NOMA Hosts Its Annual Summer Architecture Camp Virtually

The National Organization of Minority Architects recreates the Project Pipeline summer camp to serve kids online. Photograph: Bryan Cook leading out in one of the past

by: Kelly Beamon, Metropolis Magazine

The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) has launched its annual Project Pipeline summer camps in an online format this year—a move that ensures the group can continue introducing 6th-through-12th graders to the fundamentals of architecture and design amid restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Access to programs like Project Pipeline is important for minority students to provide them with knowledge about careers in architecture and urban planning as we look to make the field of design more representative of the communities we serve,” says Tiffany Brown, NOMA’s executive manager, citing the alarmingly small percent of licensed architects who are African American. (The number is less than 2 percent.) “Virtual learning isn’t the same as in-person learning. However, we need to push forward and try to meet students where they are, which is safe and at home during COVID-19.”

To enrich this year’s virtual experience, NOMA’s Project Pipeline team, co-chaired by Richie Hands and Bryan C. Lee, Jr., created a new eight-day camp online, supported by a curriculum which provides students the same lessons that they would receive in person.

As all Project Pipeline camps move to virtual spaces, NOMA “seeks to engage and inspire young designers to feel invested in the design of their neighborhoods,” says Lee. “These young designers explore the connections between privilege, power, and the architecture of oppression to address these issues from a position of justice.”

Last year, when camp was held in person in more than 30 cities, students learned design through scalar activities by turning their attention to the spaces immediately around them (i.e. rooms and houses). Then, expanding their scope, kids were asked to think about current and potential conditions in their neighborhoods. And finally, groups of students teamed up to design a skyscraper.

Currently, the chance to participate in the national virtual camp is being offered to children within the U.S. The fee is $35 for the eight-day experience, which is August 10th through August 17th. Students can register online now at NOMA’s website

Some local NOMA chapters are hosting other online programs in addition to the national camps. Students are eligible to take part in multiple summer camps.

Please see the list below for details on other local start dates and pricing:

●  Dallas/Ft. Worth NOMA: Saturdays August 8 & 15
●  Detroit NOMA: Monday, August 9 (Free registration!)
●  Philadelphia NOMA, New Jersey NOMA, New York NOMA (hosted together): Saturdays, August 15, 22, 29 – registration fee $25