The Orchard Classroom
Posted by admin, August 27, 2013

Architects in school: Santa Sabina School Sutton

Students in Santa Sabina, Sutton, did a project with architect Kate Dowling, looking at spaces in their school and coming up with ideas for improvements.

Here is a summary of the project, written by Kate. Check out the photos of the students wonderful design ideas.

The programme in Santa Sabina was divided into three teaching sessions.


Session 1

The aim of the introductory class was to create a more informal teaching environment and introducing the group to Architecture. I wanted to develop the idea with the students that “Architecture begins with an idea” Louis Kahn.

This was successfully achieved through the creation of personalised notebooks where the students could store their ideas for the programme. Simple A3 notebooks were developed and personalised with ribbons and coloured paper. Each student was asked to describe in their sketchbook, a space they liked/disliked at home through words and drawings. Homework was a continuation of this exercise with students being asked to describe/ consider larger public spaces.


Session 2

The selected public spaces were discussed at this session with the girls showing examples of the work in their sketchbooks. I presented a slide show of contemporary architecture to illustrate how the environment can affect architecture and how architecture can change an environment. Following the slide show the group split into teams to brainstorm on ideas for a project to improve the school. The girls selected one indoor and one outdoor space.

Session 3

This session was spent producing their work in 3D format. The existing library was designed as a more informal space and an under used outdoor space was made more inviting. The indoor group made a model whilst the outdoor group made full size objects and created a pop up exhibition space with life sized art work.

The advantages of working with Santa Sabina included working with an informed interested group. The pre applications letter required by TY head ensured the group was attentive and an awareness of Architecture. The time available for the sessions was a bit restricted, another session would have been beneficial. This may have allowed the students to present their work to their peer group, teachers. One of the teachers suggested timetabling the sessions earlier in the year to allow students to consider their future career options.


Kate Dowling, Architect.

Get In Touch
For more information contact:

Irish Architecture Foundation
15 Bachelors Walk
Dublin 1

+353 1 874 7205
Sign up to our newsletter to keep up-to-date with all events and activity related to the Architects in Schools Initiative.
Sign Up Now!
Cork School exhibits IAF project Apr 23, 2014

Jerry Buttimer TD will open an Architecture Exhibition by students of Coláiste Choilm, a school participating in the IAF’s National Architects in Schools Initiative, at Ballincollig …

Launch Apr 25, 2013

The Architects in Schools Initiative was launched today 24 April 2013 by Minister for Education and Skills Mr Ruairi Quinn TD. The Architects in Schools Initiative …