One more year our International Architecture Workshop ConnectA has come to an end at our Technical School and, once again, we can say that it has been a huge success. For the first time, thirty students from Latvia and Poland have joined our students to work together in an innovative learning experience on Nordic architecture.
Thirty students from different nationalities, hundreds of hours of work and dozens of fresh ideas, but just one guest of honor: the city of Copenhagen, in the core of this year’s ConnectA series, and a city that we will be visiting later in the year.
ConnectA, a global project at CEU Valencia
The main goal of this second edition of the ConnectA series is to further strengthen our teaching model in Architecture, focusing on a more practical and competency-based approach. An innovative learning method which seeks to improve the professional development of our students through visits to specific destinations.
While Berlin was in the spotlight last year, it is Copenhagen the city that this year is inspiring our academic programme. This is the main reason why our students have been studying the architecture of the Danish capital since last September, getting acquainted with the specificities of the region and studying its main architectural landmarks. Copenhagen and its architecture have literally taken over our School, bringing new concepts, features and projects to our classrooms. And even an international competition among the European students who have taken part in our International Architecture Workshop ConnectA!
From now on our future architects will be working in plots in Copenhagen, just before embarking on a trip to the Danish capital between March 20 and 24. It will be at that moment, with a physical and real immersion in the culture and spaces of Copenhagen, when they will be able to apply everything they have learned these last months in class. And bring that knowledge back to the School to share it with other classmates and continue building their career as architects.
An innovative focus in Architecture
Promoting and organizing this kind of activities and workshops, trying out new approaches to Architecture, lie at the core of our School’s internationalization strategy. Activities which represent a shift from the most traditional way of teaching and have become a distinctive feature of our personality.
A mission that we have been reinforcing in the last few years and that we will continue to promote with even more activities, more international exposure and more cooperation with European peers.
CONNECTA is designed to CONNECT STUDENTS WITH ceu, WITH VALENCIA, WITH ARCHITECTURE AND WITH our target destinations
This global strategy can count on the support of the University and its Vice-Rectorate for Internationalization because, as the Deputy Vice-Rector and Head of International Relations Alfonso Díaz highlights, “the international profile of the Technical School and its students makes it the perfect match for these initiatives”. Activities that are expected to grow in the near future beyond the physical connection, making it possible to “also connect through different online and digital resources, so that all students can benefit from these collaborative experiences with partner universities”.
This is the reason why our Technical School is now taking our students in a fresh direction, placing them in the centre of new partnerships, new projects and new opportunities.
Our common position, both from the School and the University, is to encourage and strengthen our spirit of innovation to create a true hub for architectural creativity. And all of these through more specific contents, new tools to empower collaborative work and a greater cooperation with European universities.
Dorte Mandrup and JAJA Architects connect with CEU Valencia
Together with our students and those coming from partner universities, professors from IUAV Venice have also joined our workshop, contributing with their professional point of view and experiences in the field. All of them, adding up to over 30 participants, have worked on a real life project led by architects from two studios based in Copenhagen: Giacomo Pizzo, from JAJA Architects and our alumni Teresa Blasco, from Dorte Mandrup.
On the first day, both studios presented the project, which consisted of a square located located opposite Copenhagen’s Central Station. By the end of the week, the most creative solutions were given a prize in each of the categories: one for students of each year, and one for visiting students.
In its second edition, ConnectA has made it possible for us to improve our knowledge of modern architecture in Denmark and to deepen our knowledge in urban space and planning.
In the end, these days have allowed us to draw some very practical conclusions and to breathe new energy into our project. Something emphasized by professor Ignacio Juan, Head of Architecture at our Technical School:
What do you think the students have learned during this week of hard work and exchange of expertise?
Undoubtedly what they have learned is a different way of interpreting a city, with citizen mobility and public space as key elements and not just secondary. This seems obvious in a country like ours, where the weather is quite favourable. However, we have seen how these concepts are articulated in a context with much more complicated weather conditions, but also with solutions which seem to work more efficiently.
I think it has been an unforgettable experience for the students, but not only for what they have learned. Also for what they have experienced and lived during these days, and not only from an academic or technical point of view. This peer-to-peer networking with students and professors from across Europe, under the supervision of Danish architects, is something totally new and enriching. What is more, it is a very democratic experience, as it doesn’t really matter if the student is in second or fifth year of the degree: we all work together and all ideas are equally valuable.
With this workshop we wanted to create a space where students could feel that architecture is for everyone, and that passion and energy are vital elements in our profession.
40 SUBJECTS and 10 city DESTINATIONS in 5 YEARS. This is HOW we teach architecture at CEU valencia.
Can you tell us more about the steps to follow in this exciting learning journey that you call ConnectA?
We have just started to think about those new destinations, new cultures and new horizons that we want to explore. In 2020 we will land in Porto, which is quite close to us geographically but has a very particular and genuine personality. After that we want to discover Rome, but in a different way. Rome, the old capital of the Mediterranean. A city that has had such a big impact in our culture and that we often see just as a historical site. We want to broaden our vision and analyse the city from the point of view of young architects and groundbreaking studios. The most modern and avant-garde Rome, a city we have many things to learn from.
Of course we will have to wait a bit before visiting Porto and Rome. For the moment, we still need to discover Copenhagen and all the architecture worth seeing in it.
A more international approach to Architecture here at CEU Valencia? it is definitely a YES!