The School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in partnership with Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura del Vallès (ETSAV), offers the a unique study abroad opportunity in Sant Cugat, Barcelona, Spain. Largely modeled after the School's 44-year long successful experience in Versailles (France), the Illinois Architecture Study Abroad Program in Barcelona el Valles (IASAP-BV) at the ETSAV began Fall 2014. This yearlong overseas educational experience is now open to both junior and senior students of the Illinois School of Architecture who spend the year living, studying and learning in the historically and architectural significant cities of Sant Cugat, where the ETSAV is located, and Barcelona (the former located and easy 15-minute train ride from Catalunya's capital).
This program fosters inter-institutional activities, joint courses and workshops, and numerous curricular and extracurricular activities that will enrich the experience both at the pedagogic and personal levels. Heralded by the National Architecture Accreditation Board (NAAB) as "one of the salient strengths of the School" and "likely the best architecture study abroad program in the country" it affords the students the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover the culture and architecture of cities, regions, and countries throughout the European continent.
Course of Study
The program of study in Barcelona includes courses in architectural design, history, and structures (all academically equivalent to those offered in Urbana) and additional course activities with seminar and independent study credit. Classroom activities are supplemented by guest lectures, field trips, and directed independent study-travel.
In the design studios, students develop sensitivity to context through projects sited in European settings. Studio workspaces are assigned in the ETSAV's talleres, alongside and under the same conditions of use of students at the host school. Architectural history courses include visits to exemplary historic and contemporary buildings. Structures courses are equivalent to those offered in Urbana-Champaign.
Additional courses include sketching assignments, seminars (usually focusing on the European experience) and support language courses. The program aims also at establishing close collaboration with the Spanish school adding to the benefit of our students.
Each semester the academic calendar incorporates periods in which participants have the opportunity to travel and study across Europe on an independent basis. During these study-travel times students will be required to record their experiences in a journal to be filled with sketches and notes of the sites visited. One of the most rewarding learning activities, sketching helps students understand architecture through personal experience and on-site studying, improving their ability to conceptualize architectural ideas and communicate them on paper.