.. a few more from Hadrians Villa

Tivoli, Italy: 10/20/12

Hadrian’s Villa (Villa Adriana)

Another set of ruins, this time on Hadrian’s private property. The scale of this landscape is quite amazing, considering going from one end to the other by foot, it seems unnecessarily large. But I guess at the times they lived it up when they could, even if they were always away fighting wars. Hadrian used this place as a retreat away from Rome, and he definitely built it up to be a retreat, with theaters, thermae, libraries, temples, palaces, and its own race track I believe. must be nice to live that good life.

Rome: 10/17/12

Ara Pacis Museum

One of Richard Meier’s controversial buildings. Seems like everyone has an issue with his architecture, because it doesn’t respond to anything except his ego. I think he’s a great designer. He has a way of always catching my eye and the work he does is inspiring and I look up to him as a great designer. Now as an architect.. maybe not. I’ve only seen two of his buildings in person now (Jubilee Church is the other) and I wouldn’t consider his work architecture, but thats me.

This building is beautiful though. The use of plated marble with the steel framing and glass to allow an ample amount of natural light is amazing. The intersection of the tufa (i think) wall into the building and the wall folding up into the ceiling with the glass creating this envelope of transparency.. it was a different type of museum experience. more of a exhibition hall. 

..a few more from the Roman Forum

Roman Forum: 10/15/12

Our first official individual project for this study abroad program uses this site. First of all, the Forum is a great historical area. Because of pollution and weathering, there’s constant construction & renovations being done, but the weathering definitely adds character to the material and the landscape, from the darkening of the marble pieces to the history of constant flooding you could imagine flowing in early Rome. If you can block out the noise of tourists and construction, the history resonates within the walls and views, reminding you how long these architectural monuments have been around, a humbling experience. At the central point of the Forum stands the ruins of Temple Divus Iulius (Caesar), where our project has us designing a memorial for the temple, responding to both history and present day use.

Ostia Antica: 10/5/12

First major ruins of the trip. This site was quite vast and in decent condition for ancient ruins from the 4th century BC. The amphitheater and 2-story buildings were probably the highlight of the area (other than the statue hidden underground which is not included in the images). Had I not spent a fair amount of time doing a watercolor image on site, I would have been able to find more of the underground locations and visit the rest of the area with more depth.

The weekend before the storm

So this week we will be starting our 1st design project for Rome. We just finished watching William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (the movie with Marlon Brando), and not going to lie, it was hard to stay awake during it. Sitting in the back row I saw a few heads bobbing up and down because of how difficult it was to stay awake. From what i could hear, i believe our site is going to be the Roman Forum, creating a memorial for Caesar i think.. Tomorrow, Monday October 15, we’ll be spending over 9 hours there taking notes, pictures, painting, sketching, etc etc. to record as much of the place as we can.

Because of the beginning of this project, the past weekend was supposedly our last “free weekend” before we are stuck in studio on weekends, if we don’t make use of our time in studio throughout the weeks. I took it upon myself to enjoy the last bit of it before the storm of studio and went out. I made a few notes while walking around and seeing a bit more of the nightlife of Rome..

- the architecture could be so well preserved had the people of Rome be more conscientious of preservation, but I guess there’s issues behind that like the people wanting the world to stop turning there city into a museum and just let them live in it..

- Kids in the bars. kids. Little pubecent kids who don’t have any facial hair walking into the bars and ordering drinks. Its unbelievable. The one day I decide to shave my face, the bartender at a bar asks how old I was! How is it that these kids come in the bar and order drinks and then I go an get asked for my age?! well whatever. Kids in the bar though. I guess I have to get used to it.

-  Our dollar is so WEAK. I think this every time I have to pull money out of my pocket.

I’ve got images ill be uploading from ruins in Ostia Antica, which we went to on October 5th, and if i can get around to scanning my sketches and watercolor images, ill try and do that too.

One week in Rome. I’ve settled in, unpacked my bags, filled my closet, done laundry and cooked a few meals. The routine for Rome is beginning to set in. Waking up and heading to school, walking (for now) for most of the day, coming home and cooking a meal, nap, shower, work, sleep. I’m still trying to figure out the grocery/food situation, and so far it hasn’t been to bad. Gonna have to start getting creative though if we keep walking this much. Today, and only today, we walked around 10 miles. 10 miles in one day, up and down hills, on sidewalks and cobblestones, dodging cars and pedestrians.

Rome is everything you think it would be, and then some. I find myself forcing my mind to slow down and remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. I don’t need to take it all in at once. Some people have told me go out and enjoy Rome, but sometimes I just need to rest. walking every day can take a toll after doing it day after day, not to mention the information we need to take in during these trips. It’s a mind and body workout, and by the end of the day nothing sounds better than just sitting and staring at a blank wall with music in my headphones. 

