OCC Architecture Club creates community

OCC’s Architecture Club shares recent sketches at the Huntington Beach Library.   

Orange Coast College’s Architecture Club engages members by organizing field trips, taking part in design competitions and preparing students for transfer. 

The club holds its meetings in room 155 of the Technology Center on campus every Monday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and usually provides pizza for students. 

“Whether it's through sharing critiques or meeting up to sketch and experiencing architecture first hand, here is where I have truly found my place at OCC,” said Vice President of Architecture Club Natasha Lam. 

Club coordinator Joseph Sarafian shares that the Architecture Club applies studio culture to work habits. 

“Instead of competing with the person next to you, you're working together, sharing ideas and trading software tips and things like that to help your classmates,” Sarafian said. 

While practicing field sketching at local architecturally famous spots is usually one of the club’s main activities, the fall semester is more reliant on covering transfer resources during meeting time. Students from Sci Arc, a private architecture school in Los Angeles, have been guiding members through this process.

“They've shown their portfolios, what work they did at OCC and how they made the transition to a five-year program in architecture,” Sarafian said.

Because architecture encompasses a variety of skill sets, the club welcomes students to join who are interested in art, design and technology. Members also work side by side with other divisions who are well versed in operating technology used in the process of architectural creation.

The Fashion and Welding Departments assist the club in sewing fabric and welding rebuilt brackets for connectors, establishing a sense of community at OCC stemming from a passion for design. 

“The club is a great resource for not only networking, but building friendships and keeping in touch with your classmates outside of school,” Sarafian said. 

Last year, the club won two awards, including an honorable mention while participating in Cal Poly San Luis Obisbo’s design village. The event requires participants to sleep in their small structures for a weekend. 

The competition includes California-based architecture schools carrying their supplies on a mile hike to set up their structures at Poly Canyon, an adventure that the club partakes in every year. 

“Ever since we participated in Design Village I have been really into fabrication and taking my designs from conceptual drawings to actual and tangible things,” Architecture Club President Katelyn Nordstrand said. 

Future club meetings will feature watercolor sketching and model making, along with preparation for the Orange County Sustainability Decathlon in 2023.  The competition requires 10 contestants to build homes that are powered by renewable energy for the future.

OCC’s club and the UC Irvine’s architecture students have planned to team up for the upcoming event. 

The structure will be built by Oct. 2023 when the event takes place then donated to transitional housing for the youth after being displayed at the Orange County Fairgrounds


“It's gonna be a small house that will not only enter into the competition, but its afterlife will also find a home,” Sarafian said. 

The club has visited the Huntington Beach Central Library along with the Newport Beach Civic Center in the past for sketching trips.

“We just hope to nurture a community that is a place for people to enjoy their time,” Lam said, “It's no pressure, come if you can club!”

For those interested in becoming a part of OCC’s Architecture Club, contact information can be found on OCC’s active clubs and organizations webpage

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