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Sommer af lykke


School is out and summer is finally here! I'm lucky enough to be able to continue my time in Copenhagen throughout the summer. I love it so much and couldn't say goodbye quite yet. As the semester was coming to an end, I had to begin saying "vi ses" to all the friends I have made throughout the semester as they were headed back home. It was a bit sad, but its great to know that I will see them again. I now have a few new travel destinations in the U.S.!

11050136_10205940757870124_3151124722976735926_n.jpg This summer, I will be passing time by cruising around Copenhagen on my trusty bike and at the Danish Architecture Centre (DAC). My interest in the DAC and a connection from a professor landed me an awesome summer position! As I've mentioned before in a few of my other blogs, connections are so important. I am really excited for this position because I feel I will be able to explore Copenhagen's design industry more broadly. I also hope that I will be able to make strong connections with people who are well connected with architects from Copenhagen or around Denmark. It will be interesting to work for a centre that focuses on more than just architecture, and I am really looking forward to learning about the connection between the city, community, and design.

Unfortunately this is my last blog post for this year, but I will be sure to fill you in on my summer in Copenhagen come September. I hope you have enjoyed my blog posts this year, and I hope to see a number of you around Rapson Hall next fall semester! Vi ses, designers!


Post-Semester Thoughts


Now that my semester abroad has come to a close, it is time to revisit my pre-departure thoughts. As you may have gathered from my blog posts throughout the semester, I have had a fabulous time in Copenhagen and with my study abroad program, but I'll try not to be too biased.

- "It is so expensive." I chose to study in one of the most expensive cities. However, I feel that being here has really changed my spending habits for the better. Food is quite costly, so I ate out much less than I used to at home. I really hope this is a habit I can keep, especially since I've gained a lot of cooking skills here! I've also done a fair amount of traveling, but staying in hostels (with kitchens), cheap airlines, and splitting costs with friends has made it possible and affordable.

- "It just doesn't fit into my schedule." As I mentioned last time, just speak to your advisers and I'm sure something will fall into place. If studying abroad doesn't fit perfectly into your schedule, you may have to deal with a couple of busy semesters upon your return, but it will definitely be worth it.


- "I don't know another language." I heard Danes were good at English, but they are actually perfect at English! They can have complete conversations filled with puns and intelligent words. Although not every place in the world is as fluent as the Danes, I've noticed that the English capabilities have improved even since my last visit two years ago. It's very apparent that English is becoming the "international language," which makes traveling even easier for us.

- Last but not least, I'd like to share a bit of advice. I may be a bit biased, but my time here has been so amazing that I want everyone to experience what it's like to study abroad. Try to plan your trip abroad early on, so you don't run into any issues along the way. Before you know it, you will be living in another country having the time of your life!

I hope you've enjoyed reading about my semester abroad and have started looking into your study abroad options at the Learning Abroad Center!


Education, Passion, & Design

Hello future designers of the world!

I can officially say I only have one year left at the University of Minnesota! That is until I go to graduate school, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. As I mentioned previously, I started out at a different college, but I have spent the last three years at the U of M. The past four years have flown by and it is so incredible and heart warming to see photographs of all my friends in their caps and gowns graduating college. It truly is a big accomplishment, and I imagine sometimes graduates get lost in the crowd of their peers and forget to applaud themselves.

Attending college is almost expected of us these days, but I think it is incredibly important that students approach college with passion and curiosity. Design school is a mental and physical challenge that will require you to think in ways you never have before. This challenge can be overwhelming, but brings truly magical achievements. You learn so much about the way the world works, from small things in Design Fundamentals 1, to social design issues in Environmental Design & the Sociocultural Context.

Exploring all the courses and topics available to you in college is so critical. Everyone should make his or her college experience unique, and you can only get out of it what you put in to it. I am going to make my last year a very memorable one filled with intriguing intellectual conversations about design, architecture, and life with my peers and professors. I plan to work hard in studios and other courses so my portfolio is impressive enough to send to potential employers around the world. I hope to meet a few of you readers around Rapson Hall next year!

This is my sister and I at her graduation from the College of Design at the U of M. I'm next!



Cisterns, Project 03

Happy May, everyone!

In just a few short days, I will be finished with my second architecture studio! Much like Studio 01 at the U of M, the last project of the semester was quite long, as we spent over eight weeks working on the project. This semester, project three is about creating performance spaces, such as dance, theatre, or music, in existing cisterns within a park in central Copenhagen. I had never seen a cistern prior to this project, so it was really fascinating to research them and learn about their history. The cisterns are incredibly large, dark, and cold, so creating a performance space within the cisterns is very unique.

I have an interest in historical preservation, so I find this project insightful and relevant to what I hope to do in my future career. For my project, I decided to work directly with the cisterns and a number of the programmatic elements within them. Other students in my studio find the cisterns difficult to work with and are planning their structures near or on top of the cisterns. Once I experienced the cisterns, I thought it was a very cool place, but I thought it could perhaps be used for something more unique than its current exhibition space. The cisterns are part of Copenhagen's history and I believe they should be a place for people to freely visit, which is why I chose to work within the cisterns.

I am not completely finished with all of my renderings, so here is an image of how the cisterns currently look.

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Gastronomisk Legestue

Hello everyone!

I am just about to embark on my last travel break of the semester, and my family is here to visit! It's hard to believe that the last time I saw them was three months ago. They unfortunately only get to stay for a week, but it is so nice to see them again. After this week, it'll be crunch time at school. With only about three more weeks until the semester ends, all of my final projects and papers are due soon. I just have to remember that it'll be summer before I know it!

There aren't regular classes scheduled on Wednesdays because we go on field studies with our courses instead. This past Wednesday, I took a trip with my food systems class to København University's Gastronomy Lab. There, we worked with two students studying food science. They prepared recipes for a three course Nordic cuisine meal. Nordic cuisine is reshaping itself and becoming very progressive in the culinary world. The students' focus is on local, fresh food, so the meal was centered around in-season vegetables. We split up into small groups and made all three courses with a bit of help from the Danish students. They gave us plenty of freedom to alter the recipe where we saw fit, which made each group's meal a little bit different. We got to eat the meal, of course, and it was so incredibly delicious! It really showed that fresh food can make all the difference. It was such a cool experience. Here are a few pictures of our licorice ice cream, starter salad, and fish.

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I hope everyone had a chance to relax and enjoy the weather this weekend! I was off of school this past week because I traveled with my architecture studio during the last break. I spent a few days of my vacation in Nice and a few days in Prague. Both cities were amazing.

IMG_3634-2.jpg IMG_3702-2.jpg It was my first time experiencing a Southern European city, as well as an "Eastern" European city. The architecture and livelihood of each type of city was fascinating.

We have just two weeks of school left before we take our final weeklong break. This is a really hectic time for school. My professors are all trying to squeeze in assignments, so there is plenty of schoolwork. For the last break, my mum and sisters are paying me a visit! I am looking forward to spending a week exploring Copenhagen. I unfortunately haven't been able to do much exploring here on my own. Once we return from that break, it is just three short weeks until school is out. Where did the semester go!?

Enjoy every day, and keep up to date with UMN Design's Instagram!


Danish Design

Life in Copenhagen has been quieter these past few weeks. After getting back from a travel break, I had a lot to do in my other classes besides studio, and in studio we began our third and final project for the semester. It has been nice to be back home in Copenhagen and get back into the swing of things. But I leave again on Saturday for a personal trip to Nice and Prague. I'm always on the move here!

The other evening, I met with a connection I formed upon my arrival in Denmark--an architect! She is a young architect who just started her professional career after graduating from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. This school offers programs in architecture, landscape architecture, graphic design, apparel, and a number of other design disciplines. She was able to show me a bit of her work, which was so incredible to see. A lot of her work looked like projects I've completed before. It made me realize I am getting closer to the end of my education, which means it will be time for the real world soon!