This week begins with our first project as a group of 4, about the same idea as the Venice derive, but with a different plan. instead of finding our way home, we must find out about our starting location by getting lost and following “signs,” or noting changes in topography or material or etc. Presentation is this Thursday.

In other non-related news, I just got back home from a japanese restaurant, and all i can say is that I miss seattle sushi.

One week in Rome. I’ve settled in, unpacked my bags, filled my closet, done laundry and cooked a few meals. The routine for Rome is beginning to set in. Waking up and heading to school, walking (for now) for most of the day, coming home and cooking a meal, nap, shower, work, sleep. I’m still trying to figure out the grocery/food situation, and so far it hasn’t been to bad. Gonna have to start getting creative though if we keep walking this much. Today, and only today, we walked around 10 miles. 10 miles in one day, up and down hills, on sidewalks and cobblestones, dodging cars and pedestrians.

Rome is everything you think it would be, and then some. I find myself forcing my mind to slow down and remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. I don’t need to take it all in at once. Some people have told me go out and enjoy Rome, but sometimes I just need to rest. walking every day can take a toll after doing it day after day, not to mention the information we need to take in during these trips. It’s a mind and body workout, and by the end of the day nothing sounds better than just sitting and staring at a blank wall with music in my headphones. 

This week begins with our first project as a group of 4, about the same idea as the Venice derive, but with a different plan. instead of finding our way home, we must find out about our starting location by getting lost and following “signs,” or noting changes in topography or material or etc. Presentation is this Thursday.

In other non-related news, I just got back home from a japanese restaurant, and all i can say is that I miss seattle sushi.

Verona: 10/1/12

Museo Castlevecchio, Carlo Scarpa

When people ask me about studying architecture i can see the gears turning in their heads, imagining what it is that i do, yet its not exactly what you might think we do. Museo Castlevecchio is one example that might give some insight on what we do. Castlevecchio was a military structure during the middle ages, but now houses a number paintings, mosaics, military gear, and random accessories from the middle ages. While walking through the museum, you can find me (or any of us architecture students) looking up and down, stopping at windows, looking at railings, watching people walk through, staring at light coming through a window, looking at shadows.. etc etc, rather than looking at the ancient artifacts. To understand architecture we have to consider what the architecture is doing, and how its creating voids and moments, transitioning from one room to the next like a book’s chapters.

Scarpa’s connection of the museum to the castle wasn’t one of my favorite Scarpa works. The museum portion by itself was beautiful and the castle itself was an amazing piece of construction, but together they didn’t blend for me. Castlevecchio was amazing though. Standing where archers or any infantry would be positioned to fend off intruders, I couldn’t help but think of all the shows (Game of Thrones!) and movies I’ve seen that portray this type of defense. And to think of all the man power it took to build this castle, brick by brick.

Verona, Italy: 10/1/12

Anfiteatro Arena

My first ancient arena. I didn’t know what to expect other than what I had seen in books and in movies, so when we first walked up to it, I was a little blown away by its size. I did see the Colosseum when we taxi’d into Rome on the first day, but this was different. Being able to walk around and inside of it changes the experience and perception. Stones get larger, awestruck by the masonry work done, and how the light pierces into the voids reflecting off the stones appearance creating a depth you can only experience in person. To think people walked these same cobblestones and came to see an exhibition of some sort of entertainment as a part of their life blows my mind.

The actual arena is another world. steps and seats surrounding the people creating this world unseen from the exterior. I’ve stepped into a few “arenas” but this felt different. The openness to the sky and the material used, each stone laid in place one after another carefully placed, as if each level is connected seamlessly. Each seat was as good as the next, whether it was high in the stands or low to the ground, each seat had its own experience and amazing view.

Vicenza: 9/30/12

Teatro Olimpico, Andrea Palladio

Vicenza: 9/29/12

Villa Rotunda, Andrea Palladio

You can’t visit Vicenza without setting your eyes on one of Palladio’s work. Villa Rotunda was a work of symmetrical art at its finest, being one of the most copied works in architecture. Every side looked like the next, the only way i could tell the difference was through the surrounding landscape. For 10euros I expected a bit more of an opportunity to visit the in’s and out’s, but not here. It’s stature is so important they scare visitors away with the price just to keep people out. Its design was impeccable, simple, and yet quite technical for its time. 

*last image is for fun :D classmate taking in the view of the Rotunda next to a statue on the path to the entry

Treviso: 9/29/12

Tomba Brion, Carlo Scarpa

We began this day early in the morning with some rain. Tomba Brion was an architectural feat that changed at every turn it took. The masonry work by Scarpa is always fascinating, but compared to what we’ve seen lately from his work, this one had created a different experience. The ziggurat-like detail in this work created a beautiful connection of land to water, incorporating the essence of what the cemetery may have meant, a connection of life and the afterlife. 

More Venice images. these are the last bit of them.

We’re now in Rome so Rome images to come soon.

Visual log of my study abroad trip to Rome and the surrounding towns.

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