The Architecture Handbook is the result of an incredible collaboration among members of Chicago’s architectural community, local high school teachers and students, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
In August of 2004, the Chicago Architecture Foundation brought together a group of individuals committed to architectural education for high school students. The group included principals from 6 architectural firms in Chicago, including Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and Holabird & Root, administrators from the Education to Careers department of the Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Architecture Foundation staff and school of architecture admissions officials from the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Harold Washington College.
The goal of this meeting was to discuss the current state of architectural education in the high schools across Chicago. The principals in the architecture firms stated that they are looking for college graduates who have problem solving skills and experience working in teams. They need employees to be well-rounded and have skills beyond drafting. The colleges expressed that they want students who have strong math, reading, and writing skills. An emphasis on hand drawing is also important for incoming freshmen.
As a result of this meeting, the Chicago Public Schools officially agreed to partner with the Chicago Architecture Foundation to create a college-prep architecture curriculum that addressed concerns of colleges and future employers regarding student preparedness.
Three advisory teams
Three advisory teams came together to brainstorm ideas, develop content, and test lessons and activities for The Architecture Handbook.