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Summer Architecture Programs for High School Kids

by Erica Loop

If your high school student is considering a career in the architecture, she can get a jump start on her education and explore the field at a design summer program. Depending on the intensity level and number of classes in the curriculum, these programs run the gamut from pre-college programs and workshops to introductory summer camp classes. You'll find summer offerings for teens across the county at colleges, universities and museums.

Types of Programs

There isn't just one type of summer architecture program for teens. Some programs are residential -- or sleep-over -- camps while others only include daytime classes. For example, Roger Williams University's Summer Academy, in Bristol, Rhode Island, is a four-week architecture program for pre-senior high school students that are looking for a residential option. Younger teens, through 14 years old, can take day classes Monday through Friday at an architecture camp such as Woodbury School of Architecture's Art of Architecture program in Burbank, California.

Learning Lessons

In summer programs, teens can learn basic knowledge that architecture professionals must have. This may include taking classes on design principles, drawing and computer-assisted technology. For example, the Architectural Foundation of San Francisco's "Build San Francisco Summer Design Institute" includes courses in drawing techniques, photography, 3D modeling and Autodesk computer-assisted drawing. Additionally, summer architecture programs may feature classes on style and theory. The Cranbrook Academy Summer Art Institute's architecture classes in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan provides pre-college teens with instruction in drafting and modeling along with lectures on architectural styles.

Hands-On Activities

Although lecture-based instruction is a key element of these programs, most summer camps also include a hands-on component. For example, Boston Architectural College's Summer Academy provides extensive hands-on project work drawing plans, creating graphic collages and building models. Likewise, the Next Generation Design Institute in Fort Worth, Texas, has a summer intensive program that features opportunities for high school students to design, draft and model their own architectural projects.

Focused Faculty

Unlike high school school teachers with degrees in secondary education, summer architecture camp instructors are likely have backgrounds as working architects and advanced degrees in the subject. Some university schools of architecture offer teen summer workshops that feature university faculty members. For example, School of Architecture faculty teach Oklahoma State University's Discover Architecture summer program at their Stillwater, Oklahoma campus. Likewise, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's pre-college summer program in architecture features a group of professional artists and architects who teach college-level classes during the academic year.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

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