Teaching Students About Ambulatory Architecture

Ambulatory architecture may not be a well-known concept among students but is critical in today’s rapidly changing urban landscape. Ambulatory, or movable, architecture refers to structures that can be quickly disassembled, relocated, and reassembled to meet the evolving needs of a community. This article highlights the importance of teaching students about ambulatory architecture and provides ideas to incorporate it into the curriculum.

The Relevance of Ambulatory Architecture

  1. Adaptable Living Solutions: With increasing urban populations, there is a growing need for flexible and adaptable living solutions. Ambulatory architecture provides the ability to respond to demographic shifts or changes in land use patterns while minimizing disruption.
  2. Disaster Response: In the aftermath of natural disasters like earthquakes or floods, ambulatory architecture can offer temporary shelter and infrastructures that prioritize rapid assembly and disassembly.
  3. Environmental Sustainability: By promoting resource-efficient design and encouraging the reuse and repurposing of materials, ambulatory architecture plays a significant role in reducing waste and promoting environmentally-friendly practices.

Teaching Methodologies

To effectively teach students about ambulatory architecture, educators can consider incorporating these methodologies into their lesson plans:

  1. Hands-on Activities: Provide opportunities for students to design and construct their own small-scale movable structures using different materials such as cardboard or recycled items.
  2. Case Studies: Explore real-life examples of innovative contemporary ambulatory architecture projects from around the world, dissecting their design principles and how they have been applied in practice.
  3. Guest Speakers: Invite architects or engineers with experience in designing ambulatory structures to share their insights with your students.
  4. Field Trips: Arrange visits to local construction sites where movable structures are being built or exhibitions that showcase this type of architecture, such as the annual Pneumatic Structures Exhibition.
  5. Problem-Based Learning (PBL): Present students with specific scenarios or challenges centered around ambulatory architecture and ask them to develop solutions through collaboration, research, and experimentation.


Teaching students about ambulatory architecture not only sparks their creativity but also prepares them for the ever-evolving architectural landscape. By incorporating engaging activities and methodologies, educators can inspire the next generation of architects to approach design with adaptability, environmental responsibility, and a commitment to serving the diverse needs of a growing population.

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