Tuesday, April 26, 2011

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Well, it looks like this is going to be my last blog post here in Rome. We're finishing up all of our work, the semester ends on Friday, and we leave this weekend. It's been a great time and it's hard to believe it's almost over already. These last few weeks have been pretty busy and there hasn't been much time to update here, so I'm going to roll it all into one.

First off, we had three big site visits the last few weeks, the EUR Complex, Mussolini's idea of the Fascist City, Trajan's Market, and Hardian's Villa, both ruins. EUR was something completely different than we have seen in our time here. It is located in the southern part of the city, far from the city center. It is a perfectly ordered city as it was planned and the architecture is all the Fascist interpretation of ancient Roman rules.

Trajan's Market is an ancient market in the city center, right near the forum. It is now a museum, but the form of the ancient market is still extremely visible. We were able to move through the entire complex and spent some time sketching there as well.

Hadrian's Villa was very nice to see. We've learned about it in lots of classes up to this point and the complex is absolutely beautiful, so it was something we all really wanted to see. The area was beautiful, even on the rainy day. We were all glad to finally get ther, we spent some time walking around, and had some sketching time here as well.

One of the best things we got to do over the last few weeks was attend the Easter Concert at Parco Della Musica. The concert was Mozart's Requiem and it was absolutely phenomenal. The architecture of the auditorium is great enough, but to see a concert that good in there was a great experience and I am extremely glad we had the opportunity to get to see it.

Two of the best opportunities on the trip came within a week of each other. I was lucky enough to get tickets to attend both Palm Sunday and Easter masses at the Vatican with the Pope. It was an incredible opportunity to be able to attend mass said by the Pope and they were certainly two masses that I will never forget. Both masses took place in St. Peter's Square rather than in the basilica, and the square was absolutely packed with people both times. Half of the square was filled with chairs and the rest was standing room, without a single empty spot to see.

Finally, our final project was due last week. Our project was to take a facade in Rome that we had already analyzed and take the rules used in that to designa modern facade. I was extremely excited about the project and I realized that I really enjoy designing facades. I was happy with how my facade turned out and the jury went extremely well also. This is definitely a project that I am extremely happy with and it will certainly end up in my portfolio.

Well, I'm glad you've all read my blog this semester, I wish there was more, but unfortunately, as the title of this post says, all good things must come to an end. I hope you enjoyed following my semester as much as I enjoyed experiencing it and documenting it for you!

OK, there should be pictures with most of this post, but I'm having trouble with the server on the website uploading pictures, so they will be added as soon as I can get that fixed, so stay tuned for more to come.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

To The South We Go!

Well, last week we took a trip to Southern Italy, Naples, Capri, Stabia, Pompei, and Sorrento. On Monday we left Rome and arrived in Naples. We spent two nights there before travelling to Stabia where we spent our final two nights. From Naples and Stabia we took day trips to the other cities.

Day 1
We left Rome pretty early on Monday morning and we arrived in Naples before lunch. We dropped our things off at our hotel and made a few sketching stops in Naples. We first went to the Spanish Quarter and drew a street section on one of the busiest streets we could find. After that we visited Galleria Umbertoi and drew another street section to compare the two. After that we walked to a few more places before final stopping at the Duomo in Naples for our final sketching assignment of the day.

Day 2
On the second day we took an early morning ferry to Capri, a beautiful island right off of Naples. The island was incredible and we spent almost the entire day at Casa Malaparte, an incredible house that sits on the top of a cliff and is surrounded by ocean. We spent hours sketching there and it wasn't even close to enough. I was able to fill two sketchbook pages and easily could have done more. On the ferry ride back we ran into a storm, which made it a little interesting but fun as well. This was probably the best day of the trip, for the simple fact that the house was incredible.

Day 3
On our third day we left the hotel in Naples. We took a bus to different settlements along the coast where there were several different sites of ruins, some actually very well intact. We visited three different sites, the first two, temples as well as a cave, the second, a small almost city, and the third an ampitheater. After those three visits we made our way to the youth institute where we were staying in Stabia.

Day 4
On day 4, we left Stabia early to catch a train to Pompei. Pompei was incredible but absolutely nothing like I expected. I expected ruins sort of out in nowhere, but there is a city built next to the ruins. There was so much there to see as well and everything was so intricately done. It was easy to get a pretty good understanding of how the entire city worked. After Pompei, we all split in different directions. A few of us jumped back on the train and visited Sorrento, another city along the coast. Sorrento was small but absolutel beautiful. The view was incredible, and even from 100 feet up, the water was so clear. It seemed to be mostly a small coastal city that was built around tourism, because the streets that we walked were lined with local shops selling alcohol, sandals that the city is famous for, and little tourist items. When we got back to our hotel, we went out to the field next to us to play some basketball. A few of us played a quick game of horse before three little kids came over to us and asked if we wanted to play soccer with them. We played with them for a little bit before some older kids, maybe 15 or 16, asked if we wanted to play with them. We played with them for a pretty long time and they were a lot better than us, but I managed to score a goal, the highlight of my game.

Day 5
Day 5, our last day, we split up into groups again. I stayed with a few people in Stabia, because we hadn't really had a chance to see the city that we were staying in too well. We had a small sketching assignment early on then we were free for most of the day. We stayed close to the water, walked around a stopped a few places before eating lunch then heaing back to the hotel to grab our luggage and head to the train. We took the train to Naples where we then jumped on another train to Rome.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Day Full of Modern Architecture

Well, on Wednesday we had a pretty busy day. We started very early in the morning and made three site visits. The first, was to Richard Meier's Jubilee Church. Now, we've studied this church a lot, but to actually see it was pretty incredible. The church is exactly like pictures look, but there is so much about it that you cant understand from pictures. We spent about an hour sketching there and I am very happy with the way the page turned out, I think the entire day was one of my best for my sketchbook.

Our next stop was to the construction site for Santiago Calatrava's Citta Dello Sport, which is two twin buildings, one a stadium and the other a pool. At this point in the construction, the foundational arches are poured in concrete for both stadiums, as well as the bridge that connnects them. Also, the structure for the roof of the pool is on, with the actual roof yet to be assembled. The roof structure is so intricate and was definitely one of the coolest designs we've seen yet. In fact, the entire complex that Calatrava designed is awesome and I definitely want to come back to see it when it is done. I love stadium design, and this may be one of my favorites once it is completed.

Our third and final stop was to the MACRO Museum, the museum of contemporary art in Rome. Except for one really funny exhibit that was just doodles on the wall, the art wasn't very appealing, but the building was very nice. It was an extremely modern in fill building. The best part about the building may have been the bathrooms, which were completely mirrors (except for in the stalls and the doors to the stalls) and when you went to wash your hands, the white sink lit up red and all the lights around it shut off, so that was all you could see. We spent some time setching, mostly on the roof until it started raining.

All in all, it was probably one of the best days for site visits yet. We saw three great sites, all three which I have wanted to see for some time, got some good sketching done, and saw some very successful modern architecture, which is a nice change from the city center. Our trip to Southern Italy is next week, so I'll be away then, but expect a post about when I return!