Virtual program: July 6–31, 2020
YArch (pronounced "why-arc") is a summer architecture program for current undergraduate students, recent graduates, and adults who have an interest in architecture and design. It is an intensive, non-credit program spanning many facets of architecture study.
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.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, YArch 2020 is shifting to a virtual format. Course meetings will be held Monday-Friday afternoons. The program cost for 2020 will be $1,500 (decreased from $2,200 for the in-person version of YArch). Learn more about the program schedule
What 2020 YArch includes:
- Faculty-guided studio work, including one-on-one feedback and instruction
- Weekly portfolio tutorials
- Weekly theory and history discussions
- Guest lectures
- Virtual field trips and office visits
- Reviews with guest critics
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 Chicago's rich architectural history while examining the metropolis as a site ripe for contemporary design speculation and experimentation.
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 may include Paul Andersen, Kelly Bair, David Brown, Sarah Dunn, Grant Gibson, Stewart Hicks, Ania Jaworska, Jayne Kelley, Thomas Kelley, Sean Lally, Allison Newmeyer, Bob Somol, Dan Wheeler. (For bios, visit the School's faculty
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 accommodating 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 into 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."
What participants do after YArch:
Former YArch participants have gone on to enter graduate programs (in architecture and otherwise) across the country. Since YArch began in 2008, participants have been admitted to 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