The Vitruvius Program is an architecture, art and design program that serves as the art curriculum at Summit School, for preschool through eighth grade. In March of 2011, The Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO) in Chicago announced that Summit’s innovative Vitruvius Art Program is the winner of the National School Award;

This competition included school art curriculums offered to preschool through 12th grade.
This award makes Summit the representative for the United States in the International Architecture & Children Golden Cubes Awards competition sponsored by the International Union of Architects (UIA) in Paris.

The Vitruvius Program was founded in 1988 at the Southern California Institute of Architecture by Kathleen and Eugene Kupper. The Program has been offered in elementary schools, museums, exhibitions and publications and is presently integrated with the regular academic curriculum at Summit School in Phoenix AZ, where Kathleen and Selene Kupper are lead teachers.

To read about The Vitruvius Program and the National Award:
To read the announcement from the Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO):

A video of the Vitruvius Program at Summit School may be found on the Summit School website.

The AAO conducted the U.S. competition with the American Architectural Foundation and the American Institute of Architects, both in Washington DC. The UIA Golden Cubes Awards were organized to recognize, encourage, and support those individuals and organizations that lay the foundations of an architectural culture and help children and young people, from preschool up to age 18; to understand architectural design and the processes by which our environment is shaped.

The U.S. Nominees now join other top programs from across the globe in a celebration of Kindergarten – 12th grade Architecture Education efforts at the UIA Congress in Tokyo, Japan, September 25-28, 2011.
Nominees’ work will be publicly displayed at the Tokyo Congress. The UIA will select four final winners in the international phase. The U.S. winners, meanwhile, will be honored by the Association of Architecture Organizations at its Annual Conference in Philadelphia later this fall.

About the Vitruvius Program: The art curriculum at Summit School
The Vitruvius Program (VP) offers studio education in Architecture, art, and design. It was founded in 1988 and has been implemented in Architecture Schools, Elementary Schools, and Museums. Special projects, after school and summer programs are still offered: it is presently integrated with regular curriculum for all students Preschool – Eighth grade at Summit School. The VP has been published and exhibited internationally and awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

• Detailed objectives for teaching methods and content for each grade level and for each architecture project are structured into a ten-year curriculum. Skills taught for each age-appropriate group include: Discussion, Presentation and Critique, Freehand and Constructed Drawing, Modeling in a variety of media, Painting, Printmaking, Photography, and Installation/Exhibition.
• Children learn Architecture through intense design projects and examples of historical and contemporary art and architecture. A balance of cognitive and manipulative skills is taught in each project, with individual and group critiques and exhibitions for public discussion. All students demonstrate understanding of architectural design principles and achieve a high level of completion, with excellent material and craft techniques.
• Social, Environmental and Global Understanding is emphasized as the spiritual and practical goal for our students. Projects are selected to stimulate understanding of site, physical setting and cultural milieu, with specific programs that address the social and technical issues of the community. International design team partnerships are established at a local and global level.
• Creative thinking is promoted and developed, merging with critical inquiry to identify environmental and urban problems and propose innovative solutions.
• Young students enjoy creating models and drawings of Worlds they can explore. The model is a tool and a toy that stimulates imagination and focuses concrete thinking. Drawing and painting offer freedom of expression yet disciplined work for which students take pride. The students take pleasure in achieving creative skills that can make positive changes in their world.
• Parent, administrative, and colleague evaluations consistently rank the program in the 98th percentile for excellence in creative learning. They are enthusiastic supporters of the Vitruvius Program, its teaching methods and social objectives, and are impressed by the architectural content of the work. This support is evident in articles, grants, museum shows, exhibition reviews, awards, and our daily life experiences.
• The Summit School thematic based curriculum addresses individualized learning approaches, diverse students, and interdisciplinary subjects. The VP integrates with Summit’s core curricula and closely collaborates with teachers and specialists.
• The Vitruvius model as implemented for the last 10 years at Summit School provides an excellent working example that may be emulated and replicated. Graduate students in architecture who have worked with us have brought our approach to other settings with success.

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