In 2014, the Arup San Francisco Leap team raised $20,000 for Leap, engaged over 40 students and their families, and worked closely with our partners in the industry. The team’s sandcastle depicting the boardgame Candyland won the top award “Best in Show: The Golden Spoon”.
Leap is an organisation that promotes and sustains arts and architecture education for San Francisco Bay Area elementary and middle schools. Every year they hold a sandcastle building competition in Ocean Beach in which professional teams consisting of an architecture firm, engineering firm, and a construction company work with a group of fifth graders from a San Francisco school. The competition is a means to fundraise for Leap to support their programmes year-round and a way for AEC firms to work with students to teach them about the industry.
For the past three years, Arup’s San Francisco office has partnered with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ), Ryan Associates, and Rooftop Alternative Elementary School. Prior to the competition, volunteers from the AEC team visited the students to brainstorm sandcastle design ideas and building techniques. For the months leading up to the competition, the AEC team fundraised internally and externally through planned social events and personal donations.
Funds raised by Leap provide art and architecture education programs to over 8,000 students in over 40 schools in the Bay Area. The sandcastle event is free for the community to enjoy and draws 10,000 participants and spectators to Ocean Beach to see 30 sandcastles being built annually. During the public event and through media coverage, the importance of arts education and the need for private funding is emphasised to the community. The enthusiastic and social atmosphere on build day engages everyone who shows up at the beach willing to get their hands dirty.
Not only is the Sandcastle competition a great way for Arup employees to engage with local youth to help support their arts programmes, but also get to work closely with the team partners (who are Arup’s clients for project work) in a social and philanthropic setting to build on great working relationships.