Friday, April 29, 2011

Arrivederci, Roma

So here I am, packing, needing a break because i just ran into a dust bunny under my bed.  Tonight we have a fairwell with the people of our building, and then our final dinner with Eric and Marina.  Then the whole group of us are going on our final stroll around La Citta Eterna, and thus concludes our semester.

Well, what have i learned? I learned that the characters on Gilligan’s Island could not have stayed that sane for all those years without tossing someone off a mountain, but besides that what did i really learn these past four months?

I learned a lot about living in a different country. Now, before you say, “well duh Lisa...” hear me out.  It took a lot to get used to fitting into a society without being obnoxious.  Sure, none of us succeeded at perfect italian culture, but we all adapted to the language and lifestyles extremely fast.  I somewhat understand why other places make fun of Americans now. We walk fast, we like to dress for comfort, and we’re not used to history surrounding us, especially in a place like Clark, NJ.  Italians really do live by “la dolce vita” and “il dolce far niente” and dont understand the rush.  The purpose of the Spanish Steps is for people to sit on and people watch everyone going by, you even see at restaurants in piazzas, the chairs outside are angled facing into the piazza, for the customers to watch everything in the Piazza.  There is nothing wrong with chilling with a glass of wine and enjoying what you have instead of complaining about what you dont. 

I can cook.  I know.  Its a complete surprise to me too.  Ive been watching or helping my mom make meatballs and sauce for as long as i can remember, sometimes even starting the sauce for her if she was going to be home late, but finally, i took on the challenge of completely making it on my own and it was a huge success.  A few of my friends looked forward to the days i would make it.  It really does make me feel proud that I can do something that real on my own. 

What have i missed? all i can say is there better be an everything bagel with butter, a huge glass of chocolate milk, and a bag of cheddar sunchips waiting for me when i get home.  I miss squirrels too, pigeons are really annoying.  I miss my stove top that i dont need to put a lighter up to in order to light.  I also miss having more than one pillow... oh and AIR CONDITIONING.  Lets just say these last few weeks were complete with a stuffy Lisa.  I miss good internet and MY CRACKBERRY! im sorry, my generation depends on texting.  I hope that thing turns on still when i get home, he might be mad at me.  Oh and the obvious answer to this question - my friends and family back in America

What will i miss.. good question.. EVERYTHING!  I may even miss those annoying pigeons.... ok that is a stretch.  Its kind of sweet when you walk into a store and say Boungiorno to the shop owner.  I am going to miss being surrounded by such important history.  How when i give directions, famous monuments like the Pantheon and the Colosseum are the land marks used.  The panini place down the street from studio where the guy started to recognize us.  Sergio, the bartender at the bar we always got our espresso at.  When i order hot chocolate and get pudding.   Bonding with the other 19 students.

The other night we all pitched in and made a family dinner.  It was probably the first time all 20 of us were in the same room in our dorm building.  I stood up to give the first toast, all that i said was “To the semester we had been looking forward to-” and then started to tear up.  This semester has been what we have been waiting for since last spring when we officially found out we were coming at the LATEST.  For me, I had been looking forward to this since, oh i dont know, it could have been 8th grade that i decided i was going to study Architecture in Rome, and here I am, saying goodbye to this chapter in my life, and ready to see what is in store for us all next.

Here is the video a few of us worked on to conclude our semester.

Arrivaderci, Roma. Mi mancherai, mi amore.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Final Theory Paper: Piazza del Campidoglio

Jetlagged, dirty, and disoriented after spending eight straight hours on an airplane, we decided that instead of napping and showering, it was time for our first adventure in Rome.  We set out and wandered the streets with no clue of where we were or where we were headed.  But as we turned the next corner, I saw an extremely tall stairwell topped with an old, rustic church and recalled a history class. No, yes, yes there it is! The Campidoglio!  I ran up those horse stairs so fast that I did not realize how bad my legs actually hurt.  When we got to the top I was finally reoriented, I was in Rome.

