AUdapting: A New Model for Architecture Summer Camp

Architecture Summer Camp

Every year the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (APLA) offers several week-long summer camps designed to encourage interest among high school students toward pursuing an Architecture degree in college. Because of the effect of COVID-19 on the structure of learning within the School, the decision was made to move forward with summer camp 2020 using a new virtual model. The lessons learned through implementation of remote learning in the architecture program during the previous spring semester allowed the School to feel comfortable proceeding with similar learning model for the camps.

APLA’s Architecture Summer Camps have a long, successful history, and there is always a waiting list of potential participants.  Despite COVID and the subsequent change in format, the 2020 camp had a list of high school juniors and seniors waiting to sign up for the experience. Once enrolled, students spoke about how they were appreciative that camp was going to continue and remained excited and engaged, despite the remote delivery of the experience.

The re-imagining of Architecture Summer Camp was a College of Architecture, Design and Construction (CADC) team endeavor, led by CADC recruiter, Katherine Buck. Katherine collaborated with CADC Communications graphic designer, Madison Champion to develop the Virtual Architecture Experience Guide, which contained the full content for a remotely delivered camp session.  Associate Professor of Architecture, Rebecca O’Neal Dagg developed the projects for the students to work on, and current architecture students – some of them camp alums – also worked remotely with participants in smaller groups.  At the end of each camp,  Katherine presented a traditional prospective student information session to the group to answer questions about the process of applying, attending and matriculating through Auburn’s architecture program, and school head Christian Dagg completed a Q&A work session with the students as well. Along with the Virtual Architecture Experience Guide, each participant also received a stocked supply kit and a CADC T-Shirt shipped to their house the week before camp.

APLA and the CADC are proud that this team was able to successfully deliver an architecture summer camp experience and, based on student feedback, it proved to be a highly effective way for students to learn about the field of architecture, despite the physical limits imposed by the pandemic. We look forward to the possibility of hosting our in-person architecture camps again in 2021, but take valuable lessons learned from the summer 2020 virtual architecture camp experience as we continue to educate high school students about the careers in architecture, design and construction.