Hello, my name is Adam Hunt and I am in a junior in the architecture BS program at the University of Minnesota. This past week has been filled with a lot of really great experiences pertaining to the culture of Rome. One thing that I have been more aware of than usual is my desire to have a routine in order to orient my time throughout the day and help me be more productive. When I first arrived here it was slightly disorienting. Being thrown into a drastically different culture and living with seven other people while in a new city that I wasn’t familiar with at all was a big change from my life in Minnesota. Managing this change has been great and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Rome from the beginning, but in the down time during the first few days when we didn’t have program lectures or meetings, I wasn’t sure what to do with my time.
In the last few days I’ve begun to get a sense of what I can expect to happen throughout the day in a way that lets me orient myself in the city but still leaves things open for spontaneity. The lectures and class meetings are a fantastic and thought provoking way to begin the day and learn more about how the city functions. I find myself looking forward to when we have exciting new places to visit and learn about that inspires more exploration later in the day when we have free time. Another activity that is really important to me is regularly running. Finding time to go running here helps Rome feel more like home and a place that I am planning on staying in for a month. It is also a fantastic way to see and explore the city. So far I’ve run in both the north and south directions of the Tiber river and find it really interesting to see how drastically different the surrounding landscape is outside of the historical district.
Recently in my design career I have been exploring photography as a means to view the world around me. Being in Rome has given me new and interesting subjects to take pictures of. I am currently in the middle of a thesis project that involves using photography to draw out hidden qualities of cities that are loosely based off of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. I highly recommend the book; in it he describes objective qualities of cities and then reveals latent experiences that the cities evoke. In my project I want to use photography to create a similar experience` by using a series of photographs to reveal what is similar but non-obvious.
My favorite discovery from this trip is how much I enjoy sketching and how different it is from taking photos. Each has their own way of changing how I see the world as result of the unique mediums and it has been interesting shifting my sketching to be different from what I would take pictures of. A lot of the pictures that I consider interesting are ones that are fairly abstract but these types of imagery don’t translate well into drawings, I believe this is because drawings need a more direct reference to be considered generally relatable while choosing specifically what to see. Photographs on the other hand become more intriguing as they become more abstract because we know that they began with something real. In a way each starts at one end of the spectrum and meet in the middle.
I have been thoroughly enjoying orienting myself in Rome. The weather has been warm and sunny almost every day here and I love using sketching as an excuse to go outside to different places to draw. Back home during springtime I enjoyed sitting outside and not really doing anything, but here sketching is a productive and thought provoking way to engage with my surrounding environment while still enjoying the great weather and fresh air. My assigned site for the final map drawing is the Roman Forum and surrounding neighborhood so there are a lot of intriguing spots, views, and materials to think about and look at while drawing. My favorite two spots are behind Campidoglio looking over the forum and also above the Campidoglio in a small park overlooking Rome. I also really enjoy spending time on Tiber Island around the base near the water. It’s secluded and peaceful thus creating a perfect place to go and draw the various ruins that are spotted around the island. Twice I’ve found myself staying there until nightfall enjoying the beautiful atmosphere and serene sounds of the water.