Cal Poly Pomona

Study Abroad

China Summer Study Abroad Program (June 24 - July 27)

Interdisciplinary Studio
Summer 2008

Application Materials for the 2008 program

Dr. Gwen Urey and Professor Irma E. Ramirez

Program Description

The College of Environmental Design China Studio is an interdisciplinary studio that encourages students of Urban and Regional Planning, Architecture, and Landscape Architecture to learn about the collaborative work of these professions creating the human-made environment. The studio, taking place primarily in Beijing,China, exposes students to non-western cultural, professional, and academic traditions. It encourages students to become socially responsible professionals as they work on real design projects addressing urban world problems .

students with city skyline

Students get a "first-hand" introduction to design, working in collaboration with Chinese Faculty and students, clients, expert designers, and planning officials. Guest speakers and site visits expose students to the social, political, legal, and economic contexts that shape the design and development of buildings and urban settings in China. This 5 1/2-week (1 week at Cal Poly + 4 1/2 weeks abroad) interdisciplinary studio is led by ENV faculty Dr. Gwen Urey (Department of Urban and Regional Planning), and Professor Irma Ramirez (Department of Architecture). During the 5 1/2 weeks abroad students attend seminars and lectures at the facilities of NCUT; visit the study area (studio site) and the following cities: Hangzhou (2 days) Suzhou (2 days), Shanghai (3 days), Guozijizn and Datong (1 day), Yuangang (1 day), and Pingyao (1 day). The program is hosted by the North China University of Technology (NCUT) in Beijing.

Academic Credit

  1. Topic Studio (6 units)
  2. China Cities, Buildings, Arts and Gardens (4 units - URP Upper Division Elective, ARC Professional Elective)
  3. China’s Architectural and Planning Practices (4 units - URP Upper Division Elective, ARC Professional Elective)

NOTE FOR 1ST YEAR ARCHITECTURE GRADUATE STUDENTS ONLY: Study abroad programs are intended for graduate students who have completed their 2nd year of studies. Therefore, graduate students having completed their 1st year of studies cannot receive credit for the topic studio; credit may be earned as an independent studies class on a case by case basis. Please consult with Professor Irma Ramirez.

NOTE TO LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE STUDENTS: You must consult your academic advisor in your department to verify how credit will be granted for courses taken in this program.

NOTE TO 1st and 2nd YEAR URP UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS: Although students in the 3rd and 4th year have priority in the selection process, outstanding 1st and 2nd year students are encouraged to apply.

Detailed Course Description

Urban/Architectural Design Topic Studio

The School of Environmental Design China Studio is an interdisciplinary studio which will expose the students to nonwestern canons of cultural, professional, and academic traditions. Studio topic will focus the development of Urban Design proposals for a key area in Beijing. Design strategies will involve the study of transportation infrastructure, housing and commercial corridors, historical contexts, and landscaping methods to the redevelopment of the area in question. Students will work in interdisciplinary teams with Chinese students and faculty.

The History of Chinese Architecture and City Planning Practices

This course is a survey of Chinese history as it affects the aesthetic sensibilities and artistic achievements of China. Lectures focus on the ancient and contemporary practices of the Architectural and Planning Professions in China. The course is complimented by a series of field trips in the city of Beijing to Tian’anmen Square-The Gate of Heavenly Peace, the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Imperial College in Guozijian, and other Urban Projects recently completed and under construction in Beijing. Special visits are scheduled to the XXIX Beijing Organizing Olympic Committee, the City Planning Department of the City of Beijing, and the Museum of Urban Planning in Beijing. A tour to the Shanxi Province will further provide an opportunity for students to explore ancient building and urban practices through a field trips to the Yungang Buddhist Caves and The Hanging Temples in Datong; and the walled City of Pingyao. Students are required to maintain a travel sketchbook and photo documentation, as well as the submission of a final paper.

Chinese Cities and Gardens

The course encompasses 1 1/2 weeks of travel to the Chinese cities of Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Suzhou for the exploration of urban systems and the importance of the Chinese garden to China’s urban history. Course requires field trips to the city of Shanghai, Song Dynasty Park in Hangzhou, the Water Town in Zhouzhunag, Tiger Hill Administrative gardens in Suzhou. Special visits: visit to the American Planning Association Office in Shanghai, and the Museum of Urban Planning in Shanghai. Students are required to maintain a travel sketchbook and photo documentation, as well as the submission of a final paper.

Program Fees

The estimated cost of the program is $4675.00. This cost includes tuition, accommodation, meals, Chinese visa, international medical insurance for the duration of the program (additional coverage available for purchase for extended stay), and transportation for all the scheduled activities and tours, which include the Beijing region, Shanxi province, and Shanghai tour. Program cost includes roundtrip airfare from LAX- Beijing, and round trip airfare from Beijing-Shanghai. The above cost figure does not include transportation to LAX, and passport expenses. A non-refundable deposit of $500 is due once you are selected to participate in the program.

Application Process

Application Process All students interested in the program should download the application package on-line or pick up an application form from the Office of International Programs at Cal Poly Pomona; Building #1-104.

The deadline to fill and turn in all the required application material to Dr. Gwen Urey (#7-225) or to Professor Irma Ramirez (#7-101) is December 7. Incomplete application packages will not be accepted.

You are encouraged to fill and submit your application as soon as possible because there is a limited number of seats available. Failure to pay the deposit and/or follow through the payment schedule will result in your elimination from the China Study Abroad Program, while other "stand by" students will take your seat.

Application Materials

  1. All candidates must submit the following application material by December 7, 2007
  2. A complete application form. Download the Application Package (Requires Adobe Acrobat)
  3. A non-refundable deposit of $500 (it will be cashed once you get selected to participate)
  4. Two (2) recommendation letters one of which must be from an academic person (use the faculty recommendation form)
    1. A letter of interest (essay) that states the following:
    2. the importance of this program for your academic and/or professional career
    3. your academic and technical strengths and weaknesses
    4. your contributions to the urban design studio project, and
    5. other personal qualities that will be valuable to the studio participants and instructors
  5. A curriculum vitae (cv) that emphasizes your academic achievements, and professional skills

Selection Criteria

The following criteria, ranked by level of importance, will be used to select the participants for the 2007 ENV China Study Abroad Program:

  • Interest in the program as it is determined through the letter of interest
  • Academic and professional strengths expressed in the cv and letter of interest
  • Current overall GPA
  • Overall student assessment as expressed by the letters of recommendation and letter of interest
  • Seniority in studies, although outstanding freshmen and sophomore students are strongly encouraged to apply
  • Date application is turned in (although this IS NOT a "first comes first serve" program, outstanding candidates that turn in their application package early have higher probability to be selected)

The leading ENV faculty reserve the right to request an in-person interview with candidates if deemed necessary.