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26 posts categorized "Global Architecture and Design"


Volunteering in Barcelona. Beyond an experience

Rachel, from Howard University, has known how to take profit of her stay in Barcelona and besides her studies, she started a volunteering here. She has wanted to share her experience to explain us such an interesting experience abroad:

ASSIS voluntariado ALA y GAD (1)"I started volunteering at this facility called Assís every Tuesday since the end of September. Assís is a shelter that feeds the homeless & provides them with activities such as gardening classes, art classes, cooking classes, computer classes, & a small rec room for ping pong or just hanging out. Roger, the supervisor, told me this place was all about combating the loneliness, so even though my Spanish isn’t very good & my Catalan is nonexistent, the people who come to Assís would appreciate me just trying to acknowledge them. It’s mostly older men but I’ve seen a few younger men & a small number of women come through.

I’ve had about four different tasks while volunteering at Assís. I either served juice, worked in the kitchen cleaning, served food, or helped work bag check. My first day all I did was given the easiest task of serving people coffee, milk, hot water for tea, & orange juice. It was easiest because if they grabbed a certain type of cup from the service station it implied they wanted a certain drink, I couldn’t possibly mess that up. Some of those I served were really friendly & were asking me my name & where I was from, they could tell I was new. I was definitely practicing my Spanish skills here. There was another CIEE student volunteering here & a few other volunteers who spoke Spanish really well so they helped translate for me when I get too lost.

The next week I was put on kitchen duty. You would think that would have been the easiest task but it wasn’t. Nobody in the kitchen spoke English so when they were telling me what to do or what goes where I was just kind of staring at them super confused. But those ladies were the sweetest & they would just walk me through everything & explain it again very slowly. Who knew the kitchen could be such a confusing place? After the kitchen I started serving food & that was generally the same as serving the juice but I was communicating much better thanks to everyone’s help!

The next few weeks I was given a bigger role of storing the visitors’ bags. When I’m storing bags I have to fill out a log stating if they are regulars, male or female, if they are there to shower & eat or just eat, if they are Catalan or another identification & then tag their bags with a number so I know what bag correlates to which person. This job is probably the most difficult. I couldn’t always tell if a name is male or female at the end of the day when I had to record the daily totals. I didn’t always understand what people were saying. There were also a lot of bags & sometimes the people got frustrated when I didn’t find their bag fast enough but most usually helped point it out to me.

I’ve seen some of the people who are served at Assís out & about in Spain & I’ve met up with one of the other volunteers. The two men I saw on two different occasions were really excited to see me & introduced me to a few of there friends but I couldn’t really stay & talk too long because I was on my way to class both times. When I met one of the other volunteers we grabbed some coffee  & she helped me study for my Spanish mid-term. We also took a study break to just get to know each other.

Sometimes I couldn’t make it on Tuesdays due to my schedule but I tried my best because I enjoyed going there. It was a relaxing moment away from schoolwork & the busy city. I definitely felt better on the days I went versus the days I couldn’t make it. I really enjoyed this experience; everyone I met was wonderful & friendly".


Global Architecture and Design Newsletter, Spring 2014, Issue III

6a010536fa9ded970b01a3fce6e774970b-800wiBarcelona Global Architecture and Design Final Review


Last week students in the Global AD program in Barcelona presented this semester’s work: proposals for the future transformation of the Besòs river of Barcelona.

The review stage included 1 to 1, 1 to 100, 1 to 500, 1 to 1000 and 1 to 2000 scale documents, models and materials.  Presentations included videos, animations and digital assets and processes while students’ prototypes showed a combination of advanced technological methods: laser cutting, 3D printing, CNC milling and Arduino.Gad_news3_3

Getting ready for the final review at central IAAC space  Gad_news3_8

 Close up of final models and site projections

Through their proposals, student demonstrated their knowledge regarding speculative praxis, transcription prototypes, digital tools and Fab Lab potentials; skills learned throughout the courses taken this semester: Future Cities Design Studio, Future Cities Seminar, and Science and Technology Workshops.  Gad_news3_4




Some students during their presentations

Along with their studio instructors (Antonio Sanmartín and Javier Peña), students were happy to have several guest critics: Maria Aiolova (Global AD Academic Director), Jaime Coll (Professor at ETSAB-UPC), Areti Markopoulou (Director, IAAC Masters Programs) and Silvia Brandi (IAAC Academic Coordinator) who provided them with additional reviews and feedback.Gad_news3_9


It was a wonderful conclusion to the inaugural semester of the program and we’re all looking forward to the Fall Global AD program!

