Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment

Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment

October 13, 2006 07:09 ET

Foster and Sorrell launch campaign to inspire young people about How Places Work

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 13, 2006) - Lord Foster and John Sorrell will launch a national campaign today (Friday 13 October) to motivate a generation of young people to understand and demand great architecture and public spaces.

CABE wants to challenge the widespread assumption that young people do not care about their surroundings, and intends to raise the status of built environment education across the national curriculum.

Over the next two years, in partnership with the Architecture Centre Network, CABE will give 12,000 young people (aged 11-14) the opportunity to see inspiring buildings and public spaces in the company of gifted architects and designers. Richard Rogers will personally take a class of young people to explore and debate on of his buildings while Sarah Wigglesworth will do the same at Siobhan Davis Dance Studio, which she designed.

Launching How Places Work, Lord Foster commented:

'The future of our towns and cities lies with young people. It is important that we invest time and care into raising their awareness of architecture and listening to their ideas and aspirations. This is an essential part of future-proofing our cities and the buildings which comprise them.'

The government is soon to announce a manifesto on Education Outside the Classroom. CABE supports the Manifesto and calls for clear and explicit recognition that learning outside the classroom can lead to better educational outcomes. By 2010 every school will be expected to offer a varied programme of extended learning, of which visits will be one activity. How Places Work is the first national programme for schools and teachers to deliver on these new expectations.

John Sorrell, chair of CABE, said

'We need a change of culture in this country. Design clearly matters to young people - they are knowledgeable about the design of products such as trainers and mobiles - yet most of them do not have the chance to experience the impact of amazing architecture and design. I want this project to give them real encouragement to learn about the places where they live, and to understand how this environment affects their lives.

Architecture is not part of the national curriculum, and teachers often say they feel tied up in red tape which makes organising school trips a formidable undertaking. CABE will use How Places Work to demonstrate the value of learning outside the classroom environment and restore teachers' confidence in making direct use of the buildings and spaces which surrounds us.'

Ofsted reports that four years after becoming compulsory, a quarter of secondary schools still fail to offer pupils adequate lessons in citizenship.(1) How Places Work will give teachers practical support to address this, bringing to life many subjects in the national curriculum.

Culture Minister, David Lammy, warmly endorsed the initiative:

'Lord Foster's design of the Great Court shows how architecture can make cultural places which are open, accessible and inspirational to people. By providing young people with first hand experiences of great places guided by great designers, and teachers with practical resources, I believe How Places Work can inspire a new generation who want to shape the future of the built environment.'

(1) Citizenship was introduced in the revised National Curriculum in 1999 with schools being given until September 2002 to prepare to teach it. Towards consensus? Citizenship in secondary schools is available from

Notes to Editors

Schools wishing to get involved in How places work should contact

The teacher's guide offering advice and ideas for making visits stimulating and informative and how teachers can use the built environment as a teaching resource is available from

John Sorrell is chair of CABE and a renowned champion of young people's involvement in architecture and design. He is Co-Chair of the Sorrell Foundation which aims to inspire creativity in young people and improve quality of life through good design. He chairs the London Design Festival which he originated with the purpose of celebrating and promoting London and the UK's creativity. John was appointed CBE in 1996, holds two Honorary Design Doctorates, was awarded the RSA Bicentenary Medal in 1998 and elected an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA in 2002

Norman Foster graduated from Manchester University School of Architecture and City Planning in 1961. Since its inception in 1967 his practice Foster + Partners has received more than 400 awards and citations for excellence and has won over 60 national and international competitions. In 1990 he was granted a Knighthood and appointed by the Queen to the Order of Merit in 1997. He has also been honoured with a Life Peerage in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, becoming Lord Foster of Thames Bank. His practice's UK work includes Swiss Re's London Headquarters, the Great Court at the British Museum, City Hall, Canary Wharf underground station, McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Stansted Airport and The Sage in Gateshead.

How Places Work is being launched at the Great Court at the British Museum designed by Fosters and Partners. The Great Court is the largest enclosed public space in Europe and is enjoyed by five million visitors annually. The departure of the British Library to St Pancras provided the opportunity to recapture the courtyard to give the building a new public focus and connect all the surrounding galleries. The glazed canopy that makes all this possible is a fusion of state-of-the-art engineering and economy of form. Its unique geometry is designed to span the irregular gap between the drum of the Reading Room and the courtyard facades and is designed to maximise daylight and reduce solar gain.

CABE is the government's advisor on architecture, urban design and public space. We seek to inspire the public to demand more from their buildings and spaces. Advising, influencing and inspiring, we work to create well-designed, welcoming places. For research, news and articles about built environment education visit

Architecture Centre Network is the national umbrella body for Architecture and Built Environment Centres in England (ABECs). It coordinates, supports and advances the work of architecture and related centres, promoting design quality at local level through education, public participation and support for professionals. Funding is provided through CABE's regional funding programme -

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