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Global Immersion

EACH YEAR, SPRING STUDIOS take undergraduate architecture students and graduate students in architecture and urban and regional planning around the United States and across the globe — offering them the chance to broaden their exposure while gaining access to facilities, groups, and individuals that otherwise might be inaccessible. Courses are selected, organized, and directed by individual faculty with interests in a particular country, region, or city. With this year’s courses ranging from Mexico to Morocco and Utah to Ukraine, students again tackled exciting and unique educational, research, and service opportunities in traditional and nontraditional sites for architectural exploration.

Emoción Estética: Light, Color, and Solitude searched for glimpses of the Mexican International Style, embodied by Luis Barragán, in an intensive study of the solemn, spiritual spaces he designed, juxtaposed in the bustling metropolis of Mexico City. Instructor: Yojairo Lomeli

Emocion Estetica

"The use of bright, fearless color will always stick with me. I was one of those anti-color architects before the trip.”
— Michael Griffin, M.Arch student

"I learned to walk with my eyes and draw the line in my mind. And I learned that drawing is a meditation.”
— Elpis Wong, M.Arch student

Troublemakers: Land Art/Large-Scale Earthworks and American Infrastructure experienced the departure of art from the gallery by traveling through several U.S. states to engage, connect, and differentiate between land art, earthworks, large-scale infrastructure, and massive, naturally occurring formations. Instructor: Jeff Halstead

"One thing I learned during the trip is that in a society that is becoming ever faster, it is important to take moments of pause and appreciate not only the art and architecture we are surrounded by, but the natural beauty that exists within this country and worldwide.”
— David Alcala, M.Arch student

"Troublemakers satiated a thirst that I did not know I had: to experience the land, radical users of that land, and the remnants left of those efforts. I was truly affected by our workshop and private tour through the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. Experiencing the work by Judd, Flavin, Andre, Chamberlain, Irwin, Horn, and many more was timely and necessary in my architectural endeavors.”
— Delaney McCraney, M.Arch student

Experimental Japan examined new approaches to cultural creation by seeking out, engaging with, and creating filmic narratives about those who are actively contributing to Tokyo’s art, architecture, and design scene. Instructor: Peter Halquist

"Naoshima was the highlight of the trip and will remain one of my favorite places in the world. Being able to navigate the entire island by bike opened up the landscape to a different experience that reinforces the relationship between the site and the art and architecture.” 
— Julia Jeffs, M.Arch student

"I have always wanted to try working with film, and this studio seemed like a perfect opportunity to learn a new technique. Working with video helped me focus on one aspect of Japanese culture — the use of hands.”
— Ashish Bhandari, B.S. ’15, M.Arch ’18

Architectural Identity: Coastal Exploration of Cultural Transference explored the role architecture has played in constructing and deconstructing the identity of cultures over time by traveling along the coasts of the Iberian Peninsula, Morocco, France, and Italy, considering materials and methods of construction but also origins of color and form. Instructor: Dawn Gilpin

"I chose this studio because the topic of identity, and the role of designers in dislocating, agitating, dislodging, preserving, tracing, and reflecting the facets of place that affect a location’s self, seemed an apt and timely discussion in our current state of globalization and our technologically headlong field.”
— Don David, M.Arch student

"Throughout the trip, I continued to question and reconsider my conceptions of what culture is (or isn’t). Traveling helps enable recognition of patterns unnoticed through habits or conditioning; I always come home with new realizations and questions.”
— Hanna Jeffers, B.S. ’18

North Africa and the French Imaginary traveled to the former French colonies of Morocco and Algeria, as well as France, to investigate legacies of the Modernist project in North Africa and examine the confrontation between the agendas of Modernism and the Casbah. Instructor: Brittany Utting

"Coming from a colonial country myself, I wanted to understand the foreign influence in different places and try and relate it to my own experience. I saw that neither the oppressor nor the oppressed, especially in a colonial setup, defines the culture of the place — it is the fragments that break or shed away from the host, find themselves in a marriage which best suits the various parts.”
— Akshay Srivastava, M.Arch student

Soviet Modernism visited key sites that were built in Georgia, Armenia, and Ukraine between 1920 and 1991 in order to explore the architectural legacy of Soviet public buildings, called “palaces,” that served the general population as sites for communal and cultural activities. Instructor: Ashley Bigham

Soviet Modernism

"As an Asian-American of Korean descent, it was often made apparent by locals’ interactions with me how much I stood out within overwhelmingly white countries. It was interesting to consider how the lack of racial diversity in these regions affected the way many people related to those whose appearances were markedly different from their own. … Being in and studying these countries makes it clear how much there is to know and learn from their histories and cultures, which are often unfortunately overlooked in the U.S.”
— Leah Hong, B.S. student

Updating the Visual Lexicon: Venice Biennale to Berlin Biennale developed an updated way of visual thinking within the contemporary city by surveying Venice, Milan, Vienna, Prague, and Berlin to discover architectural “lookalikes,” or visual synonyms, and other morphologically similar architectural elements and aesthetic patterns. Instructor: Laida Aguirre

"Spring Travel is an incredibly unique experience within Taubman College. Being able to work closely with a professor to analyze architecture in situ was truly eye opening and has expanded my understanding of contemporary practice.”
— John Vieweg, M.Arch student

"The trip initiated many disciplinary discussions on site, under a global context, which pushed us to further think about the interrelationships between practice and academia, social issues and possible solutions, and digital images and materialized spaces — and, as architects and designers, what responsibilities and ownership we have.”
— Autumn Mengqiu Zhao, M.Arch student