Yale School of Architecture
Rome: Continuity & Change
Proff. George Knight and Bimal Mendis
Rome: Continuity & Change is an intensive seminar that takes place in Rome and is designed to provide a broad overview of the cityâ€™s major architectural sites, topography, and systems of urban organization. Examples from antiquity to the present day are studied as part of the context of an ever-changing city with its sequence of layered accretions. The seminar examines historical continuity and change as well as the ways in which and the reasons why some elements and approaches were maintained over time and others abandoned.Â
Hand drawing is used as a primary tool of discovery during explorations of buildings, landscapes, and gardens, both within and outside the city. Over the course of four weeks in Rome, students walk and draw the breadth of the city and its environs. Issues of design, form, construction, composition and geometry are explored through close analysis of significant sites from all time periods. Stressing the practice of daily drawing, largely in sketchbook format using diverse media, the seminar asks students to examine buildings and urban spaces to grasp their spatial, temporal and social formation. Along with itineraries lead by the instructors, the course is enriched by the frequent participation of prominent archeologists and art historians of Rome who tour the students through significant monuments, gardens, collections and urban spaces.Â
The seminar culminates with a week-long independent study during which each student creates a sustained drawing of a subject of their choosing. Selecting both a site and a means of representation for this final project, students are challenged to study a given building or urban space and synthesize a unique impression of its physical, historical and social content. With each drawing created in-situ over several sessions, they all reflect the immediate experience of the selected site and are imbued with each studentâ€™s acquired experience of the city and its culture. The final drawings will be exhibited and reviewed during a day-long presentation at the conclusion of the seminar and again in an exhibition at the School of Architecture in the subsequent fall.