It is with pride that I say I study at the Universidad de Buenos Aires/ University of Buenos Aires in the Architecture Design and Urbanism department (or FADU, as we call it). With worldwide prestige earned by the performance and qualities of its graduates and teachers, the public University located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has become one of our country’s most outstanding achievements.
Located in the Nuñez neighbourhood, the department is the last of the four pavilions that make up what we call ‘Ciudad Universitaria’ alongside the Exact Sciences, Biological Sciences, and a new Engineering pavilion finished in 2019. Thanks to its location, it has its train stop, and many bus lines meet their end within the campus’ grounds, making it well connected and accessible. The University has many departments offering a wide variety of careers. FADU offers courses of studies in Architecture, Urbanism, Graphic, Industrial, Audiovisual, and Indumentary design, and recently the Major of Landscaping has been made available as a course of study.
The Course of Study | University of Buenos Aires
Each course of study has a plan that dictates how you are supposed to organize your career ideally. All in all, each course of study sums up for five years, in addition to an extra year of what we call CBC (Ciclo básico común), meaning ‘Common Basic Cycle,’ intending to grant every student the same essential contents to start the career. However, the way and time you take to organize and carry your education are entirely up to you, as you can arrange the classes as you please to meet your needs at the beginning of each semester. We also count on a large summer course where you can opt to do up to two courses either to make up for the one you weren’t able to do during the year or to advance one corresponding to the following year.
The classes are primarily practical, even the most theoretical: the focus may change according to the Chair and the evaluation process and semester works and practices. However, if not all, most intend to teach more than theoretical content such as history, structure, morphology, or semiology, but to build a way of seeing the world.
The University of Buenos Aires intends to be accessible for everyone, granting the whole population a high-quality education in seeking personal and communal growth to foster thinking minds, creatives, and individual expression. Diversity is possible thanks to the system implemented by the University, where many university chairs are available for each class, each of them with different perspectives, methods, and positions over the same topics for students to choose what suits them best. By making many options available, students gain control over the constructions of their creative professional personalities. Not to mention that most professors are passionate about what they do; they find great pleasure in teaching and devote their heart and soul to the task, despite it not being their primary job.
When it comes to the learning environment, the building serves as the mere spirit of its students: the whole University is the built testimony of every person that has ever set foot in its grounds; its walls, classrooms, hallways, the concrete pavilion becomes a gallery full of colors, life, and will. It is a place where everyone can be who and how they are, a place where diversity is not only welcome but nurtured, which is what makes the experience of these open hallways and spacious classrooms so unique. It is in the differences that bright, creative minds can work together to learn from each other.
However, the joyous feeling deems down during exams and hand-in times, where the central ground becomes a cluster of students, plans, and maquettes, where frenzies and nerves fill the air. But even then, the feeling of community and family relies on, for even in complete desperation, there is always someone, no matter the level, career, or age, willing to help you get things done and alleviate the stress in those last deadly minutes. The feeling is that of family, a communion between students, graduates, teachers, people working in the libraries, plotters, and even the cafeterias.
And when all is said and done, when the class is over, and all the hard work has paid off, you can go outside and enjoy the mesmerizing views to the Rio de la Plata, drinking a cup of coffee as the sunbeams on you, lighting your face and spirit.
Democratic Spaces: the Workshops
The University has dozens of workshops and classrooms, vast spaces ready to fit more than 200 students working in collaboration on the extensive wooden tables craning up plans, schemes, designs, exploring their way to their creative identity. Within these tall, concrete spaces where the walls seem to vanish, merging with the mesmerizing view of swaying, rustling leaves of the towering trees from the outside grounds, students learn about the importance of teamwork and observing the world.
The idea of these places is to grant spatial qualities that allow students to move freely, use the workshop as they please, and, most importantly, foster partnership to help each other in the design process. The classrooms must be the most democratic space on the University’s grounds.
Fostering Communication Through Design
Permanent and sporadic exhibitions display in several galleries devoted to communicating the views of different minds and personalities of diverse disciplines. The importance of these exhibitions relies not only on design per se but what they communicate. Design as we know it is a powerful communicative, transforming tool with a message that gets across stronger than any other format.
As a public university, topics common to all society and the history of our country are very deeply rooted in the institution, and therefore comply with approaching said issues within the University’s community and spreading throughout the city.
An Opportunity for Entrepreneurs | University of Buenos Aires
Many students work to afford their education, and many of them have their projects related to design, from clothing to industrial and graphic design. The University fosters the growth of students as professional individuals. That is why once a month, the central patio, the heart of the department around which the whole student activity revolves, becomes the host of the ‘Feria Fadu.’
In this fair, every student and graduate that has a brand of their own and wishes to make it grow has the space to do it, selling their products and leaving their mark to anyone willing to listen.
Library and Mediatheque
The recently remodeled library is a peaceful, multi-use space where students can consult a sea of bibliographical content, from books to archives and magazines, as well as a vast archive of movies, documentaries, and images that might be useful for recreational or research purposes. Long tables are displayed to comfort the students whether they need to work in a team or solo. If more privacy is required, boxes with everything you need to work with your team can be booked, providing a secular space within the public area.
