In the Fall semester of 2015, the FIU Department of Architecture sent twenty-three students to study in Genoa, Italy as part of the Architecture in Genoa Study Abroad Program. The class was almost evenly split between 4th- and 5th-year graduate students who traveled abroad to gain first-hand experience of important architectural projects and to develop an advanced design proposal in a radically different urban context.
For the first time in the program’s history, the department had one of their own faculty members in residence for the entire semester to teach courses and lead study trips to various cities in Italy, France, and Switzerland. Senior Instructor Eric Peterson travelled with the students to Rome, Florence, Milan, Como, Turin, Pisa, Lucca, Lyon, and Basel to visit iconic architectural sites, including projects by Alberti, Michelangelo, Bernini, Boromini, Terragni, Le Corbusier, Zumthor, Piano, MVRDV, Herzog and de Meuron, Calatrava, and Rem Koolhaas.
“It was a fantastic opportunity for the students to see both historic and contemporary projects by some of the most influential architects in history,” said Peterson. “These are projects they have studied in text books – to see them first hand is a tremendous experience.”
In addition to teaching a seminar course that focused on architectural precedent, Peterson attended an Italian language class with the students, coordinated a course on twentieth-century Italian art and architecture, and taught a vertical design studio.
Chair of FIU Architecture Jason Chandler visited at midterm to review the students’ work and to lead the study trip to Milan and Como.
“I am excited that we have FIU faculty teaching in Genoa,” said Chandler. “It helps to foster a greater sense of connection between what the students learn in Italy and the work that they do here in Miami.”
In Fall 2016, a new class of architecture students will travel to Genoa, and the teaching model will be further enhanced with additional visits by FIU faculty members, who will lead workshops and study trips while pursuing research opportunities in the region.
This article was written by Senior Instructor Eric Peterson.