It was also very nice to talk with her about the job market for architects in Denmark. I have fallen in love with this country, and would have great pleasure to come back here again to live. However, the job market is difficult for architects in Denmark. She was unemployed for a year before she got the job she has now. Denmark takes very good care of its unemployed citizens though, so she has been okay. In the next couple of days, she plans on compiling a list of firms in Copenhagen for me to look into for potential jobs this summer, and also for post-graduation. The real world can be tough, so I am open to any connections and recommendations I can get! So just a healthy reminder about Career & Internship Services and the awesome (free!) services it provides to help get you on your way to being a professional!

And then just a little sneak peak of where I'll be in a few short days :D


Study Tour!

Hello Future Gophers!

I just returned from a weeklong study tour with my architecture peers and professor. We visited Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. This trip was absolutely amazing. We visited cities and sites that I likely would not visit on my own, either because of the obstacles to travel there, or the money it would cost to visit such sites. Also, by going with school and with a group of students, we were lucky enough to have guided tours of many of the sites we visited, which is something I would never receive had I travelled there on my own. I think opportunities like this is what makes this study abroad program so unique. Its slogan is, "Copenhagen as your home, Europe as your classroom." What could be better than that!?

I could go on and on about every site that we visited but instead I made a photo collage of the sites.

Beyler Fondation - Vitra Haus - Vitra Fire Station - Vitra Slide - Freiburg, Germany - Church San Benedetg - Swiss Alps - Peter Zumthor Vacation Homes - Gemeinde Ludesch - St. Gerold Community Center - Kunsthaus Bregenz - Bauhaus Masters House - Bauhaus Modern Masters House - Bauhaus School - Einsteinturm


We had a long bus ride home, where I had a lot of time to reflect on the week. I've realized more and more this semester the importance of precedent studies. In my last project there were multiple buildings I called on for inspiration for my own building design. Therefore, there is great value in visiting architecture so you can gain inspiration for your own projects, or perhaps learn what did not work well in other buildings. I love traveling and I have for awhile, so I am very pleased to be in a field where traveling is an essential element. So get out and explore your surroundings and the world!

Stay up to date on UMN Design's Instagram for the coolest images of design.


Experiential Architecture

Two weeks ago, my fellow architecture students and I ventured to Western Denmark with one of our architecture professors to experience life and architecture outside of Copenhagen. We visited Kolding, Aarhus, and Ebeltoft. We travelled by bus and I learned truly how small Denmark is. Aarhus is closer to Copenhagen than the U of M is to my home! This trip was a great learning experience, and I felt I learned a lot about Denmark as well as architecture in general.

When people think of architecture, they typically think of the noted extravagant buildings like Notre Dame or the Coliseum. Throughout my studies of architecture the past few years, I have learned that architecture is more than just a beautiful or unique building. What has true importance is how the user experiences the space. Architecture would not be all that necessary if people weren't using or inhabiting the space, and therefore the main objective is to create spaces humans feel comfortable in.

IMG_3001-3.jpg In Aarhus, we visited the Aarhus Krematorium by Henning Larson, which is the greatest building I have experienced thus far. The building did in fact house the materials for cremation, but it also had a room where the funeral would occur. My professor was extremely knowledgeable about the building, and therefore was able to tell us the reasoning for every designed element in it--stair height, materials, door width, ceiling height, and even the chair designs. Understanding that an architect intentionally worked with all these individual elements of design to evoke specific emotions for the user is a truly inspiring thought. Dealing with death is so difficult, and having a building that responds and caters to those emotions is a gift. IMG_3000-2.jpg

My small trip to Western Denmark was a friendly reminder that I am definitely pursuing the right major. Architecture has such a strong power on humans, regardless if they are paying attention to the art or not.



Hello readers!

My architecture studio in Copenhagen brings together students from a number of universities and with different backgrounds. Some students are in the pre-architecture program here, and they come from backgrounds such as art history to theatre art. This made our first project very interesting.

My group was made up of two architecture students, including myself, an interior design student, and an art history student. Even between the other architecture student and me, there were many differences in our education and what we have learned thus far. This created a very dynamic group because we all had different strengths to contribute. I think this element of study abroad is another learning experience in itself. Although my next two projects won't be group projects, I am still working with students of other backgrounds during studio. Being able to listen to the ideas and thought processes of another design student is fascinating.

Vitra_C.-Richters_16.jpgThe purpose of our first project was to become familiar with buildings that we will be visiting later this month as we travel to Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. My group and I were analyzing the Vitra Fire Station on the Vitra Campus in Germany. Check out all of Vitra's exquisite buildings here. The building was very interesting to study because its design is very abstract and unique. The model was challenging, but with (a lot) of precision, it turned out beautifully!

Later this week the architecture students will be taking a trip outside of Copenhagen to other cities in Western Denmark. I'm very excited to see the architecture outside of the major city and learn more about the lifestyles there. Make sure to follow UMNDesign's Instagram for more updates on my trip!


Hej from København.

Hej from København!

Today marks one week since I arrived in Copenhagen. It has been such a long week, but an absolutely wonderful week! During the first few days, we had orientation and fun things to do around Copenhagen to get us better acquainted. Classes began on Thursday and I am excited to dive into them! My architecture professors have such exquisite backgrounds, I am so lucky to have the opportunity to learn from them and gain a new perspective on my design work.

retro-oval-dining-table-dm9900.jpgDenmark is a fascinating country in more ways than I imagined. I thought there were a lot of bikes in Minneapolis, but Copenhagen has eight times more daily bike commuters! So many bikes! I've also been learning more about the equality here in Denmark. The typical Danish dining table looks a lot like this image. If you are familiar with New Nordic Design, you will recognise the sleek and minimal design of this table. What is so interesting as to why Danes fancy this table is because of its more oval shape -- it doesn't allow one person to be at the head of the table. Since every human is equal, it would be out of place for one person to be seated there. It is incredibly intriguing how a culture can influence design, and how design can influence culture. This is something I find very interesting, and I look forward to learning about how this stands true in Danish culture, and finding ways on how this is also true for American culture.

Don't forget to keep up with the College of Design Instagram for posts about my adventures around Copenhagen!

Hej hej,


Pre-departure Thoughts.

Hey Readers!

This is my LAST post from the United States! It is the craziest thing to be able to say I will be in Copenhagen in less than a week. This is something I have been waiting for since 2009. As a freshman, I had hoped to study abroad sophomore year. Then, after transferring, I was hoping I could do it my junior year. Now here I am, senior year and finally studying abroad. If it doesn't work out the first time, do not give up!

Since I've had the desire to study abroad for so many years, here are some of the reasons I haven't given up on it, along with some excuses I've heard from others and my rebuttal.

-"It is so expensive." Yes, college in general is expensive. But there will never be another time in your life where you will get the opportunity to drop everything and move to anther country for six months, and pay so little. If you take away the cost of tuition, living and travelling abroad during college can be so cheap. You get student deals and discounts, housing, and maybe even a food stipend.

-"It just doesn't fit into my schedule." There are loads of opportunities to 525079_10151996825162715_638774270_n.jpgstudy abroad: semesters, J-term, May term, and summer. Students typically aren't taking classes during three of those options anyway. Three weeks abroad is better than no time abroad. I went to France for a week one year during spring break, and even that short amount of time was enough to change me. Plus, as students at the U of M, we are all provided with advisers who are here to help us map out our four-year graduation plans. Mention your interest in studying abroad at the first meeting and they will help you plan courses accordingly. Advisers are great!

-"I don't know another language." You would be surprised how many study abroad opportunities are taught in English. My school in Copenhagen is taught in English, even though most of the professors are Danes. A number of my architecture friends are headed to Istanbul, where they will be taking classes in English. The U of M is a huge school with so many resources spread throughout the world. You will easily find a program that is the best fit for you. Check out all the programs here.

-Last but not least, a bit of my advice. I know I am a little different by saying that I love change, but I do, and I am so excited for all the changes that are going to be happening over the next few months. I'm not just talking about changing my where I live or who I hang out with, but more so how I am viewing the world and my education. Only a handful of my architecture peers take the opportunity to study abroad. But I believe those who do are only adding to their education. Architecture is a global study, and it is refreshing to one's work to be able to study elsewhere and with a variety of professors. The work you produce will be unique and will give you the opportunity to stand out. Studying abroad is meant to be a learning experience in all aspects of one's education and life. And as students who are eager to learn, why not study abroad!?

