Design Immersion

Each morning, students will participate in seminars, small group discussions and site visits that introduce them to the history and culture of architectural education and practice. The morning session lays the groundwork for the afternoon’s work.

The afternoon session offers students the opportunity for intensive, hands-on investigations into the design process.  Students will develop the skills that allow them to explore and communicate their ideas effectively, and to develop their portfolios: sketching and drawing, diagramming, model-making and verbal presentation techniques.  The course will culminate in a multi-week design project in which students document, analyze and propose solutions for targeted design opportunities in the city’s urban fabric.

Check out some pictures from last year’s program.


ARCH 1030: Introduction to Architectural Education, Practice and Culture

How can designers frame problems and develop effective solutions for the communities in which they live and work? This course takes as its focus the question of how architects and designers work as problem solvers on a variety of scales, and in collaboration with a variety of disciplines. An introduction to the culture of design education, culture and practice, the course will teach students how architects and designers frame problems, iteratively test options, and implement solutions that are both practical and creative. Students will consider both traditional and emerging modes of practice, meeting in small groups with accomplished practitioners working in Boston and further afield. The course will be comprised of lectures, discussion with guest speakers, case studies, visits to local design offices and field trips to important buildings and landscapes in the greater Boston area.

ARCH 1050: Introduction to Architectural Design

This course gives students the opportunity for hands-on investigations in the design process. Using Boston as a laboratory for investigation, the course begins with instruction on representational techniques such as drawing and sketching, model-making, diagramming, and collage. Individual and group design work will encourage the development of skills in critical thinking, leadership, collaboration and graphic communication, emphasizing a solutions-based approach to design problem solving. The course will also introduce students to studio culture, including regular individual desk crits with instructors, collaborative working pin-ups, and formal reviews with guest critics.


Program Directors

Alyson Tanguay and Rebecca Whidden have both lived, studied and worked in and around Boston for nearly a decade. Raised in Washington, DC (Alyson), and Manhattan and Hong Kong (Becca), they bring to the Summer Design Studio a familiarity with the forces–geographical, cultural, economic, political–-that shape urban landscapes, and a specific interest in the way designers can engage meaningfully with cities to participate in those shaping processes. Alyson and Becca look forward to introducing students of the Summer Design Studio to their adopted city.

Program Instructors

School of Architecture faculty will serve as course instructors, and current upper level undergraduates will serve as TA’s.

2014 Program Dates

Move in: Sunday, June 29
Program begins: Monday, June 30
Program ends: Thursday, July 24
Move out: Friday, July 25

2014 Tuition


$5225 Tuition, Housing and Most Meals
$300   Materials and Activities (required)


$3225 Tuition
$300 Materials and Activities (required)

Application Process

The Summer Design Studio offers admission through a competitive application process. Interested students (ages 15 – 20) are encouraged to submit applications as early as possible, as submissions are reviewed in the order that they are received. Applicants are required to submit a completed application form (step 1), followed by a current high school or college transcript, and a non-refundable application fee of $50 (step 2).

Accepted students will receive notification via email, at which point they will be required to submit a deposit of $500 to hold their place in the program (step3). For more information, email the Summer Design Studio.

Click here to apply now 


I’m Accepted, Now What?

Congratulations on your acceptance to Summer Design Studio! We are excited for you to join us. To complete your enrollment, please follow the checklist below:

1)    Submit your nonrefundable enrollment deposit.

Follow these instructions (also included in your acceptance confirmation letter) to submit your enrollment deposit of $500. You will meed your NU ID which will be sent via email following your acceptance confirmation letter.

The deposit is required, secures your place in the program, and must be received before we can register you for classes. Class space is limited, so your deposit is due within seven (7) days of receipt of your acceptance confirmation letter.

2)    Submit the following enrollment forms:

These forms will arrive via email following your acceptance confirmation letter, and should be completed in conjunction with review of the Summer Design Student Handbook.

[The Summer 2014 forms are not yet posted; they will be updated shortly so please check back soon.]