Lastly, a quiet room is available for those in need of a complete hush atmosphere to concentrate. Whether to study or make time between classes, the library is an excellent place within the ground specifically designed for students.
Center for Experimentation in Audiovisual Media
Filming equipment can be expensive and hard to get. The University hires this material and provides filming sets, casting areas, a videotheque, and an edition isle with access to Sony Vegas, Adobe Premiere, After Effects, and Protocols for material edition. The idea is for students to have everything they might need to complete their projects in the most fulfilling and pleasant way possible.
Education in this University extends beyond the mere fields of study and the limits of the classrooms, providing diverse courses, experiences, and programs for students, teachers, and graduates to explore their interest in topics outside the curricula.
Academic Credits Internship | University of Buenos Aires
These internships take place in ongoing investigations within the University, partnering with different entities and laboratories outside the academic environment. There are many options for each course of study to support the researchers in the investigation and learn about a specific area of the field, learning about academic research in various projects and programs. These internships are optative and give you credits that count as optative classes, adding to the number of hours you need to accumulate by the end of your career. Some of them take up one semester, whereas others are yearly internships.
Yearly Design Biennale
‘At present, it is necessary to sharpen not only the perception of Design, as an engine of change and social improvement but also how it is concretized in reality.’
Every year, the University hosts the Design Biennale, a public exposition of the work that students have done within its walls. It is a way of extending the progress, growth, and knowledge of its undergraduates to the community. During these three days, the department becomes the host of workshops, talks, and exhibitions that pose design, approaches, and possible solutions. While the collections are open to the public, workshops and lectures remain for students and graduates to get deeper into specific topics.
Despite sparing the cost of a private university, we all know design careers are difficult to afford, and many students need to work to make it sustainable in time. Therefore, the University grants scholarships for different aspects to make the cost less of baggage for those who need it. You need to fill in a form given to you by the student’s center, and if you qualify, you might get reduced costs in material, notes, extracurricular courses, etc.
Choose To Grow
Formative courses allow students to acquire valuable tools for their career and professional lives and the creative process. Classes on BIM, AutoCAD, photoshop, illustrator, adobe premiere, and many more are offered for free by the students so that the same tools are available for everyone despite economic accessibility. Other courses look to inspire the creative side of the studentship, teaching manual skills for those interested in exploring new creating processes.
Extracurricular courses dictated by professionals are also available for students, teachers, and graduates. Lastly, many students of different levels offer their tutorship to help you prepare for your exams and carry along the most challenging classes. Courses are part of our public University’s spinal cord, bringing about opportunity, equality, support, and partnership.
Seminars, Lectures, and Extracurricular Activities
Adding to the Biennale’s approach, the University grants yearly lectures, trips, excursions, and seminars for students, some of them posed by the University’s government, others proposed explicitly for the Chair that brings forward the initiative. Lectures, seminars, and most field trips are free to access, while trips are gone by the student’s count.
There are many more benefits like exchange programs, contests, interdisciplinary activities, investigation programs and scholarships, scientific publications, work opportunities, professional agreements, among many other aspects that bring about endless possibilities for students and graduates. However, the most exciting thing about studying at the Universidad de Buenos Aires is that you never get to know it, for its ever-changing.
There is always a new nook, a new piece of art in the fire escape stair, a door you’ve never seen. It has its language, a language that only those who experience its classrooms, hallways, elevators, and stairs understand. It is the University of the students and for the students where identity, diversity, and community are the heart of the learning process and a tool to work interdisciplinarily for a better future. This University is about equality and opportunity, and in that, I find the proudest I could ever be.
References | University of Buenos Aires
- FADU UBA (2021). Becas. [online]. Available at: http://www.fadu.uba.ar/categoria/47-becas
- FADU UBA (2021). UBANEX. [online]. Available at: http://www.fadu.uba.ar/categoria/268-ubanex
- FADU UBA (2021).Cursos Extracurriculares. [online]. Available at: http://www.fadu.uba.ar/categoria/101-cursos-extracurriculares
- FADU UBA (2021).Deportes. [online]. Available at: http://www.fadu.uba.ar/categoria/101-cursos-extracurriculares
- FADU UBA (2021).Cultura. [online]. Available at: http://www.fadu.uba.ar/categoria/102-cultura
- FADU UBA (2021).Centro de Experimentación en Medios Audiovisuales. [online]. Available at: http://www.fadu.uba.ar/categoria/122-set-de-filmacin-cema
- FADU UBA (2021).Exposiciones. [online]. Available at: http://www.fadu.uba.ar/categoria/222-exposiciones-sala-baliero
- 4BDSÑ (2021). ¿Qué es la Bienal? [online]. Available at: https://www.bienal.fadu.uba.ar/que-es-la-bienal/
- 4BDSÑ (2021). Experiencia Fanzine [online]. Available at:https://www.bienal.fadu.uba.ar/experiencia-fanzine/
- FADU UBA (2021). UBANEX. [online]. Available at: