Bringing the CBD to schooling

Tour company Education Destinations is bringing Melbourne’s CBD into secondary school learning.

The company offers a number of excursions to the city across a range of subjects.

There are opportunities to explore across the curriculum in the CBD, including fascinating themes like Melbourne’s Aboriginal heritage, the Gold Rush and sustainable design.

A highlight of the excursions available includes walking tours for students led by working architects and urban designers.

Melbourne Architours, which has been running walking tours for the past three years, has developed two special tours for secondary school students – Designing the Sustainable City and Photographing the City.

Melbourne Architours co-director, Esther Sugihto, says that she and her tour partners Shelley Freeman, Andy Fergus and Mark Skiba, felt compelled to share their passion for Melbourne’s CBD and the challenges it faces in becoming sustainable.

“We aim to start a conversation about what citizens could do to improve Melbourne’s CBD,” Ms Sugihto said.

“One of the huge issues is how to restore Melbourne’s marvellous architectural heritage in ways that are economically and environmentally viable, given that it’s typically more expensive than building from scratch.”

The focus of the Photographing the City tour is on relics of 1880s’ Marvellous Melbourne, the interwar period, and post war modernism through to contemporary architecture.

“It’s fascinating to see what students pick out – how old buildings are reflected off the glass of new buildings, or the juxtaposition of the skyline and individual buildings, or how a piece of sculpture interacts with space,” Ms Sugihto said.

Before they started Melbourne Architours,Ms Sugihto and her colleagues photographed every single building in the CBD.

“We spent one year researching buildings and spaces in Melbourne, and one of the methods was to take a photo of every building in the CBD,” she said.

“This now constitutes an amazing snapshot of the city in 2011, and there’s already been much demolition and construction since.

The city is dynamic, changing like a living organism, and we can all play a part. Indeed, we have the choice – and therefore the responsibility – to participate in our future,” she said.

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