Sunday, May 30, 2010

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.

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