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Intro to Architecture

The 2024 session of Introduction to Architecture will take place July 8 – August 9, 2024, with options for choosing a focus on Architecture, Urban Planning, or Historic Preservation.

Focus on Architecture is both online and in-person, allowing students to choose their preferred mode of study; Focus on Urban Planning and Focus on Historic Preservation is held in-person.

Applications for the 2024 Intro to Architecture program are now open and are reviewed on a rolling basis from January through early June 2024.
Learn more about the application process.

OVERVIEW

Columbia GSAPP’s Summer 2024 Introduction to Architecture program is held both online and in-person, allowing students to choose their preferred mode of study. The Introduction to Architecture program builds on the successes of GSAPP’s online design studios and leadership in visual studies, representation, and technology to create new opportunities for students participating from their home locations. The School’s community of faculty and students remains as strong as ever, and special hybrid lectures offered by faculty, open courses made accessible to all students across the programs, thematic selections of past lectures and conferences from the rich media archive, recommended readings from the publications team, and more.

The 5-week course structure allows students to work with GSAPP instructors to develop their design skills in an in-person or online studio, as well as participate in virtual / in-person workshops, lectures, studio reviews, and “desk crits” to learn about visualization, technology, history/ theory, as well as the practice of architecture.

TUITION AND FUNDING

In Summer 2023, Introduction to Architecture program had a flat fee of $4,248 for the 3-point course. Rates for Summer 2024 rates are typically posted in March of that year. Please see the Tuition & Aid webpage for additional information.

The Hilyard Robinson Scholars Program offers full tuition scholarships for selected GSAPP’s Intro to Architecture summer program students. Named in honor of the School’s first Black graduate and former chair of the architecture department at Howard University, the Hilyard Robinson Scholars Program is intended to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity by introducing career paths in architecture and its related fields. Many Intro to Architecture students later pursue graduate degrees at GSAPP, and the Robinson Scholars Program supports the recruitment of historically underrepresented individuals to the School and the disciplines of the built environment at large.

Learn more about the Hilyard Robinson Scholars Fund, or contact arch_admissions@columbia.edu with any questions.

Architecture Focus

Introduction to Architecture is a five-week intensive summer program offering university credit to allow students to explore contemporary processes of architectural design. Students have the option to participate either in person or remotely. Contemporary practice in architecture has expanded the boundaries of an architect’s reach, anticipating that ‘everything is connected’ in our deeply networked world. While our discipline’s long-standing traditions of practice are rooted in the physical, the structure and space of a networked practice is much more closely tied to the ephemeral. As architects we design, communicate, and document primarily in digital space. 

In this digital realm, an architect acts as a translator between virtual and physical environments. This negotiation requires the architect to engage standing questions: How do we merge the physical with the virtual, and how are our definitions of those changing? What is the role of making in a non-physical workshop? How do communities emerge around virtual design? And with new emphasis, how does the solitary creative act merge with the need for a collective effort and audience? 

For some students, the course may function as an introduction to design a new method of thinking and working. For others, it may be an opportunity to develop their portfolios and gain inspiration from an array of professionals and thinkers. The program’s multiple studio courses are structured to accommodate all students regardless of skill level, from those without experience to those with significant prior experience or education.

Students must apply online. An official transcript of the applicant’s most recent work and a resumé are required. Submission of examples of graphic, photographic, or other design work is encouraged but not required. Applicants should indicate on their application their preference for afternoon or evening studio. When the application is complete, the Office of Admissions will notify the applicant of the admission decision.
Curriculum

Students attend optional classes five days a week for five weeks. In the mornings, students are invited to participate in optional lectures and discussions on making, technology, the environment, faculty firms, and portfolio workshops. In the afternoon or evening, students are required to attend the 3-credit design studio—an educational method unique to architecture—where they are given intensive training in the skills and critical thinking involved in architectural design. Students work in small groups directly with one studio instructor, toward studio goals. 

In studio, students will engage with the means and methods of architecture that are made possible and essential by dwelling online. Here they will interrogate concepts of placemaking, the production of space, and the creation of community—with a virtual embodiment. They will learn about the role of the architect as a facilitator of connections between people, and as interpreter of the spaces both physical and nonphysical. 

Design work, teaching, and reviews will occur in platforms conducive to live sharing and feedback—some established, some experimental. These forums will provide an opportunity for students to receive comments and criticism from invited architects, design professionals, and professors. Together, the studio, workshops, and lectures present an introduction to architecture as a venue for new forms, new places, and new approaches to our contemporary critical culture.

