This Summer MADE ran its fifth City Builder Academy thanks to funding from the Ove Arup Foundation. Here’s how it went…
The academy was aimed at students from the West Midlands in years 10, 11, 12 and 13 who are interested in pursuing a career in the built environment. This time the academy had a ‘green’ focus where the design challenge was to create a sustainable environment and integrate green infrastructure into the city – appealing not only to all the budding architects and urban designers out there but also those interested in a career in landscape architecture, green technology, ecology and sustainability.
It was a jam-packed, eventful week starting on the first day with a density, urban form and economics exercise invented by MADE’s CEO David Tittle. This got the students exploring ideas about the form of development before starting their design project, which was to transform a derelict space on the edge of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter into a new, vibrant, sustainable city block, the space being the Ludgate Hill car park on Livery Street/Lionel Street.
During the week the students received talks from professionals about their careers, routes into their current roles, the kind of projects they work on and various specialisms, which helped to influence and improve students’ designs. The professionals who took part were from the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, planning, ecology, engineering and building services.
The building-services professional talk was a new career option covered by the academy this year. We are very grateful to Chris Read from Engineering Services Consultancy Birmingham for this. Students also visited an architecture practice (Glancy Nicholls) and a transport consultancy (JMP) to see what it was like to work in a professional environment and what teams work together in the practice.
To aid their designs the students went on a site visit. This helped them to understand what the key aspects were of the site they were developing and what the land around the site was being used for. They also had a tour of The Cube from Greg Willis, who works at Make Architects and was involved with the development of The Cube.
On the final day each group had to present their scheme to a panel of judges and essentially have a design review of their proposal. After a competitive week with 21 students from 11 schools around the West Midlands there was a joint winner! All students had a constructive week and are now more enthusiastic about their future careers within the built environment.
We had students from 11 different schools, seven of which were new schools to send pupils to City Builder Academy. These new schools were St Augustine’s Catholic High School and Sixth Form Centre, St Paul’s School for Girls, Weobley High School, The Derby High School, Adams Grammar School, Hillcrest School and Sixth Form Centre, Hall Green School.
There were four students attending who are entitled to free school meals, five students who speak English as a second language and 10 students with no history of higher education in their family.