Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sunday, June 6

This morning we woke up and were on the buses and ready to leave by 7 am. We were headed to Verona. Honestly before we got there I didn't really know anything about Verona, but once we arrived it was pretty apparent that this was where Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet took place. We saw signs for Juliet's tomb and for her house everywhere.

On our way to look at our first Carlo Scarpa building we stopped in front of a not important church and had a ten minute crash course on the architectural periods by Jamie. After that we went to look at Carlo Scarpa's Banca Popolare di Verona.

It's a very modern building that I'm not quite sure how I feel about. Parts of it were very cool, like the way the facade peels back at the top to expose a modern take on the classical orders. Many of the details that carry throughout the facade were also cool, but I really don't like the windows.

Most of the streets and sidewalks in Verona are paved with marble. When the marble was quarried, the fossils of prehistoric snails were found in the marble and can be seen all throughout the marble sidewalks of Verona. Note the pencil for scale. These things were huge!

Over our lunch break Brandon and I went shopping but most places were closed. So we went in the first good looking place we saw which turned out to be a really, really nice high end men's clothing store, Boggi Milano. So obviously we fell in love with everything, I tried on two shirts and got both of them, and he got one shirt. I got a polo and a linen short sleeved shirt and he got a dress shirt.

The next Scarpa building we saw was Castel Vecchio. It was amazing to see so many of his buildings on this trip that I'd learned so much about. This Castle was remodeled as a museum and Scarpa's use of reveals in this building is so cool.

After we were released by Jamie a couple of us went to go visit Juliet's house. We saw her house and her balcony, and then we posed for pictures with the statue of Juliet.

You're supposed to rub her boob for good luck, so obviously I did that ;) There's also a tunnel where everybody puts love notes which was really cute.

After that we went shopping some more and found an awesome italian department store called Coin. Nick and I found the most awesome/badass rain jackets ever so we each got one :) Dan got a pretty sweet raincoat. I fell in love with a 260 euro sport coat that looked soooo god on me and I wanted to buy it so bad but thankfully I was able to walk away.

After dinner we got milkshakes and went to chill on the bridge. We took a pretty sweet picture that could have been an ad for Coin hahaha.

Then we went back to the room, and my two roommates, John and Dan, always have some pretty wild adventures back in the room. This time I actually got some pictures of it so I'll leave you with them hahaha.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Friday, June 4 - Saturday, June 5

This morning we met the bus at Piazza San Andrea della Valle at like 7 a.m. to leave for our north trip. John and I sat together on the bus and slept most of the way. Our first destination was Florence which was about 3-4 hours away by bus. We stopped at an Autogrill as is customary on these trips. We arrived a little before noon and checked our luggage in at Hotel Castri on Piazza Independenzia before heading out for our Jamie tour of Florence.

Side note: Jamie's first year at Penn State was my freshman year when I had him in architecture. Before he came to State College, he had lived in Florence for about five years teaching in the Syracuse study abroad program. Jamie absolutely loved Florence and regrets leaving and hates State College so he was really sad to be back because it just reminded him how much he missed it. But he knew all the good places so he told us everything we needed to know.

Our first destination was Piazza della Repubblica, and on the way we passed the Duomo.

Then we made it to Piazza della Repubblica where we split up for lunch.

After we met back up we looked at a cute little church that had a sculpture by Donatello on the outside.

Then we went to look at the Ponte Vecchio which is abridge that has shops and houses on it.

During WWII a Nazi General was ordered to blow up a number of bridges along the Tiber to stop enemy troops from advancing, including this one. The general couldn't bring himself to blow up this particular bridge because of its rich history so he leveled all the buildings surrounding the bridge but left the bridge standing.

After the bridge we went to look at the Uffizi followed by Palazzo Vecchio.

Once at the Palazzo we saw a number of sculptures including a replica of Michelangelo's David. David was originally sculpted to go on top of the Duomo, but once he was done it was so amazing they thought it an injustice to put it where no one could see it so Da Vinci recommended it be placed in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Eventually it was moved for preservation so a replica now stands in its place.

