Daniels Design Discovery Program

Summer 2024

Design Discovery GIF

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 14 to 18). This program is open to all participants, including English-speaking international students.

About the Program

Course 1 – Place & Drawing

In this two-week architecture intensive, you will be introduced to site analysis and representation. How do you see the shared meanings, systems, environment, communities, and stories of a place? How can you research, observe these, draw and communicate them? You will learn to read, analyze, and make representations of these ideas. You will visit our chosen location for this course — the Toronto Islands. You will learn how to use architectural tools like 3D design software, physical models, photography, and drawing to plan something that might be needed – or inhabited – at this location. You will also learn to present your ideas to your peers and instructors, incorporating their feedback into your own perspective of our world.

Course 2 – Architecture & Making

[Course 1 is a prerequisite for Course 2]

In this two-week intensive, a continuation of the previous course, you will further develop a project. You will visit architecture firms and hear from invited guests about their work, their research, and their creative journeys. You’ll discuss applying to universities to study architecture, learn about portfolios and put together your own. Your project will also show you how to navigate the different requirements of an architectural proposal — design, drawing, 3D modeling, style, and communication. How do you take the complexity of a place you have observed in Course 1 and develop a design response to it? How will you make structures for this place and for others to inhabit? How will this complexity reflect your own interests and stories? What does your imagination of our future look like? 


Course 1 must be taken prior to Course 2. 

Session 1

Course 1 – Place & Drawing - July 2 - July 12.
(Nine-day courseno program on Statutory Holidays)  

Course 2 – Architecture & Making - July 15 - July 26.

Session 2

Course 1 – Place & Drawing - July 29 - August 9.
(Nine-day course, no program on Statutory Holidays)

Course 2 – Architecture & Making - August 12 - August 23.

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

Fees & Registration

Registration is now open: REGISTER HERE

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

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
"Lara Headshot"   Lara Hassani is an artist and architectural designer. She received her Masters in Architecture from UofT, and is an instructor at the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. She is half of Studio Wombling, a practice that focuses on projects related to material conservation, waste, and adaptive reuse.


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, Jamie Lipson, 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,

“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.”


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. There are several University of Toronto residences that offer short-term summer accommodations such as New College, Massey College, and Chestnut Residence. Minors under 18 will need to be accompanied by a chaperone.

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