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The Center for Architecture's Vacation and 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, and special site visits.

Vacation Programs run three days (Tue-Thu) during mid-winter and spring vacations. Summer Programs run five days (Mon-Fri). All programs meet from 9am-4pm at the Center for Architecture, unless otherwise noted. Students bring their own lunch daily.

A limited number of need-based scholarships are available. See details for 2019 Vacation Program Scholarships here and details for 2019 Summer Program Scholarships here. We can only accommodate one scholarship request per child.

A PDF schedule of all Summer Programs is available here. If a program is sold out, please email us to be added to the waitlist.

Questions? Check out our FAQs or email k12education@centerforarchitecture.org.

Supported by

Vacation & 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.

Vacation Programs

Registration for 2019 Vacation Programs is now open! Tuition is $400 per program.

Skyscrapers (Grades 3-5) February 19-21, 2019

From One World Trade Center to the Empire State building, NYC is full of remarkably tall buildings. During this program, we will look at many different skyscrapers and explore what makes these structures so strong. By the end of the week, students will design and build their very own model skyscraper!

Digital Design: Amusement Parks (Grades 6-8) February 19-21, 2019

Amusement rides are a great blend of artistry, state-of-the-art engineering, and thrill. Learn about the physics of rides from carousels to rollercoasters and design your own unique amusement park as a digital 3-D model. This three-day design studio introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. Students will create an animated walk-through of their final park design and take their creations home on a flashdrive.

*This program is Sold Out. To be added to the waitlist, email k12education@centerforarchitecture.org.

Treehouses (Grades 6-8) March 19-21, 2019

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!

Digital Design: Tiny Houses (Grades 9-12) March 19-21, 2019

This three-day design studio introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program, as a tool for designing a small personal dwelling. Inspired by the rising popularity of miniature houses, students will examine small spaces and how the limited square footage can inspire exciting innovation. Students will create a digital model of their own tiny house and an animated walk-through of their finished project.

Treehouses (Grades 3-5) April 23-25, 2019

Create 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 ladders, swings, furniture, and other fun details.

Digital Design: Tiny Houses (Grades 6-8) April 23-25, 2019

This three-day design studio introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program, as a tool for designing a small personal dwelling. Inspired by the rising popularity of miniature houses, students will examine small spaces and how the limited square footage can inspire exciting innovation. Students will create a digital model of their own tiny house and an animated walk-through of their finished project.

Summer Programs

Registration for 2019 Summer Programs is now open! Tuition is $650 per week. All grades levels are based on Fall 2019. If a program is sold out, please email us to be added to the waitlist.

Skyscrapers (Grades 3-5) June 24-28, 2019

From One World Trade Center to the Empire State building, NYC is full of remarkably tall buildings. During this program, we will explore what makes these structures so strong by conducting experiments and visiting a local skyscraper. By the end of the week, students will design and build their very own model skyscraper!

Building Bridges (Grades 6-8) June 24-28, 2019

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!

Drawing Architecture (Grades 9-12) June 24-28, 2019

Take some time this summer to develop your architectural drawing skills! With a focus on perspective and free-hand drawing techniques, participants will visit different spaces throughout the city to practice observational on-site sketching. We will learn about methods for shading and rendering building materials. This is a great chance to create some new portfolio pieces!

Treehouses (Grades 3-5) July 8-12, 2019

Create 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 ladders, swings, furniture, and other fun details.

Digital Design: Tiny Houses (Grades 6-8) July 8-12, 2019

Inspired by the rising popularity of miniature houses, students will examine small spaces and how limited square footage can inspire exciting design innovation. This program introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. Students will create a digital model of their own tiny house and an animated walkthrough of their finished project. Students will also create hand drawings and models to help make connections between digital and physical designs. 

* This program is Sold Out. To be added to the waitlist, please email k12education@centerforarchitecture.org.

Architectural Design Studio (Grades 10-12) July 8-19, 2019 (2 week program)

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 and a college architecture program, architectural history lessons, and design analysis activities.

Building Bridges (Grades 3-5) July 15-19, 2019

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!

Waterfront Park (Grades 6-8) July 15-19, 2019

All over the world, designers are inventing new ways for parks to respond to the changing needs of cities and the environment. Through a special partnership with the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education and Sustainability at NYU, participants in this program will investigate how NYC is actively reimagining waterfront parks to better serve the community through green initiatives and educational opportunities. Students will visit a park to learn about environmental practices and landscape design before creating their own designs for a park of the future!

*This program will be offered in a nearby NYU classroom.

Digital Design: Neighborhood Design (Grades 6-8) July 15-19, 2019

In this program, students will investigate what it takes to be an urban planner. Taking inspiration from NYC’s ever-evolving landscape, especially the newly redesigned Hudson Yards project, students will work to create a digital model of their own portion of a city. This program introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. Students will create a digital model of their own imagined neighborhood and an animated walkthrough of their finished project. Students will also create hand drawings and models to help make connections between digital and physical designs. 

Castles and Forts (Grades 3-5) July 22-26, 2019

If you’re interested in royalty, knights, armor, or moats, this is the program for you! Believe it or not, castles and forts are not just from the middle ages; we have many examples to inspire us right here in NYC. During this program, we’ll visit some of our local fortified structures and learn about the special design features that help them protect their inhabitants. By the end of the week, participants will design and build their own model of a castle or fort! 

