Since 2018, NOMAPGH has been hosting a Project Pipeline Summer Architecture Camp, focusing on bringing fun activities to help teach architecture to Pittsburgh students in middle and high school. The camp is open to all students in the age range and is led by local minority architects and professionals. By connecting minority youth and professionals, NOMA PGH hopes to foster experiences that make architecture a more diverse professional body that looks like the communities it serves. In its inaugural year, students shared that the experience was “life-changing” and broadened their understanding of architecture.
In previous years, students were given fictional prompts and asked to create stories to help guide their design process. At last year’s virtual summer camp, students were asked to propose designs for an RFP for a playground in Larimer. Melanie Ngami, Assoc. AIA this year’s Build Team Co-Lead, shares that “architecture needs to be a responsive profession that fundamentally ties program to context. By integrating current issues into the project, we provide a way for students to practice engaging directly with the communities they live in.” Each student developed a unique narrative to describe the communities they imagined using their playgrounds and defined the criteria needed to serve them. Afterwards, students created collages of their playgrounds using Pixlr, a web-based photo editing platform, and Miro, a digital whiteboard tool.
This year, students will propose designs in response to the Homewood Park Public Art RFP by the City of Pittsburgh. Over the course of the weekend, students will engage in a variety of design exercises, site visits, and workshops to develop their ideal proposals. Volunteer professionals will mentor students by sharing their insight and expertise in refining a design solution. As a past volunteer, active Build Team member, and current Vice President of NOMA PGH, Angella Dariah is energized by the hard work and creativity that students develop together over the course of the weekend. She reflects that, “mentorship is valuable for anyone, but to provide it for children during the peak of their developmental stages is what NOMA PGH strives to do. In this profession, minorities are rarely seen, and therefore it is extremely important for students to see professionals that resemble them in their community. When students are provided a mentor to support them, they are more comfortable pursuing the ideas and aspirations they’d like to achieve in their future.”
Registration is open for the Project Pipeline Summer Architecture Camp and will close on July 22nd to allow time to prepare for the students. How you can help and show support:
– Spread the Word: re-share social media posts or share our flier with anybody that you feel would be interested in participating in the camp!