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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.


MMargaret Crawfordargaret 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

JJaime Gomezaime Gomez is a PhD candidate in Architecture.
Where did you grow up?

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia, Architecture.

In a sentence or two, how would you describe your research?

I study how boarding schools in Colombia and Cuba were part of projects to disrupt normative social situations and make particular types of persons. I focus on the institutionalized domesticity of the schools and the transformation of the territory around them.

Rina Priyani is a PhD candidate in Architecture.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Bandung, Indonesia.

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

I went to Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia as an undergraduate student. My major was Architectural Engineering.

In a sentence or two, how would you describe your research?

I study architecture and the city. I’m interested in understanding how cities changed from time to time, not only from the built form, rather from stories and memories of the people who live(d) there.

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 26 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 the BAM/PFA. We will also be holding a panel discussion with the Chair of Architecture, Ron Rael,  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 Sept. 5

“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 Jaime Gomez and Rina Priyani.

*Thursday Sept 12 [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 (Jaime 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 26 and October 31, or another time during your Mentor’s office hours. The first meeting on September 26 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 19[ 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 26 [Discussion group meetings, room 101 and 104 and Ground Floor Lobby, Wurster Hall] “One on one meetings”

Make sure to attend your scheduled  one-on-one meetings are in progress with your mentor.

*Thursday Oct 3 [Discussion group meetings; rooms 104 and 172 Wurster Hall]

“What is (not) architecture?”

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 Ron Rael on our bCourses site

Thursday Oct 10

“*Ron Rael” [meets with 6pm group and 7pm group in room 172}

This week the Chair of the Department of Architecture, Ron Rael, will be in conversation with us about topics suggested by you. We will ask you to prepare and post questions for Ron 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.

*Thursday Oct 17

*“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 24

“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 25: meeting time and location will be announced in class]

Field Trip: TRIP TO BAM/PFA [meet in Wurster Hall Ground Floor Lobby; 2pm)

This semester’s field trip will take the form of a guided tour of Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Architecture.

*Thursday Oct 31

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 7

*“Young Architects: A Conversation with Rudabeh Pakravan and Jason Campbell

[6:00 and 7:00pm groups meet in 172]

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 14

*“The design jury: Giving and receiving criticism” [Discussion group meetings with seniors] 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.

We urge Berkeley Connect students to observe juries around Wurster Hall. 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 21

*“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 28 Thanksgiving Break

Thursday Dec 5

*“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, Jaime 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