As the end of April approaches, architecture students everywhere are feverishly hunting for work to fill the summer gap between semesters. Unless you’re privileged enough to already have a position lined up through a well-established contact, you may soon find yourself out of luck and left considering unpaid “internships”… We suggest looking for something a little different that will also help set your CV apart from the crowd. Consider looking for a volunteer position instead! We’ve already taken some of the work off your hands and scoured the internet for a variety of architecturally relevant opportunities. Take a look at the list and add anything we may have missed in the comments below.
The Architectural League of New York is looking for volunteers to help out with lectures, exhibition installations, and special events. Volunteering at the League is a great way to get involved in the city’s architecture scene.
The Buckminster Fuller Institute has opportunities for volunteers covering a variety of design-related fields.
Storefront for Art & Architecture is dedicated to the promotion of art and architecture in New York and hosts a number of programs and events that depend on volunteer assistance for exhibition installations, openings and events.
Terreform ONE is an award-winning non-profit design group based in Brooklyn – currently looking for research assistants.
The Center for Architecture in New York uses education as a tool for the appreciation of the built environment. Volunteering at the Center for Architecture Foundation is a great way to contribute to the community, learn new skills, and have fun!
Builders Without Borders is an international network of ecological builders who aim to construct and improve the design of socially conscious and affordable housing.
With BuildOn you can help raise money and participate in the construction of a school building in a community in need of education resources.
Working with Habitat for Humanity is a classic volunteering opportunity for architecture students.
Community Design Collaborative in Philadelphia provides pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations, offering unique volunteering opportunities for design professionals and raising awareness about the importance of design in community revitalization.
Adventures in Preservation offers volunteer opportunities directed toward saving distinctive architecture that defines a region’s history and culture.
Through DOCOMOMO you can help to record and preserve important architectural landmarks in the New York/Tri-State area.
Architects Without Borders-Seattle provides ecologically sensitive and culturally appropriate design assistance to communities in need in the Seattle area and abroad.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation relies heavily on volunteers to promote their mission of inspiring people to discover why design matters.
Public Architecture in San Francisco puts the resources of architecture in the service of the public interest. Here you can help identify and solve practical problems of human interaction in the built environment and act as a catalyst for public discourse through education, advocacy and the design of public spaces and amenities.
Architecture for Humanity, one of our favorites, brings people who care about sustainable development together to provide a range of design and construction administration services through a global network of design, development and construction professionals with local expertise and knowledge.
Finally, the AIA has various volunteer opportunities within the organization and can also help you find positions elsewhere. But if you still can’t find something that works for you, Design Intelligence also has a curated a list of organizations that have architecturally relevant volunteer opportunities that’s worth checking out.
Now go make the world a better and more beautiful place!
(Written by Brandon Pietras. Editing and additional contributions by Brian Pickard.)