The 2-3 week travel programs include visits to significant examples of urbanism and architecture and in-depth research for a project to be completed when the students return to the University Design Studio. Students draw the spaces they visit, meet with public officials, architects and residents, and absorb local culture. Upon their return, they assemble and analyze material they collected and produce design concepts that will not only fit into the historic settings but enhance them.
Students and faculty arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport and immediately travelled by TGV (very fast train) to Nimes in the South of France. Originally built by the Romans, Nimes is a beautiful city with remarkable public spaces.

Once the students had settled into their hotel, they began the first of a series of walks. It included the Roman Amphitheater, a sequence of medieval and renaissance squares, and an 18th Century water park. The walk ended in Place du Maison CarreĀ“e with its Roman temple and modern cultural center by architect Norman Foster. Drawing exercises included eye level perspectives, plans and sections. In the course of the first week, they did the same exercises in Arles and Avignon. One of the highlights of the week was a visit to the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct with a spectacular sound and light show.

The second week included 6 days in Toulon, collecting material on a site at the edge of the old City. This run down site had been partially rebuilt for a project but never completed. The students met with city officials to learn the history of the site and collect materials, with an architect who specializes in historic preservation, with a redevelopment official who is in charge of the old city and with a flamboyant artist-writer-publisher who is publicizing the historic city. The city of Toulon and the French equivalent of the Sister Cities Association sponsored receptions and other events that enabled the students to meet people in Toulon.

The final week was spent in Paris drawing urban spaces including the Palais Royal, Place des Vosges, and the Champs Elysees. The program concluded with an exhibit of the students' sketchbooks for supporters of the Foundation and a visit to the Ambassador's Residence at the United States Embassy.

When they returned to Hampton, the students prepared detailed drawings of design concepts for a new commercial and residential development on the site they had studied.

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Both of these programs were based in Pienza in Tuscany. This Renaissance Ideal City is located on the northern edge of the Val d'Orcia, a beautiful agricultural landscape and UNESCO World Heritage site. Housing was in a 15th Century Monastery that has been modernized as an academic dormitory.

Before arriving in Pienza, the students studied and drew public spaces in Parma, Italy. They visited the office of renowned architect, Pier Carlo Bontempi. who is reviving the art of building traditional architecture within historic cities. He spent two days with the students visiting his projects, including one under construction and then sent them off to study Pienza.

They drew and analyzed the architecture and public spaces of Pienza's historic core and the modern suburban edge of the town with the guidance of local architect, Fausto Formichi and public officials, including the Mayor. They also visited nearby towns and spent an afternoon with Benedetta Origo, the owner of La Foce, a villa in the Val d'Orcia.

The travel part of the programs concluded in Rome with more drawing, a meeting with the faculty of Notre Dame's Rome Program and a festive dinner in the courtyard of the American Academy in Rome.

When they returned to Hampton, students completed the analyses of Pienza, produced a master plan for the the suburban area of the city and developed a series of building designs compatible with the historic character of the City.

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