The camp is taught by Architects and consists of 3 lessons, a tour of Taliesin West including the on-site shelters, and a model building session where students will design a personal structure that provides shelter from the elements as well as physical and emotional comfort.

Through the camp, students will gain an understanding of how the built environment directly affects their own well-being and that of the natural environment and will demonstrate an understanding of sun angles, orientation, scale, and spatial needs.



Session 1

Can a Building Make You Feel?


Students begin to consider the impact of architecture in their daily lives. 


  1. What makes us feel good in a space? 
  2. How can the space we are in trigger different feelings? 

Session 2

Desert Shelter (Taliesin West Field Trip or Video)


Students visit Taliesin West and gain an understanding of how Frank Lloyd Wright thought about designing for the environment and the experience.  Meet with Taliesin West student mentors and tour the shelters they designed, built and live in while attending school at Taliesin West. 


  1. How did Frank Lloyd Wright create an “experience” through architecture? 
  2. What does a shelter need to be successful? 

Session 3

How do Buildings Affect our Surroundings and Our Surroundings Affect our Buildings?


Students begin to consider the impact of architecture on the world around them as well as how good design responds to its environment. Students gain an understanding of the impact of the sun when designing, and how the material of an object affects its temperature and the earth’s temperature. 


  1. The definition of environment and how different shelters react to the different environments they are built in. 
  2. How does the sun affect our buildings and why? 
  3. How is the temperature of a material affected by its color, its orientation and the nature of the material itself?   
  4. Can a building cause harm?  Discuss the heat island effect. 
  5. How can a building harmonize with nature?  Exploring efficiency in design through such concepts as shading, heating, and use of different materials.  

Session 4

How Architects Communicate


  1. Students learn the basics of plan, section, elevation and scale. 


  1. Plan, elevation and section view; two-dimensional, three-dimensional; explanation. 
  2. Concept of scale – 1:1; non-standard units of measurement. 

Session 5

Build Day!


Students use architecture, design, math, science and language arts skills to begin to build and to articulate the design for their shelter. 


  1. What makes you feel good in your space? 
  2. What are the basic requirements for your shelter? 
  3. Where is North and how will the sun affect your shelter? 
  4. What are your minimum space requirements? 
  5. How do you build your shelter to scale? 
  6. What materials should you use to build your shelter?