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YArch Summer Program

YArch (pronounced “why-arc”) is an intensive, non-credit architecture program held each summer for current undergraduate students, recent graduates, and adults who have an interest in architecture and design.

For those considering a career in architecture, YArch is a way to test the waters before jumping in to graduate study. For those who simply wish to explore a lifelong interest, YArch’s challenging curriculum equips participants with new ways of thinking, seeing, and making.

YArch 2018 will be July 9-August 3. The program cost is $2,200, which includes one to two meals per week, various supplies and materials, all required readings, and costs associated with field trips or tours. To be considered for the program, all participants must submit a brief application. Our priority application deadline is May 1, 2018. The final application deadline will be June 15, 2018. Learn more and apply!

What YArch includes:

  • Faculty-guided studio work
  • Visits to architecture firms in Chicago
  • One-on-one portfolio tutorials with a UIC faculty member
  • Guest lectures
  • Weekly theory and history discussions
  • Weekly field trips around the city
  • Reviews with guest critics
  • 24/7 access to the studio throughout

YArch’s curriculum mirrors the structure and rigor of graduate education at UIC. The program’s core is a studio project that immerses participants in the discipline of architectural design.

Beyond the studio, tutorials and discussions introduce participants to the basic history, theory, and practice of the field. A special emphasis on the graphic presentation of architectural work provides participants with the skills to create a portfolio for graduate applications.

The program capitalizes on its location, mining Chicago’s rich architectural history while examining the metropolis as a site ripe for contemporary design speculation and experimentation. On sketching trips, walking tours, and visits to architecture firms, YArch participants apply new ways of seeing and thinking to their urban surroundings and gain exposure to architecture practices in Chicago and beyond.

YArch instruction is led by a core group of School faculty, with additional faculty serving as guest lecturers and jurors in studio critiques. Participating faculty have included Sarah Blankenbaker, Grant Gibson, Andrew Moddrell, Thomas Kelley, Bob Somol, Kelly Bair, David Brown, Sarah Dunn, Stewart Hicks, Allison Newmeyer, Clare Lyster, Alexander Eisenschmidt, and Aura Venckunaite. (For bios, visit the School’s faculty page.)

What former participants say about YArch:

“The YArch program was a great introduction to many aspects of architecture—studio, history, current practice, academic research, and more. It allowed me to better understand the discipline and what my options were both in graduate school and the profession.”
YArch helped me build a solid portfolio that was integral to my acceptance at graduate programs of architecture. It was also a great studio experience; really worth it!”
“YArch successfully delivered many different examples of what architecture may be. Through exposure to different environments, I was able to start to gauge what my personal expectations of architecture are, or what they may be. YArch obliterated my preconceived notions of architecture and enriched my understanding of the practice.”
Guest lectures and office visits were awesome – I thoroughly enjoyed asking questions to the firm owners.”
“I would strongly recommend the program. YArch not only helped me to produce work for my portfolio, but the studio professors also helped me to clearly communicate the nature of my work in the finished portfolio. The history/theory component of the course also prepared me to better understand how to look at architecture critically now that I am in school.”
“The YArch faculty and staff were passionate, incredibly helpful and accomodating to all students, and demonstrated great capacity to raise students to the next level.”
“Although I decided not to pursue architecture [after YArch], I believe it gave me insight on why it was not the right fit for me. This saved me tons of time and money and I appreciate the experiences it provided me.”