DIALOG launches youth architecture camp in Edmonton

Two things are not happening in Edmonton that put us at a disadvantage when designing our city. First, there’s very little —if any— exposure to architecture as a career for youth in grade school. Second, Edmonton lacks a post secondary institution with a school of architecture. This means our city is nurturing fewer designers and talented architects than other major cities in Canada, even though our rapidly-growing and openminded city provides a great environment for these creative professionals to thrive.

DIALOG brings a new Youth Architecture Camp to Edmonton. Photo by Darren Kirby via Wikimedia Commons.
DIALOG brings a new Youth Architecture Camp to Edmonton. Photo by Darren Kirby via Wikimedia Commons.

More than simply recognizing this as an issue, DIALOG has taken matters into their own hands, to benefit the city’s entire design community and make a meaningful difference in the lives of local high school students. From February 26 to March 1, DIALOG will host high school students for the inaugural Youth Architecture Camp. The pilot project was developed with INNOVATE at the Argyll Centre, with the goal of exposing youth to the world of architecture and design alongside industry experts from DIALOG. Twenty one students from 8 local high schools will take part.

“In Edmonton, students aren’t exposed to architecture as a career like they would be if they lived in a city with a school of architecture. Our city is losing out on future design talent. Right now, the few students that know about architecture have to go away to study it, and they may not return to design careers in our city.” says David James, architect and associate at DIALOG. “It’s a long game—but planting seeds in young minds now can inspire them to study design and come back to our city to make it even better.”

During the 4-day program, students will gain an understanding of space, learn architectural drawing techniques, learn about sustainable design and beauty in architecture, and work with experts to identify and solve a design problem. Practicing architects and design professionals will participate with students in hands-on design exercises, and share personal stories of their unique career paths. Students will receive up to 6 high school credits. It is a pilot program that DIALOG hopes to continue on an annual basis.

If students are inspired by their week of design immersion, DIALOG is interested in expanding this program to include participation from other firms in the city. The more we, as a community of city builders, can foster design talent, the better our city will be in the long run. And this is just the start.

More information about the Youth Architecture Camp is available via the DIALOG website, linked here.