Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

This post is the final post that will primarily focus on my time in Italy and all of the introspection that I did while I was over there. To start off I would like to thank all of the people there who helped me with my roller coaster of emotions: Camelo, Dane, Justin, Matt, Brent, Britta, Sofia, and Cecilia. Thank you all for being there for me when I was not at my best and for bringing me up to my new best, I want to thank you all of all that you  guys have done for me. Next I would like to thank my teachers, Darryl and John, for being great professors and instructing me in ways that greatly helped me with my designs and growth as a future architect. I would like to thank our providers, Mirko and Eugenia, for being there to help us with adjusting and for giving us so many great opportunities. Emily and Inga, pretty much the only friends we made over there, thank you so much for being our friends, and for being my friend. And finally, I would like to thank my parents for giving me the opportunity to be able to go off and travel and grow as a person this semester.

Now though, my final analysis of Italy. Italy is a country with a rich history, wonderful food, slightly lazy people, and the best coffee you will ever have. The city of Urbino was a great place to work and study in with its strong history and great atmosphere, even though it was a college town. We were able to use the city as a template for our designs and figure out what it all meant in a historical sense and in a modern way as well. The architecture is unparalleled there and I wish I could go back and live in those cities for the rest of my life, but I first need to learn Italian so I don’t piss off as many people. If any of you want to travel to Europe in general, I recommend Italy, but not just the tourist places that you will go to. Make sure you go to all of the less known cities and really delve into them, even if it’s just for a day. Do it. All of our day trips while we were there were just amazing, and were some of the best times that I had during my time in Italy.

During the course of trying to actually get down all of my thoughts and critiques on Italy, I have come to realize that it is nearly impossible to describe everything that I have done, experienced, seen, felt, and so on that I am unable to continue critiquing Italy. All I can say about my time is there is that it was the best time of my life, and I would love to go back for any reason and experience it again. It has changed me and returning to the states now I have come back a new and better person from everything, so much so that I will once again be able to call myself The Architect.

Now that I have been back in the states for a week, I have experienced a few things that I would like to talk about. The first is trying to find a new home, ie, trying to find an apartment in San Antonio so I don’t live out of my car while going to school. It has not been fun because even though I am a full time student, that means I am over-qualified to rent most of the apartments in the downtown area, meaning I have to keep going farther and farther out. I get really annoyed by that, that I am over-qualified just because I am a full time student, that my money is not good enough to get me a room somewhere so I can go to school more cheaply. No, instead I have to go farther out where the rent is higher and thus making the apartment less viable for me. So the apartment wars continue.

I have also taken up to seeing Tori on a fairly regular basis now, and actually went out on a real date with her, which was one of the best ones I have been on in the past five years. We’ve watched movies, talked for hours on end about anything and everything that comes up, and we don’t talk every day about nothing, which keeps our conversations interesting and the “spark” there as well. Though I don’t think that was ever a spark, I lit a wildfire at the first go. All I know is that regardless of what happens, I have one of my best friends back, I am the least nervous I have been in a decade, and I have smiled the most in the last week than I think I have in my entire life. I know that whether I am at my highest or my lowest, I am the most insufferable person to be around and interact with. My standards are the highest they’ve ever been, both for the people around me and for myself to live up to, and they are the greatest challenges I have ever given myself.

I am good. I am the Black Knight. I am The Exile. I am The Architect.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect

