Skip directly to content

APLA Offers Multiple Summer Camp Options

View the gallery of images from both camps...

Summer Experience: ARCHITECTURE CAMP 2015

What began years ago with Professor Emeritus Paul  Zorr and a dozen inquisitive high school students has become an opportunity for engaged high schoolers to be immersed for a week of design investigations in the nearly renovated Dudley Hall.

Starting with the fundamentals of a design vocabulary and ending with more architectonic and architectural endeavors, the students explore the rigors of studio and school. The effort is not to imagine what it is like to “be an architect” but rather what it will be like to participate in the process of learning and questioning that is critical to a student’s success in any school of design and architecture.

This summer the campers sharpened skills of observation by measuring their dorm rooms, using a unit of measurement based on their own physical being – not the King’s foot, but each his own – and then worked on the good, old-fashioned lettering exercises, practicing patience and analysis of the shapes and forms of something as familiar – and unfamiliar – as the alphabet.  This segued into working with some traditional Bauhaus exercises, and then the design in solid-void/figure-ground of a series of letters using personal initials or names, and again relating the exercise to an understanding of one’s self in relationship with the larger context around us all. These two-dimensional designs were then constructed as three-dimensional models, transforming them into real space.

These then served as the point of departure for looking at the city and discussing aspects of urban design that recognize buildings as players in making the spaces of the city – the public realm of streets and squares and parks.

The final exercise was intended to combine all of those ideas explored in the previous exercises in the design of a building on a site in downtown Birmingham. This was accomplished by modeling the volumes and forms of the proposed structure as an addition to the larger context of the city which was represented in a 4thyear model from last year’s studios.

So starting from where you are in a room and how you understand that through your physical and haptic experience, to shaping rooms in the city (thank you, Louis Kahn) and applying all the scales in between, the campers are able to engage in the multiplicity of ideas and the broad range of ways in which to approach design of the built environment.

For many it is a reinforcement of their interest to pursue the study of architecture in college (and for many also therefore at Auburn!) and for some they realize that they have a keener interest in engineering or building science. Some discover graphic design, and others say that they are interested in objects, and for whom industrial design opens up as a career path. And still others, already “making no small plans” understand that they are interested in the scale of landscape architecture and urban design.

So for a summer week in the Loveliest Village, we have a lot of fun, too!

Facts and figures:
We had one camp in late June and another one in early July.
There were 39 campers in each session, from a wide range of the 50 States.

Innovative New Camp: A Collaboration between Architecture, Urban Studio, Graphic Design and Industrial Design

In late July, the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture and the School of Industrial and Graphic Design collaborated to launch a new, innovative summer camp for sixth through eighth grade students. Two sessions of the weeklong day camp were hosted in Birmingham at Auburn’s Urban Studio. Led by faculty from the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, Chris Arnold, Jerrod Windham and Danielle Willkens, the camp was also supported by several phenomenal Teaching Assistants: Rachel Perry and Jessica Walker of APLA and Hanna Conrad and Leigh Anne Alfano of SIGD.

Over the two weeks, the camp welcomed thirty students from the local region as well as students from neighboring states. Through a series of diverse but interconnected, hands-on exercises, students learned the fundamental principles of design as well as essential skills such as sketching, model making, and select aspects of digital design and fabrication. They were challenged with a number of design and construction exercises in both two and three dimensions, ranging from the creation and development of a personal logo to an urban sketching experiment where they were asked to help redesign the streetscape. Working in both manual and digital methods, students were able to craft models by hand using paper and cardboard, they made a series of cornstarch casts, and they translated their skills into the digital age by eventually designing and producing refined objects using 3D printers. 

Taking full advantage of the rich history, built fabric, and creative industries of Birmingham, the city was used as an extended classroom for the camp. Students participated in an extensive urban scavenger hunt and analyzed the city through guided walks through the grid and on-site exercises at Railroad Park that examined elements of industrial and graphic design, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning. Throughout the busy program of the camp, they had the opportunity to interact with those actively pursuing creative practice: exhibit designers at the McWane Science Center, industrial designers of Confederate Motorcycles, and architects from Charles Williams and Associates, Inc. They also had the unique privilege of a behind the scenes tour of the spectacular restoration work at The Lyric Theatre. Both weeks of the camp culminated in a student-curated gallery show at the Urban Studio and, here, students were able to showcase their newfound design abilities to friends and family in attendance.