I’ve been part of the Arkitex Studio family as an architectural intern since the Fall of 2020.  When not in the office, though, I am a senior environmental design major at Texas A&M University and, in the Spring of 2021, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain – the city of architects. 

With Barcelona being the densest city in Spain, COVID-19 rules and regulations made my studio group some of the few non-Spanish tourists there. For reference, upon  my approach to the Sagrada Familia (Antoni Gaudi’s most famous cathedral and an iconic landmark of Barcelona), only two people were taking photos – a rare sight indeed. Even with the streets devoid of waves of tourists, residents of Barcelona still filled squares and beaches and created for me a new fascination with and longing for a dense urban setting that will most likely inform where I choose to study for my Master of Architecture degree. 

Possibly the most valuable aspect of the study abroad program, though, was learning about the skills thatinternational architects require.  First and foremost is, of course, the ability to collaborate with people from different fields that speak different languages (Catalan, in this case).  Nearly of equal importance, though, is the ability to assess contextual circumstances in a setting completely foreign to your own that aid in the design of a successful project. 

It wasn’t all classwork all the time, however, and, despite COVID, the Catalonian region was open to travel.  Making day trips to Tarragona, Olot, and Girona (the location of many scenes from HBO’s Game of Thrones) was a lot of fun.

Being back in Bryan, TX, now, I’m still fascinated by the experiences studying in Barcelona gave me and grateful for the skills that the Barcelona Architecture Center helped me cultivate. Even though we couldn’t travel to Germany  or Madrid, I am actually really thankful for my time there because, thanks to there being no tourists, I think I got a more authentic experience of Barcelona than I may ever get in the future.

By Joshua Pisors