Berkeley Connect

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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

Rina Priyani Rina Priyani is a PhD candidate in Architecture.

Where did you grow up?

Bandung, Indonesia

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

I went to Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia. My major was Architectural Engineering.

How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?

My research examines how architects, builders, citizens, politicians, and visionaries of the postcolonial world took part in the life of the city, foregrounding the roles of gender and ethnicity through late Dutch colonialism, Japanese occupation, and post-independence Indonesia.

Ettore Santi Ettore Santi is a PhD candidate in Architecture.

Where did you grow up?

A rural town in northern Italy

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

Milan, Architecture

How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?

My research examines environmental design discourses, practices, and techniques transforming the totality of China’s rural villages into state-directed spaces for intensive food extraction.

Semester Activities

Course format:
Berkeley Connect is an innovative 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, a film screening and a faculty panel discussion. 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 bcourses 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 all large group events (with the exception of the field trip) will begin at 6pm. Please also note that you are required to attend two one-on-one meetings with your Mentor, either during the class times scheduled for this on February 20, and April 9, or at a time arranged with your Mentor.

Berkeley Connect requires no homework assignments, papers, or exams. You are simply required to participate. What do we mean by participation? For the two one-on-one mentoring sessions, we expect you to respect your mentor’s time by showing up promptly and prepared to engage in an honest conversation about your academic interests, goals, concerns, challenges, etc. The section meetings are designed to involve students in interactive discussions and activities. The more students share their ideas, opinions, and perspectives, the more valuable these sessions will be–for you and for your fellow students. We understand that some students are more comfortable speaking in group settings than others. We strive to provide ways for students to interact in pairs and small groups, and to contribute in various ways. You don’t have to be a frequent speaker in order to be an engaged participant; listening is also a powerful way of being present. We do ask that you give your fellow students your full attention, and that you commit to being an engaged member of the group, even if you do so quietly. This means, among other things, putting away all screen devices unless you’ve been invited to use them for a specific activity. Meeting these expectations will allow you to reap the full benefit of participating in Berkeley Connect, and make your presence a benefit to others.

Requirements: To receive credit for Berkeley Connect, you must attend all small group section meetings and special events (with the exception of those scheduled on Fridays, which are optional), and complete the final course evaluation for the class. You must notify your mentor of any conflicts with large group meetings before they take place to avoid having an unexcused absence added to your class record.


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

Thursday Jan 30
Welcome to Berkeley Connect! [Large group meeting 6-7pm, Room 172] Important: Everyone should come at 6pm for the first meeting even if your regular class time is 7pm!!
Our first session of Berkeley Connect will bring all enrolled students together in room 112 Wurster Hall. We’ll introduce you to the Faculty and Mentors affiliated with Berkeley Connect this Spring: Director Margaret Crawford, Rina Priyani  and Eric Peterson. We’ll discuss what the students liked about the Fall 2019 program, and what we’re adding to make the Spring 2020 program even better and more exciting. You’ll also learn about course policies, special events and visitors, and how to use our Bcourses site. Please plan to be in room 172 for a 6pm start!

Thursday Feb 6 * [Small group meetings; rooms 172 and 101]
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 (Rina or Eric). We’d like you to tell us a bit about yourself and your hopes for the semester in Berkeley Connect. Perhaps a game or two!

Thursday Feb 13* [Small group meetings; rooms 172 and 101 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?

Thursday Feb 20 [One-on-one meetings]
Making connections/Meeting your mentor (Required one-on-one meetings) Your mentors will be meeting you in an individual appointment, either during our scheduled meeting times on Thursday, or at another time during your mentor’s office hours. You’ll sign up for an appointment time online.

Thursday Feb 27* [Small group meetings in room 172 and 101 Wurster Hall]
Speaking up/Speaking out 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 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 March 5* [Small group discussion; rooms 172 and 101 Wurster Hall]
How to have a life during crunch time
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.

Thursday March 12* [Small group meetings in room 172 Wurster Hall]
Making the most of criticism
This discussion, including recent grads and current students, will address how to handle criticism you receive from professors, GSIs and your peers. For students who are in the Upper Division, we’ll focus on how best to experience the design jury as a learning opportunity, in which you as a student are an active participant. For those of you in the Lower Division, we’ll cast our net more broadly and talk about how to deal with feedback on assignments of all kinds, from research papers to exams. Lower Division students should try to observe a Circus review. This week we will be reflecting on the ways in which you can learn from criticism. If you attended the Circus please bring a photo and/or an observation about the review you observed.

Thursday March 19* [both groups in 172] at 6pm and 7pm
What’s next: important resources and things to know for the summer, and after graduation. This is your chance to explore options for what you’ll do when you’re not in school, either in the summer or as the next stage in your life after you graduate. We’ll talk about getting your first internship or job, resources that may be useful to find the right position, and alternate paths for those who may want to explore options outside architecture. We will be joined at this session by representatives from UC Berkeley’s Career Center.

Friday March 20 [Optional event; advanced sign-up on bcourses required]
Field trip: BAMPFA (check for updates)

Thursday March 26  SPRING BREAK NO CLASS

Thursday April 2
One-on-one meetings. 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.

Thursday April 9* [Room 172]
This week Margaret Crawford and the Chair of the Department of Architecture, Ron Rael, will participate in an open discussion with you about issues in the architecture major. We will ask you to propose a question for discussion, and send it to your mentor, via the bcourses site. We’ll gather the questions together, and use the first few to get the conversation started, and go from there.

Thursday April 16* [Large group meeting; 172 Wurster Hall at 6pm]
Young architects talk: We will hear from two young architects, now lecturers at Berkeley, about their education, work and life as an architect.

Thursday April 23* [Small group meetings, room 172 and 101]
For the summer: Engaging with architecture at home, on line and on vacation
In this discussion, we’d like everyone to come to section ready to talk about a book they’d like to read or film they plan to watch, or a building the want to visit over the summer. There are no limitations on your choices — suggestions can include fiction and non-fiction, documentaries, or films in which particular buildings or cities play an important role in the plot (think, for example, of the movie Blade Runner: a science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott in 1984, set in a dystopian Los Angeles of the future). Each section will come up with a watch/read list that we will post on bcourses for your reference over the summer.

Thursday April 30 [all sections meet in 172 Wurster at 6pm]
Reflections and looking ahead + Pizza
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, and Margaret, 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,

Susan Hagstrom, Director of Undergraduate Advising, Architecture,

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

Links & Resources