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Barcelona Study Abroad Semester, Graduate Architecture

This semester-long, graduate architecture program provides an immersive experience in a vibrant European city distinguished by its architecture, social policies, urbanism, and public space. Barcelona is currently at the forefront of Spain’s drive and commitment to an environmentally informed architecture for a sustainable, modern, and climate-neutral economy.

The program is open to twelve, M.Arch 2 or M.Arch 3 students (who complete 419 prior to study semester) and to Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design (MSAAD) students. Students must:
- be in good academic standing with a 3.0 GPA or higher (from WU or if incoming, from their previous institution)
- have taken or have waived History II
- must hold a valid passport by September 15, 2023

Information sessions will be held in Spring 2024, Fall 2024 orientation, and the first week of the Fall 2024 semester.

Students work in a dedicated studio space in the city center and have access to the library and model-making facilities of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya ETSAB Barcelona School of Architecture.

Comprehensive Architecture Studio
The 6-credit comprehensive design studio focuses on the design of a public building crafted with a commitment to climate change for an architecture that is experimental, while critical and plausible. The Studio will be led by highly regarded local practitioners and supported by local visiting critics and WashU faculty who join for mid-term and final reviews.

The course follows NAABS’ call for Ecological Knowledge and Responsibility: instilling a holistic understanding of the dynamic between built and natural environments, and enabling future architects to mitigate climate change responsibly by leveraging ecological, advanced building performance, adaptation, and resilience principles in their work and advocacy. The Studio is led by highly regarded local practitioners and is supported by local visiting critics as well as WashU faculty who join for mid-term and final reviews. The spring 2022 and 2023 studio was taught by Bet Capdeferro and Ramón Bosch, the semester’s Ruth & Norman Moore Visiting Professors, of the Girona-based firm bosch.capdeferro. The spring 2024 studio will be taught by Tomeu Ramis with flexoarquitectura.

Urban Issues Seminar
A Critical Path Towards Sustainable Urban Solutions—a 3-credit seminar taught by Barcelona PhD Architect and Urban Designer / Professor at DUTP / Researcher at LUB Eulalia Gomez-Escoda—familiarizes students with urban concepts, themes, and development trends, such as urban form, scale, public realm, urban grain, density, mix uses, zoning, gentrification, thematization, brownfields, adaptive reuse, and urban renewal. The spectrum of themes is examined through field visits, theoretical sessions, debates, and practical exercises, with Barcelona as an example and a living laboratory. Students receive essential tools to describe, analyze, and articulate proposals in urban contexts.

Building Visits Seminar
Building Visits is a 3-credit seminar where students experience exemplary contemporary architecture conceived through environmental and social considerations. The seminar is divided into two parts: the first focuses on case studies; the second features a spring break architecture travel experience.

The case studies portion offers a series of lectures delivered by prominent guest practitioners. Each lecture focuses on a single work in or near Barcelona, followed by a visit to the building with the architect. Through on-site drawing analysis and other exercises, students uncover the diverse design logics embedded in the buildings (urban, landscape, energy, material, tectonic and social) to grasp the works holistically.

In spring 2022, the seminar included lectures and building visits by instructors Bet Capdeferro and Ramón Bosch, Ignacio Paricio, Roger Tudó (Harquitectes), Claudi Aguló (DATAAE), José Toral (Peris +Toral) and Eva Prats (Flores & Prats). In spring 2023, lecturers included Anna Lonch (Urbania), Fabian López, Jorge Vidal, Marti Franch (EMF Landscape Architects), Roger Tudó (Harquitectes), Toni Girones, and Ubaldo García Torrente (García Torrente Architects).

The second part, a spring break travel itinerary, similarly engages with exemplary built works and offices within Europe. In spring 2022, students traveled to Porto, Lisbon and surrounding areas in Portugal, led by Barcelona architect and educator Josep Garriga. In spring 2023, students traveled to Morocco for an immersive spring break trip.

For support for graduate architecture study abroad, please see Candice Brooks. There is a limited amount of funding set aside annually to be distributed in support of student travel on the basis of financial need. There are no dedicated study abroad student scholarships or funding sources that apply to Barcelona.