Graduate Architecture

  • Students at the Parc de la Villette with the urbanism, landscape and architecture 2014 summer program in Paris led by Professor Annette Fierro.

Summer Study Abroad Programs

In the summer abroad programs, students study and travel for approximately 4-5 weeks at the beginning of the summer (mid/late-May through mid/late-June) and receive 1 elective course unit of credit. These programs are open to both graduate and undergraduate students, as well as to graduate students outside of PennDesign in and outside of the University of Pennsylvania, with approval of the instructors. See below for information on application, credit, and tuition.

Penn in Paris

This five-week long program is a long-established academic program based in Paris, where students live in the Latin Quarter, attend lectures and visit sites in the French capital. The intensive program combines evening talks by the city's most prominent architects, urbanists, engineers and scholars, with accompanied morning tours to buildings, parks and professional offices. We visit dozens of sites everywhere in the city. Annual topics address issues of the technologies of civic architecture, historical to contemporary topics in urbanism, and the congruence between landscape and architecture, within in a particularly Parisian frame of reference. The program also travels to one city/region in France, which in 2017 will be to Marseille, the capital of Provence. Students work on a short graphic/cinematic product based on current topics in Paris. The 2017 program runs from May 29 to July 1. For the 2016 syllabus, download the pdf named Paris Syllabus 2016.

Penn in Colombia

The Summer Study Abroad Program in Colombia is a four-week project. It researches and tests architectural design in its role to provoke change within the Forms of Informality* of urban development in three cities in Colombia: Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena. An important part of the program involves visits to neighborhoods, buildings, events, architecture offices, interviews with politicians, urban and community activists and architects. Last year, the first installment of the program, was invested in understanding and unpacking the overall forms of informal dynamics in the three cities in a broad level.

*Forms of Informality is a statement that critiques the term informal in order to unveil some of its inherent configurations. Short-term and top-down politico-institutional strategies that reinforce public infrastructures like those by Mayor Sergio Fajardo co-exist with bottom-up and long-term grassroots processes, such as those by Centro Cultural Nuestra Gente (or Casa Amarilla), just to name a couple in Medellin. In Bogota, on the other hand, similar interventions are developed such as the Porvenir School or the sports facility in Soacha by El Equipo de Mazzanti. Under Mayor Peñalosa, Bogota initiates its transformation focusing on the improvement on public space and accessibility, with strategies like transmilenio, a transportation system that has an important effect in improving accessibility between the so-called formal and the informal. In our trip it is also important to critically consider the other end of the urban spectrum. High-end residential towers of the richest citizens tend to fall into an excess of formality through well-defined limits, in other words, fences and sterile urban spaces derived from mono-functionality and extreme demands for safety. The 2017 program runs from May 16 to June 12.

Find more information about our Colombia Study Abroad program here.

Penn in Greece

The Summer Study Abroad Program Greece will organize a series of visits to both archeological sites as well as modern and contemporary architectural sites. PennDesign students will exchange and collaborate with a selected group of Greek architecture students during a week-long design workshop. There will be a series of lectures from professionals and academics, which will frame the proceedings of the workshop. The final presentation will take the form of a symposium and an installation in Athens. The Greece study abroad program will run from 5/17/2016 to 6/16/2016.

Apomechanies is a computational design workshop as well as a study abroad program run this summer in Greece. This is part of a series of workshops and study abroad programs that have run in Greece since 2009. The title apomechanes is derived from “από µηχανής”, literally “from the machine”, and refers to the machinic nature of the studio in an abstract/diagrammatic sense. Apomechanes is a calque from Greek meaning "god from the machine". The term has evolved into a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. Depending on how it is done, it can be intended to move the story forward when the writer has "painted himself into a corner" and sees no other way out, to surprise the audience, to bring the tale to a happy ending, or as a comedic device.  The 2017 program runs from May 17 to June 14.

Find more information about our Greece Study Abroad program here.

Students from inside the University of Pennsylvania

The above programs are open to graduate and undergraduate students in all fields of study from within the University of Pennsylvania, pending available space in the programs, on a first-come first-serve basis. Tuition for these courses will be billed at the same rate of one course unit by the University of Pennsylvania. Students will receive 1 elective course unit of credit for this course. This amount includes accommodations, coordinated by PennDesign; additional costs of food and site/travel costs are to be paid by students. A $750 non-refundable deposit is required at the time of enrollment.

Students from outside the University of Pennsylvania

All of the above programs are open to graduate students outside of the University of Pennsylvania, pending available space in the programs, as Penn students are given first priority. Interested students will be accommodated as special non-degree students on a first-come first-serve basis. They should complete and email: (1) the Non-Degree Student Enrollment Form and (2) a letter of interest stating their particular interests to the specific program, by March 20, 2017 to: Annette Fierro, Director Summer Programs at  These courses will furnish 1 CU (3 hours) of course credit, from the University of Pennsylvania, subject to approval by students’ home university. Tuition for these courses for students from outside the University of Pennsylvania will be billed at $8000. This includes lodging, which is coordinated by PennDesign, but does not include food or site visit/travel fees. A $750 non-refundable deposit is required at the time of enrollment.

Annette Fierro- (Paris)