CIEE Barcelona Global AD Team


Global Architecture and Design Newsletter, Spring 2014, Issue II



The three Global AD programs (Barcelona, Berlin, Prague) had a Summit in Berlin in late March. The Summit was lead by the program Academic Director Maria Aiolova, and it was attended by students, faculty and administration from all three sites. Among other things, students from each city presented their work to the rest; they explored Berlin in teams in order to discover the city’s past, present and future; and they participated in a Symposium about Speculative Praxis at the Deutsches Archtiektur Zentrum (DAZ):

"Speculative practice focuses on the act of invention today in order to have an impact in thefuture. Scientists always begin their investigation by pure speculation that is often not expected to materialize in ten, fifty or even a hundred years. Design is not simply a creative process; it is also another form of a focused scientific endeavor. Like science, design is experimental, but in a way that prominently recognizes invention. Speculative practices attempt to establish new forms of knowledge at the confluences of design and science activity".



Studio instructor Antonio Sanmartín and several of the Global AD students took a bike tour through the Barcelona coastline. This area has undergone significant change as a result of urban planning set into place for the Olympics in 92. The tour started in the Olympic Village and finished at the Besòs river, the area that the students are using as the basis for their projects. The group not only enjoyed a fun afternoon in the city but visited interesting architectural structures such as the Forum, Diagonal Mar Parc, the Olympic Village and other more unknown areas like Can Casacuberta or Escola La Llauna.




Students have been progressing with the production and development of their “Besòs River Transcription Prototypes”. A review session took place on March 4th where Barcelona-based architects Judith LeClerc, Oriol Carrasco and Berta Cusó  accompanied course faculty Javier Peña and Antonio Sanmartín as jury critics. Students had created five models that will settle the basis for their work to be developed during the second part of the semester: the Future Speculative Master Plan for the final section of  the Besòs River.



Inspired by Barcelona's architecture

Name: Lena
CIEE Barcelona Program:
Architecture & Design
Spring 2014
Home School
: University of Colorado Boulder

At the end of the 19th century, the architects of Europe were stuck on what to do next. They started using old architecture, creating 'neo'gothic 'neo'romanesque. Antoni Gaudi was one of the first to "step out of the box." He was a fantastic modernisme architect--his head was flooded with the most creative thoughts. One of the characteristics of his architecture was nature; he also had a lot of curves within his buildings.


I am a third year architecture student, studying in Barcelona of spring, 2014. In my studios, I am known to have some of the wildest ideas. Being in Barcelona has influenced me to play with some of Gaudi's ideas. The first project assigned to us was to create and "ordinary building"-- an apartment building in Barcelona with one parti-wall and a green space within the block.


Of course I wanted to create something that was not so ordinary. I decided to work curves and nature characteristics into my building, with Gaudi’s ideas in mind. I created a large courtyard in the center for light, inspired by Casa Mila.

ModelMy apartment was very high end, and took a modern twist of Casa Mila, with my additions of large terraces and curtain walls. Barcelona has numerous types of architecture that has inspired me in countless ways. I could have not chosen a better place! I love it here and I can't wait to see what I come up with for my second project!



Santa Eulalia Festival: Castellers

Name: Bodie
CIEE Barcelona Program: Global Architecture & Design
Semester: Spring 2014
Home School: University of Colorado Boulder

Time has flown by! With a month under my belt I still feel like I have barely scratched the surface of this amazing place. The past few weekends I stayed in the city and really tried to get to know it better.

