Guardamar, Spain
Berkeley Summer Abroad

Guardamar, Spain: Imagining and Re-Envisioning the Urban Setting

  • Summary

    In addition to visiting various Spanish towns and cities to investigate and interpret their intrinsic narratives, the course shall also investigate the historical and cultural effects on the formation of the small resort town of Guardamar del Segura; a town with medieval and a modern Spanish heritage making it ripe with complexity and contradiction—an ideal setting for the study of urban architecture.

    Broaden your architecture experience by stepping into a town where culture, food, ritual, and environment significantly impact urban design
    Discover the impact that tourism and urbanism have on the city's architectural identity
    Visit cities like Alicante and Granada, and tour the famous Alhambra Islamic palace

    This course will explore the concept that universal principles of design are most effective, as a designer's poetic statement, when different histories and cultures are experienced firsthand. Take this opportunity to find common architectural ground in these simultaneously universal and personal designs.

    "It won't be like any school you are used to. You learn to live and study in a fluid environment where your exploration in the streets is as valuable as your lessons in the classroom."
     —Kenneth Hasegawa, 2011 Participant

    Get a sense of what studio life is like in Guardamar by checking out the following program sites:

    Instagram: berkeley_spain_studio
    Program’s Blog:
    • Program’s Vimeo:

    Dates: May 30 – August 1, 2018
    All dates are subject to change.
    Units: 6 units
    Language of Instruction: English
    ENV DES 109: Imagining and Re-Envisioning the Urban Setting


    • At least one year of college coursework completed by the start of the program
    • 2.0 GPA or higher

    This course is open to any CED or non-CED student


    • Application opens February 1, 2018
    • Space is limited and applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis
    • Deadline to apply is March 9, 2018

  • Courses

    During the program, you will take one course for a total of 6 Berkeley units.
    Course: ENV DES 109
    Title: Imagining and Re-Envisioning the Urban Setting
    Dates: May 30 – August 1, 2018
    Instructor: Alejandro Salazar-Jasbon
    Units: 6 units
    Prerequisites: None

    Since 2010, the College of Environmental Design’s Department of Architecture has offered the Guardamar Summer Architectural Studio in Spain. For 2018, the department has reimagined the course as an Environmental Design Special Topics course, allowing for a broader student population from within the CED (City Planning, Landscape and Architecture students) to enroll for credit counting towards graduation, while maintaining a synchronized study sequence.

    We envision this year’s program as being more focused on research, documentation and the development of synthetic conclusions in the form of individual student papers, and journals (graphic and written).

    All work will be based on our various travels to significant destinations beginning in Madrid, the Valencian Community, Andalucia and returning through Extremadura back to Madrid. Our inspiration shall be drawn from such places and supplemented by readings from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, as well as various other writers focused on these cities and regions.

    We shall endeavor to understand the city with different eyes: those of tourists seeking “otherness” from what is familiar, the resident, the immigrant, etc. and we shall seek to engage the nature of the city in its “real” urban condition from our individual points of view. We shall document the narrative of different places, paying particular attention to the myths on which the cities are built, their formative political struggles, climate and eroding resources.

    You can fulfill the L&S International Studies breadth requirement by full participation in a Berkeley Summer Abroad program. All of the required courses must be completed with a C-/P or better.

  • Costs

    Tuition and Program Fee

    The fees to participate in this program are broken down into 1) tuition and 2) program fees, which are applied to your student billing account as follows:

    2018 Fees UC Students Visiting Students
    Tuition (6 units) $2,526 $3,300
    Program Fee $2,441 $2,441
    Total Cost $4,967 $5,741

    Fees are subject to change. All non-UC Berkeley students must pay an additional Document Management Fee of $55.

    Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses
    In addition to the fees outlined above, Berkeley Study Abroad has estimated costs for out-of-pocket expenses. These amounts are used to calculate financial aid packages for eligible students. Actual expenses will vary depending on your lifestyle and spending habits.


    Estimated Expenses  Amount
    International Airfare and Transportation $1,200
    Additional Meals $705
    Books $222
    Personal Expenses (i.e. phone, passport, visas, etc.) $687
    Total Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses $2,814

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid is available for Berkeley students who are enrolled in at least 6 units during the summer. All other students should contact the financial aid office at their home institution for more information.

    Explanation of Fees
    Tuition is based on a per-unit cost:

    • The UC undergraduate student rate is $421 per unit
    • The visiting student rate for all non-UC participants is $550 per unit

    The program fee includes* the following items:

    • Students will be housed in shared accommodations with other program participants
    • On-site orientation activities, excursions, etc.
    • Travel insurance to cover accident/sickness medical coverage, emergency medical evacuation, security extraction, and other travel assistance services
    • Other program-related costs including fees for group transportation, guest speakers, etc.
    • The initial non-refundable deposit of $400, which is due at the time of application and is applied to the program fee

    *Please note that the list of items included in the program fee is not all-inclusive and is subject to change.

    The following items are excluded from the program fee:

    • International airfare
    • Personal expenses (souvenirs, routine medical expenses, toiletries, etc.)
    • Course materials (textbooks and readers)
    • Other travel expenses (passport, visa, etc.)
    • Additional meals
    • Commuting costs for daily travel to and from classes

  • Timeline
    Application opens February 1, 2018
    Application closes March 9, 2018
    Applicants notified of selection March 23, 2018
    Deadline to confirm participation or cancel for a refund of all program-related fees, minus $400 deposit TBD
    Attend pre-departure orientation* Late April-May
    Arrive in Spain May 30, 2018
    Last day of program August 1, 2018
  • Instructors

    Alejandro Salazar-Jasbon
    Program Director

    Alejandro Salazar-Jasbon holds a Master’s degree in both Architecture and Landscape Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. He has worked on various residential, commercial and institutional projects in New York City, California, North Carolina, Michigan, Florida, Spain and several other locations.

    Alejandro taught Architectural Design Studio 100A at the University of California, Berkeley during 2007 and 2008. In 2010, he founded and continues to lead the yearly Summer Architecture Studio in Spain. Previously he taught undergraduate design studios at the University of Pennsylvania and continues to regularly serve as a visiting juror at various universities; including Cornell, Columbia, Parsons, Pratt Institute, City Collage, CCA, University of South Florida, University of Virginia and the Unviersidad de Alicante in Spain.