Auburn's third-year architecture students enter into their spring semester with the choice to stay in Auburn, study at their rural studio in Alabama's Hale County or travel abroad to Rome, Italy. (Photos Source // Hannah Cornelius)
For senior Hannah Cornelius, Cullman, Alabama, Auburn's College of Architecture, Design and Construction Rome studio drove her to choose Auburn.
“It was the only school I toured that had their own abroad program that brought their faculty and was also architecture specific," Hannah said. "All the other schools had study abroad programs. However, they either weren’t specific to architecture or were through other schools."
The College of Architecture, Design and Construction began offering their Rome studio to students over 12 years ago. The four-month program is taught by professors from Auburn University, University of Arkansas and three Italian universities.
While abroad, Hannah took three architecture classes.
The first, Architecture of the City, centered on traveling to different monuments, tourist attractions and architecture staples throughout Rome.
"Each week we traveled with our professors and drew the sites. We then analyzed the iconic locations and their structures," Hannah said.
The next class, Modern and Contemporary Rome, had students study the different neighborhoods that make up Rome's metropolitan area.
"Rome is divided into tons and tons of different subsections, kind of like the burrows of New York," Hannah said. "They’ve all developed at different times for different reasons so each week we went and studied a different section and how it came about.”
Lastly, Hannah took a studio focused on the downtown, historic area of Rome.
"In our regular studio we looked at what was already existing and tried to be respectful of that when designing new projects," Hannah said. "That was similar to a normal studio in America just in a different setting."
"It has been there for ages," Hannah said. "Dignitaries and part of the royalty still live there so you have this cool feeling of being part of history."
Hannah says having this experience abroad helped expand her creativity and improve her design skills.
"I gained great experience living in a metropolitan city," Hannah said. "My time there showed me a different approach to design from the rural setting I grew up in."
During her four months abroad Hannah says she grew both as an architect and student.
"Rome significantly shapes the architecture we build today," Hannah said. "It was really cool seeing the birthplace of it all and being able to learn in the city center.”
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