SAN MARCOS — At a construction site in National City, ten students from the Palomar College Architecture program suited up to participate in a Habitat for Humanity project providing six townhomes for families in need.

The project is the central focus of a pilot program designed to give students real-world experience, both on construction sites and in offices where they will learn the “soft skills” like client relations that are essential to becoming successful architects.

“Our goal, first and foremost, is to make this program as hands-on as possible—trying to use the buildings on campus as learning tools, and get out into the field as much as possible,” said Professor Joe Lucido.

“This is an opportunity for our students to better understand construction methodology while giving back, and we hope to make this collaboration an integral part of our architectural studies at Palomar,” he added.

Led by Adjunct Professor and local architect Nathan Houck, the Architectural Internship class requires students to complete 180 hours of on-site work. Lucido said the course, ARCH 295, is open even to beginning architecture students, and that he hopes to see students from aligned programs like Interior Design participate to gain on-site experience.

When it comes to construction projects, said Lucido, “The architect is like the conductor, and their job is to conduct the piece of music that is the building. The more students can get out there and understand the pieces of the orchestra, the better ability they will have to conduct.”