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    Michigan Architecture Prep Program Opens Doors to Detroit High Schoolers

    By kbretzius
    Jan 12, '15 12:59 AM EST

    On Tuesday, December 9, 2014,  the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning hosted an opening event for its Michigan Research Studio - a 3,700 square foot space in Midtown Detroit.

    The space is home to Michigan Architecture Prep (ArcPrep), a new program hosted by Taubman College, which will introduce 38 high school juniors from Detroit Public Schools (DPS) to the multi-faceted discipline of architecture. Starting next month, enrolled students from Cass Technical High School, Detroit School of Arts, and Western International High School will take an immersive, semester-long college preparatory course on architecture, urbanism and integrated design studio practices. The course will meet daily during the academic term for three hours.

    “Through ArcPrep, Detroit high school students will have the opportunity to learn how spaces and places have evolved throughout history and how they are designed, built, and maintained,” said Monica Ponce de Leon, Taubman College Dean. “Fueled by college-level instruction, the students will be able to create spaces of the future.  In a studio environment, they will design the cities, buildings, and neighborhoods that they want to live and work in, limited only by their own imaginations.”

    U-M President Mark Schlissel attended the event and addressed the audience of DPS administrators, principals, students and their families, as well as Taubman College faculty, staff, alumni and donors.

    “I envision great opportunities arising from this initiative and studio, as students from Detroit high schools are given the hands-on learning that will allow them to not only participate in, but lead the rebirth of this great American city, " said Schlissel.

    While opportunity and exposure to architecture are essential components of Michigan Architecture Prep, the program plans to address other areas of concern in the profession.

    “I am concerned about the diversity in architecture,” says Milton Curry,  Taubman College Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Strategic Initiatives. “We have to be better at providing under-represented minorities - African-Americans, Hispanics, Latino, Native Americans, avenues into the field and we have to change the intellectual complexion within the discipline. Our cities are diverse and the future of our cities require diverse opinions in order to thrive.”

    Only 1.5 percent of American architects are African-American, even though African-Americans comprised 12 to 13 percent of the total U.S. population.

    Over the coming years, the program plans to enroll as many as 50 students each semester while increasing participation from  DPS high schools. This effort will go a long way in exposing high school students to architecture as a career while adding to the diversity and creativity of architecture, and our cities, for years to come.

    Taubman College is well-positioned to take on this initiative, due to generous alumni and community support, as well a commitment to design and education excellence. The college has the top-ranked master of architecture degree program at a public university.

    ArcPrep is made possible with support from U-M’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, U-M’s School of Education, DPS and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Program funding was made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Kresge Foundation and Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

    Taubman College’s Michigan Research Studio is located at 3901 Woodward Avenue in Midtown Detroit, two blocks from U-M’s Detroit Center.

    About U-M’s Taubman  College of Architecture and Urban Planning:

    The Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan is a leader in interdisciplinary education and research with a focus on creating a more beautiful, inclusive and better built environment. The college and its alumni are committed to pushing the boundaries of architectural practice, advancing global engagement, and significantly enhancing diversity in the profession.

    The college offers the following degrees in nationally ranked programs: Bachelor of Science in Architecture, Master of Architecture, Master of Science in Architecture, Master of Urban Planning, Master of Urban Design, and PhD programs.

    The colleges more than 80 faculty members are on the cutting edge of research in areas ranging from urban design and redevelopment to conservation, digital technology, material systems, and design and health. With travel and academic programs in every continent and a mix of more than 600 students from all backgrounds, the college sustains an atmosphere of collaboration and mutual respect, while catalyzing rigorous intellectual debate.

    Related News:

    Watch a video about Michigan Architecture Prep.

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