Cornell in Rome Marks its 30th Anniversary

Members of the AAP Advisory Council and other Cornell leaders tour San Luigi dei Francesi with Jeffrey Blanchard, long-time lecturer and academic coordinator of the Cornell in Rome program. photo / Bob Joy (B.Arch. '72)
Abby and Howard ’73 Milstein on a tour of Trastevere and the Janiculum Hill. photo / Bob Joy (B.Arch. '72)
AAP Advisory Council member Bill Lipschutz (B.F.A. ’76, M.B.A. ’83) and his wife Lynelle Jones, ’81 outside Sala della Protomoteca. photo / Bob Joy (B.Arch. '72)
Peter Eisenman (B.Arch. ‘55), center, and Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of AAP Kent Kleinman, right, speak with guests at the Sala della Protomoteca. photo / Don Randel, former Cornell provost
Bill (’69) and Catherine Perez at Palazzo Santacroce. photo / Bob Joy (B.Arch. '72)
Bob Appel (’53), Dean Kleinman, and Kevin McGovern '70 catch up after the “Rome as Ground” panel. photo / Bob Joy (B.Arch. '72)
Gerry Davis (B.Arch. ’85) at Sala della Protomoteca for the “Rome as Ground” panel discussion. photo / Jessica del Mundo
Blanchard and Administrative Director Anna Rita Flati are all smiles as they receive honors from the student body and university. photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
Blanchard, center, led several walking tours during the celebration. photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
From left: Melvin Aminoff (B.Arch. ’56), Judith York Newman (B.Arch. ’56), and Noam Aminoff outside the Auditorium Parco della Musica. photo / Jessica del Mundo
Roberto and Karin Einaudi (front left and back left) walk to Palazzo Santacroce with Sarina Bronfin ’82 (back right), parent of Adam Bronfin (B.Arch. ’18), and Serena Savino, director of AAP alumni affairs and development. photo / Jessica del Mundo
From left: Susan Van Sickle; Fred Van Sickle, vice president of alumni affairs and development; and Laura Spitz, vice provost for international affairs, at Villa Aurelia. photo / Jessica del Mundo
From left: Bob Appel (’53), Carol Randel, Helen Appel (’55), and Don Randel outside Villa Aurelia. photo / Jessica del Mundo
Michael and Kumi Adamson, parents of Bennet Adamson (B.Arch. ’19), at Villa Aurelia. photo / Jessica del Mundo
Eisenman during a walking tour at the celebration. photo / Don Randel
Jan Gadyene speaking outside the Porta Tiburtina, captivating alums Council member Bob Joy (B.Arch. ’72) and Linda Negrin ’69. photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
Joy, second from right, is having a lot of fun on Gadeyne’s tour! photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
Gadeyne sasses his former student Caitlin Swaim (B.F.A./B.A. '01) for not knowing the answer to his question. photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
Blanchard briefs the crowd on the church they’re about to enter — if there’s something to know about Jeffrey, it’s that he knows his churches. photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
Melvin Aminoff (B.Arch. ’55) speaks from the audience about his experience as an architecture student in the 1950s, when the architecture studios were still on the top floor of White Hall. photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
From left, AAP Advisory Council member Mustafa K. Abadan (B.Arch. ’82), Associate Professor Andrea Simitch, and Lyn Pohl at the Campidoglio. photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
Associate Professor Val Warke delivers his take on Michelangelo’s Piazza Campidoglio. photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
Professor Jerry Wells (at right) catches up with former students at Palazzo Santacroce. photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
Guests gather at the Palazzo Santacroce for the anniversary welcoming event. photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
The "Reading Buildings, Building Texts" talk at the American Academy concluded with a discussion between Don Randel, Kimberly Bowes, Verity Platt, Thomas Campanella, and Gretchen Ritter. photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
Adam Bronfin (B.S. URS '18) gives directions to a group of alumni and trustees at the top of the Capitoline Hill after the opening event. photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
Guests leave the Capitoline Hill venue after the opening lectures, heading to the Palazzo Santacroce for the reception. photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
Nicole Rubin (B.Arch. '19) and AAP Advisory Council member Helene S. Lindenfeld (B.Arch. '79) at the Capitoline Hill after the opening events. photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
Dean Kleinman (center) hosts a discussion panel between Eisenman and Patrik Schumacher. photo / Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19)
May 1, 2017

The College of Architecture, Art, and Planning marked Cornell in Rome's 30th anniversary this spring with a three-day celebration in the Eternal City. Nearly 300 guests attended a broad range of carefully coordinated tours, talks, and social events at venues such as Palazzo Massimo, Palazzo Santacroce, Campidoglio, and Villa Aurelia at the American Academy in Rome in what was a fitting tribute to the longest-running international study program at Cornell — one that has seen more than 2,500 students pass through its doors.

