Not sure what program is right for you? Click Here

© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Study Abroad in

Back to Program Back to Blog Home

23 posts categorized "Global Architecture and Design"


Global Architecture + Design, Fall 2017, Newsletter II


This semester has come to an end and students were fully immersed in their experience abroad and in their academic projects. As part of the program, Global Architecture students participated in their academic weekend trip at the end of November when they had the opportunity to visit Berlin, Germany and meet colleagues in the two other Global Architecture and Design programs, which are located in Berlin and Prague. The weekend trip included a combination of walking tours, site visits, student presentations and free time.



During the trip, students had the chance to visit the historic part of Berlin as well as architectural-related buildings, such as the Jewish Museum and the Sony Center. Also, our colleagues at the CIEE Berlin Global Institute organized an afternoon in which students exhibited their projects and later discussed them in proper presentation format.

Hannah, from Washington State University, wanted to contribute to this post with her impressions about the trip. Check them out in this video: 


Mathilde Marengo, instructor of the Future Cities Studio, explains in the video above the nature of the program and the project for this semester, which has had satisfactory results. Students worked under these parameters and showed their prototypes and implementation and a way to implement it in the site. Here you can find the results of their research throughout the semester.


 Project created by Craig and Esther, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and June, from Carnegie Mellon University

20171220_1121331HYDROCOOL PANELS

Project created by Jen, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and Hannah and Mira, from Washington State University20171220_11213320171220_112133


Project created by Sofía, from Portland State University and Jessica and Rebbeca, from Carnegie Mellon University

20171220_112133ALGAE FLOWER

Project created by Alice, from University of Massachusetts Amherst.



Global Architecture + Design, Fall 2017, Newsletter I


It’s already been a month into the program and the Global Architecture + Design students are fully immersed in their classes and their projects at the IaaC. This semester, one of the first activities that took place in the Future Cities Studio was a class presentation and debate called “What is architecture?”. Its purpose was to give them a deeper understanding of the discipline and their own personal perspectives. They needed to define how they understood architecture in ten words and select one of their previous projects to explain their ideas. The result was a wide approach to architecture, a first step in expanding their conception of this art.

Alice, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst explained her vision to us in the following video. Check it out! 

Images from Alice's project "Student's bridges", project selected to explain her understanding of what architecture is.Gad2Gad1




Spring semester has already finished and Global Architecture students have spent the time of their lives while abroad. As expected, they have learned new approaches to architecture and design at the IaaC, and they have also taken advantage of their time abroad to explore and discover other places around Barcelona and Europe. In the meantime, they have also discovered themselves to a great extent!

Final presentations

Students had been asked to improve the urban quality conditions of the “Superblock” initiative in the 22@ neighborhood of Barcelona. After their process of research, each of the four groups of students came up with an original and innovative solution for solving a different urban problem. They also fabricated prototypes for their proposed solutions.









  IAAC_CIEE_finalpres02_17 (1)

IAAC_CIEE_finalpres02_17 (31)



A fundamental part of being abroad resides in the potential for students to get to know themselves better. By being out of their comfort zone, students are put to test their intercultural skills and, generally speaking, to expand their horizons. Travelling, discovering new places and experiencing new realities first-hand is without a doubt a first step to achieving this. In the short videos below, Ryan and Connor (CalPoly, San Luis Obispo) talk about their interest in travelling while abroad, as well as about the many CIEE-organized cultural activities and trips. Check those out!



Global Architecture + Design, Spring 2017, Newsletter II



 The Global Architecture + Design group, in Copenhagen

 academic trip to copenhagen

As usual, Global Architecture + Design students keep working hard on their projects, focused on the sustainability of the cities of the future. Cory, from Colorado College, tells us about his (and his team’s) project: the “AlGaudí tile”, that uses algae to purify the city air while also providing a “soft element” to the urban setting.  

Cory also tells us about the weekend trip that the Barcelona Global AD students, along with their Academic Coordinator, did to Copenhagen two weeks ago. In Denmark, they met with students and Academic Coordinators in the Global AD programs from Berlin and Prague. They presented their projects to each other and they did quite a few academic (and fun!) activities. Biking around the city was without a doubt a favorite for everyone!

 Gad22Students during their presentations in Copenhagen

   WhatsApp Image 2017-03-08 at 19.25.12

 AlGaudí Tile. Poster of the project by Cory, Megan and Andrew


Bike tour in Copenhagen


Finally, we want to share with you images and impressions of an excursion that has already become a classic for the program: a visit to IaaC’s Green Fab Lab in Valldaura, on the hills overlooking Barcelona. Besides enjoying the natural scenery, students were able to realize the potential of 3D printing with natural materials. Again, Cory tells us everything about it.


