STUDIO FIRST

Next sessions will take place in summer 2023. Join the mailing list for dates.

 

Who is STUDIO FIRST FOR?

1. You have a four-year undergraduate degree in any field, but wonder whether architecture and design is the career for you. Carleton and three other Canadian universities have professional architecture degree programs for people with a first degree in another subject, as do many American schools.

2. Students already in architecture, environmental design, conservation, or urban design, who are applying to graduate programs to gain a professional degree. You may need to improve your portfolio or augment your design studies. 

3. International students who want to learn how to create a suitable portfolio for application to schools in North America or Europe.

4.  Anybody who wishes to improve their visual literacy and fluency in graphic expression. You might be interested in fashion design, landscape,  interiors, film, even computer interface design.

Top Schools Accept STUDIO FIRST Alumni

STUDIO FIRST 2021 participants have been accepted to graduate programs at the following schools:

  • Carleton University, Ottawa

  • Dalhousie University, Halifax

  • University of British Columbia, Vancouver

  • University of Calgary, Calgary

  • University of Toronto, Toronto

  • Arizona State University

  • New York Institute of Technology, New York City

  • Pratt Institute, New York City

  • Rice University, Houston, Texas

  • SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture), Los Angeles, California

  • University of California, Berkeley

  • University of Edinburgh,  Edinburgh, Scotland

  • University of Houston

  • University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

  • University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

  • Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri

STUDIO FIRST 2020 participants were accepted to graduate programs at the following schools: 

• Carleton University, Ottawa 

• University of Toronto, Toronto

• University of British Columbia, Vancouver

• University of Calgary, Calgary

• Pratt Institute, New York City

• Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York

• SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture), Los Angeles, California

• Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, Michigan

• The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, London, England

• Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts

About STUDIO FIRST

STUDIO FIRST is an intensive five-week studio in architectural design for students from a wide range of backgrounds who are considering graduate studies in architecture, urban design, or landscape architecture.

Did you know that a Master of Architecture professional degree is available to students with an honours undergraduate major in any field? STUDIO FIRST provides a post-baccalaureate “bridge” from an undergraduate degree in any field toward entrance into a three-year accredited professional degree program in architecture. 

Architecture is well-suited to people from diverse disciplines, from visual arts and engineering to geography and the humanities. The Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism’s STUDIO FIRST program will allow students to immerse themselves in studio culture and determine whether architecture is the right path to follow.

STUDIO FIRST is the first and only program of its kind in Canada,.

The main goal of the program is to allow participants the opportunity to generate portfolio material appropriate for application to a three-year Master of Architecture accredited degree program or any of the environmental design fields.

It is equally valuable to those wanting to pursue a degree in urban design or landscape architecture, if the application has a portfolio requirement.

STUDIO FIRST includes access to architectural software, lectures in the theory and practice of architecture, as well as workshops in digital applications, portfolio preparation, and writing statements of interest.

Want to pursue a career in architecture? STUDIO FIRST will help you create a competitive portfolio for application to any three-year Master of Architecture program.

Learn more at Architecture Next, a blog about the three-year Master of Architecture program.

Please note: STUDIO FIRST is a non-credit course at the university. Participants enrolled in STUDIO FIRST are not considered to be registered in a university course. Participants will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the program.

Student Work from STUDIO FIRST 2021

“STUDIO FIRST went beyond my expectations. The instructors were very knowledgeable and answered all my questions about both the master’s program and the architecture industry. I was very impressed with how seamless the course was for it being online. Instructors were able to critique my projects and drawing skills in real-time and provide insightful feedback.

– 2021 STUDIO FIRST survey response

STUDIO FIRST FAQs

STUDIO FIRST is an intensive five-week studio in architectural design for students from a wide range of backgrounds who are considering graduate studies in architecture or any of the environmental design fields.

The program provides a post-baccalaureate “bridge” from an undergraduate degree in any field toward entrance into a three-year accredited professional degree in architecture. The main goal of the program is for participants to generate portfolio material appropriate for application to a three-year Master of Architecture accredited degree program.

It is equally valuable to those wanting to pursue a degree in urban design or landscape architecture, if the application has a portfolio requirement.

Architecture is well-suited to people from diverse disciplines, from visual arts and engineering to geography and the humanities. The Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism’s STUDIO FIRST program will allow students to immerse themselves in studio culture and determine whether architecture is the right path to follow.

Participants will:

• work on three separate studio projects;
• attend lectures on architectural theory and practice;
• learn how to use key digital media tools central to the profession;
• participate in workshops on portfolio preparation and grad school applications.

2022 Dates

May 18-June 22— Online

July 6-August 10 — Online

Instruction will take place online.

Applications will continue to be reviewed on a rolling basis until the class is full.

