Architecture Merit Badge

Architecture Merit Badge

Step into a world where art meets science, where creativity intertwines with practicality, and welcome to the realm of architecture. The Boy Scouts of America’s “Architecture Merit Badge” is an engaging program that provides Scouts with an enriching insight into the fascinating world of architecture.

This badge serves as a window to understanding how our surroundings take shape and how each building tells a unique story about its purpose, its context, and the era it belongs to.

Whether it’s the towering skyscrapers that shape our city skylines, the homes we reside in, or the historical buildings that serve as living testimonials of our past, architecture plays a monumental role in shaping our lived experiences.

The Architecture Merit Badge delves into the nuances of architectural design, various architectural styles throughout history, the role of architects, and the multi-disciplinary nature of creating habitable spaces.

Beyond simply structures and buildings, architecture is a reflection of human needs, cultures, and aspirations. Earning this badge will not only introduce Scouts to a potential career path but also help them appreciate the built environment around them.

So, let’s lace up our boots, pick up our blueprints, and set off on an architectural adventure that explores the places we live, work, play, and learn, in ways we’ve never done before!

Architecture Merit Badge Requirements

1. Do the following:
(a) Tour your community and list the types of buildings you see. Try to identify buildings that can be associated with a specific period of history or style of architecture. Make a sketch of the building you most admire.

(b) Select a historical architectural achievement that has had a major impact on society. Using resources such as the Internet (with your parent’s permission), books, and magazines, find out how this achievement has influenced the world today. Tell your counselor what you learned.
2. In the Outdoor Code, a Scout pledges to “be conservation-minded.” Discuss the following with your counselor:
(a) The term sustainable architecture. Identify three features typical of green buildings.

(b) The difference between renewable building materials and recycled building materials, and how each can be used in construction.

(c) The relationship of architecture with its surrounding environment and the community.

(d) How entire buildings can be reused rather than torn down when they no longer serve their original purpose.
3. Do ONE of the following:
(a) With your parent’s and counselor’s permission and approval, arrange to meet with an architect. Ask to see the scale model of a building and the drawings that a builder would use to construct this building. Discuss why the different building materials were selected. Look at the details in the drawings and the model to see how the materials and components are attached to each other during construction.

(b) With your parent’s and counselor’s permission and approval, arrange to meet with an architect at a construction site. Ask the architect to bring drawings that the builder uses to construct the building. While at the site, discuss why the different building materials being used were selected. Discuss how the different building materials and components are attached to each other during construction.

(c) Interview someone who might be your client (such as a prospective homeowner or business owner) if you were an architect. Find out what your client’s requirements would be for designing a new home or business building. Write a short program including a list of requirements for the project, the functions of the building and site, how the functions relate to one another, and the goals of the project.
4. Measure a room such as one where you live or where your troop meets. Make an accurately scaled drawing of the room’s floor plan showing walls, doors, closets, windows, and any built-in furniture or cabinets. Neatly label your drawing with the following: your name, the date, what room you drew, and the scale of the drawing. (Drawing scale: 1/4 inch = 1 foot)
5. Find out about three career opportunities in architecture. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

The Answer for Requirement Number 1a

In this requirement, Scouts are encouraged to actively engage with their community’s architecture. This involves taking a tour, identifying different building types, associating buildings with a specific period of history or architectural style, and making a sketch of the most admired building. Here’s a suggested plan to fulfill this requirement:

  1. Prepare for the Tour: Research different architectural styles and periods in history. Look at various types of buildings – residential, commercial, educational, religious, governmental, etc. This way, you’ll be more equipped to identify and categorize buildings during your tour.
  2. Take the Tour: Walk or bike around your community, observing different buildings. You can even make this an educational activity with your troop or family members.
  3. List the Building Types: As you tour, take notes or photographs of the buildings you see. Create a table listing these buildings and their types, for instance, a house (residential), school (educational), or a city hall (governmental).
  4. Identify Historical Periods or Architectural Styles: Try to associate each building with a specific historical period or architectural style. For example, a building with large glass windows and flat roofs could be of the Modernist style, while a building with pointed arches and detailed stone carvings could be Gothic.
  5. Sketch Your Most Admired Building: Choose the building you most admire and make a sketch of it. This doesn’t have to be a detailed architectural drawing. It’s about observing and understanding the building’s form, design elements, and how they come together to create a cohesive structure.

