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Inside Design Summer Program

Outdoors, the Drillfield, aerial

Inside Design is an incisive introduction to the ways in which designers think and work. For young people considering a future in design, this program cracks open the excitement and opportunities of architecture and related design disciplines. No prior course or subject experience is necessary, just the initiative to break the bounds of conventional modes of thinking.

Registration Information

The popular week-long sessions of Inside Design are undergoing a reboot. For summer 2024 participants can choose between three sessions, Blacksburg, which includes on-campus experiences of dorm living and dining hall, Alexandria, at our metro-accessible urban campus, the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC), or a virtual session. Everyone in grades 9 - 12 are welcome. 

Registration will close May 15th or when all spots have been filled. There will be no refunds past May 15th. Schedules and further details will be provided after registration.

Please contact Chris Pritchett ( or Claire Pulver ( if you have any questions.

Course Content

Primarily a hands-on experience, students work with long-time educators and practitioners in exercises designed to stimulate discussion and discovery of issues affecting the design world. Though these fields are professional disciplines, the tenants of the curriculum are anchored in the belief of design as a way of life.

The course is modeled around the curricula of the nationally ranked programs in the School of Architecture and School of Design (architecture, industrial design, interior design, and landscape architecture). Much of the concepts covered are the focal points of the first year of the design studio of the undergraduate program. Students will explore the intuitive, problem framing modes of design. Emphasis is placed on formulating new visions and the richness of ambiguity through conceptual thinking. 

Blacksburg Session

The Blacksburg session offers either an overnight or day camper experience from June 16th-21st, with the program based out of Cowgill and Burchard halls– the hubs of our School of Architecture and School of Design. Students will have their own desks in the same shared studio space that VT students use, just one floor away from undergraduate and graduate students doing summer work, as well as access to some of the cutting-edge labs and materials workshops. By being immersed in studio life, students will be exposed to a number of collaborative tools that encourage the development of community and partnership between students as they work through their series of design exercises, lectures, discussions, and tutorials. The material will be taught by practicing architect Sonny Joy-Hogg, in collaboration with select faculty members in multiple disciplines and current students, offering students insight into both academic and professional perspectives on design. 

Being on campus also provides students a sense of what college life can look like, including campus dining options, experience living in suite-style dorm rooms complete with roommates and an RA, and the beauty of Virginia Tech’s iconic campus. Given the level of independence required, we expect students to treat instructors, each other, and their environment with respect, and to be timely, engaged, responsible, self-motivated, and community-minded. 

Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center Session

The WAAC session will be held on June 24th-28th in the WAAC buildings, at 1001 and 1021 Prince Street in the middle of Old Town Alexandria. The city is right outside our front door, and serves as a living classroom for learning about history, architecture, and urban design. Students will have their own desks in the same studio space as regular WAAC students, and have access to our classrooms, unique library, and renowned fabrication workshop. A team of WAAC faculty members and area design professionals will lead the program, supported by current students.

Studying at the WAAC will give students the experience of being immersed in one of the most storied historic cities in the country, and a taste of a place where they can spend a semester or a year in their 4th or 5th years of architecture school. The WAAC is in walking distance of the King Street Station Metro, Virginia Rail, and is reachable via multiple bus lines.

(Note: Our main building is over 100 years old and has limited ADA accessibility. Students with specific mobility needs should contact the WAAC directly)

Virtual Session

The virtual session will take place July 16th-21st. The session takes advantage of participating students’ diversity of geo-locations to explore the rich variety of spaces and forms which constitute the built environment. Students will deep-dive into a week-long design challenge involving program tutorials, group discussions + critiques, short lectures about emerging designers + exciting new projects, and hands-on exercises encouraging exploration beyond the workspace. The session will be led by VT School of Architecture faculty member Dr. Andrew Gipe-Lazarou. 

The Instructors



Curiosity, exploration and reflection shape design and innovative outcomes at Hanbury, supporting our aspirations to be a global resource for our clients. We engage in the most relevant research to enrich our work and to strategically partner with our clients.

Since 1979, Hanbury has been a voice in the planning, architecture, and interior design professions across the United States and abroad. Our practice is based on a willingness to listen and learn, exploring transformational ideas with colleagues, clients, and consultants, garnering the recognition of both design and industry-specific award programs. 

Our studio environment encourages inclusivity, exploration, research, and critical thinking. We value collaboration both internally and with our consultants and clients. Sharing ideas, listening, and embracing the contributions of all in the conversation enhances our work.

We recognize the power of architecture in human interactions and measure a project’s success by its impact on users, the community, and context. As Hanbury has evolved, we’ve concentrated our design focus on several areas that best serve this potential: higher education, science & technology, and civic/community — all with a commitment to the highest and best use of resources and a long-range view of environmental impact.

Read more about Nick Cooper, who will be assisting in instructing the Blacksburg session.

The WAAC Program Faculty: 

Susan C. Piedmont-Palladino: 

Susan Piedmont-Palladino is an architect, professor, and the Director of Virginia Tech’s Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC). As Director, Susan is committed to design education that is international, interdisciplinary, and individually focused. She is also a consulting curator at the National Building Museum and the author of several books, including companion books for exhibitions and initiatives she curated, such as Green Community, Intelligent Cities, and Timber City. Her last book, "How Drawings Work: A User-Friendly Theory," published by Routledge in 2019, takes a fresh and unconventional look at graphic communications.


Dr. Andrew Gipe-Lazarou:

Dr. Andrew Gipe-Lazarou (MArch Harvard GSD 2015, PhD NTUA 2021) is a designer, educator, and researcher interested in the significance of space in cultural-historical contexts. His work includes contributions to the internationally-published Elements series by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, field work and articles about the role of sensory learning in design education (The Diakron Institute, University of Cambridge, 2019), and ongoing research about the role of fictional narratives in the history of the city (“The ‘Extreme Fantasy’ of Delirious New York”, Lovecraft Annual, Hippocampus Press, 2020). He is currently a visiting instructor at the Virginia Tech School of Architecture. 

Cost + Registration

Estimated Registration Fees:

  • Blacksburg session tuition: $1000*

  • WAAC session tuition: $500

  • Virtual session tuition: $200

*Please note, the Blacksburg session tuition does not include materials. Required material list and instructions on how to purchase coming soon. Estimated material cost: $100

Opportunities for needs-based scholarships are available. More details included in the registration form.


  • Supplies: Campers are responsible for purchasing all required materials, either through our partner at New River Art and Fiber, or on your own. Material list and instructions on how to purchase coming soon.

  • Laptop/Cellphones: A computer with internet access is necessary for those participating in the virtual session.

  • Unable to attend the entire week: Please know you will get the most out of the week if you are there from start to finish. However, this is your camp and your time, so if you need to join late for any reason, just let us know ahead of time so we can know when to expect you or know that you’re planning on leaving early.

  • Behavior: One of the goals of the School of Architecture and School of Design is to give participants the experience of a college design student at Virginia Tech in the studios. This offers a freedom that requires personal responsibility at all times. It is expected that participating students will behave in a mature and professional manner.

    Refunds: No refunds can be issued after May 15th.