Then Jamie told us about a legend regarding a face chiseled on the corner of the Palazzo Vecchio. Legend has it that when Michelangelo's David was unveiled someone doubted that it was sculpted by such a young man, so to prove his abilities he told the man he would sculpt the man's silhouette with his hands behind his back using a chisel, and it is still there today.

Then we saw a building that was bombed by the mafia in retaliation to the government back in like the 90's, a series of 7 bombs that all went off at the same time. There was a young girl who died in the blast, and outside of the house is an olive tree and a plaque that has a poem she wrote the night she died. Only half of the building fell down and when it was rebuilt they left it so that you could see the scars of the building as a memorial.

We then went back to the Duomo and learned about it, and then went to learn about Palazzo Medici.

After that Jamie ended our walk since it was so hot and everybody was dying. We went and checked in at the hotel and then headed back to the Duomo to climb to the top of the dome. It was such a long climb to the top but it was worth it. We walked up between the two shells of the dome and got to see the ribbed structure which was fascinating. The views from up there were so amazing, you could see all of Florence and beyond.

After the dome I met back up with my friends and we ate at Zaza, where I got lasagna and alfredo. After dinner we went to get some bottles of wine and go hang out on the steps of the Duomo, which is what all the locals have been doing for 400 years according to Jamie. So back in the day Michelangelo and Leonardo probably hung out in the exact spot we were. Most people left for the bars then but Matt, Pat and I stayed on the steps.

Saturday we got up early and did another Jamie walk around Florence. We saw lots of architecture on our walk, but the highlights of which were San Lorenzo and Michelangelo's Laurentian Library,

Alberti's Santa Maria Novella,

and Santa Croce and Brunelleschi's Pazzi Chapel.

The heat was even worse today than yesterday, and these day long walks are so exhausting. It's really cool to get to see all this great stuff, but a part of me wishes these walks were shorter and we had more time to see the city on our own.

After Jamie let us go we went shopping in the central market and I bought stuff for Caitlyn and Nicki. Didn't find stuff for anybody else yet but I hope to find something good on this trip. After shopping we went to eat at a little Chinese restaurant and I got sweet and sour chicken with peppers and fried rice. Before this trip I was ok with peppers but I've fallen in love with them on this trip. They're so good and I put them in everything I cook now :)

Monday, May 31 - Thursday, June 3

This was a pretty average week. Not too much went on. We had our second studio crit on Thursday so most of our time was spent in studio working on that. We worked on design development Monday and Tuesday and had desk crits with Jamie Monday and Jodi Tuesday. The five mini models Dan and I made have become the main focal point of our museum, and are going to become piers that stretch throughout the entire building. Tuesday night we started our drawings for the crit on Thursday. I decided to tackle an exploded isometric of all five floors of our museum while the other drawings were split between Abby, Dan and John. It ended up being a lot more work than I thought, and after spending all night Tuesday and all day Wednesday on it I only finished one floor :/ We decided one floor was enough to get our idea across, and I can tackle the exploded iso for the final presentation. After we finished our drawings Wednesday night, Dan, Pat, Brandon and I went out to Abbey's for a celebratory round of Guiness.

Thursday we had our crit and overall Jamie and Jodi really like our project. They had a problem with our colonnade and just want us to change the shape of it, and they want us to further develop our facade, but they loved the piers which is the main idea of our museum so that was great news. Jamie complemented me on my drawing :) and he said we had good drawing conventions. I've been through these crits before and I can tell that they really liked our design. I'm excited to develop it more. After class about 10 of us went back to Abbey's to celebrate being done with classes for the next ten days and of course had some more Guiness.

The few things we did get to see this week though included Santa Maria del Popolo which was featured in Angels and Demons. In the movie a cardinal is found in the crypt below the Chigi Chapel which was designed by Raphael.

We also saw two paintings inside done by Michelangelo Caravaggio, the Conversion of St. Paul

and the Crucifixion of St. Peter.

