August 24, 2022
by Center for Architecture
Three students stand behind models of treehouses.
Middle Schoolers present their fantasy treehouses. Photo: Center for Architecture.
High school student poses with a handmade model of a building.
A high school students poses with his final project for Rooftop Design. Photo: Center for Architecture.
Student sits behind a hand-made model of a bridge.
After learning about different types of bridges, elementary school students built their own. Photo: Center for Architecture.
Students sit at a long table covered with models of waterfront cities.
Middle schoolers pose with their final projects for Waterfront Cities. Photo: Center for Architecture.
Woman surrounded by students demonstrates model-building activity.
Design Educator Emily Long leads an activity on Neighborhood Design. Photo: Center for Architecture.
High school student stands next to a white hand-made model.
A high school student gives a presentation as part of the Design Studio program. Photo: Center for Architecture.
Group of students stands inside Grand Central Terminal.
During our program on subway architecture, students were inspired by field trips to NYC subway stations. Photo: Center for Architecture.
Student stands in front of a toothpick and marshmallow structure.
Students test their engineering skills by building standing structures with marshmallows. Photo: Center for Architecture.

The Center for Architecture’s Education Department was beyond thrilled to offer a full roster of in-person Summer Programs while continuing to maintain virtual program offerings. During eight weeks of programming, we welcomed 386 virtual and in-person students entering grades 3 to 12, leading them in courses ranging from Subway Architecture to Digital Design.

Students traveled from as far California, North Carolina, and Florida and from across New York City to take part in our summer programs. While we continued to maintain certain safety guidelines from the previous year, we were excited to hop back on the subway and ferry and explore New York City’s architectural offerings. Field trips included visits to architectural firms, an artist’s studio, Central Park, One World Trade, and a residential rooftop.

Each program focused on a specific topic such as city design, public art, and rooftop dwellings. Students began the week by learning about the topic through discussions, presentations, and fun design challenges such as constructing a functioning bridge out of paper or building a cube out of boxes (tetris style!). Throughout the week students took trips and spoke to guest experts on the topics they were learning about. They developed drawings, collages, and sketch models throughout the week to help them think through their final designs

The culmination of these activities and experiences was a final project based on the program’s theme. These included glamorous treehouses, moving bridges and sustainable homes of the future. Presenting to friends and family at the end of each week gave the students the opportunity to share their design thinking and show off their unique creations.

Below is a selection student and parent reviews of our successful summer programs:

“My kids have taken various camps throughout the years and have always had a wonderful experience. I’m amazed how much they learn while having a lot of fun. Thank you for putting together wonderful programs.”

“I liked how we had freedom to be creative and make special and unique treehouses that can look like whatever we want.”

“We are so pleased to have discovered this center and this camp. As a parent I was very impressed with how well run and effective the camp is.”

“I liked learning about art. I never knew how many different types of art there are…. It’s very  fun and the projects are also engaging.”

This summer, we were able to offer $18,000 in scholarships for both in-person and online programs. We are very grateful to the supporters of our Annual Education Fund, along with attendees of our Guess-A-Sketch and Annual Golf Classic fundraisers, which help provide these need-based scholarships. Grant support was also provided by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

The Center for Architecture would like to thank the many design professionals and guest speakers who opened their spaces to us and shared their work and design-thinking strategies with our budding designers:

  • The Pratt Institute, architects Francine Houben, Mecanoo; Kerry Nolan, AIA, Beyer Blinder Belle; and Risa Honig, New York Public Library; for contributing to our Architectural Design Studio class for high schoolers.
  • ARUP for contributing Digital Design: Bridges class for middle schoolers.
  • Architect Jay Valgora and Studio Manager Jalisa Grant from Studio V Architecture for joining us for Rooftop Dwellings classes for middle and high schoolers.
  • The Urban Design Division of the NYC Department of City Planning for being part of our Digital Design: City Design classes for middle and high schoolers.
  • Xenia Diente, Public Art Deputy Director, Project Excellence, at the NYC Department of Design and Construction, artist Tom Fruin, and Matthew Walsh for joining us for our Public Art & Architecture class for middle schoolers.
  • Daniel Ash, architect from Nelson Treehouse, for being part of Treehouse Design classes for elementary and middle schoolers.
  • SOM for joining us for our Skyscraper class for elementary schoolers.
  • KPF for joining our Skyscraper class for middle schoolers.
  • CookFox for joining our Green Island Home class for middle schoolers
  • Baxt Igui Architects, Building Energy Exchange and FXCollaborative for joining our Digital Design: House of the Future class for middle and high schoolers.

A special thanks to our Design Educators and Summer Assistants who worked diligently to provide our students with fun and meaningful summer experiences, and the Center’s own facilities and front desk staff who kept everything running smoothly throughout. Additional photos are available on our Facebook page.