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The Center for Architecture's Vacation and Summer Programs give curious kids an opportunity to dive into an architecture 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 (Tuesday through Thursday) during winter and spring vacations. Summer Programs run 5 days (Monday through Friday). All programs meet from 9am-4pm at the Center for Architecture. Students bring their own lunch daily. Tuition is $350 for Vacation Programs and $600 for Summer Programs.

A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for both Vacation and Summer programs. Download the 2018 Vacation Scholarship Application here.

Registration for 2018 Summer programs will open February 15. Summer Information Sessions will be held on January 17, February 22, and March 22. To register, please visit our calendar.

Questions? Check out our FAQs or email info@cfafoundation.org.

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 2018 is now open!

Design Your Dream House (Grades 3-5) February 20-22, 2018

Would your dream house be a penthouse apartment, modern beach house or a castle in the hills? Create a model of your own personal dream house or apartment in this design and model-making studio. Examples of amazing houses from around the world will provide ideas and inspiration, but the final design is up to you!

Digital Design: Apartment Design (Grades 6-8) February 20-22, 2018

This design studio introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. Over the course of this three-day program, students will design their own apartment, with rooms and features of their choosing. The Center for Architecture’s Social Housing exhibition will provide creative ideas and inspiration for the students’ designs. On the last day, students will create an animated walk-through of their finished project to take home on a flashdrive.

Project Green: Reduce, Reuse, and Redesign (Grades 3-5) March 20-22, 2018

It’s becoming more and more important to create sustainable projects for our future. This 3-day program will introduce students to green design strategies such as using renewable energy sources, green and blue roofs, natural lighting, and passive heating or cooling. Students will then be challenged to design and incorporate these ideas into their own model of an environmentally-friendly building.

Digital Design: Store Design (Grades 6-8) March 20-22, 2018

This 3-day design studio introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. What kind of store would you most like to run? Whether it’s a skateboard shop, café/restaurant, or fashion center, you’ll have fun creating your own digital design of a storefront and store interior. 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.

Project Green: Reduce, Reuse, and Redesign (Grades 3-5) April 3-5, 2018

It’s becoming more and more important to create sustainable projects for our future. This 3-day program will introduce students to green design strategies such as using renewable energy sources, green and blue roofs, natural lighting, and passive heating or cooling. Students will then be challenged to design and incorporate these ideas into their own model of an environmentally-friendly building.

Digital Design: Store Design (Grades 6-8) April 3-5, 2018

This 3-day design studio introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. What kind of store would you most like to run? Whether it’s a skateboard shop, café/restaurant, or fashion center, you’ll have fun creating your own digital design of a storefront and store interior. 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.

Summer Programs

Please see the 2017 schedule below. Registration for 2018 Summer programs will open February 15.

Going Up! NYC Skyscrapers (Grades 3-5) June 19-23, 2017

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, campers will design and build their very own model skyscraper!

Building Bridges (Grades 6-8) June 19-23,2017

In this week-long studio, we’ll explore beam, truss, arch, suspension and moveable bridges to learn how these different types of bridges support weight and span great distances. Campers 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!

Castles & Forts (Grades 3-5) June 26-30, 2017

If you’re interested in royalty, knights, armor or moats, this is the camp 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 week, 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!

Survival Architecture (Grades 6-8) June 26-30, 2017

How would you survive in the desert, the middle of the jungle or the top of a mountain? In this studio, we’ll learn about the design strategies and techniques that have helped people live in unlikely places like these. Campers will then imagine their own sites and design a shelter that would enable them to survive and thrive in these extreme conditions.

Drawing Architecture (Grades 9-12) June 26–30, 2017

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 drawing. 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 10-14, 2017

Do you ever envy the birds and squirrels? Do you dream about life between the branches and leaves? If you answered yes, this is the camp for you! Throughout the week, campers will learn about the structure of trees to create their own tree model and then design a fantasy tree house within it! Would you like it to be a secret hideaway? A full-service apartment? A place for gaming? The choice is yours!

Architecture Design Studio (Grades 9– 2) July 10–21, 2017 (2 week course)

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 programs, architectural history lessons and design analysis activities.

Below the Streets: Subway Architecture (Grades 3–5) July 17–21, 2017

Our favorite city in the world would be nothing without the complex subway system that runs underneath the busy streets. During this week-long camp, 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!

Building Bridges (Grades 3-5) July 24–28, 2017

In this week-long studio, we’ll explore beam, truss, arch, suspension and moveable bridges to learn how these different types of bridges support weight and span great distances. Campers 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!

Skyscrapers (Grades 6–8) July 24-28, 2017

Around the world, skyscrapers are being built taller than ever before, as new technologies and designs make what was once impossible, possible! In this studio, we’ll explore the structures and systems that make such tall buildings possible through design challenges and a visit to a local skyscrapers. Students will then be challenged to design and build their own model skyscrapers.

Fairytale Architecture (Grades 3–5) July 31–August 4, 2017

Enter into the world of fantasy during this week-long camp as we revisit classic fairytales such as Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, and Jack and the Beanstalk. Campers will get inspired by some of their favorite stories, then design and create a model of their favorite fairytale structure.

Digital Design: Bridges (Grades 6–8) July 31–August 4, 2017

This design studio introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. Students will visit some of NYC’s bridges to learn about the different types of bridges and how they work to support weight and span long distances. Using SketchUp, participants will then design their own bridge and create an animated run-through movie of their finished project.

Nomadic Architecture (Grades 9–12) July 31–August 4, 2017

This studio challenges students to design a portable and collapsible work of architecture. Over the course of the week, students will experiment with different space-saving and lightweight building strategies, learn about historical and contemporary examples of nomadic architecture, and create a model of their own transformable and movable structure. The focus will be on students developing drawings and a working model of their design, incorporating their investigations into structure, materials and design. 

Hamilton’s New York (Grades 6–8) August 7–11, 2017

Hamilton fans rejoice! If you loved the show and have become obsessed with all things Alexander Hamilton, you’re in luck! There are many remnants of Hamilton’s life that we can trace right here in contemporary New York City. During this camp, we will visit Hamilton’s country estate, The Grange, as well Aaron Burr’s home, The Morris-Jumel Mansion. After our visits, students will create their very own guidebooks to Colonial-era New York and an architectural model of their favorite Hamilton site.

Architecture Design Studio (Grades 9–12) August 7-18, 2017 (2 week course)

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 programs, architectural history lessons and design analysis activities.

Flying Architecture (Grades 3–5) August 14–18, 2017

Get ready to take flight! Throughout this camp, participants will learn about flying structures such as planes, helicopters, and hot air balloons. By the end of the week, campers will design and build their own model of a structure that can carry people up into the air, and back down to earth for a safe landing.

Digital Design: Tiny Houses (Grades 6–8) August 14–18, 2017

This 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. Campers will create a digital model of their own tiny house and an animated walk-through of their finished project.

Subway Architecture (Grades 6–8) August 21–25, 2017

Inspired by the new additions to the New York City transit system, this camp will explore the underground subway system and newest transit hubs from a design perspective. Students will then create their own designs for a new NYC transit station or transportation network of the future.

Digital Design: NYC Transit Architecture (Grades 9–12) August 21–25, 2017

This design studio introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. Inspired by the new additions to the New York City transit system, this camp will explore the underground subway system and newest transit hubs from a design perspective. Students will then create their own digital designs for a new NYC transit station or transportation network of the future.

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