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Architecture Alumnus Supports Florence Workshop

Keith Summerour

Auburn University architecture students at the Rome Studio now have the opportunity to study at the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy due to the generosity of 1987 Auburn architecture alumnus Keith Summerour.

Summerour, a Florence Academy of Art board member and principal and owner of Summerour Architects in Atlanta, is passionate about the classical learning of art techniques and its relationship to architecture.

“If you can draw a building quickly and more realistically it will make you a more successful architect because you can communicate with people on a more visceral level,” Summerour said. “You’ll have the ability to sit in front of someone and draw [your ideas] to scale with proper shading. You’ll be more successful than someone who can only operate with computers.”

As part of the week-long workshop, 35 students and APLA professor Scott Finn will attend figure drawing classes each morning. They will learn visual measurement techniques to help them draw realistically from sight with appropriate shading and scale.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to have a focused effort on drawing in the context of Florence, the epicenter of Renaissance art and architecture,” said Scott Finn, coordinator of the Rome Studio. “There is no better way of ‘seeing’ so completely. No photograph can capture the knowledge that is gained through the eye and hand and mind working together.”

In the afternoons, the students will study art history and tour Florence with an architecture professor who lives in the community. These tours are meant to offer students a more in-depth view of the city’s history, culture and architecture than what traditional tourists’ experience.

“When we return to Rome we will use all the lessons and techniques and ways of seeing in which we have been immersed, and apply them directly to the final studio project,” Finn said. “It will be a great chance for the students to synthesize the many experiences they have had during the term.”

Summerour opened a small architecture studio in Florence in 2003 to introduce his American staff to the ideas, principles and inspiration of his career. He used the studio as an internal education opportunity for those who may not have had the chance to study abroad in college. Now, he says he wants to use his success to offer the same opportunities to students of his alma mater.

“I want to give back from my success and offer creative experiences to students,” Summerour said. “It’s important in general for professionals to pass on their knowledge, interests and passions.”

For more information visit:

Summerour Architects (

Florence Academy of Art (

The Rome Studio (

CADC Study Abroad (