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The Berkeley Connect program opens up the extraordinary resources of the university to you: the extraordinary students on our campus. By joining, you will become part of a community of like-minded faculty, mentors, and students that will provide a supportive environment in which to exchange and discuss ideas and goals. Berkeley Connect will help you to make the most of your time at the university as you learn more about the major in Architecture. We’re excited to get to know you!

Message from the Director

Margaret CrawfordWould you like a chance to discuss some of the excitement and challenges of being an architecture student in a relaxed and stress-free setting? Do you seek a forum to share ideas, troubleshoot as a way to enhance your experiences as an architecture student at Berkeley?As the Director of the Department of Architecture’s Berkeley Connect program, I’d like to encourage you to join an exciting new opportunity for support, interchange and creative growth. Our Berkeley Connect Program is designed to provide with you empowering skills and new insights about architecture as a discipline and profession. The Berkeley Connect program will help you get the most out of our Department by bringing you together in conversation with faculty and students in a sequence of weekly activities designed to be fun, informative and supportive. You will make new friends, develop a support system to help you achieve your goals, and lean new things about architecture in an informal and interactive setting.

I look forward to sharing the excitement and potential of the Berkeley Connect program with you.

Professor Margaret Crawford

Faculty Director, Berkeley Connect in Architecture

Program Description

Berkeley Connect links undergraduate students with experienced mentors in Architecture. These mentors lead small groups of 10-20 students in regular meetings; they also meet with students one-on-one to provide guidance and advice. The core of the Berkeley Connect program is a one-credit, pass-fail course that is designed to create a community of students with similar intellectual interests. There is no homework associated with Berkeley Connect: no exams, no papers, no quizzes. Instead, small group meetings focus on sharing ideas and learning new skills within the Architecture major as a way to foster friendships and provide a supportive intellectual community for Berkeley undergraduates.The only requirement for joining Berkeley Connect in Architecture is that you have an interest in the field of study. You do not have to be a major in order to participate! Undeclared freshmen and sophomores are welcome, along with entering junior transfers and juniors and seniors who have declared the major.

Every semester, Berkeley Connect sponsors a wide range of activities and events for participating students.  They include:

  • small-group meetings led by your mentor;
  • one-on-one meetings with your mentor;
  • special events, including informal lectures by professors and guest speakers, and panels on career options, graduate school admissions, and other topics;
  • and visits to Berkeley resources.

At the heart of Berkeley Connect is the relationship between you and your mentor. The Berkeley Connect mentors are advanced graduate students or recent PhDs in Architecture, who are chosen both for their demonstrated commitment to undergraduates and for their scholarly achievement. They are dedicated to providing the kind of close-knit community and one-on-one attention that can be hard to find at a large university.

When you sign up for Berkeley Connect, you will join one of several small groups of participants in Architecture. Your small group will be led by your mentor, and will meet every other week during the semester for an hour-long dinner discussion sessions. Discussions will focus on key intellectual issues within Architecture as well as key skills you need to succeed in the major. Above all, the small groups will focus on building connections among students, so that each group becomes a supportive community for all participants.

You will also meet with your mentor one-on-one at least twice during the semester, once to get acquainted, and a second time just before Tele-Bears, to discuss your plans for completing your major. Your mentor also has office hours every other week, during which you are free to show up and ask questions, talk over your day or your week, discuss what you are learning in class, or just have an informal conversation.


Margaret CrawfordMargaret Crawford (Director) is Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley, teaching  courses in the history and theory of architecture, urbanism and urban history and studios focusing on small scale urbanity.

Her research focuses on the evolution, uses and meanings of urban space. She has written and edited several books including Building the Workingman’s Paradise: The Design of American Company Towns, The Car and the City: The Automobile, the Built Environment and Daily Urban Life and Everyday Urbanism, and has published numerous articles on shopping malls, public space, and other issues in the American built environment. Recently investigated the rapid physical and social changes in China’s Pearl River Delta. Prior to coming to Berkeley, Crawford was Professor of Urban Design and Planning Theory at the Harvard GSD and, before that,  Chair of the History, Theory and Humanities program at the Southern California Institute for Architecture. She has also taught at the University of Southern California, the University of California at San Diego, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Florence, Italy. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship, two Fulbright Fellowships to Hong Kong, Quadrant Fellowship, James Marsden Fitch Foundation grant, and Graham Foundation grants.