I began my second to last week in Italy today by sleeping in and just taking the day off for the most part. When I finally get out of bed, I play XCOM for a while, trying to really improve my tactic skills. Over the course of the day, I started to get the urge to form a paintball team that would focus on tactical infiltrations and extractions. Where everyone would be in constant communication with each other through the use of a headset system or something. I feel like the whole thing would be a great way to blow off steam and improve our minds with the use of strategies. We could make a whole ordeal of the thing, turning it into a monthly occurrence where everyone gets together and performs their roles. I think it would be a great, albeit expensive, time and tradition to create. Besides that, I managed to talk to Maggie before she headed off to do her scavenger hunt again; we mainly talked about travel for the brief moment she was online, but it was still nice. I managed to read through the history and theory readings for Monday, only to find that the first one was really weird with how it phrased and displayed the “anti-city”. Darryl also told me that while I’m in Rome again, that I have to get tickets online for the exhibit that I want to see, so that was nice that he was looking out for me. I had to cancel my Thanksgiving plans to travel to Viena so I could have more time to work on my project and be able to render it. I’m hoping while I’m in town that I’ll be able to make those purchases I’ve been putting off, like getting my bowler hat and a hoodie or something with “Italia” on it, and a poster of Raphael’s mistress that they have here in the city. I’ve been feeling like I want to get in some boxing or punching bag time when I get back to the states, really just let everything out right now. Of course, that also plays into my fantasy of finding of girl that likes to fight and ultimately turns fighting together into foreplay, but of course that is merely a fantasy. Not my best one, but one none the less. I am also remembering why I exiled myself and the goals that I wanted to accomplish while exiled in Italy, and, fortunately, I have accomplished many of the goals I set out to. Worked through the recent problems I had in the states, my own addictions, my introversion that I have, stopped biting my nails, eating healthy, and making lasting friendships with people. It’s been an amazing time and I’m excited for when I get back to San Antonio and can tell the rest of my friends there about everything that I did here.

Rise and shine, it’s time to endure another history and theory lecture. They aren’t that bad, but they just don’t resonate that much with me at the moment; they don’t have much material that I particularly agree with. Also, Cecilia brought her boyfriend by the studio after class, so that was fun to watch (not). I’m trying to get better, but having that around is really counterproductive for me because it just reminds me of my codependency issues and the fact that I am currently alone. Then, during studio, I got the green light to continue with my project in more detail and figure out how the actual structure for the whole thing will actually work. After a bit of work in section, which I think look really cool, I have more or less figured out the logistics of how it all works. The rest of the night seems to be descending into beer, movies, and hopefully some actual design work, or at least some reading for history and theory. Though, it will probably just turn into me playing some more XCOM and trying to really get a hold of the strategy involved in it. On a more internal level, things are going iffy at the moment. I’m kind of lonely and have been for a while. This is partly because I have chosen not to participate in group TV watching, and because I have been trying to talk to some of my online friends more. Problems with that are that I am looking for a romantic relationship, and using the internet box doesn’t really convey that well. Now, while writing this, I can feel my anger building, and I’m not enjoying it. I’m starting to really consider taking up boxing now, or at least having the chance to punch something. I just want my life back.

Tuesday, we went out to the main piazza to meet everyone, and get the Italians mad at me again because I still don’t know enough Italian to really make a difference. We went and sketched some statues that they had plaster molds of in one of their historical offices or something. It was kind of weird. Especially when the photographer came in and started taking photos of us while we worked on our renders in the room. I did mine in “sephia” ink, even though it was just burnt senia. The day went well though, I managed to get a kebab before heading back to the studio to continue working on my project for the semester. It is turning out pretty interesting. Besides that, not much else happened besides my usual conversations with people. Though it does seem that most of my friends from Houston don’t take initiative to go and talk to me, so that’s really comforting, but hopefully that will change when I get back to the states.

Wednesday was our last history and theory class for the semester, thank God. It was very lack luster because most of us were really tired of the material and we were all really tired from working most of the night for our final pin-up. I feel like every time we have a “last pin-up” that it isn’t really the last pin-up. Afterward we had our pin-up/desk crit thing where Darryl basically told us how our structures really needed to function and be drawn. Though, it was annoying when Britta spoke; I think mainly because she has becoming increasing annoying to me, plus the fact she thinks she’s a know-it-all. Other than that, the rest of the day went well and I managed to get some rest in.