I am saying all of this pre-departure, so we will have to reference it again in May. But having this mind-set for six years has brought me to this point, and I could not be happier. Farewell to my friends, family, colleagues, and America! Denmark, here I come!

"Traveling is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer." -Unknown


Out of the Classroom Experience

Happy break, readers!

I'm down to three weeks until I leave for my semester abroad in Copenhagen. It is still surreal, but I am incredibly excited. As things are winding down, I've had to part ways with my first studio desk, and have my last day at my architecture internship.

I started at mattson|schuster last December and have worked there as the Architect Intern the past two semesters as well as throughout this past summer. mattson|schuster is a small, residential remodelling company with an office in Excelsior. Being that the company is quite small, I was able to get very hands-on experience. The designs were done between my boss and I, and as I continued to get more experience, I got even more freedom with the designs. As with any job, I learned so much when I first started -- codes, sizing, foundations, pricing.

What was really great about this internship is that I continued to learn throughout my time there. In the remodelling field, every home you visit is different. Customers desire different changes to their home, and each house has a pre-existing challenge that we either need to fix, or work around. That is one of my favorite parts about being in the remodelling business rather than new build; each project has to be different, because the existing structures are never the same. Below is a picture with everyone at mattson|schuster enjoying lunch on my last day! Check out some of the work from mattson|schuster here.


I have a very strong belief that internships are absolutely necessary to pair with one's education. This opportunity provided me with skills and knowledge that some of my peers don't currently have. Everything is not taught through coursework, and therefore, first hand experience is exceptionally relevant. Sometimes I got overwhelmed with balancing my internship and my coursework, but that is also a skill we all need to learn. Balancing a number of things is a struggle in college, but it makes it all that much more rewarding. Internships look fabulous on a resume, too! Even if you only work once or twice a week, or maybe 20 hours, it all adds up and shows your experience and commitment to your education and career choice.

The U of M has an awesome Career & Internship Services office, where students can go for free. I went there a few times last fall and received advice on my resume and more information on how to use the internship search. By December I had landed myself an internship!

See you in 2015! Happiest New Year!


The Final Review.

Sault Archies!

The whirlwind of studio finals is now over, and I'm approaching my last exam of the semester. I'd have to say this semester has flown by faster than any semester yet, which is just bringing me closer to my departure date for Copenhagen!

Our Studio One review was on the 8th, so after our return from Thanksgiving break, it was crunch time. I spent most of my time the weekend before the review at Rapson Hall making models and drawings. Although I spent a lot of time preparing for the presentation, it was a blast to be surrounded by all my friends who had the same deadline.

When it came time for the review, I was ready to rock my presentation. I had been working on this project for eight weeks, and I felt confident. That said, not everyone who looks at your project can feel the same way about it as you. This review was probably the hardest one I've had to date. I had to keep in mind that design is about pleasing yourself (mostly) and pleasing others (also important) who are grading and reviewing your project, but also have many more years of experience. I was happy with my designs and felt they were strong, so I tried to brush it off. Being critiqued by your peers and professionals takes a lot of courage. You have to remind yourself not to take it too personally because, ultimately, their goal is to help you improve.

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Do a bit of research during holiday break on which Architecture Degree Program is best for you!



Hello all! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoyed the break as much as I did! Now it is time to crack down into the few final weeks of the semester.

Classes are the most important part of college, but I've always had a firm belief that being a well-rounded college student is equally as important. Being involved and making connections is something that goes beyond the classroom and is essential during one's college years, and most definitely after. In the Design World, connections are very important and are often a key element when it comes to landing a job or an internship. Therefore, it is necessary to make these connections while still in school. Look no further than the College of Design's Design Student and Alumni Board.

The Design Student and Alumni Board (DSAB) hosts a few events throughout the year and provides an opportunity to meet with alumni or design firms around the Twin Cities metro area. These events allow students to speak one-on-one to firms and receive feedback on their portfolio or resume. Another great program that DSAB holds is the Mentorship program. This program is one of the largest mentorship programs at the U of M, even though the College of Design is one of the smallest colleges. The mentorship program is absolutely fantastic. It connects one student and one professional based on the interests of the student. I have interests in sustainability and travel, therefore my past two mentors have had similar interests. The mentors come from a number of firms scattered around the cities, some large, some small.

From November to April mentees and mentors communicate via email, phone, or in person at least once a month. I usually just met my mentor for coffee and we attended some of the events or lectures hosted by the College of Design. I also went on a firm tour, which is a really neat experience in a one-on-one, casual setting. It was cool to see the environments of my mentors--an architect and a house designer. I believe DSAB's Mentorship program is one of the best experiences I've had. One can learn a lot from someone who shares the same passions as you, and have gone through the same things you have. We could all use advice on how to structure our portfolio, or whether or not we go to graduate school right away. It means a lot coming from a professional who is interested in your well being and has taken time out of his or her schedule to answer your (many, many) questions. Such a great experience!

Check out more photos from the College of Design here.


The Designed Environment.

Hello Readers,

If you have been keeping up with our Instagram you may have seen I've been on a few field trips around Minneapolis this semester. Visiting local examples of what you are studying in your courses is incredibly beneficial.

One of the reasons I feel the College of Design at the U of M is a great place to study architecture is because of the cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul. The architecture here is great, and one doesn't need to travel far to get in-person experiences. Through a few of my travels, and going on these field trips, I've learned that seeing and experiencing a building or place is quite different than studying it from a textbook. It's important to be able to relate local examples to other places one may be studying.

It's also essential to dive into the local design and become very familiar with your surroundings. I'm from a small town, so downtown Minneapolis is always a new learning experience. Last week, my class and I visited a few of the skyways within the extensive skyway system in downtown Minneapolis. This was all new to me, and I couldn't make sense of the map. It was interesting to visit the skyways, which are a rather unique element to a large city, and experience how they influence the culture of the downtown district.



So you like design...but what else?

Happy November everyone!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I have a lot of interest in sustainability, which has lead me to include sustainability in my studies here at the U of M. So let's talk about minors!

I decided to make Sustainability Studies my minor at the end of my first year here. Being an architecture student, I have a lot of interest in green building design, efficient systems, and material studies. So it made sense to pair the Sustainability Studies minor with my architecture degree. In fact, many other architecture students feel the same way, since architecture represents the most common major within the minor.

Minors provide a great opportunity to fulfill other interests that you may have, without taking on another major. They also work out pretty well to fulfill any upper division courses outside your major that you need to graduate. Most minors are around 15+ credits. For Sustainability Studies, there are two core courses, and three elective courses. There's a large range of courses, even an architecture course (!), that you can take to knock out the elective courses. It's really a lot of fun to be able to expand your education and meet people who aren't typically in your design courses.

I'm currently taking the Sustainability Studies capstone course, or the final required course for the minor. It's really interesting because we are paired with cities around the metro area to assist in their sustainability action plans. Being able to work with real cities, rather than a fictional city, and have a real impact has been a cool experience. We will be showcasing our work to community members at the Sustainability Fair later this month.


So remember, don't feel the need to focus on only one interest if you have many! Your first year is the time to try new things!


Research! Bikes! Design!


In my architecture studio, we have been given our third project for the semester. This one will carry us through to the end of the semester, so it will be a big project with a lot of work. For this project, we are designing a small-scale museum space that will be located on the U of M campus. The museum space that I will be designing is to house bike collections. Not everyone has the same museum space topic, which makes it fun and interesting to hear about other research and design ideas. Some of the other collections include bees, bats, textiles, and wolves.

Last week during studio, my professor and I, along with two students who are also designing a space for bike collections, visited the Cycling Museum of Minnesota in Northeast Minneapolis. We learned about bicycles and their history in Minnesota. Most importantly, we received a lot of knowledge on museum design. A few of the people we met with have their education and background in museums. Talking with them about how to arrange collections and how to design a space to hold multiple exhibits was incredibly helpful.

