A Summer of Architecture

During my junior year, I started taking an interest in architecture. The way lines and curves met each other to form buildings combined with the underlying social, political and technological aspects of the architectural world was so thrilling to me. Architecture gives me the opportunity to be creative, think critically, build something tangible with my own hands, present my own ideas, and work with different teams to finally create one beautiful, practical piece of art that people can spend their lives in.


Knowing that I would be taking AP Art History with Mr. Jenkins my senior year, I thought attending a summer architecture program would be a great idea. I applied to the Architecture Discovery Program at Washington University in St. Louis so I could gain some fundamental knowledge. I was unaware, though, of what I would soon experience.


Creating a portfolio that normally takes an entire semester in two weeks challenged me to push myself beyond my former limits, working rigorously for fourteen hours every day. Using our very first assignment, a poster describing ourselves, we altered cubes and then used them to create a space.  First we made them into 3D components and on 2D roof plans, floor plans, elevations, and sections. Through many design and technical lessons and critiques from the professors in  Design Studio, I learned to create a space that considered  sustainability and how the environment shapes the practice of architecture.


Drawing Studio taught us to observe the world around us,  see how lines and curves connect, and how to communicate through drawing. I was particularly amazed to see how much observation and drawing skills are needed to gain an architectural perspective.


The field trips to Gateway Arch by Eero Saarinen, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation by Tadao Ando, and the local firm CannonDesign in St. Louis were also especially striking as they allowed me to see the real world through the lens of architecture.


Although this experience was probably one of the most intensive I have encountered so far, when I presented my work in front of the professors and my fellow students, it was so exciting and satisfying that I will never be able to forget it. It made me realize how much I enjoyed the process and the effort I put into my courses. It was fascinating to see the creativity of my new friends from all over the US and from many other countries  and see how our diverse backgrounds informed our work during  the program. The essence of our designs was  communicating  personal sources of inspiration. Since the program, I have started to perceive the world completely differently, noticing how the aesthetics of architecture connect with the world around it.