I'm pretty new to the Cyburbia Forums. Last year, I posted a question about applying to graduate school in urban planning. Thanks to the Cyburbia bloggers, I was able to make a pretty good decision, and I accepted UCLA's offer last spring. The trouble is that I never really wanted to study JUST urban planning. I went into urban planning in order to get some design experience to apply for a joint master's program in architecture and urban planning. However, the UCLA UP program has not been very helpful in advising me about how to go about crafting an architecture portfolio (in order to apply for the architecture part of their joint program).

I did not know enough about drafting or urban design in order to apply for the joint program at UCLA this year. So, right now, I am concentrating on urban planning, with an emphasis on Design and Development within the UCLA urban planning department. The course I took in Urban Graphics this fall was too quick for me to get sufficient experience to craft an exceptional architecture admissions portfolio. I acquired invaluable Photoshop, AutoCAD, and drafting skills over the course of the class, but everything was so rushed that I'd really like to get a more thorough design experience this year.

I'd really appreciate it if anyone on this site could give me some suggestions as to how I could get more experience and instruction in design (i.e., studio projects, architectural drawings, paintings, models, and/or product design). The architecture studios at UCLA are very difficult to get into as an urban planning student. What would you suggest I do to get more experience for my admissions design portfolio? I have until next year, December 2009, to craft this portfolio and get any experience I need to complete it.

Thank you very much for any of your suggestions!