I was on top of the world at Piazza del Campidoglio, or “Caput Mundi” as the Italians call it.  To emphasize this feeling, the piazza’s ground rounds up and gets higher towards the center.  Its shape is “perfect,” but it is not a square.  The shape is trapezoidal. “Michelangelo envisioned the future piazza as a trapezoid since the two existing buildings were placed at an oblique angle to each other” (Zucker, Town and Square: 146).  When Michelangelo designed the space, he shaped it to give the illusion of a perfect square. This is most apparent at the top of the stairs, where the piazza widens in order to lead us towards the centered palazzo in the space, Palazzo dei Senatori, Rome’s city hall, “the perspective helps to monumentalize the Palazzo dei Senatori.  This stage effect already suggests a movement toward the background, a typically baroque trait” (Zucker, Town and Square: 146).  Palazzo dei Senatori is clearly the most important palazzo of the piazza, which one can see by its unique centered clock tower and its grand stairwell designed by Michelangelo.

All three palazzi, Palazzo dei Senatori, Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Capitoline Museum, had been resurfaced to have a more unified appearance.  This included the use of the giant order, which gives each building a sense of grandeur by extending the pilasters past just one story.  The base level of the two side palazzi also include columns of the normal order, which uses the two scales in order to further emphasize just how tall the giant order is spanning.  “The verticals of the Corinthian columns tie together all three structures” (Zucker, Town and Square: 147).  Another touch to unify the piazza is the trapezoidal void itself.  The travertine pattern in the ground, the oval, directs the visitor towards the center, where the statue of Marcus Aurelius stands.  One area that pedestrians do not realize is unifying the space is where the three buildings connect, underneath the piazza itself, as part of the Capitoline Museum.

We noticed just why the Piazza del Campidoglio was a Michelangelo masterpiece.  By taking what already existed, he became the second man and continued to complete the design.  As we exited the piazza, the view over the stairs pointed towards St. Peter’s Basilica.  Exhausted, excited, and finally oriented, our adventure was over, yet the semester had just begun.

Zucker, Paul. Town and Square. New York: Columbia UP, 1959. Print.

Monday, April 25, 2011


“I’m going to Barcelona Easter weekend to surprise everyone, are you coming?” ...ok Joj, I’m game.

There was lots of screaming when we first arrived.  And then it was time to tour the city the other 20 CUArch kids decided to study in.  First. Champagneria.  Champagne and burgers..... interesting combo, then beach, then jumping in the pool on the roof of their dorm.  Wait, have you guys been studying architecture or just lounging all semester, i mean, youre all so tan!

The second day was time for some serious touring.   With Joey and Josh at the front of our group, I got to see everything that makes Barcelona the beautiful city that it is.  Gaudi designed most of it in his strange surreal manor.  The things i studied in History class like Casa Batlo and Casa Mila.  The people of Barcelona were a lot like Italians, the city itself was nothing like Rome.

The next day, the Rome team flew solo and went to see Park Guel, the one thing i NEEDED to see in Barcelona.  It was absolutely beautiful. Gaudi, you are quite impressive.

Afterwords we met up with some post-studioed Barca kids (they have not had final jury yet) to take us to Tibidabo, the top of a hill on the outskirts of Barcelona.  The church at the top of this hill, has a church on top of it, so their were 2 layers of really beautiful churches. 

Easter morning, our last morning, we went to the Barcelona Cathedral for easter mass in not spanish, but the regions own language of Catalan (a mix of spanish, french and italian).  I really had no idea what they were talking about, ever. I only picked up on “oh dio” because that is also italian for “oh god.”

Before departing, we took a quick trip over to the famously never finished Segrada Famiglia church (which just had a fire in the sacristy, so we couldnt go to Easter mass there), and then it was time to say hasta luego to our dear friends in Spain and return to Italy.

It was a great weekend to reconnect with friends and experience a great city. But i am definitely still happy i chose to study in Rome =]

Final Final Jury

Every architecture student dreads that final project season.  It is the most stressful point in the semester.  The project that effects our grade the most.  The project we spend the longest period of time on.  Though this semester was honestly a lot different than any other semesters final jury, we all still had our night-before scream matches about little things (Steve spilling watercolor paint on his pants... and project).  