Forms should be emailed, faxed, or mailed within seven (7) days of receipt to:


Fax: 617.373.7080 / 
ATTN: Summer Design Studio

Mailing Address: Northeastern University
 School of Architecture
 Summer Design Studio / 151 Ryder Hall
 / 360 Huntington Avenue /  
Boston, MA 02115

Forms should be submitted no later than May 31, 2014

3) Create your myNEU account. Once you have paid your deposit, we will send you information on how to create your myNEU account.

Your myNEU account is your portal to the University and will allow you to:

  • View and confirm course registration (Summer Design Studio Staff will register you for your courses)
  • Confirm your transactions and final schedule
  • View your billing information
  • View your grades and transcripts
  • Access NU Online (our online Blackboard learning system)

4) Submit photo for Husky ID.

Email a photo by May 15 for your Husky ID to

  • Your Husky ID is a photo ID required to gain access to dorms, dining halls, computer labs, and many other campus facilities. You may deposit money onto your Husky ID account to use your ID like a debit card at a number of on- and off-campus locations
  • You will receive your Husky ID at orientation.

6) Make Plans to Attend Orientation.

  • Orientation is mandatory and a great way to meet your fellow students!
  • Orientation for Summer 2014 will be Sunday, June 29th. The time and location of orientation day events will be included in a welcome packet you will received via email in late May.

How is Summer Design Studio different from other summer architecture programs?

Summer Design Studio teaches students to engage with the problems of the city. It introduces the idea that complex, varied and rich urban landscapes offer designers myriad opportunities for positive intervention. Learning how to identify and respond to these opportunities is the focus of both seminar and studio courses.

This urban-centric, problem-solving approach is what sets programs at the Northeastern School of Architecture apart from peer programs.

As a student, you will work directly with seasoned School of Architecture faculty, gaining one-on-one instruction and engaging in meaningful dialogue with instructors the same way a Northeastern undergraduate would.

What opportunities will I have to explore Boston?

Summer Design Studio students will get to know Boston through weekly field trips and visits to sites around the city that will serve as the context for student’s studio projects. They will also join with students in other Northeastern summer programs for social outings around the city: a Red Sox game at Fenway, cannoli in the North End, a walking tour of Harvard Square.

How hard are the courses?

Summer Design Studio will expose students to the rigor and discipline of successful design practice, but will not require the type of hours typical of architecture school. Assignments are structured so they can be worked on during class time, but additional evening and weekend work is expected within reason.  Access to the studio workspace is limited during late night hours to ensure that students are achieving an acceptable balance between immersive studio work and other opportunities offered on and around campus.

Will this program help me get into architecture school?

Students interested in pursuing further studies in architecture or other design disciplines will leave Summer Design Studio with a series of projects that can form the beginning of a portfolio or round out an existing one. Participation in our program, while not a guarantee for admission to architecture school at Northeastern or elsewhere, communicates a commitment to the field of study that will complement other elements of your application. And, having studied directly with Northeastern School of Architecture faculty you may be able to request letters of recommendation from architecture professors who know your work first-hand.

Are scholarships available?

Summer Design Studio is not able to offer scholarships at this time.

Are visas available for international students?

Yes, visas are available for those international students who will be returning to high school in their home country following the program. If you are an international student interested in our program, we encourage you to contact us so we can help walk you through the visa process.

Will I be drawing by hand or working on a computer to complete assignments?

Both!  The Summer Design Studio curriculum focuses primarily on manual representation–crafting sketches, drawings, diagrams by hand–because we see these skills as the foundational building blocks for proposing, analyzing and understanding architecture.  In our experience, those students who master working by hand go on to apply their understanding of manual work effectively to digital tools like drafting software and 3D modeling applications.  We encourage, but do not require, the use of computers as a complement to manual work in studio.  On campus, you will have access to Northeastern’s computer lab facilities (which already have many design software platforms pre-installed), and are also welcome to use your own laptop in studio, where you will find technical support from faculty and teaching assistants.