Remember, this exercise is not only about identifying buildings and styles but also appreciating the architectural diversity in your community and understanding how these structures reflect different periods of history and human needs.

The Answer for Requirement Number 1b

This requirement aims to enhance the Scouts’ understanding of the impact of architectural achievements on society. The achievement could be a specific structure, a novel architectural style, or a breakthrough in construction technology. Here’s a step-by-step plan to fulfill this requirement:

  1. Choose an Architectural Achievement: Select a historical architectural achievement that has had a significant impact on society. It could be a monumental structure like the Pyramids of Giza, an innovative architectural style like Bauhaus, or a construction breakthrough like the development of concrete.
  2. Research: Use reliable resources such as books, scholarly articles, trusted websites (with parental consent), and documentaries to learn about your chosen architectural achievement. Understand its historical context, its construction, and the reason why it’s considered significant.
  3. Analyze Impact: Reflect on how this architectural achievement has influenced society and the world. This could involve its influence on subsequent architectural styles, construction methods, societal structures, or the way we perceive space.
  4. Prepare Your Findings: Document your findings in a structured manner. You might want to create a table or a timeline that illustrates the historical context, details of the architectural achievement, and its influence over time.
  5. Discuss With Your Counselor: Finally, present your findings to your counselor. Discuss what you’ve learned and how it has expanded your understanding of architecture’s impact on society.

Remember, the goal is to appreciate architecture as not just physical structures but as influential entities that shape societies, cultures, and even civilization as a whole.

The Answer for Requirement Number 2

The “Outdoor Code” reflects a commitment to sustainability, and this extends to the field of architecture. Here’s how the four parts of this requirement can be addressed:

(a) Sustainable Architecture & Green Building Features

Sustainable architecture is a design approach that aims to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings. This is achieved by using energy-efficient techniques and materials that are environmentally friendly. Three typical features of green buildings are:

  1. Energy Efficiency: Green buildings often have systems like solar panels or wind turbines to generate renewable energy. They also use energy-efficient appliances and lighting, as well as superior insulation to reduce energy consumption.
  2. Water Efficiency: This could include rainwater harvesting systems, efficient irrigation systems, and water-efficient appliances.
  3. Use of Sustainable Materials: These buildings typically use materials that are renewable, recycled, or have low environmental impact.

(b) Renewable vs Recycled Building Materials

Renewable building materials are sourced from rapidly replenishing resources. For example, bamboo grows quickly and is a renewable alternative to slow-growing hardwoods.

Recycled building materials, on the other hand, are repurposed from previous uses, such as reclaimed wood or recycled metal.

Both types can be used in construction to reduce environmental impact. Renewable materials can be used where fresh resources are necessary, and recycled materials can replace new resources where possible.

(c) Relationship of Architecture with Environment and Community

Architecture doesn’t exist in isolation; it interacts with its surrounding environment and the community. A building should respect the local climate, topography, and ecology. Good architecture also reflects the culture, history, and needs of its community, helping to foster a sense of identity and belonging.

(d) Building Reuse

Rather than demolishing buildings that no longer serve their original purpose, they can be repurposed in a process called adaptive reuse. This could mean turning an old factory into apartments, or a disused church into a community center. This approach saves resources, preserves historical architecture, and reduces construction waste.

To discuss these points with your counselor, you might want to prepare notes or even a presentation. Your counselor can provide more insight and help deepen your understanding of these important issues in modern architecture.

