Dedicated to inspiring San Diego’s youth to discover the value of thoughtful design in our buildings, places and spaces, inspiring them to be meaningful participants, leaders, visionaries and decision makers in crafting our cities.

Meet BEEP!

BEEP stands for Built Environment Education Program. As part of SDAF’s overarching mission, the program strives to inspire San Diego’s youth to discover the value of design in our built environment. BEEP San Diego is dedicated to educating and advocating for school-age youth as meaningful participants, leaders, and decision makers in crafting our local cities, neighborhoods, and parks.

At its core, BEEP partners with architects and other design professionals to introduce K-12 students to the basic concepts that shape buildings, places, and spaces. The program was founded in the 1980s by the California Architectural Foundation (CAF). What sets BEEP San Diego apart is our series of workshops that extends beyond architecture to also incorporate urban planning and landscape architecture.



Create & Collaborate: How BEEP Inspires Young Minds

BEEP workshops incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM ) — with a strong emphasis on the “A”! Lessons encourage critical thinking and problem-solving while offering youth a chance to engage in dialog with adults. As part of the process, students are also exposed to public speaking, policy making, and consensus building.

A “Hands-On, Minds-On” Approach
Through a series of hands-on, STEAM-based exercises, BEEP mentors introduce children and teens to the interrelationship of our built and natural environments. Lessons are structured for different learning levels, with projects ranging from basic geometric manipulation to more sophisticated topics like urban infrastructure. In particular, BEEP emphasizes how changes in scale affect the built environment, from a room to a building, to notions of an entire town and regional planning.

Design. Create. Transform.
BEEP workshop formats present building concepts in ways that are fun and familiar for young students, ultimately letting them translate their new knowledge into action. The program opens student’s eyes to how they can contribute to the design of their physical environment with a goal to form, change, and improve the world around them. BEEP San Diego continues to develop unique workshops such as those highlighted below.

Cities as Play guides students to layout small communities, then discuss what makes each one unique.

Recycled Model Making uses founded materials that students transform into buildings.

Boomtown assigns each student a building prototype that plugs into a larger city to promote dialog about zoning.

Engage & Explore: How You Can Participate in BEEP

BEEP continues to inspire SD youth thanks to the heartfelt commitment of its volunteers and inquisitive spirit of its students. San Diego’s youngest generation is becoming increasing diverse and BEEP is committed to inclusivity. The program welcomes participants countywide, especially from within underserved communities who lack opportunity to be informed about design and the built environment.

Volunteer as a Mentor
Program volunteers serve as mentors with a genuine passion for the built environment. As a mentor, you can re-experience the joy of discovering new ideas as you share your expertise and guide students to flex their imaginations. Past volunteers include architects, urban planners, landscape architects, interior designers, engineers, and grad students pursuing degrees in a related discipline. Design professionals can also receive continuing education credits.

Participate as a Student
BEEP is open to San Diego youth attending kindergarten through 12th grade. As the future builders of tomorrow, students gain essential insight into the concepts of responsible urban development, sustainable building methods, and the preservation of our natural environment. Our STEAM-based approach touches upon math, science, and the arts. Collaborative workshops provide valuable experience in how to work with others to achieve a common goal. Check our calendar for upcoming events or follow along with one of our pre-recorded activities at any time.

Kimberly, 14 y/o, The Rock Academy
“I’m so glad I got to participate in an event like this and to experience the life of an architect. I liked being able to design our own buildings and towns. I learned that the way a town is laid out determines the life of the people in it. I was inspired to look at the way my community is laid out and how it affects out daily lives.”

Pledge & Promote: How You Can Support BEEP

Contribute as a Sponsor
In addition to grants, BEEP relies on generous contributions from private and public organizations, SDAF members, and individual patrons who believe in the value of great design. When you commit your financial support to BEEP, you empower young minds to share in the future vision for our diverse communities. Funds are used to pay for model-making materials, drawing supplies, photocopies, and similar needs. Every pledge amount is vital to BEEP’s continued success.

Collaborate with BEEP
BEEP maintains partnerships with a number of organizations who donate resources, share technical references or provide much-needed gathering spaces. Professional associations include the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American Planning Association (APA), and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Neighborhood libraries and community centers have also opened their doors to offer workshop space.

  • The BEEP Boom Town workshop is a FUN day exploring planning at a grand scale to individual typology. The curiosity, creativity and level of understanding “Town Planning” by the group of youths was amazing. I would volunteer again anytime to be a part of the experience.

    Margit Whitlock, AIA, LEED AP
    Principal | Creative Director for Architecture and Interior Design
    Architectural Concepts, Inc.


Upcoming Events

10:00 a.m. ~ 1:00 p.m.
Inviting ALL youth (7-18) to a special Earth Day Event!
Learn More

Contact Us

San Diego Architectural Foundation



P.O. Box 122228
San Diego, CA 92112-2228
Federal Tax ID: 95-3513927

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San Diego Architectural Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to education and promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region.

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