During a one-month stay at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD), Pedro Pablo Arroyo, director of the Department of Architecture Design and Representation at the Universidad Europea de Madrid (UEM), provided feedback on thesis projects and encouraged students to broaden their perspectives through international study.
Arroyo, who started an architecture firm in China, provided insight into the opportunities available to architects and designers who are willing to think more globally. Having worked and studied in Europe, Latin America and Asia, Arroyo was able to integrate his global experiences into the classroom. One example he shared with students was an award-winning bridge design (photo below) developed by his firm. The bridge design deliberately evoked the imagery of mountains as a way of addressing the cultural relevance of nature and mountains in a community that developed on a flat plain. "Architecture solutions need to respond to the site and that means understanding the cultural and historical perspectives and then making an interpretation of these contextual values while creating your own unique vision," he said.
Arroyo also informed NSAD students of opportunities to take classes at UEM, continuing the current exchange program between the schools. UEM and NSAD are part of Laureate International Universities, which includes 58 accredited campus-based and online institutions of higher education serving more than 675,000 students. Currently, eight students from UEM are studying at NSAD. Projects being planned or considered between UEM and NSAD are:
- A Tri-Continental Master in Advanced Architectural Design that would include a term at UEM, a term at the Tongji University Architectural Design and Research Institute in Shanghai, and a third term at NSAD.
- The development of a double-degree program that would allow students to earn degrees concurrently at NSAD and UEM.
- Opportunities for faculty exchanges and student study abroad experiences.
In another example of program accessibility and integration, Arroyo said that UEM is in the process of expanding its English-language offerings so that students can take all of the courses available through UEM's architecture school in English or Spanish.