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YArch Summer Architecture Program

YArch 2021: July 6–30, 2021

Applications for YArch 2021 have closed. Submit this form if you would like to be contacted when details about YArch 2022 become available.
YArch (pronounced “why-arc”) is a summer architecture program for current undergraduate students, recent graduates, and other 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.
The 2021 program will offer two tracks: one fully online and one hybrid. The program fee will be $1,500 for online students and $2,200 for hybrid students. Hybrid students who will be using the School of Architecture studio space and resources must adhere to current university COVID-19 guidelines, including those regarding masks and social distancing.

What YArch includes:

  • Faculty-guided studio work, including one-on-one instruction and feedback
  • Guided software tutorials
  • Architecture portfolio seminars
  • Weekly theory and history discussions
  • Guest lectures
  • Reviews with guest critics
  • Field trips and office visits (access and agendas may vary for hybrid versus online students)
  • Access to School of Architecture graduate studio (hybrid students only)
  • Training and access to woodshop and digital fabrication lab (hybrid students only)
Most instruction will occur simultaneously for both online and hybrid students. Online students will participate in live instruction, discussions, guest lectures, and reviews. Hybrid students will additionally have access to work in the School of Architecture graduate studio with some in-person instruction, access to school fabrication labs, and some in-person city tours and field trips (pending regulations and availability).
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, Abigail Chang, Sarah Dunn, Grant Gibson, Ania Jaworska, Thomas Kelley, Sean Lally, Allison Newmeyer, Bob Somol, and Dan Wheeler.

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."
Gwen Fullenkamp