Founded in 2013 by
Christian Hughes,

Drafting Dreams exposes students in grades Kindergarten through 12th to principles of architecture and urban design through creative design exercises and design-oriented curricula.

The mission of Drafting Dreams is to inspire the next generation of design professionals and to increase women and minority interest and participation in design professions.

Drafting Dreams seeks to impress upon students, their parents, and their educators the importance of design education. Through design education, students learn the design process that brings about the places they interact with daily. Students are also exposed to decision-making processes that involve the built environment. This exposure will equip them to be able to influence progressive and necessary changes in their built environment as needed as adults.


Drafting Dreams has received unwavering financial and technical support from Kiva Pittsburgh, Urban Innovation 21 and Bridgeway Capital, and technical support from CUE Pittsburgh and The Mansmann Foundation.

Christian Hughes, a graduate from Hampton University, was tired of the lack of minorities in his industry of architecture. That is when he created Drafting Dreams a program that exposes children kindergarten to 12th grade to architecture and urban designs. His mission is to educate his students about the design process of the places they interact with daily.



Christian Hughes

A native of Detroit, Michigan he is a 2014 graduate of Hampton University in Hampton, VA, where he received the Master of Architecture (M.Arch) Degree.

Christian is a Graduate Architect, in pursuit of his professional license as an architect. He serves Drafting Dreams as the Chief Executive Dreamer (CEO). Additionally, he is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Container of Nside Out Spaces, a design-build company that re-purposes shipping containers into habitable living and working spaces with a focus on environmental stewardship and affordable and equitable housing. Nside Out Spaces is an AlphaLab Gear Portfolio Company and a 2016 Urban Innovation 21 Grant Recipient. Christian also serves as Project Consultant for Unity Consultants, a Pittsburgh-based Consulting Firm that reviews broken systems, creating strategies that enhance operational capacity, leading to stronger institutions and improved neighborhoods through a lens of sustainability

Christian has worked as a Design Associate with Michael Baker International, LLC., an international architecture, engineering, and planning firm, at their World Headquarters in Moon Township, PA. Christian has also served as Project Assistant for the City of Detroit’s Department of Buildings, Safety Engineering, and Environmental, where he processed citizen complaints, worked with Zoning Inspectors through the plan review and permit processes, created streamlined processes for plan review and permitting, and assisted with Business Advocacy for the City of Detroit. Prior to, Christian held an internship at Jenkins Construction Incorporated (Detroit, MI) where he gained experience in Design-Build, Construction and Site Management, and Estimating.

Christian serves as Board Member and Treasurer for the Homewood-Brushton Business Association (HBBA). He also represents HBBA as a member of the Homewood Community Development Collaborative. Christian also serves as Board Parliamentarian for the Larimer Consensus Group. Additionally, Christian is on the Advisory Board for the Pittsburgh Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. Christian received the Alpha Rho Chi Service Award in 2014 for his leadership and service to the Hampton University Chapters of the American Institute of Architecture Students and the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students. In 2016, he received the Blazing Emerging Leader Award from the African American Leadership Association for his service to the community and his leadership in entrepreneurship, resulting in a Proclamation from the City of Pittsburgh. Christian is a 2017 recipient of an award from BMe Community for his company’s social endeavor, Transition Pods, which re-purposes shipping containers into transition housing for the homeless.


Programs and Organizations Offering

Similar Programming

Hampton University Department of Architecture

Hampton University, Hampton, VA 23668

Architecture Barbie

& Young Men In Architecture

In memory of Barbara G. Laurie, Howard University Professor and advocate for women in architecture, "Architecture Barbie" is an annual event, hosted by Hampton University Department of Architecture's AIAS/NOMAS Chapter. (American Institute of Architecture Students/National Organization of Minority Architecture Students) It debuted in April of 2013, at which time Christian J. Hughes served as AIAS/NOMAS President. In April of 2014, the event expanded to include a program for young men, "Young Men In Architecture," created and coordinated by Christian at the request of parents. Both programs, "Architecture Barbie," and "Young Men in Architecture," are hosted together, held annually on the campus of Hampton University in April. As a Hampton University Alumnus, Christian serves as an advisor to both programs. 

Click here to learn more and donate!



The Kingsley Association

6435 Frankstown Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

East Liberty Family Support - Family Fun Day

Every 4th Friday of the Month during the Academic Year, East Liberty Family Support, housed in The Kingsley Association in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Larimer, hosts its "Family Fun Friday," at which the first Drafting Dreams event was held in August of 2014. Since then, Drafting Dreams has been a recurring event for selected Family Fun Fridays.



Kelly Chiodi, Parent - Architecture Explorations, Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture

My son had the fortune of studying architectural ideas with Christian at CMU's Architecture Explorations. He came home each week inspired and excited to return the next. 

Being a very finicky student of teaching styles, this is high praise from him. From Christian's simple act of calling his students, "scholars" to allowing them to think through problems both on their own and in groups, he knew just how to relate to this group of young adults, guiding them toward solutions, without just giving them the answers. 

We look forward to whatever he dreams up next.



Drafting DREAMS - Transcending the Gender Lines

By: Carnegie Mellon University, School of Architecture Remaking Cities Institute

Dossier - Christian Hughes, Assoc. AIA

This intern architect understands the importance of giving back.

By: The Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Institute of Architects

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By: Christian J. Hughes, NOMA, Associate AIA, M.Arch for the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Institute of Architects

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By: The New Pittsburgh Courier