Berkeley Connect Mentors

Rina PriyaniRina Priyani is a PhD Candidate in Architecture: History, Theory, and Society. She began her career as a junior architect in Indonesia when the Asian financial crisis hit. It was a hard time to keep a job, so she switched from architectural design to tourism research, then to city planning. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she taught at the Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia. Her dissertation, “Remaking Bandung: Colonialism, Ethnic Identities, and Building Practice in an Indonesian City,” examines how architects, builders, citizens, politicians, and visionaries of the postcolonial world took part in the life of city, foregrounding the roles of gender and ethnicity in the city’s urban transformation. She has a deep concern about gender inequality and diversity at workplaces, specifically for women and people of color in architecture and urbanism. She looks forward to meeting students from diverse backgrounds and sharing her experience through Berkeley Connect.

Alec StuartAlec Stewart is a PhD candidate in Architecture and an alumnus of UC Berkeley (Go Bears!), where he was active in the Cal Band while earning a BA in Geography and a minor in City Planning. He began his career at Community Design + Architecture, a city planning and urban design firm in Oakland. He then pursued a Master’s in urban geography at George Washington University, writing a thesis titled, “Ethnic Entrepreneurship and Latino Placemaking in Suburban Washington: The Case of Langley Park, Maryland.” His dissertation, “Meet Me at the Swap Meet: Architectures of Emergent Citizenship and Consumption in Los Angeles’s Indoor Market Halls,” examines how informal design practices of immigrant entrepreneurs have reshaped Southern California’s built and social environments. Alec’s favorite part of being a grad student is connecting with students from a broad range of backgrounds and interests. He remembers what it was like to be an undergrad at Berkeley, and looks forward to fostering a fun and inclusive environment for Berkeley Connect students in which new academic, professional, and social relationships may be forged.

Semester Activities

Course format and requirements: Berkeley Connect is an academic enrichment and mentorship program that builds on the energy, experiences and excitement of its student participants. Our program is designed to provide you with empowering skills and new insights about architecture as a discipline and profession. The Berkeley Connect program will help you get the most out of our Department by bringing you together in conversation with faculty and students in a sequence of weekly activities designed to be fun, informative and supportive. You will make new friends, develop a support system to help you achieve your goals, and learn new things about architecture in an informal and interactive setting.

Our program has two facets: weekly small group meetings, and periodic gatherings where all the sections come together for events such as a field trip and faculty panel discussions. You have already enrolled in a small group section, and your weekly meetings will take place at either 6-7pm, or 7-8pm, depending on your group. Please consult CalCentral and make sure you know where and when your group is meeting. The schedule of meetings and the discussion topics are listed below.

Please note that you are required to attend two one-on-one meetings with your Mentor, either during the class time scheduled for this on September 21 and October 26, or at a time arranged with your Mentor. We strongly encourage you to visit both your mentor and the program’s Director at other points during the semester.

We will be confirming the start time of the field trip to see UC Berkeley Modernist Buildings soon. We will also be holding a panel discussion with the Chair of Architecture, Renee Chow, and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Greig Crysler, on October 5th in the Wurster Hall Ground Floor Lobby at 5pm.

NOTE: To receive credit for Berkeley Connect, you must attend all the course meetings at the scheduled times, a one-on-one meeting with your mentor and complete the final course evaluation for the class.
You are also required to attend the Field Trip on October 13 unless you have a verifiable scheduling conflict. Attendance will be taken at every session during the semester.

[*Bring your appetite, dinner or snacks will be served on these dates!]

Thursday August 23

“Welcome to Berkeley Connect!” [Large group meeting 6-7pm, Wurster Auditorium room 112]
We’ll discuss what the students liked about the Spring 2016 program, and what we’re adding to make the Fall program even better and more exciting. You’ll also learn about course policies, special events and visitors, and how to use our Bcourses site. We will also introduce the faculty and fellows affiliated with Berkeley Connect: Director Margaret Crawford and Mentors Alec Stewart and Rina Priyani.

*Thursday Aug 30 [Discussion section meetings; rooms 104 and 172]

“Getting to know each other: Student and Mentor Introductions”
This is when the members of each section get introduced to each other. You’ll have a chance to meet and greet your fellow Berkeley Connectors, and you will also get know your Mentor (Alec or Rina). We’d like you to tell us a bit about yourself and your hopes for the semester in Berkeley Connect.

