Summer High School Intensive in Classical Architecture

Program at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas

Program Dates: June 2023


The Benedictine College Architecture Program is excited to offer a 12-day Intensive in Classical Architecture to showcase its unique design approach. Under personal instruction by the director of the Architecture Program, high school students have the opportunity to experience the energy of a program that accepts that classic architectural design remains the most viable—even necessary—foundation for the recovery of a vast range of traditional modes and patterns of living. Traditional and classical building designs naturally appeal to us because they are not just sustainable, they are based on an ordered philosophy of nature, natural law, and the idea that humans are contingent material and spiritual beings created in the image of God.

Lectures and studio assignments reinforce the continuity of architectural principles from ancient Egypt to the cultures of classical Greece and Rome, through the rise of Christianity, and into the early decades of the twentieth-century. At a Catholic college our journey through Tradition historically begins with a fiat rather than a non servium. To that order, students will be shown how to research precedent and emulate the character of paradigmatic buildings of western civilization. They will observe the time-honored intersection of architecture and the Transcendentals (such as Truth, Goodness, and Beauty).

This pre-college workshop is designed for current and graduating high school students who seek an introduction to, then immersion in, various aspects of classical architectural training. This is a rigorous program with the aim of preparing students for the future challenges of architecture school.


  • Students live in residence halls on the campus of Benedictine College and learn to navigate the beautiful campus and the public areas of historic St. Benedict’s Abbey; they are introduced to the full experience of Benedictine College and its four pillars: Catholic, Benedictine, Liberal Arts, & Residential
  • The curriculum is structured around a classical design studio; studio work is complemented by lectures and walks around campus, the abbey lands, and the city of Atchison
  • Coursework is taught by Benedictine College faculty, alumni, and current architecture majors—all of whom are active in the field of classical and traditional design, teaching, and scholarship
  • Students are introduced to hand-drafting, field-sketching, the elements of composition with the classical genres of architecture, proportion, precedent study, and theory and history of architecture
  • The program culminates in a studio project—presented at an appropriate scope for the students’ development; the final project employs the classical canon for the design of a small pavilion, including orthographic drawings and a rendered detail and/or façade perspective
  • The final project will be reviewed by guest architects, followed by a closing lunch reception on Saturday the 16th for extended family members—please consider remaining in Atchison for a local summer tradition, the Amelia Earhart Festival, a popular annual Fri-Sat event in July (book early)

Program Dates

  • Start: Tuesday, July 5, 2022
  • End: Saturday, July 16, 2022

Students arrive at Benedictine College in the afternoon on July 5 for a tour and dinner reception and depart campus on July 16 after the lunch reception.

Early Bird Cost: TBD

The cost includes room and board, lectures and full studio access, a studio kit (including sketchbook and supplies) for drafting and drawing; additional costs may be incurred out of pocket for off-campus drinks and snacks, souvenirs, laundry, etc.


If you have additional questions about the program, please contact:

John P. Haigh, AIA
Architecture Program Director

Registration and Scholarships

Registration for summer 2023 is not open yet.

We welcome applications from rising sophomore, junior, senior and recently-graduated high school students of any nationality or background.

Application Deadline: Monday, May 16, 2023

The program is limited to 18 total participants. Entry to the program is competitive and partial scholarships will be awarded to successful applicants, thanks to the generosity of the Northern Arizona Foundation for Catholic Education as well as local program benefactors.


  • A personal statement (~500 words).
  • Verification of completion of the freshman (9th grade) level of high school. Requested for grade level verification only. There is no minimum GPA, nor is there a portfolio requirement.

Deposit: A $250 deposit is required at the time of registration. If you opt to pay only the deposit, the remainder of the program cost is due by 10:00 p.m. Central Time on May 16, 2022.

Cancellations: If we cancel the program, all payments, including the deposit, will be refunded. If you elect to cancel after the deadline of May 16, 2022, all but the $250 deposit will be refunded.

Acceptance: Participants will be notified of their acceptance status within two weeks of receipt of complete application and payment in full. If all positions in the program are filled, we will accept applicants on a waiting list.

Additional Information

Accommodations: Participants will stay in on-campus residence halls, separated for men and women according to campus policy; double occupancy is standard.

Transportation: Participants are responsible for transportation to and from Benedictine College. Airport (MCI) transportation to/from the college may be arranged for an additional $40 each way.

Time Commitment: The word “intensive” in the title of the program means that the days will be long! There will be scheduled leisure activities but for the most part this program provides the high school student, to the extent possible, an experience that closely approximates that of the typical undergraduate architecture degree program.

Faith: Participants will be encouraged to participate in regular liturgies, including Mass and Vespers, at St. Benedict’s Abbey

Physical Activity Rating: Slightly strenuous; requires sitting on stools/chairs and standing at drafting tables for considerable periods of time; requires extended walking over uneven ground as well as the ability to climb stairs.