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Americas Studio Joins Auburn Study Abroad

Americas Studio

During the third year of Auburn University’s undergraduate Architecture program, students have to opportunity to spend a semester in either Rome, Istanbul, or in North, Central or South America with the Americas studio.  Most recently, the Americas Studio has provided students with a forum to investigate how cultural landscapes intersect with architectural practice in New Mexico. Students perform research and field studies focusing on the interaction between people and place, analyzing and understanding the factors that contribute to the development of regional architecture in New Mexico. Using their observations, students develop projects that “have the potential to create transformational change, especially for under-served and disadvantaged communities.” (S. Schumacher)Student participant Justin Collier said, “The Americas Studio proved itself to be a surprisingly enlightening and relevant experience,” and the final project focused on creating “well composed community initiatives [defining] thoughtful and relevant solutions for struggling or stagnant communities in New Mexico.”

Americas Studio 2012The aim of the Americas program is to understand the interaction between people and place and the cultural behavior that defines a place, using an “outsider’s” lens, to inform architectural practice. Karen Rogers, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and External Affairs stated, “New Mexico is unique, not only for its striking natural landscape, but for its complex human landscape as well. It is a part of the world where many different cultures and attitudes towards the making of place come together, are juxtaposed, overlap and collide. It offers faculty and students the chance to experience a place rich in the past and the present of the built environment.”

Professor Mark Childs, Professor of Architecture at the University of New Mexico and contributor to the Americas studio describes why students should travel to other regions to “develop designs outside their cultural base.” Childs observes that there are many project precedents available that illustrate how experiencing cultural diversity “provides robust opportunities for learning,” and that travel “provides a lens to [better] see your own cultural base.” Professor Childs also believes that “working in another region prepares students for the challenges of working globally, after facing the challenges of understanding a foreign site and culture in the space of a short visit.”

 

 

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For more information on Study Abroad opportunities in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture: http://cadc.auburn.edu/apla/Pages/Study_Abroad.aspx