One of the requirements of the Berkeley Connect Program is that you must meet twice during the semester with your Mentor. You’ll have the option of signing up for you first one-one meeting during your regularly scheduled Berkeley Connect discussion group time on September 20 and October 25, or another time during your Mentor’s office hours. The first meeting on September 20 is important part of how we start the semester. It gives your Mentor a chance to get to know you early on, and as a result, be more responsive to your needs as the semester progresses. We strongly encourage you to continue meeting in regular office hours with your mentor after this initial meeting to discuss any issues that may arise over the course of the semester, and questions you may have about you future direction in our program, or your plans for after you graduate.

*Thursday Sept 6 [ Discussion group meetings; rooms 104 and 172 Wurster Hall]

“Mental maps: The campus as a resource, actual and imagined”
This week, we’ll focus on how to make the most of the campus outside the doors of Wurster Hall. We’ll spend the class developing an image of our mental maps of the campus, and then talk together about the things we have left out, using each other’s maps and ideas from our visitors to build up a new picture of campus resources and what they can offer.

*Thursday Sept 13 [Discussion group meetings; rooms 104 and 172 Wurster Hall]

“Speaking up in class” This week we’ll be talking about the dynamics of speaking in the classroom, the lecture hall and the design jury. We’ll make use of some interactive role-playing to help foreground some of the challenges involved in making yourself heard as an integral part of the learning process; we’ll also discuss some useful techniques to strengthen your confidence and enhance your participation in class.

*Thursday Sept 20 [Discussion group meetings, room 101 and 104 and Ground Floor Lobby, Wurster Hall] “One on one meetings”

While the one-on-one meetings are in progress in your discussion section rooms, we will be holding a social gathering in the ground floor lobby area of Wurster Hall. We ask that all students join this event, to be held between 6 and 8pm. You’ll go from the social event to your one-on-one meetings when your time slot comes up. Food will be served!

*Thursday Sept 27 [Discussion group meetings; rooms 104 and 172 Wurster Hall]

“What is (not) architecture?”
In our first discussion, we’d like you to bring an image to your section that illustrates your thoughts about what is or is not architecture. While the distinction sounds like it might be basic and easily defined, we’ve found that the response changes as students get further into the major. This conversation can tell us a lot about how we see the field of architecture and our roles in it. How has the definition changed for you since you started at Berkeley? Or since you were younger? Do you think it will change or develop as you move through your education and beyond?
In preparation for next week’s conversation we’d like you to prepare and post questions for Greig Crysler and Renee Chow on our bcourses site

Thursday Oct 4

“Renee Chow and Greig Crysler” [Large group meeting; Wurster Gallery; 6pm)
This week the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, Greig Crysler, and the Chair of the Department of Architecture, Renee ChowT, will be in conversation with us about topics suggested by you. We will ask you to prepare and post questions for Greig and Renee on our bcourses site one week prior to this event; we’ll start the discussion with some we have selected, and then you will take over with your questions. We’ll be meeting in the Wurster Gallery at 6pm. After their discussion, at around 7pm, we’ll break into conversation clusters to pursue some of the points further informally.

*Thursday Oct 11

*“How to have a life during crunch time” [Discussion group meetings; rooms 104 and 172]
This week we’re talking about how to maintain a fun and balanced life during those high pressure points that occur every semester, particularly (but not only) in studio classes. We’ll talk about why being a good student and having fun outside school are not mutually exclusive. We all know taking breaks and nourishing the other parts of our lives is essential, but sometimes deadlines get in the way. How can we avoid what sometimes seem like inevitable sacrifices? Bring your best practices for a well-rounded life to class to discuss with your colleagues. This will also be a chance for us to revisit some of the time management resources we introduced at the start of the semester.

*Thursday October 18

“Being a tourist at home: How the familiar can become extraordinary”
[Discussion group meetings; rooms 104 and 172]
In this session, we’ll talk about how to observe the city and its buildings, and learn from (or simply enjoy) what we see around us. We’ll talk about how we can use photographs, writing, notebooks and other techniques from material culture studies to record what we see, and how the process can teach us something about both the buildings we are observing, and ourselves. This discussion is part of the preparation for our field trip next week.

