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‘Adventures’ on the Bayou Architecture Center Houston introduces middle-school kids to the design profession

In the six months since Architecture Center Houston opened, ArCH has welcomed more than 2,500 people to a wide range of activities – from workshops and exhibitions to architecture walking tours and even a small concert – but we are most excited about an event coming up this summer. That’s when 14 middle-school students will spend five days at ArCH for “Adventures in Architecture,” a program developed by AIA Houston in celebration of the 150th anniversary of AIA’s founding. Opened in February as the new headquarters of AIA Houston and the Houston Architectural Foundation. ArCH has 5,000 square feet on the ground floor of the former Albert Thomas Convention Center (now called Bayou Place) located in downtown’s Theater District. ArCH is dedicated to promoting public awareness and appreciation of the ways in which architecture and urban design influence and enhance the quality of life, particularly in greater Houston. “Adventures in Architecture,” with curriculum written by UH architecture instructor Donna Kacmar, AIA, will focus on Houston’s Near Northside, a historic but underserved


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neighborhood where the students live and attend school. The program, free to participants and coordinated by Alfonso Hernandez, includes five morning exercises (programming, drawing, model-building, photography, and presentation) and afternoon field trips to the Near Northside neighborhood, an architecture firm, the City Planning Department, Rice University School of Architecture, and the Museum District. The idea is to provide opportunities for the students to learn about the architectural profession and to heighten their awareness of the built environment around them. The kids are all very excited by the photos they have seen of the ArCH space, particularly the classroom (top left). Its “edgy” look, I think, is part of the lure for these kids. To work in a space like this will be a real treat for them. Partially funded by an AIA150 grant, “Adventures in Architecture” is a program that AIA Houston intends to expand in coming years to include more students and other neglected neighborhoods in the city. Barrie Scardino is the executive director of AIA Houston.

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photographs by joe aker | a-z photography

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Texas Architect July/Aug 2007: Luxury  
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Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...