When given a new project, it is essential to do as much research as possible. Being new to designing spaces, it is important for me to do research for this project not only on bikes, but also on museum design. What are the ways in which a bike can be displayed? What lighting is best in a museum setting? My research on both topics has been exciting and it sparks a number of ideas in my head.

Here are a couple of inspiration photos I've found from Method Bicycle.


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Hello and happy October! I am headed into week six of the school year and it is going by incredibly fast.

While I was still in high school, I remember hearing about my sister's Welcome Week experience during her first week of college at the U of M. Welcome Week is this incredible weeklong event held for first-year students. I'm a transfer student and my previous college didn't have a similar program. When I transferred to the U of M, I made the great decision to become a Welcome Week Leader for a few reasons.

First, since I transferred, I never got to experience Welcome Week as a freshman and it sounded really cool from my sister's experience. Second, I wanted to make sure the new students at the U of M felt welcomed and like they belonged. Lastly, I love meeting new people and being a leader, so it sounded like a perfect fit. Being a Welcome Week Leader was more than what I was expecting. Although it takes quite a bit of time dedication at the end of the summer, it was a blast and I made so many friends. It was such a blast, in fact, that I decided to do it two years in a row!

This past year during Welcome Week's College Day, I was able to connect with more than just first-year students. I had lunch with two architects -- one a current U of M professor, the other a former U of M professor. Meeting and chatting with them was spectacular. It was interesting to talk to professors on a more personal level about topics we all shared and felt passionate about: architecture and education. It was fun to hear their stories, and it was so cool that they wanted to hear mine as well. I got both of their business cards and I plan on taking the current professor's course next fall.

The U of M has so many wonderful opportunities out there. Being at such a large university, you never know when you might make a meaningful connection. I went into being a Welcome Week Leader to help first-year students make strong connections with their peers, and surprisingly, I was able to make two very beneficial connections of my own!

Thank you Professor Donofrio!!



Hello everyone!

My name is Margo and I am a third year student in the Architecture program here in the College of Design at the wonderful University of Minnesota Twin Cities! I am beyond excited to share my experiences with you this year. This is my first year in the Bachelor of Science program, so everything is just as new to me as it will be to you. Before we dive into everything that this University has to offer, let me tell you a bit about my background:

-- I have wanted to be an architect since I was nine years old. I love being immersed in the design culture that the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis have.

-- I LOVE to travel! So much so that I decided to have the world on my arm permanently :) I will also be studying abroad in Copenhagen in the spring!

-- I am a mother of a 2.5 year old cat named Nathaniel P. Archibald.

-- I have a lot of interest in Sustainability, so I'm a bit of a green freak.

-- I enjoy going to concerts, and Minneapolis is great for doing just that!

I love living, working, and being educated in a city as phenomenal as the Twin Cities. The possibilities are endless. Keep on board with my blogs through this year!



If I May Call Myself an Intern

Hello everyone!

I am back for one more post before the new blogging crew arrives. To catch you up on these last couple weeks, I have been working at BWBR Architects in St. Paul. Their main location is here in St. Paul (and has been for over 100 years!) and they have recently opened a smaller location in Madison, WI. I found out today that BWBR first started in the Endicott building two blocks away from their current location. The building they were in was designed by Cass Gilbert and at the time there were 24 architecture firms sharing space in that building!

The internship has been so much fun! I have been working on a team (we have a project manager who oversees the stages of the design, interior designers who work with the interior architects on the inside of the building, and architects who work solely on the exterior of the building). The team works closely with our quality assurance department, the clients, and other companies like mechanical teams, electrical teams, plumbing, structural and more. I have been helping create callouts of building details, annotating documents, placing symbols and keynotes, working on redlines and more.

Next week I will temporarily help another project by going to the site and measuring rooms and double checking that dimensions and objects in the existing building are correct in the Revit model BWBR has created.

On Tuesday some of the interns went on a site visit to see the ending stages of the Eagle Bluff Church in Woodbury. The church is scheduled to open in September, so at this point all of the foundations have been poured, windows and walls placed, carpeting is being laid, paint applied, ceilings being assembled, etc. Construction site tours are some of my favorite events to go to. It is a lot of fun to see how a building comes together during different phases of the construction process. Below is a photo of one of BWBR's construction architects who led the tour. One photo is at the main entrance to the church and the other photo is above the worship space in the catwalk.



I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their summer!

All the best,
B.S. in Architecture

What an Amazing Time it has Been!

Well, I cannot believe it but I am finally able to say I have graduated with my undergraduate architecture bachelor of science degree! I still don't really feel as if I have graduated. It seems very surreal - like I am just on another summer break and will be starting school again in the fall (some day I will be back to begin my M'Arch degree!). The graduation ceremony was wonderful. It felt bittersweet lined up in Northrop with all of my classmates (and the entire graduating class from the College of Design). The ceremony was filled with wonderful speeches as well as a lot of excitement as we watched our friends walk across the stage. Afterward, I posed for a photo with my closest friends from the program. I will ALWAYS stay in touch with them - I feel like I've grown up with them in a sense.


What do I do with all of my free time now? Well, I still don't even know! I am focusing on work and truly enjoying being able to get out and enjoy the beginnings of summer. I plan to stay involved in the architecture community as much as possible and I hope to return to Rapson again. I truly will miss my second home, but I wish the best for all of the students who still reside there. It has been an amazing time and a great four years filled with passion, tears, excitement, wonderful friendships and unforgettable opportunities.

I hope you have enjoyed keeping up with my blogs and I encourage you to continue following the architectural blogger for next year - they will be great!

All the best,
B.S. in Architecture

Bittersweet Review

Today was my very last studio review for my undergraduate career. Normally, review is something students prepare for weeks and months in advance. We carefully craft our designs, focusing on the whole and then the details. Students spend hours diligently perfecting their models, rendering images and practicing their thesis to showcase their work. There is always a sense of relief after a review (and a hope for a night's break from homework), especially if it went well. I did have a sense of relief, but there was also a bittersweet moment as the realization set in. Until graduate school, I will not have another studio review. I will miss seeing my studio friends often and I will certainly miss the studio culture at Rapson. I hope to keep in touch with friends as we each begin our journeys after graduation (which is only one week away!).

Here is a section cut of my building (an organization that pays tribute to the column/grid structure of the Lowertown warehouses).


Yesterday was the first day of my internship at BWBR. Everyone there is so welcoming and friendly! I have a mentor there who helps me get settled in for the first couple of weeks. We went out to lunch yesterday and she is planning on showing me the St. Paul skyway system tomorrow. I am already assigned to a project helping organize architectural drawings for a client. My desk is empty as of now - I have to think of some great things to fill it in over the next few months.

I look forward to telling more great stories about my internship during the next few weeks.

Until next time,
B.S. in Architecture

Three More Weeks!!!

I cannot believe I have only three weeks until graduation! I am excited to be the first class to walk across the newly renovated Northrop auditorium. I have been trying to prepare to the best of my ability. I have my gown, cap and tassel and have been thinking about ordering a diploma frame. I am also excited to announce that I have accepted an intern position at BWBR! I cannot wait to start!

Until then, I have been developing my studio project pretty well. I have only two weeks until our final review for studio. Floor plans, elevations, section cuts, models and renderings are all underway! We have been having mock-up reviews every Friday for the past few weeks. These reviews have included musicians (since this is sound studio), acoustical designers, detail architects and more. Each one of them has helped us refine our building designs in a unique way.

Amanda and I took photos the other day for our AIAS National Chapter Leader of the Month award for being the Spring Quad Cochairs. We will be on National's website for May. Here is the photo we submitted:

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I hope everyone is getting excited for summer!

Until next time,
B.S. in Architecture

Quad Came, Quad Saw, Quad Conquered

Hello again!

