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917 "C" Street
San Rafael, California 94901
(415) 457-4878

Architects in Schools

Architects in Schools

Visual Arts and Design Thinking

With 45 years of experience bringing the power of the arts to schools, Youth in Arts—in collaboration with U.C. Berkeley’s Y-PLAN/ the Center for Cities + Schools—launched the “Architects in Schools” pilot program at Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael in 2016, with hopes of expanding to more sites in the future.

During a 10-week residency in fourth and fifth grade classrooms, architects and artists help students explore “design thinking” and links between their own capabilities and their built environment. They learn about collaboration, develop skills in presenting their ideas visually and verbally, and consider how to create places aligned with their hopes for their community.

The project links students to real-world challenges by bringing working architects into their classrooms and by creating opportunities for students to voice their ideas. For example, last year Laurel Dell students were able to create models and a presentation for architects designing a remodel of their campus. Going forward, students will be connecting with professional teams participating in the Bay Area  Resilient by Design competition tackling environmental challenges and considering the interconnectedness of land, water, infrastructure and quality of life.

See our YIA Gallery exhibit of work from this project through November 17, 2017, in Downtown San Rafael! Open to the public weekdays 11-4, free classroom visits with activities available by appointment–contact Morgan at or call 415-457-4878 ext. 160.

Support this project: DONATE NOW and mark your gift “Architects in Schools”