Discover Architecture, the Center for Architecture and AIANY’s career exploration program, was initiated in 2019 introduce teens to architecture as a possible career choice. The program ran for two years as an in-person office experience, and then moved online during the pandemic years of 2021 and 2022. While the online Discover Architecture presentations were well-received and certainly worthwhile, we know that youth are eager to resume in-person activities after a difficult and often-isolating two years.
We plan to return to the in-person format this year and are seeking firms interested in hosting a high school student or two for a three-day externship in their office. The program will run Tuesday, February 21, 2023 through Friday, February 24, 2023, during the public school mid-winter vacation. Students will be at their host firms from 10 am to 3 pm Tuesday through Thursday, then come to the Center for Architecture on Friday for a design charrette and program conclusion led by Center for Architecture Education staff.
Activities at the firms can vary but should aim to give students a first-hand experience with the day-to-day work of an architect. In past years, students have sat in on client meetings and design brainstorming sessions, shadowed and interviewed staff in different areas of the firm from model shop to marketing, visited job sites, and learned about design software, among other activities. The final day at the Center for Architecture allows the students to reflect on and share their in-office experiences, and to explore their own design ideas as they work in small teams to create and present a design project. Students are presented with culminating Certificates of Completion.
High School sophomores and juniors are invited to apply to the program and are matched with a host firm. Center staff will hold orientation sessions in early February for both host firms and students to review program goals, expectations, and responsibilities. The firm orientation will be held on Zoom and students will meet in-person at the Center for Architecture.
Participating students in past years were very grateful for the opportunity and shared how much they learned about the profession even during this short window of time:
“It was very inspiring for me to see how they work on projects together and the attention they have for detail and their clients.”
“I learned about all the time that actually goes into completing a project, as well as the other people you need to consult with to make sure the project is doable, up to code, within budget, etc.”
“Thank you for hosting me! My eyes were opened in a positive way, and you have furthered my love for architecture.”
Many of the firms who participated in past years also really enjoyed the experience and several have already signed on to host students this year. We are looking for additional firms who are interested and able to participate in this year’s program so that we can again offer this opportunity to 25 to 30 students. Please contact Catherine Teegarden, Director of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org to join as a host firm or if you have further questions about the program. Thanks in advance for your help!