This past weekend the AIAS Midwest Quad event hosted by AIAS Minnesota took place in Minneapolis. Fourteen of the AIAS Midwest chapters were represented this past weekend at the conference. It was great to see old friends made at previous conferences and make new ones. There were many first time Quad attendees there and many veterans. Ryan Gann, our Midwest Quad Director from IIT, has been to seventeen AIAS conferences and his final one was ours. We received numerous compliments from our guests including that they liked the hands on approach to our track sessions. We mixed networking with professionals, guest presentations, construction tour, firm tours, technology workshops, etc. We also were complimented on our dance - many said this was one of their top, if not favorite, AIAS conferences they have attended. The Beaux Arts Ball, themed 'White Out Brite Out' was the event everyone was waiting for. Even Goldy made an appearance!


We provided neon party favors, a photo booth with colorful and creative props, black lights and an amazing DJ. University of Minnesota alumn and now public interest design leader, John Cary, was our keynote speaker during the ball. He gave a thoughtful and inspiring presentation on designing with intention (designing for the user by the user). He ended his speech with a surprise costume for the ball - an Evel Knievel outfit. 4


The photo below is from the Council of Presidents Meeting. The national AIAS president, chapter presidents, vice presidents and future members interested in a leadership position attended.


The event was an amazing success and I am glad all had a wonderful time. Now, back to focusing on studio.

Until next time,
B.S. in Architecture

Spring Break!

Hello everyone!

It is spring break week at the U and Rapson Hall is quiet, but not too quiet. Although many students are on vacation, Rapson Hall still has many working away on projects. I, myself, have been catching up on midterm review comments. My final project for sound studio will mimic historical warehouse characteristics, while introducing a few modern approaches to building structure like glass and steel. The goal is to follow the organized patterns and datum lines of the surrounding warehouse buildings, then, introduce program and create a new order of window openings that follow the program.

The photo below portrays the idea I am trying to recreate, but on a residential scale.

I have been also using spring break as time to continue planning the details for Quad. There are only two weeks left until the event! My registration committee and I visited the Marriott hotel to finalize our plans and layout for Friday's registration. I also visited HGA's office to pick up some of the swag for our registration swag bags. Planning will continue right up until the day of the event. I am excited to see all of our guests arriving from the other AIAS Midwest chapters. Friends from IIT, Milwaukee, Chicago, North Dakota, Kentucky, Lawrence Tech and more will be coming in to experience the event.

I hope everyone is enjoying their break as well!

Until next time,
Jen Cunningham
B.S. in Architecture

The Fun with AIAS Never Ends!

The American Institute of Architecture Students Minnesota Chapter has been having a lot of fun lately! We participated in the annual Skyway Open event where firms and student organizations design and build mini golf holes based on a certain theme. Then, the public is allowed to come and play the holes during the scheduled event weekend. This year, we designed a hole based on our Quad theme of 'Bridging.' Everyone involved had a great time building the hole and then playing it.

Playing the Hole.jpg

AIAS Minnesota also participated in the annual AIA Bowling Night held at Bryant Lake Bowl. Each year we participate in this event with other architecture professionals and University staff. It is an absolute blast and wonderful networking opportunity! This year, we made Archihat's and wore our AIAS Minnesota t-shirts as part of the best dressed award. Below is a photo of our AIAS team and the UMN Faculty who participated in the event.

AIAS Bowling NIght.jpg

Lastly, we have been incredibly busy but absolutely excited about hosting the Spring Quad Conference here in Minneapolis! The conference is one month away and we are finalizing details as we go. The conference weekend will include multiple opportunities to network with professionals and other students from the Midwest AIAS chapters. Thus far we are collaborating with HGA and MS&R for firm tours, site tours of Pillsbury A-Mill with BKV Group, tours of the Central Library and the Guthrie with Architectural Alliance, a construction site tour of the Interchange Station with 4RM+ULA, and a tour of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Building with BWBR.

The fun does not stop there! Once Saturday events are over, conference attendees will head to the McNamara Alumni Center for dinner, a keynote presentation with John Cary (a past AIAS Minnesota president who has grown to become one of the fore fronting leaders in Public Interest Design) and the anticipated Beau Arts Ball! Our theme this year for the dance is 'White Out, Brite Out' and will include white backdrops with splashes of color coming from lighting effects and party favors.

Check out the Quad Conference Facebook page and website to learn more.

AIAS is a wonderful organization and I hope in your educational journey that you will become a member!

Until next time,
B.S. in Architecture

I Am Loving Studio!!

Sound Studio has been amazing thus far! We have studied musical instruments through architectural drawings (axonometric views, isometric views, plans, sections, details, elevations, etc.) and have regenerated particular interests of these instruments through models. Each student received a specific instrument; mine is the harmonica. Now, we are creating a mobile pavilion where this instrument can be played. Our site for our mobile pavilion is the St. Paul Union Depot (BEAUTIFUL if you have not been! It is free and I suggest you go!). My pavilion reflects the harmonica being cradled in the player's hands. A canopy is cantilevered over the interior play room by large finger like structures and the playroom resembles the intimacy of a small instrument. The playroom wall is built from varying lengths of projected wood pieces reflecting the in and out movement of the breath when playing the harmonica as well as the various lengths of the chambers within the harmonica that control the pitch of the note.

I am also excited for our multiple field trips including a visit to our site in Lowertown, St. Paul, the MPR broadcasting station, MacPhail Center for Music and possibly more! We recently went to First Avenue and got a tour behind the scenes! The venue was a completely different atmosphere seeing it empty! I have been there many times for concerts and was extremely pleased to see the main room, the green rooms, 7th Street Entry, the Depot and other rooms. Below is a photo of band's set lists taped to the wall behind the main stage.


Until next time,
B.S. in Architecture

Sound Studio!

And my final studio is... the Sound Studio!

The focus of the studio is to explore the interaction between music, architecture and the community and how these elements intertwine and shape one another. Throughout this studio we will be researching how sound is affected by a space, how oral perception affects one's concept of space, how architecture influences music, niche musical communities and more. The final project will be a design for a recording and performance of music in the Lowertown neighborhood of St. Paul. The building will contain rooms for musical recording and performance areas, practice areas and housing for artists, a concert venue for over 300 people and attendant support spaces.

Our first assignment for the class is to take a musical instrument, dissect it, and draw it in plan, elevation, exploded axon or another method that tells the story of how the instrument and its parts work to make sound. We must focus on how air moves through the space and the textural qualities that make these sounds.

Below is an example of a fire station that was turned into a music hall. One of the Sound Studio professors, Jody McGuire, worked on this project. You may find more photos of the project here.



Until next time,
B.S. in Architecture

The First Day of My Final Undergrad Semester

WOW. I cannot believe four years has flown by. i remember my first day of class like it was yesterday - the classes and all of the friends I met. I am happy to say I still have all of those friends and it has been fun to grow with them, watch those who graduated before me and look forward to graduating with those who haven't.

I am looking entirely forward to this semester. I have three classes - Studio IV, Revit, and a Directed Study underneath Jim Lutz. Studio will be interesting because it has three different options and I get to choose which option I would like to take. However, I have to wait until the first day of studio to find out what the options are. I am also looking forward to working with Jim on a Directed Study. The study will pertain to the planning process and weekend-of tips for the American Institute of Architecture Students Spring Quad Conference that AIAS Minnesota is hosting April 4-6th. I'll keep everyone updated with how the study is going throughout the semester. Here is the promotional video link AIAS Minnesota has developed so far for the conference. Check it out here! If you would like to participate in the conference, you can register to become an AIAS member by clicking here. Registration fees have dropped to $27 for the Spring semester!!! It is a great time to become a member and see what AIAS is all about!

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I hope everyone has a wonderful first day back and has rested up enough over winter break!

Until next time,
B.S. in Architecture

Get Involved Over Winter Break!

Winter break is a wonderful time to look into organizations, clubs and other architectural activities in the Twin Cities that you just couldn't quite commit to during the semester.

One idea is to entertain your own firm crawl... visit AIA Minnesota's website here and locate their firm directory. Select a few firms within walking (or driving distance) from one another and visit them. Visiting them is a great way to familiarize yourself with their locations and put a visual with their name. Don't be afraid to stop in and introduce yourself, you may be able to find out more information about the firm, speak with a few staff members or possibly receive a tour.