Thanksgiving was kind of fun because I didn’t have to do anything that day so I was able to sleep in until noon, at which point the guys knocked on my door and invited me to lunch. The day continued on with only a few things of interest coming up. While at dinner with everyone we discussed Eugenia constantly saying that if we stay here that she’s sorry we’ll be missing turkey and the food that normally comes with Thanksgiving. We also discussed that the girls would be completely screwed when they got back to work on their projects because we have at least 12 drawings, each on has to be drafted and rendered. Four of those drawings have been done for the most part, but still, that leaves the rest of the drawings for them to do over two and a half days. They aren’t going to make it. I continued talking to some of my friends online and got drunk on vodka (partly by accident) and eventually just passed out on the couch in the studio. I was kind of surprised because for a while before I passed out, I thought I was going to throw up at some point.

Friday was very lack luster, I slept in again, missed lunch, and basically spent the entire day working on my project. There is so much to do in these next few days that it’s pretty ridiculous, that we have started to take bets on if anyone will finish early or not.

Saturday, work.

Sunday, work. Also, the girls made it back and are conversing about their trips instead of buckling down and getting to work. I think it’ll be funny when Wednesday comes around and they are all running around franticly trying to finish their projects while the rest of us run around at a much slower speed. Also, hopefully Sarah will get her postcard soon. I can definitely tell that I am starting to get nervous; I’m starting to nibble my nails now, not bite them, but definitely getting close to it. I’m trying to keep it back and manage my time wisely.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

We set the stage with many millennia of history, ruins, stories, lives lost, wars won, emperors, peasants, scholars, culture, and, most importantly, architecture. We step back, glancing up at the piercing sun, squinting slightly as we recoil from the harsh glare of that which is now obscuring our view of the meeting place. We see that business continues as usual here, that men are discussing policy, while others peddle fruits and other wares, and that there are those who merely wander through. We are dwarfed by the structures around us, forcing us into awe of their majesty. We come to realize why we are here, and more importantly, where we are now.

We are in Rome. All times of Rome meshing into one coherent culture that we can experience even today if we choose to travel. My commentary on Rome for this matter will focus primarily on the current city of Rome, but I will be referencing the past for a few of the points that I will make to illustrate the complexity and power of the city. We begin our look at the city by analyzing the overall structure of the transportation system that is most prevalent for my experiences, the metro. We used the metro to get to the general vicinity of whatever we were going to go see, because you could not get too close to it due to the fact that when constructing the metro in Rome they build about 10 feet, then hit ruins that need to be excavated and evaluated for their worth. Because the metro only takes you so close to what you want to see, you are forced to walk through the rest of the city and experience all of the joys, wonders, and annoyances that Rome has to offer.

The first joy is the fact that the metro is easy to use to anyone who has a map, if you have one then you are good to go for your stay in Rome. Once you leave the metro, you have many options for what you could do next: grab a cappuccino at a local bar, wander around looking at all of the monuments and ruins, grab some pizza to walk around with, visit a fountain to relax at, or go around shopping if you like. Most of the time, we chose to get a drink at a bar and then continue on to our tours that we had planned with our professor. The wonders of the city are all around you because the entire city is many layers of ruins upon ruins upon future ruins. It’s all a great tapestry to stare at for years. The annoyances start with all of the annoying gypsies trying to sell you something useless at every corner. Every turn you make, there will be one there, trying to sell you something stupid, and they will continue to try to sell you stuff even after you’ve said no a million times.

Now that we have navigated some of the streets for the most part, we find ourselves wondering about how this city still functions in modern day society. Well, for the most part, it stays true to its old roots and keeps the Italian style of life strong. The only real addition that I feel has been made to the city is the addition of the roads to accommodate cars and other modes of transportation.

I will finish this brief analysis of Rome with just one thought: Saint Peter’s. Everyone should visit Saint Peter’s whether or not they believe the same way or not, the space is one of the most daunting spaces you will ever experience when it comes to religion. My professor railed me once for saying that many cathedrals, churches, what have you, are supposed to make you feel small and insignificant compared to the powers and grace of God. He believes the exact opposite of that and proceeded to completely disregard the conversation about Kahn, and instead voice his own personal views on the matter while shutting down that one statement I made. Experience St. Peter’s and you will definitely know what I am talking about. You will not feel close to God and it does not make you want to be close to him if this is what is meant to be brought about in his name. I won’t get too much into the religion aspect of this, but St. Peter’s is an experience.

