Imagine Architecture: High School Summer Program

Due to COVID-19 precautions, Imagine Architecture 2020 will be delivered online.


We are proud to offer exceptional summer programs for high school students interested in architecture, design, and building a portfolio.

Because we want to open as many opportunities as possible, we have simplified our offerings into three consecutive one-week LABS in July. Each LAB will be limited to 36 students.


LAB 101 – July 6 to July 10
Emphasis on scale, drawing techniques, domestic space, physical model


 LAB 102 – July 13 to 17
Emphasis on digital drawing: Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign


 LAB 103 – July 20 to 24 Emphasis on abstraction, architectural thinking, urban space, portfolio preparation



If you are interested in all three, we are offering a $100 discount.

One week: $600

Two weeks: $1,200

Three weeks: $1,700



Imagine Architecture 2020 Online Registration Form

Do you know a high school student interested in Architecture?

Imagine Architecture is a career exploratory program for grade 10-12 students who are interested in architecture and who would like to gain experience in creative design thinking and making. Taught by instructors from Carleton’s Architecture program, these fun and intensive workshops will introduce students to the creative culture of design studio, which is at the core of the Architectural Studies curriculum.



Three independent courses are offered: LAB 101, LAB 102, and LAB 103.



The three courses are stand-alone programs. You can register for any one of them or you can register for all courses without repeating projects. If you are interested in all three courses, there is a $100 discount. Projects will allow the maximum exposure to creative design skills that will be helpful in creating a design portfolio.





Shela, 2019 Imagine Architecture participant

Entering first year at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism in September 2020

My experience at the Imagine Architecture LAB 103 confirmed how much I wanted to pursue architecture for post-secondary. Through LAB 103, I experienced a glimpse of the studio culture and met new friends. We were introduced to technical concepts such as scales, axonometrics, and drawing in perspective. I enjoyed having time after each lecture to practice what we learned and to collaborate with the other students.

My favourite part of LAB 103 were the end-of-the-day pin ups because we got to present our creations, communicate our ideas, and receive constructive criticism. One lesson that I learned from LAB 103 that heavily influenced how I curated my portfolio submission for architecture school was the importance of storytelling. From my final project for LAB 103 to all of my art until now, I have been incorporating deeper meaning to all of my pieces. Whether it’s about the environment or social justice issues, I made sure that there was a statement or an intention behind each art piece.

LAB 103 gave me the unique opportunity to immerse myself in the design field and learn a bit more about architecture.



Program Description


During this time of physical distancing, the Imagine Architecture instructors are committed to helping you achieve your goals and providing a creative, productive, and exciting experience.


We are enthusiastically preparing an online edition of the course. It is modeled after the program we have successfully delivered for the past four years and modified to take advantage of opportunities in the realm of online learning. It will provide participants with tools and support for portfolio-worthy graphic results, as well as an interactive design studio experience.


We are already using digital platforms to create a virtual studio space in which students can interact, share their work, and receive one-on-one instruction.


While it will be different than an in-person studio experience, we are confident it will expand your knowledge and skills, get you started on a portfolio, and be equally useful in exploring architecture as a potential field of study.



How we will deliver Imagine Architecture online

Instructors will use accessible digital platforms such as Zoom and Conceptboard, to create a virtual studio space in which students can interact, share their work, and receive one-on-one instruction.



Online Schedule

Every morning we will start with a presentation to introduce the day’s exercises. Students will then have studio hours to work, while the zoom room remains open for questions and advice for the group. The studio setting is an opportunity to show one’s work and learn from each other.


In the afternoon, a new activity typically builds off of the morning exercise but challenges the students to apply it to another drawing, model, or context. Students will be working on their projects while still connected to the class.


Once the projects start to develop, small group discussions will exist in another room. Students have the opportunity to share their ideas on how their projects are developing and get feedback from the group. Studio pin-ups will take place on Conceptboard. Here, students will share their screens, and peers will be able to give feedback. At the end of each week, an online exhibition will be available to share the work with everyone, including friends and family. 



