With a history dating back to 1921, the Fontainebleau Schools have hosted over 10,000 international students of music, composition, fine arts, and architecture. This intensive summer session is open to architecture students who are interested in the traditional media of visual and narrative communication, and who want to explore new ways of combining architectural traditions with contemporary experimental urbanism and landscape design.
The 2021 Session has been cancelled because of Covid-19 restrictions
In Fontainebleau, workshops, lectures, visits and studios will be organized. Formal art disciplines such as drawing, watercolor, graphic design and theatre design will be practiced during the session.
Highlights of the Session Include
- 5 days of study in Paris
- 4 week-long studios in Fontainebleau
- 4 day trip to architectural sites in France
Dates and Basic Information
Wednesday, June 30 – Friday, August 6 2021
Accommodation and Meals
You will be lodged within walking distance from the Chateau, either in a dormitory or with a French family. Monday through Friday, breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided — other meals are on your own. For more details about accommodations, travel to Fontainebleau, and more see Info for Students.
The program for architects begins in Paris with seminars and visits over 5 days, which will prepare the students for the following weeks in Fontainebleau. During these 4 weeks, workshops, lectures, visits and studios will be in and around the Chateau Fontainebleau. A 4-day final trip around the French countryside will acquaint students with some of the finest masterpieces of French art and architecture, both historic and contemporary.
Located 60 kilometers southeast of Paris, the Chateau Fontainebleau is designated as a Unesco World Heritage site. The Chateau, a former residence of both kings and emperors, was built on the premises of a royal hunting lodge erected prior to the 12th century. For over 700 years the site has displayed the most glowing example of French architecture, sculpture, painting, decorating and landscaping. This serves to justify the title that Napoleon gave to the Chateau: “The House of the Centuries.” Student housing and restaurants are in the town of Fontainebleau, which is surrounded by one of the most beautiful forests in France.
Since 1923, The Fontainebleau Schools have brought together different artistic disciplines in order to explore new ways of seeing, thinking and making architecture. The presence of the American Conservatory represents a remarkable opportunity for the design students to explore the relationship between architecture and music, develop collaborative projects with composers, or simply enjoy listening to rehearsals and concerts. Architecture and music students live, dine, and work together. Housing and meals are provided within walking distance from the Chateau. In addition to artistic pursuits, a variety of French social, cultural activities are arranged for both architecture and music students.
Students are recruited from around the world with a majority coming from US Universities. Selection criteria are based on application materials, portfolio works and references. Each year the school selects between 15 and 25 Fine Arts students with diverse backgrounds and aptitudes. The common denominator is an ability to conceptualize and to communicate easily through drawing and visual media.
The program is open to International and American graduate students in architecture or related arts, to undergraduate students with outstanding portfolios in architectural design and also to young professionals, five or less years out of school. Enrollment is limited to 25 full time students for the 5½ weeks.
Most universities grant academic credits for courses offered at Fontainebleau — each institution determines the number of credits. Fontainebleau issues a certificate at the end of the program. School credit value in the US has varied between institutions and students. Each of the first four weeks includes 1.0 studio credit, 30 hours/week and 0.3 lecture or field trip credits, 5 hours/week. The field trips are worth 0.8 credit. The total credit value has been estimated at 6.0 units. Transcripts are furnished to the students at their request or at the request of their institutions.
All courses and design studios are held in English, but French is often spoken and translated during lectures, visits and juries.
The First Prize Fellowship
Culminating the five-week program, the “Premier Prix de l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Fontainebleau” will be awarded. This Fellowship gives the recipient the opportunity to join the faculty during the following summer session as a teaching assistant and subsequently to spend three months in the heart of Paris with a studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts. Previous Premier Prix recipients include Ron Witte (’83), Tom Sheehan (’85), Christine Reinke (’88), Paul Lewis (’91), Amanda Sachs (’99), Garth Goldstein (’04), Nicholas Quiring (’05), Ben Martinson (’06), Chiew-Hong Tan (’07) and Wendy Fok (’08). Other Fontainebleau alumni include Charles Moore (’56), William Turnbull (’56) and Tony Tappe.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Generous scholarships are available based on merit and the quality of the application materials submitted.