Programs

Exploration of Architecture

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Who is Frank Gehry and what did it take to design the Walt Disney Concert Hall?

What does it take to design and construct space?

What would it be like to study Architecture in a Top 10 ranked undergraduate program?

What is it like to live on the campus of a world-renowned University?

 

Join us this summer at the University of Southern California School of Architecture and find the answers to these and many more questions during the 33rd annual EXPLORATION OF ARCHITECTURE program for High School students. Enjoy an exciting two or four weeks at the USC School of Architecture, designing and building in a design studio, touring famous landmarks, living on-campus in a residence hall, and working with the School’s distinguished faculty and upper division students. The four-week program offers 3-units of college credit.

 

These programs will provide you with an introduction to architecture and will enable you to make an informed decision about future academic and professional choices. You will experience firsthand what it is like to work in a studio on a design project. You will also take study trips around the Los Angeles region, attending lectures and participating in other activities available in Southern California during the summer.

 

The EXPLORATION OF ARCHITECTURE program will inform you of architectural career opportunities and enable you to meet and make friends with other students from around the world with similar interests. These programs provide excellent opportunities to refine problem-solving skills and deal with abstract concepts. They have great value to all students, not just those contemplating a career in architecture.

 

We hope you will join the thousands of high school students who have enrolled in the EXPLORATION OF ARCHITECTURE program for over thirty years. It is a program we have designed to be both fun and intellectually stimulating.

 

 

 

Exploration of Architecture & Discover Engineering Bridge Project from USC Summer Programs on Vimeo.

Photograph by Enoch Chow
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Summer 2014

Four-week credit program
July 6 - Aug. 2

 

Two-week non-credit program
July 6 - July 20

 

For more than 30 years, high school students from all over the world have come to the University of Southern California's School of Architecture for a taste of college life and an introduction to college level study of architecture and design of the built environment. If you are considering a career in architecture, engineering or urban planning you will have the chance to try out your interests in a studio setting at one of the top ten architecture schools in the country.

 

Educational Intent
The USC Exploration of Architecture program provides high school students from across the country and the world with an intensive and in-depth introduction to the world of architecture and the experience of an architectural education. The goal of the program is to help students make an educated decision regarding their own career direction while at the same time providing them with a wide exposure to the diverse and colorful surroundings of Los Angeles.

 

The Exploration of Architecture summer high school program has been conducted at the USC School of Architecture since 1982. This highly successful and popular program has grown and developed into one of the most comprehensive and rewarding programs of its kind in the country.

 

Career Choice
The summer student leaves the Exploration of Architecture Program with an understanding of what it is like to be an architecture student. Students learn about the architectural profession and gain an appreciation for Los Angeles as a place where people live, study and work.

 

The program is targeted toward high school students who are on the verge of making decisions regarding colleges, careers and life-goals. The program is designed to help that student with his or her decision, and to show by experience and discussion the joys and hardships of the profession. Students receive counseling on many levels from students currently enrolled in the USC School of Architecture (who serve as class assistants) and the faculty. The students will also be advised on how to create a compelling portfolio of creative work for admission to college-level design programs. Students must have completed ninth grade by the first day of the program.

 

Program Growth
The Exploration of Architecture program has grown in the last 30 years, from a two-week program with 20 students to an internationally oriented program spanning four weeks and accommodating more than 100 students.

 

Campus Life
In addition to experiencing first-hand the intensive involvement of an architectural education, the students are introduced to the experience of a university campus life. They live on campus in the USC residence halls, eat the majority of their meals in the campus dining facilities and have access to the educational and recreational facilities on campus. They learn what it is like to live with roommates, get themselves to class on time, and deal with a demanding and hectic schedule. The net result is a rich and accurate impression of life on a major urban university campus.

 

Studio
The core of the Exploration of Architecture program is the design studio experience. Students learn first-hand that the inspiration, hard work, excitement and frustration of the design process all occur in the design studio setting. Through this experience, they gain an appreciation for the collaborative design experience that is the core of the architect's educational and professional life.

