Inside Design

One-week, Hands-on Summer Program for High School Students

Important Dates + cost

The popular week-long sessions of Inside Design have traditionally been offered as an on-campus experience. Last summer, we reconfigured the course to an online experience as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. As a continuation of caution, in the best interest of all participants, we are offering this year’s session of Inside Design online as well.

Teaching experiences from the week online last summer and the first-year design studio online during this academic year indicate Inside Design can again be successfully offered in a similar manner. Though the course will be positioned away from the immediacy of campus life and the design studio, we believe a comprehensive insight into the way designers think and act can be made accessible and real.

Everyone in grades 9 -12 is welcome.  The course will be offered through zoom, thus a computer with internet access is necessary.

Inside Design will be held via Zoom from June 21 – 25th, 2021. A brief introductory Zoom meeting will occur late afternoon on Sunday, June 20.

The schedule for the course will be: Intro on Sunday, June 20th, 2:30-4:30 (ET) Monday, 21st – Friday, 25th, 11:00-1:00 and 2:30-4:30 (ET)

More information will be distributed in the coming weeks.

Please contact Kelly Cooper ( if you have any questions.


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

Over its twenty-year history, the course has been refined and amplified to give high school students one of the best week-long experiences of architecture and design. Faculty learn with the students and adjust coursework based on discoveries from each successive class. The course is modeled around the curriculums of the nationally ranked programs in the School of Architecture + Design (architecture, industrial design, interior design, and landscape architecture).

studio life

Much of the work is aligned with projects offered in the first year of the design studio of the undergraduate program, and Inside Design students virtually work alongside students enrolled in the summer design studio.

Though the design fields are professional disciplines, the tenants of the curriculum are anchored in the belief of design as a way of life.

While the 2021 course will be happening online through the ZOOM platform, we will provide glimpses into aspects of campus. Students will be exposed to a number of collaborative digital tools that allow the development of community and interaction between students as they work through a series of design exercises, lectures, discussions, and tutorials.

course content

The course is divided into two sessions involving studies of materials and processes leading to the development of form, and model building as means to explore spatial conditions. Working with various materials and organizational principles, a basic understanding of design is linked to contemporary works of architecture and the related fields of industrial design, interior design, and landscape architecture. Here students explore the intuitive, problem framing modes of design. Emphasis is placed on formulating new visions and the richness of ambiguity through conceptual thinking. Additional hands-on projects engage more rational objectives of the design. Operating from a different virtual studio environment, students learn first-hand the potentials and limitations of teamwork and collaboration.

the instructors

Chris Pritchett: Chair, Foundation Program at the School of Architecture + Design. Chris teaches design foundation and thesis design and offers a course in screen printing. He has recently worked with a design-build firm specializing in residential spaces. He is interested in the transition between digital and analogue drawing, and the preservation of working analogue. He currently works as a graphic designer and printmaker.

Matt Rauch: Matt Rauch is an architect, educator, and founder of Rauch Architecture, a full-service architectural practice based in New York City. He has taught design studios and seminars at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and has served on design reviews at Virginia Tech and Columbia University. Matt received his Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech and his Master of Architecture from Yale University and started his professional career at Adjaye Associates in NYC.

Xin Fu: Xin Fu is an architect practicing in New York City with experience leading a range of educational projects in the Tri-State area. Xin received her Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech and her Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University and started her career at Rafael Vinoly Architects in NYC.




The fee for the week-long course is $280.

Registration is closed


  • Scholarship/Financial Aid: We’re unable to provide financial support from the program. We try and keep the cost as low as possible. In the past, participants have found local companies to sponsor their fee to the program, and if that is the case, we’re more than happy to work with them to get the payment through.
  • A general schedule: More information will be forthcoming
  • Laptop/Cellphones: A computer with internet access is necessary as the sessions will be held via Zoom.
  • Supply List: A supply list will be provided closer to the program date. Mentioned on the supply list is a matt knife with a snap-off blade; this is an example, only one knife is needed and any brand is fine.
  • 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 log in 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 Architecture + 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.
  • Refund Policy:The deposit will be refunded if withdrawal occurs three weeks before the start of the course, May 31st, 2021.