YArch runs for four weeks during the summer. The program has an intensive and rigorous, full-time schedule that includes weekdays 10am - 6pm, some evenings, and additional coursework to complete during open studio time or at home over the weekends. YArch activities are coordinated to provide a well-rounded experience; for this reason, no one may participate in less than the entire program.
Typically, mornings consist of tutorials, discussions, and portfolio development. During these sessions, faculty will introduce students to key concepts in the history and theory of architecture as well as analog modeling and digital graphic techniques. Most afternoons are dedicated to working in the studio. During the week, students attend lectures by School faculty, visit design firms, and enjoy lunch as a group. Field trips include architecture tours in and around Chicago. Participants are expected to work on projects and readings over the weekend.
Studio Supplies: Upon arrival at YArch, each student receives a set of studio supplies. These materials equip students for basic drawing and 3D exercises. (Please note that students may find it necessary to purchase additional materials for individual studio projects.)
Computing: Students must have access to a laptop on a daily basis for the duration of the program. The School will provide printers necessary to complete digital work.
Books and Readings: A required and recommended reading list will be made available to students before the program begins. During the course of the program, YArch professors will issue required or optional readings as handouts or provide access to these materials through the UIC library.
Events: YArch tuition also includes tickets to all scheduled tours, events, and lectures. Lunch or dinner will be provided in conjunction with these activities twice each week.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Sketchbook: YArch requires students to purchase a sketchbook for drawing exercises and notetaking. The sketchbook should be securely bound, have plain paper pages, and measure no larger than 8.5"x11" and no smaller than 4"x6". Moleskine sketchbooks are popular with both students and faculty.
Transportation: Participants should expect to travel to lectures, tours, and events via public transportation. Although parking is available on campus, YArch cannot waive parking lot or garage fees. A monthly pass for campus parking currently costs $94 (subject to change). Additional information about parking on campus is included in the packet of information sent to each accepted student.
The UIC School of Architecture is located just southwest of Chicago's downtown, the "loop." The campus is easily accessible via the CTA's Blue Line (UIC/Halsted stop) as well as many city buses.
Housing: YArch does not provide housing, but YArch participants often take advantage of UIC's on-campus Intern Housing Program. Applicants who would like guidance for finding other housing in Chicago should contact YArch administration as soon as possible in the application process.
Meals: YArch provides lunch or dinner to participants twice each week. Dining options on and around the UIC campus are plentiful, and a refrigerator and microwave are available near the studio.
Withdrawl and Refund Policy
The School will give a 50% refund to YArch participants if they wish to withdraw on or before July 7, 2017.
After July 7, 2017, no refunds will be given.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q I do not have any architecture experience. Can I participate?
A Yes. YArch is designed specifically for those without previous architecture experience, including current college students and working professionals. The only prerequisite is your interest.
Q What you are looking for in the three required portfolio images?
A YArch aims to put together a diverse group of participants from various backgrounds. Applicants should try to strike a balance between their best creative output (examples include painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, etc.) —work that demonstrates aptitude—with work that demonstrates their interests and personality. Do not worry about including anything related to architecture.
Q Are any specific math or engineering skills necessary? What about computer software skills?
A No. The anchor of the YArch program is a studio that builds upon studies and exercises to create a final project. Focus will be on design and communication and not technical skills, although technical issues may be discussed in lectures and case studies. While familiarity with software such as the Adobe Creative Suite may be helpful for participants, faculty will provide tutorials for all computer programs used in each assignment.
Q Can I work while attending the program? What if I have to miss an event?
A The School encourages participants to focus exclusively on YArch for the duration of the program in order to gain its full benefit. Your presence in studio and other activities will help solidify the relationships with your fellow participants and YArch faculty that are a crucial component of the program.
Q What will I get out of YArch?
A YArch provides an introduction to architectural education and practice. YArch's workshops and lectures will offer hand and computer drawing tools for improved graphic communication, exposure to Chicago firms and architects. At the end of the program, participants create pages of a portfolio that can be incorporated into an application for graduate study in architecture or added to an existing body of work. Students also receive personal evaluations from faculty.
Q Is there any financial assistance available for YArch?
A Unfortunately, the School does not have any scholarship or financial aid available for the YArch program. We try to keep the cost of the program as low as possible to allow greater participation (compared with other equivalent programs). YArch tuition includes most of the required supplies and materials, tickets to all scheduled tours, events, and lectures. Lunch or dinner will be provided in conjunction with these activities twice each week. The School also offers a weekend architecture program, called TryArch, which costs $150.