Two more organizations that would be delighted to have younger members are the AIA's Emerging Professional Draughting Club and Architecture for Humanity's Minneapolis chapter. Both organizations provide a vast networking opportunity. Grab a friend or two and utilize these organizations! They may open doors to places you could only dream of.

Lastly, two historic homes featured in the Twin Cities are the James J. Hill House and Alexander Ramsey House. Students may tour these homes to learn more about the significance both homes have to Minnesota's history as well as admire the architectural details and design from their eras. These would be good opportunities to do with your family, special someone or a group of friends.

James J. Hill House

Alexander Ramsey House

Take advantage of the rich architectural community Minneapolis and St. Paul offer. The Twin Cities is proud to show off our architectural feats and gems and we have a plethora of them!

I wish everyone a very happy holidays and bright new year!

B.S. in Architecture

Getting the Best from Finals Week

Finals week is packed with late nights, last minute cram sessions, and final presentations. Make sure to drink lots of water and take lots of walks - your body with thank you later!

I encourage everyone to walk around and take a look at student's work pinned up around Rapson. Don't feel silly either if you want to stop in a listen to any final presentation that interests you - lots of students sit in a listen to reviews. It is one of the best ways to learn and to see each others work. This is a fantastic way to also get a feel for the types of projects that a specific architecture course has to offer. If you are interested in a course, but are unsure what it entails go to the final review! I have done this before and have found it to be quite helpful in picking future courses. I have also found myself very intrigued by courses I thought I would not enjoy.

Some of my favorite final presentations to sit in on are the graduate students. Not only do I get to see highly developed and thoughtful work, but half of the fun is finding out who their guest reviewers are - usually very well known architects! It is great to hear the feedback given by the reviewers and I can usually use this information and put it towards my own work ethic and projects. Below is an image of one final review for a third year graduate studio. It was inspiring to see all of the students, professors and reviewers gathered around such a large project.


I hope this information is helpful and encourages you to check out at least one final presentation you find interesting. Good luck on finals week and enjoy the holiday break!

- Jen
B.S. in Architecture

Almost Time to Wrap It Up!

I cannot believe that the semester is almost over. It seems like just yesterday that I was prepping my notebooks, textbooks and myself for the semester to begin. With so many weeks behind us, studio life has become very focused as many of us fine tune our final projects and prepare for our final presentation in front of our classmates, professors and guest reviewers. To help us prepare for our final review, our studio has practice runs where we can pin up and present everything we hope to show off and review for the final. Before Thanksgiving break, our first dry run included feedback about our structural plans and sections, overall thesis statement about our project, and suggestions about improvements to make on our models. The next dry run will allow us to present the same work with the improvements we have made. We are also going to be practicing our verbal presentation and really enhancing how we introduce and explain the ideas invested into each of our designs. These dry runs are wonderful because they give us many chances for feedback both from our professors, classmates and reviewers, which in return allows us to fine tune our projects as best as we can and prepare ourselves as best as we can for the final review. Practicing our presentations does help take some of the nerves away from the final presentation and really makes us understand our project and our argument. The photo below is of one of my classmate's work. Our final project entails a park pavilion at one of these three lakes (Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles and Lake Nokomis) with the addition of a wild card program that is up to our choosing. The focus is to create a program and building that relates to the lake and site context.


Another one of my classmates made us a treat as well! They are Reese's cups, Oreos and other tasty treats combined to make turkeys! Very cute!


I wish everyone the best as you prepare for finals! Remember to take breaks when you need them and to breathe!

B.S. Architecture

CDes Mentor Program

The College of Design has a mentor program that is offered to juniors and seniors. The goal of the college is to pair all applicants with mentors who work in the fields of design offered through CDes.

This year, as a senior, I applied again for the program and was paired with a professional working at KaasWilson Architects. The kick-off meeting is held in the Great Room at the McNamara Alumni Center - a very inspirational space for design students!

CDes Mentor Kick Off Meeting.jpg

Appetizers are served, a short announcement about the program is made both by Dean Fisher and program coordinator, Lucy Reile, and then the rest of the time is spent conversing with our mentors. The goal of the program is to learn as much as you want or can about the field you are studying from a professional who can share their expertise with you.

The program encourages each mentee to meet with their mentor once per month (more if your mentor agrees to it). From November to April, I have created a list of one thing I would like to do with my mentor each month:
1. Kick-Off Meeting
2. Cover Letter and Resume
3. Visit KaasWilson Architects and shadow my mentor for the morning
4. Coffee
5. Site Visit for a project my mentor is working on
6. Portfolio Review

I look forward to learning more about architecture from my mentor and encourage everyone to apply for the program! The program is a great success and many professionals love to mentor students. You can check out the mentor program website here. You can no longer apply for this year, but keep an eye out in your emails next September!

B.S. in Architecture

Join some amazing students in AIAS

The nationally recognized architecture student organization at the University is the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) Minnesota chapter. Minnesota represents one of thirty Midwest chapters within AIAS. Other chapters make up the East, West and South to total in 7,000 plus AIAS members nationwide. As the student representation under the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the AIAS works hard to help their members network with the architecture profession through monthly firm tours, biweekly guest speaking events and volunteering opportunities.

The AIAS-Minnesota chapter has had the opportunity to hear from wonderful professionals such as Jennifer Yoos of award winning firm VJAA and John Cook from the world recognized firm HGA. We have toured many firms such as the smaller custom residential frim TEA2 to larger firms like RSP Architects in the historic Grain Belt Brew House building as well as construction site tours like the Northrop and multi unit housing. The AIAS also strives to help improve your educational experience through the AIAS Mentor Program where first and second year students are paired with third and fourth year students. This is another great networking program that helps students with questions about portfolio, decisions between the B.S. and B.D.A. programs, helping learn the facilities at Rapson hall, pointers on projects, classes and professors and so much more. Other events AIAS Minnesota have held are bake sales, pumpkin carving, volunteering at the Gopher football games, a 5K marathon and bowling to name a few. The major events AIAS offers are the Fall Forum and the Spring Quad conferences. On these trips members travel to a destination within the country for a very reasonable cost and are able to take tracks where members learn from professionals about topics related to architecture or architectural issues within that region. This is a fantastic way to discover architecture outside of our own back yard as well as explore new cities and meet tons of AIAS members from other chapters. These are experiences you will not forget or regret! As an AIAS member you may also be part of Freedom by Design, which is our design-build organization. FBD finds local clients with specific design-build needs and implements new designs for the client and within the client's home. Freedom by Design offers wonderful design and construction experience as well as unique projects for your portfolio!

To find out more about AIAS-MN and FBD click here. To register to become an AIAS member please visit the National AIAS website here and click Join AIAS.

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See you next time,

Getting To Know Rapson

The College of Design is split between the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. McNeal Hall in the St. Paul campus includes fashion design, graphic design, housing studies and other design programs that lie outside of the architecture curriculum. Both architecture and landscape architecture are housed in Rapson Hall, named after Minnesota native architect Ralph Rapson, located in the Minneapolis campus.

Rapson Hall is best known for its old courtyard portion designed by nationally recognized and award-winning architect John Rauma of Thorshov and Cerny (Rauma also received his undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Minnesota and taught in the architecture department for 41 years) and the new "X" shaped addition designed by world renowned architect, Steven Holl.

The New Addition
1. Rapson 100, a large lecture hall where many courses and lecture series take place like the Architecture & Landscape Architecture Lecture Series occurring now through November 15th ().
2. Counselor's offices
3. Dean's office
4. Drafting and drawing labs located in the basement level
5. Architecture and Landscape Architecture library located on the second level


The Old Portion
1. Courtyard
2. General Purpose Classrooms
3. Graduate, B.S. and B.D.A. studio spaces
4. The Architecture and Landscape Architecture offices
5. Staff offices and the mail room
6. Woodshop
7. Digital Fabrication Lab
8. Imaging Lab
9. Computer Labs (The main lab is located in Rapson 127, but there is another lab in Rapson 33 where additional computers can be utilized when no classes are in session. This is helpful when the main lab is packed!)


Visit the College of Design's link for easy access to information about all of Rapson Hall's facilities.

