In the fall of 2000, I had the privilege of teaching in the University of Washington’s Architecture in Rome program. The scaffolding that normally covers many of Rome’s treasures for cleaning and restoration was nowhere to be seen. The Eternal City had been scrubbed and polished for the hosts of pilgrims traveling there for the Jubilee Year. Because I asked the students to keep a journal to record their quarter in Rome—on history walks, during field trips, and in the design studio—I felt obligated to do the same. And I am delighted I did. Looking back at my journals now brings back fond memories of the four times I taught there.
I remember telling the students that if a blank sketchbook was intimidating, skip a few pages, then go back and fill in the first few. Here are the first pages of my journal from 2000. The first shows the view out of my window in Apt. 6 in the Palazzo Pio, looking out onto Campo de Fiori.
The next two are sketches I did as I walked the streets and acquainted myself with the area before the students arrived and the quarter started. If you look carefully toward the bottom of each page, you will notice the very small plans I used to remind myself of the context for the views I drew. I like to think of drawing on location not only as a mode of appreciation, but also a path to understanding and remembering.