Discover architecture with us!

The Architecture Explorations (AE) K-12 program invites our youngest learners to engage in the design process. Through programs in their own communities and on CMU's campus, participants learn how architects design spaces, what tools they use, and why they have a significant impact on our lives. 


Everyone, everywhere needs good design.

Through a diversity of programs, Architecture Explorations gives young people across the Pittsburgh region the skills and confidence to affect change through design. Each program we offer addresses three key questions: 

What are our communities' challenges? 

What opportunities does the built environment offer?

How are architects uniquely positioned to addresses these questions? 

Participants discover how to analyze a site and assess a community’s needs. They explore precedents to see what architecture can accomplish. They learn to make legible architectural drawings and models and to articulate their ideas. And, they put into practice creative problem-solving strategies that will benefit them across disciplines. 

By broadening each participant’s understanding of architectural design, we aim to inspire more young people to influence positive change in their communities, as active citizens or future professional designers.

We’re inviting you to design with us!


Saturday Sequence

Our Saturday Sequence emphasizes the problem-solving skills central to the architectural design process. Participants work both independently and collaboratively to find innovative solutions to specific challenges, and learn how to create architectural drawings and models. Each year, the sequence focuses on a particular topic, such as sustainability or computational design, and challenges involve Pittsburgh sites whenever possible. Classes are taught 9:30am - 12:30pm on the CMU campus by young professionals from the Pittsburgh area and upper-level Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture students. 

Registration is now open for the 2017-2018 Saturday Sequence program. 

Fall 2017: Classes September 30 - November 18, 2017
   Early bird registration through 31 August 2017

Spring 2018: no classes spring 2018


"I really like the fact that these classes are held in the School of Architecture. In my opinion, it is self motivation for kids. I say this because after unintentionally getting lost before the first course of the program, we passed thru a classroom filled with blue prints, models, etc. Alan was in awe of what he was seeing. To describe it, he was almost to the point of jumping out of his skin at the thought that one day he will be making those blueprints and models professionally. As a parent, I was overjoyed at his eagerness to want to achieve that. I was also pleasantly surprised at the end project presentations, because you could see that the kids had learned so much from attending.”


Architecture Explorations offers free workshops at schools, libraries, and community centers—and provides all materials and supplies—through the EQUIP Architecture Backpacks program. Sign up and an architectural professional will visit your site and help your students to implement the projects contained in each backpack. All projects connect to key architectural concepts and align with academic standards for 3rd - 5th grade. Concepts found in all backpacks include design thinking, precedent knowledge, spatial and geometric abilities, and communication. Projects include building a playground in outer space, a new neighborhood, or a future house! The EQUIP Backpacks program is made possible by a grant from The Grable Foundation.

Teachers can sign up for the fall or spring session through our online registration form.

EQUIP Backpack Themes

1. Architecture Without Walls

How do architects design the spaces between buildings? In this workshop, students explore landscape architecture concepts, such as topography, horticulture, and sustainability, while creating their own park with a playground, garden, and pavilion.

2. Building Communities

How do architects create designs with local communities in mind? In this workshop, students explore urban design concepts, such as density, scale, and land use, while creating their own neighborhood. 

3. Building Up!

How do architects design buildings that touch the sky? In this workshop, students explore concepts of skyscraper design, such as force, geometry, and construction methods, while designing their own skyline. 

4. Out of this World Architecture

How do architects create designs on other planets? In this workshop, students explore concepts of outer space architecture, such as context, closed loop systems, and form, while creating their own buildings on Mars. 

5. Re-imagining Houses

How have architects designed buildings from the past, in the present, and for the future? In this workshop, students explore vernacular architecture concepts, such as style, local resources, and replication, while creating their own houses for the future. 

6. Responsive Technology

How do architects incorporate technology into their buildings? In this workshop, students explore concepts of responsive technology, such as stimulus, response, and data collection, while creating movable architecture components with real interactive electronic objects. 


You can travel to CMU’s campus and learn more about our School of Architecture program, the career of an architect, and any specific interest topic. Past tours have explored architecture and technology, green roofs, and sustainability.

Tours and workshops are organized on a per case basis, and often include a presentation by faculty and staff. Whether you're part of a gifted and talented program, a Girl Scout troop, or mentorship program, we would love to have you on campus!

Organizations can sign up for CMU SoA to host a tour and workshop through our online registration form.




Architecture Explorations has been selected as an Activity Provider for PPS's Summer Dreamers Academy for the past two years. The program consists of 27 days where students design buildings and public spaces to better serve their communities. 

The curriculum focuses on concepts such as sustainability, historic preservation, form and function, and public interest design, through the lens of a 4th grader. Our goal is to provide students with the tools and encouragement to pursue their interests and become thoughtful citizens of our world.

CMoA Summer Camps

This summer, gain architectural skills (and design some amazing spaces!) by engaging directly with original works of art and architecture. Architecture Explorations partners with the Carnegie Museum of Art to offer a variety of week-long summer art and architecture camps. During camp, the museum’s Heinz Architectural Center becomes your classroom, and displays from the museum’s permanent collection will inspire your projects. All 5-session camps run Monday through Friday. Themes for children and youth ages 4-18 include Fun Size, Dream House, Architecture 101, and From Bits to Bricks.