10/05/20 USC Architectural Guild Hosts First Virtual Explore! Event


Every year, the Emerging Professionals Committee of the USC Architectural Guild–the USC School of Architecture’s volunteer-led support group–hosts Explore! events, giving students and recent graduates an opportunity to visit an active site. From architectural firms to construction projects, these real-world field trips allow students to hear firsthand from designers and builders about what it takes to make a project a reality. Participating companies discuss current projects, give a tour of the site or offices, and hold a networking reception for students and professionals to mingle.

While the ongoing pandemic forced the Guild to pause its in-person events, the Committee got creative. The Guild moved programming online this semester and hosted its first Virtual Explore! event, which offered students a glimpse into the Clark Construction & Morphosis Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) project.

The event was led by the Guild’s recent graduate representative and chair of the Emerging Professionals Committee, Brendan Kempf, who graduated from the USC School of Architecture in 2014 with a master of landscape architecture.

“The Explore! events are a really great way for students and emerging professionals alike to get exposure to job site conditions and better understand the designer’s involvement during the construction phase of a project,” Kempf expressed. “It is a really valuable experience to be able to see the construction process firsthand and hear how designers and contractors collaborate together when problems come up (they always do!).”

Over 60 attendees participated in last month’s virtual event–a silver lining to hosting the event online as previous events could only accommodate 15-30 students, depending on the site’s capacity. The Morphosis and Clark Construction teams combined photos, renderings, animations and footage of the job site to bring both the design and construction to life for students. Through integrated video and engaging PowerPoint presentations, the conversation was captivating. Students asked insightful questions, which the designers and builders seamlessly collaborated on to answer.

Based on the success of the first event, the Emerging Professionals Committee is already planning the next virtual Explore! event. Kempf also notes that “hopefully, when the Orange County Museum of Art is closer to opening up, we’ll be able to schedule a follow-up tour–maybe in person even!”

For more information about the USC Architectural Guild, click here.

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