The program is open to all graduates of a bachelor’s degree program from a university or equivalent, in any major, or those currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program. Mature students are also eligible to apply. Please contact us (studiofirst@carleton.ca) if you have any questions about your eligibility for STUDIO FIRST.

Yes. STUDIO FIRST does not have any status restrictions for applicants. Our application process only looks at your eligibility for the program itself (i.e., holding a bachelor’s degree or currently enrolled in one, and your resume, essay, and image).

Essay (500-words)
Describe your interest in the program. Tell us about yourself and why you have an interest in pursuing an architectural education.

 

Resume
Please include a resume or CV that lists professional, academic, and extra-curricular achievements. Include honours, awards, registrations, and all relevant accomplishments.
Accepted file format: .pdf

 

One Image
Please include one recent visual representation of your work that showcases your aptitude for a studio-based design program. The image can be of any medium, as long as it’s an original piece, no larger than 11″×17″. Examples include drawing, painting, etching, photography, an image produced through a digital program, a photograph of a 3D object that you’ve built, or other work. Accepted file format: .jpg, .pdf, .png, .tiff

CAD $2,900 + $377 HST= $3,277 (includes some studio supplies)

In US dollars, approximately $2,345 + $305 HST = $2,650

Paid in two installments

There is a non-refundable application fee of CAD $45.

Should you find that you are unable to attend and have already paid the tuition, you have two options: request a refund or apply for a deferral.

 

If you request a refund, the policy is as follows:

 

• Cancellation by April 18 inclusive (for the May-June program): a refund of 50% of the cost of the full paid tuition will be issued.

 

• Cancellation after April 18: No refund will be issued.

 

• Cancellation by June 6 inclusive (for the July-August program): a refund of 50% of the cost of the full paid tuition will be issued.

 

• Cancellation after June 6: No refund will be issued.

 

If you request a deferral:

 

You have the option to defer your participation and fees for one year. If your deferral is approved, your tuition paid will be carried forward and applied to your account for the following year. Only one deferral will be granted per application, i.e., you will forfeit your application and tuition fees should you choose not to participate in the program in the year following your deferral.

STUDIO FIRST is a non-credit course at the university. Participants enrolled in STUDIO FIRST are not considered to be registered in a university course. Participants will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the program.

In a small number of cases, yes. Most people continue to work on their portfolio and apply the next year. Applicants to Carleton’s MArch program will have to follow all requirements and deadlines posted by Graduate Studies. Please refer to the MArch Program page for more details.I

Each school has its own requirements. Please visit our MArch Program page to learn more about Carleton’s requirements.

For more information, please contact Maria Cook at (studiofirst@carleton.ca).

“I thank the program for helping us develop a competitive architectural portfolio in such a short period of time.

– 2021 STUDIO FIRST survey response

How we deliver STUDIO FIRST online

Faculty 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 receive a box of art supplies and other materials in the mail.

Participants learn how to use architectural software with access to test licenses.

Lectures are delivered by expert faculty and exciting guest speakers.

All lectures are recorded, and all lectures and documents are available online to read and download at your convenience.

Forms of digital sharing are used to share and encourage process work and connect classmates to one another in the process of learning and to receive feedback.

Students are introduced to relevant and important references for their work, and learn about the contexts in which they will frame their projects.

The STUDIO FIRST teaching team is committed to helping you achieve your goals and providing a creative, productive, and exciting experience.

In 2020, 2021, and 2022 we successfully delivered online editions of the course, attended by students worldwide. The resulting work was excellent—and examples are on view here.

Modeled after the course we had successfully delivered for the past five years, the online version is slightly modified to take advantage of opportunities in the realm of digital platforms. It provides participants with materials, digital tools, and support for portfolio-worthy graphic results as well as a design studio experience.

“The course was very flexible. As I am working, I could refer to the video recordings later so that I don’t miss out on anything. Overall, I had a wonderful experience.”

– 2021 STUDIO FIRST participant feedback

Why you should participate in STUDIO FIRST

• STUDIO FIRST is designed for you if you have no formal academic background in architecture and want to pursue graduate education in architecture, urbanism, or other design-related academic fields.


• You will get the chance to work on your graduate school portfolio under the supervision of our studio instructors, experience studio culture, and network with like-minded participants.


• You will be exposed to leaders in the fields of architecture, urbanism, heritage conservation, and digital fabrication.

“I got accepted into the MArch 1 program that same year. That really would not have been possible without this course and the instructors. I’m so grateful!!”