 Global Architecture + Design students, during their visit to IaaC Valldaura campus



Global Architecture + Design, Spring 2017, Newsletter i


Barcelona Global AD students have been in the city for almost four weeks now, and we would like to share with you one of our Spring ‘17 students’ impressions. Curran (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) talks in this short video about his thoughts and challenges for an adventure that has recently begun: how the Barcelona Global AD academic program is pushing him outside of his comfort zone and into areas he had never explored before, and how it is making him reconsider what architecture is and what technology can do. As it couldn’t be otherwise, in the video Curran also discusses his cultural and linguistic adjustment to Barcelona, and how Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s masterpiece, left him speechless!



Global Architecture + Design, Fall 2016, Newsletter III


The Fall semester has already gone, and students did very inspiring and interesting work while in Barcelona. In addition to the architecture classes that they were taking at the IaaC, they all took one elective course at CIEE and we would now like to share some of the work they did.  20161210_CIEESome students signed up for a class called “The city in visual culture”, and one of the most successful learning moments of this class took place during the visit to Palco Brand, a local design studio. While there, CIEE students were able to participate in a brainstorming session geared toward rebranding the Barcelona Kids brand. They were asked to think about something related to their childhood, and different potential slogans for the brand were subsequently discussed. At the time this post is being  published, the Barcelona Kids website has been not been fully updated yet, but Pol Guardia and his team will hopefully complete it very soon. For now, just enjoy looking at some pictures of that fantastic and inspiring session!

WhatsApp Image 2016-11-20 at 09.25.33WhatsApp Image 2016-11-20 at 09.25.59

We also want to share some of the work done by Mark and Elizabeth, both from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. For their last assignment, they created some very interesting images that reflected their critical thinking over the different ways of seeing and experiencing cities.

According to Mark, “Barcelona is a “City of Icons”. These icons, whether they be buildings, sports teams, food, etc., all have a part in producing a global image of the city which is then broadcast out to the world. Through these specific pictures and instances advertised, Barcelona has become a leading city not only in Europe but within the global context. The driving factor behind this success is the touristic market which has been drawn to the city based upon the icons created and consumed for a multitude of events. I have chosen five main icons and altered them to create a dialogue between Barcelona and other major cities. In these photos, I have chosen to replace Barcelona specific monuments with others from around the world to convey the idea that although this city is rich with culture and history, the main attractor elements are no different from that of places such as London or New York. The city functions using these icons to its advantage, however the icon itself has very little meaning. If one were to replace one with something similar, as I have in these photos, Barcelona would essentially function in a similar manner, highlighting the monuments to gain global recognition”. Mark

At her turn, Elizabeth explained that “From day one, I have loved the street tiles found throughout the city. In this project I use the idea of Barcelona’s eight tiles and the city’s other visual icons to describe the parts of the city I’ve found most meaningful during the past four months”. Here you can see some of the tiles she designed. Elizabeth


Global Architecture + Design, Fall 2016, Newsletter II


Barcelona, Berlin and Prague Global AD students get together!


A few weeks ago, an amazing event took place: students from the Global Architecture and Design programs in Barcelona, Berlin and Prague got together in Barcelona. Accompanied by all three program’s Academic Coordinators, students shared three days full of academic activities, visits to some of the city’s highlights … and of course a lot of fun!!


We kicked it off with  the students projects’ progress reviews at the IaaC, our host institution here in Barcelona. This was a great opportunity for all the students to see what their peers are working on. They discussed their work and received constructive criticism by the CIEE Global AD Academic Coordinators and by IaaC faculty in attendance. Right after, they all headed towards a restaurant in the city center, where they had a chance to enjoy a typical Spanish meal.

IMG_3479 IMG_3490

On the second day, a visit to Valldaura was organized. Valldaura is an estate in the middle of the Collserola mountains, just outside of Barcelona. It belongs to the IaaC, and it hosts a fabrication laboratory, an energy lab, a food lab and a bio lab. Students could experience Valldaura’s working flow directly, by fabricating digitally fabricated structures for Valldaura plantings.

On the last day of the trip, students had time to enjoy the architectural wonders that have made Barcelona famous as a capital of architecture and design. One of the CIEE Barcelona art history faculty lead a Gaudi tour which included visits to the Sagrada Familia and La Pedrera. What a great weekend everyone had!!





We started another semester of GAD Program with a great group of 9 students! After the Orientation days, they all were very enthusiastic to begin their classes at CIEE and at the program’s host institution, the IaaC.

