Cambridge University

Ax:son Johnson Centre for the Study of Classical Architecture

Summer School

Wren Library at Trinity College

Summer School in Classical Architecture

Sunday, 3 July – Saturday, 6 August 2022

This five-week Summer School in Classical Architecture provides an unparalleled academic and studio education in the history and practice of Classical architecture at the University of Cambridge. Open to university-level (undergraduate and graduate) students of both practice and history, the programme is designed to offer participants two course options. All students benefit from lectures delivered by architectural historians on the history of Classical architecture from antiquity to the 21st century, paying particular attention to Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical architecture. Leading British architects working in the Classical tradition will lecture on contemporary issues of design and sustainability.

Students of practice take part in studio sessions taught by prominent traditional architects offering students a focussed instruction in sketching, draftsmanship, and design work. Those specialising in the history stream learn to read historical buildings and engage with the primary materials of architectural history such as drawings, manuscripts, rare books, instruments, and construction materials.

This programme runs for five weeks with several independent weekends for students to explore Cambridge, London, and Europe if so desired. Study day trips are an important facet of the programme and will include site visits to Classical buildings of international significance with special access to buildings, including Sir Christopher Wren’s City churches and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Study trips to notable country houses, architectural gardens, museums, libraries, and Cambridge colleges also make up an important aspect of the course.

The Summer School culminates with a studio project and collaborative exhibition in the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art for students of practice and a scholarly symposium organised by students of history at Downing College. 

Palladian Bridge at Stowe Gardens
James Gibbs's Senate House, University of Cambridge

Programme Highlights

  • Students stay at Downing College, the University of Cambridge’s ‘Enlightenment College’ with C19 buildings designed by William Wilkins and C20 additions by Quinlan and Francis Terry
  • Cambridge scholars and other leading architectural historians lecture on the history and theory of Classical architecture from antiquity to the present day 
  • Distinguished practising British architects lead Masterclasses in historic and contemporary drawing techniques and approaches to design
  • Students gain privileged access to world-class museums and libraries including the Fitzwilliam Museum and Wren’s Trinity College Library
  • Students learn to read and interpret historic parts of Classical buildings and work with architectural drawings, manuscripts, rare books, and physical building materials
  • Students attend study day trips to central London and to major country houses

Programme Details

Programme Dates: Sunday, 3 July through Saturday, August 6 

Programme Cost: £4, 970

Accommodation:  Downing College, University of Cambridge

Student Places:  18

Programme Cost Inclusions:

  • Accommodation at Downing College, Cambridge
  • Breakfast (daily); several lunches; 5 receptions; 21 dinners (including 4 dinners in hall at Downing College per week)
  • Daily lectures and studio sessions
  • Entry into all sites on programme
  • Transportation on study day trips (N.B. flights and airport transfers are not included)

Click here for full details of the  Summer School Programme 2022 (PDF)

Faculty of Architecture
Image courtesy of Luka Pajovic

Financial Awards

Entry to the programme will be competitive, and significant scholarships (excluding transportation to and from Cambridge) will be awarded to successful applicants, thanks to the generosity of the Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Benefit. (No separate application is required.)


We welcome applications from university-level students and early career professionals of any nationality or background. While we expect most applications to be from students of architecture and architectural history, other applicants able to show serious engagement with Classical architecture will be considered. Qualified architects in the early stages of practice are welcome to apply but will be expected to make a convincing case for their professional need to join this programme. In these instances, an interview with members of the selection panel may be required.


The priority application deadline to be considered for funding is 31 January

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until 30 March.

Required application documents:

  • Personal Statement (500-750 words)
  • Curriculum Vitae (max 2 pages)
  • One (1) letter of recommendation 
  • Portfolio (5 page .pdf) for those intending to participate on the ‘practice’ track or a Writing Sample (max 5000 words) for those intending to participate on the ‘history’ track


Applications for Summer School 2022 are now closed.

Applications re-open in November 2022 for the 2023 programme. To submit an application, visit our online form.

Details of applications and required documents are listed on the application form. Please note that all documents can be uploaded in .docx or .pdf format. Letters of recommendation should be sent by the referee (not the applicant) as a .docx or .pdf file on letterhead to CSCA ( for the attention of the Director, Dr Frank Salmon, by the application deadline.

Admissions decisions for applications submitted by 31 January will be informed during the first week of March.

If you have any questions about the programme in general or about the application, 
please contact us by e-mail at