A+DEN Post-Conference Workshop

This annual A+DEN Workshop aims to emphasize conversation and connection across our membership network. Participants will gain a clear understanding of the common issues, audiences, and learning objectives that animate K-12 architecture education today. You will come away with new programming ideas, pedagogical resources to investigate, and general philosophies to inform your views about design education.

Who Should Attend? Not-for-profit program staff, middle and high school educators, and design professionals who provide architecture, planning, design, and/or engineering education and outreach to K-12 audiences.  

Separate registration is required to attend this Post-Conference Workshop.
If you wish to learn more about this Workshop, please contact A+DEN Committee Chairs John Comazzi and Kelly Lyons.

Friday, November 8

2:45pm – 4:30pm

The Body as a Sensory Tool: Biennial Workshop for Design Educators

Chicago Cultural Center; enter on Randolph Street between Michigan Ave and N. Garland Ct
Sepake Angiama, educator, curator, and co-curator of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial

This year’s Biennial exhibition highlights a number of complex personal narratives focusing on questions of collective rights, cultural memory, and shared land. What role does design play in addressing these questions? This session will provide techniques for teaching emotional literacy by exploring specific projects on view in the Biennial galleries—from a public memorial connected to gun violence to issues of ecological stewardship, artists commenting on the built environment, and more.

As we move through the exhibit halls together, Sepake will model different tools for engaging students with sensitive subject matter through collective movement, discussion, and small group activities. This is a chance for educators to take a deep dive into several Biennial exhibits to unpack difficult conversations, and explore how the voices of students, artists, minority groups, and other often disenfranchised voices can be engaged and amplified.

Please be prepared to move! Loose clothing recommended.

6:00pm – 8:00pm

Dinner Reception & Educators’ Exchange (short presentations) 

JGMA (223 West Ohio Street)

Juan Gabriel Moreno, President, JGMA

Rashmi Ramaswamy, Co-Founder, SHED Studio

Tyen Masten, Founding Director, PHASE3

Catherine Baker, Principal, Landon Bone Baker Architects
Enjoy the chance to get to know your fellow Workshop attendees while touring the offices of local architecture firm JGMA. A major theme running throughout this year’s meeting is the state of leadership in our field. As a special ice-breaker for the A+DEN Workshop, we will hear four short presentations during dinner, each from a designer who has embedded within his/her professional practice a commitment to architecture education and pipeline development.

In addition, each workshop participant will be asked to provide a brief introduction of their work to the group, addressing one of the following:

  • A new education initiative offered by his/her organization (emphasis on pedagogy and lessons learned)
  • A teaching resource you highly recommend to fellow design educators (e.g., a design curriculum, reference book, online source)
  • A personal introduction and one specific issue/idea you seek to learn more about from your peers (reserved for first-time A+DEN attendees).

Saturday, November 9

All Saturday sessions take place at the Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E Wacker Drive.

10:00am – 10:45am

Sensing Architecture at Fallingwater: Rethinking the House Museum

Ashley Andrykovitch, Fallingwater
When the iconic Fallingwater residence was converted to a museum in 1963, Edgar Kaufmann jr. [sic] was enjoying professional success as Curator of Industrial Design at MoMA. Rather than presenting Fallingwater as a traditional house museum employing passive passive forms of interpretation rich in biographical and historical information, Kaufmann jr. preferred the house to be considered as an aesthetic object with an overall goal of helping visitors to gain an understanding of design that is in harmony with nature.

In order to achieve Kaufmann jr’s. vision, Fallingwater’s education staff (most of whom possess little to no experience in museum education, art/architecture history or design theory) are thoroughly trained to lead 60-minute, visitor-centered, open-ended conversations about an art object (the house) and in immersive environments (each room/space).

In this session, we look at the engagement strategies undertaken by the educators, the educational theory and best practices informing those strategies, and the work needed to overcome visitors’ expectations for what the touring experience will be… hint: not everyone is ready to pipe up and join the conversation! We will investigate some of the initial approaches that did not work so well, and how the department staff experimented to fine-tune the touring experience.