We now look at the city of Rome and how it is dealing with architecture in the modern era of society. We went to see a few modern buildings in the Rome and found that they were either not well received or underused for the scale of them. The MAXXI is barely used and isn’t even finished as the original concept had intended for it to be, it’s only half done if anything. Designing in such dense areas of history now is becoming a great challenge. Do you try to mimic the past? That’s hard because most people don’t have the formal teaching to use classicism correctly. Do you try to contrast to the past with a very modern structure instead? Well most of those aren’t well received because they are so out of place amongst everything else that the city has. Walk two steps and you trip over a church, forum, coliseum, or other great structure; so having some giant white monstrosity next to it, doesn’t seem to make much sense either. Do we try to fuse both together to create a more dynamic structure that embraces both the past, present and future? Personally, I think this is the most appropriate way to go about designing in places such as Rome. I personally think the works of Carlo Scarpa should be looked at by anyone fortunate enough to design within Rome, that way you may make a more informed design choice.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

Today we had the architects from Milan come in and critique our work. I think it went really well, even though I still suck at explaining my designs and everything that is going on in them. They said I should revisit Scarpa for my designs again and stop my rectilinear designs and start working more with the site. I should start working on trying to create more dynamic forms instead of interesting boxes. They also gave me some ideas of turning my colossal columns into things that could mimic or represent the trees on the site that I am still not allowed to get rid of. I think I’m going to look for some precedents for the actual column trees; I’m thinking I’ll use one of the gardens in Japan or China I think it is. Other than that, I’ve been listening to more of my classical music to help calm me down more and just chill me out and I have been talking to Sarah still. We’ve been getting to know each other more and more, she seems really nice and pretty chill and it’s been the highlight of the past week or so for me.

We went touring through some of the projects in the city with the architects from Milan today. It was a lot of long walks and brief lectures, but pretty good for getting some ideas. Urbino has a lot of interesting buildings and different kinds of entrance and exits that put you out into amazing parts of the city. Afterward we got kebabs for lunch and then proceeded to go back and finish out our day as usual before turning in to get ready for our Rome trip that starts tomorrow morning. At 6am, sharp.

Note, the next post will be made after I return and will be analyzing Rome as a whole.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

I had my first classes today, starting with my history and theory class for architecture. It was a fairly standard class, sit there, listen, and maybe talk about the material we had read the day before. The material was pretty interesting because we read older texts concerning architecture and the patterns and forms in it. On the readings focused on the idea of modules and construction of the orders, which was pretty interesting because it went into the stories behind why the orders were the way they were. After class we met up with Emily, one of the other American students who are studying here, and had lunch in the cafeteria. We mainly discussed the current green movement in Italy and why it came about here the way it has. We basically concluded that it came about due to the limited resources here and was out of necessity rather than desire to actually do it. After lunch we met up in the city to start our first studio project, an analysis of the orders using one of the buildings in town as an example of what the usual ideas behind them are and how they can change while still falling within the norms of the order. We were given a building that used the Doric order except that it didn’t have a base for its column. The building itself is actually not the detailed, and we were divided into groups so we could further divide up the drawings, making it so each of us only has to do one drawing and then trace the others from our group members. After we finished our analysis I hit up the grocery store as it opened and picked up a bottle of Disaronno and some snacks for the studio. The evening descended into working in the studio for a while and then a night of rough sleep on my bed.

We had our first watercolor class today outside of the studio. We did a fairly rigid wash on a transfer drawing we did the day before of a painting that a famous artist I had never heard of had painted. By the end of class I had a sunburn and kind of shitty piece of artwork to show for my three hours of class time. After we finished our class work we all went into town to look at our buildings for our studio projects and make sure that we had all of the details and measurements that we needed. Once we finished our analysis of the buildings we all seemed to go to the art store at the same time to go and look around, something I do not recommend people do if they ever come over here because I think they get mad when all of us go in and look around and then leave with nothing. We were trying to figure out the paper situation, but that didn’t get resolved so we’ll have to do that tomorrow or something. We went back to the studio after we had dinner and worked on our studio projects, I pretty much finished mine because our building isn’t that complicated in plan view, though the rest of the drawings are more detailed. While working on my drawing I opened up a bottle of wine and had some for the rest of the night. By the end of the night, I had basically had the entire bottle, so while working on my summaries I had to make very certain of what I was typing and how it related back to my work. I wasn’t drunk, just kind of tipsy by the time I left to go to bed for the evening. It was a pretty good day, a part from the sunburn.

