Arch-Innovate Competition

As part of Archikids Festival, and supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Open-City ran the Arch-Innovate Competition to find the best activities toengage children and families with architecture and their city during the Archikids Festival on 17-19 May 2013.

The competition presented an ideal opportunity to expand creative process and develop educational experience. Open-City was delighted with the number of entries to the competition and the cross-section of entrants, from local artists to international educators and designers. The activity themes presented to the entrants were:

  • Animal shelter (Architecture, for who?)
  • Points of support (Strength of Architecture)
  • XS to XL (Scale in Architecture)
  • Cooking ingredients (Materials in Architecture)

The Judging Panel consisted of Victoria Thornton (Founding Director of Open-City), Christine Murray (Editor of the Architects' Journal) and Alan Stanton (Director of Stanton Williams Architects). Winning entries were chosen for their ability to push the boundary of children's experimentation with architecture, whilst having fun.The panel commended the level of innovation and thinking behind the winning entries. Notably the balence between informal learning of architecural attributes and have fun in the city.

The awarded comissions were developed and presented at this year's Archikids Festival 17-19 May 2013. Visit the programme highlights to view the activity in action!

Arch-Innovate Winners



Architecture from All Sides

Looking at architceture as a three-dimensional object and understanding its size, scale and proportions to the human-body is the aim of Architecture from All Sides. Exploring perspective and scale particularly, the specifically devised box template will enable each child to create their own picture box.

Beneath the City's Sky by Lizzie Edwards, Ministry of Making

Beneath the City’s Skin can be found a world of truss and tetrahedron structures that use the remarkable strength of triangles to ensure that our city stays upright! In collaboration with professional architects and engineers, participants will build scale models of some of London’s most iconic structures, using tetrahedron and truss structures.

Bird City by House to Home Architects

The jay, swifts, pigeons and even the tawny Owl!  What type of bird will they design a house for? What materials do they want to use for their house? And perhaps what London building is inspiring their design? Children will design their very own bird house inspired by London’s square mile buildings, creating a Bird City suspended in the trees.

Bridge the Gap! by Arup

‘Bridge the Gap!’ will involve children in build a working bridge while gaining an appreciation of different structural forms and exploring the basic principles behind the bridges they use in their everyday lives in a fun and interactive way. Following the completion of bridge building, they will be invited to test their design by driving a remote controlled dumper truck across the deck.

Centre-Cane City by Stuart Simier

Using a natural material called: ‘centre-cane’, the vine of the rattan tree, children will work together in a progressive manner to create a large form of abstract housing, which could offer shelter to a group of animals. The ‘Centre-Cane City’ will culminate when the group considers the concept of ‘Mobile Architecture’ and the possibilities open to them of ‘how’ and ‘where’ to site their piece.

Chicken City by Jerry Tate Architects & Hackney City Farm

Chicken City is a fun self-build workshop designed to weave a chicken coop into the existing Urban Fabric of the Square Mile. Through hands-on instruction of the traditional construction method of weaving, children will be supervised in the design and construction of a willow-weaved chicken coop, which will be used to house chickens at the end of the festival!

Postcards from London By Architecture Fund

Postcards from London will encourage children to explore the City of London while taking photos consciously and curiously. To reflect the specific architectural themes children will look for the best shots, take pictures, create descriptions and submit them for printing and display in the final installation in well accessible and visible public space in the Square Mile.

Skyline Shadow Show by Involve Architecture Collective

Skyline Shadow Show is a dramatic demonstration of scale where children will design their own skyscrapers to join the London skyline. They will be performers in a giant shadow puppet display show!

The Little-Big Tunnel by Matthew Springett Associates

The little-big tunnel will be a fragmented structure which shifts in scale: shrinking and growing, meaning that in some areas you might have to crawl or crouch and others tower high above you. Employing the same structural components at three varying sizes (S + M + L), children will experiment the relationship between space and human body.

The Urban Jungle by Fourth Wall Creations

How would jungle animals evolve if they moved into our city? What would they look like if they developed camouflage so they could hide amongst the architecture of London? Using life-size templates, children will customize their own animals inspired by the architecture of the city, to truly make these creatures into city dwellers.




The 2016 programme of tours & events starts 30 Jan. Further 2016 tours announced shortly, sign up to enews below to hear info first

30 Jan - King's Cross


6 - Cathedral to Commerce
11 - Eve With Segal

13 - Architecture on the Thames Boat Tour
20 - Photo Wren to Rogers; Riverside walking tour
27 - King's Cross

5 - Cathedral to Commerce
10 - Photo Night
12 - tbc
19 - Photo Tour Shoreditch; Riverside walking tour
26 - King's Cross
31 - Photo Night


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