Last weekend was a holiday celebrating Santa Eulalia, the patron saint of the city. To celebrate the city had a festival in the old district. There were a number of events, but the most notable was the Castellers, which is the Catalan sport of making human towers. It was amazing; citizens crowded tightly into the main square to try to get a good view of the event. Looking around at the people, however, I couldn't see anyone that looked like they were part of the sport. Then I noticed everyone was turning their heads to look at the back of the square. Sure enough, people in matching red shirts and white pants slowly started to make a single tower. As they began to climb another group from their team ran through the crowd to clear a path. Once the tower was completed with a large group as the trunk and three more people standing on top of each other, the group walked together towards the front.

After all of the teams entered in the same manner, the competition began. Each team presented a different formation of a tower, with different heights and different numbers of people in each 'level'. The scoring system is based on the difficulty of the formations. It was truly an incredible sight. We were just at the base of one of the teams. I could see the faces of the competitors, their eyes focused hard as the weight sank in with each additional person.

Every attempt was a success, but there were times when the towers were shaking and swaying under the weight. The most amazing part is that the tallest level is done by small children. Once the tower is constructed, mostly of young adults, children of 6-10 years old start climbing on the backs of their teammates, ascending to the top. To signify the completion of the tower, the children wave to the mayor of the city, who is watching from his 2nd story balcony.




Check out more of Bodie's incredible photos here:



Global Architecture & Design Newsletter, Spring 2014, Issue I

(1) Alternative, nontraditional form of learning & teaching

The 5 teams at Global AD BCN Design Studio just began building a first set of water property based prototypes. The lab involves working with new digital tools, CNC machines and data design scenarios. The students work week by week to build a shared dynamic and flexible syllabus, each week registering the current studio production and setting out the agreed tasks for the following week. This is how we are proceeding through a sequence of practices, attempts, trials and prototypes while discovering the architecture of future cities.001_fablab showcase

FabLab showcase from Global AD Studio
002_drilling besos river
Drilling Besos River. First prototypes.
003_Syllabus under construction
Syllabus under construction. Interactive presentation.

(2) Contemporary Architecture in Bilbao and San Sebastian

In the first weekend trip for the Global AD program, students visited Bilbao and San Sebastian, where some of the most interesting examples of the contemporary architecture in Spain are. Bodie, a student from the University of Colorado Boulder, explained how Bilbao "was like an architecture playground" and that "every turn, every street, had something new and intriguing paired with the traditional architecture of the city." Even though he thinks that the whole city of Bilbao is an amazing architectural spot, after our guided visits to Palacio Euskalduna and the Guggenheim, Bodie explained his thoughts about the inner and outer structures of these buildings.

"The Palacio Euskalduna was an intriguing place; stairs, ramps, paths, elevators all over the place, leading the user through the layers of the building. Each space was not only one, but could morph larger or smaller to accommodate any event. Not only was the program well thought out, but the materials spoke too."

And, surely, the Guggenheim Museum was one of the most exciting visits. For Bodie, the most significant was the "beautiful tin and stone panels form geometric shapes that curve and sway over the river. The exterior calls so much attention that is so well complimented and just as complex on the interior," where one of the highlights was the permanent exhibition of the walls by Richard Serra, that fits perfectly with the building.

Palacio Euskalduna, photo by Bodie

  006_Ernesto Neto hanging space

Ernesto Neto work’s are hanging in the Guggenheim main lobby space.

007_serra materiality

Models and sculptures of Richard Serra. Close to the art process.



Guggenheim Museum, picture by Bodie

 (3) Le Corbusier Exhibition in Barcelona

 The master architect of Modern Style is an infinite source of architectural knowledge. From January 30th to May 11th 2014 there is a wonderful exhibition of his work happening in Barcelona. The exposition is designed by MOMA and produced by Caixaforum and is a good opportunity to discover the personal universe of Le Corbusier, the artist and the architect.

012_Le Corbusier in Caixaforum
Opening party of the Le Cobusier exhibition in Barcelona.