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Form and Function: 50 years of the School of Architecture’s Rome Studies Program

Form and Function: 50 years of the School of Architecture’s Rome Studies Program

Rev. Richard S. Bullene, C.S.C., Academic
Director of the Rome Studies Program: When we began, we were not a school. We were the Department of Architecture in
the College of Engineering when Professor Montana created the Rome Program. He has had five successors with different
ideas on architecture, different ideas about architectural education, and yet they would
all stand up for the Rome Program. It’s just – it has proven itself in every
situation. You want to teach architecture this way? Rome will work. Whatever “this way” is. Michael Lykoudis, Dean of the School of Architecture:
You have to know where you came from to know where you’re going and perhaps Rome is the
center for one part of western civilization. It also represents much of how the world sees
cities and how we see the enduringness of buildings. It’s an extraordinary place and from Roman
times and even before, through modern day, it’s been a vibrant center. Doha Morchid, Third-year Architecture Student:
When I came to Rome, actually, it was a little bit different than what I expected in the
sense that I thought in my head all these monuments are very separated out, while you
can walk from one place or another within like 10- or 15-minutes walk. It’s a very walkable city and I love that
so much because I can just wake up in the morning and then take a walk, and then go
to my class, and then be in another place that is completely different than what I experienced
the night before. Just living in that space gives you a lot
of information about the city, the history of it, and helps you learn every day and use
that information into your project, into your studies. Dean Lykoudis: Coming here in their third-year,
the students learn about urbanism and how to make cities out of street, squares and
blocks; out of public buildings; sacred buildings; private buildings … so they learn the DNA
of how to make cities. Rome does that unlike any other place. There’s 20 centuries layered one on top of
the other that speak of the same things over and over, always in different iterations. Rev. Bullene: We refer to Rome as the Eternal
City and maybe you could say well it also has eternal impact or eternal carrying forward
of lessons of here that will improve American cities. Not that we’re going to try to transplant
Rome to the U.S. or to wherever else our graduates are working. But the pattern of thinking, the way of understanding
buildings and their urban spaces is very valuable to not only our students for their personal
enrichment, but to their profession as a means of cultural enrichment. Dean Lykoudis: The fact that every student
that has graduated from the School has had to go through it. It unifies the entire school
from generation to generation. Doha Morchid: Living that experience makes
you want to design something that is similar that gives people that experience. If you’re walking through that space you want
to live the same experience and reach to a space that you’re like, “Wow! This is a magical moment. I want to live this experience.”

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