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The Alberti Program: Architecture for Young People, now in partnership with PGAV Destinations and The Divided City: A Mellon-Funded Urban Humanities Initiative, allows St. Louis students grades 4 through 8 to explore architecture and design through hands-on learning.

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Summer 2018 Partnership with the Divided City Initiative.

Building a pipeline of designers and problem-solvers

Since 2007, the Alberti Program has brought young people from across the St. Louis region to the Washington University campus for a hands-on experience tackling 2- and 3-dimensional problems in architectural design, with an eye toward the greater environment. They are introduced to the field of architecture through lectures, discussions, and reviews about design projects. They explore campus and connect with WashU graduate and undergraduate students, who serve as teaching assistants.

The Alberti Program has five objectives:

  • Encourage young people from a variety of backgrounds to become architects and designers.
  • Fuel the next generation through teaching architecture and design with an emphasis on sustainable environments.
  • Train young people to build skills critical for success and personal development through the lens of design and architecture.
  • Develop and foster responsibility, accountability, contextual learning, and personal growth among WashU students.
  • Engage in the K–12 education system to cultivate and deepen connections between WashU and the St. Louis community.

  • March 1, Final Deadline for Enrollment
  • March 15, Applicants Notified
  • May 16, Open House from 4-6p
  • June 3, Alberti Program begins
  • June 28, Alberti Program ends, Final Exhibition

The Alberti Program is pleased to offer two At-Home Designer’s Notebooks. These are designed for youth from grades 4 through 8. You will find a number of activities in each workbook that will help you practice your skills as a designer using supplies you have at home.

Named for famed Italian humanist and architect Leon Battista Alberti, the Alberti Program is one of the Sam Fox School’s longest running community outreach programs, with the first session occurring in the summer of 2007.

It was the brainchild of senior lecturer Gay Lorberbaum and Bruce Lindsey, former dean of the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design. These co-founders recognized that many young people receive no exposure to design education in their school curriculum or at home, leading to limited participation in the field of architecture, particularly among minorities and individuals from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. More national awareness and research is growing for Learning by Design Programs that find opportunities to amplify diversity and inclusion in the field of architecture.

In 2016, The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion selected the Alberti Program: Architecture for Young People as the 2016 honoree of the AIA Diversity Recognition Program.

The AIA Diversity Recognition Program recognizes architects, AIA chapters, educational institutions, and organizations that are actively committed to increasing diversity and inclusion within the architecture profession.

The honorees’ initiatives were featured at the Diversity and Inclusion booth at the 2016 AIA National Convention in Philadelphia and were celebrated during the Multicultural Fellows and Diversity Recognition Recipient Reception on May 21, 2016.


The Summer 2024 Alberti Program applications are now closed. Applications were due by March 1.

WashU Students

Through a special partnership between the College of Architecture, PGAV Destinations, the Center for Humanities, and the Divided City Initiative, the Alberti Program will run again in Summer 2024. Applications are open for Teaching Assistants. Link below.

K-12 School Partners

We are always grateful to talk with local K-12 schools about potential partnerships. Please contact us to discuss your interests.


The Alberti Program is supported through funding from PGAV Destinations; The Divided City: A Mellon-Funded Urban Humanities Initiative; AIA St. Louis; and generous individual donors.