Program, Donations, Scholarships and Fees

Building Beauty Financial Support Framework

Please check regularly as information in this section is subject to continuous updates.


• Building Beauty Scholarship
Amount: Variable, to be determined case by case
Form: Contribution to fees
Description: A part of the budget for the Building Beauty program offers scholarships to students in need. This is agreed upon through personal engagement with students. We invite students in need to contact us at

• Alexander Family Scholarship (Awarded) 
Amount: $5,000
Form: Contribution to fees
Description: The Alexander Family Scholarship is offered by Maggie, Lily and Sophie Alexander in support of women from any course of studies, compliant with the program’s entry conditions, who demonstrate good learning capability, a strong commitment to building beauty that changes lives, and engagement with the ethos of the program. With this scholarship, the Alexander Family celebrates the extraordinary educational history of the place, particularly sensitive to the role of women in community and society.


• Support for Building Beauty
Amount: Suggested donations between $10 and $5,000.
Form: Crowdfunding
Description: Our crowdfunding campaign is underway at Your donation supports the Building Beauty program, including the Building Beauty Financial Support Framework of scholarships, as well as a documentary film on our process of making that will give you an insider’s perspective, with weekly online video updates of what the students are discovering. You can be a core part of this cutting-edge, life-changing educational experience.If you would like to make a special arrangement to make a donation, please contact us at

• Support for the Kyriakos Pontikis Memorial Scholarship
Amount: Suggested donations between $10 and $5,000.
Form: Crowdfunding
Description: While working on developing Building Beauty, we felt acutely the absence of our friend and colleague Kyriakos Pontikis, who was one of the initiators of the Building Process Alliance, a group founded by Christopher Alexander’s former students, and worked tirelessly to promote the ideal of bringing beauty into the world. We felt his presence and spirit guiding us in this work and very much want to commemorate him in some way in the program. Some close friends and colleagues of Kyriakos, together with his wife Ellen have proposed to give you the opportunity to fund a specific scholarship in his name: the Kyriakos Pontikis Memorial Scholarship. All of us at Building Beauty whole-heartedly support this proposal, which honors Kyriakos and helps a new generation of practitioners and scholars continue the work of Christopher Alexander and his colleagues in the hope of creating a more humane and sustainable world.
Learning Experience

The student’s experience will be in three main axis of activities:


Hands-on construction is the backbone of the Building Beauty. Students engage in direct construction from the first to the last day of the program. In the first semester they study and map the monastery‘s historical building techniques, ornament and materials, to then engage in a full-scale in-lab reconstruction of some elements of it, for example a wall, a vault, an arch, a window frame, or a combination of those. In the second semester, students work in the “Camellias courtyard”, an open space located right in the heart of the monastery, the program’s “home”; here they design and build a project for the regeneration of the courtyard and the adjacent service buildings. Finally, as an integral part of their construction experience, students cultivate the land in the historical gardens of the monastery, in collaboration with UniSOB’s established Research Laboratories of Mediterranean diet and Botanic.


Seminars follow a “cenacolo” (“dinner circle”) format: world leading scholars and professionals from a range of different areas of science and arts come and first work with the students in the building site; then they reflect on what building means from their own point of view, and finally sit and share dinner with students, staff and external visitors in one of the marvellous monastery’s indoor halls or outdoor terraces (depending on the weather). The aim is to create a relaxed and informal atmosphere that allows guest staff and students to exchange ideas and feelings in the most appropriate way, and to inform networking at a deeper level.


A series of workshops aimed at raising our awareness of our own individual and collective feelings. Feelings will be explored in relation to space, the body-mind, and the way they interact in the hands-on physical work of making artefacts. This line of activity is meant to provide the knowledge required to observe, understand and act within a complex system where elements have both individual and interrelated value, and where observation, understanding and action are related to our experience of such elements and their interrelation. Feelings are the gateway that connect our deep self to the external world: learning to name and recognize them, trust them, and live with them, is crucial to our ability to work with others and with the structure of the land.

Finally, two major events will conclude the program:

  • In the “Theory of Beauty Conference” students discuss their experience with world leaders from academia as well as the profession in an international and interdisciplinary conference.
  • In the “Cisternino Summer School”, a two-weeks residential stage in an old “masseria” (country house) close to the village of Cisternino in Puglia, students will learn from a local master-builder the construction technique of the traditional “trulli” houses.
Entitlement To Apply
The course is open to individuals holding a Laurea (Bachelor) or equivalent experience in architecture or indeed any other area of knowledge in Science, Humanities and the Arts.
The course is accredited by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR). It offers 60 credits (or European Credits Transfer System), equivalent to 120 UK/USA credits, over 24 teaching weeks running from mid October to end of May.
Tuition Fees and Accommodation
Tuition fees are as follows: EU students: €10,000; Extra-EU students: €16,300
UniSOB offers five to ten placements in the University dorms close to the Benincasa Monastery at €250-300/month, including services and cleaning. Similar rates apply to privately rented accommodations of decent level in the university area.
Learning Structure

Credits Taught by Modules and Classes

Typical Study Week by Semester

Summer School and Conference
The Objective Nature of Beauty Conference 2018

The production of research outputs is encouraged and supported as part of the ordinary course of activities at the Building Beauty course.

The Objective Nature of Beauty Conference wishes to be a unique occasion to explore beauty from different perspectives. What generates it? How do things become beautiful? Why do we tend to respond well to certain configurations and less so to others? Why is beauty strictly connected to life? What we can learn from nature where beauty is generated without effort?

Also, we wish to explore why the contemporary world has lost the capability to understand and generate beauty, and if the nature of beauty can be explored as a matter of science for the XXI Century.

This event is open to scholars, researchers, and students with different backgrounds who wish to share and discuss experiences and their work in an International context.