Many undergraduate students desire opportunities to participate in study abroad experiences. During the 2015-2016 “Winterim” term, a select group of CU Denver Bachelor of Science in Architecture students participated in a design build project in South America. This hands-on learning opportunity was made possible through our International Design Build course.
CU Denver’s undergraduate International Design Build course is a unique way for undergraduate architecture students to engage with project-based education. It provides students with the opportunity to understand the context of another culture, political environment, construction limitations, and educational needs in a Central American setting. The course activities integrate multiple disciplines such as engineering, anthropology, and business into a service learning project that employs an architectural way of thinking to collaboratively deliver a physical object.
In December 2015 and January 2016, undergraduate architecture students traveled to Jalapa, Nicaragua, where they spent several days working on renovations to the Chusli preschool. Students engaged firsthand with the Nicaraguan culture and the environmental and physical realities of the northern mountain region. There were also excursions to study cultural and historic sites, as well as centers that focus on social needs such as educational programs for women and children.
PhD Candidate and GTA Maria Delgado reflected on the project:
The undergraduate architecture students immersed themselves in the Chusli pre-school development by working with local materials and techniques, engaging in a varied scope of work, and learning about the local culture. They collaborated as a team, alongside the community, identifying design and construction solutions in a real world context to enhance the town’s resources. This project was a true, positive collaboration amongst the Nicaraguan people and the CU Denver students.
You can read student reflections on the international design build website.
Student Sokol Binakaj designed and built a timelapse robot to document this work. Here is one of his timelapses: