USC Study Abroad Program in France
Fall Semester in Saintes
last updated: 11/15/03 this is a site in progress. check back for revised content.

saintes program information links

fall 2003 student work in progress

fall 2003 studio project statement

fall 2003 course link



travel requirements/info

CEAU information/facilities

getting to Saintes

application for study abroad program (pdf)

links are under construction

In the Fall of 1996, the School of Architecture offered for the first time a study abroad program in southwestern France. The program is held at le Centre d'Etude d'Architecture et d'Urbanisme (CEAU), a teaching and research center that is located in Saintes, France.

The goal of the 16 unit semester program in France is to provide a place for 10 to 12 outstanding fourth and fifth-year architecture students to extend the boundaries of their architectural studies beyond the USC campus. Students develop an understanding of the relationship between architecture and the culture that influences it. The program helps the students to build a broader, more thoughtful, critical framework while experiencing first hand significant architectural built work from Medieval times to the present day in a variety of European locations. The program allows comparisons to be made between the development of architecture in Europe, especially France, with that which has occurred in the United States. While the program is centered in Saintes, students take extended trips to Paris, Barcelona, and Berlin as well as historic towns in southern France. Shorter trips to significant architectural and urban projects in the region are conducted weekly.

Students undertake various short and long-term design problems which focus on questions of urban design, adaptive reuse, and new construction associated with building within a historic context. The design projects relate to the research work of the Center and are published in the journal of the Center, Saintonge. Municipal officials and local professional architects assist on these design projects which have the potential to be realized in the near future. Thus, the program serves as a resource to study, exhibit, and encourage significant urban projects for Saintes and communities in the region.

Known as Mediolanum Saintonium when it was the Roman capital of southwestern Gaul, Saintes is the center of art history and culture for the region, possessing a wealth of architecture ranging from the first century AD to today. Numerous Roman constructions serve as excellent examples of the architecture of that period including an amphitheater, the Arch of Germanicus, the baths, and vestiges of aqueducts. Third century dense fortification exist, as well as a number of 11th century Romanesque churches.

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