STUDIO FIRST

Top Schools Accept STUDIO FIRST Alumni

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

• University of Toronto, Toronto

• University of British Columbia, Vancouver

• University of Calgary, Calgary

• Carleton University, Ottawa

• 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 

STUDIO FIRST 2022

STUDIO FIRST 2021 has ended. Dates for STUDIO FIRST 2022 will be posted soon.

Who is it 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.

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.  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.

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 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 2020

I came into STUDIO FIRST intrigued by architecture and left knowing I was going to pursue it after my undergrad degree. From the technical to the theoretical, this course gave me a solid foundation on which to think about and see spaces in entirely new ways. Along the way, I learned how diverse, creative, and far-reaching a discipline architecture is. Thank you to the instructors for their warmth and dedication, and thank you for an inspiring and awesome course!”

 

– 2020 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.

Dates for Summer 2022 will be announced soon.

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 + HST (includes some studio supplies)

(In US dollars, approximately $2,306 + HST)

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 19 inclusive (for the May-June program): a refund of 50% of the cost of the full paid tuition will be issued.

 

• Cancellation after April 19: No refund will be issued.

 

• Cancellation by June 21 inclusive (for the July-August program): a refund of 50% of the cost of the full paid tuition will be issued.

 

• Cancellation after June 21: 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.

The registration fee covers some studio supplies.

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.

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.

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).

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.

During this time of physical distancing, the STUDIO FIRST teaching team is committed to helping you achieve your goals and providing a creative, productive, and exciting experience.

In 2020 and 2021 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 experience was well worth the money and time. It gave students of all skills the ability to learn hard skills needed for master’s studies in architecture. The instructors were knowledgeable and patient and really did a great job teaching us fundamentals. They were also passionate about architecture and you could tell they really wanted us to succeed.”

– 2020 STUDIO FIRST survey response

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 am very pleased with how the course turned out. Lectures, studios, and digitals lab were recorded and uploaded the same day. My instructors responded to all my messages quickly and were available to answer questions in the evenings and weekends. If you are in the same situation where you have to work but are interested in this course and getting started in architecture, I would encourage you to give STUDIO FIRST a try.”

-2020 STUDIO FIRST participant feedback

STUDIO FIRST Academic Team

Adriana Ross
Academic Director
Project 1 Lead Instructor

Adriana Ross has been an instructor at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism for 12 years. She teaches design studio and courses in the theory and practice of architectural representation, drawing, and multi-media. 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
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.

Connor O’Grady
Project 3 Lead Instructor

Connor O’Grady is an architectural designer with Shean Architects in Ottawa and an instructor at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in architectural drawing and digital design, as well as teaching in design studio. Connor previously worked at SvN Architects + Planners in Toronto for five years on various scales and types of buildings. His experience spans master plans and urban design to small commercial and residential renovations. Much of his work has been in multi-unit residential projects, including affordable housing. He also taught Introduction to Digital Fabrication for two years at the University of Waterloo, where he received his Bachelor of Architectural Studies (2012) and Master of Architecture (2015) degrees. During his master’s studies, Connors received a MITACS Accelerate Grant. It allowed him to work for Philip Beesley Architect, co-managing the ACADIA Adaptive Architecture Conference and installing Epiphyte Chamber at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, Korea. At graduation, Connor was awarded the Alpha Rho Chi Medal. He has published and presented papers on architectural pedagogy. He has also worked at Kohn Pederson Fox in New York City, Quadrangle Architects in Toronto, and DIALOG Architects in Edmonton.

Jesse Bird
Digital Lab Instructor

Jesse Bird holds a Master of Architecture from Carleton University, where he completed his undergraduate degree in architectural studies. Jesse was a Teaching Fellow for the 2020/21 Gateway Design Studio. He is currently leading a research team at CSALT Labs in ongoing research from his thesis to explore the physical and mechanical properties of nano- and micro-fibrillated cellulose from waste paper to create innovative building products. In 2017, Jesse was awarded first place in an ACSA Here + Now international design competition for prefabricated housing strategies in remote locations of Canada’s Northwest Coast. Jesse’s interests have since focused on the intersection of sustainable building technologies and environmental design, emphasizing the social and cultural relationships of inclusive waste management. He has explored these topics in Australia, Brazil, and Canada. Jesse has received professional and academic recognition for his design approaches and was awarded the Maxwell Taylor Scholarship for his thesis on sustainable material development in the Global South.

Gabrielle Argent
Program Coordinator
Studio Instructor

Gabrielle Argent is an architectural designer and researcher. She holds a Master of Architecture (2020) from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in the History of Art, Design and Visual Culture (2015) from the University of Alberta. Gabrielle worked at the Azrieli School during the 2020-21 academic year as a research assistant, communications coordinator, and teaching team member for both undergraduate and graduate courses. Gabrielle is also the assistant editor of the publication OBL/QUE – A Journal on Critical Conservation, created by Dr. Natalia Escobar Castrillón. Her graduate thesis, Mobility, Voice, and View: Unpacking the Future of Cape Town’s District Six, explores the role of agency in architecture, especially in the context of race, segregation, and politics. Her thesis was recently featured on the architectural design platform KooZA/rch. In the past year, she has completed research on enslaved peoples and architecture in the American South and design projects that examine and propose architectural interventions for migrants along the US-Mexico border. Gabrielle hopes to explore further these types of topics through the lens of spatial justice.

“STUDIO FIRST presented a wonderful opportunity during a trying time. It successfully engaged numerous perspectives and backgrounds into one solid online program. The confidence, work and creativity of all those involved grew exponentially in just five weeks. And I have personally seen an improvement not just in my own work, but also in my critical thinking and speculative thought.”

-2020 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 2020

“The instructors were engaging and passionate about the material. Through the project critiques I was able to grow from the feedback I received. I grew close with others in the class despite being entirely online. I’ve learned a lot about the way that architecture is taught at the university level and the expectations if I ever choose to enroll. Thank you STUDIO FIRST Team! This was a great experience!”

-2020 STUDIO FIRST survey response

Program Cost

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

(In US dollars, approx. $2,306 + 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

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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