Imagine Architecture

Imagine Architecture is a career exploratory studio for grade 10-12 students who are interested in design 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.

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

The 2021 courses will be offered ONLINE.

Here are the 2021 courses:


LAB 101 – July 5 to July 9
Emphasis on human scale, multi-media drawing techniques, architectural conventions, and some physical modeling.


LAB 102 – July 12 to 16
Emphasis on digital representation: Rhino 3D, Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. Workshop on page layouts for portfolios.


LAB 103 – July 19 to 23
Emphasis on diagrams and abstract architectural thinking, urban space, and portfolio preparation workshops.

How do I decide?


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.

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.

Scroll down for more details about the LABs, testimonials and FAQs.

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.


For those interested in all three LABs, we offer a $125 discount. The discount will be applied automatically during online payment.


One week: $625 + HST

Two weeks: $1,250 + HST

Three weeks: $1,750 + HST

Cancellation Policy

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 made less than 30 days before the start of the LAB for which you are registered.

Imagine Architecture FAQ

Imagine Architecture is an online career exploratory studio for grade 10-12 students who are interested in design 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.

Students who have completed grade 10 – 12. There is no application process – receipt of your registration form and payment will guarantee your spot in the program.

Registration and payment is done online. Click here to register.

We will accept registrations until all spots are taken. You are advised to register early to avoid disappointment.

Registration and payment must be completed at the same time. Your spot is not reserved until we receive payment. If you enter your information but do not complete the payment process, you will have to redo the whole registration process again the next time you come back to pay.

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

You will receive an auto-response with a copy of your registration and receipt. This is the the official confirmation of your registration and it guarantees your spot in the program.

Two weeks before the start of the program, you will receive a welcome package with all the logistical details.

Do you know a high school student interested in architecture?

Testimonials from 2020 Participants

I am so glad I took this course because what I initially thought schools would want as a portfolio is not actually what they are looking for. This course gave me the skills to expand on my ideas and develop a narrative for my drawings, which was very helpful.

I took Lab 101 as a way to explore architecture and enjoyed that course so much I decided to take Lab 103 as well. I signed up for the labs expecting it to be an enjoyable experience, but I learned so much and had a better time than expected! The instructors were great too, and made the experience more enjoyable as well!

With quarantine, it was really nice to finally do something with my free time. It was also my first time working with Illustrator, and Rhino so not only was I introduced to these amazing design tools, but I also got more familiar with them as the week progressed.

I enjoyed it as some activities were great exercises and the discussions were very informative and helpful. It was also very cool to hear from people from different parts of Canada and other countries.

The teaching assistants were phenomenal. They were more than willing to answer any and all questions and went above and beyond to help in any way they could.

I enjoyed the lab I participated in more than I expected because I was able to expand my skills and knowledge of architecture, and also get valuable information about the Carlton architecture program and how to make the best application portfolio.

I had a wonderful time and am happy with the projects I created throughout the week. Thank you for the amazing experience!

I took this course to get a feel for what architectural school would be like. I loved the course, so I am now considering applying to architectural schools for my post-secondary education.

I loved the assignments. There was free-range to dive into my creative side while also having a theme and list of what my teacher expected of me.

I learnt something new every day in terms of skills for developing unique portfolio work.

This helped me remind myself how much I love architecture after being in quarantine for so long.

I would recommend this course to anyone planning on applying to architecture school. I learned so much about portfolio prep, which will help immensely in applying. Also, the connections I made with the instructors were great, and they all are open to answer questions in the future if I have any, which is so kind of them and will be helpful too.

I know this course was online this year because of COVID, but I don’t think I missed out on much because it was online. I am from Vancouver, and wouldn’t have been able to participate if it was in person, Many students were from the U.S. and some were from Switzerland and other places around the world, and it was amazing to have access to this course.

I loved the atmosphere and the work we did.

It was super fun and the instructors were very helpful.


Other Testimonials

Shela, 2019 participant, accepted into the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism in 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.

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, student 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.

About the Labs

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.

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.




July 5-9, 2021

9:00 am – 4:00 pm

$625 + 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.

Software will be provided free of charge.




July 12-16, 2021

9:00 am – 4:00 pm

$625 + 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.





July 19-23, 2021

9:00 am – 4:00 pm

$625 + HST

Drawing Techniques

Mixed Media

Abstract Spatial Thinking

Portfolio Graphics

Studio Culture

How We Deliver Imagine Architecture Online

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.

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.

Students received a list of supplies to purchase or scavenge throughout the house. For LAB 102, students received free access to software and detailed instructions on downloads.

Imagine Architecture Academic Team


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

Abbi Belliveau is entering their third year of the Bachelor of Architectural Studies at Carleton. They plan to graduate in the design stream, with a minor in History and Theory of Architecture. Abbi has been an avid painter and illustrator since high school, developing portfolios for both the fine arts and architectural design. They’ve had their work showcased in galleries and festivals in the US and Canada, and were a finalist for the Azrieli School’s 2020 Director’s Project. This is their second year of working with Imagine Architecture.

How to Register

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.

For more information email Maria Cook (

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