Summer Programs

embARC Summer Design Academy

July 6 - July 31, 2020

The 2020 embARC Summer Design Academy is going remote! CONTACT US for more information.
Apply Now Button


About embARC

embARC is a four week summer design program at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design that brings together high school students from diverse backgrounds to explore architecture, urban design and sustainable city planning through integrated components: an Architecture + Urban Design Studio, a Sustainable City Planning Workshop, a Digital Design Workshop, an Environmental Design Conversation Series and a Community Build project. 

Video: embARC Summer Design Academy

embARC high school student in Architecture & Design Studio

Learn more about:


Benefits of Attending

Explore architecture, urban design and city planning as possible college majors and careers

Hone and develop skills through college-level coursework

Immerse yourself in design studio culture and the college campus experience

Work in a team environment with peers who have similar interests

Build a design portfolio to use when applying to college

Be exposed to actual public policy issues and make a real impact on your world

Earn a certificate of completion and credit on an official UC Berkeley transcript

The Program

embARC students work on real design projects in a studio environment, and engage as genuine stakeholders and participants in a process to develop solutions to authentic urban planning questions. The program's components together provide a comprehensive framework and multi-disciplinary approach to "placemaking."

Architecture + Urban Design Studio 

Instruction in freehand sketching, drafting, model building and digital representation teaches students how to conceptualize and communicate two and three-dimensional design ideas.

Sustainable City Planning Workshop 

Students engage as genuine stakeholders and participants in a community change process through site observations, research and the development of an authentic urban planning question.

Community Build Project

True to UC Berkeley’s public mission, embARC incorporates an element of civic responsibility by partnering with a local non-profit organization on a Community Build project. Students work alongside trained shop staff to fabricate infrastructure and experience the give-and-take that is at the heart of the client/designer relationship. 

Environmental Design Conversation Series

Presentations and talks by invited professional practitioners and CED-based guest lecturers provide a framework for the ideas and methods that support the theory and practice of environmental design. Students are given the opportunity to engage in the discourses of the discipline in guided discussion groups.

Digital Design Workshop

Building skills in digital representation, this series of focused workshops prepares students for technology-driven college-level design curricula, while also introducing participants to the latest software and digital tools available in the profession.  


“It [the Architecture and Urban Design Studio] really taught me how to widen how I thought about things. It showed me very many different aspects of what really goes into architecture design. It also gave me a feel for what it would be like to take studio in college and what that atmosphere is like. Also the GSI's were always encouraging and would help push students to new levels that way we spent time improving and learning...”


-embARC student


embARC students at Spiral Gardens community partner site



"Working hands-on for a project going toward a good cause was equally educational and rewarding. Because I love how design, specifically architecture, can be used as a medium to positively impact people, the Community Build was definitely one of my most favorite parts of the program."


-embARC student



Typical Schedule

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9 am A+D Studio Environmental Design Conversations A+D Studio A+D Studio Site Visits/Field Work/Social Activities
10 am
11 am
12 pm Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
1 pm Community Build Sustainable City Planning Workshop Digital Design Workshop Sustainable City Planning Workshop
2 pm
3 pm
4 pm


Students who fulfill the course requirements receive 1-5 units of credit on an official UC Berkeley transcript upon course completion. All classes are held at the College of Environmental Design in Wurster Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. Classes meet Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.