Thursday, December 11, 2008

That's All Folks!

This is the last post of the semester, written just before I begin packing to return to the States. Our numbers in the villa have already dwindled to a mere handful, and more depart in the morning.

This has been a semester full of learning about Italy, about ourselves, and about living with each other. For anyone planning to study in the Genoa program, here are a few pointers from our year to yours!

  • Bring good hiking shoes, not just good walking shoes. If your day trips are anything like ours, you will want them.
  • If you like coffee or tea in the morning, bring a to-go thermos. That way when you wake up with the warning bell on the day of a day trip you can bring a hot drink along with you.
  • If you don't like coffee or tea, just wait. You will.
  • You will learn to respond to a bell like one of Pavlov's dogs. Don't resist it, just embrace it.
  • If you want to go anywhere in Genoa, you will be climbing a sheer hill or scaling stairs. Prepare if you can.
  • If it is cold outside the villa, it is cold inside the villa. Unless you are literally sitting on one of the radiators in the kitchen, which I have done several times for this reason.
  • Even if you have had gelato already that day, it is still a good time for gelato. Even if it is December.
  • Try to enjoy the time you have here! It is not as long as you think, and before you know it, you'll be saying...

The Final Project

You were introduced to this project in a previous post, so here is a brief look at how things wrapped up!

December 9, 2008: The Final Review, afternoon session

Tim and Brian set up their model as Frank looks on.

Some of Tim and Brian's drawings, detailing their extensive site and contextual research.

Tim and Brian with their model, also known as a "Masterful Work of Genius"

Mason sets up for his presentation with John.

Professor Stefano Fera offers a critique to John.

Mason and John with their model-- John is really excited about his review!

Chris L. explains the driving concept for our project.

I point out our initial drawings and reactions to the site.

The jury listens intently: Professor Bruhns, Professor Stefano Fera, Giuditta (barely visible) and guest architect Andre.

Shana explains how the landscape integrates with the building plan for her and Frank's project.

Frank listens to the jury's responses.

Frank and Shana's model.

Overall it was a successful project review day! We accomplished a lot this semester, considering how often we were traveling.

Florence, Siena, and RomanTICs!

As anticipated, following our return from the second study travel trip our time was consumed by finishing our final projects and preparing to return to the States. A highlight reel of the trip:
  • In Florence we saw Brunelleschi's Dome and Michelangelo's David, shopped along the Ponte Vecchio, and explored the Uffizi Gallery.
  • In Siena we slowed down, enjoyed the Piazza del Campo, saw where the new James Bond movie was filmed, lost at least two sketchbooks, and the girls and Chris L. went horseback riding through the Tuscan countryside.
  • In the hill towns of San Gimignano, Pienza, and Montepulciano we dodged rain and bought expensive wine. But mostly hid from the rain.
  • In Orvieto we saw the cathedral, the underground city of caves, and St. Patrick's well, and bought lots of painted pottery for souvenirs and gifts.
  • In Rome we saw the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, the Vatican, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, EUR... and Sara got eaten alive by bedbugs at our hotel.
Overall, it was a full, exciting trip dampened only by that "little" bedbug problem at the end. Unfortunately, our hectic schedule upon returning didn't leave anytime for sharing our sketchbooks, so you'll have to see them for yourself when we get back home!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Study Travel Trip Two

It seems like just yesterday we were returning home from our various independent travels. Now we are setting off again as one group for our second extended study trip. We leave tomorrow morning for Firenze, Siena, Tuscan hill towns, Orvieto, and Roma. I am posting the basic itinerary again for those of you following our travels from home.

Saturday November 1
Depart Genova at 8:52 am. Arrive Firenze at 12:33.
Explore Firenze for the rest of the day.

Sunday November 2
9:30 Reserved visit to Museo Uffizi
2:30 Reserved visit to Museo Accademia

Monday November 3
9:30 Reserved visit to Museo Bargello

Tuesday November 4
Depart Firenze at 10:10. Arrive Siena at 11:38
Free day

Wednesday November 5

Free day in Firenze

Thursday November 6
8:30 Leave Siena with a private rental bus to visit the Tuscan hill towns of San Gimignano, Pienza, Montepulciano.
Transfer to Orvieto in the late afternoon.

Friday November 7
9:00 Welcome Presentation at Centro Studi Citta di Orvieto
11:00 Guided tour to the Cathedral and to S. Brizio Chapel with Luca Signorelli.
12:30 Free time
6:30 Guided tour to the Orvieto Underground
7:30 Dinner at Parco delle Grotto

Saturday November 8
Depart Orvieto at 11:28. Arrive Roma at 12:48.
Free time in Roma.

Sunday November 9
8:30 Walking tour with Professor Stefano.

Monday November 10
9:00 Tour of EUR with Giuditta Poletti

Tuesday November 11
Depart Roma at 1:46 pm. Arrive Genova at 7:08 pm.

