Skip to content

Programs : Brochure

Detailed information about this program is shown below.
  • Locations: Various Cities, Abroad; Various Cities, United States
  • Program Terms: Spring and/or Summer
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Restrictions: UM applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications, please see Dates & Deadlines or contact the sponsoring office for more information.
Fact Sheet:
Foreign Language Required: No Class Standing: 1st Year (Freshman), 2nd Year (Sophomore), 3rd Year (Junior), 4th Year + (Senior), Graduate Student, Professional Student
Experience Type: Study/Education
Program Description:
Taubman College, Architecture + Urban Planning, University of Michigan

Architecture & Urban Planning: Spring Travel Courses


These international travel courses are an essential part of Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning's course offerings, granting students the prospect of visiting other countries while gaining access to facilities, groups and individuals that might otherwise be closed to them. The college has established partnerships and faculty exchanges with other architecture programs around the world in order to promote a global cross-cultural exchange. Courses are selected, organized, and directed by individual faculty members who have an interest in a particular country, region, or city. This diversity of interests leads courses not just to the traditional locations of Europe but to the villages and global cities of the developing world-and provides each group of students with exciting and unique educational, research, and service opportunities. More than a quarter of the students enroll in travel abroad courses during their study. 


The spring travel courses are available to all U-M undergraduate architecture students as well as all graduate students during the spring or summer half term.  Some courses are also available to U-M students enrolled in other schools and colleges.  See course descriptions for specific eligibility requirements.  If you have questions about eligibility requirements or content for a specific course, please contact the faculty leader.  When making your course choices, please confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements for each course (listed below).


Each course will be for three credit hours.  These are the courses offered in 2018:

North Africa and the French Imaginary

The course "North Africa And The French Imaginary" will investigate legacies of the Modernist project in North Africa, traveling to the former French colonies of Morocco and Algeria and ending in France, to examine the confrontation between the agendas of Modernism and the Casbah. The travel course will investigate how post-Napoleonic European art, architecture, literature, and urbanism transformed to adapt to the aesthetic, ideological, and spatial terrains of colonial North Africa.

  • Destinations: Morocco, Algeria, France
  • Travel Dates: May 7 - May 28
  • Eligibility: Graduate and upper level Undergraduate students in Architecture, Urban Planning, Art, Literature, History, or Political Science.
  • Instructor: Brittany Utting

Soviet Modernism

This course will travel to the countries of Georgia, Armenia and Ukraine to visit key sites of Soviet Modernist architecture built between 1920 and 1991. The itinerary includes the major cities of Tbilisi, Batumi, Yerevan, Kyiv, Kharkiv and Lviv. Excursions outside major cities will include visits to a mountaintop monastery in Georgia, Lake Sevan in Armenia, and the Soviet city of Prypiat (near Chernobyl) in Ukraine.

  • Destinations: Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine
  • Travel Dates: May 7 - May 31
  • Eligibility: Graduate and upper level Undergraduate students in Architecture, Urban Planning, Art, or History
  • Instructor: Ashley Bigham

Big Data and Territorial Intelligence

This is a cooperation with the Institute for Digital Knowledge at ENSA, Paris Malaquais, which will be our host and main stay in Paris, as well as CERN, our host in Geneva, Switzerland. Students will be working and collaborating with a group of students from ENSA, Paris to develop planning strategies, proposals, and designs for the new CERN campus focusing on the cultural shift through the impact of Big Data.

  • Destinations:  France, Italy, Switzerland
  • Travel Dates:  May 17 - June 15
  • Eligibility:  Graduate students in Architecture, Urban Planning, Art students interested in Computational Design, Computer Science and Engineering students interested in Art and Design
  • Instructors:  Sandra Manninger & Matias del Campo

Peripatetic Practices: The Invented Traditions of New Mexico

This course explores the varied landscape of New Mexican architecture from ancient cliff-dwellings to the development of atomic science and private space travel. Our travels will be focused around key moments of tensions or contradiction within the built environment of New Mexico, examining a range of urbanistic and architectural responses to the state’s natural and cultural landscapes.

