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Architecture in Southern Europe and Morocco

Architecture in Southern Europe and Morocco
Spain, Portugal and Morocco
Language of Instruction: 
Academic Disciplines: 
Architectural Engineering
Interior Architecture
Graduate Courses
Program Type: 
Faculty Led
Program Summary: 

This study abroad program to the Southern Edge of Europe and Northwest Africa (Morocco) will provide an opportunity for students from all backgrounds to experience the Moorish and Arabic Architecture that has influenced the world from Europe and South America to India and China. The rich history of courtyard buildings, elaborate Zelji tile work and medieval city of nine thousand streets of Fez take us back in time to study the history of shelter, interior architecture of courtyards and home of the oldest university in the world. The evolution of these cities thought time teach us the effect of culture, materiality and natural resources on how people connect, communicate and live. We will investigate the influence of cultural and materials trade on the built environment of the three counties and their commonalities and differences. 

Participants will visit culturally rich historic sites in Lisbon, Seville, Granada, Fez and Marrakech.

Depart U.S. for Madrid: Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Arrive in Madrid: Wednesday, May 27, 2020
In Spain: May 27-June 5, 2020
In Morocco: June 5-12, 2020
In Portugal: June 12-16, 2020
Depart Lisbon for U.S.: Tuesday, June 16, 2020

This faculty-lead study abroad program will begin in Madrid. Students will then travel to Toledo, Seville, Granada, Tarifa, Tangier, Fez, Marrakech and we will end the program in Lisbon.  

Madrid: Participants will visit the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Spanish royal family. Additionally, participants will take a daytrip to Toledo, southwest of Madrid. Toledo was a once a place where Christians, Jews and Muslims converged and has brilliant architecture which reflects its past. While in Toledo, participants will visit visit the Mosque of Christ of the Light, Synagogue Santa Maria La Blanca and the Gothic Cathedral of Toledo.

Seville: Participants will visit the Alcázar of Sevilla, a Royal Palace of Mudéjar architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Additionally, participants will visit the Seville Cathedral which is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and see the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Students can also see the Giralda Bell Tower of the Seville Cathedral which was originally the minaret of the mosque but became the church tower later. A half-scale replica of this same bell tower was built in the Kansas City Country Club Plaza. 

Granada: The highlight of Spain is La Alhambra, the palace and fortress of the Moorish monarchs of Granada.

In Morocco we will arrive in the port city of Tangier, the gateway between Africa and Europe.

Chefchaouen (1 day): Participants will see the pale-blue houses built by the Muslim and Jewish refugees from Granada in 1494.  This town has a distinctive Spanish flavor and participants will wind through winding paths of the medina, the old part of the town.

Fez:  Participants will then travel to the most preserved medieval city of Fez. The city of Fez is known for its cultural and educational significance and the preservation of craft, leather and its 9000 no automobile streets.

Marrakech:  We will travel to Marrakech, home to gardens, markets and palaces before flying to Portugal. 

Lisbon: The visit to the capital of Portugal, Lisbon will include, walking tours of vistas, colorful architecture and the study of multiculturalism and globalism on the city. 

Academic Information: 

Interior Architecture Students will only enroll in:

  • IAD 690 Study Abroad for Interior Architecture (5 credits)

Master of Architecture Students will enroll in:

  • Arch 690 Study Abroad (6 Credits)
  • Arch 692  Documentation (2 Credits) this 2 credit documentation will result in a report due prior to Fall 2022. 

Participants will stay in centrally located hotels in Lisbon, Seville, Granada Tangier, Fez and Marrakesh.


The program is open to all Architecture and Interior Architecture Students with Study Abroad requirements. 

Interior Architecture Students who have completed Arch 109  

KU Masters of Architecture Students (3 year or 5 year program) who have completed ARCH 209 or ARCH 502.

The following additional students are eligible on a space-available basis:

KU Architectural Studies Students who have completed third year
KU Architectural Engineering students who have completed ARCH 200
KU Design students who have completed third year and have drawing experience

Priority will be given to KU Interior Architecture and KU Architecture Students.

Program Faculty: 

Nilou Vakil, is an Assistant Professor and past Director of Interior Architecture Program at KU School of Architecture and Design. She has taught advanced architectural design studios at the University of Kansas since 2013. She is a licensed architect and principal of the award winning architecture firm inSitu Design. She is an affiliate faculty of the Middle Eastern Studies at KU and has previously led many architectural trips including, Middle Eastern Architectural Study Abroad (Dubai, Abu-Dhabi- Sharjah), Denver and Chicago trips during her tenure at KU. 


Summer 2022 programs now accepting applications !

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