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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Introduction to Architecture

Dates: June 24-August 5, 2017 (6 weeks)
Credits: 6 credits
Eligibility: current juniors, seniors
(see eligibility requirements)
Apply by: May 5, 2017


The Introduction to Architecture Program is an intensive six-week course in Cornell's College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP) that introduces high school and college students to architectural ideas, principles, and methods of exploring architectural problems in a studio setting.

Through a graduated sequence of exercises culminating in a final project, you'll study architectural concepts of space, form, function, and technology. During field trips, you'll investigate contemporary architecture within the context of Upstate New York sites of production, fabrication, and resources.

The program is centered on the architecture design studio, which runs four to five afternoons per week and puts into practice the information you'll learn in morning lectures and integrated workshops.

The studio is taught in the Rem Koolhaas designed Milstein Hall by Department of Architecture faculty members (see below) and recent graduates of Cornell's esteemed bachelor's and master's programs. It also incorporates periodic reviews by invited faculty and guest critics. Intensive individual instruction and regular progress reviews will prepare you for a final project presentation.

Concurrent with the studio, drawing classes provide additional support in experimental architectural drawing and pragmatic drafting, while small design seminars and discussion groups contextualize the design process in relation to contemporary architectural practice.

You can expect to learn the fundamentals of the architecture program including:

  • The art of making and the importance of craft
  • The relationship between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional design
  • Drawing as a means of discovery and exploration
  • Analog and introductory digital representation
  • Conceptual clarity and expression
  • The basics of architectural composition

The program is open to both high school students who are contemplating a career in architecture and college students seeking to study architecture at a graduate level or as a minor at their home institution. The course requires no specialized knowledge or background beyond a serious interest in architectural design. (College students must register for ARCH 1110 and 1300 through Cornell University Summer Sessions.)

Students successfully completing the program receive, in addition to a certificate, a total of six credits for ARCH 1110 and 1300, a letter grade for each course, and a written evaluation from their instructor. The use of the summer courses to partially or wholly fulfill basic design requirements is solely at the discretion of the institution that admits you as a degree candidate. In most cases, students receive transcript credits for the courses.

The cost of supplies for this program is about $350 (which includes the cost of the Supply Kit and additional materials). This expense is in addition to the cost of the program.

In the news

SC alum Chad Oppenheim '93, BArch '94, designs high-end buildings in his home city and around the globe, Cornell Alumni Magazine, October 14, 2016


You'll be enrolled in the three-credit course Introduction to Architecture: Design Studio (ARCH 1110) and the three-credit course Introduction to Architecture: Lectures (ARCH 1300).

ARCH 1110 meets Monday through Friday, 1:30–5:00 p.m.

Maximum enrollment: 110

ARCH 1300 meets Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.–noon.

Maximum enrollment: 110

Required materials

Title Author Cost
Supply Kit $TBD

The Supply Kit will be available at The Cornell Store.

Special scheduling


  • Tuesday, July 4: In observance of Independence Day, no classes
  • Mondays, July 10 or 17: College Admissions Workshop, 2:30–3:45 p.m.
  • Monday, July 24: College Fair, 4:00–6:00 p.m., Statler Hall Ballroom
  • Saturday, August 5: Final show and reception in the Milstein Dome, 10:00 a.m.–noon

Checkout dates and times

Before making travel plans, review the checkout dates and times for your program. We strictly adhere to these deadlines.

Program faculty

Professor Henry Richardson

Henry Richardson is an award-winning professor of architecture in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning as well as a licensed architect, a nationally certified city and regional planner, and an international consultant. He currently serves as a faculty fellow on Cornell's North Campus.

"Most people live in architecture. For me, architecture is more than a lifestyle; it is a passion, and I live it. To actively live architecture is to dare to imagine worlds beyond the norm and to find ways of translating them into concrete, palpable form. In the words of Einstein, 'If you can imagine it, you can create it.' Moving continuously between the thresholds of imagination and creation, between the virtual and the real, is what living architecture is all about. I teach it, I research it in the Cornell CAVE (Computer-assisted Virtual Environment), and I practice it."

Luben Dimcheff

As principal at Dimcheff Smith Studio in New York City, Luben Dimcheff oversees design work in Mumbai, Sofia, and Rio de Janeiro. In addition to his practice, Dimcheff is dedicated to academic work and is an adjunct assistant professor at the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons, where he teaches in the graduate and undergraduate programs. He received his professional degree in architecture from Cornell and graduated with honors from the Art Institute of Seattle, where he studied fashion and interior design.

Michael Jefferson

Most recently a visiting critic in the School of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Michael Jefferson will spend the summer teaching in Cornell’s Introduction to Architecture Program before assuming a post as lecturer at the University of Michigan. He holds a master of architecture degree from Cornell and a bachelor of arts in political science and film production from Indiana University.

Jefferson works with Suzanne Lettieri as a partner of JeLe, an architecture collaborative focused on the research and design of evolving building typologies. He has also worked with Adjaye Associates, CODA, Studio SUMO, and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in New York. Jefferson previously taught at Cornell as a teaching associate for the first-year design studios.

Alum in the news

SC alum Chad Oppenheim '93, BArch '94, designs high-end buildings in his home city and around the globe. Cornell Alumni Magazine Read article.

Student experiences

"It was the best experience I have ever had in my life. I learned so many things, made many, many friends, and was able to experience college life. My professors were amazing, and each one of them helped me in many ways. They all cared very much for their students. " — Chloe Arenzana Du Boys, 2016

"It's wonderful to be with a hundred others who have the same aspirations and goals as you do; the studio always teemed with creativity and inspiration. Not only did I attain knowledge of basic architectural concepts, but I also learned how to think and analyze like an architect. The course further strengthened my will to pursue architecture. " — Qi Yun (Christine) Gao, 2016

"The Introduction to Architecture program was amazing and served to confirm what I want to pursue in life." — Arula Ratnakar, 2015

"I was able to learn from the best professors in the nation and also interact and work with the best students in the world, who shared the same love for learning that I have. It was an incredible experience and, without a doubt, the best six weeks of my life." — Aishwarya Sreenivas, 2015

"Not only did the architecture program teach me technical skills in model making and the relationship of voids and planes, but it also taught me how I work in a challenging college environment. The hours were long and there were countless late nights, but it was an unforgettable experience. " — Beverley Lim, 2015