Architecture in Schools

The programme also brings pupils into contact with exemplary London architecture.

Each year Open City, in partnership with the Canary Wharf Group, organises for participants to take part in building explorations to encourage young people to look for clues to understand how buildings are designed and built, learn design skills and to consider the ways in which people use space. Building visits are also aimed at inspiring children to design their own places and spaces in response to a set design brief. This direct experience leads on to creative workshops in the classroom.

Classes are partnered with mentor design professionals

Following on from their building visits, classes work with partner design professionals to create a portfolio of work and an architectural model in response to a design brief set by Open City and the Canary Wharf Group.

Classes can then submit their portfolios and models to an inter-school competition.

The top three entries are transformed into professional architectural models and go on public display in Canary Wharf's Crossrail Roof Garden.

In the last week of the summer term representatives from each participating class are also invited to an awards and preview event in East Wintergarden hosted by the Canary Wharf Group.

Open City 2017 Architectural Awards Primary 6 of 116
zzzzzzzzzz copy
Bursted Woods
AiS Training 132 of 134
ais18 siemens 57 of 65
AiS Training 130 of 134
ais18 siemens 47 of 65
ais18 salters hall 27 of 40
ais18 salters hall 39 of 40

Architecture in Schools runs from February to July every year. Find out more information about how children can learn about architecture and shape their city. To get involved in the programme, please email

This creative approach to learning is something that our school values: providing learning through real-life, practical situations with a purposeful outcome.  Architecture in Schools is a rich learning experience for our pupils that encourages me to consider how we incorporate architecture into our curriculum.

Sarah Smith, Teacher,

Henry Maynard Primary School 2014-2016 Participant

A great way to get back to the basics of Architecture. I found it helped me unlock other problems when I was explaining various principles to the students. It was refreshing to see their enthusiasm and also their unique ideas were inspirational.

Tim Bergin,

Weston Williamson + Partners

Our professionals were amazing and so helpful during the process. I found it extremely helpful that they had done it before as I felt quite overwhelmed in the beginning. I wasn't sure what to expect and exactly how it would all come together. They were confident and reassuring.

Erica Van Driel,

Year 4 Teacher, Streatham Wells Primary School

UCL takes the need to broaden our intake of students very seriously. Diversity of background and perspective are essential in creating an excellent student group and experience. We work with Open City’s Accelerate programme to help tackle the barriers to entry to university and the architectural profession.

Prof. Alan Penn,

Dean of The Bartlett

Accelerate is an exceptional programme with a great ethos. It is important not only because it provides a valuable opportunity for younger people to have an insight into the study and practice of architecture, but it also develops links between the architects of today and tomorrow.

2013/14 Accelerate Mentor

Accelerate offers a fully coordinated support system from the dedicated, inspirational team at Open City and from the outstanding mentoring from architects. It gives passionate and dedicated students from a diverse range of backgrounds  opportunities to access what can often seem a ʻclosedʼ profession.

Stephen Bell Brown,

Talented Co-ordinator, Walthamstow Academy

All of it was absolutely amazing, and really helped me make the decision to study architecture. The best parts were working with the architects, especially on a long-term basis, which is very different from work experience, and meeting others with the same interests. Also, the support from the leaders was brilliant. So inspiring, thanks!

Accelerate Mentee, 2012,

Now studying Architecture at Cambridge University

The Archikids festival is invaluable because it encourages public enjoyment of culture and technology, and greater public education and understanding of our surroundings.

Parent, 2017

The festival opens architecture up to families who would not necessarily engage with it. It was lovely to see parents working with their children to create something. It's timing, at the beginning of the summer holidays, will hopefully be encouraging children and parents to spend the time creatively.

Archikids Volunteer, 2017

Archikids is a hands on and enjoyable way for children to understand and interact with the built environment that surrounds and effects them.

Parent, 2017


Architecture in Schools is a free programme generously supported by the Canary Wharf Group. Each year we would like to work with more schools across London to enable more children to experience amazing architecture and to learn about how their city is made. If you would like to make a donation or to support the programme, please email

Sponsors & Supporters


Open City's learning programmes would not be possible without the support of local authorities, sponsors and supporters. Find out more about our event sponsors for 2018, or contact us, for more information on sponsorship opportunities.