Archive for the ‘ Roma10 ’ Category

Last Day in Roma/First Day in Siena

San Biagio:

First stop on our travels to Siena was a stop at San Biagio and a town located on a almost never-ending hill climb.  At the top of the climb spectacular views outward show that the landscape of Italy was nothing close to a flat plain.  After a nice lunch and trip back down the long, long, long… hill we all made our way back to the ideal church called San Biagio.

The church was one of the firsts that followed the concept of an Ideal completely symmetrical centralized church.  One crucial challenge that architects faced with this new typology are the corner conditions that are now not as simple to achieve, yet this exploration continued all the way through to the middle and late Reniassance with Brunelleschi and Michelangelo.


Wow, all I can say is wow.  This city is amazing.  The Piazza del Campo and the structure of the city along with the energy of the battle between the different cantradas is intense.  The pride is everywhere from the hanging flags to people wearing scarf’s to show off their respective cantradas, everyone plays a role in Siena.  The Campo tonight along with seeing the Duomo and other smaller churches and basilicas, I was able to experience only a piece of Siena but it was down right jaw dropping.  The dense areas and narrow streets really give a medieval setting throughout the city, but what is the most interesting is the breaking up of space along paths and moments throughout the city.  More importantly, no matter how hard we tried to get lost, all roads lead to the Campo.  Its like the Siena is engulfing people back into the Campo.

Palazzo Publicco                                                      The Duomo

Rj, Flores, and myself set out tonight on a quick walk around Siena and it was worth it.  Even after only a quick meal and having been bussed around for hours from Santa Maria della Pieta, We were eager to just jump right into looking around and exploring.  In a sense we were truly having a derive and just picking and choosing paths that we did not know and only having experiences lead us down paths.  Although we did not encounter many people along the way, most of the people are quiet and calm.  The sense that this town is very safe is clearly apparent even down the what seems like very sketchy and closed off side streets and alleys.  It was downright lovely.

Street filled with Contrada Flags

Eventually we headed back to the Campo to meet up with some other friends and of course we picked up a beer each along the way.  Next step, sit down and/or lay down in the middle of the Campo.  Everyone, especially young groups and couples, were sitting down around the sloping brick paver parts of the Campo.  On top of everything, there were a lot of people out and about which made for something very spectacular in addition to a shock because of it being a Sunday night.

First impressions are always the most important and the same applies with “meeting a new city.”  With Roma, the first impression was that many portions were riddled with graffiti and the entire center of Roma has become a giant walking tourist attraction.  In a sense, the center of Roma was becoming a gigantic tourist exhibit with gypsy shops covering every corner with little overpriced nick-naks.  Although the architecture was very beautiful and recalling both ancient and Renaissance architecture was very influential and experiential, the city fabric is loosing validity due to over-touristation.  Siena on the other hand has a feeling all its own.  This quality, although I cannot pin point it now what IT exactly is, is something that just captures a person into spaces and creates a pleasant experience for every viewer.  Beautiful.

View in the Morning Outside my Dorm Window



Final Day at SMdP

…and what a last day it was.  The day was long, hard, sweating, cutting, bruising, blistering, exhausting, and in the end extremely satisfying to finally be done and produce something really beautiful.  Joann, RJ, Dave, Shawntel, and myself had our hands full when thinking about what to do with the site.  3 things were clear, we had to accentuate the procession into our sites, give importance to this little building/pavilion, and ultimately lead to an expression at the garden.  Clear and consise we got to work clearing away years of dirt built up on top of the concrete, broke up and added nicer soil to the planting areas, got plants, made banners with orange and green cloth, and creating path after path.  It took from morning to the last minute to finish the project.  It was beautiful and everyone was very excited to see how much progress we made in only 1 day.  Additionally, one older gentleman was astonished that It look so good because he remembers the days when the area was lush, green, colorful, and well maintained.  To see a progress leading in a direction that was in the past a very desirable space to be in was a true vision in his eyes.  Many enjoyed our site for the interactions and thoughtfulness but behind every move we made.  Although each move individually were only small steps, the whole composition of each of these moves was what made the project so intriguing and, at least in my eyes, very pleasant and satisfying.

