In 2004 Walters & Cohen was invited by the Sorrell Foundation to take part in the ‘joinedupdesignforschools’ scheme. The programme aimed to give designers the opportunity to work directly with school children. Our client was a group of 11–12 year old pupils from Hinde Head School in Sheffield. The brief was to design a new science facility named ‘Little Beasties’, which comprised a new pavilion and associated outdoor areas to study local flora and fauna.
The Sorrell Foundation explores new models of learning, uniting the public sectors with the design community. The idea behind the scheme was to personalise learning so that children can develop their skills with non-curricular hands-on experience. In each project the emphasis is placed on the design process rather than the finished product. We consulted and worked with the pupils, using models and outings to help them understand and articulate their ideas for the space. We led visits to London Zoo and the Science Museum in London and built study models to help create the brief.
When asked to describe what architects might do, one pupil exclaimed that they ‘dig up bones’. At the end of the four-month design process and having participated in several design workshops, the pupils had a real insight into the profession and our approach to design.