Alexi volunteers for folly! Architectural design competition

North Yorkshire Society of Architects, in partnership with the National Trust, organised a design competition for primary school children.

It invited designs for a new folly in the grounds of the world heritage site of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. The competition followed a similar successful event held in 2014 to design a new bike stand, in preparation for the Tour de France Grand Depart in Harrogate.

A new member of our team here at seven, Alexi Chomyszyn, spent a day volunteering for the competition at a local primary school alongside another locally practising architect. They worked with the Year 5 and 6 children at St Peter’s C of E Primary School, Harrogate, running an interactive morning and afternoon session to teach the children about the profession of architecture and the unique competition they had the opportunity to enter.

After a short presentation came the children’s creative exercise to design a folly roughly 3 x 4m for the grounds of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. The session aimed to encourage the children to express their imagination on paper and there was certainly no shortage of inventive ideas, which is clear through the results.

Alexi said: “One child had the innovative idea that the space could be used to observe stars within a moon shaped shelter. Another thought that Fountains Abbey would benefit from more slides and so they drew a hugely elaborate architectural slide for ‘children and dogs only’. The day was full of eccentric and wonderful ideas.

“I think the day was hugely successful because many children of this age haven’t been exposed to architectural design in this way and were excited by what they could achieve when it came to imagining, drawing and reasoning. This project was a great opportunity for young children to learn to communicate their ideas, whilst still being free from many constraints. We’re really hopeful that a child from St Peter’s will win!”

The winning design will be displayed alongside professionally designed installations in Fountains Abbey water garden from April to October 2018.