YArch is an intensive, non-credit summer program that is held once a year during the month of July, and is for current undergraduate students, recent graduates, and working professionals with an interest in architecture and design.
For those who are 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.
What former participants say about YArch:
"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!"
"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."
"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."
"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."
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.)
Former YArch participants are now students in graduate programs (architecture and otherwise) across the country. Since 2008, YArch participants have been accepted into architecture programs at the following schools:
Georgia Institute of Technology
Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)
Parsons The New School for Design
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)
University of California, Berkeley
University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)
University of Cincinnati
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
University of Maryland
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
University of Pennsylvania
University of Texas at Austin