10:45am – 11:30am

Sensing Architecture in Chicago: Developing Tours for Visually Impaired Visitors

Jen Masengarb, Danish Architecture Centre; Former Director of Research and Interpretation, Chicago Architecture Center

Robin Simon, Chicago Architecture Center Docent
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Chicago Architecture Center embarked on a goal of increasing accessibility on its tours to visually impaired visitors. In partnership with The Chicago Lighthouse, CAC developed a new walking tour led by its volunteer docents. It was one of the first times that CAC collaborated so extensively with an external partner for the development of a tour—for an audience we previously knew so little about.

In this session, we’ll discuss the beautiful and surprising challenges of interpreting architecture for the visually impaired, as well as many mistaken assumptions we had in welcoming these visitors. In pilot testing the tour, we learned a great deal about which types of buildings can be the most useful and teachable – when other senses are relied on more heavily than sight. With donations from local 3D printing partners, we created custom massing models and we’ll discuss the thought process behind the choice of scale, materials, and detail in them – and what might be done differently in the future.  The development of the tour also called for a re-training of docents who were used to letting the building (visually) speak for itself and some of those techniques will be demonstrated in this session. Finally, we discuss how this tour led to other unexpected moments of engagement and discovery of architecture for an audience that had not previously seen CAC as a place for them.

11:30am – 12:15pm

Mr. Exley Goes to Washington

Peter Exley, Co-Founder, Architecture Is Fun
Chicago architect Peter Exley and his wife, designer/educator Sharon Exley, have spent their entire careers designing spaces with and for kids, as well as being champions for professional exchange among architects that is lively and fun. In 2020, Peter joins the American Institute of Architects national board as First Vice President (and President-elect in 2021). He has twice hosted Pecha Kucha programs for the Design Matters Conference; but today, he spends the day with our A+DEN members, and by way of introduction, will lead us on a few of his favorite engagement exercises for investigating design challenges together with young students. Prominent in Exley’s campaign platform for the AIA presidency was an interest in deepening the profession’s commitment to pipeline development. We’re pleased to welcome him to this year’s A+DEN Workshop!

12:15pm – 1:00pm
Lunch Break

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Fits and Stops:
Moving K-12 Architecture Education to the Next Level

Zurich Esposito, Executive Vice President, AIA Chicago

Catherine Baker, Principal, Landon Bone Baker Architects

In 2018, a volunteer network of architects, educators, and designers in Chicago undertook an effort to document the landscape of K-12 out-of-school time architecture and design learning opportunities. The findings are well laid out and provide concise recommendations about what it will take for a city or region to ensure diverse participation K-12 (and beyond) in architecture and design professions. But, to be clear, this is not the first local peer network to bind together and push for improved access to architecture education. What will it take to secure lasting gains and further professionalize our field? We end with a group conversation that takes full advantage of the high-powered leaders and organizations in the room for this year’s Workshop.

2:00pm – 2:45pm

Spotlight on Diversity and Inclusion

Kimberly Dowdell, National Organization of Minority Architects
As the newly inaugurated president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), Kimberly Dowdell has expressed a vision for a more diverse architecture profession that is embraced by A+DEN members. In this session, we look closely at the major areas of work by A+DEN and consider what more can be done to reach students and teachers of color, and to further diversity our own organizations. As part of this discussion, we take a close look at NOMA’s Project Pipeline initiative.


3:00pm – 5:00pm

Tours & Exhibitions

Various Locations and Departures Times
See Tours & Exhibitions︎
There’s a ton of architecture and related programming to be had in Chicago, so we strongly encourage you to go out and explore! If you’re able to stick around a bit longer, then maybe end your day on our group tour of Wrightwood 659, a stunning new exhibition hall designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando that is hiding behind the façade of an otherwise unassuming apartment building on a residential street in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.