Due to its intense and lengthy post-secondary academic requirements, the profession of architecture is often perceived as “exclusive” … and sometimes even elitist.
Architecture is an area of study that few consider open to them, despite the fact that our built environment has prolific impacts on everyday life. These impacts are felt not only by those who study and practice architecture, but also by every citizen in every municipality, whether they are aware of it or not. The streets we walk, the public space we inhabit and the cities we drive through look and feel the way they do—in large part—because of their architecture.
The fact that something playing such a large role in the lives of so many is not taught to students in elementary or high school is a missed opportunity for reaching out to brilliant and creative future architects. Beyond that, a population that has not been taught the value of thoughtful, purposeful design can be (and frequently is) detrimental to the health of our cities. This is one of the reasons why the OAA Council has identified “the education continuum” as a priority issue for 2019.
Including high-level architectural concepts in the curricula early on in children's development would mean even those who choose not to pursue a degree in architecture will better understand the implications of the way we choose to design and build in this province. By equipping our citizens with the concepts and vocabulary necessary to hold meaningful conversations about design, we can better benefit from the input of many more, diverse voices within our communities: an integral part of building healthier and better functioning cities.
Agata Mancini is the principal architect at Assembled Light in Hamilton, currently serves on the OAA Council and is an active member of the Education Continuum and Communications Committees. She is also a member of the Hamilton/Burlington Society of Architects (HBSA) and the Young Architects of Hamilton (YAH).