Many people think that architects travel only to see buildings. They imagine that weÂ drag our friends and families around the globe in search of every building by every notable architect that has ever lived just so that we can take the exact same photos of said buildings that we saw in our history books and monographs. This may be true of some architects, but not this one…most of the time. As I plan for a trip, if there is a building I know is important to the history of our civilization or to modern architecture, I definitely seek it out. Unfortunately, I amÂ not the best student of ancient or modern architectural history or of current architecture. It is more likely that I will turn a corner and see something vaguely familiar only to find out two daysÂ later that it was designed by last year’s Pritzker Prize winning architect (currently the highest honor an architect can receive) or Michelangelo. Or I won’t turn a corner only to find out that I missed one of the masterpieces of our time. When this happens, I feel as though I am letting my profession down because I should have known better.
This happened two days ago…we had already walked 12 miles and were basicallyÂ forced to go to the steps of the Vittorio Emmanuel Monument by the waves of tourists going in that direction. It was great to see up close because it is obviously a significant architectural monument that we had seen from a distance all week. Then when I was back at our apartment doing more research, I discoveredÂ that in our exhausted herding towards Vittorio, we completely missed one of the most important architectural and urban design sites of our time. Not 100 feet away is the Michelangelo designed piazza on Capitoline Hill, also known as Capidoglio. The piazza took centuries to finish, but the design has had an impact on nearly every city in the western worldÂ since the 1500s. I had been to the thereÂ in college, but I’m sad we missed it on this trip. Next time.
Nik’s Blog: The Last Three Days in Rome