The academic program started at the IaaC with a Fabrication workshop taught by  Rodrigo Aguirre, as well as a Digital Tools workshop with Aldo Sollazzo and Efilena Baseta. For a few intensive days, students did some form-finding experiments, and they also made their first steps with parametric architecture using Rhinoceros3d and plug-in Grasshopper.

WhatsApp Image 2016-09-30 at 15.41.18

WhatsApp Image 2016-09-30 at 15.39.21

WhatsApp Image 2016-09-30 at 15.39.18 (1)During the second week of the program, Maria Aiolova ( co-founder of Terreform ONE and former Academic Director of the CIEE Global AD program) gave an online lecture for the students, who extremely enjoyed this great opportunity.

WhatsApp Image 2016-09-30 at 15.39.24Students soon started working on their Design Studio projects too. Together with IaaC faculty, they went on on site visits to the Besós River area, the site where of their studio projects. They also visited some relevant and inspirational projects, such as the MediaTIC building (with  Mila Moscalenko) and the Superilla Project. 


The first month of the program ended with short progress reviews of  the studio projects, with instructors Maite Bravo and Maria Kuptsova. There was a large amount of  brainstorming and planning the project's future development!




One more semester of the Global Architecture and Design program in Barcelona has come to its end…  Students have learned immensely, and they have also enjoyed discovering a different culture, experiencing diverse educational methods, and of course living in sunny Barcelona.

Using Barcelona as an experimentation laboratory, the CIEE GAD students have developed very complex and rich design projects, exploring the relationship between city and water and seeking innovative ways to improve this connection through speculative design and experimentation. Desktop4Challenged by the necessity for self-sufficient public space and infrastructure that the cities of the future will have, the projects proposed a unique typology and an impactful technological intervention in the local context. The chief directives have been the shrewd intersection between technology and environment, especially under the rubric of ecology and computational design.

Students were exposed to digital fabrication methods at FabLab Barcelona, where they developed scaled prototypes of their proposals and performative models. By learning how to use advanced digital software such as Rhino and Grasshopper, they were able to develop complex morphologies for their projects. The Future Cities seminar allowed them to develop the theoretical part of the project. Desktop5

The biggest event of the semester were the Final Presentations of the Design Studio Projects at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia. An international jury evaluated the work of our great ten students who joined the CIEE program in Barcelona this year. The jury was composed of Antonio San Martin – aSZ arquitectes, Juan Carlos Sánchez Tappan – Espacio Sofar, Chirag Rangholia – Noumena, Joe Galea – FabLab Valletta, IAAC Faculty Silvia Brandi, Oriol Carrasco and Rodrigo Rubio, and Maria Aiolova- Global AD program Academic Director. They were all impressed by our students’ work!





Bilbao trip + Valldaura visit


In early March we headed over to the Basque country in the West of Spain to visit Bilbao, including the iconic architecture of the Guggenheim Museum. Desktop2

Then a few weeks back we had an exciting visit to Valldaura, the Green Campus of IaaC (Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia), where Jonathan Minchin gave us a tour of the facilities as well as organizing a mini 3D Scanning workshop. We finished the day at a local Catalan restaurant eating calçots, a time-honored springtime tradition involving barbecued leeks and meats.

Classes at IaaC + Midterm Presentations 


The most exciting part of this month was a combination of the trips, visits and all the activities organized by CIEE Barcelona with intensive classes at IaaC - the host Institution. The array of seminars, workshops and design studio classes are giving out tons of new knowledge every week, while in practical terms the additional sessions of rendering and structural analysis are helping a lot for the development of the studio projects. Lastly, all the trips and visits are reminding us what we’re studying for and refreshing the students’ enthusiasm and motivation. As a result, the midterm presentations were outstanding! The invited jury gave us a lot of positive feedback, as well as some constructive comments for developing the projects.

Berlin Summit


The Berlin trip was another highlight of this month. It was a great way to discover the city by sharing the experience with the students from GAD Berlin and Prague. We started the Summit with an inspiring lecture by Maria Aiolova, an educator, architect and urban designer in New York City. Next morning we had an amazing opportunity to present our Design Studio projects to the GAD teams from Prague, Berlin and an external jury,  and then to compare our own work with that of our peers from Czech and Germany.  The evening included a talk by Tobias Wallisser and Leonie Woidt Wallisser from LAVA, discussing the intersections of architecture and environmental design. 


We spent Friday and Saturday wandering around Berlin, visiting the Jewish museum by Liebeskind, the memorial by Eisenman, the East Side Gallery (the former Berlin Wall), and had a boat tour on the Spree river. These were very informative and inspiring days in Berlin, but weather-wise we were happy to come back to sunny and warm Barcelona!