Behind the Scenes of the Cal Poly Concrete Collab

After the cuteness overload from the Cal Poly calves and the delicious craft cocktails from CalWise Spirits, it was time our group settled on a more concrete story.

Over the course of the last week and a half, journalism seniors Matthew Medlin, Kayla Veloso and Alice Neary, spent some time talking and filming Cal Poly architecture and architectural engineering students as they were building structures out of concrete.

When we heard about this topic a flood of questions immediately rushed into our heads like, “What are these structures even going to look like and how do Cal Poly students have access to concrete pouring tools? How do you even pour concrete without messing up?” Architecture projects tend to be extremely abstract and difficult to visualize.

At the end of this quarter, students in the ARCHE 415 class will have completed a Japanese Spa House, a skatepark in Madrid, a pub and brewery in Portland and a museum and sculpture garden in Miami. It’s not the first time these student architects and architectural engineers have combined their skills, however.

These projects, given the short amount of time the students receive, made Neary pretty astounded at their skills.

“I feel useless after seeing the structures these kids are able to actually create. It is unbelievable,” Neary said.


Medlin was especially impressed.

“I was fangirling over the inflatable concrete balloon pretty hard. And the professor. And all the artwork. In fact, I was just fangirling pretty hard in general,” said Medlin.

The Architecture and Architectural engineering students taking this class have to work together during the grueling ten week quarter to complete these concrete shells.

Architectural design fourth year, Lillian Cao, who’s team is building the Japanese spa has an especially crazy end of the quarter.

“At the end of journey in architecture, we kind of describe it like birth. You go through this very long period of time of blood, sweat, and tears, and pain and agony. Then there’s this final push and when you’re looking at it, no matter how ugly it is, you’re still going to love it,” Cao said.


Despite the close locational proximity to the graphic arts building, this project posed some technical and creative difficulties when trying to decide how to best cover the story.  Veloso had to conduct an additional interview and numerous edits on top of that the week of our deadline.

“Surprisingly, for someone who is doing word this week, I have no words,” said Veloso.


It was clear that the architecture, architectural engineering students and our group of journalists, who all had tight deadlines, were feeling the mounting pressures of week eight.

Matt Medlin was sure feeling that pressure when making a go pro time-lapse for the first time with over 900 photos. But, who cares? They came out great anyway!


We all learned, however that we’re learning so much along the way. When the occasional speed bump arises, we can rise to the challenge and create some awesome content about the next generation of student architects.

We just gotta ride the wave, hold on and enjoy the ride.