Skip to content

Community Impact

Mar 18, 2021

Design Thinking Day Introduces High School Students to Architecture

Design Thinking Day1

Screenshots from Design Thinking Days

Four firms introduced 16 Boston students to architecture and design during the 2021 February Vacation Week.

The BSA, in partnership with Boston PIC (Private Industry Council), transitioned its fourth year of Design Thinking Day from lively day of in-person tours and conversations to a virtual Design Thinking Boot Camp that allowed students to safely interact with designers from a broad range of firm types and go through the design process live with the support and engagement from other students, architects, and teachers. The boot camp provided students with a $200 stipend.

Design Thinking Days address the limited options for many students through Boston Public Schools (BPS) to become aware of architecture and design as a career pathway. The program gives students an introduction into the multiple aspects that the architecture industry encompasses; including interior design, computer science and technology, material and construction, and more.

Participating firms included:

  • Finegold Alexander
  • Goody Clancy
  • HMFH
  • Sasaki

Students from two BPS high schools, Snowden International School and Boston Green Academy, attended this four-day intensive workshop during February Break, from February 15-19, 2021. The goals of the bootcamp were to give students a taste of the industry, build skills around design thinking, and recruit summer interns for the participating firms.

Students met with a different firm each day, focusing on a different aspect of design and the architectural process. Students continued to develop their design for an ideal learning space each day and were led by three mentors from each firm who would discuss not only the technical processes, but their individual paths to architecture. The foci for each day included: programming and sustainability, concept and building concept models, design development and looking at materials and interior design, and construction and documenting.

After visiting with each firm, students would reconvene for a one hour studio with their classmates. During their studio sessions, they used a pre-mailed kit of materials with drafting and model building supplies, Google Jamboard, and Google Slides to give them both new materials and familiar software from school to develop their work.

On the final day, students presented their final work to full cohort of students and designers. View their work below.

In a post-workshop survey, participating students provided the following comments on surprising things they learned during the week:

"It's opened a new career path for me, architecture and design is something I'm really passionate about."

"This experience challenged me to think more about how I interact with architecture and what I can improve on."

"It has given me new perspective into this intelligent designing that architects do. I will try to adopt this architectural designer mindset in my studies beyond high school."

"It has made me start thinking about maybe I can try other things that are out my comfort zone because you never know what you will enjoy and what you won't."

"Because its showing and giving me more options to think about and I like playing with LEGOS and building things so to me this would be a like backup plan if nursing doesn't work."

Of the respondents, 80% said they were interesting in applying for a summer internship in architecture. This program will repeat with a new cohort of students during April vacation week.