Working from Home

Working from home is an excellent opportunity for students to immerse themselves in their surroundings. Facing a new reality, how do we observe and interpret the world around us? Although we are living in a socially-distanced world, working in the space you have can be a creative opportunity.


Students should set-up a studio spot at home to have a designated work area. Provide space to spread out, but also stay organized. The workspace can get messy quickly, so we want to be sure to put tools away properly and manage the space well. 



Studio Supplies

Supplies to work with throughout the course can be purchased online as well as scavenged throughout the house. An assortment of material is encouraged. 


Shopping list: sketchbooks, large and small, basswood sticks, glue stick or glue, felt-tip pens, Prismacolor pencils or oil pastels, drafting kit.


Scavenger list: Twine, thread, wire, string, Small wood blocks, Ephemera (sheet music, book pages, newspaper bits, pieces of packaging), cardboard, small objects (machine pieces, figures, spools), measuring tape, scissors, etc.



Digital program

Each day will focus on understanding new techniques that merge both analog and digital mediums to create the student’s own creative voice through multiple process-based drawing exercises. LAB 102 will explore basic Adobe Suite programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign while understanding additional concepts like drawing composition, photo-collage, and hybrid-drawing.



How will this help my application portfolio?

The program aims to give students the tools they need to represent their creative ideas. The work is a reflection of how the students observe, interpret, and propose a narrative through their designs. Admission committees look for students who can communicate their ideas and express how they imagine architecture.


LAB 101


Emphasis on scale, drawing techniques, domestic space, physical models

This week-long workshop will include thought-provoking lectures and hands-on design thinking and making activities. You will be immersed in a culture of imaginative creativity, inspired motivation, and related skills-building techniques, methods, and projects. Each day will be dedicated to a specific theme that will culminate in a final exhibition of your projects. There will also be an opportunity to learn about Carleton University’s application process.

Jul 6 – 10, 20209:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.$650 + HST


LAB 101 Themes

Further details about the themes will be provided at a later time.

Pencil Drawing/SketchingModel Making
Architecture PhotographyCreative writing
Architecture drawing setsObserving the city (Field Trip)
Materiality in architecture Curation (exhibition)


LAB 102


Emphasis on digital drawing: Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign

LAB 102 offers a series of unique engaging workshops that introduce students to varying methods of creative digital design, thinking, and making. Each day will focus on understanding new techniques that merge both analog and digital mediums to create the student’s own creative voice through multiple process-based drawing exercises. LAB 102 will explore basic Adobe Suite programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign while understanding additional concepts like drawing composition, photo-collage, and hybrid-drawing. 

Jul 13 – 19, 2020* 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Fri. only)9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.$350 + HST


LAB 102 Themes

Further details about the themes will be provided at a later time.

SketchingDesign Charette
Object ThinkingModel Making


LAB 103


Emphasis on abstraction, architectural thinking, urban space, portfolio preparation 

LAB 103 is a week-long immersive multi-media workshop, introducing participants to techniques of drawing, small model-building, and architectural and spatial representation. A series of choreographed exercises focus on drawing by hand, three-dimensional thinking, and abstract visualization. Topics including concepts of line drawing, plan and section, perspective, cut-and-fold, and composition. Particularly appropriate for those who want to study architecture at university, LaAB 103 places emphasis on understanding the kinds of graphic representations suitable for a portfolio.

Jul 20 – 24, 20209:00 a.m. to 4;00 p.m.$650 + HST


LAB 103 Themes

Further details about the themes will be provided at a later time.

Drawing techniquesMixed media
Abstract spatial thinkingPortfolio graphics
Studio culture 

Cancellation Policy

Kindly note that a refund (minus $45 service charge) will be issued for cancellations 30 days before the start of the LAB for which you are registered. Unfortunately, there is no refund for cancellations that take place less than 30 days before the start of the LAB for which you are registered.






