In an extraordinary collaboration between Spain’s University of Alcala (UAH) and Lovely Professional University (LPU); a group of 43 Spanish students and faculty embarked on a transformative journey to explore architectural connections between Spain and the Punjab (Chandigarh). The event, named ‘ALECS-2024’ (Architectural Linguistics of Education in COLLABStudio), brought together globe’s two leading architectural institutions to delve into the creation and interpretation of educational buildings. It proved as an educational bridge between Chandigarh (Punjab) and Spain.

A major centre of academic excellence and founded in 1499, the University of Alcalá is presently acknowledged as a model to be imitated in Europe and America. The beauty and richness of its buildings led UNESCO to declare it a ‘World Heritage Site’.

The collaborative studio, held at LPU’s School of Architecture & Design (LSAD) witnessed the participation of nearly 90 students and faculty members from both the universities-UAH & LPU. The program aimed to navigate the complexities of real-world projects and refine creative processes within the architecture domain.

The visit commenced with an immersive experience for the delegates from Alcala University, involving a tour of educational infrastructure designed by renowned architects Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanerette, as well as a visit to the Panjab University in Chandigarh. These activities provided valuable insights into architectural design and interpretation.

The studio sessions conducted at LSAD offered opportunity to engage in intensive observation and night studio sessions. It fostered a deep understanding of architectural principles, and encouraged collaboration among students from different cultural backgrounds.

The inaugural session was graced by His Excellency Jose Maria Ridao Dominguez, the Ambassador of Spain to India, who addressed the schools of architecture and emphasized the importance of international collaboration. H.E. Mr. Dinesh K Patnaik, the Indian Ambassador in Spain, also mentored the synergy session, and highlighted the significance of such global collaborations in the field of architecture.

The Founder Chancellor of LPU and Member Parliament (Rajya Sabha) Dr Ashok Kumar Mittal shared about the paramount importance of collaboration within architectural pedagogy. Dr Mittal emphasized that by structuring architectural design studios around collaborative principles, students are prepared to navigate real-world projects, understand diverse perspectives, and refine their creative processes.

The visiting students studied the architectural marvel of LPU campus, which is known for its ‘Brutalist’ architecture, and strong urban statement at a regional level. The Chief Architect & Head LSAD, Dr. Ar Atul Singla shares: “All at LPU are pleased to see that the campus served as an inspiring example for the foreign participants.”

One of the highlights of the event was an exhibition showcasing the collaborative works of Spanish and Indian students. The exhibition, inaugurated by LPU’s Pro-Chancellor Mrs. Rashmi Mittal, comprised photographic documentation, videography, and collages that showcased the students’ interpretation of educational building philosophies.

The collaborative endeavour received appreciation and support from esteemed guests, including Ar. Kapil Setia, Chief Architect of Chandigarh Administration; and, Dr. Navdeep Asija, Director of Punjab Road Safety and Traffic Research Centre (PRSTRC). The presence of Dr. Ar. Ernesto Enrique Echeverria Valiente, Director of the Department of Architecture at the University of Alcala, and Ar. Charanjit S. Shah from the Creative Group in Delhi further enriched the collaborative sessions.

Faculty members at LSAD, including Ar. Rajendra Kumar, Prof. Tara Singla, Ar. Mohammed Yasar Arafath, Ar. Chetan Sachdeva, Ar. Priyadarshni Chathurvedi, Ar. Mustafizur Rehman, Ar. Abhinav Tripathi, and Ar. Sharen Handa, played a crucial role in mentoring and coordinating the program. Dr. Sorabh Lakhanpal, the Dean of Student Welfare at LPU, highlighted the importance of cultural exchanges in the understanding of architecture.

This collaborative initiative between Alcala University and Lovely Professional University empowered future architects to tackle complex challenges with innovation, empathy, and a deep understanding of the collaborative nature of their profession. By embracing global counterparts, the collaboration embodied the essence of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” – ‘the world is one family’.