STUDIO FIRST

2023 Sessions

May 16 to June 21 — Online

July 4 to August 9 – Online

Who is STUDIO FIRST FOR?

1. You have a four-year undergraduate degree in any field, or are currently enrolled, 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 schools in the United States and Europe.

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.

Optional In-Person Experience

 

STUDIO FIRST 2023 will be delivered entirely online. However, to accommodate a desire by some participants for an in-person component, we are pleased to offer access to studio space at the Architecture Building during the program for those participants who wish to come to campus to work on their projects. This will give students a physical space, as well as a digital space, in which to cultivate a sense of community and learn from each other. Access to the studio space is an optional benefit. It is not mandatory.

 

In addition, we will include an optional half-day event at the Architecture Building at Carleton University. This gathering will provide an opportunity for participants to meet each other and take part in a group exercise led by STUDIO FIRST instructors. The event is not mandatory. It is not a requirement to succeed in the program or to receive a Certificate of Completion.

 

Top Schools Accept STUDIO FIRST Alumni

STUDIO FIRST (2020 and 2021) participants were 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

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

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts

  • New York Institute of Technology, New York City

  • Pratt Institute, New York City

  • Rice University, Houston, Texas

  • Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York

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

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

  • University of Edinburgh,  Edinburgh, Scotland

  • University of Houston, Houston, Texas

  • University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

  • University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

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

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.

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 who present all three assigned projects will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the program.

Student Work from STUDIO FIRST 2022

“Absolutely phenomenal experience in Studio First! Amazing teachers that take their time to provide feedback and direct you to the right path to be successful with your projects and ideas. It definitely helped me understand studio culture better and prepare a highly competitive portfolio material to apply for MArch1, which I am now a part of.

– 2022 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.

2023 Dates

May 16-June 21 — Online

July 4-August 9 — Online

STUDIO FIRST 2023 will be delivered entirely online. However, to accommodate a desire by some participants for an in-person component, we are pleased to offer access to studio space at the Architecture Building during the program for those participants who wish to come to campus to work on their projects. This will give students a physical space, as well as a digital space, in which to cultivate a sense of community and learn from each other. Access to the studio space is an optional benefit. It is not mandatory.

In addition, we will include an optional half-day event at the Architecture Building at Carleton University. This gathering will provide an opportunity for participants to meet each other and take part in a group exercise led by STUDIO FIRST instructors. The event is not mandatory. It is not a requirement to succeed in the program or to receive a Certificate of Completion.

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

Participants with a Canadian mailing address are strongly advised to apply before the following dates to allow time to ship your mystery box:

May 1 for the May-June session

June 16 for the July-August session

Participants with a mailing address outside of Canada are strongly advised to apply before the following dates to allow time to ship your mystery box: 

April 12 for the May-June session

June 1 for the July-August session

Last-minute applicants wishing to receive a mystery box will be  responsible for courier charges incurred by the school to ship the materials.

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

2023 PROGRAM FEE: CAD $2,900 + $377 HST = $3,277 (includes some studio supplies)

(In US dollars, approx. $2,102 + 273.26 HST = $2,375.26)

Option to pay in two installments.

Non-refundable application fee: $45

SOFTWARE

Access to specific design software, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign, will be required to participate in STUDIO FIRST. 

Licenses for this software will need to be purchased by the participant.  Instructions on when and how to purchase these programs will be communicated to participants before the first class.

Currently, Adobe offers the full Creative Cloud (which includes all necessary Adobe software) at $108  a month.

Participants should plan to purchase licenses for two months.

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 4 2023 inclusive (for the May-June program): a refund of the full paid tuition, minus $150 service charge, will be issued.

 

• Cancellation after April 4, 2023: No refund will be issued.

 

• Cancellation by May 23 inclusive (for the July-August program): a refund of the full paid tuition, minus $150 service charge, will be issued.

 

• Cancellation after May 23: No refund will be issued.

 

Enrolling after the cancellation deadline means that you accept financial responsibility for the program fees.

All tuition must be paid in full prior to the beginning of the program.

 

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 who present all three assigned projects 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.

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).

STUDIO FIRST 2022 is now open for registration. 

May 18 to June 22 — Online – Registration is closed.

July 6 to August 10 — Online- Registration is open.

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.

Student Work from STUDIO FIRST 2022

“A really wonderful experience. Fast paced, with plenty of support. I finished the five weeks feeling very accomplished.

– 2022 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.

Lectures are delivered by expert faculty and 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 and support for portfolio-worthy graphic results as well as a design studio experience.

“Studio first was absolutely fantastic and I cannot thank you enough for giving us such a wonderful experience with professional constructive criticism that helps us better our portfolio. It was fun!”

– 2022 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.

“Studio First was instrumental in my decision to switch careers. We were exposed to a variety of topics and methods in architecture that further engendered my curiosity for the field. I gained a level of confidence with digital mediums that was non-existent beforehand and applicable to other areas of my life afterwards. I appreciated the space that was left for us to have conversations with professionals and other students. The studio time was a rich opportunity for learning despite being online.”

– 2022 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). 

“Studio First was an amazing course which helped me understand more of what to expect from a MArch program. Coming from a background not focussed in architecture or design, the course introduced me to many design programs which will be useful in building a portfolio. I would highly  encourage anyone interested in the pursing a future in architecture and design to participate in Studio First.

– 2022 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 2022

“The professors were excellent and the program is structured very well. It’s definitely worth it as an introduction to something as unique as architecture school.

– 2022 STUDIO FIRST survey response

Program Cost

2023 PROGRAM FEE: CAD $2,900 + $377 HST = $3,277 (includes some studio supplies)

(In US dollars, approx. $2,102 + $273.26 HST = $2,375.26)

Option to pay in two installments.

Non-refundable application fee: $45

SOFTWARE

Access to specific design software, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign, will be required to participate in STUDIO FIRST. 

Licenses for this software will need to be purchased by the participant.  Instructions on when and how to purchase these programs will be communicated to participants before the first class.

Currently, Adobe offers the full Creative Cloud (which includes all necessary Adobe software) at $108  a month.

Participants should plan to purchase licenses for two months.

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

Cancellation Policy

“I was very pleased with my experience in Studio First. I benefited from the overview of history, theory and technique and the variety of assignments we were tasked with. The instructors and guest lecturers were approachable, engaged and able to field our questions about the profession with candidness cut with encouragement. Dialogue among students became richer and more frequent as the course progressed. I completed Studio First feeling motivated to continue exploring my interest in architecture.

– 2022 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. 

 

Participants with a Canadian mailing address are strongly advised to apply before the following dates to allow time to ship your mystery box:

May 1 for the May-June session

June 16 for the July-August session

 

Participants with a mailing address outside of Canada are strongly advised to apply before the following dates to allow time to ship your mystery box: 

April 12 for the May-June session

June 1 for the July-August session

 

Last-minute applicants risk not receiving a mystery box or being responsible for any courier charges incurred by the school to ship the materials.

 

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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