A group of students from the College of Design recently returned from the abitare firenze [inhabit florence] program in Italy. Under the guidance of UK’s program director Christopher Manzo, students studied buildings and spaces through first-hand observation, analysis, and drawing. Students additionally considered notions of facade, hearth, home, and living using examples dating from the Renaissance to the present. Every week of the program, students considered different palazzi (palaces/homes) in Florence as they operate at four scales: as urban fabric (context), the building’s form, the interiority or spatial qualities of home, and ornament. The program culminates with a proposal for a new, modern palazzo in this historic city.
This program provides College of Design students a valuable opportunity for real-world application of their studies. Dr. Patrick Lee Lucas, the director of UK’s School of Interiors, stated, “[S]tudents of design can do no better than to immerse themselves in the rich material culture and history of Florence. In looking at archetypal buildings from a critical span of architecture and design history, students can see first hand what it means to inhabit a place and call it home.” Students earned 9-10 UK credit hours, depending on their year/degree program, typically including a studio credit, as well as a Special Topics credit. In addition, students will earn 3 elective credits from a course at Florence University of the Arts.
Students participating in abitare firenze are free to travel on weekends, with many historic locations in close proximity. Dr. Lucas believes this to be another strength of the program, “Florence also provides a great starting point for adventures throughout the Italian peninsula–Rome, Venice, Sicily, Pisa, Sienna–all of these places provide excellent opportunities to see buildings students study on campus. Imagine meeting a Hollywood celebrity while traveling in Los Angeles… Seeing the line-up of famous facades and interiors from the past is much like that brush with fame in Italy.” For more information on the program, click here. See more of their photos below: