The Last Trip

Thankfully this trip didn’t include me tripping…unlike so many other times this semester. (Except for that one time into the hotel. Shut up, Savannah.)

The last long trip was definitely easier than the first long trip, but you still get that feeling of you just want to be at villa again. The cities this time around were so much better.

The food options in Florence, Siena, and Rome were the best you could hope for in Italy. Vietnamese, Chinese, really good pizza, coconut pie, etc.

The wineries we visited were on point. The comparison of the different architecture was very interesting. The way the building interacted with the landscape surrounding it was my favorite part. The Antinori winery was my favorite that we visited as far as architecture goes. (The building resembles my studio project. I promise I’m not biased or anything.) BUT the experience of the wine tasting was so much better at Petra.

These cities were also really good for buying gifts for people. (Like you buy ceramic ornaments and now you have to figure out how to get them home in your carry on bag without breaking them.)

Maybe I should comment more on the architecture, but at this point I’m a little architectured out. And I just really enjoyed the experience of the cities more so than what we visited in them. (The architecture is still really cool though.)

I just realized the next trip I will take is my journey back to the States… But here is a sketch from the Florence/Siena/Rome trip:



(I think the part about falling gave that one away.)


Ciao Ciao Ciao


Two days ago we were finally let up onto the roof of the Villa and looked out over the port and city of Genova. This place has become so much more beautiful to me as time has progressed. Upon arriving, I was shocked with the newness, then almost hated it for not being home, and now, as I prepare to finish my time here, I realize that I’ve started to look at this place as home. One thing I did not prepare for when coming here, was how sentimental I would be upon leaving. I lived in a villa overlooking the mediterranean for 3.5 months. What a story I’ve got! I’ve always been the type of person that preferred living in the boundaries of North America, but now, when I find myself surprised at my view of this place, I’m also surprised at myself. The thought of being away from home doesn’t cause sadness or regret. Of course, I’m ecstatic to go home, but I could stay. Genova is a place I could call home with enough time. So, when I’m older and have more money (hopefully), I’ll be able to return to this place and take people around sharing my memories here. Just like I know Chattanooga, North Augusta, Charleston, Clemson, or Greenville, I now know Genova.

Ciao for the last time,



I’ve been to Rome before, but it was only for a day. It was back in 2011 for my high school senior trip. We spent 10 days in Europe, starting in London and then going through Oxford, Paris, Chartres, Florence, San Gimignano, and finally Rome. We tried to cram so much into that day in Rome… And we still ended up missing the Pantheon. Most of the city’s municipal workers were on strike that day, so the metro was shut down and we just never made it there. The Pantheon didn’t disappoint. It’s only 1900 years old, after all. The interior space is huge, honestly too big to wrap your mind around.


The oculus up at the top, despite being 30 feet in diameter, looked small compared to the 142 foot diameter of the dome. If you look up at the dome long enough, you may even begin to feel as if the walls supporting the dome around you are bowing in toward you, as if the whole space really is a sphere. I’m glad I finally got to see the Pantheon, as well as the inside of the Colosseum (last time it was closed and we could only stand outside). I particularly enjoy ancient Roman stuff. Probably why Rome may have been my favorite city.



An experience of a life time

Many times, I have imagined myself not coming on this study abroad because it was too late. If I would have given up and never act upon my ambition, I would not have been able to live the life I wanted to. I knew it would be difficult for a while because I didn’t know anyone, but still I took the chance. If I gave up then, I would have never met 11 other amazing students who came from different background and culture. This trip was more than what I imagine. As I am the only person who is not from Clemson, I feel like an honorary tiger. I have made 11 other friends and they actually want to keep in touch which is why I will be visiting Clemson in March! I actually preferred that we are a small group because we were able to become closer. After living like this for one semester, I am definitely going to miss Italian routine and everybody. I will miss all the great times we have. Some of the happy memories for me are the first time we eat aperitivo with everybody, Holloween party, watching movie, many conversations at lunch/dinner time, morning run on Genova land, speaking Italian, being fancy at wine tasting, clean up with Courtney and Thackston, rooming with Savannah and Lenzi (sorry Savannah that I snore!), procrastinating by eating, drinking too much coffee until my stomach hurts, the biggest judgy George looks, aaaaaand a lot more. I am definitely going to miss waking up in the morning eating bread, focaccia, and drinking coffee for breakfast. I will keep all the happy memories with me back to the states and never forget them. I will make a promise to keep in touch as much as possible even when I get busy. I feel that we have become a small little family and I cannot wait until March for a reunion at Clemson!

As for Studio, I believe that I will achieve my goal. The most important thing is to create this fluid studio to be under cloud studio standard and expectation. I have enough research to justify my abroad work. I cannot wait to show people my sketches and what I have done and been this semester. It was actually a privilege to live with a professor because they are available most of the time. This fasten the projects development considering the time we have for studio. As of right now I am still working things out with my projects. Hopefully I can finalize it soon and start producing. It is bitter sweet because I cannot wait to be over with studio, but I do not want to part ways with the friends that I have made. Again I will remember this amazing journey forever.

Here are some memories :)






“Friends are the family we choose for ourselves”

I’m not really sure how I am feeling about writing this last post right now. I am happy that the semester is almost over and work is wrapping up, but I am also sad that we are all about to go home and return to our normal lives. Living with all of you guys has been one of the best experiences of my life. I want to thank each and every one of you guys for loving me and accepting me for who I really am. I am sorry I act super weird some days, and I am also sorry I shut down and don’t want to talk to anyone other days. Thats just who I am, but I promise you if you can live with that then you will have a lifelong friend. I hope to continue to hang out with all of you back in Clemson next semester. We can reminisce on the good, the bad, and the ugly of this semester. And get drunk and kick ass at trivia night! Here’s to the best looking group Genoa has ever seen.