Zach Colbert is an assistant professor at the Carleton University Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism. He is an award-winning architect and a licensed practitioner in Ontario, New York, and Arizona. Zach is a member of the Ontario Association of Architects, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the American Institute of Architects, the Ottawa Regional Society of Architects, and the Urban Land Institute (Toronto Chapter). He was previously on faculty at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and the Parsons New School for Design School of Constructed Environments. His work has been published in magazines, including Art Forum, Architect, and Architectural Record, and showcased in galleries and museums in New York City, Los Angeles, Dubai, Santiago de Chile, Rotterdam, Ottawa, and Beijing. Before practicing independently, he worked for SHoP Architects and Bernard Tschumi Architects in New York City. His externally funded research program at Carleton University focuses on using architectural thinking to productively engage intersections of politics and infrastructure within a changing climate.

Zach’s professional practice, Zachary Colbert Architects Limited, is a full-service architectural firm dedicated to design research and creative architectural practice. Operating in the realms of architecture, urbanism, and landscape, the firm has built projects for institutional and private clients alongside a portfolio of speculative projects that critically engage infrastructure, nature, and politics.





Connor O’Grady is a registered intern architect with the Ontario Association of Architects. Connor has almost 10 years of experience working at leading firms in Toronto, New York, and Edmonton. He has worked on all phases of design and construction on a large range of building types, including ecclesiastical, light industrial, multi-unit residential, commercial office, and single-family homes. He has also garnered substantial urban design experience in the form of urban masterplans, residential subdivision layout, development of municipal built form guideline documents, transit-oriented development, and land-use/built-form portions of environmental impact assessments for aviation infrastructure expansion.








Liane Lanzar is completing a Master of Architecture candidate at Carleton University. She has a Bachelor of Environmental Design from the University of Manitoba. By contributing to the design and organization of events and publications at the architecture school, she developed a keen interest in the graphic representation and communication of architecture. Liane went on to receive first prize in the 2015 Manitoba Book Awards for her work with the student publication, Warehouse Journal 23. She also placed second in the 2013 International Student Video Competition at the Urban Architecture Bi-City Biennale in Shenzhen, China. Liane currently works with the Azrieli School’s communications team and has been the editor of the school’s annual student publication, Building 22, for the past two editions.








Shelby Hagerman is a Master of Architecture candidate at Carleton University, where she also completed her Bachelor of Architectural Studies.  Shelby fell in love with architecture and design when she was in high school, planning and painting sets for theatre productions.  She participated among three of her peers in the OAA Shift 2019 Infrastructure Architecture Challenge with Professor Zachary Colbert and Antonio Gioventu. Their project entitled Urban Energy Shift won the competition, envisioning new methods to generate renewable energy in high-rise multi-family unit dwellings. She continues to conduct research on this project with Professor Colbert, also embracing multi-disciplinary collaboration.  Shelby has also worked at the Parliamentary Protective Service, Indigenous Services Canada, and GRC Architects in Ottawa.






Maya Jarrah has recently completed her Master of Architecture degree at Carleton University. Her thesis, Against Gravity: An Exploration in Post-Conflict Aleppo, explored ways in which designers could instrumentalize architecture as a tool to bring back joy and lightness to a post-war context, contributing to the re-emergence of the social and urban fabric of the city. Maya has an undergraduate degree in Interior Architecture from Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences in Germany. She worked at one of Germany’s leading architecture and design firms, where she contributed to multiple phases of local and international projects like the new stock exchange building in Tehran and a residential-commercial ensemble in Frankfurt.


Any student who has completed grades 10-12 and is interested in design and architecture is eligible to attend. There is no “application” process – receipt of your registration and payment will guarantee your spot in the program.


Imagine Architecture 2020 Online Registration Form

Registration is on a first-come-first-served basis. Registration will remain open until all spots are taken. If the registration link is still active, then there are still spots left in the program. Register early as space is limited.

Your spot is not guaranteed until payment has been received. Payment by Visa or MasterCard only.

Frequently asked questions

Still have questions? See our frequently asked questions (FAQ) for more information.

See pictures from past Imagine Architecture programs on our Facebook page.


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