Community Engagement

Learning to work with and for others (our clients) is a huge part of your training as an architect, but it’s an aspect of our work that isn’t often taught in school.  Rooted in the core values of the Jesuits and the Sisters of Mercy, our approach to design emphasizes the role of architecture as a service profession and an opportunity for strong community leadership.  Through studios that include meaningful engagement with real clients, our students internalize a deeper understanding of the importance of a great physical environment in all our communities, and the potential they have as leaders to serve the common good through the power of design.

Students in all our academic programs work on real-world projects that overlap and enhance the classroom experience - starting in the first year all the way up to the graduate level.  This approach challenges our students to put their ideas to work right away and gives them valuable insights into the relationships they will develop with clients in a professional setting.

Detroit Collaborative Design Center

Detroit Collaborative Design Center

One way that our students can really learn to collaborate with clients while participating in the resurgence of Detroit is through our unique and award winning architecture firm embedded right in the school – the Detroit Collaborative Design Center. Since DCDC’s founding in 1994, we have worked with over 100 nonprofit organizations and community groups.  Our staff includes seven full-time urban design, architecture, and landscape architecture professionals and two to four interns per semester.  DCDC works with Detroit based nonprofit organizations, communities, government agencies, and foundations by engaging all stakeholders in the design of their buildings and neighborhoods.

In addition to full time internship and part-time employment opportunities for students, the DCDC staff also teaches a number of classes including studios that give students the chance to collaborate with real clients on their own design work.