The Answer for Requirement Number 3c

In this exercise, Scouts will engage in a practical experience that mimics the real-life process architects go through with their clients. Here’s a simple guide:

  1. Identify a Potential Client: Choose someone who might be a prospective client. It could be a family friend who has mentioned wanting to build a new home or even a local business owner looking to expand their space.
  2. Interview the Client: Set up a time to discuss their requirements. Ask questions about their vision for the project, specific features they want, the function of the building, the intended users, their budget, and any other preferences or needs.
  3. Prepare a Project Brief: Based on the information gathered, write a brief for the project. This should include:
    • Project Requirements: A detailed list of what the client wants. For a home, this might include the number of rooms, outdoor space, accessibility needs, etc. For a business, it could include workspace requirements, customer areas, storage needs, etc.
    • Functions of the Building and Site: Outline the intended use of the building and how the site will be utilized. This includes understanding how different spaces within the building interact, the flow of movement, and the relationship between the building and its surrounding environment.
    • Relationship of Functions: Describe how different areas of the building and site relate to each other. For instance, in a home, the kitchen might need to be near the dining area, while in a business, the customer service area might need to be near the entrance.
    • Project Goals: Summarize what the project aims to achieve. This might include creating a comfortable and sustainable family home, or a functional and attractive business premises.
  4. Present the Brief to Your Counselor: Review your project brief with your counselor and discuss your process. This is a chance to gain feedback and learn from your counselor’s experience and knowledge.

This requirement provides valuable hands-on experience of an architect’s work and the chance to practice important skills like interviewing, listening, and translating a client’s vision into a clear and actionable plan.

The Answer for Requirement Number 4

This task involves creating an accurately scaled floor plan of a room, a fundamental skill in architecture and design. Here are the steps to guide you:

  1. Choose a Room: Choose a familiar room in your home or troop meeting place. It should have enough architectural features (like windows, doors, and furniture) to make the task interesting, but not overly complex.
  2. Measure the Room: Use a measuring tape to measure the length and width of the room. Don’t forget to measure the positions and sizes of doors, windows, built-in furniture or cabinets. Also, note the direction in which doors open.
  3. Scale Down the Measurements: This task requires a drawing scale of 1/4 inch = 1 foot. This means, if a wall of your room is 12 feet long, it would be represented as 3 inches on your drawing (because 12 feet x 1/4 inch = 3 inches).
  4. Draw the Room: Start with the outline of the room, representing the walls. Add in the positions of doors and windows. Then, sketch in any built-in furniture or cabinets. Use straight edges and take your time to ensure accuracy.
  5. Add Labels: Finally, label your drawing with your name, the date, the name of the room you drew, and the scale of the drawing.

The Answer for Requirement Number 5

Architecture offers a broad range of career opportunities, each with its unique educational requirements, tasks, and potential paths for advancement. Here are three such careers:

  1. Architect: Architects design buildings and oversee their construction. They need a professional degree in architecture, an internship or practical training period, and they must pass the Architect Registration Examination to get licensed.
  2. Landscape Architect: Landscape architects design outdoor spaces like parks, campuses, and public areas. They need a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture and need to pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination.
  3. Urban Planner: Urban planners develop plans and programs for land use in urban areas. They often need a Master’s degree in Urban or Regional Planning, and certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners can enhance job prospects.

For example, if you’re interested in becoming an architect, you will need to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture, which usually takes five years. Following this, you’ll need to gain practical experience through an internship, which typically lasts three years. Finally, you’ll need to pass the Architect Registration Examination to become a licensed architect. Architects require a combination of artistic creativity, technical knowledge, and project management skills.

In your discussion with your counselor, you might mention that you’re drawn to architecture because you love designing and building things, and you’re excited about the opportunity to create spaces that are both functional and beautiful. You might also be intrigued by the idea of leaving a lasting mark on the built environment.

I'm a Mechanical Engineer and lifelong Eagle Scout. My passion for scouting guides my writing, aiming to inspire fellow Scouts on their path. Thanks for reading, and best wishes on your journey to Eagle!