This summer, the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) celebrated the 17th year of Project Pipeline, a nationwide network of design education summer camps for BIPOC youth. Founded in 2006 in Cincinnati as a way to cultivate a pathway for more licensed Black architects, the annual program has introduced over 20,000 students to the fields of architecture and design. Today, 31 cities host Project Pipeline, with the largest camps held in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Central Texas.
The curriculum, which was formalized in 2012, encompasses topics such as urban and neighborhood development, drawing and sketching, and design software, and caters to students from grades 6 through 12. At the end of the week-long program, which includes field trips and site visits, students present a project that addresses an issue in their own city.
“Project Pipeline summer camps are one of the most impactful mentorship programs NOMA provides,” says Richie Hands, NOMA’s national chair of Project Pipeline. “We have prior campers that return as college student volunteers who are now enrolled in architecture programs. This is the program living its mission and an indication of success.”
NOMA is introducing a digital version of the Project Pipeline curriculum that is available to any student regardless of location. Its content will feature an introduction to architecture and design led by Hands and Project Pipeline co-chair Bryan Bradshaw.
“We want young students to attend, engage, and be inspired to enter into this field with the understanding that there are BIPOC professionals leading in architecture and design,” says Bradshaw. “Choosing a career in architecture becomes more tangible when you see yourself represented, and the talent and passion the NOMA members and camp volunteers who oversee each camp exude is inspiring.”