Daniels Design Discovery (In-Person)

Summer 2023

Student working on architectural model

Daniels Design Discovery provides a comprehensive introduction to the discipline of architecture, giving you the opportunity to experience different ways of seeing, thinking and making through the lens of design. The program will develop your skills in a broad range of design tools and techniques, providing a strong foundation to explore your creative potential. Students are able to use the design facilities at the Daniels Building at 1 Spadina Crescent, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

This course is is designed for late high school (grades 10, 11 and 12) and undergraduate students of all disciplines who are interested in architecture (ages 15 to 19). This program is open to all participants, including English-speaking international students.

About the Program

Student wearing VR headset

Course 1 – Site & Form

The course Site & Form is a two-week intensive studio introducing students to foundational architectural concepts on the intersection of site, mass and space. Students will develop new understandings of their environment and learn to visualize these insights as a basis for future designs.

In the first half of the course, students will be introduced to concepts, tools and techniques related to site analysis in architecture. How do we observe our environment from our front door to the city? How do we document our surroundings and develop relationships with space through architectural representation?

The second half of the course will focus on the development of design geometries, emphasizing a material process for the generation of architectural form. How do we draw and build basic geometries, and translate them into inhabited forms? How do different forms of analogue and digital representation help us create a thoughtful and impactful architecture?

Course 2 – Architecture & The Environment

[Course 1 is a prerequisite for Course 2]

The course Architecture & The Environment is a two-week intensive studio introducing students to foundational architectural concepts related to program (use) and the relationship between architecture and its broader built (and unbuilt) context.

The first half of the course will serve as a broad introduction to the design requirements of architectural construction. Students will explore unique program organizations and their spatial relationships, leading to a deeper understanding of architecture as an interface between the body, space and experience. How do we turn a model into a platform, a shelter or a pavilion? What are the considerations for designing inhabitable space?

The second half of the course will explore how architecture impacts its surroundings, emphasizing contemporary social, political and ecological aspects of the built environment. Work will include placemaking as a process for designing new structures and places for the Toronto Islands. This course will also focus on the creation of a design portfolio, giving students the opportunity to develop a refined presentation of their work.


Course 1 must be taken prior to Course 2. 

Session 1

Course 1 – Site & Form - To Be Announced.
(Nine-day courseno program on Statutory Holidays)  

Course 2 – Architecture & The Environment - To Be Announced.

Session 2

Course 1 – Site & Form - To Be Announced.
(Nine-day course, no program on Statutory Holidays)

Course 2 – Architecture & The Environment - To Be Announced.

All courses run on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Fees & Registration

Session 1 & 2
Course 1: $1,350
Course 2: $1,500
Course 1&2: $2,500 (use discount code DDDIB-$350 during registration*)

Price includes access to Adobe Creative Cloud and Rhino during the program.

All fees include a $50 non-refundable administrative fee.

Discounts are available for U of T staff, faculty, students and alumni. Please email camps@daniels.utoronto.ca from your University of Toronto e-mail to receive the discount code.

Cancellation Policy

Registrants can cancel their application no later than June 1 and will receive a refund less a $50 cancellation fee per registrant per course/program cancelled. Refunds or credits are not available for any cancellation made after June 1. This is necessary to ensure that our instructors can be hired and trained in time for program delivery and are treated fairly with confirmed contracts.

Registrations received after June 1 are considered final. Refunds or credits are not available for registrations received after June 1.

*If you cancel registration or fail to register for both courses, you will be required to pay the full course fee prior to your first class.

Curriculum Development Team

  Petros Babasikas is an architect and educator. He is the Director of the Honors Bachelor of Arts, Architectural Studies at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, and oversees the Design Discovery curriculum to ensure that it is aligned with the undergraduate program. His work – design projects, research, exhibitions, and teaching – explores the production of architecture and public space under climate/social crises. He is Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, in the undergraduate and graduate programs, focusing on the intersection of design with the liberal arts, global education, and community engagement. His latest projects include the Archipelago Thesis Studio on design and activism, an adaptive reuse project for EMST Athens, and the design of the Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary, a conservation, research, and rehabilitation facility in the island community of Leipsoi, Greece. Read More
  Jamie Lipson is a designer, writer and educator. He received a Master of Architecture from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Arts from Ivey Business School at Western University. While at Princeton, he was awarded the Howard Crosby Butler Traveling Fellowship and the Alpha Rho Chi medal. He was also an Ike Kligerman Barkley Traveling Fellow in 2019. Lipson’s current work explores the intersection of art, physics and science fiction as a basis for architectural design.


Other Contributors

The program is a result of the efforts of all previous curriculum developers and instructors including Jeannie Kim, Taylor Gould, Ryan Bruer, Avi Odenheimer, Marienka Bishop-Kovac, Phat Le and Irina Rouby Apelbaum .


Thank you for your interest. If you have any questions about this program, please contact: camps@daniels.utoronto.ca



“I joined the program to explore architecture as a career to see if it interests me. I wanted to know if it’s a possible career path for me in the future. I learned that architecture contains a broad range of jobs. There’s definitely something in it for everyone, whether it is working in a small firm or larger firms or something else. I also learned about the skills an architect has, from model making to learning about the different lifestyles of the people who work in an architectural-related career. By listening to their different perspectives, I can make a better decision about what I want to do in the future. It’s not just to go into architecture; the things that I learned in the program will hopefully make the transition (to university) smoother. Other skills I acquired through the program, such as problem-solving and creative thinking, can still be applied to what I want to do. I would definitely recommend the program to someone else, whether they are interested in architecture and want to reach ahead or they are still exploring what their interests are and what they want to do.”
—Victor Wang, Summer 2020

“I enjoyed how all-encompassing the course was. It touched on many topics and gave me a solid understanding of what I would learn if I chose to study in the field. I also enjoyed the many guest speakers that spoke to us and that we were able to ask them questions about their areas of expertise. Similarly, I thought it was helpful that we had guests come in to critique our work.”

“I like the hands-on part where be built the model and our teacher invited lots of people from Daniels and the architecture industry to talk about our work and give us advice on our future project. I also like that this program gave me a brief introduction of what the Bachelor of Arts, Architectural Studies program at the University of Toronto looks like.”

“What I enjoyed most about this program was learning a new skill each day. I learned how to use a variety of online tools, resources and skills that gave me a foundation in not only architecture but most of the sections in that field. Everything was engaging and the staff really elevated the whole experience by making a great experience.”

“The instructors where absolutely amazing. I liked the activities, lessons and projects. They brought very interesting guest lecturers, and the classes the instructors prepared where also interesting and engaging.” 

“I thought it was a good opportunity to gather a taste of the university experience and specifically open your mind to all the aspects that go into designing a space.”
—Summer 2019 Participant


What should I expect to learn from these courses?
Specific learning outcomes from each course are outlined above.

How do I apply?
There is no application process. You register and pay fees to guarantee your seat in the program. It is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. You can register here.

Is there a registration deadline?
We will accept registrations up to one week prior to the start date of the program. If you wish to apply within one week of the program start date, please contact camps@daniels.utoronto.ca

How many people are in a course?
We maintain a ratio of 1:15 maximum per instructor with a maximum class size of 30 students with two instructors.

What happens after I register?
After you register and pay the fees, you will receive an automatic e-mail from our registration software with a receipt. This guarantees your registration. One week prior to the program start date, you will receive an on-boarding email with detailed instructions.

Is accommodation in Toronto available/included as part of the registration fees?

No, families will need to arrange for their own accommodations.

Can I receive a certificate of completion?
Yes, you may request a certificate of completion at the end of the course.