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Community Impact

Mar 07, 2024

Workshop Recap: Architecture/Design Thinking Week 2024

ADTW Group DSC00965

Group photo of students from ADTW 2024 after finishing project showcase on Friday, February 23.

Photo by Natalie Tague.

The BSA recently hosted Architecture/Design Thinking Week, a collaboration with the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) that offers interested Boston Public School (BPS) students paid career exploration during February school vacation week. Each day of this four-day workshop, firms take turns facilitating activities and providing hands-on support as students work through a multi-stage design prompt.

Day 1: Introduction to Design, led by Sasaki and Sasaki Foundation

Taylor Johnson, Design Education and Engagement Manager at the BSA, organized the program and kicked off the week, supporting visiting designers and students as they began the design process. After a primer on design, students began working through their prompt for the week: Designing their personal learning space. Designers from Sasaki and the Sasaki Foundation guided students through the use of visual learning tool Miro and brainstormed design ideas focused on scale, sensory attributes, and environment.

This introduction to ideation and initial sketching gave the students a chance to launch into their own projects and set up goals and needs of their space before getting into the design stage.

Day 2: Modelmaking, led by Goody Clancy

On Day 2, Goody Clancy shared why modelmaking is integral to architecture, explaining why it happens and how to use modelmaking to show ideas in the early stages of the design process. Students then had the chance to hand-build models and talk through their ideas from Day 1 with Goody Clancy designers, focusing on how to interpret those sketches into a physical space. Many of the students used this as an opportunity to play with scale while crafting their spaces and the furniture within them.

Day 3 - Drawing, led by Finegold Alexander

Finegold Alexander led Day 3’s module on drawing, continuing the journey through the architectural design cycle. After discussing the importance of materials for areas such as flooring, wall treatments, and furnishings, the designers showed how those ideas are revealed in architectural drawings and the importance of including details alongside big ideas. Students used the models they built the day prior as reference for drawing plans and sections in order to translate their space through different methods and maintain scale. At this point, many students found themselves making changes to their models and drawings, experiencing for themselves the cyclical nature of the design thinking process.

Students developed an ability to iterate, test, and explain their ideas through conversations with peers and firm professionals.

Day 4 - Final Presentations, led by HMFH

The final day of Architecture/Design Thinking Week was a whirlwind of final project updates and a presentation led by designers from HMFH. After an introduction to construction documents and how architects communicate with builders, students chose a key aspect of their design to build out in detail through drawing or model-making. Many chose to go above and beyond, including information about the materials and finishings applied to that detail.

Each student then presented their project to fellow students, guest designers from throughout the week, and representatives from the BSA and the PIC who supported the development of this program.

Programs like this are integral to providing opportunities for high school students to explore interests in architecture/design and gain insight into what it’s like to be in the AEC profession. Students receive stipends for their time across the four-day workshop upon completion of Architecture/Design Thinking Week and gain access to other upcoming opportunities.

If you or someone you know is a high school student interested in architecture/design, there are two summer opportunities now accepting applicants:

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Models created by students throughout the week.

Thank you to each of the firms for joining us at the BSA and guiding students throughout the program. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to continue to offer, and further develop, this workshop. A big thank you to Boston PIC's Josh Bruno, Betsy Hamre, Mike Holland, Liz Innocent, Noah Monzillo, and Bruce Stephen; BSA's Taylor Johnson; Finegold Alexander's Nanditha Thiagarajan, Micajah Tucker, and Leah Wolkovich-Qartey; Goody Clancy's Sneha Ameya, Muna El-Taha, Nina Hutteman, and Jackey Robinson; HMFH's Hannah Keith, Jake Picariello, and Nallely Salazar; Sasaki x Sasaki Foundation’s Gidiony Alves, Folajimi Bademosi, Estefany Benitez, Hyeji Sheen, and Gabriela Palacios Villon.

K-12 Design Education programming is made possible by the BSA Foundation. The Foundation connects the architecture profession with the Boston community, making programs like these accessible and supporting pathways to opportunity.