DiscoverDesign.org, Chicago Architecture Foundation

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DiscoverDesign.org, Chicago Architecture Foundation | 2013 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement

Created by the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), DiscoverDesign.org connects teens, teachers, and architects across the country for real-world 21st-century project-based learning. Developed over the past three years, this free web site has been used by 1,700 teens in 200+ high schools and 300 educators and architects since its official national launch in January 2012.

The site creates opportunities for high school students to learn architectural skills and green design principles, apply math and science principles to investigate their own school building, and engage in real-world problem solving in an online community of their peers, teachers, and architects volunteering as online mentors across the country. One of the most exciting aspects of the program is the students’ ability to receive direct feedback from and communicate with practicing designers. The expertise of these AIA professionals has been critical to encouraging students to follow their interests and explore the world of architecture beyond their classroom. In addition, since many teens working in a classroom setting may be guided through design projects by an educator who may or may not have a background in architecture or design, the real-time feedback from these mentors is critical to the process.

Today’s students need more opportunities to develop key 21st-century work and life skills of critical thinking, collaborating, communicating, and being creative. It is critical that students move beyond learning the latest software program or simply memorizing facts and engage in relevant, rigorous opportunities to investigate their built world and creatively solve problems. This tool has brought about significant changes in how architecture is taught and how students experience and interact with it. The collaborative nature of Discover Design has brought the architecture community together with non-architecture students to experience the design process firsthand.

Photo Credit

  • All images courtesy of Chicago Architecture Foundation.
 

DiscoverDesign.org, Chicago Architecture Foundation

Jury Comments

This revolutionary program has filled a critical need within the architecture profession to provide students with the opportunity to participate in a vast, robust online community of like-minded teens around the country.

More about DiscoverDesign.org.
 

2013 Collaborative Achievement Jury

  • Steven Spurlock, FAIA, Chair
  • Wnuck Spurlock Architecture
  • Washington, DC
  • James Binkley, FAIA
  • Reston, Virginia
  • Brian F. Cavanaugh, AIA
  • Architecture Building Culture LLC
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Aisha Densmore-Bey, Assoc. AIA
  • Aisha Densmore-Bey, Designer
  • Boston
  • Lonnie Hoogeboom, AIA
  • Houston Downtown Management District
  • Houston

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