Project Pipeline Online: NOMA Pittsburgh’s Youth Education Effort Goes Virtual


Capping off an unusual summer – one marked by large scale racial justice protests and an ongoing pandemic – the National Organization of Minority Architects’ Pittsburgh chapter (NOMA PGH) is breaking new ground.

Along with NOMA chapters across the country, every summer NOMA PGH hosts Project Pipeline Architecture Camp, an in-person, summer camp designed to expose underrepresented students to architecture and the built environment. According to NOMA PGH’s website, “(It’s part of our) solution to increasing the number of underrepresented minorities pursuing careers in architecture.”

What’s different this year? Due to COVID-19, Project Pipeline Architecture Camp is shifting its format. Usually a 2-day, in-person event, this year NOMA PGH will be posting a series of videos with lessons and at-home exercises, “to introduce young students (especially students of color, women, and minorities) to basic architectural skills (and some of the theory behind them).”

According to GBBN’s Mel Ngami, co-director of this year’s Project Pipeline Architecture Summer Camp, “once it was clear that it couldn’t happen, taking the program online wasn’t a difficult decision to make… we didn’t hesitate to say, ‘let’s go.’” Mel says that organizing the online camp has been a challenge for her, her co-director, Michael Larché and NOMA PGH President, Victoria Avecedo, “but we honestly just want to reach out to our students to let them know we are still here, and we hope to expose them a bit more to architecture on the way.”

Learn more about Mel here. Read about her work on Carnegie Mellon University’s Sorrells Library or Pittsburgh’s Contemporary Craft.