PDF Version and Application

Architecture is an art for all to learn, because all are concerned with it.

John Ruskin
Edinburgh Lectures, 1853

The architect and his brother the engineer are perhaps the most valuable citizens we have.

“A Letter from the West,” 1958

Architecture is a fundamentally social art that combines practical requirements for human use with a poetics of form and meaning. Although architecture may take years to master, those who study it in college have usually harbored an intense curiosity about the subject from at least their early teens. This introductory studio and accompanying lectures and field trips will give you a broader, deeper understanding of architecture and also the opportunity to build a portfolio for use in applying to schools of architecture should you eventually wish to do so.

This course presupposes no prior knowledge of architecture, simply a visual awareness and willingness to learn. You’ll travel back in time to some of the most interesting buildings ever and also make the acquaintance of some of the most accomplished architects of recent history – Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, Louis I. Kahn, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, Charles Moore, Frank Gehry, Aldo Rossi, Renzo Piano, Rem Koolhaas and Herzog and de Meuron. You’ll visit some of the most extraordinary buildings and places in Texas, while also developing an appreciation for the architecture of the commonplace landscape as seen through the eyes of J. B. Jackson, Del Upton, Alan Hess and other scholars. Best of all, whether you decide to pursue architecture in college or not, you’ll gain a lifelong appreciation of architecture as a fine art and an everyday source of pleasure and amazement.

The morning session typically begins with a slide-illustrated lecture on some aspect of architectural practice, history or theory or a case study of a building, given by a college faculty member or experienced practitioner. The rest of the day is devoted to the design of small buildings such as a food stand, studio house, pre-kindergarten learning center, café, bookstore, and other buildings of similar scale. Students work through two such projects of several weeks duration using a variety of techniques – especially study models. No computer-aided drafting or modeling skills are expected or required. Four days (usually Fridays) are reserved for field trips – two in-town trips to visit architects’ offices and buildings of special interest and two longer out-of-town trips (San Antonio-Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth-Waxahachie) which depart early in the morning and return late at night. Students who perform well may spend an optional sixth-week in a portfolio workshop, refining their projects and documenting them in digital form.

This 5-week program of learning by doing is open to students from the Houston metropolitan area who will be entering the 10th, 11th, 12th grades or college. To apply, complete the student section of the PDF form and give it to a teacher who knows you well or a counselor to fill out the recommendation section. Your teacher/counselor should mail the completed form along with an official transcript directly to:

Director/Summer Discovery Program for High School Students
Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture
122 College of Architecture Building
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204-4000

To ensure full consideration, applications must be received by 3 May; early applications are encouraged. All applicants will be notified by 28 May; early applicants will be notified sooner.
If you have any questions or need additional information, call 713.301.4882 or email info@wonderworkshouston.org.

This program is sponsored in part by a grant by the Houston Architecture Foundation and
Houston Endowment Inc.