Youth Engagement

2021 Programs

Youth programs organized around the 2021 edition, The Available City, highlight themes of equity, sustainability, and community-based design. Programs provide opportunities for active engagement with key issues through the lenses of architecture, design, and urbanism and encourage youth and family audiences to reimagine their communities and city, with a specific focus on unused spaces including vacant city-owned lots.

Family Programs

Family-friendly activities hosted at CAB project and community partner sites engage families with young children in hands-on activities. Visit our programs page for details about upcoming youth and family programming.

A series of virtual, interactive family programs are being released twice monthly on our website.

Could Be Architecture "Animate Architecture" Series
Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3

Chicago Mobile Makers "Let's Fold Paper" Series
Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Coming Soon: Episode 3

Curriculum Toolkit + Teacher Trainings

A standards-aligned curriculum resource for grades 2-12 provides both classroom teachers as well as out-of-school educators and caregivers with resources and activities to bring architecture and design learning to students.

View and Download the 2021 Curriculum Toolkit

Whether you’re new to teaching architecture and design or an expert, an on-demand virtual training session will provide practical, CCSS-aligned strategies you can apply in the classroom right away. Facilitated by artist and educator Jacob Watson, this workshop will introduce you to engaging new approaches, activities, and tools for learning about architecture and public space. Connections will be made to English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Visual Arts, and more! This digital resource is coming soon.

Fall Competition

The Student Ideas Competition at the Chicago Architecture Biennial encourages middle and high school students to share their ideas for how design can play a role in creating shared spaces and shaping communities. The fall 2021 bp Student Ideas Competition is accepting submissions now through December 6, 2021.

Visit our competition page for complete details, to submit a project, and to see projects by past competition winners.

Youth Council

CAB’s Youth Council engages youth voices in shaping both our organization and the larger cultural and architecture and design landscapes of the city while providing personal and professional mentorship to teens.

The inaugural session of our Youth Council began in October with a group of 9th-12th grade students. So far, through weekly virtual meetings and an in-person workshop, students have met with speakers including CAB Artistic Director David Brown, Shermann Thomas aka Dilla the Urban Historian, and CAB 2021 contributor Germane Barnes, and developed ideas for a final project and exhibition. 

Youth Studios

More than twenty Youth Studios are being hosted this fall together with youth-serving community organizations across Chicago. Youth Studios bring high school students together with design professionals to actively explore architecture and design in relation to questions or topics facing them and their communities with the goals of exposing young people to architecture and design; promoting civic engagement; and supporting college and career readiness.

Fall 2021 Youth Studio Partners include: 6018North, BUILD, CCA Academy, GnarWare Workshop, Landon Bone Baker Architects,, Red Clay Dance, Territory, and Water Wayfinding.

Virtual Field Trips

An engaging and interactive virtual field trip experience for grades 2-12 is available through the platform Streamable Learning as well as on demand. This virtual field trip takes students on a tour of several 2021 Biennial sites across Chicago, prompts questions and conversation, and encourage participants to think about how they can shape their communities. The trip runs approximately 40 minutes.

Register for an upcoming field trip on Streamable Learning.

View a recording of our virtual field trip.


The Chicago Architecture Biennial provides free, educational and creative programming to learners of all ages as a way to promote active exploration of the built environment and encourage audiences to see architecture and design as tools for change.

CAB's youth programming aims to: Facilitate meaningful and ongoing engagements with students, schools, community organizations, universities, museums, and other cultural institutions; Encourage connections between learners’ lived experiences and CAB content; Reach students from populations historically underrepresented in architecture, and; Provide opportunities for co-learning across generations and disciplines. 


Are you an organization, school, or a caregiver or teacher looking for ways to engage young people in conversations about how they can play a role in shaping our cities and world through architecture and design?

Join our Learning & Engagement mailing list here.

Contact us at