Arrivaderci and Siena is next.  Although SMdP had its ups and downs, in the end it was well worth it.  I would like to thank Lorenzo and Julia for putting up with us and helping us with every step.  Additionally, both Lorenzo and Julia pushed for us to immerse ourselves in the project and to just not give up.

Thank you for the experience.

**also check out our group post on our project from SMdP, the link is below**

Live+Work+SMdP=One Intense Experience Day 5

Time for presentations on the stage outside our ex Lavateria. We also had a guest critic who is an artist and also a psychiatrist.  He explained also historical events that lead to the closing of the psychiatric ward and he also explained the conditions patients where in through their mental illnesses.  The critics went over our “word map” that we made of materials we found in the ex Lavateria and other handy materials.  The critique went well, but the next part was that we needed to find materials for the big mappa mundi on the dance floor and expand our knowledge onto the floor.

After a quick lunch, our group set off into the dumpster next to our site for tomorrows exhibit.  We found some really good materials, mainly we found these different color rubber hoses that worked great for our idea of mapping out paths on the dance floor for the mappa mundi.  Need less to say the mappa mundi went well and we covered the entire dance floor, unlike some groups that just “hogged” a portion of it to explain there idea.  I felt our group did a better job explaining our experiences throughout the week as apposed to just abstractly defining one or very few ideas.

It was a long day and we sure did well.  Tomorrow is going to be tough because we only have a day to organize ourselves and clean up/set up our sites for a walking exhibit/conceptual presentation.  Its going to be a long and interesting day.


Live+Work+SMdP=One Intense Experience Day 4

After an exciting day in the Vatican and struggling last night with the damn internet, (that still barely works…) today we had to start compiling work and also do little presentations at different sites around Santa Maria della Pieta.  Today Lorenzo and Julia took us around Santa Maria della Pieta and showed us sites that have high potential to be very experiential.  In addition to showing us the sites, each group had to express their experiences with the trip they made yesterday outside the complex.  I feel that just talking about our experiences was kind of a waist of time because each group just stood up there and talked about what they did.  Half the people were not paying attention, and the other half are getting bit my mosquitoes.  The fun part about that day was the actually getting to see some different areas I have never seen.  At the end we chose our site that I had already stumbled upon and liked from my day when I did the individual derive.

We learned that our site was an old agricultural building and the picture above shows where the patients and nurses built little planter areas where there were herbs, vegetables, and flowers once planted.  Additionally the site had a great procession to it with an alley of trees, a nice little building that used to be a bathroom and wood-burning oven, and a space where the trees look like hands to sit in and fingers extending to the heavens. All in the entire site was great.  Unfortunately we had to refocus back onto our bike ride and experiences we had learned from earlier in the week.  That evening and into the next morning, our group created a presentation that needed to be ready for 9 am tomorrow morning.


Vatican Trip in Awe

With the rest of the day off on Wednesday, a bunch of us set off towards Saint Peters and Vatican City.  The Piazza is enormous and has a lot of things to see from many angles.  Besides the hordes of tourists that were pushing and shoving into the basilica, the views were great and captivating.  We set off first up to the Cupola in order to get a view of Roma like no other.  We also decided to take the stairs in its entirety; I mean that extra 2 euro can get myself a gelato (ice cream).  After about 300 steps, we were inside the dome and got a close glimpse of the detail work in the dome portion of the basilica.  The quality and shear detail was a sight to see.  No wonder Saint Peters is regarded as a masterpiece and great feat of architecture.

What came next were what literally felt like the walls caving on me.  The trip was exhausting yet the little glimpse of views from windows along the way just fueled me to keep going.  I loved every second of it because I knew I would remember this for the rest of my life.

After this portion and already dripping with sweat, we set off to the top of the Cupola and what a sight it was.  Beautiful views of Roma and also it was exciting that I could spot out by name many domes and tops of buildings.  I could take hundreds of photos and even sit there for hours and sketch the views of Roma.  We also took a little cheesy group picture which definitely worthy of Person Pic of the Day.  Also, take a look at the view I had at the top.  I couldn’t have asked for a better view of Roma.