We also went to the spanish steps which was actually pretty cool. 

We saw the church at the top of the steps, Trinita dei Monti. The church and the steps were actually funded by the French, but because of the close location to the Spanish Embassy they received the nickname spanish steps. The French obviously aren't too happy about that. Finally we saw Palazzo Barberini.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sunday, May 30

On Sunday morning those of us who came back to Rome instead of staying in Sorrento met up with Zach and Allen Ceen to go on a bike ride around the city walls of Rome.

We rented bikes, which were kind of crappy, and people’s chains kept falling off left and right. The bike road took about 4 hours, and we went all the way from the Pinciot Hill to where the walls meet the river and stop.  After that we had to book it through the city all the way back to where we rented the bikes. On the way back Tzao ran into two different people and took some nasty spills. He ran into one girl and she got pretty pissed, and then no more than a minute later came flying around a corner and clipped a guy coming out of a church right in front of my a flew off his bike. It looked so painful but he was ok.

After we returned the bikes, Nick, Brandon, Matt, Pat, Devon, Amanda and I headed to the Vatican. We changed into nice clothes along the way in some back alley. We waited in line for about 15 minutes to get into St. Peter’s. 

First we went into the church and it was absolutely unbelievable. I’ve never seen a church like this. 

I took so many pictures and we spent at least an hour in the church. We tried to find the Vatican Museum then to see that and the Sistine Chapel, which are supposed to be just as great if not greater than St. Peter’s. Of course it was closed so we weren’t able to go. We were so mad. I have to see the Sistine Chapel before I leave Rome and I don’t know when I’ll have time. We left the church and went down into the tombs where all the popes are buried. It wasn’t until I saw John Paul II that I realized how touching this whole thing was. There were flowers covering his tomb and a crowd of people all gathered around praying. It was quite a sad sight. After that we headed back to the apartment because we were so exhausted. It was such a long day, so we went back and napped.

Friday, May 28 - Saturday, May 29

Friday morning we left for a two-day trip down south to Pompeii and Paestum. It was about a 3 and a half hour bus trip to Pompeii where we were stopping first, which is right in the area of Naples and Capri. We passed right by Mt. Vesuvius which was crazy to see, especially the fact that there is a town at the base of the mountain that even extends up the side of the volcano. 

Mt. Vesuvius has three cycles of eruptions, a 50 year cycle, 500 year cycle, and a 2000 year cycle, which are all over due. The people of the Napoli region obviously are not bothered by this fact at all which I just find astonishing. The last time the 2000 year cycle happened was obviously when Pompeii was buried and frozen in time, so whenever it does go off it’s going to be disastrous. The reason it’s over due is that the mouth of the volcano is clogged with rocks. They’ve also recently discovered that the lava bank feeding this volcano is as big as the Bay of Naples. So being in Pompeii was pretty exciting J

We walked around the ancient city for a while, learning about their Forum and what the city used to be like. When they started excavating at Pompeii, they started finding these air bubbles down beneath all the ash that they couldn't figure out what they were. One smart person decided to pump a sort-of plaster down in the hole and excavate around it to see what they got. It turns out all the bubbles were actually where the people of Pompeii were buried and then evaporated from the shear heat of the blast. If you look closely, the bones are even in the casting.

We went in some typical Roman palazzos and baths. Jamie even took us to an ancient brothel. Emperor Nero made prostitution legal to rake in huge amounts of money to pay for everything he wanted to do as emperor. As such, there were many establishments such as these throughout the Roman Empire. Above each door a fresco depicts a different sex position, like an ancient Kama sutra hahaha. 

It was miserably hot so we were all glad when we finally got to leave. We got on the buses to go about another hour to Paestum. 

When we got there we went out of the hotel’s beach and went in the freezing cold water. All the guys played a world cup tourney, and Devon, Nick and I got like 4th place. After that we went in and cleaned up for dinner.