Waterfront Park (Grades 3-5) July 22-26, 2019

Waterfront parks are great places to have fun in NYC and they can also help the environment! In this special program, we will work with the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education and Sustainability at NYU to investigate how NYC is creating waterfront parks to better serve the community through green design and educational opportunities. Students will visit a park to learn about environmental practices and landscape design before creating their own designs for a park of the future!

*This program will be offered in a nearby NYU classroom.

Skyscrapers (Grades 6-8) July 22-26, 2019

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 design challenges and a visit to a local skyscraper. Students will then be challenged to design and build their own model skyscrapers.

Drawing Architecture (Grades 9-12) July 22-26, 2019

Take some time this summer to develop your architectural drawing skills! With a focus on perspective and free-hand drawing techniques, participants will visit different spaces throughout the city to practice observational on-site sketching. We will learn about methods for shading and rendering building materials. This is a great chance to create some new portfolio pieces!

Subway Architecture (Grades 3-5) July 29 - August 2, 2019

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 the city’s newest subway stops and imagine what public transportation might look like in the future as they design their own transit system!

Harry Potter Set Design (Grades 3-5) July 29 - August 2, 2019

Join us at Platform 9 ¾ for a trip to Hogwarts or one of the other fantastic places in Harry Potter’s world. In this program, you’ll get to design and build a movie set of your favorite place from Harry Potter. Bring one of the movie scenes to life, or create your own version of a Hogwart's Common Room or Diagon Alley as you imagine it.

Digital Design: Transit Hub (Grades 6-8) July 29 - August 2, 2019

Inspired by the new and coming additions to the New York City transit system including the East Side Access and Penn Station expansion, this program will explore the underground subway system and newest transit hubs from a design perspective. This program introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. Students will then create their own digital designs for a new NYC transit station or transportation network of the future. Students will also create hand drawings and models to help make connections between digital and physical designs. 

Pop-Up Shop (Grades 9-12) July 29 - August 2, 2019

Pop-up shops are an important way that companies generate buzz about a new concept. In this design studio, you’ll get to combine the skills of the architect, curator, and brand designer to design your own pop-up shop! The class will explore different examples of this temporary architecture and visit various concept stores for inspiration. For the final project, students will make their ideas come alive through sketches, drawings, and model-making.

*This program will be offered in a nearby NYU classroom.

House of the Future (Grades 3-5) August 5-9, 2019

Students in this program will investigate how housing has changed over the years and what’s in store for the future. The group will visit a historic home in NYC for a window into how people lived in the past, explore advancements in green architecture today, and speculate about what elements will be most changed in the future. For their final project, students will design and build their own models of a house of the future.

Store Design (Grades 6-8) August 5-9, 2019

What kind of store would you most like to create? Whether it’s a skateboard shop, café/restaurant or clothing boutique, you’ll have fun designing your own storefront and store interior by making scale drawings and a detailed model. Learn how designers create retail spaces that are both exciting and functional as we visit and learn from some of the city’s great retail spaces and architecture offices specializing in store design. 

*This program will be offered in a nearby NYU classroom.

* This program is Sold Out. To be added to the waitlist, please email k12education@centerforarchitecture.org.

Digital Design: Bridges (Grades 9-12) August 5-9, 2019

In this program, students will explore beam, truss, arch, suspension, and moveable bridges to learn how these different structures support weight and span great distances. This design studio introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. Students will visit several of NYC’s bridges for inspiration and then design a digital model of their own bridge and create an animated walkthrough of their finished project. Students will also create hand drawings and models to help make connections between digital and physical designs. 

Architectural Design Studio (Grades 10-12) August 5-16, 2019 (2 week program)

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 and a college architecture program, architectural history lessons, and design analysis activities.

Playground Design (Grades 3-5) August 12-16, 2019

Kids are the experts in this program focusing on the design of playgrounds. The class will visit several unique playgrounds in the city to assess their design features by playing (of course!) and conducting on-site analysis through surveys, drawings, and user interviews. Students will explore and design different types of play spaces, culminating in a model of their own ideal playground. 

Digital Design: Aqua-tecture (Grades 6-8) August 12-16, 2019

Architecture gets aquatic in this program! Throughout time, cities have been built near the water for both resources and transit. Now, with the rise in sea levels around the world, buildings in the future will need to be designed in new and flexible ways to remain near the water. This program will introduce students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program as a means for them to design their own aqua-tecture including an animated walkthrough of their finished project. Students will also create hand drawings and models to help make connections between digital and physical designs. 

Treehouses (Grades 3-5) August 19-23, 2019

Create 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 ladders, swings, furniture, and other fun details.

Treehouses (Grades 6-8) August 19-23, 2019

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!

Digital Design: Tiny Houses (Grades 9-12) August 19-23, 2019

Inspired by the rising popularity of miniature houses, students will examine small spaces and how limited square footage can inspire exciting design innovation. This program introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. Students will create a digital model of their own tiny house and an animated walkthrough of their finished project. Students will also create hand drawings and models to help make connections between digital and physical designs. 

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