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.
The Spring K-12 Saturday Sequence will begin Saturday, February 23rd. Registration is now open. The 8-week program is held Saturdays through May 4 (with no sessions March 9, April 13, and April 20), from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm on the CMU campus, College of Fine Arts building. The fee for the full 8-week program is $195 per child. Multiple child discounts and scholarships are available. For further information contact the Program Coordinator Julie Kachniasz at email@example.com.
Naturally Inspired Architecture, Grades K-3
Engage your child’s natural curiosity! Architects and designers have long been inspired by the natural world. This architecture class explores natural forms and systems and how they help us to design our built environment. Students will learn basic architectural vocabulary and skills.
Inspired Design, Grades 4-8
How did they think of that? From biological systems to geometric patterns, consider architecture’s many inspirations. Then, try your hand at some inspired designs of your own. Students will build their design vocabulary and create architectural drawings and models.
Architecture Skills Workshops, Grades 9-12
This program explores the many dimensions of architectural study and helps students build a design portfolio. Beginning with an introduction to architecture and concluding with a portfolio-building session, this program features 6 additional stand-alone workshops taught by CMU faculty, graduate students, and local design professionals. Topics include drawing in various media, visual storytelling, an introduction to landscape architecture, and writing for architects. Participants are required to attend the first and last sessions, and then may choose to attend as many of the workshops as they would like.
soa service learning Projects & courses
The School of Architecture (SoA) offers undergraduate and graduate students many opportunities to work on projects that have real impact on 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 contact the Program Coordinator Julie Kachniasz 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.