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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.

A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for both Vacation and Summer programs. More information on 2018 applications coming soon.

Summer Information Sessions will be held on January 17, February 22, and March 22. To register, please visit our calendar.

Questions? 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.

Summer Programs

Please see the 2017 schedule as follows. Summer Programs for 2018 will be posted in January 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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, 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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, 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

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

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

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

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.

Vacation Programs

Please see the 2017 schedule as follows. Vacation Programs for 2018 will be posted in December 2017.

Animal Architecture (Grades 3-5) February 21-23

Have you ever been curious about where animals live? Students will explore how animals build their homes by observing structures such as nests, ant colonies, shells, and dams. We will use this as inspiration to create our own animal architecture designs!

Digital Design: Skyscrapers (Grades 6-8) February 21-23

This design studio introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. Around the world, skyscrapers are being built taller than ever before, in shapes that have never been seen. Learn about some of these new innovative projects and then work to design your own skyscraper using SketchUp. Students will create an animated walk-through of their design and take their project home on a flashdrive.

Animal Architecture (Grades 3-5) March 28-30

Have you ever been curious about where animals live? Students will explore how animals build their homes by observing structures such as nests, ant colonies, shells, and dams. We will use this as inspiration to create our own animal architecture designs!

Digital Design: Skyscrapers (Grades 6-8) March 28-30

This design studio introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. Around the world, skyscrapers are being built taller than ever before, in shapes that have never been seen. Learn about some of these new innovative projects and then work to design your own skyscraper using SketchUp. Students will create an animated walk-through of their design and take their project home on a flashdrive.

Underground NY (Grades 3-5) April 11-13

Our great city has a complicated network of electrical wires, communications cables, steam, gas, subways, and more running under our streets and rivers. During this program, students will learn about this infrastructure, then design and construct their own model of what lies below the city streets.

Digital Design: City Planners (Grades 6-8) April 11-13

This design studio introduces students to SketchUp, a fun and free 3D computer modeling program. During this program students will discover what it takes to design and plan a city. Using SketchUp they will create the layout, buildings, and transportation for a sustainable city and create an animated walk-through of their design to take home on a flashdrive.

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