Well there’s only a week until our final review. Which means less than a week to finish everything else for the semester. Nicola’s presentation, Saverio’s presentation, Giuditta’s journal, and thanksgiving!? All just a couple days before the final. Talk about a stressful time. I am actually finishing everything that isn’t studio related tonight so I can focus on studio the rest of the week and produce a good project for monday. I can’t wait to see how everyone’s project turns out. Good luck everyone. I love you guys.


Touring Turin


Turin was a very interesting town to study, in my opinion. It is always intriguing to see how spaces that once held a factory or were built specifically for a huge sporting event (The Olympics) are repurposed. In Turin, we visited the old fiat factory that was repurposed for Olympics uses and then further repurposed to create a space for the citizens of Turin. The car factory-turned Olympics headquarters is now a movie theatre, shops, restaurants, hotels, a museum, and offices. Turin has reused this building to benefit the community.

While in Turin we also had the chance to explore… This is something that seems to never be safe for me. Can we just pretend like the greatest fall of the semester did not happen to me or on this day trip? While exploring the streets to make it to the riverside it is obvious that the streets offer interesting perspectives into different parts of the city. The city is set up on a grid system and there are views from a main square disappearing into the horizon down the main streets (picture above).


time x place = space



I saw this sentence made of neon lights in the lobby of the music hall by Renzo Piano in Rome. I don’t even know who wrote this sentence or what it is for, but I find it very inspiring. Using events as media, this sentence explained the profound relationship between place, time and space.

The existence of space, agreed by Einstein, is actually four-dimension, rather than three-dimension. Time is the fundamental fourth dimension that differentiate space and place.

Correct understanding of space could help us comprehend many other subjects, simply because it fundamentally explains beings. For instance, if we change the subject to architecture, the same sentence would still stand: ARCHITECTURE TAKE TIME, TAKE PLACE AND TAKE SPACE.




Mystery and Melancholy of A Street








Well, I didn’t pick these images based on one color theme. Or, I did, but not just based on the color theme.  Rather than color, it is more based on a atmosphere of melancholy.

This melancholy contains many elements: quietness, emptiness, solitude. The most important elements shared is not its form, but its reactions : the strong shadows.

The presence of strong shadows would remind people of the passing of time. Not only, it is a still capture of time. Space is a multiplication of place (volume) and time. Then these images by me, or the paintings by Girogio de Chirico, depicts a space that is frozen. Human figures are missing or minimally represented. Just like a ghost, floating still in the space of solitude.

This use of shadows to evoke emotions are also used by Aldo Rossi, especially in the Modena cemetery.




A beautiful lie


The Villa Antinori by Studio Archea is a very good example in demonstrating how architecture could be a total lie.

Even though called a winery, Villa Antinori is more of a museum of wine, or more specifically Antinori wine, rather than a functioning winery, for the simple reason that it does not support a full cycle of complete steps of making wine. In order to follow the landscape-like form of the concept by architects, the building has to be buried into the earth in order to be literally blended into the landscape, to create a fake landscape. Well, there is nothing wrong with the concept..However, it is ridiculous to me that the grapes that are growing on this faked landscape are just to “make the winery more like what winery supposed to be like”.  People from the Antinori winery knows that grapes that grow out of shallow soil will not produce good wines, which seems to justify their deed. However, to me, they have two right choices. One, they could not grow ANY grapes on the roof landscape. Two, they could grow the grapes needed for the winery somewhere else. Buy more land if needed! However, Villa Antinori chose to make a fake sense with grapes that are planted on every corner of the rooftop of the landscape covered building, and then make wines from grapes that are transported with trucks from other farms. I guess the modern technology DOES make the job much easier. The concept of “winery” start to loose its meaning when grapes are transported for winery are created as a factory near grape farms so that the freshness of grapes used for wine production will be easily guaranteed. However, Antinori will sacrifice this natural efficiency, just to create a beautiful picture, I guess!

Maybe, if they call the property a museum or a shop of wine, they will get very much justified. The huge glass facade, the over-cleanness, and the magnificence of the scale of things, remind me of public museums. Even in the interiors of the winery, where they store wines, it remind me of museum or shops, rather than a factory of wines. Special bridges are designed, hovering over and connecting all the different vaults, to provide a good viewpoint for the viewer. This design move also make the viewing mode museum-like by moving away the audience from the artwork physically, with glass or bridges. Please do not touch!

I really like this building, as a building or crafted artworks, not really as architecture though.








The Final Stretch!


The last blog post of the semester which means a group photo for happy memories! How can this be? Time has gone by way to fast! As the last week of studio approaches the end is in sight however there is a lot to be done between now and next Monday. Next Monday will be our final review and just like that the semester will be over! I think we may have the coolest location for a review that any studio has ever had… we will present our final project in the lanterna (lighthouse) of Genoa! Not only do we have all of our work to get done but we also have a feast to prepare! This Thursday is Thanksgiving however the holiday is obviously not celebrated outside of America. That being said we the students will prepare a Thanksgiving dinner for the villa staff, family, and friends (about 60 people). While its timing is less then ideal falling right before final reviews, preparing and eating a big meal with everyone will be a symbolic and happy ending to the semester! As the last week approaches I am getting more and more stressed, I am trying to get all of my studio work done by Friday so I can spend my last weekend in Genoa with my classmates and family!

This semester has certainly been one for the ages and it’s sad to see it coming to an end! My experience in Genoa has been so great and I can’t imagine spending it without the best ragazzi one could ask for! It’s really hard to sum up such an amazing experience in just a few sentences! Till the next adventure!


Thackston Crandall