Summer Programs give curious kids an opportunity to dive into an architectural topic of interest and test out their own design ideas. Each program explores a different theme through art and building activities, design challenges, guided investigations of architectural examples, and special site visits.

Summer Programs are week-long classes (Mon-Fri) for students entering grades 3-5, 6-8, or 9-12 in Fall 2023.

2023 Summer Programs will run from June 26–August 25. Full details for Summer 2023 will be available in March. Registration will open on Tuesday, March 14 at 12:00pm ET. Examples of 2022 programs are available below.

For more information, see our FAQs. Please email k12education@centerforarchitecture.org with any additional questions.

Supported by

Summer Programs are supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council.

2023 Program Overview

Information about 2023 Summer Programs will be available in March.

2022 Hours (ET) and Prices 2023 Pricing will be released in March

In-Person Programs (Grades 3-12): 9:00 am – 4:00 pm | $700

Two-week Architectural Design Studio (Grades 10-12): 9:00 am – 4:00pm | $1,400

Online Programs (Grades 6-12): 9:30 am – 3:30 pm | $560

All program hours are in Eastern Time. 

Need-Based Scholarships

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Educator and Staff Bios

Frequently Asked Questions

Grades 3-5

Please see the programs below for examples of our offerings. Specific 2023 programs will be available in March.

Dream House (Grades 3-5) – In-Person

Child with model house and landscape

Would your dream house be a penthouse apartment, modern beach house, or a castle in the hills? In this program, students will imagine and design their own personal dream house or apartment in drawings and models. Examples of amazing houses from around the world will provide ideas and inspiration, but the final design is up to you! 

Waterfront City (Grades 3-5) – In-Person

Class posing in front of east river with Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline in the background

What makes cities on the water so unique? How is their design affected by their location? Students in this class will explore past, present, and future designs for cities built on or around water, including NYC. Students will create their own designs for a water city, incorporating ideas about architecture, transportation, and recreation into their designs.

Building Bridges (Grades 3-5) – In-Person

Student with model of a suspension bridge

In this program, we will explore beam, truss, arch, suspension, and moveable bridges to learn how these different structures support weight and span great distances. Students will visit several of NYC’s bridges, then put their new knowledge to the test as they create a final bridge of their own design!

Treehouses (Grades 3-5) – In-Person

Child with treehouse model

Design and build your own fantastic model treehouse! Students will begin by crafting their own tree out of wood and papier-mâché, then work with its unique arrangement of branches to build a one-of-a-kind treehouse. We will explore various techniques to create platforms, ladders, swings, furniture, and other fun details.

Skyscrapers (Grades 3-5) – In-Person

Student building a structure out of boxes

From One World Trade Center to the Empire State building, NYC is full of remarkably tall buildings. During this program, we’ll explore what makes these structures so strong and how their design enables them to reach such dizzying heights. Students will take inspiration and ideas from amazing skyscrapers in NYC and around the world as they design, draw and build their own skyscrapers!

Castles and Forts (Grades 3-5) – In-Person

Child with model of a castle

Jump into the magical world of castles and forts right here in New York City! During this program, we’ll visit some local examples of these fairytale-like structures and explore amazing examples from around the world to learn about their special design features and imagine what it might be like to live in one. Over the course of the week, students will design and build a model of a castle or fort of their own design!

Subway Architecture (Grades 3-5) – In-Person

Young students posing in front of subway mosaic

Our favorite city in the world would be nothing without the complex subway system that runs underneath the busy streets. During this program, participants will explore some of the city’s most unique subway stops and imagine what public transportation might look like in the future as they design and build their own transit system!

Neighborhood Design (Grades 3-5) – In-Person

Neighborhood June

Summer is a great time to explore Greenwich Village. Join us to investigate this fun and exciting neighborhood through scavenger hunts, sketching, architectural rubbings, and more. Participants will then be challenged to create their own designs and models for an ideal neighborhood.

Parks and Playground Design (Grades 3-5) – In-Person

Child with park model

Kids are the experts in this program focusing on the design of parks and playgrounds. The class will visit several local parks and playgrounds in the city to assess their design features by playing (of course!) and conducting on-site analysis through surveys and drawings. Students will build on these explorations by creating their own designs and models for different types of recreation and play spaces throughout the week.

Grades 6-8

Please see the programs below for examples of our offerings. Specific 2023 programs will be available in March.

Waterfront City (Grades 6-8) – In-Person

Student with model of landscaped waterfront and buildings

What makes cities on the water so unique? How is their design affected by their location? Students in this class will explore past, present, and future designs for cities built on or around water, including NYC. Students will create their own designs for a water city, incorporating ideas about architecture, transportation, and recreation into their designs.

Digital Design: Bridges (Grades 6-8) – In-Person

Student posing with computer showing digital bridge model

In this program, students will explore the structure and design of different types of bridges through building activities and by looking at examples in New York City and abroad. Students will use this inspiration to design their own bridge using the fun and free 3D design software SketchUp and make an animated walkthrough of their finished project.

Rooftop Dwelling (Grades 6-8) – In-Person

Students looking out on New York City rooftops from the roof of a building

Imagine life above it all in your own rooftop oasis! In this program, we’ll explore the many ways NYC’s acres of empty roofs could be put to better use as amazing places to live that also move us towards greener urban living. Students will visit some unique examples in NYC, then create their own architectural drawings and scale model of an ideal rooftop dwelling in its landscape. 

