Design Discovery

Design Discovery is our two-week online summer program that introduces high-school students, college students, graduates, and second-career professionals to a potential career in design.

Through the program, you will build skills, develop projects for a portfolio, and – most importantly – learn if a career in design is right for you. This year, you will explore how designers can find room for experimentation and invention within the current social distancing restrictions. Online sessions with SALA faculty, current students, design professionals, and your peers will introduce you to what an education in design looks like. 

Prior to the course, you will receive a package in the mail with everything you need to complete the assignments. You’ll develop foundational skills in drawing and modeling through several activities before taking on a more significant final project. Throughout the program, SALA faculty members and professionals from Vancouver’s design community will give presentations about their practice, and their journey through a career in design. You will also be taken on virtual tours (by bike and on foot) through some of Vancouver's most remarkable spaces.

You’ll be guided through the program by SALA faculty member and practitioner, Bill Pechet. Bill has taught Design Discovery since its inception in 2017. In addition to regularly teaching design studios at all levels at SALA, his private practice engages in a wide variety of projects ranging from strategic urban planning studies to residential and retail design to public art installations.

"One of the best educative and explorative opportunities of my life."

2020 participant

"[Design Discovery] opened me up to a broader spectrum of architecture and the principles of design"

2020 participant
Frequently asked questions

What does the daily schedule of the program look like? Can I attend school or work part-time and still enrol in the program?

While we don’t yet have this year’s schedule finalized, we expect it to be similar to last year’s. As you can see, the class typically meets live in the morning and then again mid-afternoon with some reviews scheduled in between. Students will also need to commit some time during the week to work on design projects. Provided your work or course fits in with the program schedule, you are welcome to attend both.

Can I attend from another time zone? How will that be accommodated?

Yes, we have scheduled the programing in a way that it can accommodate many other time zones, with programming primarily in the morning and later afternoons (Vancouver time). Where there is difficulty attending live, we will record content for later viewing. Your individual project reviews can be scheduled around your time.

I don't have any previous design experience, should I do anything to prepare for Design Discovery?

We don’t ask you to undertake any formal preparation prior to the start of the course and have designed it to be accessible to a wide range of abilities. Having said that, we know many of you would like to learn more before getting started, so we will be sending out a series of links to help with some basic skills leading up to the course.

Is the application competitive?

The application is not competitive. We have designed the course in a way that will challenge a variety of abilities and therefore do not require you to have any skills prior to attending. Once you complete the application you will be directed to pay a $250 deposit. This deposit secures your spot in the course.

Do you have a maximum number of seats available in the program?

Our virtual Design Discovery program does not have a maximum. To give you an idea of numbers, last year we had 40 students participate.

Applications

Apply now!

Applications close June 4, 2021

Dates

July 5 to July 16, 2021

Cost

$1000

The program fee covers digital instruction, course supplies, and shipping. 

Contact information

If you have any questions, please contact:

Tara Deans
Manager, Student Services and Recruitment
604.822.3445
designdiscovery@sala.ubc.ca