This was another delicious, real Italian meal like the one we had in Cinque Terre. The owner of Hotel Calypso prepared a menu for us all to eat. All of the ingredients were local and organic, and the food was superb. We had red wine with dinner and our first course was a type of bread with a tomato sauce on top. The second course was a type of noodle casserole with homemade noodles, cheese, potatoes and tomato sauce.  The third course was pork with peppers, potatoes, and eggplant. It was so good. I’ve fallen in love with peppers on this trip. For our fourth course we had rum cake that literally tasted like there was a whole shot of 151 in each piece. It was so strong but past that it was very good.
After dinner we all went into town to try to find some bottles of wine, and came across some outdoor pool/pizzeria place that had some. We all got a bottle and headed back to the beach to sit around and relax and have a little bit of fun after the long day.

Saturday morning we got up and took the bus five minutes to the archaeological site of Paestum. There are three temples that remain on this site and they are some of the best-preserved temples in existence today. Even though Paestum is in modern day Italy, it was originally a Greek colony founded in 7th c. B.C., making these Greek, Doric temples. These temples date back to about 500 B.C., making them over 2500 years old! It's unbelievable how intact they are still. 

We first saw the Temple of Athena, then the biggest, which was the Temple of Neptune, and finally the oldest, which was the Temple of Hera. There were a good amount of stray dogs here, and one dog came up to us at the beginning and just laid down with our group as Jamie was lecturing. We named him Maximus. He stayed with our group all day and never left our side. It was soooo sad to leave him at the end of the day :(

After Paestum we got pizzas and headed back to the beach to relax for about 3 hours before we headed home. We all laid out on the beach to work on our tans, but the weather so pretty overcast so it didn’t work out too well.

I did a quick sketch of the ocean and then we boarded the bus before the bad weather set in to head home.

Saturday, May 22 - Wednesday, May 26

Site documentation for our studio piazzas is due on Monday, so I spent all day Saturday in studio working on two of the sections/elevations of our piazza. I didn’t get it all done, so Sunday I came in for a few hours to finish things up and then headed home to relax the rest of the day.  Monday morning we had a Jamie walk, and we went in the one church right by the Pantheon, I forget the name, but we saw a sculpture inside by Michelangelo and learned that the elephant obelisk out front of the church that we pass everyday was actually done by Bernini.

Later in studio we had our site documentation crits, which took all class. They were running out of time so we kind of got cut short, but they liked our site documentation. They wanted to see a Lanciani map of our site to show the relationship of Hadrian’s Temple to our existing piazza but that was about it.

For studio the next part of our project is to do a painting analysis for Wednesday.  We got started on some of it tonight, and we’ll finish it tomorrow night.

Tuesday we saw San Andrea della Valle on our Jamie walk. 

After that we looked at a couple palazzos, including Palazzo Farnese. Palazzo Farnese was begun by Sangallo for the Farnese family before they became popes. During it’s construction, a Farnese was elected Pope, so this palazzo became way more important. Sangallo was released by the Pope and Michelangelo was hired to finish the project.  He made a number of changes in completing the project, including the massive cornice. I really like this palazzo and thought it was one of the coolest things I’ve seen since I’ve been here.

Wednesday we presented our painting analysis to Jamie and Jodi along with our ideas of how our painting is going to inspire our proposed museum. The liked our ideas, and they really loved the subtractive model Dan and I did. They wanted us to get more inspiration from this subtractive model, so Dan and I went back into studio that night and made five detail models of the five main “sections” of our model. After that some people were watching Gladiator in studio so we stuck around and watched that with them.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Today was our second field trip, this time to Ostia Antica.  Ostia Antica is the ancient port city of Rome, at the mouth of the Tiber River. The river silted up and the sea level dropped so Ostia Antca became irrelevant and is now a preserved archaeological site. We took the metro and spent most of the day there. I'm not gonna lie, it was kinda boring. I mean it was definitely cool and all, but it wasn't really any different from Hadrian's Villa in that it was just a bunch of brick ruins.

I'll just highlight the cool parts of the trip. We saw the Capitolium.

