Thirty-five Computer Aided Design (CAD) students from Burbank High School visited architecture firm Gensler as part of Burbank Unified School District’s Day On The Job program for Career Technical Education (CTE) learners.
“The students had an opportunity to see an architectural firm that produces many of the world’s largest construction projects including LA Live, The Ritz Carlton Los Angeles and the Shanghai Tower,” said Burbank High CAD and Digital Photography teacher James Bentley.
“The studio environment is where original ideas and creativity happen; the students of Burbank High school saw first hand what occurs inside a professional working architectural studio,” he added.
“Gensler was a very open minded place that had a lot of crazy detail in their buildings and well designed structures that are all very innovative,” commented senior Cameron Loffarelli. “You won’t see that on your average type of building.”
The two-year BUSD Day On The Job program is sponsored by Overton Moore Properties, explained Peggy Flynn, Arts & CTE Coordinator for Burbank Unified, connecting Burbank High students with professionals – developers, investment managers, architects, designers, attorneys, engineers, contractors and other professional firms – who are involved in the development of AVION Burbank.
Overton Moore covers the costs of transportation, lunch and substitute teachers so the regular class teachers can attend with their students, added Flynn. Field trips occur on average once or twice each month during the school year.
The students “are learning from professionals who were once high school students themselves,” said Flynn. “How they found their way to their chosen career – education, interests and which jobs they held as they worked to their current positions… and following the entire development of the AVION project as it unfolds!”
“We are really excited to see the work site evolve and will be visiting as they move from planning to construction, and ultimately the completed project – hearing from every entity involved and their particular role in bringing the vision to fruition.”
The Day On The Job visit to Gensler began with lunch in the conference room and a PowerPoint presentation on the company’s work for AVION Burbank.
After the lunch, Gensler Principal Marty Borko facilitated a panel discussion with four Gensler architects and designers – each who made their way to careers at the firm from throughout the world – one from China, two from New York and a third who immigrated from Cuba.
“I think it was especially meaningful for our students to hear that not all set out to be architects,” said Flynn. “One started in construction, another had been a writer, another an artist. All shared that they considered what they enjoyed doing and investigating what skills and education was required before pursuing their education careers and no two stories were the same.”
“Some began as undergraduates while others started in other fields that led them to people and projects and one opportunity/interest led to another. We have so many students who have come from other countries and/or cultures – I think it was powerful to have them hear those stories and that they succeeded in achieving their goals.”
The Burbank students toured the Gensler facilities and visited the work space of each host, viewing projects both in process and completed.
“I was particularly impressed with the questions students asked,” added Flynn. “Our hosts shared that they were impressed with the caliber of the CAD program and how lucky our kids were to be able to learn skills with tools being used in their industry.”
“The AVION Burbank project has undergone many phases of development, and the students were able to see the conceptual renderings and digital animations of the proposed site,” Bentley said about the visit to Gensler. “Seeing the proposed 3D renderings overlaid on Google maps images made the project come to life and allowed everyone to realize what this will look like in the near future.”
“I think that the trip we took was great because it helped me look toward my choices of what courses to take in college and what career to pursue in the future, and if it involves me becoming an architect then I’m glad that I’ll be getting to do something that matters,” commented senior Shant Tergalstyan.
AVION Burbank is a proposed development formerly known as the B-6 site, located to the east of the Burbank Hollywood Airport. Approximately 1.2MSF of mixed use campus development on 60 acres of land, the project pitches “creative office, creative industrial, retail to serve the project and surrounding business community and a hotel site.”
BUSD matches CTE classes with Day On The Job program partner companies based on their interests in learning about the careers and how to achieve them, explained Flynn. Companies participating in the program are: Overton Moore Properties, Structural Focus, CBRE, Gensler, KGM Architectural Lighting, Invesco, Elkins Kalt, HPA Architects, Looking LA, Thienes Engineering, Ridge Landscape Architect, Ardent Environmental and Nephew.
The Burbank High Finance Academy students visited Overton Moore Properties in the fall semester of 2016 to learn about commercial property development and careers. Advanced CAD students also visited Structural Focus to learn about structural engineering and careers.
Burbank and John Burroughs High Students are slated to visit more Day On The Job partners in the spring semester including CBRE commercial property management company, Elkins Kalt legal firm and Looking LA visual communication design company. Both BHS and JBHS Stage Craft and Theatre Tech classes will tour KGM Architectural Lighting in the coming months as well.