After the breath taking views and having fun absorbing the breezes, we headed back down to the interior of the basilica.  The space was amazing and really a great feat of the Renaissance and also showed how much power the church had to commission and fund such a project.  Bring Christianity into the city and having pilgrims follow the pilgrimage road by following obelisks to end up inside Saint Peters.  It almost felt like I could never take a bad photo inside the church.  Just have a look at the pictures and you will know exactly what I mean.  Additionally, I shun the Architectural History photos that do not capture the shear vastness and volume of the space.  Many pictures make these feats of Architecture seem smaller and not as daunting.  To the architecture history professors of NJIT and possibly other schools, GET BETTER PHOTOS! In term of scale and volume, the course never conveyed this importance.

To end it all, a shot of the front of Saint Peters and the Obelisk in the middle of the piazza.  Today was truly breath taking and well worth coming.  I can only hope that I get a chance to see this again in my lifetime.


Live+Work+SMdP=One Intense Experience Day 3

First thing in the morning, our task was to assemble into a group and venture outward into town to experience what is around Santa Maria della Pieta.  I then found myself in a group with RJ, Joann, Flores, and Shawntel.  Our trip required us to venture out into a newly developed area, social housing, farmland, uphill and downhill battles, and already developed commercial streets.  In addition to all of that, we had quite a lot to travel.  Bright idea kicked in, let all rent bikes and ride there and be able to experience lots of portion of the area and still save time for a longer free afternoon and evening.  So we all rode bikes around the entire area and we had a lot of fun filled with rat racing, pictures, laughs, and just a good ol’ time.  In addition to that, we saw many different sides to the area based on proximity and predominantly topography.  Many developments are perched on top of hills while farmland is occupied on the lowest points in elevation.  Unfortunately this concept was broken up through the introduction of a supermarket.  Supermarket = connection to food. I think NOT!

Arrivaderci, its time to go to the Vatican.

Live+Work+SMdP=One Intense Experience Day 2

First thing in the morning, Adriano who was a nurse for the psychiatric hospital joined us and he toured us around the grounds to tell us the history and importance of certain buildings.  One of the cruelest rules was that patients were confined to their buildings at all hour of the day.  Furthermore, nurses also did not have the privileges that doctors had to roam free on the grounds.  It was almost as cruel of a situation for the nurses.  Eventually the nurses had enough and created a revolution.  Adriano was one of the nurses involved in this revolution where the nurses threw keys out of the window of pavilion 16 and let the patients roam free outside.  This event eventually leads to a law that abolished the practice of such mental institutions in the 70’s.  Although the ward was closed in the 70’s as an institution, many patients needed help to reintegrate into normal society which took all the way until the mid 90’s to get the last patients integrated into society.  Even to this day, there are doctors on sight that can help patients get better and have a successful reintegration.

After this information session, Lorenzo and Julia would take us outside the walls of the complex through a hole in the fence.  The idea behind this came from the story of the throwing of keys outside the window.  One nurse took all the keys and buried them outside the walls of the complex along a small creek.  Intrigued by this myth, Lorenzo was the first to say lets try and find it followed by his iconic laugh.  So as a group we set off to eventually find a hole on the east side of the complex and we all jumped through.

As we all made our way to the creek, I spotted some shacks and houses.  Once we got closer they were actually little shacks with gardens of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and different herbs.  We then proceeded to walk along this narrow path between these little agricultural wonders. These gardens where amazing to see and they stretched for what looked and seemed like miles.  Unfortunately, I did not have bug spray and the little bit I used was not enough because the mosquitoes ate me alive…  Eventually we got to an open field and found a “farmer” on one of his parcels of land.  Lorenzo greeted him and the farmer asked for a cigarette which Lorenzo gladly offered.  We learned some facts about the creek and the farming area, but nothing extremely important.  More importantly, the farmer showed us a way back up to Santa Maria della Pieta.   The one fact he forgot to mention was the fact that there was an uphill climb that seemed like a 75-degree slope.  Half way up I took my flip-flops off so I can get a grip.  I eventually stopped towards the top to pull some people up and help them get to the top.  Although I was cut from all the wild thorn bushes and covered in dirt and sweat, everyone made it up and I felt accomplished that I made it up and was able to help people up.  Also I would like the throw in that Lorenzo is one light little guy, I almost threw him up the hill. All we both could do is laugh.