  • Destinations:  United States
  • Travel Dates:  May 9 - May 31
  • Eligibility:  Graduate and upper level Undergraduate students in Architecture, Urban Planning, History of Art, History, American Studies, Anthropology, Archaeology
  • Instructors:  Sarah Rovang

Emocion Estetica

A drawing intensive study abroad course to Mexico City in search of what Luis Barragan called "Emotional Architecture", exemplified in his work through color, light, shadow, and space.

  • Destinations:  Mexico
  • Travel Dates:  May 4 - May 25
  • Eligibility:  Any Graduate and Undergraduate students
  • Instructors:  Yojairo Lomeli

Tropical Modern

In this travel course students will explore Sri Lanka, visiting diverse climates and historical sites, guided by the discipline of daily hand-drawing and written descriptions of place. We will investigate the country’s rich cultural legacy, with an emphasis on the architectural works of Geoffrey Bawa, an important native pioneer who brought modernist sensibilities into vernacular architectural formats.

  • Destinations:  Sri Lanka
  • Travel Dates:  May 21 - June 9
  • Eligibility:  Students in Architecture, Art and Design, Cultural Studies, South Asian Studies
  • Instructors:  Jono Sturt, Laura-Anne Wong

One-Offs, Islands, and Nomads: Experimental Japan

This course asks, how can documentary filmmaking produce new narratives about the city of Tokyo, Japan? In order to answer this question participants in this course will seek out and engage with individuals and groups who are seeking new approaches to cultural production in areas of architecture, urbanism, design, art, music and more.

  • Destinations:  Japan
  • Travel Dates:  May 14 - June 7
  • Eligibility:  Graduate and Undergraduate students in Architecture, Urban Planning, Art, Design, Photography/Film, Cultural Studies
  • Instructors:  Peter Halquist

Updating the visual lexicon: From Biennale to Biennale

This interdisciplinary travel studio will go from Biennale to Biennale. We will begin at the Architecture Biennale in Venice and will end up in Berlin for the 10th Art Biennale. This studio will take an analytic approach to visual culture, visiting artist/architecture studios and attending performances and other art events, in order to understand the many communicative layers that are active within these cities.

  • Destinations:  Italy, Czech Republic, Austria, and Germany
  • Travel Dates:  May 26 – June 16
  • Eligibility:  Graduate and upper level Undergraduate students in Architecture, Urban Planning, Art, Photography, Film, Political Science, International Studies, Communication Studies
  • Instructors:  Laida Aguirre

Designing Futures In Postindustrial Grounds

The course is set to explore the agency of design in the making of sustainable futures in postindustrial grounds through a comparative study between selected cases regions in the US Rust Belt (Chicago-Detroit-Cleveland) and Germany (Berlin, Hamburg and the Rhine-Ruhr Region). The course will address the architectural, landscape and urban strategies advancing the making of more resilient regions, its successes and failures. Participants will engage in research, first hand documentation and critique, to develop a robust understanding of contemporary debates in urban design and inform their own design proposals.

  • Destinations:  United States and Germany
  • Travel Dates:  May 21 – June 14
  • Eligibility:  Graduate level students - Master of Architecture, Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture - Study areas involved in the planning and design of the built environment, with a focus on the practices of sustainable urban regeneration
  • Instructors:  Maria Arquero de Alarcon and Claudia Wigger


Travel across America from Detroit to Los Angeles exploring seminal pieces of land art, large scale earthworks and American infrastructure.

