With projects ranging from a gaming pavilion to a pantheon of all sports to a green house and more, eager Trenton Central High School students brought their “A” game when presenting innovative architectural designs at Princeton University School of Architecture’s Portfolio Day Princeton ArcPrep class on Tuesday, January 28, 2020. As they presented their final projects, students had the opportunity to discuss the work with Princeton School of Architecture students and faculty, architects, and academics. This marked the third class to present work since the program’s inception in fall of 2018.

Trenton architect John D.S. Hatch provides wise counsel and words of encouragement to Trenton Central High School Students at Princeton’s ArcPrep Portfolio Day on Jan. 28, 2020.

A number of students including Joseph Argueta, Brandon Carias-Gonzales, Tyrese Douglas, Steve Cardona Rico, Princess Hall, Kaylie Jaquez, Brallam Lima, Jorge Lopez, Christopher Olmedo-Garcia, Jonathan Rodríguez, and Yaquelyn Rivera, presented their respective projects with great poise and professionalism.

Bryan Evans, Vice President at Greater Trenton and others learn about projects from Trenton Central High School Students at Princeton’s ArcPrep Portfolio Day on Jan. 28, 2020.

The Princeton ArcPrep program—which is embedded within the Trenton Central High School curriculum—introduces high school sophomore students to the discipline of architecture through an immersive, semester-long course on architecture, urbanism, and integrated design studio practices.

Michael McCormick, Rick Lazarick and Robert Bullington (not shown here) from Vision Trenton also sat down with students to encourage them and provide feedback.
Trenton Central High School student Jonathan Rodríguez presents his Pantheon of All Sports concept at Princeton’s ArcPrep Portfolio Day on Jan. 28, 2020.

“This semester the students have been thinking about the way that architects can address specific communities and how architecture helps to form community,” said Program Instructor and Princeton Architectural Design Fellow, Jorge Orozco Gonzalez (M.Arch ’11). “The fundamental idea of the course itself is empowerment. They have learned that as designers they have the agency to transform the world around them. The greenhouse, anime theater, fashion design workshop, and many other spaces they have designed will serve to make Trenton a better place for kids just like them.”

For their final projects, the students were tasked with designing something that was important and enjoyable to them, but are unable to experience currently because Trenton lacks the space.

Trenton Central High School student Joseph Argueta presents his Wrestling Haus concept at Princeton’s ArcPrep Portfolio Day on Jan. 28, 2020.

Since last school year, the program welcomed Alumnus Jorge Orozco Gonzalez as the next Program Instructor and Architectural Design Fellow, had its first semester in the new Trenton Central High School—a state-of-the-art $155 Million project that took five years to complete, purchased an Oculus Quest to use Virtual and Augmented Reality in the design process, started an after-school club that is creating an architecture themed Virtual Reality game, and received a $5,000 donation from NJM Foundation. This year the class traveled to sites in New York and Philadelphia, visited the architecture offices of Princeton architect J. Robert Hillier FAIA and Trenton architect John D.S. Hatch FAIA, and had a classroom visit with Dr. Carol Bentel, Chair of the BFA Interior Design: Built Environments Department at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. 

Greater Trenton’s CEO George Sowa and VP of Marketing Bryan Evans address future architects at Trenton Central High School during last year’s Princeton ArcPrep Program

Princeton ArcPrep aims to diversify the field of architecture by providing comprehensive support, guidance, and academic and cultural enrichment to students who are typically underrepresented in American architecture schools and thus the profession of architecture. A rigorous academic program, Princeton ArcPrep helps participating students develop skills, knowledge and awareness related to careers in architecture and to aid in college readiness. The class is comprised of Trenton Central High School sophomores selected for their academic standing and interest in architecture.

Trenton Central High School student Yaquelyn Rivera discusses her Green house and Nursery Pavilion project at Princeton’s ArcPrep Portfolio Day on Jan. 28, 2020.

The Princeton ArcPrep program was conceived by Monica Ponce de Leon, dean of Princeton School of Architecture and launched with former Program Instructor and Architectural Design Fellow, Katie Zaeh (M.Arch ’10) in fall of 2018. Princeton University School of Architecture provides programmatic support, and Trenton Public Education Foundation (TPEF) has raised $18,500 to support the program with the help of LENNAR – We Care Foundation, NJM Foundation, Homasote Foundation, West Windsor Gardens, Sharbell Development Corporation, Eckert Seamans Charitable Foundation, and Mary Jo and James C. Hedden.

The School of Architecture, Princeton’s center for teaching and research in architectural design, urbanism, history and theory, and architectural technologies, provides students with a course of study that reflects on contemporary and emerging issues in architecture. Principal degrsoees offered by the School include a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.), Master of Architecture (M.Arch), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Students at the School of Architecture benefit from its small size and thorough integration with the University community.