The School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University has been engaging with the Pittsburgh community since the 1960s, when faculty and students were pioneers in working with community organizations and citizens. The formation of the Urban Laboratory studio in 1964 paved the way for the School to foster relationships with communities and build a robust outreach program, from the littlest of learners in our Architecture Explorations (AE) K-12 program to architecture graduates in our Urban Design Regional Employment Action for Minorities (UDream) program. Holistically, our outreach programs aim both to work alongside communities in neighborhoods, and to bring diverse communities together on campus for academically robust design projects. We believe every citizen of the world can benefit from learning about architecture and its unique role in shaping our built environment.


Starting Young: K-12 students

The Architecture Explorations K-12 program offers multiple avenues for students to fulfill their unique desire for architectural learning. AE programs are diverse, reaching students from neighborhoods across the Pittsburgh region, on CMU's campus, and in their schools and communities.

Our Pre-College program is designed to provide students with a strong foundation of skills and a clear idea of what to expect from an elite college-level accredited program in architecture. The integrated and diverse mix of seminar courses, digital design, drawing workshops, and the core design studio introduces students to the theory, process, and methodology of contemporary design practice.

Learning in Communities: Undergraduate Engagement

Each semester, several undergraduate and graduate courses provide work with community organizations and deeply learn the value of a participatory design process. Whether building hoop houses to extend a community garden's growing season, debuting a mobile hybrid water slide/water treatment facility/education vehicle, or teaching K-12 students in Architecture Explorations, CMU SoA students are symbiotically engaged with Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

Advancing the Profession: UDream

UDream (Urban Design Regional Employment Action for Minorities) provided recent graduates of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and urban planning programs the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of urban design in a summer and fall immersion experience in real projects in a Pittsburgh neighborhood. UDream participants completed a five-week program of academic courses and studio work, followed by a 12-week internship with a local urban design or architecture firm, public agency, or non-profit group.

The goal of UDream is to increase diversity in the profession of urban design nationally, and in the Pittsburgh region specifically, by offering opportunities for permanent employment in Pittsburgh. In 2009 there were only five practicing minority architects in Pittsburgh, now there are well over thirty.