Architecture In The Schools: Hands On Learning


Architecture In The Schools (AIS) is a program run through the Washington Architectural Foundation and AIA. AIS matches volunteer architects with public school teachers to enrich the learning experience of children and reinforces core academic skills. AIS also teaches children how to exercise their analytical and creative skills through architectural design.

STUDIO39’s Siobhan Chewning joined this program in August of this year. She visits the 6th grade class of Rolling Valley Elementary once per week. They are focusing on sustainable design. Siobhan worked with the teacher to create a syllabus for the class semester and each lecture builds on the next.

They started the semester with an introduction of what architects do and common architectural tools. The kids will learn about basic structural principles, energy flow through buildings, environmental design, the impact of the building on a site and site on a building, the role of building materials, and the role plants can play on a building. The final project analyses the school site and building with a rebuild of the ideal school. The final model will likely be a large scale site model sited for daylighting and natural ventilation and includes bioretention, rain gardens, green roofs, pervious pavers, sun shading devices.

AIS has reached more than 10,000 children in metropolitan Washington DC schools since it began in 1992. In 2003, Virginia schools in Arlington and Fairfax counties joined AIS.

To find out more information on AIS or to learn how you can volunteer please visit their website at:

Follow Us
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Twitter: studio39