 

Projects
As part of the design studio experience, the summer students are presented with a variety of design projects ranging greatly in length, breadth and complexity. They learn the unique skills required to work as individual designers and as part of a collaborative design team. The first week's curriculum starts with 2- and 3-dimensional composition exercises accompanied by an introduction to the ideas and vocabulary of space-making at multiple scales. The students then design an experiential landscape in which they consider spatial impact on the human condition. The second week continues this project and then adds a real-world design problem that deals with issues of structure, natural forces and furniture design. The Discovering Engineering Seminar students join them to explore this problem, exposing students to the collaborative nature of Architecture across disciplines. The third and fourth weeks challenge students with a comprehensive design project in which they cumulatively apply all their learning to a single design assignment.

 

Tours
The Exploration of Architecture program would not be complete without the wealth of tours in and around the Los Angeles area. The intent of the program is not only to provide students with the opportunity to design and make architecture, but also to introduce them to the abundance of fascinating and exciting experiences that a major city like Los Angeles has to offer. The Tours take them around Los Angeles to include Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry (1989 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, USC School of Architecture, B. Arch. 1952); Caltrans District 7 Headquarters by Thom Mayne (2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, USC School of Architecture, B. Arch. 1968); Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles by Rafael Moneo (1995 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate); Getty Center by Richard Meier (1984 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate); Getty Villa by Machado and Selvetti; as well as through numerous architecturally significant buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolf Schindler, Greene & Greene and others.

 

Four Weeks of Study
The Exploration of Architecture program endeavors to show students what it is like to be an architecture student, becoming more in-depth and detailed as the program progresses. Each week of the program focuses on different issues, and requires ever-increasing levels of commitment and expertise. Upon successful completion of the four-week program, students will earn an official USC transcript and three (3) elective credits. This credit can be counted as elective credit towards a USC bachelor’s degree or transferred to most other four-year colleges.

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Two-week non-credit program
July 6  July 20, 2014

Offers a Certificate of Completion

 

The two-week program offers a general overview of architecture and urbanism and the making of places and spaces. During these intensive two weeks, the students are taught the fundamentals of architectural drawings and model-making skills. They are exposed to issues of architectural design and space-making through independent and group projects, and they tour historic and architecturally significant buildings throughout Los Angeles. 

 

Itemized 2-Week                   2-Week
Cost/Fee Residential Commuter
Tuition $2,347 $2,347
Lab Fee $200 $200
Program Fee $175 $175
Room & Board $1,000 -
Student Health Center $36 $36
Total Estimated Cost of Attendance* $3,783 $2,783

 

 

Four-week credit program
July 6
– Aug. 2, 2014

Offers three college elective credits

 

Building upon the first two weeks of instruction, the final two weeks provide a more in-depth exposure to specific architectural design issues through the intense exploration of one project. Students will deal with issues of program and community, as well as of human dimensions through continued model making and freehand drawing. Architectural concepts of order, circulation, light and structure will be investigated for their impact on a building’s form and function. Problems of site, place, and space, as well as social implications of architecture, will be analyzed and discussed. To further enhance the students' knowledge of the rich architectural history of Los Angeles, extended fieldtrips will be made to projects designed by great architects and designers, such as Frank Gehry, FAIA (B.Arch. 1954); Thom Mayne, FAIA (B.Arch. 1968); Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolf Schindler, and Greene and Greene.

 

Itemized 4-Week               4-Week
Cost/Fee Residential Commuter
Tuition $4,608 $4,608
Lab Fee $250 $250
Program Fee $250 $250
Room & Board $2,236 -
Student Health Center $72 $72
Total Estimated Cost of Attendance* $7,416 $5,180

Note: This is an in-depth and intense experience providing the student with a taste of college-level expectations and critiques. The daily schedule for this course varies from the standard schedule.

 

Daily Schedule:

9 a.m. – 12 p.m.    

Lecture

12 p.m. – 2 p.m.    

Lunch

2 p.m. – 5 p.m.   

Workshop

5 p.m. – 7 p.m.    

Dinner

7 p.m. – 9 p.m.    

Studio

 

 

Due to the late schedule and the intense nature of this course, it is recommended that students choose the residential option for safety and to gain the most from the experience. The commuter option is available, but not recommended. Students who choose to commute will be on campus for two meals (lunch and dinner), and should plan accordingly.

 
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