Architecture camp celebrates 25 years of service

Architecture camp celebrates 25 years of service

By Stephanie Danner


An architecture camp for kids is celebrating its 25th year of service to the community.

Kid Architecture Camp is a summer camp at the university which allows children to learn about the built world around them. Students from all over the U.S. gather to be part of this learning experience.


Jon Davey, an architecture professor, said he started the program 25 years ago with the hope of children being able to see the world around them with a deeper sense of appreciation. He said his goal is for students to be able to understand the walls they live in and why they are important.

Davey also hosts two other camps: Middle School Architecture Camp and High School Architecture Camp.

Camps last one week and are structured for three different learning levels: grades fourth through sixth, middle school, and high school. This year, camps have already been conducted in Sydney, Nova Scotia, and Murphysboro. Students travel from around the country to the camps to learn why buildings look the way they do and how they stand up, to have hands on experience and to investigate the design of the built environment around them.

Nick Lach, a senior from Murphysboro studying automotive technology, said he attended the camps when he was in middle school and his favorite part of the camp was when Davey would give them an opportunity to put their knowledge into practice. He said he would lecture and then have the students participate in an activity relating to the topic at hand.

Lach said he enjoyed the projects they did such as building a bridge out of watermelons and walking across it after using elements from Davey’s lectures and instruction.

“I was small enough that the high school kids put me on the watermelon bridge and it held my weight,” he said.

Lach said he didn’t realize what an impact Davey and the architecture camps had on him. He said he enjoyed the camp so much that he soon began working with Davey at the camps.


Davey has great knowledge about his field, but more importantly, he has a passion for it and wants people to understand the world around them, Lach said.

“We go from eight in the morning to eight at night just looking for that teachable moment,” Davey said. “I believe most people are visually illiterate and it’s critically important for young people to understand the built environment around them.”

Current camp students are getting the same type of experiences that Lach had ten years ago.

Fritz Cuhn, a middle school student from San Diego, Calif., said he enjoys building and is excited about the projects they are going to make throughout the week. Some projects include building a model house using Exacto knives and cardboard, making Egyptian art by carving hieroglyphics into clay and pouring cement into molds to make mosaics.

The camp also encourages students to explore the world of architecture as a possible career.

Sophia Davie, a middle school student from Herrin, started her first year at architechure camp and said she thinks it’s a fun way to know if it’s something she would want to pursue as a career.

“Dr. Davey is really inspirational and he’s someone to look up to. Learning about architecture really inspires me because I like art and I think the way buildings are built is pretty cool,” she said.

Jemes Perez, a middle school student from Chicago said he is very interested in becoming an architect and thinks this camp will help him decide if this career choice is a good fit for him.

“The architecture camp is very educational for students. It helps us get a look into college life as well as architecture in a college,” he said. “It helps us know what we need to do in order to improve our skills in architecture. It also helps me think about the pros and cons of architecture as a career.”