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Hands-on Experiences Opened the Door to Specialization 

Darpan Arora, M. Arch 2019
Architectural Designer, Alexander V Bogaerts & Associates

CoAD promises an education based on theory and practice, with heavy emphasis on practice. For M.Arch. alum Darpan Arora, the hands-on experience he gained in school inspired his career direction.

Darpan came to LTU as an international student from India. Always drawn to healthcare design, he planned to pursue U.S. licensure in the M.Arch program. He found that the program’s built-in practical experiences not only fostered networking and job opportunities, but led him to a specialization he didn’t expect. The program’s flexible online courses also made it easy to focus on research projects while managing classwork at his own pace.

In one practical experience, Darpan managed a year-long project conducting historical documentation on the Frank Lloyd Wright Affleck House in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The three-pronged effort called for him to research the home’s history and development, measure the structure to create a set of architectural drawings and a 3D model, and recreate historically accurate photos of the building. Today, Darpan’s results are published in the Library of Congress.

His work on the Affleck House did more than hone Darpan’s skills in modeling software; it led to a Building Information Modeling (BIM) specialization, which most big architectural firms use today for multidisciplinary collaboration.

Later, Darpan followed his interest in research to the Detroit Zoo’s Great Lakes Center for Nature in Michigan’s Macomb county. He conducted a programming study of the proposed nature center and what it could include in terms of architectural spaces. Modeling a building for the Detroit Zoological Society, he included public spaces, animal enclosures, and support areas. The outcome of this study eventually became the basis for a design studio class for LTU's sophomore students.

As a degree candidate, LTU’s online architectural courses were a pleasant surprise for Darpan. “The curriculum is streamlined and crisp, and the study modules are easy and convenient,” he said. “My professors were very easy to reach, and I could study at my own pace, time, and place.”

Today, Darpan is an Architectural Designer at Alexander V. Bogaerts & Associates in Bloomfield Hills. Though he currently designs residential spaces and has dabbled in commercial design, he plans to focus on healthcare design after the pandemic.