Study Architecture in Spain
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Architecture Studies in SpainSpain is a beautiful country, a country where old-world charm and cosmopolitan modernity blends effortlessly to create a progressive country steeped in tradition and architectural splendor. Students who opt to pursue an education in Architecture in Spain, perhaps as part of a study-abroad program, will benefit both personally and professionally by studying in the country—a country that welcomes international students and whose universities offer several unique program options in the field. When not busy with their classroom studies, students can stroll the streets of Spain and be treated to some of the most amazing architecture they’ll find anywhere in the world, representing a number of different styles, schools and eras, some dating back several hundred to a thousand years.
Spain, officially known as the Kingdom of Spain, is a sovereign state and a participating member nation of the European Union. Located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, Spain’s mainland is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south and east, to the north and northeast by Andorra, France and the Bay of Biscay, and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean. Spain is one of three countries, with Morocco and France, to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, and its border with Portugal, measuring 754 miles (1,214km), is the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union. Spain is a highly developed country with a parliamentary government under a constitutional monarchy. The country is ranked as one of the top 10 countries in the world for its standard of living; and its excellent education system, including its universities, is on par with other educational giants in Europe such as England and Germany.
Architecture Education in Spain
Spain is rapidly becoming a rising star in the science and technical fields, including the field of architecture. This field of study is offered by the majority of the major universities in Spain, at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In general, the undergraduate program in Architecture takes 3-4 years to complete for full-time students, ultimately culminating in a Bachelor of Science degree. Most students, however, tend to continue their studies by pursuing a two-year Master of Science degree in Architecture, considered the minimum qualification to pursue the field professionally.
The programs in Architecture consist of two pillars: classroom-based education in the form of seminars and lectures; and practical education, where students are involved in project and design work. At the graduate-degree level, students are asked to choose a specialty within the Architectural discipline in which to focus their studies. The different specializations draw on the knowledge students have gained during the undergraduate portion of their studies, and may include areas such as sustainable building design; construction technology, structural engineering and design; planning and building in existing structures; project management and cost control; and urban planning and design.
Why Study Abroad in Spain
Studying architecture in Spain not only enables students to receive a top-notch education from qualified instructors who are passionate about the field, it exposes them to some of the finest examples of early and modern architecture in the world. Wherever you happen to go to in Spain you’ll encounter a mix of architectural styles, ranging from Moorish influences to European trends to surreal modernism. Below are just a few of the architectural wonders students can visit when they choose Spain as their study-abroad destination.
Located in the city of Granada in Spain, the Alhambra Palace, also known as the Red Castle, contains some of the world's finest examples of Moorish architecture. Perched on a rocky, steep terrace at the southern tip of Granada, the Alhambra Palace is an ancient residence and fortress featuring breathtaking frescoes and fine interior details. In the characteristic style of the Mudéjar (Muslims or Moors who remained in Europe), the Alhambra Palace incorporates many traditional Islamic details, including column arcades, fountains, reflecting pools, geometrical patterns, Arabic inscriptions and painted tiles.
First constructed in the mid 14th century, the Alhambra Palace was built for the last Muslim Emirs (kings) in Spain and the Nasrid Dynasty. In the 1700s, the palace was renovated for King Charles V, and the result was one of the world’s most stunning mixtures of Moorish and European influences. Sadly, for many centuries the Alhambra was neglected, but scholars and archaeologists began restorations in the late 19th century and today it stands as one of Spain’s most popular tourist attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located in the city of Seville in Spain, the Alcazar is a fortified palace built by order of King Abd Al Ramn III in the year 913 AD. Due to its beauty, the palace served as the residence for many monarchs in the centuries that followed, and is now occupied by His Royal Majesty Juan Carlos when he visits Seville.
Between 1350 and 1369, Pedro the Cruel (Pedro I) made significant additions to the Alcazar palace; a palace which had long stood as one of the finest and most important examples of Mudejar architecture in the region. Today its numerous rooms, patios and halls vary substantially in terms of architectural styles, ranging from Islamic to Neoclassical. Among its many stunning features are the beautiful gardens that surround a large hand-carved fountain.
The Monastery of El Escorial
No discussion of Spanish architecture would be complete without mentioning the Monastery of El Escorial near Madrid, Spain. Situated some 30 miles northwest of Madrid in the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama Mountains, the Monastery was built as a monument to commemorate the Spanish victory over the French in the battle of Saint Quentin on August 10th of 1557 (the feast day of St. Lawrence). King Felipe II selected the site for the monastery, some 1,028 meters (3,372 feet) above sea level, and personally oversaw the progress of the project. The monastery was initially designed by the Spanish architect Juan Bautista de Toledo, but after his death in 1567, his assistant Juan de Herrera continued the work. Construction lasted 21 years from 1563 to 1584, and for many years after its completion, El Escorial Monastery was the largest building in the world.
The decoration of the Monastery was entrusted to prominent Italian painters of the time who were responsible for the Gallery of Battles and the Library among other rooms. Works of Titian, Bosch, El Greco, and Velázquez proudly hang in the Chapter Rooms and Sacristy. Overall there are about 1,600 paintings and more than 500 frescoes on the walls and ceilings. Visitors to the Monastery of El Escorial can also take advantage of the very interesting Museum of Painting and Architecture, located on the grounds.