Summer [In]stitute alum, now Berkeley MArch student, reflects on impact of CED Summer Programs
“I love how architecture is a conversation, and from start to finish this program offered multiple opportunities to engage in that conversation."
It can feel risky to change careers. Just ask Romi, who switched from a customer service position to architecture a couple of years ago. “I was working in customer service for a health tech company, but I was ready to move into a more creative field after years of creating art in my free time.” She was interested in architecture but was not quite certain whether this would be the right choice for her.
So she decided to try out CED's Summer Programs, where she could experience what architecture school was like and learn more about career options in the field.
“I had hoped to really understand what it means to think like an architect, to learn the language of architecture, and to get a chance to talk to professionals in the field who are applying their architecture backgrounds to different kinds of work. My experience exceeded my expectations.”
On her first day in CED’s Summer [In]stitute, Romi was immediately impressed by the other students, who came from many different backgrounds. Some had a design background from a different discipline, others came from engineering or liberal arts. She met students in their last year of college, as well as young professionals and even a midcareer consultant — all with the same desire to experience architecture in an intensive six-week class that would help them decide whether they want to pursue careers in architecture.
They immediately got to work on their first assignment. In the mornings, experienced instructors taught them to use software tools, such as Rhino and the Adobe Suite, to create and represent basic architectural designs. They also attended lectures by CED professors, who presented more advanced concepts, and renowned professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area who offered a glimpse of the life of an architect. Some days were reserved for field trips to architecture firms and local architectural sites such as the Weston Havens House, a masterpiece of 20th-century California modernist architecture. They spent most afternoons in the design studio on the UC Berkeley campus, building models and talking to instructors about their designs.
“I really enjoyed the desk reviews with my instructors as well as the final reviews with local practitioners. Even though it felt a bit scary to present my work, it was exciting to get individual feedback from professionals and I knew it would prepare me for what I would experience if I continued on to study architecture in graduate school.”
“I love how architecture is a conversation, and from start to finish this program offered multiple opportunities to engage in that conversation,” she adds.
During these intensive six weeks, Romi and the other students in the Summer [In]stitute bonded. “One of my favorite memories was also getting drinks with our cohort and professors after one of our field trips. It was great to get to know everyone on a more personal level.”
CED also offers summer intensives in landscape architecture and city planning, as well as a Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities program for current college students.
“I am so glad I made the decision to attend CED Summer Programs. I came out knowing for sure that I want to pursue a master’s degree in architecture, plus I had a portfolio of my design work to use in my graduate school applications.” Romi is now working on her MArch degree at UC Berkeley.
If you’re considering a career change to architecture or a related environmental design field, CED Summer Programs could be the right choice for you.