Registration for Imagine Architecture 2021 will open soon. For the latest news, please subscribe to our mailing list.

Here are the dates for 2021:

July 5 to 9 – on-campus or online (to be decided)

July 12 to 16 – on-campus or online (to be decided)

July 19 to 23 – online

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

About Imagine Architecture 2020

Due to COVID-19, Imagine Architecture 2020 was successfully delivered online.

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

For those who want to explore a range of media and scales, Labs 101, 102, and 103 are designed as a sequence, to build skills and confidence, prepare students for application to undergraduate programs in architecture, and generate portfolio material. For those who prefer to take only one LAB, each is designed independently and requires no previous training.

LAB 101July 6 to July 10
Emphasis on domestic scale, drawing techniques, physical modeling, and portfolio preparation

LAB 102July 13 to 17
Emphasis on digital representation: Rhino 3D, Illustrator, Photoshop. portfolio preparation using InDesign

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

For those interested in all three, we offered a $100 discount.

One week: $600

Two weeks: $1,200

Three weeks: $1,700



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. Projects will allow the maximum exposure to creative design skills that will be helpful in creating a design portfolio.

Shela, 2019 participant – entering 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.

Rouqueya, 2019 and 2020 participant
I was fortunate enough to enroll in the Lab 103 class last summer and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I improved my sketching (spacing, proportion, balance) and learned about how to make my portfolio more effective. I would like to continue learning in the Lab 102 course and improve my digital skills.

Adrien, 2018 participant, enrolled in architecture school
I’m so glad that I found Imagine Architecture! I was unsure if architecture was the right undergraduate degree for me, and the Carleton summer program was the perfect way to experience it on a small scale. The activities throughout the week allowed me to truly understand what school might be like! There were many opportunities to ask both practicing architects and professors questions about school and career possibilities with a degree in architecture. Imagine Architecture also allowed me to understand better how to create an effective portfolio to help ensure my acceptance into the architecture programs of my choice. I believe that without this program, I may never have chosen architecture or even gotten into school! I’m so grateful for the help and guidance Imagine Architecture provided and would encourage anyone curious about becoming an architect to try the program.

Anastasia, 2018 participant, entering second-year at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism
My experience in LAB 101 was extremely insightful and beneficial. It allowed me to understand the basis of the design process, technical skills, and the work environment of a student architect. In addition, LAB 101 provided a better understanding of architecture’s purpose and goals, which later helped me alter my admission portfolio to emphasize these elements. At a young age, it can seem very daunting when choosing a career path, for fear of making the wrong choice. LAB 101 provides a very accurate experience of the student architect life. As an apprehensive applicant myself, LAB 101 not only confirmed my interests in architecture but sparked an even greater passion and excitement towards the program. After having completed my first year in architectural studies, I am very grateful for the experience of LAB 101. I truly believe it helped my portfolio and gave me a clear sense of what to anticipate in the coming year.


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 successfully delivered an online edition of the course in 2020. 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 provides 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 is 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 deliver Imagine Architecture online
Instructors use accessible digital platforms 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 start with a presentation to introduce the day’s exercises. Students 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 work on their projects while still connected to the class.

Once the projects start to develop, small group discussions take place 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 take place on Conceptboard. Here, students share their screens, and peers are able to give feedback. At the end of each week, an online exhibition is 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 focuses on discovering a variety of software used in architectural design. Participants learn how to construct 2D architectural drawings and basic geometric models with Rhino 3D. They will also learn proper workflow to move work between drafting, illustration, and image modification programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Finally, they will use InDesign to construct portfolio pages in a professional way.

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 domestic scale, drawing techniques, physical modeling, and portfolio preparation

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. Projects will take advantage of our “confinement” to think more deeply about domestic space.

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 and a workshop in portfolio preparation.


Date Time Cost
Jul 6 – 10, 2020 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. $600 + HST
Pencil Drawing/Sketching Model Making
Architecture Photography Creative writing
Architecture drawing sets Observing one’s environment
Materiality in architecture  Curation (exhibition)


LAB 102

Emphasis on digital representation: Rhino 3D, Illustrator, Photoshop. Portfolio preparation using InDesign

LAB 102 offers a series of unique, engaging workshops that introduce students to several different software used in architectural design. You will learn how to construct 2D architectural drawings and basic geometric models with Rhino 3D. You will also learn proper workflow to move work between drafting, illustration, and image modification programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Finally, you will use InDesign to construct portfolio pages in a professional way.

Adobe Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign) software will be provided free of charge. Students will be able to download a trial version of Rhino 3D for free.


Date Time Cost
Jul 13 – 17, 2020 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. $600 + HST


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 include concepts of line drawing, plan and section, perspective, cut-and-fold, and composition.

Particularly appropriate for those who want to study architecture at university, LAB 103 places emphasis on understanding the kinds of graphic representations suitable for a portfolio.


Date Time Cost
Jul 20 – 24, 2020 9:00 a.m. to 4;00 p.m. $600 + HST


Drawing techniques Mixed media
Abstract spatial thinking Portfolio 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.


Abbi Belliveau is currently entering her second year in the Bachelor of Architectural Studies, Design Stream program at Carleton University. She is also studying for a minor in History and Theory of Architecture at Carleton. Throughout high school, Abbi always had a love for the arts, completing her AP Studio Portfolio in May 2019. She kept her love for painting and developed an interest in videography through her first-year projects. Abbi is the Vice President of the Azrieli Architecture Student Association and is heavily involved in organizing and planning events for the student body. She will also be a teaching assistant to Professor Roger Connah in August 2020 for a one-week workshop on digital medium exploration for incoming first-year students.


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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