A new report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) details how educational architecture programs are reaching underrepresented students in K-8 classrooms.
AIA’s K-8 Learning by Design Chapter Grants—funded by Armstrong World Industries Foundation — seeks to introduce the architecture profession among underrepresented students in K-8 classrooms. From 2017-2018, the programs funded architectural educational programs in 18 communities, including those that are underserved. Each program—created by AIA chapters — engages students and their families through hands-on architecture experiences. As part of this, chapters develop curricula focused on architecture and design, train educators in design thinking and enlist architects to educate students in classrooms.
“This program nurtures a diverse pipeline for the next generation of architects, which is critical to the future of our profession,” said AIA 2019 President William Bates, FAIA. “More and more, clients are seeking architects that understand their communities and who can provide innovative solutions to their challenges. Creating a more diverse and equitable profession is a key component to delivering on those expectations.”
Between 2017-2018, the program reached more than 9,000 K-8 students. This included a high percentage — nearly 49 percent — of female students, which is above the average percentage for a STEM-related outreach program.
Over the course of the two-year partnership with Armstrong World Industries Foundation, AIA was able to build on its success in 2017 by adding seven new chapters in 2018. Participating chapters included AIA Chicago, AIA Detroit, AIA Albuquerque, AIA Baton Rouge, AIA Spokane, AIA Seattle, Boston Society of Architects, AIA Florida, AIA Birmingham/N. Alabama/Mobile (collaborative), AIA Buffalo/Western New York (collaborative), AIA Baltimore, AIA Columbus, AIA Atlanta, AIA New York, AIA Kansas City, AIA Triangle (NC), AIA Washington, D.C. and AIA Houston. Each chapter received up to $5,000 to fund its program.
AIA expects to continue chapter grant projects in 2019 and to create baseline metrics to understand the impact of the programs in the future. Learn more about AIA’s K-12 initiative online.