Digital Design: City Design (Grades 6-8) – Online

Digital design model of city and skyscraper

In this program, students will investigate what it takes to be an urban planner by creating a digital model of their own imagined city neighborhood using SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. Students will learn the ins and outs of this software and test out their ideas for creating livable, urban spaces as they design their own city blocks, buildings, parks, and plazas, culminating in an animated walk-through of their final project.  

Public Art and Architecture (Grades 6-8) – In-Person

High school student with model

In this program, we’ll explore how public art such as sculptures, murals and other installations work together with the city’s streetscapes to make public spaces more interactive, lively, and fun! Students will visit some of the amazing examples in NYC and learn about others around the globe and test out their own ideas through 2D and 3D design activities. For their final project, students will design and create a model of a public art installation of their own! 

Digital Design: Tiny Houses (Grades 6-8) – Online

Digital design tiny house model

Inspired by the rising popularity of miniature houses, students will examine small spaces and how limited square footage can inspire exciting design innovation. They’ll also be introduced to sustainable design strategies that can make tiny homes energy-efficient enough to support off-the-grid living. Students will then design their own tiny house using the fun and free 3D design software SketchUp and create an animated walkthrough of their finished project.

Treehouses (Grades 6-8) – In-Person

Middle school students posing behind their treehouse models

Create your own fantastic model treehouse! Students will begin the project by learning about the structure of trees to craft their own scale models of the perfect tree. Using these creations as our starting point, participants will be challenged to design and build a fantasy treehouse within its branches. We will learn various techniques to support the treehouse and create ladders, swings, furniture, and other fun details to scale!

Skyscrapers (Grades 6-8) – In-Person

Student with model of red sided skyscraper

Structural advances in technology allow us to imagine new skyscrapers that are taller than ever before! In this program, we will explore the structures and systems that make such tall buildings possible through discussions and design challenges. Students will take inspiration from amazing skyscrapers around the world as they create drawings and models of skyscrapers of their own design.

Digital Design: House of the Future (Grades 6-8) – In-Person

Digital green building model

This design studio introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. Students in this program will investigate how housing has changed over the years and what’s in store for the future. Students will explore green design strategies such as using renewable energy sources, green and blue roofs, and natural lighting. Students will then create their own digital designs for a house of the future.

Green Island Home (Grades 6-8) – In-Person

Student with green island home model

Imagine having a small island in the Hudson River all to yourself! Who and what would you bring to your island? In this program, you’ll design an eco-friendly home for yourself on an imaginary island. You’ll also learn how to create buildings and landscapes that take advantage of our climate and natural resources to make your island a “green” oasis in the city. 

Grades 9-12

Please see the programs below for examples of our offerings. Specific 2023 programs will be available in March.

Architectural Design Studio (Grades 10-12) – In-Person

High School student working on scale floorplans

High School students interested in exploring the field of architecture and developing their portfolios will get a thorough introduction to the design process in this two-week intensive studio. Focused around a studio design project, students will learn how to work through an architectural program: from site analysis and developing a design concept to creating scale drawings and 3-D models of their design for a final presentation. Studio class will be supplemented by visits to an architectural office or a college architecture program, exploring architectural precedents, and design analysis activities.

Drawing Architecture (Grades 9-12) – Online

Student drawing of Arc de Triomphe

Take some time this summer to develop your architectural drawing skills! With a focus on free-hand sketching, participants will be introduced to a range of drawing techniques including one and two-point perspectives, as well as methods for shading and rendering different materials. This class leverages the benefits of online instruction, which allows us to explore architectural marvels around the world and use digital annotation tools, while building students’ hand drawing skills. This is a great chance to create some new portfolio pieces!

Rooftop Dwelling (Grades 9-12) – In-Person

Student with model of a white building

Imagine life above it all in your own rooftop oasis! In this program, we’ll explore the many ways NYC’s acres of empty roofs could be put to better use as amazing places to live that also move us towards greener urban living. Students will visit some unique examples in NYC, then create their own architectural drawings and scale model of an ideal rooftop dwelling in its landscape. 

Drawing Architecture (Grades 9-12) – In-Person

High School Students and Educator Skecthing Outside

Take some time this summer to develop your architectural drawing skills! With a focus on free-hand sketching, participants will be introduced to a range of drawing techniques including one and two-point perspectives, as well as methods for shading and rendering different materials. Participants will visit different spaces throughout the city to practice observational on-site sketching. This is a great chance to create some new portfolio pieces! 

Digital Design: City Design (Grades 9-12) – Online

Digital design model of city and skyscraper

In this program, students will investigate what it takes to be an urban planner by creating a digital model of their own imagined city neighborhood using SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. Students will learn the ins and outs of this software and test out their ideas for creating livable, urban spaces as they design their own city blocks, buildings, parks, and plazas, culminating in an animated walk-through of their final project.

Architectural Design Studio (Grades 10-12) – In-Person

High School student working on scale floorplans

High School students interested in exploring the field of architecture and developing their portfolios will get a thorough introduction to the design process in this two-week intensive studio. Focused around a studio design project, students will learn how to work through an architectural program: from site analysis and developing a design concept to creating scale drawings and 3-D models of their design for a final presentation. Studio class will be supplemented by visits to an architectural office or a college architecture program, exploring architectural precedents, and design analysis activities. 

Digital Design: House of the Future (Grades 9-12) – In-Person

Student digital model of two small buildings and landscape

This design studio introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. Students in this program will investigate how housing has changed over the years and what’s in store for the future. Students will explore green design strategies such as using renewable energy sources, green and blue roofs, and natural lighting. Students will then create their own digital designs for a house of the future.