Between June 29 and Aug. 7, a total of 66 high school students participated in ARC 101: Introduction to Architectural Design. As one of Syracuse University Summer College’s most popular pre-college summer programs, rising seniors had the opportunity to not only participate in fundamental architectural design exercises, but also gain an understanding of architecture culture through interacting with recent graduates, college professors and practicing architects.
Taught this year by School of Architecture Associate Professor Kyle Miller and teaching assistants Dhvani Doshi ’21, Elise KillKelley ’21, Phang Lim ’21, Vanessa Poe ’21 and Bonnie Yu ’21, the program was organized around introducing students to college-level coursework, providing them an opportunity to augment their design portfolios and encouraging them to think critically about pursuing a career in architecture.
“Students quickly overcame the challenges of learning in a virtual environment to create an incredibly positive classroom culture of exchange and production,” Miller says. “It was a real pleasure to come together with talented students from across the globe on a daily basis to discuss architecture and teach design.”
For three hours every morning, students and faculty gathered together online for lectures on fundamental design concepts, live demonstrations of analog and digital drawing and modeling, evaluations of student work using Conceptboard and presentations of studio projects from recent graduates.
Additionally, across the two three-week sessions, School of Architecture Assistant Professors Matthew Celmer, Sekou Cooke and Greg Corso, along with alumni Margaret Griffin ’86, Katherine Hogan ’05, Andrew Kovacs ’06, Sara Lopergolo ’89, and Hilary Sample ’94, joined live sessions to lecture about their work and lead virtual office tours.
Afternoon and evening working sessions, where students had opportunities to receive additional feedback on their work, were led by teaching assistants. To provide an alternative to the late-night social atmosphere of the physical studio space, students occasionally met in Zoom without the instructors present to get to know each other outside of the classroom.
Design exercises focused on the same fundamental concepts typically explored across the first semester of the B.Arch program at the School of Architecture. Students became versed in architectural terminology while exploring spatial definition, hierarchy and relation through short exercises involving combinations of physical model making, orthographic projection, digital drawing, digital modeling and rendering.
The final project tasked students with designing a multi-use pavilion in downtown Syracuse meant to be used as a polling place at various times throughout the year. Students’ designs were based on conceptual strategies borrowed from built works by other architects in combination with desired experiences of socializing and participating in voting in an active urban setting. A concluding final review and exhibition of the projects provided students opportunities to present their ideas and receive feedback on their design proposals from professors within the School of Architecture.