We saw a typical Roman house.

We tried out some ancient Roman toilets.

And then we left. Most people went to he beach which was just one metro stop away, but the ten of us who went back to Rome with Jamie got to see his apartment and his rooftop terrace.

The little shack is his apartment hahaha, but it's really nice inside and he has this huge terrace that's as big as a football field. After that I made dinner with Mike and Kendall and we made the best chicken parm I've ever had.

May 16-20, 2010

So this was just a normal week of classes so I'm just going to combine it all into one week. Sunday we got back to Rome and finished our site documentation. Monday morning we went to the Roman Forum and learned about it with Jamie. During studio was the piazza draft. We all drew number to pick the order, and my group drew #5. We had 3 piazzas we would have been really happy to get, and we figured most people had similar lists so it didn't look so good for us. We ended up getting our third favorite piazza though because 2 of the groups before us picked piazzas that were really low on our list. We were so excited, and after the draft we went to our piazza to start the intense site documentation hat will be due in one week. This is a picture of our piazza, and the one building that remains in it.

The columns are what is left of Hadrian's Temple, which used to be located where our modern day piazza is. A building was built around it as you can see that's the Italian stock exchange. We're excited but nervous about the daunting task of designing a contemporary modern art museum across from this building that respects and responds to its surroundings but doesn't mimic it.

I've spent the past 10 days in Rome, and in that time I have walked past the Pantheon multiple times each day between classes and whatever else. Tuesday was the first day that I actually went in :) I guess I was just too busy, but Jamie brought us there today for class and gave us a tour.

It was so stunning and so much bigger than I ever would have thought. There was a Pantheon here before this one, and the current Pantheon was most likely designed by Hadrian in 126 A.D. An interesting theory we learned from Jamie, was that the Pantheon was actually built wrong. The story is very long and complicated, but to sum it up, the Pantheon began construction with the assumption that it would have 60' columns, but that size column is very hard to get, so they had to wait but continued construction on the rest of the Pantheon assuming they'd still get them. They didn't so the portico was built using 48' columns. You can see a cornice above the level of the portico where it should have lines up with the rest of the building, exactly 12' above where the portico actually meets the building, resulting in an awkward connection in the building. There's a lot more to the story, but it's really interesting stuff.

The inside was beautiful and soo huge. The light cast from the oculus was really cool to watch move around the building.

The interior is made out of some of the most exquisite marbles I've ever seen and is mostly still original. The row of windows seen right below the coffers is actually remodeled in Baroque fashion, which actually detracts from the beauty that was once there.

We saw Sant'Ivo all Sapienza, a church by Francesco Borromini, on a courtyard designed by Giacomo della Porta right off of Piazza Navona.

After that we learned the history of the church we're living in, Sant'Agnese in Agone, also by Borromini. The fountain in front of the church, Bernini's Four Rivers, was designed before Borromini's facade was finished. Bernini and Borromini were great rivals, and Bernini took this as an opportunity to take a shot at Borromini. In anticipation of Borromini's facade, the man closest to the facade of Borromini's is one of absolute horror at the sight of Borromini's facade, and seems to be bracing himself as if the church is about to fall over.

Thursday we had our second carto walk, the Via Papale, or "Posseso". When the pope gets elected he is the bishop of the world, but the seat of the bishop of Rome is at Saint John Lateran at the opposite end of Rome from the Vatican. So after the Pope is elected, he basically goes on a parade through Rome along the Via Papale from St. Peter's to St. John Lateran, and in during so takes "possession" of Rome.

So I got to see the Vatican for the first time! We didn't go in, I'll have to come back later to go in when we're not in class. It was so huge, I can't wait to go in. Along the walk I also saw Castel Sant'Angelo and Bernini's Bridge of Angels.

I also got to Il Gesu, the first Jesuit church and a very important church.

And then we ended at the Campidoglio which I've already seen. On the way back we saw the Theater of Pompey and an excavation site where they were excavating ancient bodies.