We had an interesting discussion of previous projects in the history and theory class today, and I actually talked during this class, unlike the first one, so go me. After class we all went into town to figure out the paper situation and to actually get what we need so people can shut up about having the wrong things or using the wrong paper. Best part of the day though was while I was in the art store because I actually went ahead and bought my fountain pen that I wanted. It came with blue ink so I’ve been practicing with it and see what it is actually like to use one and to get used to the color. While we were in town we had lunch at a local place, at which we all got kebabs with picante sauce, which was just amazing. As we were walking out of town we also picked up a couple of lemon pastry things that were again, delicious. Before heading back to the studio, I went back to my dorm room to use the bathroom, and while there the maids knocked on my door and wanted to clean the room and change my sheets. Well I couldn’t exactly have a conversation with them saying to come back later, so I just told them not thank you. They left after that, which leaves me with the same sheets that I’ve had since I got here, which isn’t bad, but it would be nice to have some clean ones now. After all of our food we hit the studio hard and plowed through our drawings again, only to find that some of the measurements we took were wrong, so we had to go back into the city and take new measurements of the building which was time consuming and annoying. Annoying mainly because Cecilia kept saying “I told you” and “should have done it the way I said” and other crap that was just annoying. The main measurement that was wrong for the building was the repetitive brick pattern measurement we did. We measured one brick and thought that all the bricks were uniform and thus made the pattern easy to measure. Well, it turns out that the bricks are different sizes, but the overall pattern is uniform. It was just really annoying because she kept thinking that she knew what she was talking about, but she really didn’t when it came to the measurements, because even if we had measured one of the other bricks we still would have drawn it wrong because of the irregularity in the bricks. So that just got annoying, but the redo of the drawing was easy for me since I still had the plan view. The rest of the day was pretty normal, just some studio time and internet for the most part, I practiced with my new fountain pen some and updated my Tumblrs. We are meeting up in the morning tomorrow to finish our drawings and start the transfers so we can have a three day weekend and enjoy ourselves some more while we’re here, probably hitting the town some and go grape picking at a winery or something.

Well we all made it into the studio around 9:30am to get to work on our projects, only to have a few hours pass and all of us decide that we didn’t want to have class today and instead have studio on the right day. So Camelo called up John and told him about what we had all decided on, and then we all kind of relaxed for a bit and took things more slowly so we could enjoy our day. It was raining most of the day so we ended up not going out, which was kind of a bummer because I had wanted to see what all of the hype was about for Thursday nights here. We also went to the store today to pick up some snacks and to get some more wine (at least that was the main reason I went) and other liqueurs, but since it was raining, the dirt path we usually take to get to the store close by had turned into a mudslide. We all ended up with some form of mud stuck to our shoes and pants by the time we actually made it back to the studio. So instead we all ended up drinking some wine and watching movies and TV shows together. After that we all were tired and just kind of went off to bed. I’ve been keeping myself busy with Tumblr, drawing, and hanging out with everyone here, which I think has been good for the part. Whenever people go out to do or get anything, I go with them, which has been nice for the most part, but I’m kind of hoping that nothing actually happens this weekend so I can just kind of relax for a bit and maybe just explore town and eat some good food there. The first two weeks here have been really jam packed with things to do and see and eat, and I kind of want to keep looking through the town for all of the little food stores and shops. I also found a hat store in town! A legitimate store that sold only hats and things relating to hats. It looks really cool, and they have a bowler hat!!