Urban Planning Focus

Introduction to Urban Planning is a five-week intensive summer program offering university credit to familiarize students with the skills, knowledge, and professional opportunities related to the field. The 2022 Urban Planning Focus was held in-person. This pre-professional program is for those who are interested in urban planning, may be considering it as a career, or may wish to get a head start for application to graduate school. 

This is a city-focused program combining lectures, small discussion groups, field trips, and collaboration. Students are introduced to a number of interconnected urban planning topics—including housing, community development, food access, adaptation for climate change, and transportation, among others—through readings, discussions, and site visits. We build students’ knowledge of what urban planners do and how their work affects residents, businesses, and communities and shapes the built environment. Group work and discussion topics are designed to show the depth of the urban planning field, diverse roles of urban planners, a wide range of careers and career opportunities, and planning’s unique role in shaping outcomes around sustainability, equity, and justice. 

Students attend classes four afternoons a week for five weeks, attending a combination of lecture, small group discussion, site visit, team project, and workshop. While lectures cover a spectrum of requisite knowledge for planning, students also work in small groups directly under the guidance of one instructor on projects and in focused discussions. Students also are connected with professionals in a variety of roles related to urban planning, and learn about their career paths. 

Students must apply online. An official transcript of the applicant’s most recent work and a resumé are required. Applicants should indicate on their application their preference for the Urban Planning focus within Introduction to Architecture. When the application is complete, the Office of Admissions will notify the applicant of the admission decision.

Historic Preservation Focus

Introduction to Historic Preservation is a five-week intensive summer program offering university credit to familiarize students with the skills, knowledge, and professional opportunities related to the field. In addition, the 2024 Historic Preservation Focus will be held in person. This pre-professional program is for those interested in preservation, considering it as a career, or may wish to get a head start for application to graduate school.

This program combines lectures, small discussion groups, field trips, and collaboration and integrates humanist, scientific, and technological approaches necessary for students to shape the profession’s future. Students are introduced to several interconnected historic preservation topics, including the reuse of buildings, the design of adaptation technologies, planning and policy innovations, social and historical research, materials science, and digital computation applied to the 3D scanning, documentation, assessment, monitoring, and care of built heritage through readings, discussions, and site visits. The program frames preservation as an experimental form of creative expression and a necessary form of collective action guided by philosophical, ethical, and critical thinking, supported by evidence of its benefits to society and enabled by emerging technologies and policy tools. We teach preservation as a social, material, and environmental process, as a way of thinking and acting through buildings and places of cultural significance to improve the built environment and people’s quality of life.

Students attend classes four afternoons a week for five weeks, attending a combination of lectures, small group discussions, site visits, team projects, and workshops. While lessons cover a spectrum of requisite knowledge for planning, students also work in small groups directly under the guidance of one instructor on projects and focused discussions. Students also are connected with professionals in a variety of roles related to preservation, learn about their career paths, and promote inclusive and resilient communities.

Students must apply online. An official transcript of the applicant’s most recent work and a resumé are required. In addition, applicants should indicate their preference for the Historic Preservation focus within Introduction to Architecture on their application. When the application is complete, the Office of Admissions will notify the applicant of the admission decision.

REGISTRATION & ORIENTATION

More information about online registration and orientation will be posted soon.

Orientation will include a lecture, an introduction to faculty and staff, as well as a presentation by GSAPP students of their design work.

HOUSING

Housing is available through Columbia University Resident Halls. Students interested in campus housing should complete the online application form on the Columbia University Summer Housing website. Housing applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all bed space is filled. When inquiring about housing availability, please be sure to state that you are applying for the second summer session.

Please note that students must be admitted to the program before applying for housing, so applying early is recommended.

For more detailed information regarding housing and the housing application process, please visit: www.columbia.edu/cu/reshalls

Expenses

The cost of studying in New York City is chiefly affected by the individual student’s budget. The cost of living in New York City, in general, is higher than that of other major American Cities.

In the Columbia University Morningside Heights neighborhood there are ample banks including Chase Manhattan, Washington Mutual, Banco Popular and Citibank. Students may opt to open a new bank account or use the ATM facilities to link their banks. Most of the restaurants and businesses in the neighborhood do not accept personal checks.

Students will be advised as to where to eat, shop, etc. during orientation. There are many good (and cheap!) restaurants in the Columbia University neighborhood as well as on campus.