Greek Island Architecture, Culture and Identity (Athens, Amorgos, Santorini, Tinos)

This four-week course is a voyage into the life and architecture of three Cycladic islands aiming to offer students an opportunity to consider questions of dwelling, belonging, and identity through an investigation of their practices of making sustainable architecture. The overarching aim of this course is to explore the meaning of unique island spaces: the private, the public, and the communal. We aim to understand what “dwelling” really means when it is fully engaged with the environment, histories and local practices.

The course will take place on three different islands, each revealing a unique history and tradition. We will spend multiple days on each island sketching, observing, writing, interviewing, studying, and exploring what everyday life is like in these communities. The final days will be spent in Athens where students will be invited to work collectively and suggest solutions to the various challenges they observed. The course will conclude with a one-day forum on these matters,  joined by artists, researchers and architects.

Course Details


This course requires a minimum enrollment of 10, with a maximum enrollment of 18.


60 contact hours

Essential Information

The course starts and ends  in Athens. Students should make international travel arrangements accordingly.  Transportation between destinations of the course, as well as any day excursions, is included in the course fee.

 This course involves extensive travel.  Be wary of overpacking.  Pack only what you can carry comfortably, because you will be required to check- in and out of accommodations for each stay / travel segment of this course. It will also be useful to bring with you travel-size cosmetics.

Enrolled students will have access to detailed arrival information prior to departure that will include directions to the Academic Center and other practical information about residing in Athens. CYA recommends the following websites for general information about Athens and Greece: and


Students are housed within walking distance of the CYA Academic Center in either CYA student apartments located in the Pangrati neighborhood of central Athens or in hotel accommodations arranged by CYA. CYA apartments are simply furnished and equipped with a full kitchen and air-conditioned bedrooms; towels, linens and housekeeping service will be provided. Hotel accommodations will be in simple 2- or 3-star hotels, double- or triple-occupancy, with air-conditioned rooms.


The CYA Academic Center is located next to the Athens Marble Stadium and houses classrooms, the library, the student lounge and cafeteria, computer facilities (including wireless access for those students who choose to bring laptop computers), laundry facilities, and administrative offices. The Academic Center is accessible Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.


When class is in Athens a full mid-day meal will be served weekdays in the CYA cafeteria between the hours of 12:00-3:00 p.m.  While traveling, breakfast will be offered at the Hotel.  Some weekday lunches are also included while traveling. A welcome and a farewell dinner are also included in the course fee.

Day-to-day Program & Itinerary

The day-to-day program and the itinerary is subject to change. Students are advised not to make plans for their free time and weekends in advance, as class schedules and site visits may be re-scheduled depending on local conditions.


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