New York & Denmark

Architecture & Sustainable Design
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Smithsonian Student Travel  |  Student Journey  |  New York & Denmark

Immerse yourself in cutting-edge design and sustainability on this high school summer program as you travel from New York to Denmark, a country that boasts an outsized impact on the world of design. Begin in New York with a visit to the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the nation’s only museum dedicated to historic and contemporary design. Expand your scope to urban design and innovations in the use of city spaces, then travel to Denmark, meet with architects, engineers, artists, and makers, and experience firsthand how the ideals of sustainability can be incorporated into all areas of design, from urban planning to user-centric technologies.
June 22, 2022–July 5, 2022 (14 days)
July 20, 2022–August 2, 2022 (14 days)
Students completing grades: 8–12
Tuition: $7290 + airfare
Typical Group: 20-24 + 3 leaders


  • Explore how New York City is fusing equity with the design of its new urban spaces

  • Hike around CopenHill, Denmark’s clean energy plant and ski hill

  • Participate in a day-long makerspace design challenge with Danish peers

  • Talk with LEGO Builders about innovation and the future of the LEGO brick


This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

Arrival • Travel Day • Meet your student travel group and your trip leaders in New York City as the official start to your program.

New York City • 3 days • Begin your program with a deep dive into design in New York, a world-renowned hub of creative endeavor. Explore the ways in which New York’s creativity spills out from its artistic center into every fiber of design as you head off-Broadway for an improvisational theatre class, then explore how art and theatre blend temporary creations with sustainability and permanent change. Immerse yourself in the collections of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, from art to fashion to architecture and establish a foundational understanding of the principles of design and evolution of design trends through the ages. With this context, head out to experience the city through the lens of design—visit icons of architecture, explore how green space is embedded into the design of the city, and meet with an urban designer to discuss the future of land use and city designs that seek to incorporate concepts of community, connection, and sustainability. See how these ideas have been manifested with a walk along the High Line, an abandoned section of elevated railway that was converted into a public park and greenway, and then explore some of Brooklyn’s most creative rooftop farms.

Copenhagen •  3 days • Next, travel to Denmark to experience firsthand how the concepts of design and sustainability are inextricably linked in Danish culture. Nowhere is this link more readily apparent than in the capital city of Copenhagen, whose goal is to become the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025. Often considered the world’s most bike-friendly metropolis, with more bikes per capita than anywhere else in the world, cyclists enjoy bike lanes designed with special signal lights, trash bins, and smart screen billboards with helpful traffic information. Learn how Danes have focused their sustainable ideals on everything from art to architecture to their food systems. Explore the famous CopenHill, a clean energy plant topped with a ski slope, playgrounds, and hiking trails as you imagine ways that your community could reclaim unused space to promote health and sustainability.

Odense & Aarhus • 3 days • Venture west and stop in Odense, home to the writer Hans Christian Andersen, and stretch your legs at Idrætspark, a sports campus awarded a gold medal by the International Olympic Committee for its playful, paradigm-shifting design work. Meet with the ambitious architect who built the site and is reimagining recreation and playground design throughout the industry. Continue on to Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city, crowned Europe’s Culture Capital in 2017. Discuss the intersection of sustainable design and information technology with an eye-opening look at Dokk1, known as “the library of the future.” This otherworldly building is located right on the waterfront and uses seawater as a coolant and as a means to recirculate air in the ultra-efficient parking garage. Spend an afternoon at the Godsbanen Cultural Center with a local graphic artist, checking out permaculture cafes, skateboard parks, and art studios which thrive in an urban village of yurts and cargo containers—and which will eventually be the new site of the Aarhus Architecture School.

Billund • 3 days • Travel south to the 1,000-year-old waterside city of Vejle, where high school students can major in marine biology next door to the award-winning “wave building” apartments. Explore the former textile factory, Spinderihallerne, now converted into a giant mixed-use space for theater, events, costume design, and a high-tech community makerspace. Then head inland to the small town of Billund, capping off your time in Denmark with a stay near the home of LEGO. Learn about LEGO’s efforts to develop plant-based sustainable plastics, and the important role of play in human development and creative achievement. Celebrate your journey with an adventurous day at the original LEGOLAND amusement park.

Return • Travel Day • Fly from Denmark to New York City with your group and a trip leader, then continue on to your final destination. 

Smithsonian Student Travel Expert – Coming Soon!

The expert joining this journey is a professional in their field and will be with the group for three to four days of the itinerary. They will tie in their knowledge and experiences with the themes of the program and will share their insights and passion for the region during talks and informal conversations throughout their time with the students.  

What to Expect

Physical Activity This is a physically active summer travel program. You can expect to bike, hike, and explore by foot over the course of the trip. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities. 

Accommodations Accommodations range from hip, centrally located hostels to small comfortable hotels and guesthouses, all with a different eye for design. Leaders stay with students throughout the program.

Climate • Summer temperatures in New York City are warm and humid, with daytime highs in the 70s and 80s °F. Danish summers are mild and pleasant with highs in the 60s and 70s °F, and occasionally brisker temperatures. 

Meals We enjoy meals at small, local restaurants and cafes with the occasional group picnic in the park.

Cuisine • New York City’s food scene is often touted as some of the best in the world. Cuisine is varied and reflects the city’s melting pot of cultures. Danish cuisine ranges from open-faced sandwiches and gourmet street hot dogs to hearty meals of meat and potatoes.

Language • Danish is the official language of Denmark. However, the vast majority of Danes speak English as a second language.

Sign up for two programs & save $500!

$300 tuition discount + no application fee