RODE Talks to Cristo Rey Boston High School: What It's Like To Be An Architect

At RODE, we strive to benefit our community not only through design, but also as active stewards of our field. As an industry that notably lacks diversity, RODE is committed to making the field more inclusive.


With this in mind, we have partnered with Cristo Rey Boston High School in Dorchester, a school exclusively focused on families of limited economic resources. Serving as both a corporate sponsor of their work-study program and as an educational resource for their students, we are able to connect with pre-college students who might consider architecture as an educational path. Yet even though 2020 forced Cristo Rey Boston to pause its work-study program, it didn’t stop us from finding a way to connect with the students...

This fall, Associate Mike Dellefave and designer Miranda Shugars shared virtual presentations via Microsoft Teams to students of CRB's freshman and junior classes. The presentation, titled “Our Life in Architecture”, led students through the process of becoming an architect.


Mike and Miranda began by sharing a bit about their backgrounds. Both grew up in very different places, went to college for very different majors, and obtained a degree in architecture through very different paths. They further demonstrated the various paths of becoming an architect with a slide showing all of the different undergraduate degrees that individuals at RODE obtained on their road to becoming architects.

The speakers then showed the students what they might expect to work on while in college for architecture—digital renderings to physical models, concept boards to sketches. They emphasized that students will learn to make compelling visual arguments and clear, precise drawings, which is how architects defend and communicate their ideas and designs to clients, the community, and project team members.

Mike and Miranda concluded by sharing the design process of 110 + 120 Savin Hill Avenue, two RODE projects located around the corner from CRB. This gave the students a concrete example of how a building starts with a design concept and a vision and evolves into an impactful building that benefits the community.

They explained the importance of finding an architecture firm that fits your values and allows you to work on the types of projects most meaningful to you. “RODE creates for community. The client is all of YOU,” Mike explained. “Our firm builds locally. We live in the neighborhoods where we build, and we get to see firsthand the impacts of our work. That’s key to how we practice,” added Miranda.


After the presentation, Mike and Miranda had a conversation with the students about their interest in architecture. One student asked about the design process working from home. Another asked, “when I walk around Boston I see a lot of buildings I like, and a lot I wish were different. Do you think about that when you design?” A student also asked about how architects works with others in the building process. "Do you work with engineers? Do you design first, and then engineers look at it? Or do you work together and come up with it all at once? All of the questions were insightful and inspiring. The next generation of architects were surely tuned into the presentation.


RODE is proud to be a part of Cristo Rey Boston's work-study program, which enables students spend time in a professional setting that appeals to their interests. This exposure is invaluable, as it allows students to explore potential career paths in a real-world setting. As a sponsor, we are able to welcome students to our office, show them our work and process, and answer their questions. Through these efforts, we hope to show students that they can and should pursue architecture as a career. RODE plans to host an office tour for Cristo Rey Boston High School students this fall, when the junior class will be applying for college.

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