Princeton University’s New Program Aims to Diversify the Architecture Field

This fall, the Princeton University School of Architecture partnered with Trenton Central High School in New Jersey to launch a program that aims to introduce the students to the field of architecture. The Princeton ArcPrep program covers architecture, urbanism, and integrated design studio practices through an immersive, semester-long course.

The program’s goal is to diversify the discipline by providing support, guidance, and academic and cultural enrichment to students who are typically underrepresented in American architecture schools and the architecture profession. According to a 2014 study by the American Institute of Architectures, less than 2 percent of registered architects in the United States are Black.

The inaugural class includes 15 Trenton Central High School sophomores, selected for their high academic standing and interest in architecture. In addition to courses about the field, the students receive presentations by guest speakers, visit architecture firms, engage in career counseling, receive mentoring, prepare for interviews and presentations, create resumes, design portfolios, and prepare for college applications. Additionally, the students toured innovative architectural structures on the  Princeton campus. Upon completion of the program, the students will be able to pursue their interest in architecture through an after-school Architecture Club.

“Princeton ArcPrep is introducing some of our region’s most promising students to architecture, a field that has historically lacked diversity,” said School of Architecture dean and program director, Mónica Ponce de León. “I am deeply committed to providing these students — all of whom have an aptitude for architecture but lack access to formal training and support — an opportunity to develop the skills that will propel them into a successful career.”

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