– 2021 STUDIO FIRST survey response

STUDIO FIRST Academic Team

Adriana Ross
Project 1 Lead Instructor

Adriana Ross has been an instructor at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism for 13 years. She teaches design studio and courses in the theory and practice of architectural representation, drawing, and multi-media. She was among four teachers at the Azrieli School named a Favourite Faculty member for the 2021-2022 academic year.  Her popular elective course, An Introduction to Drawing: Seeing through the Hand, attracts more than 100 students each year, from over 25 different academic departments. Adriana has also taught at Algonquin College. Adriana’s research, teaching, and original work show how sensitivity to historical meaning and social conscience can enrich contemporary methods and design. Her award-winning work has been exhibited and published internationally, and she is co-author with Marco Frascari of the 2012 book Drawing in the Silence. Her drawings and writing about ecclesiastical architecture explore new uses for historic buildings. The paper, Comatose and Ricorso: Reawakening the Covenant Church, was published in the Int|AR: Interventions Adaptive Reuse journal. Adriana is interested in ephemeral structures. She has made and documented physical constructions that engage the scale of the human body in settings subject to the seasons. A resulting article, The Girl with the Secret Face, appeared in the international architectural journal DOMUS in 2014. Adriana earned her bachelor and master’s degrees in architecture at Carleton, where she received numerous awards, including the RAIC Student Medal for outstanding achievement.

Piper Bernbaum
Academic Coordinator
Project 2 Lead Instructor

Piper Bernbaum is an assistant professor at the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism at Carleton University. She is the recipient of the Prix de Rome for Emerging Practitioners, the RAIC Academic Medal, and the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal for her work and research. Piper’s research focuses on the intersection of law and architecture, the considerations and constraints of social and spatial plurality in urban environments, and the appropriation of space through design. Piper completed her BAS and MArch at the University of Waterloo and taught at Waterloo’s Cambridge and Rome campuses. Since graduating, she has worked extensively on architectural exhibitions. She was the project manager for The Evidence Room, which studied the forensic architectural artifacts of Auschwitz and was exhibited at the 2016 Venice Biennale, the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, 2017), and the Hirshhorn Museum (Washington, 2019). Piper has worked at architecture offices in Canada and globally, including Atelier Jean Nouvel in Paris, Sauerbruch Hutton in Berlin, and Kohn Pederson Fox Associates in New York City. Piper teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate programs at Carleton. She is currently leading the first-year studio, teaching as a part of the fourth-year comprehensive studio, and coordinating graduate seminars on various topics including casting, field work, architectural theory, and representation.

Rana Abughannam

Project 3 Lead Instructor

Rana Abughannam is a PhD candidate and contract instructor at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism. She obtained her professional degree in Architectural Engineering from Birzeit University in 2012. In 2013, she received her post-professional Master of Architecture degree from the history and theory program at McGill University’s school of architecture. Rana is a registered architect in Palestine and Jordan, where she practiced as a freelance architect. She is co-founder and a coordinator of the CR|PT|C (Carleton Research | Practice of Teaching | Collaborative). Rana teaches Morphology of the City, an undergraduate theory course that focuses on the spatial and formal organization of cities throughout history. Previously, she co-taught graduate studios around architectural design, urbanism, and spatial formations within colonial and post-colonial settings. Before joining Carleton, Rana taught at the Canadian University Dubai as a visiting lecturer at the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and an adjunct lecturer at the School of Architecture and Interior Design. Between 2013 and 2015, Rana was also an instructor at the Department of Architecture at Birzeit University, teaching history of architecture, architectural representation, and architectural design studios. Her research interests revolve around architecture and urbanity and the socio-political conditions which govern them. Her doctoral dissertation builds on her previous research and focuses on spatial forms of colonialism and resistance in Palestine.

 

Cailen Pybus
Digital Lab Instructor

Cailen Pybus is an architectural designer, researcher, and instructor specialized in digital storytelling for cultural heritage. His recent collaborations include the VR project Parliament: The Virtual Experience (2019) with the National Film Board of Canada, and Marking Time in the Cormier Garden (2020) for the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute. He teaches courses on digital representation at Carleton University and McGill University. He obtained his Master of Architecture from Carleton University in 2018 and a post-professional master’s degree in architectural history and theory from McGill University in 2020.

 

 

Chloe Cooke
Technical Coordinator
Studio Instructor

Chloe Cooke is a recent graduate of the three-year Master of Architecture program at Carleton University. She also holds a Bachelor of Communications and Media studies with a double major in Law and Communications (2019) from Carleton. While completing her undergraduate degree, she participated in the STUDIO FIRST program and decided to pursue her master’s in architecture. Chloe’s graduate thesis, Reimagining Periphery: More-Than-Human Visions of Cohabitation and Consciousness uses the Ottawa Greenbelt as a case study to examine spatial notions of hierarchy and organization that have structured anthropocentric processes of land control and delineation. Her thesis uses the non-human to expand upon habitual human patterns of visual perception and architectural convention so as to re-imagine historical and cultural narratives that designate peripheral places and beings (both human and non-human) as “other.” Through the revealing of invisible worlds of experience, architectural interventions respond to species specific phenomena, facilitate interconnectivity between socio-ecological systems, and propose an alternative lens for understanding ethical responses to climate change.