Also, check out this link for tips to be successful in architecture school. You will use these all throughout your education (and they are great to carry on into your career as well!).

See you next time!

Jen, Architecture major

Graduate School Already? But, I'm Only A Freshman!

Believe it or not, graduate school should be considered the very minute you step foot on campus as a freshman. Although you may not know specifically what graduate school you want to choose or if you even want to go to graduate school after you obtain your undergraduate degree, but it is wise to utilize your time as an undergraduate to begin researching potential graduate programs. As a senior, I have spent the last few months researching schools and I certainly wish I had given myself more time to make my decision. I attended a graduate emissions session today with University of Minnesota Graduate Program professors Mark Swackhamer and Jim Lutz. The session provided some great tips:

1) when on vacation schedule a time to tour the local architectural college (many students can decide if it is the right college for them based on the first 60 seconds of the tour).
2) Location. choose a collage that is geographically right for you. Do you want to attend the East Coast? West Coast? Go South? Or stay in the Midwest?
3) Areas of Interest. Take note of what architectural subjects interest you (historical preservation, sustainability, etc.) and research what campuses offer these areas of focus.
4) GPA. If you want to attend a top ten school, your GPA is very important. It is recommended to apply to one school that you think is out of your "reach", one school that you are certain you will get into and others that you want to apply to. Undergraduates typically apply to 5-7 graduate schools.
5) Cost. Think about the cost of tuition, fees and living for the school(s) you choose to apply to.

You can order a published guide to architecture schools, which has all accredited graduate programs and the above information listed in one resource for you. I just ordered mine and cannot wait to get it. This publication will save lots of time from researching online. Find the book here:

Remember, it is never too late to begin researching graduate schools! There are lots of wonderful resources to help you - don't be afraid to ask your professors and peers too!


Jen, Architecture major

Life Happens Outside of Studio

The most important rule I always remember while in school is to make time for yourself and to take breaks when you need them. The design process can be very intense and the studio and workshop culture will keep you busy as you research, create, diagram and model your ideas. Take advantage of your classmates! They are wonderful people to befriend, as they are great resources and the select few who understand the process you are going through as an architecture student. If you need a break, take a walk to a nearby restaurant in Dinkytown or along Washington Avenue to grab lunch or dinner with your classmates or simply stop and chat with them in the hallways. The bond between architecture students is amazing and often you find yourself laughing uncontrollably at jokes only an architecture student could understand. Don't give up your hobbies outside of school either. Try your best to manage your time and schoolwork so you can fit your hobbies into your schedule at least once a week. I often plan out my assignments at the beginning of the week so I can complete them in time and fit my hobbies in as well. Continuing your hobbies is a great way to clear your mind and distress. Check out this link for Student Unions and Activities offered at the U. There are so many things to discover and become involved in! Lastly, enjoy what you are doing in school. Don't be afraid to take risks and test design boundaries because that is what makes great and intriguing architecture!

I'm an Architect, OH!!!

Well, I'm not an architect quite yet. My name is Jen Cunningham and I am a senior in the Bachelor of Science in Architecture program here at the University of Minnesota. My love for design; space, form and order have all been confirmed through studying architecture. When not at school I enjoy spending my time in good company and discovering new places. I look forward to blogging throughout the year about my experiences as an architecture student, campus life, student organizations, the studio atmosphere and much more! You can stay connected with me by visiting this link:

This photograph is from my trip to Seattle, Washington when I went to visit the University of Washington's graduate program for architecture. During my trip I explored the beautiful natural environment including hiking up the 3,500 foot elevation of Little Si. LittleSi.jpg

Here is a little parody to leave you with. Enjoy!

New Arch blogger coming soon!

Greetings everyone...once we work out some technical issues our new architecture blogger, Jennifer Cunningham, will begin blogging. Otherwise, please enjoy Beau Sinchai's awesome blogs from last year!

College of Design Student Services

The Day to Remember

Hello again!

This blog is the most special one because I am officially graduated! This past Saturday was the commencement ceremony for all the graduates of College of Design. Did I mention that I was one of the student speakers? It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime moment. After the speech, I took a shameless selfie from the stage as a keepsake. Here is the photo for you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.



Left: with Lucie, our apparel design blogger. Right: architecture students

The University of Minnesota and the College of Design have given me so much in the past four years. I learned to appreciate and love all types of differences including knowledge, ideas, age, background, etc. I was able to create lifelong friendship and even lifelong mentorship. Not to mention the leadership skills, social skills, Knowing what I know now, the University of Minnesota will still be my first choice of school.

It is sad to say that this will be my last blog. However, there will be student bloggers who will consistently update blog this summer.

Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.

It Is All Ending

Hello again!

Final Week is officially here. Rapson Hall, home of the architecture and landscape architecture majors has been super busy in the past few days. Master degree students and undergraduate students are presenting their works non-stop. It is definitely my favorite time of the semester because all the works that your peers and your teaching assistant (TA) have been working on are up on display. You get to see the result of their interest. There are many wonderful projects being presented. One of the classes in the BDA program presented their concrete modular variation. The full-scale project was installed outside Rapson Hall. Not to mention many master degree projects that students have been working through blood, sweat, tears, and it definitely show their commitment and care.


Meanwhile, my students at my internship at the homeless emergency housing also completed their art installation. Our program is called D3 which is a design-based teens program that blends the teen interests' with a community need and builds relevant projects around that need. For example, the bird installation in the lobby of People Serving People was created around the need for more meaningful visual element at PSP. The teens based their design off the idea of PSP guests being part of a larger community, flying in a V-formation toward a more stable and hopeful future. The 200 birds were hung up one by one and are now in the lobby of People Serving People.


Flying birds installation by my students at the homeless emergency housing

Last, my commencement ceremony is this Saturday, May 18th at Mariucci. I will be one of the speakers as well. So, feel free to stop by!

See you next blog!

Beau S.

Architecture B.D.A.

Hi, Science!

Hello again!

Final week is approaching. I have less than a week to prepare myself for the last week of my undergraduate degree. The feeling is unreal. Because everyone have so much going on their plates in terms of projects, test, papers, and reviews, I decided to take a little break and recharge myself. Last week, my friend and I went to the Science Museum. Conveniently, our campus has MANY bus routes pass through. This allowed us to take public transportation directly from school to the Science Museum at a very low cost compare to a taxi or driving there. Another advantage that I have to mention is the student discount that you will get when carrying the University of Minnesota ID. We got a great discount rate for being a student. The Science Museum is not the only place you are able to use your ID to take advantage of student discount...or even free admission in most cases. Be sure to check out all the fun things around town such as theaters, restaurants, sport events, or even concerts.

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Hanging out with the animals at the Science Museum. Photo by Nou H.

It was nice to take a little time off of our busy schedules to do something fun and recharge ourselves during the crazy time like this. Make sure you take care of yourself and do whatever necessary to keep a healthy mind and body, whether it is visiting the Recreational Center, or University Counseling and Consulting Services, or any other resources we have for you. Good luck with your finals!

See you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.

A Day to Remember

Hello again!

This week, I was honored to be part of the 2013 Multicultural Celebration of Achievement. This event was a special celebration for the students of color who are graduating as class of 2013. There are students from all colleges at the University of Minnesota, including master degree candidates and Ph. D candidates. It was a truly emotional and inspiring event. Many of the students shared a similar experience of being the first-generation college student. The feeling of seeing your peers competed higher education, what is known to be unachievable to their parents, was beyond words. I am proud of all of them. College was a hard journey for everyone at the event, but we all have made it. Getting a college degree is not only the achievement of the graduating students, but it is also the achievement of everyone in their family who did not have a chance to attend college. It is a pretty big deal for many.


At the MCAE Celebration of Achievement, wearing the stole, with my friend. Photo by Vall A.

We received a stole, Ghana traditional hand-woven stole to wear at our graduation. The stole was design to represent the multicultural and the unity of all. It is a reminder for us to wisely entering the world and create great changes. I cannot wait to wear it as part of my gown during graduation!

See you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.

Sweet and Calm

Hello again!

