Published September 6, 2019
This summer, dozens of students from across UB fanned across three continents as part of the School of Architecture and Planning's annual study abroad program.
Featuring in situ studios and intensive engagement with diverse landscapes, this year's offerings took students to Japan; the Costa Rican rain forest; 12 cities across Spain; and 31 cities as part of a Grand Tour of Europe. Offering more Study Abroad programs than any other unit at the University at Buffalo, the School of Architecture and Planning is committed to providing students with on-the-ground learning experiences that engage the culture, landscape and people of communities around the world.
Read on for a glimpse of our summer 2019 study abroad experience.
The Japan study abroad program is designed to reinforce direct personal observation and experience as a way to study the relationship between the local architecture, urbanity, culture and history of Japan. While Tokyo is the home-base, the program includes 3 weeks of travel to rural areas to study Japan’s significant historical traditions, in addition to a week-long excursion via high-speed rail to visit several of Japan’s most important historical and culturally significant architectural sites. Locations for 2019 included Ise, Nara, Kyoto, Kobe, Himeji, Kurashiki, Naoshima, Teshima, and Hiroshima.
Directed by UB assistant professor of architecture Nicholas Bruscia, this year’s Japan program partnered with FabCafe Hida and Ibata Interior, a furniture company in Hida-Furukawa, Gifu, Japan, that has developed a wood compression technology that makes hard woods more flexible and pliable. Students tested the material by weaving it into large-scale sculptural forms that were developed with digital and physical form-finding models.
Thirty-one students, one alumnus and two faculty spent 35 days exploring – and sketching – some of the world’s greatest architectural monuments as part of a European global studio directed by UB architecture faculty members Greg Delaney and Chris Romano. Traversing Germany, Austria, the Chech Republic, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, the program served as a modern reimagining of the “Grand Tour” of architectural antiquities throughout Europe. The tour's packed itinerary featured dozens of the greatest examples of modern and contemporary architecture and urban landscapes spanning the 21st century.
Following the tour, several students extended their studies through a four-week studio based in Buffalo. Also directed by Delaney, “Form Follows Fantasy" invited students to develop design proposals, represented as fabricated environments, that would complete the unfinished interiors of King Ludwig II of Bavaria’s palace at Herrenchiemsee (1868-1886).
The 10-week Sustainable Futures summer course of study takes students to the Costa Rican rain forest and the Monteverde Institute, a nonprofit organization that advances sustainable living at the local and global level through place-based education, applied research, and collaborative community programs. Students work on community-identified projects and built works that support ecologically and socially just futures for this rural but rapidly developing area. Since the program’s inception in 1995, Sustainable Futures has contributed to planning, design, and construction of dozens of projects throughout the area.
Sustainable Futures 2019 focused on ecological materials and making in the rain forest and included hands-on opportunities to explore biomimicry, living structures, and repurposed materials. The program was co-directed by Martha Bohm, associate professor of architecture, and Stephanie Cramer, clinical assistant professor of architecture.
The 2019 Study Abroad summer program in Spain, coordinated by UB architecture faculty Miguel Guitart, featured a design studio entitled "UB Cultural Campus in Madrid," addressing the design opportunities of a potential permanent UB campus in Madrid that offers a rich program for intense cultural and social exchange, and brings UB students to a deeper understanding of Spanish architecture. The studio was complemented with two sketching seminars that exposed students to major architecture works of the last 70 years, as well as the production of an architecture guide. An extensive travel schedule took students to visit some of the best architecture in cities like Salamanca, Toledo, Barcelona, Granada, Merida, Lisbon, Bilbao, San Sebastian, El Escorial, Cordoba, Sevilla, and Cadiz, among others.
The Spain Study Abroad summer program engages UB graduate and undergraduate architecture students with the context and production of Spanish architecture and its thinkers and practitioners. Students experience directly the day-to-day relationship between study and practice through city walks, weekly lectures, site visits, weekly travel and Design Studio. Guitart initiated the program in 2016.