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ABOUT      PROGRAMS     RESEARCH     RESOURCES     PEOPLE

The Center for Architecture Explorations cultivates life-long learning at the intersection of arts and technology.

The Center for Architecture Explorations (CAE) develops programs that serve unique Kindergarten-professional architectural education paths. The CAE builds on our School’s experience with youth education, university service learning projects, engagement with the architectural practice, and academic research to explore ways we can support architectural education pedagogy and foster equity and diversity in building industry professions.  

About the Center

The mission of the Center for Architecture Explorations (CAE) is: 1) to facilitate links between building industry organizations, K-12 educators, and K-12 students, particularly in underserved neighborhoods; 2) to provide scalable training courses, workshops, and mentorship opportunities for professionals and undergraduate/graduate students to better prepare them to teach in K-12 and higher education contexts as well as better communicate with the communities they serve as designers; and 3) to conduct research into STEM and design pedagogy to develop innovative educational materials and curricula for an entire architecture education pipeline. 

The CAE oversees Pittsburgh's Architecture Learning Network (ALN), a collaboration among more than 10 non-profits in the region, and is advised by an Education Committee comprised of architects, architecture students, parents, faculty, and educators.


Programs, Courses, & Workshops

K-12 Youth Programs

CAE youth programs are a collection of architecture-based extracurricular and academic enrichment programs for students in kindergarten through high school. Our mission is to provide an architectural foundation for children and youth which imparts a knowledge of and appreciation for the built environmental, encourages creative expression and critical thought, and inspires civic responsibility. The CAE is an APOST Quality Campaign Member and all youth programs are part of the Architecture Learning Network. For further information, e-mail us at soa-cae@andrew.cmu.edu.

The CAE  K-12 Saturday Sequence  emphasizes the problem-solving skills central to the architectural design process and guides students through an architectural project. The 8-week program is held on Saturday mornings during the fall and spring semesters on the CMU campus. The 2019 fall session will begin in October. Registration will open in late summer.

The CAE K-12 Saturday Sequence emphasizes the problem-solving skills central to the architectural design process and guides students through an architectural project. The 8-week program is held on Saturday mornings during the fall and spring semesters on the CMU campus. The 2019 fall session will begin in October. Registration will open in late summer.

Through CAE  Tours and Workshops , you can travel to CMU’s campus and learn more about our School of Architecture program, the career of an architect, and any specific interest topic. Past tours have explored architecture and technology, green roofs, and sustainability.  Register for a Tour and/or Workshop today !

Through CAE Tours and Workshops, you can travel to CMU’s campus and learn more about our School of Architecture program, the career of an architect, and any specific interest topic. Past tours have explored architecture and technology, green roofs, and sustainability. Register for a Tour and/or Workshop today!

The CAE offers workshops at schools, libraries, and community centers year-round through the  EQUIP Architecture Backpacks  program. Sign up and an architectural professional will visit your site.

The CAE offers workshops at schools, libraries, and community centers year-round through the EQUIP Architecture Backpacks program. Sign up and an architectural professional will visit your site.

The CAE partners with the Carnegie Museum of Art to offer a variety of week-long  summer art and architecture camps . During camp, the museum’s Heinz Architectural Center becomes a classroom, and displays work from the museum’s permanent collection to inspire architectural projects.

The CAE partners with the Carnegie Museum of Art to offer a variety of week-long summer art and architecture camps. During camp, the museum’s Heinz Architectural Center becomes a classroom, and displays work from the museum’s permanent collection to inspire architectural projects.

Pre-College Architecture   is an intensive and immersive summer program that engages high school students in the creative energy and speculative culture of the college-level educational experience. The six week program is structured into two parts: Architecture Fundamentals and Design Application.

Pre-College Architecture is an intensive and immersive summer program that engages high school students in the creative energy and speculative culture of the college-level educational experience. The six week program is structured into two parts: Architecture Fundamentals and Design Application.

The CAE also offers additional youth programs based on funding from different organizations. Check our e-Newsletters and our website for new program announcements.

The CAE also offers additional youth programs based on funding from different organizations. Check our e-Newsletters and our website for new program announcements.


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K-12 Saturday Sequence

The Fall session of our 8-week Saturday Sequence will commence Saturday, October 5. Classes run each Saturday, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm on the CMU campus. The last class will be Saturday, November 23. Cost is $195 per student. A discount of $20 per student is available to families registering for more than one child. Use code MULTIPLE. Register here: Fall 2019 Saturday Sequence. For more information or to apply for a scholarship, e-mail us at soa-cae@andrew.cmu.edu.

