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Summer Travel Studio - Florence

August 21, 2014   |  

Nine students from the College of Design's Interior and Architecture programs recently returned from the seven week abitare firenze [inhabit florence] program in Italy. Under the guidance of UK’s program director Christopher Manzo, students studied buildings and spaces through first-hand observation, analysis, and drawing. Students additionally considered notions of facade, hearth, home, and living using examples dating from the Renaissance to the present. Every week of the program, students considered different palazzi (palaces/homes) in Florence as they operate at four scales: as urban fabric (context), the building’s form, the interiority or spatial qualities of home, and ornament. The program culminated with a proposal for a new, modern palazzo in this historic city.
Studio projects included envisioning the “Palazzo of Tomorrow”, a combination residence and art studio for a modern sculptor and her son that integrates their modern needs with the city’s historical architecture.
“Having such tangible access to some of the greatest architectural works in the world fueled such a creative studio culture”, said Architecture student Emily Fannin. “It gave us the ability to experience how our predecessors answered the problems of their day, and how we can aspire to do the same today.”
Students had the opportunity to not only tour the historic landmarks of Florence and the surrounding region, but to visit local design firms. On their weekly travels from Florence, students visited such cities in the region as Venice, Rome, Milan, Verona, Orvieto, Sicily, Cinque Terra, and Arrezzo; and places as far flung as Germany and Paris. 
“The Italian culture, more specifically those that we met in Italy, impacted me in ways that are hard to describe”, said Interiors student Alaina Bauer. “To meet and interact with people different from you is always a learning experience. The kind-hearted and passion filled Italians we met were an aspect I will never forget.”
An exhibition of work by the student participants of the Florence, Delft, and Rome/Paris studios will be on display in Pence Hall September 3-12.