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Architects of the Future: YouthBuild Boston’s Designery Internship Program Opens Doors

YouthBuild Boston students gain real-world experience to become designers and architects in unique summer program.

YouthBuild Boston Designery students create real-world designs.

The summer of 2023, YouthBuild Boston students competed alongside several other local youth programs. The challenge? To create a design for The Seaport’s 10 World Trade that is driven by a mission to reflect the future of the city. The Seaport neighborhood faces the challenge of being perceived as a new neighborhood built for predominantly white and affluent residents to live and work. Several efforts have been undertaken to change this perception including initiatives like the Massport Model, which requires developers to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives into their building proposals. Seaport’s 10 World Trade follows this model and intends to promote equity in the neighborhood by incorporating programs and partnerships in the building that mirror the diversity of the city of Boston.

The students competing were part of YouthBuild Boston’s Designery Program, a seven- to ten-week after-school experience, where students are paid a biweekly stipend. Participants acquire and develop fundamental graphic design, modeling, public speaking, teamwork, critical thinking, math, science and technology skills. They complete real design projects for non-profit and community clients throughout Boston.

The architecture and design profession has historically been a white, male-dominated industry. This program strives to enrich the industry with diversity to include more women and people of color. Not only does this diversify the field, but it also benefits the communities that architects serve through their design. The Designery program seeks to diversify and increase access to the profession for young people, educating them about architecture and design, while equipping them with fundamental technical skills to excel in this profession should they choose pursue it.

“The Designery internship helped me have a determined mindset and it was great learning about design and architecture as a career,” said Ashley O.

Designery Program students participate in career exploration and professional development activities, and many continue to study architecture, design, or a related field. Students gain transferable skills and experience that prepare them for any career, but especially those related to architecture and design. Specifically, they practice landscape architecture, interior design, urban planning, engineering, construction, project management, drafting, surveying, and more. Along with the hard skills needed for these fields, participants learn soft skills like teamwork and collaboration.

“I want to become an architect and design houses in my future,” said Luanna G. “Being at the Designery taught me that one architect doesn’t design a building. It takes a team.”

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