Universidad CEU San Pablo takes part in the 18th Week of Science and Innovation
10 November, 2018
Policlínica CEU
A new polyclinic to train the great professionals of the future
12 November, 2018

A gamble on internationalization of future architects

Internationalization has strong presence in the academic program of our University. Therefore we offer architecture students several programs to complete part of their studies in foreign universities.

Collaboration with the University of Zhejiang (China)

In this sense, one of the most relevant projects has already been running for the past ten years. Through this project, the Higher Polytechnic School collaborated with the University of Zhejiang. There are over 500 students of the Degree in Architecture taking part in different projects with this Chinese centre. The most outstanding ones are as follows:

  • The design of one of the urban complex of the new city East of Hangzhou.
  • The implementation of a new program of economic activity. It is related to corporate innovation and to commercial uses in Madrid Río.
  • The design of the Museum for the Xiling Club for stone seals in the humidity park Xixi in Hangzhou.
  • The revitalization of the town of Denggao through new programs to attract tourists and new residents.

The project of the Lingyng temple

Moreover during 2017/2018 course students of the Degree in Architecture of both centres have worked in the extension of the Buddhist academy of the Lingyng temple in the city of Hangzhou. The objective is that two groups of students from different nationalities and cultures will collaborate in the same project. Therefore, we have been able to compare working methodologies of each country according to its own architectural model. This very enriching international experience serves also as final project for students.

Eduardo de la Peña, Secretary of the Department of Architecture and Design of the School and Coordinator of this project says:

This year we have worked in the extension of the Buddhist academy of Hangzhou requested by the Chinese University. The choice of each exercise is done following opportunity criteria although always seeking to promote cultural exchange, expressing issues of each country and stimulating the debate of global topical issues.

The project was developed in two stages:

  1. Chinese students have travelled to Madrid to share with its Spanish colleagues the different architectural models. In this meeting they already started to work.
  2. Spanish students have travelled to China to finish the project and discuss conclusions. There they have presented final works in exhibitions which would stimulate the debate and mutual enrichment.

A unique experience of collaboration and learning

For Liu Ce, a Chinese student, the project is very useful to encourage communication between Spanish and Chinese students. It is remarkable that “they can learn a lot both of working methodologies and of the concerns of different countries”.

In turn, the Spanish student Irene Coca sees the project as a challenge. “We do not know their culture, religion or customs in depth so it is necessary to be very attentive to details and take many references” she believes. It is also evident for her that this experience will help her expand her professional horizons. In addition it will help her fulfil one of her dreams which is studying abroad.

Ding Yi, another student taking part in the exchange, strongly believes that this project will help him in his professional career. “My understanding is that it will specially help me in the generation of concepts and to delve into a scheme and conception of architecture in a logic manner to be able to understand the influence of Buddhism in architectural culture”, he says. In this line, Carlos González believes that differences between traditional architecture of temples and modern architecture through technology are highly enriching. He believes that “this will provide a half-way architecture in the future that will be very interesting”.

As the coordinator of the project Carlos González says:

The University of Zhejiang and its Architecture School are among the first 5 ones of the country of the world ranking and it is also one of the most prestigious and ancient higher education institutions in China which enriches even more the education and training quality of youngsters.

Internationalization as an input

Once the project is presented all participants have declared that the contribution of both cultures has been essential. The student Wang Qiaowei observed differences between one and others. Chinese students give more importance to religion and how to apply Buddhist elements to architecture. In turn, Spanish students focus more on details and actual use. He has also highlighted that the “freehand draw of Spanish students is really fantastic”.