Posted 06/03/2020

Swan Housing Association Encourages Exmouth Residents to ‘Think Big’ About Careers in Architecture, planning and regeneration

A group of young people from the Exmouth Estate, E1, graduated from the first part of Swan Housing Association’s ‘Think Big’ project, which aims to raise the aspirations of young people to consider careers in architecture, planning and regeneration, at a special ceremony held at Exmouth Community Centre on Wednesday 16 February 2020.

The first stage of the project, which was facilitated by Open City and Newark Youth London, saw two groups of young people, aged 8-13 and 14-18 years old, take part in free workshops on the design, architecture and creativity that go into creating buildings that people want to live in, with the participants getting the opportunity  to make their own model buildings. The best three models will be transformed into professional architectural models and displayed at Swan Housing Association’s consultation shop on the Exmouth Estate.

The group visited the architecturally renowned, Grade II listed Barbican Complex - which is a Brutalist development of 2,000 flats alongside a multi-disciplinary arts centre - to inspire them to ‘Think Big’ in terms of the projects that they would design.

London-based architects, Levitt Bernstein, delivered one of the sessions, helping the young people to consider the various elements, such as shape, texture and space, that go into designing a building or housing development scheme.

Further stages of the project will see young people work alongside design professionals to create a portfolio of work, which for young people aged 14-18 years can be used for their GCSE, A’ level or equivalent qualifications, course work. The Think Big scheme will also provide young people with work experience and apprenticeship opportunities.

Statistics from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets show that people living in the borough, in which the Exmouth estate sits, tend to have a lower rate of participation in employment (below 50%) and those who are employed tend to do manual and routine jobs.

Sandra Fawcett, Executive Director - Operations, for Swan Housing Association, said:

The Think Big programme is about encouraging young people to consider the variety of fantastic career options that are available to them in the construction sector across disciplines such as planning, regeneration and architecture.  These skills are key for organisations such as Swan.