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The Case for Architecture Classes in Schools

Through the organization Architecture for Children, Hong Kong architect Vicky Chan has taught urban design and planning to thousands of kids. Here’s why.
One of Chan's students at Kwun Tong Government Primary School (Sau Ming Road) in Hong Kong works on a model.
One of Chan's students at Kwun Tong Government Primary School (Sau Ming Road) in Hong Kong works on a model.Mary Hui

Vicky Chan, founder of the design firm Avoid Obvious Architects, has a sideline in teaching architecture and design skills to schoolchildren. He’s instructed thousands of kids over the past 15 years, starting when he was a freshman at the Pratt Institute in New York City and taught low-income students at a local elementary school. After he moved back to his native Hong Kong, he continued teaching architecture weekly through his voluntary organization, Architecture for Children.

This semester, Chan is teaching an 18-week course to fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders at the Kwun Tong Government Primary School (Sau Ming Road), a public elementary school in the Kwun Tong district of Hong Kong. This district is part of the wider Kowloon East area, a former industrial hub that the local government wants to transform into a second central business district.