Cornell in Rome began in 1985 with an exhibition of student work from Colin Rowe's urban design studio at Peruzzi's lauded Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne, an event that began a new dialogue on the city and helped to establish the venue as a first home for the program. Rowe's time on the faculty at Cornell coincided with that of AAP Dean William McMinn who worked with faculty members John Shaw, architecture; and Jack Squier, art; and the program's first director Roberto Einaudi (B.Arch. '61), to fully realize Cornell in Rome by fall 1986.

"We were in unknown waters because there was no structure in place for international study at Cornell, but we knew that the mechanisms would follow, so we focused on the spirit of what the program should be," said McMinn, reminiscing. "It would have been easy to plan for a program that disappears, but we wanted to establish a new academic center for learning that would last."

In the fall of 1988, the program became college-wide when Porus Olpadwala taught the first planning courses. From Cornell in Rome's earliest years, the strong and lasting connection between the Ithaca and Roman campuses has made the program unique among similar international programs.

The continuity between Ithaca and Rome was also in evidence at the celebration. Several Ithaca-based AAP faculty members who have taught in Rome both in the past and presently, as well as long-time Rome-based faculty, led talks, tours, and workshops during the three days, including Jeffrey Blanchard and Jan Gadeyne — who have been guiding students through Rome and several different regions of Italy each semester for more than 20 years. Tours included destinations such as Palazzo Colonna, Trastevere and Janiculum Hill, and the Crypta Balbi Museum. Cornell in Rome Administrative Director Anna Rita Flati hosted two pasta making workshops that recalled the many times during her 30 years with the program that she has taught students the art of traditional Italian cuisine.

Guests at the celebration included Cornell administrative leadership, friends of the college, and program alumni. AAP Advisory Council member and art alumna Joy Marovitz (B.F.A. '97) noted that the tour of Palazzo Colonna, led by Blanchard, was a highlight of the anniversary celebration for her. "For the entirety of our tour of the Palazzo, we had nearly unfettered access to large swaths of the palace and its stunning frescoes. We also saw a number of fascinating commissioned curio cabinets, and every room had at least one Murano glass chandelier," recalls Marovitz.  

Marovitz initially participated in Cornell in Rome as an art student in 1993 and was as taken by the significant historical sites and Roman daily life then as she was this spring. "I was bemused to find myself reverting to my old eager student self — thirsty for facts and hanging on for an intriguing lecturer's next turn of phrase," she added.

Madeleine Metawati Eggers (B.Arch. '19), a current student at Cornell in Rome, was also at the celebration. She found the consistently high level of engagement across three days contributed to the success of the event. "Everyone seemed to be breathlessly taking in their surroundings, as awestruck by the city on day three as we were on day one," noted Eggers. "During tours and events, I'd have these fascinating conversations with the people around me only to find out later that they were, say, Chad Coates, advising dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, or a long-time member of the AAP advisory council. You could talk to anyone, and anyone could talk to you."

The weekend's events also included a hosted lunch at the current home of the program, Palazzo Santacroce, where alumni could compare the current atmosphere with their own experiences. Since its 1987 opening at Palazzo Massimo, Cornell in Rome has changed locations twice due to growth, most recently from Palazzo Lazzaroni, which housed the program from 1997 to 2016. Over three decades, Cornell in Rome has approximately doubled in size, increasing capacity for student enrollment that extends not only beyond AAP, but beyond Cornell University as well.

"The college is as deeply dedicated to the life and growth of the Rome program as it was 30 years ago," says Kent Kleinman, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of AAP. "The creation of a site for teaching and learning in one of the world's most interesting urban centers has become an extension of the college's commitment to expanding curricular offerings that have from the beginning been remarkably significant to the lives of our Ithaca-based students and faculty."

By Edith Fikes