This program offers students access to major works of architecture and construction sites, and in this way provides the all-important immediacy of the architecture visit. The city of Santiago de Compostela is known for the St. James pilgrimage that culminates in its cathedral, and the students in this program will participate in a sort of “architectural pilgrimage” to buildings by Alvaro Siza, David Chipperfield, and others. Students will also have the unique opportunity to visit the construction site of Peter Eisenman’s largest project to date, the Cidade da Cultura, which embodies some of the most intriguing ideas the architect has been developing for decades
These visits to buildings and construction sites will be guided by scholars and architects so that students gain both a critical understanding of the architecture and a first-hand knowledge of the tectonics of building. It is this simultaneous understanding of the theoretical and the applied in architecture that is the focus of this program.
The program will integrate students in the historical context of the city of Santiago de Compostela, to experience walking, travelling, and living among architectural masterpieces.
Best of all, students will be working in the context of an old city, walking the mostly pedestrian network of medieval streets and enjoying the social life of Santiago de Compostela’s university town atmosphere. Students will not only benefit from the critical thinking and technical expertise of the program’s instructors but will also partake in the regions’s traditions and experience the socio-cultural context of this wonderful city.
In addition, this program will focus on issues of sustainability in contemporary architecture. Lectures and seminars will discuss new technologies and new approaches to create more sustainable buildings within a new context.
These different dimensions of learning will be smoothly integrated into a single coherent educational program, complemented by the spiritual experience of own architectural pilgrimage.
The political dimensions of architecture will be addressed as well. The government of Santiago de Compostela has made social equity and environmental consciousness priorities for the city, and in three short charrettes for three small design projects, students will get a chance to test the tectonic knowledge and sustainability insight they have gained through the seminars and lectures of the program.