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Second year success for Summer Design Workshop 2008


July 28, 2008

A library, an office building, a historic building. To most high school students, these are just bricks and mortar. But a group of Valley sophomores, juniors, and seniors who participated in ASU College of Design’s Summer Design Workshop now look at buildings “not just as a place used on a daily basis but as a place that has a purpose and a reason why it is the way it is,” says Metro Tech student Andrea Perez.

This is the second year the workshop has taken place thanks to the generous financial support from local architects, design professionals, and other sponsors. Conducted at the college’s Phoenix Urban Research Laboratory located in downtown Phoenix, 20 students worked with College of Design faculty, staff, and students for three weeks in June. Each week of the workshop featured field trips to architectural sites, talks by design professionals, and hands-on projects learning about space, place making, structure, and the effects of using shade and water in the desert.

“We wanted to expose students to all facets of design and help them look at the world in a different way, as environments in a landscape, ” says architect Mark Ryan, a faculty associate in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

The design projects, built primarily with cardboard and glue, challenged students to work as teams to construct large structures that people can walk into and small-scale models of two buildings with an open space between that had to be “designed” from what the students had learned. Each student also had to present their ideas and model to their classmates and to the faculty that includes Jose Bernardi, Associate Professor in the Department of Interior Design.

Nicholas Tehrani, a BioScience High School student back for a second year, described his open space area as a “destination.” “Because traveling is so expensive now,” Tehrani says, “I wanted to create a space with shade and water that would be relaxing.”

The program wrapped up on June 27 to a packed house of parents, students, three alumni of program, donors and supporters, and faculty and staff from the College of Design.

Several supporters of the program found out about the workshop program at the college’s annual Design Excellence Dinner that was held in April of this year and pledged funds to make sure that these students had scholarships to participate in the program

Many of these students are from central city neighborhoods who would be the first generation to be college bound. In addition to learning about design, they also learned that they have friends at ASU, like program coordinator Tim Kniseley, to help them figure out how to get to college and what a college experience can be.

"I have no doubt that I will be welcoming many of these high school students into Athena, the college's residential program for high-achieving students, in a few years," says Kniseley who also leads that program.

View the video produced by City of Phoenix KNOW Channel 99.