Vicenza and the Veneto: An Introduction to a Practice in a Place by Charlie Menefee
Read the full introduction to the program here.
Lines of connection follow observation. Relationships are determined following questioning. Questions start drawings. Drawing therefore is at the core of a designer’s work for it actively combines the processes of observation and considered positioning with the making of substantive marks. Well-founded consideration and clear position-taking are essential components in a successful design process. Without drawing, design as we know it does not happen.
The Vicenza Program is driven by questions and to a certain degree quests. No matter the level of sophistication, in my experience I do not know of an instance when a person who has made a drawing pursuant to a question is not wiser (or at least more knowledgeable) for having made the effort. Drawing never narrows ones field of view - drawing only expands us. In short, drawing is instructive. I sense that most students know this. There is evidence that drawing, when combined with a concerted effort to seek out, question, and document connections, may be one of the most powerful tools a hopeful person has to maintain positive and creative output.
This summer program is based in Vicenza, in the Veneto region of Italy. With a population just over 100,000, Vicenza is home to the Villa La Rotunda and numerous other buildings by Palladio. It is located approximately three hours from the city of Venice.
ARCH 5800: Vicenza Program I, 3 credits
ARCH 5801: Vicenza Program II, 3 credits
Students take both 3-credit courses (for a total of 6 credits), in which the student will be given the opportunity to:
- Develop freehand drawing skills through instruction in diagramming, measuring, and recording what they see in sketches and analytical drawings.
- Develop the essential skill of observing relationships both particular to the place and those that are universal to human occupation.
- Analyze and record the development of prototypical constructions at the scale of the town, building, and building element. This includes particular architectural types such as Roman and medieval towns, the villa and palazzo types, and also includes elements and conditions such as the window and corner.
- Address universal conditions such as threshold, boundary, and frame and how these conditions are approached at a range of scales.
- Consider the making of civic identity through the study of the development of the Venetian town from a Roman outpost to modern economic power as the community incorporates physical, political, economic, religious, pugilistic, agricultural, intellectual, and artistic influences.
This program is open to rising 3rd and 4th years, and Graduate students. Rising 2nd years who apply will be considered for admission after the other applications have been reviewed.
Highly Recommended Prerequisite for Undergraduates
ARCH 5760: Architectural Drawing and Sketching or equivalent architectural or figure drawing course.
Completion Requirements & Grading
Completion will be defined by and grading based on level of productivity, attentiveness, range and quality of critical inquiry and documentation, and degree of improvement in communicating observations through sketching and analytical drawing. Final grading takes place in the fall semester following the summer term.
Charlie Menefee | firstname.lastname@example.org | Program Director
Associate Professor in Architecture, Professor Menefee has served as the program director and primary critic since 1999 when he took over from Mario di Valmarana, the program's founder, when he stepped down from an active teaching role at the School.
Luis Pancorbo | email@example.com | 2019 On-Site Instructor
Assistant Professor in Architecture, Professor Pancorbo's research interests focus on the technical dimension of architecture and its influence on the methodology of architectural design, American industrial architecture, and industrial ruins and derelict productive landscapes.
Ines Martin Robles | firstname.lastname@example.org | 2019 On-Site Instructor
Lecturer in Architecture, with research interests in Modern Spanish and Ibero-American architecture, the survival of the past through tradition, and the role of memory for architectural design methodology.
In Vicenza, the On-Site Instructors are supported by two graduate Teaching Assistants – one for drawing and another for communications and logistics.
Accommodation and Meals
Students will share rooms and dine communally in accommodations in Vicenza. The Casa is neither a hotel nor a dorm. We are guests in a household run and staffed by older women who are directly affiliated with the Catholic church. In fact, the house is intended to be used by those who are studying anything with a religious connection; the more direct the better. Our connection is not as direct as it might be so our behavior in the Casa and as temporary inhabitants of the neighborhood must be exemplary in order for our hosts to feel comfortable with us returning on an annual basis. Rooms in the Casa are simple and are practically furnished. Sheets and towels are changed once a week when the rooms are cleaned. There is no air conditioning (very limited across northern Italy) so the purchase of a fan might keep your room more comfortable at night. Most rooms will be shared. Many have an adjoining bath.
Food at the Casa is good, nourishing, and plentiful. Cooking follows the rural traditions of the Venetian region. Breakfast consists of cereals, rolls w/ condiments, and fresh fruit. Dinners are two course meals with a pasta dish followed by meat (heavy emphasis on pork and some chicken) and vegetables, with fruit for desert. Vegetarian diets can be easily accommodated. Students are responsible for their own lunches every day as well as dinners on Saturday and Sunday evening. Perishable food may not be kept in your rooms.
Cost and Financial Aid
The program cost and payment schedule are available under the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page. Students with identifiable financial need are encouraged to apply for fellowships, scholarships, and financial aid. School of Architecture students are encouraged to apply for School of Architecture funding.
The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual basis. This program typically involves significant time spent standing each day and navigating a variety of terrains, surfaces, and modes of transportation. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.
Passport and Visa
All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program return date. US passport holders will not need a visa to participate in this program. International students should consult http://vistoperitalia.esteri.it/home/en for visa and entry requirements, and meet with their International Student Advisor in the International Studies Office for information about re-entering the U.S. at the conclusion of the program.
Health and Safety Information
All students considering Education Abroad should consult the Students Abroad section of the U.S. Department of State’s web-based travel resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler’s Health web resources to research health, safety, and security conditions; visa requirements; immunization requirements; and recommendations on staying healthy and safe in their target destination(s). Students should also carefully review the UVA Education Abroad Health & Safety Abroad web page. Parents and guardians are strongly advised to review all of these resources, as well. UVA students and visiting students enrolled in UVA Education Abroad programs are subject to the University of Virginia’s Policy on Student International Travel.