Fleeting Glimpses

I’ve been so bogged down in grant- and conference-writing that I haven’t gotten to update you on the architecture studio’s progress.  I’m hoping to share some of the students’ findings soon. In the meantime, here are a few photos I snapped early last week.

It’s typically difficult to get our students interested in discussions of meaning and philosophy.  These are generally seen as esoteric.  But so far the group-based format seems to be eliciting a  higher level of engagement in fuzzy issues than I’ve witnessed here in recent years.

Interestingly, when I was in school, a professor might to give us just a word or two to explore.  S/he would expect us to invest a week or two of time to contemplate, make things, and refine our knowledge and skills.  Most of us were quite happy to oblige.  We’d make things without much prompting at all and find a lot of joy in it.  Today, students have to drive for hours to gather decent materials. And, in today’s digital milieu, making beautiful, physical things seems to be an alien concept.

Undercover in Rome

Many thanks to Daisy for inspiring me to draw so much on my trip to Rome… we have always been very productive at sketching when we travel together. In this post, I’ve included photos of one of our many dinner outings.

On my last  night in Rome, Daisy and I headed over to Trastevere–stopping for a glimpse of the basilica (dedicated to Santa Maria, where mass was in session) before heading on to our favorite dinner spot.  As is generally the case when Daisy and I are traveling with architecture students, we  brought our sketchbooks along to discuss.

I’ve included photos of Daisy’s beautiful work, that caught the attention of our waitress.  She studied every page!

Daisy’s area of expertise is architectural representation, as is evident in her drawings!  Mine, on the other hand, is educational research… that’s what I presented to Daisy’s students in the lecture I delivered.

As a result of our exchange, I woke up inspired to draw on my last day in Rome.

It was hot, hot, hot, though.  I had to sketch quickly to keep ahead of the heat!  By the afternoon, the sky opened up and the rain poured down.  Thankfully our fore bearers built plenty of sheltered spots in Rome that have lovely views!  I made three sketches on my parting day–two are shown below.

Reshaping a Roman Site

I’m wrapping up my week as “Scholar in Residence” for the University of Oregon’s study abroad program in Rome. It’s been a fun and informative learning experience.

I’m posting images from the studio review we had on Thursday, to give you an idea of what it’s like to be an architecture student or professor.

These students have completed second year of a five-year professional degree program (leading to the Bachelor’s of Architecture degree). They will start third year in the fall.

They’ve done some very nice design work so far in their three-credit architecture studio class in Rome. Their site is an embankment wall, built in the late 1800s to keep the Tiber River from flooding the city as it has done for centuries.

According to Wikipedia:

The Tiber was once known for its floods — the Campus Martius is a flood plain and would regularly flood to a depth of 2 metres (6 ft 7 in). The river is now confined between high stone embankments which were begun in 1876. Within the city, the riverbanks are lined by boulevards known as lungoteveri, streets “along the Tiber.”

Penciling in Rome

Headed out for breakfast and a day of exploring in the breeze and sunshine of Rome.  Yesterday’s rain cooled the city down, and it’s amazingly comfortable today.  Hoping to get some more sketching in today.

Via dell'Arco del Monte

Via dell’Arco del Monte

 

UO Studio Review

Taylor, Katie, Daisy, Cody, and me deep in conversation over a design proposal.

Taylor, Katie, Daisy, Cody, and me deep in conversation over a design proposal.

 

On Tuesday, I delivered a lecture to the University of Oregon architecture students here in Rome.  Daisy made me feel like a million bucks with her introduction!  We worked together at Hampton University from 2005-2010 and got to know each other well.  I miss her, but I’m thrilled that she’s doing so well for herself!

In the talk, I shared examples of the research I’ve been doing and  discussed the need for architects to expand their research abilities.

After the lecture, three of the students presented their design progress. Daisy, the other students, and I gave feedback and ideas for further development.

Drawing Marcello

Theatro Marcello in Rome

Theatro Marcello in Rome

The OU students put the in-studio drawing lesson (that Daisy Williams delivered Monday) to work on site today.  We met at ISU’s academic center and headed over to the nearby Teatro Marcello to draw.  The students practiced the charcoal and pastel techniques they’ve been learning, while I used the mechanical pencil I had on hand.

Secret Paris

The book Secret Paris sent me to many interesting but obscure sites nestled off the beaten path in Paris.  Not all were open or accessible.  But with a little patience, I found my way into some lovely spots that most tourists never see.

This was the first time I felt at home in Paris, and this little book helped a bit.  It helped me find some person-sized places.  It’s all too easy to see only the monumental scale sites of this city.  Paris is about monumentality and uniformity–especially along the boulevards. But he back streets and courtyards are often lively and quaint.

In Paris, sped some time avoiding the monuments. It’s much nicer to take a slow pace and find some nooks and crannies that you can call your own.

Here’s a sketch I made in one “secret” space of Paris… the courtyard of a set of 48 or so apartments northeast of the Opera.

Paris apartment complex sketch (1)

Perusing Paris

Hampton University sketches of Paris.

Hampton University sketching in Paris, on a rainy day.

Spent a lovely week in Paris, much of it with Hampton University’s architecture program.  I’ve attached a few of the pics I snapped with my iPhone.  I’m back in Dublin now, and  getting around to downloading the photos from my Nikon.  The photos will help me reminisce of my travels once I head back to the States.  I might even have time to write something meaningful on my blog once again….

For now, pictures will have to do!

Chasing Lions in Dublin

I went on the hunt for lions in Dublin last week, and found plenty to stir my soul! Disney’s theatrical production of the Lion King is energetic and mesmerizing.  The costumes and choreography amazed and astounded me.

Photos in the News

Yesterday, Joanne from the Fulbright Ireland office sent a number of links to news stories about the photo show.  Unfortunately, tomorrow is the final day, and Joanne and I will be hard at work dismounting the work from the walls of O’Connell House.