As usual, go to our various photo sites to follow along with the trip! When we get home I will post some excerpts from our sketchbooks again.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Study Travel Trip One

Back in September we enjoyed our first study travel trip through Venice and the surrounding area. The trip was extremely well-documented in photos, which you can see at the various photo-sharing sites listed in an earlier post. Here is a tiny sample of some of our sketchbooks from the trip. Professor Bruhns challenged us to produce at least 6-7 sketches a day, and the results were a great record of our trip. This sampling shows some of the different sites we visited, and the different drawing and recording styles each of us have. In my opinion, one of the most valuable parts of the trip was sharing our sketchbooks when we returned.

Some pages from Shana's sketchbook, which was full of color and journalistic-style text.

Sara's sketchbook, with a careful attention to architectural details and precise drawings.

A few pages from my sketchbook (Erica), of Venice, the Rialto bridge, and a bridge in Prato Della Valle in Padova.

Brian's sketchbook (well, one of them), showing his range from carefully constructed floor plans to the amazingly random "In Between Spaces at Castelvecchio"

These are from Karyn's sketchbook, one of our most prolific sketchers. I think she had over 100 sketches by the end of the trip, so detailed they read like an itinerary of the trip. Impressive!

There are so many more in each of these sketchbooks, and even more in the other students' books too. Ask about them when we return to the States!

Introduction to New Project

It certainly has been a long time since the most recent post, a testimony to how busy villa life is in between our study travel trips. So though this project is new to you, we have already reached the first stages of development. And so, a brief period of catch-up!

SEMESTER PROJECT: Edifici per abitazioni-- Castelletto

The site consists of a vacant parcel above the CAF villa, where the salita San Simone interescts Via Domenico Chiodo. The property is bound by an apartment structure to the west, and another residential property directly to the east. The parcel consists of a flat section and a portion which is steeply sloped to the border formed on the southern edge. Expanisve distant views of the port are a feature of the site.

The design challenge calls for the design of a multi-family housing project and a public piazza, that would hypothetically be maintained by the City of Genova as a public ammenity.

Our first steps in the development of this project were research and site analysis. We broke up into teams to start building a context model of site, research from books, and research from life.
Below are some examples of research in the form of precedent studies and case studies, compiled and presented by Karyn and I.

New Municipal Offices, Genoa. The field study group also visited and photographed this building, observing how it relates to its surroundings and the landscape.

A series of typical floor plans, providing inspiration from precedent.

Below is one view of the massive site context model built in part by the entire studio. It is at 1/8"=1' scale, an ambitious task, but will be a useful design tool as we develop models at the same scale. Our site is the area illuminated in the middle right section of the photo.

Site Context Model, 1/8 scale

As we became more familiar with the site through our research, we began to develop schematic design proposals for the program. On Thursday, October 2, (yes yes I know this was a long time ago) we spent the day doing an extended sketch problem. Each student produced an initial site plan at 1"=20' scale and a North/South Site/Building Section at 1/8"=1' scale, the same scale as our context model. This challenge forced us to examine how our buildings would fit into the landscape, and how to develop the relationship between the public space of the piazza and the private space of the housing units.

Currently we are working in pairs to finish out the semester with joint projects. The pairings will help us be most efficient with our time in the villa, while also challenging us to merge our distinct ideas into a single unified project.
The partnerships are as follows:
Karyn/Chris N.
Erica/Chris L.

There will be further updates on this project as we have interim reviews... or perhaps later catch-ups a month after we have the review!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Extended Travel Trip: Venice and the Veneto

Tomorrow morning we leave bright and early for our first extended study travel trip to Venice and the surrounding area. I am going to post the basic itinerary here for those at home who are following along on our travels, since many of us will be away from our computers until we return home.

9/18 Thursday – Depart Villa….arrive Padova

Travel from Hotel to Venezia Santa Lucia and get Boat Passes

Return to Hotel in the Evening and Explore Padova

9/19 Friday – Depart Hotel at 8 a.m. for Venice

Arrive in Venice for 9:30 a.m. appointment at Giardini and Biennale

Free afternoon to explore, return to Hotel in the evening

9/20 Saturday- Depart Hotel 8 a.m. for Venice

Peggy Gugenhiem Museum at 10 a.m.

Free Afternoon to explore, return to Padova in evening

9/21 Sunday – Padova

Visit Cappela Scrovegni at 9:30 a.m.

Afternoon free to explore.

9/22 Monday- Depart Padova...arrive Vicenza

Depart hotel at 8 a.m. for Palladian Villa Itinerary

Evening free to explore Vicenza

9/23 Tuesday - Vicenza

10 a.m. visit to Teatro Olimpico

Free Afternoon to explore Vicenza.

9/24 Wednesday Depart Vicenza…Arrive Verona

10 a.m. Visit to Villa Rotunda

Visit Castelvechio / Purchase Verona Card / Free afternoon to explore

9/25 Thursday - Verona

Free day to explore Verona

9/26 Friday – Depart Verona…Arrive Bologna

Afternoon in Bologna

9/27 Saturday- Bologna

Day to explore Bologna: Asirelli towers, Museums, etc.

9/28 Sunday – Depart Bologna….Arrive Villa

Morning is free to explore Bologna

6:18 pm: Arrive in Genoa.