On July 31, 2018, Congress passed a bill officially designating Architecture as a STEM science. This was a bipartisan effort for which the American Institute of Architects lobbied. With this bill, architecture was officially categorized along with other subjects in science, technology, education, and mathematics. In addition, a total of $1 billion USD will be provided in grants to update the Career and Technical Education Curriculum in schools, providing more K-12 education and job opportunities in these fields over the next decade.
The American Institute for Architecture lobbyists played a key role in the passage of this bill. Robery Ivy, Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute of Architects noted, “After years of discussion by architects and educators, AIA is pleased that its lobbying efforts have succeeded and that the bill on Career Technical Education has passed. It will encourage a more diverse workforce, fulfill the promise of design as the synthesis of art and science, and affect a fundamental change in educational curricula.” To read the full bill, click here.
Architecture and STEM
Previously regarded as more of an arts and humanities subject, architecture will now be included along with other subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This bill recognizes how architecture requires skills in engineering and mathematics to create precise building designs. Creative problem-solving skills are necessary for solving urban design problems and for building cities in the future. This also allows for architecture organizations to access funding provided to STEM sciences.
What Does This Mean for Education?
Since architecture is now considered STEM, thanks to the effort to update the Career and Technical Education Curriculum, schools across the United States will be able to use funding designated for STEM to increase education in architectural studies. In addition, the funding will go toward providing more career opportunities in architectural fields. A total of $1 billion USD in grants will be made available across all states.
Additional Efforts By the American Institute for Architecture
The AIA has been working for many years to establish programs that increase architecture curriculum for K-12 students. American Institute of Architecture chapters across the country have created many different “out-of-school” programs, which have impacted numerous kids across several communities. Here are a few efforts made by various AIA chapters across the country:
North Carolina’s AIA has community events for K-12 students where they provide construction materials, such as PVC pipes, and challenge kids to build a variety of different structures with varying limitations. These events are held at festivals and other “out-of-school” locations, which contributes to a more relaxed and creative atmosphere.
Ohio’s AIA Columbus chapter offers Camp Architecture, which lets students design and create a variety of projects over the summer, so they can experience the work of an architect firsthand. Scholarships are available on a need-based priority.
Seattle, Washington’s AIA chapter takes students on tours of the University of Washington architectural campus, providing students a real world experience at an early age.
Is Architecture Right For My Child?
Does your child enjoy building complex structures out of toys like Legos? Maybe she has a creative streak but is also very interested in science, engineering, technology, and math. Architecture is the definition of an interdisciplinary field. It requires many technical skills, but plenty of art is also involved. Creative problem-solving skills are very important in this field.
If you are in an area with an American Institute for Architecture chapter, consider checking if that chapter offers local “out-of-school” programs. These can be a fun way for your girl to get hands-on experience with designing and building processes.
Fun Activities for Kids
If you’re looking for some architectural projects to do at home, check out these activities for some creative inspiration:
This activity lets your smart girl build and design varying houses with different building materials you can find around the house. It is inspired by the children’s tale, “The Three Little Pigs.” The website includes helpful design and planning sheets.
This activity explores how the structure of a building affects its ability to withstand earthquakes. Your child can build an earthquake-proof tower with common materials lying around the house; furthermore, she can test to see if the structure can withstand shaking.
This fun activity features candy as one of the main building materials. This project teaches your child how to build various geometrical structures using toothpicks and gumdrops and to observe how architectural differences affect the strength of a structure.
Careers With a Degree in Architecture
Here are some examples of the careers available with architectural degrees:
With the increase in population in many urban areas, there is an elevated demand for city planners. Urban planners work on problems that accompany more people living in less space.
This career involves the planning and design of open spaces around buildings to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional. This includes designing parks, gardens, open spaces, and city centers.
Perhaps surprisingly, architects are perfectly suited for production/set design jobs. Accuracy, structural integrity, and artistic flair are required for good set design in film productions. If your child wants to get involved in movie production, this could be an excellent option.
Architecture has a rich blend of art, math, and science. Because of the movement to make it an official part of STEM, some amazing benefits have been provided to our country’s educational system and to its employment opportunities.