On 29 May we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our Master of International Cooperation and Emergency Sustainable Architecture. More than 200 students from close to fifty countries around the world have taken part in this programme, co-directed by Carmen Mendoza and Sandra Bestraten.

Carmen Mendoza and the coordinators of the master’s course, Raquel Colacios, Allison Koornneef and Emili Hormias, provided the introduction to the event. “I feel very proud of the evolution of our programme over the past ten years.  When we talk about emergency architecture, we have to break down the barrier between physical and social interventions” said Carmen Mendoza.

Prestigious British professor Ian Davis was our guest speaker at the event, held in the Aula Jardí at the university, and talked about “Ten significant developments in housing and settlements, 2009-2019”.  Based on his more than forty years of professional experience in managing disasters, Ian Davis covered ten significant aspects in post-disaster scenarios over the last decade. He also highlighted the threats posed by factors such as forced migration, political corruption, religious fundamentalism and specifically the impact of climate change.  In his talk, Davis made a plea for the ethical principles in architecture.  “Ethics must be at the very root of architecture training”, he said.

Subsequently, a debate took place in which invited lectures and professors from the master’s degree, students and former students took part, asking questions and talking about their experiences in working and teaching in the post-disaster and development field. Our Master’s holistic approach was mirrored in the diversity of different professional backgrounds and fields of work of both teachers and alumni: from architecture, engineering, planning and geography, anthropology, economy to political ecology.

Assistant lecturer Lorenzo Chelleri underlined the need to offer a multidisciplinary approach to international cooperation and development policies to promote “the empowerment of the affected communities”.  Former student Kaitlyn Dietz talked about the reasons why she chose to take this master’s degree.  “I wanted to engage with architecture projects on a larger scale, and learn about the social scope of physical interventions”.  Another former student, Chiara Pirro, underlined the fact that, through this programme “students learn to ask the right questions”.  Former student and current lecturer on the programme, Mbongeni Ngulube, encouraged students “to observe and absorb at the same time, while they are undertaking their fieldwork”, while Ian Davis provided some similar advice for students: “Always take a notebook and collect quotes, ask for advice, talk to people and get involved in local action”

We also launched our new Alumni Platform at our anniversary event. So if you are a former student of our Master, please join our Facebook Group to share news, job opportunities, promote workshops and conferences as well as offer internship placements for our current students.


This article is an adapted version of the blog article first published by the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture.




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