SBA Team Volunteers in BAC City Lab Intensive Program


Boston Architectural College, also known as the BAC, is New England’s largest private college of spatial design. The institution’s curriculum includes a course called City Lab Intensive, a mandatory orientation experience for all incoming undergraduate and graduate students.  The course is conducted on four 8-hour days. working alongside instructors and engaging in a series of hands-on and reflective exercises centered on the exploration of Boston.  

Since the inception of City Lab Intensive, SBA has been proud to support a program that provides a platform for students to engage with and think critically about the city’s built environment and the individuals and organizations that constitute Boston's design community.

Having served on the BAC Board, along with organizing the BAC's Institutional Advancement Program, the late Peter Steffian spearheaded the effort of the firm’s involvement in the City Lab Intensive.  “Mentoring has always been a part of an architect’s training,” Peter said in an interview conducted in early 2013.  “I think there is a lot to be learned from others that you won’t learn in architecture school.”

Sharing Peter’s philosophy on the value of mentoring, SBA’s Richard Berry, Chris O’Neil and Son Wooten were quick to participate in the program from its inception.  They serve as instructors and challenge their students by having them interpret, internalize and analyze the design philosophy of notable spaces and structures.  They prepare them for their rigorous journey through academia; providing wisdom, insight and advice.  The students in turn are given the opportunity to discuss with them the de facto life of a practicing architect.

Richard, Chris and Son find their experience of working with the BAC students a rewarding one. They find it enriching to be part of a student’s strong sense of analysis, curiosity and discovery, or as Richard likes to call it, “the a-ha moment”.  Not only does the role of instructor allow Richard, Chris and Son to peer into the early, experimental and adventurous stages of learning design, it provides both instructors and students with a sense of greater connection and community within the Boston architectural industry as a whole.  

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