Timely changes: Connecting traditional systems for building with contemporary sustainable architectural education for children
Authors: Wake, Susan J.
ABSTRACT: This paper first makes a case for the importance of democratic sustainable architecture
education for children, due to their capability and right to have a say in the design of their environments, as
well as their role as future stewards of the environment. It then uses findings from the Eco-classroom
Project in a New Zealand primary school, to explain how the project managed aspects of inevitability, that
could easily have been seen as negative, in a positive way that led to greater involvement of students and
a wider sphere of influence within the community. Through quotes obtained from interviewing the project
architect, this is linked to traditional or cultural ways-of-working, now largely defunct in the Western world.
These necessitated on-going community and family input and connections as knowledge and skills were
handed on through generations in huge urban projects such as cathedrals. This led to greater meaning of
these buildings within families and the community, perhaps comparable to the value changes observed in
students involved in the eco-classroom project. Consideration is made of whether the model used for the
eco-classroom project has similarities to historical systems of building, and what place this may have as a
model for sustainable architectural education in school co-design projects. Finally, a contrast is made to
the recent Building Schools for the Future (BSF) Programme in the United Kingdom.