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An exciting experience of living and studying in Florence - Semester abroad in Architecture

My great experience in Florence. From architecture to gastronomy

I decide to study architecture in Florence, because I think this is a city where people can absorb all the history of the architecture.

After studying the examples of Renaissance and also the architects who started to think about new ways of construction, techniques and design, it was very inspiring for me to live in Florence in order to see and feel the result of an era that so many buildings were constructed by brilliant minds like Brunelleschi, Alberti or Michelangelo.

It was very intense to walk in the streets of Florence and see something important in each corner. It was a place where I’ve learned some aspects of a different culture and different people. I tried to integrated and confront myself in this new way of interaction and was very gratifying to meet a different lifestyle. Specially, having the opportunity to try the great gastronomy of Italy like pasta, pizza and the best ice-creams with so many flavors and try all these in a beautiful square of Florence with a musician playing some instrumental music, it was even better.

Living in Florence , during my semester abroad in architecture was also a opportunity to enjoy and visit other cities in Italy. This was a big part of my experience too. I visited Rome, where I saw a city with a different scale, larger squares and streets, and also the buildings had a “monumental scale”, very different from Florence, but both with so much history. The relation between those two cities of Italy make me think that the scale of the antique Rome influenced the development of the city. As I saw at the Forum, all those elements, like the columns, and also at the Colosseo belong to a time when they were interested on the construction of the buildings. Later, there were architects who started to study those principles of construction, but adapted to a proportional measures as a way to create harmonious shapes and spaces. While Rome developed from the antique Rome’s architecture, Florence developed from a deep study between the classical elements, previously used, but with a desire of beauty and proportion - that’s a thought I developed in my trip. The results are buildings like, Santa Maria del Fiore, Ospedale degli Innocenti and Palazzo Rucellai. That’s why I think Florence is more adapted to a human scale - the humanistic architecture - and consequently more comfortable.

My study abroad architecture experience at Studium Architecturae - Florence Design School

To improve my experience in Florence, I wanted to have a confront of myself and what I learned with the real “world of work”, specially, in a city already unknown when I arrived. I signed for a semester course in architecture at Studium Architecturae - Florence Design School where I had the opportunity to study and work on the project - Tuscany Smart Resort. A project in a wide landscape in the Tuscany countryside characterized by a study of the openings in the facade. The project was inspired from Magritte’s painting and the typical rural houses in Tuscany. The study of the windows was result of variation in the dimensions of the openings and a relation of shadows that contrast with the surroundings, like a relation of noise/silence.

From the drawings of the facades and the plans of the project I did a manual model, which helped me to understand better the project, think about the construction of the building and, at the same time, the model helped to solve some problems. It was interesting to know the details of the project that, at the first impression, it seems like something easy to do/execute, but then it revealed to be very complex. Specially one of the elements that characterized the interior space, the stairs, that make the connection from the basement floor to the terrace on the roof. The construction of these stairs was for me a challenge to solve, but later it became a very interested space with the small openings that accompany the path of the stairs through an empty space in the middle.

In the south facade of the building was removed one part (the form of a parallelepiped), that later this form was transformed in a green house beside the building. On other hand this empty space in the building allows during the summer, when the sun is higher, to make a shadow which refresh the building. While in the winter, the sun is lower, and let the heat pass through the glazing. Another interesting thing in this project is the relation of the levels between the main floor where is the entrance of the building and the english gardens that help the light to come in the basement floor, and also the terrace on the roof.

All the experience in the Studium Architecturae -Florence Design School was very rich for my knowledge and I learned that if we want to do something special for a client, like the architect Giovanni said, we really need to know ourselves and transform something complex in something simple and beautiful. Like Alberti though: if the building is beauty it means it is functional and solid, so it can works.

I just have to thank Giovanni for helping me and advising me for my future as an architect. I had the opportunity to develop my skills, my thoughts and also meet another students from other countries. The atmosphere in Studium Architecturae - Florence Design School was very nice, they made me feel comfortable and were always ready to teach me. An experience like this, help people to grow up and be more prepared for the future!

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