We were given a pre-existing facade of a palazzo in Rome (mine happens to also not exist anymore).  Then analyze it, and lastly, recreate it to a more modern facade, or as i accidently said during my speech, “contemporize it.”

I’m not gunna go into details on here, because this a little more complex of an explanation than the last few projects, but all in all, I did well, and so did the rest of my class.

All 20 of us were relieved when jury finally was over, yet, at least for me, it was bitter sweet, because that means the semester is over =[  4 more days...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

i foti di sud italia

Napoli: Castel Nuovo

MaryKate & Ashley in the Naples Archeological Museum


time for shots!

Cuma Cave

straight up creepin

Baia. dome view

Pozzuoli. hello speer

getting comfy on the spolia

Castellammare di Stabia: Mojo on the roof


gluten free rocks!


the haha game

Ercolano. the dog that scared speer

Napoli train station. Speer and Mia sleeping

poor dave.

Headin' South

Dave Shove-Brown, the dean in charge of all things CUArch Abroad (and my crit last semester) arrived sunday, ready to wind us all up and take us on our last class trip, to Southern Italy.

I forgot my Hello Kitty notebook, but i still managed to take notes in my little blue moleskine of everything important.  Ladies and Gentleman, i give you the final bulletpoint-form trip account.  My trip South:

Day 1:
-Tired from soccer game last night, we all slept on the train to Naples
-almost died in taxi to hotel with kelly, emily, and eric. i hope to never be in a car in naples again
-Most beautiful hotel ever, comfiest beds too
-Sketched in the Spanish Quarter and the Galleria
-Street venders selling annoying whistle things. plenty of people whistling. everywhere.
-Stop in Piazza, while talking, all street venders set up stands around our group -_-
-Castel Nuovo
-Naples Duomo
-Naples Archeological Museum
-Got lost walking home, got directions from a lady with ice cream all over her face
-Famous pizzaria
-“We are meeting in the lobby at 8 am and before you complain just think: youre going to fricken Capri! you could be in DC right now” -Dave

Day 2:
-Hotel breakfast. i still dream about it
-Boat to Capri!
-Treck over the island and through the woods
-“Who wants shots?!” -Eric, referring to photos of ourselves in front of the beautiful vista. 
-Arrive at Casa Maleparte. no photos alowed except by dave. oh how exclusively located we were.
-Amazing views and the water was crystal clear blue, just asking us to jump in. but alas, we held back
-Twas hot, and lizards were everywhere
-Walk back- treck through island jungle a lot hotter this time. somehow survived.
-lemon ice thingys in the town center of Capri
-Rain? randomly?
-Boatride back to Naples
-rough seas from storm, “First person to vam gets a dollar” -Jojo
-Booey i guess breaks loose on the side of the boat and bounces against the boat for the entire ride. wonderful.

Day 3:
-depart Naples and bus ride to Cuma
-cool cave and views of horses running down the beach
-Then bus to Baia
-pretty much a play ground
-cool dome room with ecco
-got on dome of it and then got yelled at
-then bus to the Colosseum in Pozzuli
-long busride to Castellammare di Stabia, we drove past Mt Vesuvius
-Arrive at the hostel
-“Is anyone else itchy?” -Tim
-walked to baby beach
-everyone gets stuck in the elevator.  thank god i wasnt on it.

Day 4:
-Iced cappuccino, didnt agree with me
-pass metro stop “Nocera”
-2 sandwich lunches confuse us. hot pink salame
-kelly throws her hard-as-a-rock glutton free bread to a dog, dog gets up and relocates to the other side
-took train to Sorrento
-Taste tested Meloncello
-Back to  home base.... Dave broke his hand?
-nope, just popped fingers out of place playing soccer with local boys, they popped them back in place though!
-disappointing fruit dessert
-played the HaHa game on the terrace

Day 5:
-Ercolano - much like Pompei only better preserved
-Chilled on floor in train station
-Train back to Roma from Napoli

Saturday, April 2, 2011

best photo yet.

eric is a little teapot, short and stout. there is his handle, there is his spout.