[Friday Oct 19: meeting time and location will be announced in class]

Field Trip: TRIP TO AN AMAZING BUILDING [Large group meeting; Wurster Hall Ground Floor Lobby; 2pm)
This semester’s field trip will take the form of a guided tour from Wurster Hall. The location will be announced later in the semester.  We will draw upon the expertise of our Mentors, who are both completing their Ph.Ds in the History of Architecture and Urbanism, and commentary by special guests, to provide you with a sequence of experiences that will transform how you think about architecture.

*Thursday Oct 25

One-on-one meetings [Discussion group meetings, room 101 and 104 and Ground Floor Lobby, Wurster
This week, your mentors will be meeting you for the second of two required one-on-one meetings. You’ll sign up for your appointment in advance, and it will take place either during the regular time for your section meeting, or in a scheduled meeting in your mentor’s office. While one-on-one meetings are taking place in the sections rooms, we’ll be meeting for desert and conversation in the ground floor lobby.

Thursday Nov 1

“Young Architects: A Conversation with Rudabeh Pakravan and Jason Campbell
[Large group discussion, Ground Floor Lobby, 6pm]
In this open format panel discussion, Rudabeh and Jason, two practicing architects who also teach in the Department of Architecture, will discuss their trajectories from their undergraduate degrees to their current careers. We’ll hear about how they made their choice of graduate schools, how they established their architectural firms; we’ll also have a chance to see some of examples of their current creative work, to be followed by an open question and answer session.

Thursday Nov 8

*“The design jury: Giving and receiving criticism” [Discussion group meetings with M.Arch students;
rooms 104 and 172 Wurster Hall]
The design jury is a central part of design education. What are the goals of the jury, and what constitutes a successful jury experience? What are the best ways to prepare for, and present at a jury? Does the way you present your work alter the criticism you receive? In this discussion, we’ll discuss the purpose of the jury, and identify some of the characteristics we associate with successful critiques.
Berkeley Connect students will have the option of attending the M.Arch juries of our visiting speakers. This is a great opportunity for you to see some of our speakers in action, and to get a sense of the discussions going on amongst faculty and students in the M.Arch program. A schedule of recommended reviews will be provided. This discussion will address how best to experience the jury as a learning opportunity, in which you as a student are an active participant.

Thursday Nov 15

*“Looking back/Looking ahead” [Discussion group meetings; rooms 104 and 172]
As we approach the end of the semester, we’ll look back over our discussions and gather together some of the insights you’ve gained. We’ll return to the points we developed about managing time; speaking up in class; having a life outside the CED; making the most of criticism. We’ll also look ahead and discuss your goals for the coming semester, and how the things you’ve learned in Berkeley Connect might help you achieve them.

Thursday Nov 22 Thanksgiving Break

Thursday Nov 29

*“Last Class with Pizza” [Ground floor lobby, Wurster Hall at 6pm]
This is a chance for us to gather together one last time, to check in with friends, and reflect on all that has happened in Berkeley Connect over the semester. We’ll meet in conversation clusters for snacks in the ground floor lobby. Margaret, Alec and Rina will be in attendance to listen to your questions and suggestions.


To find sections in the upcoming semester, search the Schedule of Classes for Architecture 98BC (for first-year and sophomores) or 198BC (for juniors and seniors).

To help you meet other students who share your experiences and perspectives, Berkeley Connect sections are designated as lower division (first-year students and sophomores), new junior transfers, and upper division (juniors and seniors), but you can enroll in any section that fits your schedule and credit requirements.

How to Sign Up

To participate in Berkeley Connect in Architecture, you enroll in a designated section of Architecture 98BC or 198BC (one unit, taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis). Many students chose to enroll for more than one semester. Participation is NOT restricted to declared majors.To sign up, enroll in a Berkeley Connect section when course registration opens.  Please see the Berkeley Connect sections listed above under “Schedule.”

**Read the schedule notes carefully—different sections are designated as primarily for lower-division (freshmen and sophomores), upper-division (juniors and seniors), or junior transfer students.

If you are interested in participating in Berkeley Connect, but course registration is not currently open, you can join the Berkeley Connect Mailing List, and you will be sent more details when the next semester’s information becomes available.

Contact Us

Please see our FAQs. If you have additional questions about Berkeley Connect in Architecture, please contact:  Professor Margaret Crawford, Faculty Director, mcrawfor@berkeley.edu

Susan Hagstrom, Director of Undergraduate Advising, Architecture, hagstrom@berkeley.edu

You can also contact the central Berkeley Connect office at berkeleyconnect@berkeley.edu or (510)664-4182.

Links & Resources