Imagine Architecture

Online - from Azrieli School of Architecture + Urbanism Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6 (view map)

15 to 18 (Coed )
Day camp
0 available; 1 TBD


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  Maria Cook
  Phone Program

About this Camp

Imagine Architecture

Exciting summer studio workshops designed for Grade 10 to 12 students interested in exploring the world of architecture and design. Participants will be exposed to topics and skills relevant to a design education such as hand and digital drawing, modeling, photography, curation, materials, creative design thinking, architectural and spatial representation, studio culture, developing a design portfolio, and more. Three stand-alone courses – LAB 101, LAB 102, and LAB 103 – provide maximum exposure to skills-building techniques, methods, and projects to help build a design portfolio.

NOTE: Registration now closed for LAB 101 and LAB 102

The 2020 Experience at Imagine Architecture

During this time of physical distancing, the Imagine Architecture instructors are committed to helping participants achieve their goals and providing a creative, productive, and exciting experience.

The online edition of the course is modeled after the program we have successfully delivered for the past four years. It will provide students with tools and support for portfolio-worthy graphic results, as well as an interactive design studio experience.

Instructors will use accessible digital platforms such as Zoom and Conceptboard, to create a virtual studio space in which students can interact, share their work, and receive one-on-one instruction.

While it will be different than an in-person studio experience, we are confident it will expand knowledge and skills, get students started on a portfolio, and be equally useful in exploring architecture as a potential field of study.

Because we want to open as many opportunities as possible, we have simplified our offerings into three consecutive one-week LABS in July. Each LAB will be limited to 36 students.

LAB 101 – July 6 to July 10 Emphasis on scale, drawing techniques, domestic space, physical model

LAB 102 – July 13 to 17 Emphasis on digital drawing: Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign

LAB 103 – July 20 to 24 Emphasis on abstraction, architectural thinking, urban space, portfolio preparation

If you are interested in all three, we are offering a $100 discount.

View recent COVID-19 updates from Imagine Architecture

Programs and Sessions Calendar

Choose the right programs and sessions for your child; currently 0 program available; 1 TBD.

Filter activities at this camp:

Virtual program
Ages: 15 - 18
Virtual Program,
Date TBDCost TBD
Arts & Crafts|Drawing|Painting|Photo/Video|Animation / 3D design|Technology|Makerspace|Architecture

Online - from Azrieli School of Architecture + Urbanism, Ottawa, Ontario

Imagine Architecture
Imagine Architecture
Online - from Azrieli School of Architecture + Urbanism Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6 logo

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Reviews & Testimonials

Imagine Architecture helped shape a winning portfolio
Shela, admitted to Carleton University’s architecture school and starting in September 2020 — Camp alumni

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. LAB 103 gave me the unique opportunity to immerse myself in the design field and learn a bit more about architecture.

"So grateful for the help and guidance"
Adrien, 2018 participant, currently studying architecture in university — Camp alumni

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.

"Extremely insightful and beneficial"
Anastasia, 2018 participant, entering second year at Carleton University’s architecture school — Camp alumni

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. After having completed my first year in architectural studies, I am very grateful for the experience of LAB 101. I truly believe it helped my portfolio and gave me a clear sense of what to anticipate in the coming year.

'Thoroughly enjoyed the experience"
Rouqueya, 2019 and 2020 participant — Camper

I was fortunate enough to enroll in the Lab 103 class last summer and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I improved my sketching (spacing, proportion, balance) and learned about how to make my portfolio more effective. I would like to continue learning in the Lab 102 course and improve my digital skills.

Director's Message

Zachary Colbert, 2020 Curriculum Director

Imagine Architecture is a series of intensive workshops for high school students interested in architecture.  Through continuous faculty supervision, participants are exposed to an experience that replicates architectural studies at the university level.  Students will learn to work collaboratively, create material suitable for application to undergraduate architecture programs, and be able to assess if architecture is a good fit for their future. This year, we are excited to offer Imagine Architecture online, to maintain physical distancing and to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants.  Students will be provided with a list materials in advance of the course, so they may complete all exercises at home with instruction delivered via video conferencing platforms. The only requirement for participation is a computer and an internet connection at home. Because we want to open as many opportunities as possible, we have simplified our offerings into three consecutive one-week labs in July. If you are interested in all three, we are offering a $100 discount. Each lab will be limited to 36 students. It is a perfect way to keep high school students focused on productive and enriching activities this summer.