Influential Architecture

In concert with the Carnegie Museum of Art’s current exhibition, Influencers: The Pritzker Architecture Prize, this fall’s series considers the work of great architects and uses their lessons as inspiration for participants’ own design explorations.

  • Influential architecture: Form and Color (grades K-2)

    Taking its inspiration from great architects like Luis Barragán, this class will explore how designers throughout time have created memorable buildings from the interplay of shape and color. Students will build their math skills and learn architectural vocabulary and techniques, including drawing plans and sections and building models.

  • Influential architecture: Material Exploration (grades 3-5)

    From paper to steel, learn how material choices affect architecture. Students in this class will consider SANAA’s mirrored surfaces, Shigeru Ban’s cardboard structures, and Peter Zumthor’s work with wood, before exploring the possibilities of various materials for their own designs. Many architectural terms and drawing techniques will be introduced.

  • Influential architecture: Site Sensitivity (grades 6-8)

    Looking to the designs of architects such as Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta, for their thoughtful integration of history and local culture, and Glenn Murcutt and Balkrishna Doshi, for their careful attention to climate, students will engage with architecture that is very much of its place. They will learn how architects have designed around the world, before also considering the possibilities for architecture in Pittsburgh. Projects will integrate design vocabulary and architectural drawing and model-making.

  • Influential architecture: Social Justice (9-12)

    What responsibilities do architects have to their community? How do architects work to address social injustice through their designs? Participants will study refugee shelters by Shigeru Ban and the social housing of Balkrishna Doshi, among other projects, while building their skills in architectural drawing and beginning a design portfolio.


soa service learning Projects & courses

The School of Architecture (SoA) offers undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to work on projects that impact our communities. SoA also works with the Design Center and CMU's Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach to offer courses that support outreach, education, and non-profit work after graduation. We have highlighted several courses below. Please e-mail us at soa-cae@andrew.cmu.edu for more information about all of our service learning courses.

Professional Development Workshops

The Center for Architectural Explorations offers professional development workshops for university students and building industry professionals. The workshops were developed and are implemented in partnership with CMU's Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation, Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (APOST), and Pittsburgh's chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The workshops have two goals: 1) provide architects with knowledge and skills to teach and 2) provide knowledge and skills in emerging architectural technologies. Workshops take place in August, February, and May. You can also refer to the School of Architecture calendar and/or Architecture Learning Network calendar for a list of dates and links to register.

  • Act 153 Clearances & Classroom Management

  • Learning Styles & Active Learning

  • Collaboration & Conflict Resolution

  • Emerging Technologies: Drones & Point Cloud Scanning

  • Emerging Technologies: AR/VR

  • Emerging Technologies: Internet of Things


Architectural Education Research

The Center for Architecture Explorations focuses on research into equity and diversity in architectural education and professions, systems thinking and spatial intelligence, and design thinking and assessment.

Current Work

EQUITY & DIVERSITY  Professor Dr. Erica Cochran Hameen and CAE staff are currently pursuing funding to learn more about the attitudinal effects of matched/same gender or race building industry professional mentors on middle school students in STEM classes.

EQUITY & DIVERSITY

Professor Dr. Erica Cochran Hameen and CAE staff are currently pursuing funding to learn more about the attitudinal effects of matched/same gender or race building industry professional mentors on middle school students in STEM classes.

SPATIAL INTELLIGENCE  CAE staff are looking at ways to improve elementary students' spatial skills through a game about vertical estimation. How can making predications and thinking critically about heights of trees, buildings, and other objects help students have better judgement when designing spaces?

SPATIAL INTELLIGENCE

CAE staff are looking at ways to improve elementary students' spatial skills through a game about vertical estimation. How can making predications and thinking critically about heights of trees, buildings, and other objects help students have better judgement when designing spaces?

DESIGN THINKING & ASSESSMENT  With the surge of "makerspaces" in the United States, how are students connecting their learning experiences, documenting their work, and receiving feedback? The CAE is exploring ways to support portfolio making and the documentation and assessment process.

DESIGN THINKING & ASSESSMENT

With the surge of "makerspaces" in the United States, how are students connecting their learning experiences, documenting their work, and receiving feedback? The CAE is exploring ways to support portfolio making and the documentation and assessment process.


CAE Sponsors

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CAE Partners:

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