John Tolley, August 27, 2017
Budding young architects get a chance to kick start their dreams and take the first step towards building their future at the University of Michigan's ArcStart summer program.
Run by the university's renowned Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, ArcStart offers high school students the opportunity to take college-level classes in design, drafting, modeling and other related areas while living on the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus for three weeks in the summer. The program is structured around studio time, and boasts an instructor-to-student ratio of 1:10.
Working with both graduate students and professors, ArcStart students build on their interest in architecture by diving deep into the design of several different projects. According to program director Joss Kiely, participants undergo a dynamic transformation.
"Students begin with a very minimal skill and craft in their work and we see that change drastically in a very short period of time," Kiely said, speaking with the UM News Service in 2015. "After the three weeks, someone who came in knowing very little about how to draw models and design space can really come away with a very carefully considered final product."
ArcStart begins by introducing students to the basic elements of architectural drawing and how to document and work with space. Designing projects, such as a park pavilion, give them a chance to think about how design is utilized in a semi-urban setting. At the university's state-of-the-art Digital Fabrication Lab, students are introduced to 2D and 3D modeling and printing. Projects grow from there, getting larger and more personalized as the students take ownership and begin working with topographic models.
Around Ann Arbor and in the Detroit metro area, students take in architecture both old and new and gain a deeper appreciation for the field's growth over time and how buildings represent their place and era. They also get a chance to visit several architectural design firms, and talk with architects working on projects in Michigan and around the world.
Although ArcStart 2017 has come and gone, information about applying for 2018 can be found by following the ArcStart link above.