Pre-College Design Camp

University of Kansas Design Camp June 12-18, 2022

Join us for KU Design Camp from June 12–18, 2022 and enjoy a valuable educational experience while working on projects that enhance your creative portfolio. KU Design Camp is a pre-college summer program offered to high school students who are entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year and are interested in Architecture or Design. Students learn in hands-on workshops taught by KU School of Architecture & Design faculty. 

Camp Dates: June 12–18, 2022

Format: In-person at KU's Lawrence Campus

Registration Fees:  

  • Residential Camper Fee: $1,000 — This fee includes housing in a University of Kansas residence hall, meals, studio fees, project materials, and evening activities.

  • Non-Residential Camper Fee: $850 — This option is for local students wishing to participate in Design Camp but not stay overnight in the residence hall. This fee includes meals, studio fees, project materials, and evening activities.


Workshop Topics

Campers select a morning and an afternoon workshop topic during registration. Please note that the availability of workshops is subject to enrollment numbers. Placement in workshops is based on a first-come, first-served basis.

Morning Workshops

What The Zine? How Photographs Speak

Instructor: Alec Logan Smith

Do you enjoy taking pictures, but aren’t sure what to do with them? Do images pile up on your hard drive never to see the world? It’s time to rescue them and show them off with a photo zine! In this fast-paced, hands-on self-publication workshop, we will learn to organize your visual interests to meaningfully communicate your unique ideas. First, we’ll look at a variety of photo zines for inspiration, from the punk black and white xerox to the magazine glossy, stapled binding to hand sewn. Then, we’ll explore the beautiful KU campus and our photography studio to make a new set of images, using some lighting tips of the trade and KU’s digital SLRs, or even your own phone—all cameras are game! Next, we’ll print and sequence the images, and discover how context and order can completely change a narrative. Finally, you’ll produce your own photo zine to take home as a portfolio piece, or better yet, share with your friends! Whether you’re a camera phone enthusiast or seasoned manual shooter, this class will change how you see, read, and ultimately publish your pictures.

Interior of a Student Hangout Lounge

Instructor: Mohammad Dastmalchi

This workshop will introduce students to prototype a small-scale, portable, student hangout space to be initially located within Marvin Grove. For the project, they will imagine themselves as a university student and will venture to create a relaxing, fun, and rejuvenating space for themselves - a space away from classrooms, homework, and study schedules where they can enjoy the company of their friends, play games, share stories, and just chill. The space (likely a shipping container, as a pop-up on wheels making it portable) will include a lounge area, game area, kitchenette, and a gender-neutral bathroom. Students will learn the basic techniques of space planning based on design elements and principles, conceptualizing an idea, how to manifest that idea in 2D and 3D visual thinking & space planning and designing with sustainable materials in mind. Students will be paired, and each team will produce a scaled space model and a poster with their drawings & material choices as exhibits.

Symmetry and Stories

Instructor: Sam Yates

Students will learn the basic Gestalt Principals (principles/laws of human perception), the foundations of Visual Communications. Once familiar students will engage with in-class workshops to ideate a pattern inspired by their favorite book/movie/song. In the creation of this pattern students will learn about drawing methods, symmetry, color theory, symmetry, and use the Adobe Suite.

Minecraft, Cities, & Architecture

Instructor: Thom Allen

Have you ever thought about big ideas while building in Minecraft? With limited resources on the earth, this Minecraft collaboration workshop explores topics of how we design and build cities while preserving waterways and the environment. Students learn the fundamental aspects of how to design a city through the “Garden City Movement”, understand the impacts of engineering dams, and develop strategies for preserving the environment. Students collaborate through sharing ideas on how to build and create for a better tomorrow.


Afternoon Workshops

Architecture: A Spatial Journey

Instructor: Anne Patterson

Students design a sequence of spaces that explore entry, path-space relationships, threshold, and destination using a predetermined kit of parts. Each journey is connected to three others at a common space which is a scale model of a space in Marvin Hall. Students will measure and construct this space themselves. The development of individual projects is energized by collaborative sessions where the students put the models back together to see the effect of their decisions at a larger scale, connecting the models in both ‘urban’ and landscape context.

Footwear Design

Instructor: Betsy Barnhart

Have you ever wanted to design your own sneakers? Do you love streetwear and fashion? In this class learn how to design footwear like the pros, from identifying trends, creating mood boards, brainstorming ideas, iterative sketching, applying performance attributes, to styling. Students will learn terms of the trade, materials used, and basic principles of athletic shoemaking. By the end of the workshop students will design their own fashion driven athletic sneaker based off their own trend forecasting and research. Students will be able to rapidly sketch multiple designs, create marker renderings to show color options and materials, understand and apply the basics of creating photo realistic digital drawings, select materials, and visualize their own concepts. Students create a final presentation and a portfolio of their unique design that is a fantastic addition to any fine art or industrial design college portfolio application.

Character Design and Animation

Instructor: Kent Smith

Students in this workshop will explore methods to bring dynamic characters to life through collaboration, gameplay, and deep dives into various prompts and challenges. Whether designing an alien from a far-off world or the mascot for a children’s cereal, we can engage illustrative design principles like composition, pose, color, lighting, shape-play, textures, and more to add details, meaning and story to your characters. Students will gain skills in Adobe Creative Suite, Magma Studio, and traditional media as we first create unique, unexpected characters rich in personality and then make them move using the principles of animation.


Instructor: Linda Samson Talleur

During the week students will construct more than ten different books—some that look like “real” books and some that are more like sculpture. They will begin by sewing simple pamphlets, and progress to forms with more complicated constructions. Participants will learn to use professional bookbinding tools, materials, and techniques to craft personalized sketchbooks, journals, and notebooks. The final project will be a 3-D visual narrative!

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