Daniel Dickson
Studio Assistant

Daniel Dickson is a Carleton University three-year Master of Architecture graduate of 2022. He took a circuitous route to architecture, beginning a degree in Biochemistry at McGill University before transitioning to and attaining a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with a Minor in Liberal Arts (Montreal and Copenhagen, 2018). After working in materials innovation (Montreal, 2018) and landscape architecture (Halifax, 2017-2019), he set up shop at Carleton. Here, he has assisted in master’s studio courses, researched at the Carleton Climate Futures Design Lab, and taught History and Theory of Modern Architecture. Daniel’s masters thesis allegorically reframed a post-Internet city, San Francisco, as a ‘born-digital living literary’ towards advocating for its citizenry’s spatio-textual agency, accessibility, and heterogeneity.

Stephanie Murray
Studio Assistant

Stephanie Murray is currently pursuing a Master of Architectural Studies and holds both a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a professional Master of Architecture degree. After finishing her degree in Fine Arts, she moved to Whitehorse, Yukon, where she worked for Northern Front Studio and Kobayashi + Zedda Architects, while continuing her art practice. Her current research interests are grounded in representations of site that generate identity and spatial narratives. Her work probes at the thresholds of ethical imaginaries through acts of making while looking at questions of authorship, inherited practices, and more than human actors. Stephanie has also led digital and analog projects at two research labs associated with the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism: the Carleton Immersive Media Studio (CIMS) and the Carleton Sensory and Liminal Technologies Lab (CSALT). 

“I left feeling confident and empowered by not only the new practical skills both in analog and digital drawings but also in my critical thinking skills, which hadn’t been tested in a while! I know I will be looking back on this course as a pivotal moment in my life — the beginning of what is going to be a challenging and rewarding new path.

– 2021 STUDIO FIRST survey response

Eligibility

You are eligible for STUDIO FIRST if one of the following applies to you:

•  You have a bachelor’s degree from a university or equivalent (it does not matter which year you completed your degree).

•  You are an upper year student (2nd year and above) currently enrolled in a degree program.

•  You are an international student who falls into any of the two criteria above.

The application process is the same for all applicants (graduates, undergrads and international students). Feel free to contact us for any questions regarding your eligibility for the program.

Please note: To be eligible for most Master of Architecture (MArch) degree programs in Canada, you need to have an honours bachelor’s degree (or four-year bachelor’s degree).

Participants who are planning to apply to Carleton’s MArch program are encouraged to visit the MArch Program page for information.

Student work from STUDIO FIRST 2021

“STUDIO FIRST helped me decide that I definitely want to pursue a degree in either architecture or urban design. I loved learning how to use all the software, and I could see myself continuing to develop my skills in the future.

– 2021 STUDIO FIRST survey response

Program Cost

2021 Program Fee: $2,900 + HST (includes some studio supplies)

(In US dollars, approx. $2,345 + HST)

Non-refundable application fee: $45

Paid in two installments.

The cost of STUDIO FIRST is considerably lower than the many similar programs in the United States.

Cancellation Policy

“The projects gave me a better understanding of how architecture differs from other design programs, especially compared to engineering or architectural technician paths. The various perspectives of the faculty and guest speakers also really helped to see the variety of paths and approaches to pursuing a career in architecture.

– 2021 STUDIO FIRST survey response

How to Apply

The following materials are required for consideration for admission to STUDIO FIRST.

 

• Application Fee: A non-refundable application fee of $45 is due upon application submission.

 

• Application Form: Applicants must complete the online STUDIO FIRST Program Application Form in full.

 

• Essay: An essay (500 words max) that describes your interest in the program. We would like you to use this opportunity to tell us about yourself, and why you have an interest in an architectural education.


• Resume: Please include a resume or CV, which includes your professional, academic, and extra-curricular achievements. Also, include honours, awards, registrations, and all relevant achievements.


• Image: Please include one recent visual representation that showcases your aptitude for a studio-based design program. This can be of any medium, as long as it’s an original 2-dimensional piece. Examples are drawings, sketches, photography, a picture of a built model, sculpture, or other handmade objects, computer-generated graphics, etc.

Admissions Deadline

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until all spots in the program are filled. 

We reserve the right to cancel the program and refund any tuition paid in case of low enrollment.

For more information email (studiofirst@carleton.ca)

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