As of July 31, 2018 Congress passed a bill officially designating Architecture as a STEM science. This was a bipartisan effort lobbied for by the American Institute of Architects. With this bill, architecture will officially be 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 problems with urban design and building cities for the future. This also allows for architecture to access funding provided for STEM sciences.
What Does This Mean for Education?
Since Architecture is now a STEM science, schools will be able to use funding designated for STEM to increase education in Architectural studies. This effort to update the Career and Technical Education Curriculum will allow for increased funding for architecture studies within high schools across the United States. In addition, the funding will go towards 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 many 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. They provide construction materials such as PVC pipes and challenge the kids to build a variety of different structures with different limitations. These events are held at festivals and other “out-of-school” locations, which contributes a more relaxed and creative atmosphere.
Ohio’s AIA Columbus chapter offers Camp Architecture which lets students design and create a variety of different projects over the summer so that they can experience the work of an architect first hand. There are scholarships available on a need-based priority.
Seattle, Washington’s AIA chapter takes students on tours of the University of Washington architectural campus, providing real world experience at an early age for students.
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 there is also plenty of art involved. Creative problem-solving skills are very important in this field. If you are in an area with an American Institute for Architecture chapter, you may want to see if that chapter offers local “out-of-school” programs. These can be a fun way for your girl to get hands on experience with the process of designing and building.
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 kid build and design different 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 design and planning sheets to help out.
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 and 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 observe how structural differences affect the strength of a structure.
Careers With a Degree in Architecture
Here are some examples of the careers available with a degree in architecture:
With the increase in population in many urban areas, there is an increased demand for city planners. Urban planners will work on problems that come with more people living in less space. Landscape Architect
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.
You may be surprised but 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, she may consider this as an option.
To be honest, I have always considered Architecture a STEM subject because of its rich blend of art, math
Also, for girls who enjoy exploring STEM topics with visible everyday impact, this is a great learning path.
Conversation Starter: Did you already consider Architecture STEM?