Architects in Schools

June 1, 2019

Have you ever heard a young child respond that they want to be an architect when they grow up? It’s not the stereotypical answer. Through our partnership with Architects in Schools, we work to inspire kids not only to be architects, but to be passionate about learning, growing, being creative, and working collaboratively. Members of our staff, as well as other professionals in the design industry, volunteer in schools to help students dream differently and dream BIG for their future.

Administered by the Architecture Foundation of Oregon since 2003, Architects in Schools is a program that aims to “…introduce the youngest Oregonians to the power and possibilities of design with the end goal of creating lifelong learners and critical thinkers who have a voice in their community.” It delivers, “Arts programming, environmental understanding, awareness of cultural links to history, understanding responsibility to the natural environment, career awareness and communication skills – all through the principles and practices of architecture and design.”

FFA’s Kaylyn Berry, RA and Cristina Camacho, LEED Green Associate, were sponsored by the firm to participate in Architects in Schools as part of our commitment to giving back to our community in meaningful and long-lasting ways. This is Kaylyn’s second year participating in the program and Cristina’s first, which- she says will be a hard experience to top. They worked together with teachers at Riverside Elementary School in Oak Grove to integrate lessons students were being taught in class about Native American Tribes and their lifestyles with the Architects in Schools curriculum.

During the sessions led by Kaylyn and Cristina, students looked at the lifestyle of Native American Tribes and the meaning and purpose of different spaces through the lens of architectural design. Kaylyn and Cristina brought a full set of architectural drawings and specifications to class, showed students construction details and talked to them about building and zoning code. Throughout this process, the duo consistently stressed the importance of teamwork and of validating everyone’s ideas — showing students how architects work as part of a team.

The students’ final assignment was to program, design and build typical projects for Native American Tribes such as a smoke house, steam house, dormitory, market and cemetery. The designs were displayed at Pioneer Place Mall, and students spent a day coming into downtown Portland to see their work and to visit FFA’s office across the street. While they were here, they toured our studio and got close-up views of physical and digital models as well as sample products and finishes.

Check out their final projects below: