Cambridge University
CSCA

Ax:son Johnson Centre for the Study of Classical Architecture

Summer School

Sketching at the Wren Library at Trinity College

Summer School 2023: Learning from Tradition

Sunday 2 July - Saturday, 5 August 2023

(2 – 9 July in Engelsberg, Sweden and 9 July – 5 August in Cambridge, UK)

The Centre for the Study of Classical Architecture is pleased to offer its second annual Summer School, which provides an unparalleled academic and studio education in the history and practice of traditional architecture. This year’s programme is split into two parts: the first in Engelsberg, Sweden and the second in Cambridge, UK. The first week is at the idyllic Engelsberg Ironworks, a UNESCO World Heritage Site outside Stockholm, Sweden. Students reside in the historic buildings on site and enjoy quiet, verdant surroundings as they hone their drawing skills. During this first week, students are introduced to classical history and theory in on-site lectures and learn the techniques and methods of sketching, measured drawing, hand draughtsmanship, and watercolouring in an immersive studio environment. Artists and architects lead foundational workshops, helping students form their hands in traditional drawing practices. This week is designed to prepare students at any level of drawing experience for the main studio project. 

The following four weeks are spent at the University of Cambridge and are based between Downing College and the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art. In Cambridge, prominent historians deliver seminars focused on British classical architecture of the seventeenth through twentieth centuries. These seminars are supplemented with exciting weekly study day trips to London, Oxford, and the countryside. Students are given special access to significant buildings, historical libraries, drawing collections, and museum collections, including the Sir John Soane’s Museum.

In studio, leading practising architects teach traditional design and urbanism principles through hands-on studio instruction. Students embark on a studio project to prepare a theoretical design to fit new buildings into Cambridge’s historic urban fabric, encouraging students to think about sustainable growth. This part of the Summer Programme is overseen by talented and dedicated studio tutors and Britain’s foremost practitioners of classical and traditional architectural design to mentor students’ progress as informed practitioners.

During these four weeks in Cambridge, all students benefit from Masterclass tutorials offered by architects who mentor students as they advance through their studio design work and provide valuable feedback on design approaches. The Summer School culminates with an exhibition and collegiate evaluation of students’ studio projects.

Engelsberg Ironworks (UNESCO World Heritage Centre)
Downing College at the University of Cambridge

Celebrating the Tercentenary of the Death of Sir Christopher Wren 

As part of the Tercentenary celebrations of the death of architect Sir Christopher Wren, the Summer School 2023 will feature a special historical focus on the architectural influence of Wren.  Seminars given by Wren scholars and visits to drawing collections and buildings built under Wren’s direction will be important teaching components of this year’s programme.  St Paul’s Cathedral,  Greenwich Hospital, and the Sheldonian Theatre will form part of the study day trips to London and Oxford and students will also visit several of his works in Cambridge.

Students will also have the opportunity to exhibit their drawings inspired by Wren’s architecture at the Centre’s September 2023 conference on ‘The Professional World of Sir Christopher Wren’.

Inside Wren's Trinity College Library with Dr Nicolas Bell
Students at St Paul's Cathedral studying Wren's 'Great Model'
Looking at the AHA Library's Rare Book collection with Prof James Campbell

Programme Highlights

  • Students stay at the UNESCO World Heritage site Engelsberg Iron Works set in the idyllic landscape of southern Sweden, outside of historic Stockholm
  • Cambridge scholars and other leading architectural historians lecture on the history and theory of classical architecture from antiquity to the present day with a focus on British classicism of the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries
  • Students reside at Downing College during the second part of the programme. Downing is the University of Cambridge’s ‘Enlightenment College’ with nineteenth-century buildings designed by William Wilkins and twentieth-century additions by Quinlan and Francis Terry
  • Students gain privileged access to world-class museums and libraries including Wren’s Trinity College Library and the library at St Paul’s Cathedral
  • Students learn to read and interpret historic parts of classical buildings and work with architectural drawings, manuscripts, rare books, and physical building materials
  • Distinguished practising British architects lead Masterclasses in historic and contemporary drawing techniques and approaches to design and conservation

 

Alumna (2022) Meredith Fairman at work in the studio
Alumnus (2022) Karl Abi Karam at work on his final plate
Alumnae (2022) Tonia Avramenko and Nadia Samir at a studio pin-up session

Programme Details

Programme Dates: Sunday, 2 July through Saturday, 5 August 2023 

Programme Cost: £5, 370*

Accommodation:  Engelsberg Iron Works, Sweden and Downing College, University of Cambridge, UK  

Student Places:  15

Financial Awards: Entry to the programme will be competitive, and generous scholarships (excluding transportation to Sweden 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 to apply for funding.)

Programme Cost Inclusions:

  • Single occupancy accommodation at Engelsberg Iron Works when in Sweden and student accommodation at Downing College when in Cambridge 
  • Breakfast (daily); several lunches; 5 wine receptions; 25 dinners (Dinners provided daily in Sweden and Monday – Thursday in hall at Downing in Cambridge)
  • Daily lectures and studio sessions
  • Entry into all sites included on the programme
  • Transportation by private coach on study day trips 
  • Most communal drawing materials for the studio portion of the course*
  • A one-way economy class flight between Engelsberg (Arlanda Int’l Airport ARN) and London, UK

 

*Please note that students are expected to bring some of their own studio materials such as watercolours and drafting tools, etc. Further details will be provided for successful applicants.

 

 

Application

We welcome applications from university-level students and early career professionals (graduating within the past 5 years) 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. Be sure to communicate how this programme will help your professional trajectory in your personal statement. 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.

Deadline: 

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 (between 500-750 words) stating why the Summer School in classical architecture will aid your studies or career trajectory
  • Curriculum Vitae (max 2 pages)
  • University Transcripts (unofficial) from your most recent degree
  • One (1) letter of recommendation (ideally from an academic referee)
  • Portfolio (5 pages saved as a .pdf) for students enroled in a studio architecture programme or a Writing Sample (max 5000 words) if applying from a history course of study

 

Apply:  

Applications open 1 December 2022 for the 2023 programme. To submit an application, use this 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 (csca@aha.cam.ac.uk) to the attention of the Director, Dr Frank Salmon, by the application deadline. Please not the applicant is responsible for ensuring their referee submits their letter of recommendation on time.

Admissions decisions for applications submitted by 31 January will be communicated in early to mid March and, for those submitted an application in February or March, decisions will be communicated by early April.

Portfolio of student work (2022)



If you have any questions about the programme in general or about the application, 
please contact us by e-mail at csca@aha.cam.ac.uk