The end of the last semester of my undergraduate is approaching...with less than three weeks of class! It is nice that I do not have to ride the wave and stress out over finding jobs, applying for schools, or finishing projects. Everything is in place in terms of jobs, internship, and grad school. I officially finished with all my architecture class. The only thing left I have this semester is an art studio. So, my semester is ending in a very calm way.

This past week, I visited a class taught by a former instructor, Tom Oliphant. It is a furniture design class, one of the design minor courses. Having a minor is a great way to expand your knowledge to other discipline you are interested in. Students in this class have been working very hard in the past couple weeks designing and making a pair of chairs. We also have guest critics who are professionals practicing furniture and industrial design. Hearing from the professionals was always an enlightenment experience.


Students are presenting their chairs.


All the chairs by students in the class.

This is what I love about the College of Design. Every time there is a review going on, regardless of my enrollment in the class, I can always ask the instructor if I can visit as a guest and listen in on what students are doing. The graduate thesis works are always interesting. It is a great way to learn about other projects people are working on and to network!

See you next blog!

Beau S.

Architecture B.D.A.

Good Arts, Good Cause

Hello again!

I hope you are all enjoying this snowy Minnesota weather. I cannot believe this is happening during the month of April. At least the weather is making me feel like this sweet senior year is not yet to be over soon. On that note, I still forgot to purchase my cap, gown, and tassel for the commencement ceremony. The facebook page "Meanwhile in Minnesota" has some humor to spread.


A meme from the Meanwhile in Minnesota facebook page.

Today, an architecture student group Freedom By Design (FBD) is hosting a silent auction event in the courtyard of Rapson. Because FBD is a non-profit student organization aiming to help the individuals with low-income and disability in our community. All the works that students do for the clients are free of charge to the clients. This means that the group solely relying on fundraising as a way to support the work we do.

FBD auction.jpg

Photo by AIAS Freedom By Design - UMN group

This silent auction event is the 6th annual art auction event for Freedom By Design. I donated quite a few of my pieces to the event. The committee and volunteers did an amazing job of hosting the event and advertisement of the event. The public is bidding on many amazing artworks by local artists, students, and faculty. What a great way to be part of something great! I really hope that they made a lot of money to help those in need. I bid on a few amazing pieces, and I hope to win them all!

See you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.

None Other Is Better Than MN

Hello again,

This week I will give you the reason why the University of Minnesota is the place to be. Besides the part that we have wonderful resources, ranked among the top universities in the nation, and located in the land of nice people, we are officially the healthiest city in the U.S.!

Minneapolis is ranked the "Healthiest City in the U.S." by Forbes Magazine.

"Minneapolis residents breathe clean air, prioritize exercise and keep their weight down, supported by a city that was among the first to add bike trails and ban smoking in public places. If you live in Minneapolis-St. Paul, you and your neighbors are less likely to have cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and asthma and are more likely to be in excellent or very good health. (It helps that you're less likely to smoke and more likely to walk or bike to work -- in the summer, at least). "Minneapolis has lots of open spaces, parks, and walking areas, and you see people walking everywhere," Thompson says. The twin cities do their part by setting aside a high percent of the city as parkland, offering plenty of ball fields, tennis courts, playgrounds, dog parks, golf courses,and recreation centers. How do Twin Cities residents keep up their commitment to fitness during the area's notoriously cold winters? Snow sports and "lots of fitness centers," says Thompson.


Salsa Dancing Night in front of the Northrop Mall, U of M. Another fun recreational activity for the public.

I can only confirm this statement. We have our expanded Recreational Center that will be completed in 2014 and it is free for students! You will also find parks and over 10,000 lakes to enjoy year round. There are also bike lanes everywhere on campus and in the city. If you prefer not to own a bike, there are a bike-share option such as Nice Ride. Students are also get great discount for Nice Ride subscription as well and there are Nice Ride stations throughout our campus. Very convenient.

Or if you are thinking about other types of transportation, we have over 90 bus routes run through our campuses everyday. U of M students can get a U-pass, a $97 bus pass that allow you for unlimited rides for the whole semester. You will be spending approximately less than a dollar per day for this commuting option. Great way to be sustainable for your wallet and for the environment!

See you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.

The Past, The Present, The Future

Hello again,

It is less than two months until graduation! One blog length is not enough to describe how excited I am, so I am going to make it short and say that I am super excited. I got all my cap and gown ready, but I still manage forgot to purchase the tassel...I must have been too excited.

Let's take this sweet moment to recap this senior year together. I started the year with being an Orientation Leader, welcoming the Class of 2016 to the University of Minnesota. It was one of the best experience I have ever had in terms of leadership involvement. I learned so much from the position especially about social justice! Not to mention the friendship I made with other Orientation Leaders. I highly recommend that you find involvement outside classroom. There is not a single thing I regret about being involved during my four years here. There are more than 700 student groups on campus for you to choose from!


2012 Orientation Leaders...Can you find me in this picture? *Photo by Orientation and First-Year Program

Currently, my internship at a homeless shelter is going great. I am using design as a way of thinking to end homelessness. Many challenges, but I would never trade this experience for anything. Also, I am still enjoying my Research Assistant position with the Center for World Heritage Studies. Everyday at work was an eye-opening. There are so many things I have never know about the World Heritage Sites and all the works that was behind it in order to establish a site. I now have many random facts to tell people. For example, there are only one flight to Kiribati (an island country in the pacific ocean) every two weeks. So, if you want to visit this place, you better plan ahead!

The future, however, is not unknown. I got accepted to the MFA 3D Design program at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. It is where the well-known designers and architects such as Eero Saarinen, Ralph Rapson, Charles and Ray Eames, and Florence Knoll went to school! I love the U and Minneapolis, but I think this is the time that I go out and explore more cities. So, it seems to be the perfect time to say goodbye to Minneapolis. Come to the U, and you will understand why it is so hard to leave!

See you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.


Hello again,

I have been mentioning the Public Interest Design Week for the past several months. Thank you for waiting so patiently, this blog entry is dedicated to PID Week just for you all!


Images from the PID Week by John Cary. Click HERE for the slideshow.

I attended the PID Institute on Thursday and Friday. It was one of the most inspiring events in my life. There were so many people from all around the country, who are doing public interest design work all over the world. I get to learn about projects in places like Kenya, Indonesia, and Detroit. the most important knowledge I gained from this institute was how to start a public interest design project and how to get those who are outside the design discipline to join you. People still see public interest design as a separate type of design, when in fact it should be part of every design project we do. We should design for the people, not for the profit. There were also many important people at the event. There were Michael Kimmelman who is the New York Times architecture critic, Liz Ogbu who is an award-winning designer and my role-model, Bryan Bell who is the founder of SEED and Design Corps, and John Cary who is the founder of This Friday at the College of Design, students will be holding a discussion on how us, the students, can start public interest design project in our community. If you happen to be nearby Rapson Hall this Friday, be sure to check it out!

pid cdes.jpg

Some of the photos from CDes facebook page.

See you next blog!

Beau S.

Architecture B.D.A.

All for the Good Cause

Hello again,

One of the architecture student groups that I involve with is having a fundraising event. This group is Freedom by Design, which I mentioned in my older blog. Freedom by Design is a group of design students who go out and create a moderate design structure for disabled, low-income individuals in our community. It is putting our knowledge into real world by helping those in needs. Because everything that Freedom by Design does is free to our client, fundraising is the only source of income for the group. This year, the group will be hosting the 5th Annual Art Auction "The Fine Collection." More detail of the date and time will be posted at later time.

I spent my spring break making artwork and jewelry for the auction. All proceed goes toward helping our clients. So, I hope that you will be able to attend the event and auction off some artwork when the time comes. Join their facebook group for more photos of the past projects and info.


Artworks I made for the auction, including jewelry, pottery, and painting.

Also, the Public Interest Design Week is HERE! I am the happiest I could be. I will be attending the Public Interest Design Institute workshop and attending the guest speaker event: Liz Ogbu. I will spill out a little detail for now that the name tag is super fancy. I hope this gets you excited. Hold on tight! I will update you on all the details next week!

See you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.