Staff from our London studio have been working with Year 4 and 5 pupils from Henry Maynard Primary School in Walthamstow to design and create their own “Smart City”. Purcell has been working with the primary school as part of the Architecture in Schools initiative, a creative learning programme for Key Stage Two primary school pupils run by Open City, sponsored by and delivered in partnership with the Canary Wharf Group.

The aim of the programme is to inspire the next generation of city-shapers and for participants to understand how architecture informs the world around us. The programme also aims to train teachers on how architecture can be used to teach a variety of subjects including Art, Design, Numeracy, Literacy, Geography and Science whilst improving children’s drawing, model-making, communication and problem-solving skills.

The scheme organises for participants to take part in building explorations to encourage young people to look for clues to understand how buildings are designed and built, learn design skills and to consider the ways in which people use space. Visits are also aimed at inspiring children to design their own places and spaces in response to a set design brief, leading to creative workshops in the classroom. The pupils from Henry Maynard explored the National Portrait Gallery with Purcell architects.

This year’s brief was to design a Smart City. The pupils discussed what Smart City meant to them, before brainstorming key characteristics of a Smart City which would go on to inform their designs. After deciding on Walthamstow Central as a place they were all familiar with, the pupils split into five groups and started their 2D designs to transform the area into a Smart City with the help of Purcell’s Andrew Rowland and Demetri Zacharia.

Each group built a 3D model focused on a different element of a Smart City: Learn, Travel, Play, Work and Live. The aspiring architects decided to combine all five elements to create their colourful final model with the help of Andrew and Demetri.

The Henry Maynard pupils’ model came in the top three entries and will be professionally made into an architectural model. The three winning models will be on public display in Canary Wharf's Crossrail Roof Garden throughout the summer.