Virginia Tech's Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center responded to a call by the AIA | DC for proposals for “Summer of Architecture” programming. This is a new effort by AIA | DC, and a way to shift from Architecture Month to something more ambitious and expansive. Our proposal for Hands on | Minds on Making Architecture was accepted, so the Center offered Continuing Education Unit credits to AIA members. We had 19 registrants for the first one, July 8, including a half dozen students from DC’s ACE high school, Phelps, and one high school student from Virginia who had attended the Inside Architecture program. The Phelps students were with Scott Archer, adjunct professor and alumnus, and alumnus Alyssa Tope, who are part of a mentorships program at Phelps through Beyer Blinder Belle, where they both work. Beyond that, the event brought together an interesting mix of retirees, architecture-adjacent people, and architects.

Attendees left the event with the ability to identify the materials and techniques of interventions in the design/build projects found throughout the building, and the experience of exploring a selection of fabrication processes through hands-on activities, and a deeper understanding of the impacts of design-thinking and making on a learning environment.