Warm regards,


Cost & Financial Aid

Cost: $600 /week

Payment Options:

Credit card payment Yes


Meet the Imagine Architecture Team



Zach Colbert is an assistant professor at the Carleton University Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism. He is an award-winning architect and a licensed practitioner in Ontario, New York, and Arizona. Zach is a member of the Ontario Association of Architects, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the American Institute of Architects, the Ottawa Regional Society of Architects, and the Urban Land Institute (Toronto Chapter). He was previously on faculty at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and the Parsons New School for Design School of Constructed Environments. His work has been published in magazines, including Art Forum, Architect, and Architectural Record, and showcased in galleries and museums in New York City, Los Angeles, Dubai, Santiago de Chile, Rotterdam, Ottawa, and Beijing. Before practicing independently, he worked for SHoP Architects and Bernard Tschumi Architects in New York City. His externally funded research program at Carleton University focuses on using architectural thinking to productively engage intersections of politics and infrastructure within a changing climate.

Zach’s professional practice, Zachary Colbert Architects Limited, is a full-service architectural firm dedicated to design research and creative architectural practice. Operating in the realms of architecture, urbanism, and landscape, the firm has built projects for institutional and private clients alongside a portfolio of speculative projects that critically engage infrastructure, nature, and politics.



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 is currently entering her second year in the Bachelor of Architectural Studies, Design Stream program at Carleton University. She is also studying for a minor in History and Theory of Architecture at Carleton. Throughout high school, Abbi always had a love for the arts, completing her AP Studio Portfolio in May 2019. She kept her love for painting and developed an interest in videography through her first-year projects. Abbi is the Vice President of the Azrieli Architecture Student Association and is heavily involved in organizing and planning events for the student body. She will also be a teaching assistant to Professor Roger Connah in August 2020 for a one-week workshop on digital medium exploration for incoming first-year students.





If you want to get into architecture school or any other university or college design program, you will need a strong portfolio. 

"Your portfolio is the tool you should have as a creative individual to present yourself and your work to architecture schools, and in the future, to your potential employers," says Imagine Architecture instructor Maya Jarrah. "The purpose of the portfolio is not only to show that you can use a certain software, but most importantly to represent your creative process, how you see the world, think critically and how you interpret your ideas."

Imagine Architecture LABs 101, 102, and 103 will help participants generate portfolio material by teaching creative design skills and providing guidance.

"The Imagine Architecture LABs aim to teach you ways of preparing a portfolio, by explaining what work you should show, how to curate your work, and by showing examples of successful portfolios," says Jarrah.

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, and to prepare students for application to undergraduate programs in architecture. For those who prefer to take only one LAB, each is designed independently, and requires no previous training.

"As someone who was excited yet overwhelmed by the creation of a portfolio application to the Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) at Carleton, I am certain that I would have appreciated the insights that the Imagine Architecture Program provides on the process," says Shelby Hagerman, part of the Imagine Architecture teaching team.

"We will review the portfolio and other application requirements for the program as well as successful portfolio submissions," says Hagerman. "However, what is most important and valuable about Imagine Architecture LABs are the hands-on design exercises that aim to engage and spark the kinds of thoughtful drawings and models that portfolio reviewers search for." 




Imagine Architecture is an online program for teens interested in design, architecture, and building a portfolio. There’s still time to register for any of the three one-week LABs in July. Want to know what to expect? Read the messages below from members of the teaching team.

Looking for a little clarity? Everyone deserves to feel confident about their career choice.

Prof. Zachary Colbert, 2020 Curriculum Director

Choosing a career in architecture is a big decision that will have impacts lasting for many years. Imagine Architecture participants will discover if architecture is the right fit while simultaneously generating materials suitable for use in their applications to undergraduate architecture programs. Exploring architectural working methods and abstract thinking is fun and intellectually stimulating. Students will leave the program feeling empowered with new skills and confidence in their decision to pursue architectural studies.

Think creatively, solve problems, and shine like the star you are.

Maya Jarrah, Instructor

Many students who participated in the Imagine Architecture LABs last summer, came with the misconception that they should be able to draw perfectly to enjoy the program, or to succeed in architecture. Imagine Architecture, being an exploratory program, made them realize that drawing is not the only skill they need to become future architects. If you are a creative thinker, a problem solver, like to play with materials, forms, and lines – whether digitally or manually, and willing to work hard, you will likely be a successful designer or architect.

Convey your ideas and connect with the group.

Liane Lanzar, Instructor

Imagine Architecture provides an opportunity for students to express their ideas and develop their understanding of architecture. They will start to examine, analyze, and challenge the built environment. The program creates content for an architecture application portfolio and teaches students the tools and skills to represent their creative ideas while continually questioning the world around them. 

