order to improve educational spaces.
For this purpose, in 2019 the Architects’ Association of Catalonia, the Jaume Bofill Foundation and the Generalitat de Catalunya Ministry of Education organised a seminar in which more than 400 architects and teachers participated. As a result of this event, a new document began to take shape: “Nous aprenentatges, nous espais. Guia i criteris per a la construcció i transformació de centres educatius públics” (New learning, new spaces. Guide and criteria for the construction and transformation of state schools).
In addition, the Association launched a competition calling for ideas on how to transform current educational facilities and design the so-called “classrooms of the future”. Take a look at the most highly rated proposals!