  • Destinations:  United States
  • Travel Dates:  May 10 – May 31
  • Eligibility:  Graduate and upper level Undergraduate students in Architecture, Urban Planning, Art, Photography, and Civil Engineering
  • Instructors:  Jeffrey Halstead

Stranger Things: Foreignness and the Convicted Terrain

This course will offer a broad critique of buildings, monuments, landscapes and cultural infrastructures of both Australia and New Zealand as it relates to the fabrication of origin stories. Intellectual and literal “thievery”, will be presented as a productive (?) lens through which to understand settler culture, the repositioning of national identity and new imaginary landscapes.

  • Destinations:  Australia and New Zealand
  • Travel Dates:  May 2 – May 31
  • Eligibility:  Students in Architecture, Urban Planning, Design, Ecology, Geology, Landscape
  • Instructors:  Neal Robinson

Parallel Facades

This travel course will take students through a trace of significant Architecture work by Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, and the duo Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron of Herzog and De Meuron (from now on HDM). This course will travel through three countries where most of the work in concentrated, Germany, Switzerland, and France. The curated list of buildings and sites has been constructed based on the utility of the façade in architecture. Both of these practices have been powerful influencers of architectural style. Le Corbusier was elementary to the emergence of Modernism and the removal of decorative arts in architecture. HDM were equally as fundamental in the evolution of Contemporary style and aesthetics in Architecture. Both contributors have used the Architectural Façade to express their aesthetic convictions and ideologies. This traveling studio will examine the Architectural Façade of Modern and Contemporary Architecture as it relates to three areas of investigation: art, technology, and agency.

  • Destinations:  Germany, Switzerland, and France
  • Travel Dates:  May 13 – June 4
  • Eligibility:  Graduate and Undergraduate students in Architecture, Urban Planning, Arts and Humanities, Art History
  • Instructors:  Viola Ago

Architectural Identity: Coastal Exploration of Cultural Transference

The course proposes an investigation of the role architecture has played in constructing and deconstructing identity of cultures over time. Travel along the coast of the Iberian peninsula, Tangier, Morocco and then continued coastal travel of France and Italy will give insight into the changes over time from ancient to medieval, to pre-modern, to modern and contemporary architecture, their elements and artifacts, considering materials and methods of construction but also origins of color and form. We will consider transference of culture through practices of migration, conquest, and colonization as we map and document structures and artifacts of identity.

  • Destinations:  Portugal, Spain, Morocco, France, and Italy
  • Travel Dates:  May 8 – June 5
  • Eligibility:  Any Graduate and Undergraduate students
  • Instructors:  Dawn Gilpin


All students who have been approved for a spring travel course must submit a deposit of $500.00 to the Taubman College business office on or before March 10th. This deposit is only refunded in the event that the course is cancelled. (While not common, this can happen due to under enrollment, conditions changing at the destination making travel there unwise, etc.) Taubman College students receive a travel stipend of $1,000.  This stipend cannot be used for the deposit.

Passport and Visa

For international destinations:  A valid passport is required for international travel.  Passports must be valid for six months after the end of the program.  Information about visas will be provided after acceptance.

Application Procedures

Click "Apply Now" on this page to begin your application.  A checklist of requirements to complete will be presented to you.

Dates & Deadlines

  • Application Deadline for 2018 Spring Travel Courses: February 9, 2018  (Note: Applications will be available to submit in mid December)
  • Decision date:  The final decisions of enrollment in each course will be confirmed on February 23rd. The size of the class is kept small enough to be manageable by the faculty. We make every effort to give each student their first choice.
  • Confirmation date: March 1, 2018
  • Deposit date:  Deposits are due to the Taubman College business office on or before March 10th.

Contact Information

For questions about eligibility and course content:

Contact the course's faculty leader (see Academics section above).

For questions about the program: 

Laura Brown
Taubman College, rm 2150 Art & Architecture bldg.
2000 Bonisteel Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2069

For questions about the application process:

Global Engagement Team

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring and/or Summer 2018 02/09/2018
02/23/2018 TBA TBA

Indicates that deadline has passed

This program is currently not accepting applications, please see Dates & Deadlines or contact the sponsoring office for more information.