Teaching an online studio has been an inspiring experience. The instructors have been amazed at how well the students have responded to the online platform. We’ve been able to recreate an environment for large lecture presentations, small group discussions, and individual conversations with the students all within an afternoon studio session. With the studio work at our fingertips, we can comment, leave examples, and even draw beside students’ work. 

Being able to interact with students every day has been an exciting aspect of the course. As projects develop, students have started to engage each other about their work and share techniques and ideas with the group.

Qualities we love. Did we mention fun?

Shelby Hagerman, Instructor

This will be my first time as an instructor in the Imagine Architecture program, and I am incredibly proud and excited to share my knowledge and passion for design with you. We are committed to fostering a sense of community within the group and will strive to get to know you and how best to support your goals.  Throughout each LAB, we will nurture your creativity while developing your skillset and creative design thinking.  We will exchange ideas, share insights, and constructive feedback. Whether you are looking to build your portfolio, sharpen your drawing and modeling skills, try digital programs, or are simply wondering what architecture school is like (or all of the above), Imagine Architecture is the program for you. Join us, with your curiosity and open mind… let’s have fun and learn together at home! 

Positively influence the places people carry out their lives.

Connor O’Grady, Instructor

As someone who came to architecture without participating in a program such as Imagine Architecture, I see tremendous value in the orientation it can provide before completing design portfolios and university applications. I am excited to be part of the team that will introduce you to some of the many elements explored in architecture school.

Personally, this goes beyond the essential technical skills we will teach and wades into the realm of expanding our architectural imagination. This program — and architecture school beyond — is a place to be creative and to challenge the preconceived notions of what architecture means, and what architecture can be. Together, we will work to teach you the foundations of architectural design while striving to empower your own creative voice within such an environment.

Several years ago, a friend gave me a mug that asks, “What if Architecture can Change the World?” For me, it is a call to find ways to positively influence the places that we all carry out our lives and a personal guide for teaching and practice. Let’s have fun, make a mess, and get inspired!

For more information:
Email: [email protected]




Working from home is an excellent opportunity for students to immerse themselves in their surroundings. Facing a new reality, how do we observe and interpret the world around us? Although we are living in a socially-distanced world, working in the space you have can be a creative opportunity.

Students should set-up a studio spot at home to have a designated work area. Provide space to spread out, but also stay organized. The workspace can get messy quickly, so we want to be sure to put tools away properly and manage the space well. 

Supplies to work with throughout the course can be purchased online as well as scavenged throughout the house. An assortment of material is encouraged. 

Shopping list: sketchbooks, large and small, basswood sticks, glue stick or glue, felt-tip pens, Prismacolor pencils or oil pastels, drafting kit.

Scavenger list: Twine, thread, wire, string, Small wood blocks, Ephemera (sheet music, book pages, newspaper bits, pieces of packaging), cardboard, small objects (machine pieces, figures, spools), measuring tape, scissors, etc.





Here's a peek at Imagine Architecture online, where you will experience the culture of design studio and get a feel for architecture school. The  program's expert and empathetic instructors will expand your knowledge and skills, get you started on a portfolio, and guide you in exploring architecture as a potential field of study.

Instructors will use accessible digital platforms such as Zoom and Conceptboard, to create a virtual studio space in which students can interact, share their work, and receive one-on-one instruction.

Online Schedule - LAB 101 and LAB 103
Every morning will start with a presentation to introduce the day’s exercises. Students will then have studio hours to work, while the zoom room remains open for questions and advice for the group. The studio setting is an opportunity to show one’s work and learn from each other.

In the afternoon, a new activity typically builds off of the morning exercise but challenges the students to apply it to another drawing, model, or context. Students will be working on their projects while still connected to the class.

Once the projects start to develop, small group discussions will take place in another room. Students have the opportunity to share their ideas on how their projects are developing and get feedback from the group.

Studio pin-ups will take place on Conceptboard. Here, students will share their screens, and peers will be able to give feedback. At the end of each week, an online exhibition will be available to share the work with everyone, including friends and family. 

Digital program - LAB 102
Each day will focus on understanding a variety of 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. Adobe Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign) software will be provided free of charge. Students will be able to download a trial version of Rhino 3D for free.



In the News

May 30, 2020 - Imagine Architecture goes online!

Carleton University's Imagine Architecture 2020 will be delivered online! A choice of three great LABs for an interactive studio experience. ...

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