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Arckit

location_on Dublin, Ireland

Want to bring architecture into the classroom?

A freeform model-making system that allows students to physically explore designs and bring their architectural projects to life.

HundrED 2018
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Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2018

Web presence

2014

Established

-

Children/users

38

Countries
Target group
All
Updated
November 22nd, 2022
Instilling an appreciation of the aesthetic while cultivating practical problem-solving skills is what we aim to impart to students.

About the innovation

What is Arckit?

As an architect, Damien Murtagh understood the value of a physical model to explore ideas and present designs to clients. However, traditional ‘cut and glue’ models are time-consuming, impractical and expensive, leading to the prevalence of digital computer-aided design (CAD) models within the industry. Incredible advancement in CAD has enabled architects and students to create impressive designs, but these concepts are not always easy to understand in relation to the feel and space of a design. Arckit is a modern system that is fast, affordable and reusable. It’s a hands-on tool that allows designers to physically explore designs and include non-designers in conversations around the finished concept. This has led to Arckit being used by educators, students, hobbyists and many other groups to introduce architectural design to a wider audience than ever before.

Arckit is a modular architectural model-building tool that enables students to click and connect a variety of components to create a unique scaled model structure. The hands-on design process of using Arckit introduces students to fundamental architectural design skills and teaches them the importance of the built environment and basic principles of engineering.

Unlike many model kits, there are no set instructions. Arckit is completely freeform, allowing students to literally ‘imagine it and build it’. They can either create a design entirely with the physical kits or seamlessly translate their model into a CAD design using digital Arckit components within programs such as SketchUp. The entire system is based on modern building techniques and the models can be endlessly modified and reused. 

Arckit is now used around the world in schools and universities as a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths) tool for inspirational project-based learning. Students learn to prepare and interpret a design brief before working in teams to overcome a particular architectural challenge. Collaboration and creative thinking both play significant roles in this process, challenging students to come up with ideas and research environmental factors which may influence their design. Alongside the creative benefits, students also learn valuable digital design, critical thinking and communication skills through presenting their designs in a group environment.

Completed models can be finished with the realistic Arckitexture surface graphics supplied, which replicate real textures and materials such as building facades, brick, aluminium, shingle, grass and water. These can be downloaded from the Arckit website and printed to Arckitexture self-adhesive sheets ready for cutting to size. This stage also teaches students about material choice and improves the accuracy of their physical model-building skills. Throughout the process, students are encouraged to work realistically and make accurate notes of any changes to the design so they are fully knowledgeable about the design. All of this information feeds into a final presentation to ‘clients’, which further develops communication skills.

Working closely with senior educators in the UK and the US, Arckit has developed a series of lessons for schools that can be modified to suit different age groups and experience levels. The overwhelmingly positive feedback from teachers and students has led Arckit to pursue product development in line with their needs and launch advanced components, such as curves and angles. Additional support for schools is available from Arckit through modified lesson plans, instructional videos and workshops.

If students design a new component for their building they can even ask the Arckit team to 3D-print it for them – a bespoke and totally unique component just for their model. If other users then request this piece, it will become part of the Arckit catalogue.

Arckit has also launched a new product, Arckit Cityscape and Masterplan, which allows budding town planners to design their own miniature city from scratch.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Innovativeness

Arckit is freeform and allows students to articulate their own designs. It is integrated into computer-aided design (CAD) and is completely reusable. There’s nothing else like this.

Impact

Arckit instills an appreciation of the aesthetic while cultivating practical problem-solving skills. Students can use Arckit quickly without needing prior engineering or architectural knowledge. As they become more skilled in model-making and CAD, they can create more elaborate designs. Ultimately, these design and engineering skills can be applied in other areas outside of architecture.

Scalability

Having started in Ireland, Arckit is now used in 300 schools globally, including those in USA, Hong Kong and Brazil.

Implementation steps

Choose an Arckit set
As a guideline, one set of Arckit 360 per 2-3 students is usually recommended.

As a guideline, one set of Arckit 360 per 2-3 students is usually recommended. However, Arckit GO and the specialist kits that include angles, curves and different colours are also popular options within education. Whichever kit is chosen, it can always be integrated with another Arckit component or new kits in the future. Once the kit arrives, users can have a quick flick through the introduction booklet and begin building. It’s that simple. The ‘click and connect’ components are incredibly intuitive and require no previous knowledge of model design, allowing students to follow their imaginations and build impressive model structures within minutes of opening the box.

Request an Education Programme
Teachers or students who want to explore the world of architecture in more depth can request a course outline.

Teachers or students who want to explore the world of architecture in more detail can contact Arckit to request a course outline. These range from short workshops to immersive lesson plans for advanced students. Each course can be modified to suit individual needs and is designed as a framework for collaborative learning. Course outlines will include a resource list, learning materials, interactive videos and a step-by-step guide to bringing STEM to life in the classroom.

Discuss design challenges
Students learn about different areas of architectural design and engage in group discussions about specific design challenges.

There are opportunities within each module for students to learn about different areas of architectural design and engage in group discussions about specific design challenges. Part of the experience is learning how to write and interpret a design brief for a ‘client’. This gives students a chance to overcome design challenges in a real-world situation, practice critical thinking and problem solving skills, and communicate the reasoning behind their finished design while presenting their model to the class.

Design and build a model
Students will learn how to switch between physical and virtual model making at the click of a button.

Arckit bridges the gap between physical and digital design. Students will learn how to switch between physical and virtual model making at the click of a button. Arckit components are available for free within the programme SketchUp Make 3D Warehouse, giving students the opportunity to transition between mediums and learn digital technology skills. In addition to this, students can use supplied Arckitexture graphics to finish their models with realistic textures and details. These are supplied by real building companies and can be printed to Arckitexture self-adhesive sheets, cut to size and carefully applied to the model.

Present finished project
The final step is to present a finished Arckit model to the group.

The final step is to present a finished Arckit model to the group. This gives students the opportunity to evaluate their own work with the aid of their design notes and to practice presenting to a live ‘client’ by explaining how their design concept meets the brief and how they managed to overcome any particular build challenges. Throughout the course, students will benefit from learning the basics of architectural design, improve their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, and develop their presentation and communication skills.

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