Summer Programs

embARC Summer Design Academy

July 2-27, 2018

About emBARC

embARC is a four week summer design intensive 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 three components: an Architecture + Urban Design Studio, a Sustainable City Planning Workshop and a Design-Build project.

Video: embARC Summer Design Academy

embARC high school student in Architecture & Design Studio

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 three components together provide a comprehensive framework and multi-disciplinary approach to "placemaking."

Architecture and 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 Planning Workshop 

Students engage as genuine stakeholders and participants in a community change process by developing solutions to an authentic urban planning question.

Design-Build Project

True to UC Berkeley’s public mission, embARC includes an overall theme of civic responsibility by partnering with a local community organization to engage in a Design Build project. Through this partnership, students employ the tools they learn in studios, workshops and lectures to make a difference in real-world community development and design issues.The partnership also exposes students to the give-and-take that is at the heart of the client/designer relationship, and them students a deeper understanding of a specific region through case study analysis.Students work alongside trained shop staff to build full-sized structures for the benefit of a local non-profit community partner.


"We didn't really know what to expect, and what we got was our son being treated like an adult, working with kids his age on stuff they had a common interest in, setting goals and reaching them - all  while getting feedback (both positive and constructive) from teachers he admired and respected. The program is fantastic, and I would happily advocate for all those able and interested to apply."


-embARC 2016 parent

embARC students at Spiral Gardens community partner site

Why Should I Attend?

  • 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 1 unit of credit on an official UC Berkeley transcript


embARC Student

"This program guided my first attempts to design, model and draft my perception.... I had found a voice and a spunk within me that I did not know I possessed."

Meixi L., embARC Alumna

Typical Schedule

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9 am Architecture & Urban Design Studio Architecture & Urban Design Studio Architecture & Urban Design Studio Architecture & Urban Design Studio Field Trips/CAD CAM Lab
10 am
11 am
12 pm Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
1 pm Planning Workshop Design-Build Planning Workshop Design-Build
2 pm
3 pm


Students who fulfill the course requirements receive 1 unit of credit on an official UC Berkeley transcript upon course completion. All classes are held at the College of Environmental Design at Wurster Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. Classes meet Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Learn more about embARC