11 students. 124 days. 17 weeks. 10 field trips. 5 walked miles a day (at least). 3 studio projects.
The semester abroad in Rome was a prolific time for the LSU College of Art & Design Rome Program students, who learned lessons of architecture from the eternal city.
At first, students from LSU, Philadelphia University, Auburn University, and University of Arkansas collaborated to research different neighborhoods in Rome, putting together analytical boards that translated a creative interpretation of the qualities and issues of the area. As a transition to the final project, Professor Andrew Kranis (LSU Adjunct Professor/University of Arkansas Rome Center) led LSU students to form smaller groups and participate in the ArtUrbain competition; this year’s theme was on enhancing public spaces for the common good of citizens. Proposals encompassed urban strategies to integrate a forgotten archaeological site, Largo Argentina, back into the heart of Rome. Drawing from these projects, each student then designed an architectural intervention.
Crowning the achievements of the whole group, Christopher James and Eva Knapp were chosen to present at Super Jury, an overview of the work produced throughout the semester, critiqued by a group of 10 design professionals. Architecture, interior
design, and fashion design students came together to exhibit the great work completed at the Rome Center. The event is an important tool for the faculty to evaluate the results of a full semester of work and to improve on future projects and methods while also exposing students to what peers from different disciplines created when faced with similar conditions.
Both Christopher James and Eva Knapp are finishing the fourth year of Bachelor of Architecture program at LSU. Christopher’s project, titled “Loggia del Mondo,” looked at the pressing immigration issue in Italy, proposing a building that would integrate newcomers with the rich Italian culture. He believes that “learning about people is one of the biggest challenges in architecture,” so he strived to use the lessons he took from Romans to design a two story immigration office/business incubator that would welcome foreigners into a central city location instead of the current office located in the outskirts of the capital. In conclusion, he said he will carry the lessons learned from Rome into the rest of his educational and professional careers.
Eva addressed urban issues by imagining a gondola system integrated into Rome’s current public transit network. Her project, “Commute through the Clouds,” selected strategic points throughout the city, adding a purple and a gold transportation line to traverse Rome via the sky, relieving a congested ground traffic system while providing breathtaking panoramic views of the eternal city. In conclusion to her presentation she affirmed that, “Designing a transportation system pushed me to really think about architecture in the context of a rich urban fabric.”
Christopher’s and Eva’s Super Jury presentations closed a very successful semester with strong and well-thought-out design proposals that represent the engagement and dedication exhibited by the whole LSU crew: Katie Brochard, Andrea Thigpen, Michelle Jones, Ana Orosco, Yingxue Wang, Adrienne Erbesti, Sarah Eikrem, Eva Knapp, Christopher James, Spencer Flanders, and Giovanni Coakley.