This project culminated in an exhibition of student designs created by middle school girls from East Jerusalem. Below is a description of the exhibition by project coordinator and Urban Clinic Associate Luisa Venancio:
This exhibition is the result of a series of workshops over a course of four months with a group of 12 fourteen-year-old students from the Al-thori Preparatory School for Girls. The goal was to introduce students to the world of architecture through a hands-on design experience, giving them an opportunity to learn and to express themselves through the design of a new high school for their neighborhood.
The first part of the exhibition focuses on the process and activities that took place between October 2017 and February 2018. The second part focuses on the outcomes: a series of ideas and wishes, in order of priority voted by the students, and three design proposals, developed in teams of four with the help of project facilitators. Initially, the idea was to develop a design that reflected the needs of the students. But as the conversations went on, the pedagogical aspect became more important: architecture is not often taught as part of the school curriculum.
This exercise is by nature interdisciplinary, applying skills from the arts, sciences, geometry, geography... As an open-ended process with no right answer, it forces participants to search for solutions and think creatively. We started by introducing the students to essential concepts, increasing their awareness about the built environment. We took the time to explain what each profession does: architecture, urban planning, civil engineering. But the vast majority of the sessions were not lectures, but centered around practical activities, because the only way to know if you like to design is by trying it out.
Please click here for more information about the project.
Please click here to read Luisa's thesis "How build environment education affects youth"