Annabel Koeck on Scale Rule: "sometimes just doing something with your hands, helps you think slightly differently"
Grimshaw Foundation spoke to Annabel Koeck about Scale Rule
Scale Rule is a not-for-profit created by architects and engineers. “It's not necessarily run by educators, but by people who are practicing in the industry,” said Annabel Koeck, one of the organisation’s founders. “The goal is to create really hands-on build projects, for people interested in architecture and engineering, to try and really increase diversity and access to the profession, by giving people portfolio projects and experience working.”
But Scale Rule doesn’t only benefit young people. “The volunteers who run the programs are young architects and engineers,” Annabel explains. “It's really networking for them, because you leave uni and often you might not meet a lot of other professionals outside of your direct circles. It's mutually beneficial for the practicing professionals who run it, and for the kids from schools who participate.” Plus: “we just like building things!”
I think sometimes just doing something with your hands helps you think slightly differently
“Hands-on” is a phrase that gets used a lot, but what does it mean in this case?
“When it's hands on, you're working very directly with practicing professionals” Annabel says, "so you can really build relationships. And you can understand the process of architecture. It's really easy to describe the process, but when you're doing it - when you have to draw and design something and think actually, 'how can I get my hand in there to try and drill it?' - you realise these things don't work when you have to build it on site."
Over the course of a two-day workshop, students hear from professionals, come up with three full pavilion proposals, and build a model. “As much as we can say architecture and engineering and construction is incredibly complex, it's also about basic principles. When you're doing a model in a small scale, you'll often come up with a lot of the same problems that you'd have at the big scale”.
As much as we can say architecture and engineering and construction is incredibly complex, it's also about basic principles.
“I think sometimes just doing something with your hands helps you think slightly differently,” Annabel says. She tells a story about an architect who sometimes writes descriptions of the space they want to create rather than drawing, as you might expect. “She does that to try and just change the way her brain is operating. If you're shifting mode, you shift the way you approach a problem.”
It’s this process of approaching problems - sometimes failing, but then trying again - from a shifted perspective that Annabel believes is valuable no matter where you are in life. "Even if kids aren't going in to architecture and engineering, the process of Scale Rule gives them a really great approach to problem solving.”