We all met up in the studio early Friday so we could keep working on our drawings and readings, until John showed up for class and we all started to do our ink washes. They went well for the most part, but we all really didn’t enjoy defacing our wonderful drawings with our subpar watercolor skills. Afterwards we all went to dinner and then went back to the studio and watched movies. And when I say we in this case, I mean everyone but me. I just didn’t feel like sitting around watching a movie, so instead I stayed in the other room doing my usual things, drinking wine and cruising the internet for interesting things. After a while I went back to my room and just kind of relaxed before going to sleep for the night.

Today we explored the town of Urbino and the markets that were going on to see if we could find anything really cool or interesting to get. While exploring some of the guys got scarves for their girlfriends, which I tend to avoid all conversation about or leaning towards out of the fact that I still don’t enjoy other people being happy yet. I’m getting better on the whole being alone thing though, still not past that undeniable fear of truly being alone, but still making progress. Back to the city though! We went around the walls of the city and ended up outside the walls a couple times, which confused us because we had been on top of the walls the whole time, but we got some great photos and had a really good time. We also encountered this old woman who we think was trying to tell us she was a professor of Italian and English at the university, which we didn’t really buy because she never said a word of English to us. We went to get kebabs again at the place we went before, and then got some gelato to help finish off our lunch. The we all made it back to the studio again to keep working on our summaries for Monday and generally try to get some actual work done.

Today was a very special day, we went out with Eugenia and Mirko around the Marche region of Italy and see all of the sights that we could for a day. We went to the coast and looked at the water and the cities along there and got lunch at a great bar that over looked the water from a cliff side. After lunch we explored a castle for a while, but only Mirko yelled at the ticket lady for not letting us in for free because we were architecture students. She wouldn’t do it because it didn’t say architecture on our student IDs, which we all thought was stupid, I mean who goes up to you and says (translated correctly) “We are students of architecture and would like admission”? It was really annoying. So after we explored the castle we went and looked at some birds and actually practiced some Falconry! I asked Eugenia if I could after Camelo had asked, I’m getting better about this trying things and being more open-minded I think. Once we finished with the Falconry we all went back to Urbino to keep working on our summaries. While driving around the country though, I got to experience Mirko’s driving and how people drive in Italy in general. It was really cool, and I would like to correct what I tell people about why I don’t like having other people drive. I don’t like riding with bad drivers. Mirko knew what he was doing and knew exactly what his car could do, it was actually pretty relaxing, he turned on the radio and we all just talked about what we saw and what we thought. The rest of the day was devoted to summaries and killing zombies to chill before leaving the studio to sleep and indulge my internet needs.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

So today the important things that happened to me were kind of mixed, I got a text from her brother asking when I leave. I guess she’s just waiting till I’m gone so she can give my mother back her stuff, if not then she’s in deep shit because that’s my mother’s stuff. Still makes me kind of angry that she can’t be decent enough to just give my mother back her stuff until I leave. But whatever, I leave in a few days so none this will matter.

So with that happening, I decided to take a jog and clear my head some before getting ready for the rest of my night. It was a good jog; only three miles, but it helped me get out all of my thoughts that I had for the past few days and the new ones that sprang up today. It helped me clear things up with myself and what I was doing with my life and why I was doing everything.

I am doing things for myself, and no one else. I will study abroad and have an amazing time. I will get my bachelor’s degree and go to grad school. I will intern during grad school and hopefully have a job by the time I finish. After that I’ll become a fully licensed architect after that and begin working on my actual career. During all of this I will travel across the country so I can experience all that there is here. After that I’m going to travel the world to broaden things even further and do all of the amazing things out there. And somewhere in the mess of all of this, I’m going to get married to the right girl for me and have a family. All of this will be for me, and only me. I won’t do these things because of someone or something. I will only share my journey if someone will accompany me, but I won’t do any of this just because of them. If they are the right person, they get their own set of things that I would do. While finishing that sentence I feel like I want to add an emoticon to the end of it to help drive home the point, but I’m trying to keep this blog fairly classy so just picture a happy after that sentence.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the plot for a story that sounds kind of clichéd, but very interesting, and very me. It’s about a secret military project to create the perfect wetboy. Of course I picture myself as the main character, so if I ever get around to writing it you’ll get a glimpse into who I am.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect