A group of secondary school students on a summer architecture workshop have shown more talent than their university counterparts, the programme director says. The Career Discovery in Architecture programme, organised by the Department of Architecture of the University of Hong Kong, was intended to give the 30 interested secondary students a taste of life as an architect. 'They showed their talent in design and art work, which are the fundamentals of architecture. They not only matched, but exceeded the average qualities of our first-year students,' Associate Professor in Architecture, Eve Siu Tracy, said. 'Many of our first-year students, though smart in academic performance, do not understand the career of an architect as a designer with architectural sense. These secondary schoolers are quite determined to make architecture their future career,' Professor Tracy said. The would-be architects took part in lectures, workshops, architectural studio projects and prepared portfolios during the four-week programme. They were introduced to architectural theory, Hong Kong's heritage, landscape and urban design and conservation and learned how to use computer-aided design. The students also visited a construction site, architects' offices and built models of their own architectural designs. Richard Lee Seewhy, 18, said the programme gave him a basic idea of what a career in architecture involved. 'It is not an easy task to build our own models from sketches. Also, we learned to use computers to draw two- and three-dimensional sketches which was new to me.' Rika Hayashi Lam, 19, said she learned the technical side of being an architect after visits to an architect's office to see how it operated and gained valuable experience she could not get from books. Cherie Lau Chee-lam, 19, studying commerce at the University of British Columbia, was surprised to find a female architect supervising a group of male architects and workers at a construction site. 'The programme was such an inspiration I'm planning to change my course and develop a career in architecture,' she said. The youngest among the group, 16-year-old Joyce Wang Tsuen-ling, said the programme boosted her confidence and gave her a better idea of architecture. 'I learned to make good use of my time to finish my model. We had a tight schedule.' Hermione Chan, 17, said the course brought home to her the importance of recognising environmental constraints in Hong Kong when building her design model. Besides getting a better understanding of the profession, Felix Li Siu-man, 17, said he enjoyed making new friends who shared his interests. The only drawback of the programme was the $8,000 fee, which he said was a little expensive.