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Architecture Program’s Rome Studio

ARCH Study Abroad Rome 2012

The Architecture Program’s Rome Studio is a full and intense semester of exploration, investigation, analysis and synthesis in one of Western civilization’s treasure troves of design culture and history. Since 2010 ALPA has partnered with the University of Arkansas’ Rome Center to share teaching space, housing, and faculty resources. In recent years, this collaboration has grown to include students and faculty from the architecture programs at the University of Tennessee, and Philadelphia University. 

In order to enjoy discovering the place, the program provides a fully-integrated experience of working and living in Rome for the full spring semester (four months).  Student Jeffrey Bak explains, “The whole program was structured in a way that got us, and kept us, out in the city, while allowing us to experience, study, analyze, and enjoy.

Rome is one of the birthplaces of Western civilization, and The Rome Studio is designed to allow students to engage the study of urban ideas through the careful observation, documentation, and analysis of this modern city with more than 2,500 years of history.  While in Rome, APLA architecture students complete a studio course, a seminar, and a drawing course – all of which emphasize learning from the rich layers of history and architecture in this amazing city.  In addition to working closely with each other, APLA students are mixing with students from the other partnering programs in classes and special activities across the semester. Bak explains, “Integrated in courses with [students from the other universities], we set off in every direction, studying every designed aspect the city had to offer: from the urban planning strategies of large scale moves, such as the creation of the major street the Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, to the small scale details, such as the tile and brick pattern of the civic square, the Campidoglio.”

The experience of living and learning in Rome is a tremendous opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of design and broaden their understanding of global culture. As Prof. Scott Finn, coordinator of the Rome Studio, notes, “Students work hard doing, reading, writing, seeing, and drawing, not simply as visitors, but as citizens of the city.”  Student Holly Payne adds that the experience is not wholly academic: “I was able to learn a lot about myself—Rome is now a part of me.” 

Jeffrey Bak agrees, “To me, living in the Eternal City for an extended period of time provided a holistic experience that has permeated into the ways that I not only design and think about the built and natural environment, but also the way I live and act and think about the world.”

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For more information on Study Abroad opportunities in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture: