Study Abroad - Architecture

The School of Architecture offers a variety of options for international study, ranging from research trips to architectural hot spots to design-build experiences in under-served developing countries. These travel opportunities vary from year to year. Recent study-abroad opportunities have included the following:


In December 2013, the new Center for Public Interest Design in the School of Architecture will be sending fifteen students, professors and design professionals to Haiti in order to collaborate with students from the École Spéciale d'Architecture in Paris on continued efforts at the Montesinos Orphanage and Environmental Technical School. 

Led by Professor Sergio Palleroni, this 10-day design-build effort will culminate in the completion of the two residential courtyards and playscapes at the orphanage. Over the last two and a half years, the project has focused on generating a master plan and architectural services for the orphanage's school, residential and agricultural facilities, which provide both a K-12 education for the orphans and the community, as well as adult education on sustainable agricultural practices, building and infrastructure. After an intense effort, often disrupted by events related to the fragile and unstable social and political situation of Haiti, the school and dormitories for 350 students have been completed, and we are focusing on the design and construction of a bakery, water systems, organic farm, and restoration of this stunning site, which will be a model for the rest of the region.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The School of Architecture has embarked on a multi-year effort to help communities in Buenos Aires dealing with environmental degradation and poverty. Under the leadership of Professor of Architecture Sergio Palleroni, the BaSiC Initiative program, now a part of PSU’s School of Architecture and the Center for Public Interest Design, was invited in 2011 to help PROSUR, the social outreach agency of the southern region of Buenos Aires, to help put in place environmental initiatives that would address the growing problem the city is facing in both these areas. 

Students from PSU were joined by a large contingency of students from the University of Texas, Austin; Rhode Island School of Design; University of California, Berkeley; and Dalhousie University, of Canada. On an initial trip to Buenos Aires in 2011, students designed and built a children's library for the squatter community of Los Piletones and upgraded a local not-for-profit kitchen to feed three meals a day to more than 1,500 people facing extreme poverty in this area. A subsequent trip, in 2012, gave students the chance to renovate a day-care facility for the community. 


Ladakh, India

In the summer of 2010, students traveled to Ladakh, a sparsely populated, mountainous region of northern India bordering Tibet. Through the efforts of Professor of Architecture Sergio Palleroni's BaSiC Initiative, the students visited the Druk White Lotus School and worked to make improvements to the school, including building a visitors' center.

  While in Ladakh, the students, together with community members, constructed a 172-square-foot classroom tent using discarded military parachutes from Pakistan, India and the United States armies. The project was submitted to the Earth Awards for that year, and the tent, called the Commonwealth Pavilion, was featured as part of the awards festivities on the lawn of Marlborough House, Prince Charles's home in London, England. The pavilion was returned to Ladakh, where it would be used for classes and gatherings at the Druk White Lotus School once again.


Architecture & Urbanism in Madrid, Barcelona, and Girona, Spain

Led by Professors Rudy Barton and Jeff Schnabel, this short-term summer field research program allows students to investigate the historical and contemporary architecture and urban design of Barcelona, Spain, and its immediate surroundings. Barcelona, located in the northwest corner of Spain, is also within a few short hours of Madrid and Provence, France. The city is heralded as one of Europe's best laboratories for studying architecture as it contains more than 2,000 years of buildings ranging from Roman houses to the most contemporary experiments in making buildings.

Participants spend the majority of each day in the field investigating architectural designs in Barcelona and its surroundings. Daily activities include site visits to important sites, museums, and professional offices; on-site activities include reflection and analysis of importan design characteristics through graphic means recorded primarily in a Barcelona Journal. Two weeks in Barcelona are supplemented by four days in the nearby medieval university town of Girona to compare and contrast design influences.

This program is open to sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students from all majors. Financial aid can be applied. For more information, visit or e-mail

2013 trip blog:

2011 trip blog: 

View the 2011 trip video below:

Portland State Architecture | Spain 2011 from Portland State University on Vimeo.

Contact the School of Architecture office for more information about upcoming travel opportunities.