Open city 2018 – Primary School programme

Every year Granit takes part in the Architecture in Schools programme, organised by Open City. The programme aims to introduce the topic of Architecture at a young age by pairing Architecture practices with primary schools across London. This year Granit were partnered with Clapham Manor Primary School, who we worked with on their brief of a ‘Shared City’ with 60 of their students aged 8-9 years old.

The Open City programme consists of 3 workshops with the school: introductory to the brief and meeting partner school, a building visit and a model making workshop. For the initial meeting Granit met with their partner school representative, Suzanne Wood, an enthusiastic and passionate ‘Artist in Residence’ at Clapham Manor primary school. Open City lead the workshop covering simple ways to record the build environment through different techniques of sketching, collage and model making.

In order to introduce the brief to the students, we first took them on a building visit, somewhere that exemplifies the brief. We visited Clapham Library which was completed in 2012 by Studio Egret West Architects. Not only does it contain a library, but a doctor’s surgery, a dentist and residential flats above. The students were split in to groups and we covered fundamental aspects to what architects use in design: materiality, structure, use and light whilst also introducing architectural drawing representations of plan, section and elevation.

The students had several weeks to digest what they had learnt from their building visit and to work with Suzanne to develop their ideas from the brief and design inspiration from Clapham Library. When Granit visited the school for their final workshop the students had fantastic sketches of what they wanted to build and had already practiced their model making skills with Suzanne giving them excellent precedents and model making material.

The students had a big selection of materials to work from, creating a wide variety of buildings. We assisted the students with their creations, but with them being the lead designers. After their mixed-use buildings were complete, we stitched their buildings together with roads, bridges, rivers and even slides creating one big ‘Shared City’.

The school will now submit their models along with a portfolio of sketches, concept models and photos of their work in order to show case their ideas. The top three submissions will be transformed into professional architectural models and will be publicly displayed throughout August and September. We wish Clapham Manor Primary School lots of luck and hope they enjoyed the experience!