Garden Tents

by Andrew Zega and Bernd H. Dams
Paris, France

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art welcomes 2011 Arthur Ross Award recipient, Andrew Zega and Bernd H. Dams to the Classicist Blog. This is the first in a series of short essays by Andrew Zega and Bernd H. Dams.

One of the most evocative symbols of summer is the garden tent, so it’s the perfect subject for our first post here at the Classicist Blog, at the height of August.

In the late eighteenth century, Europeans considered tents the most characteristic of Oriental structures and erected them prolifically in their gardens, indiscriminately labeling them as Tartar, Turkish, Siamese or Chinese. There was a kernel of truth in this notion since nomadic tents are indeed the origin of the Chinese pagoda’s characteristically concave, upturned roof—though it is highly doubtful that any European gardener of the period knew this. Read more »

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Our Travel Programs: Take Advantage

A message from our President, Paul Gunther

Paul Gunther

Amidst the many academic and public programs we offer increasingly across the country via the 15 chapters alongside New York, it is important not to lose sight of and celebrate the constant calendar of travel opportunities we foster domestically and abroad. They often fill rapidly. They constitute one of our most beloved and long-lasting educational offerings rich and dense in content as they are.

If you do not see the e-campaigns we send for them, then let us know and we can rectify.  Participation is limited to current contributing members and always includes a tax-deductible share for the general educational benefit of the ICAA. They sell on a first-come, first-served basis as fairness dictates. We work hard to keep costs down while still providing due comfort and logistical ease.  Similar travel programs frankly cost many times more. Sign up sooner rather than later to assure your place. Plus the camaraderie of like-mined fellow travelers is precious beyond measure.

The Travel Committee functioning under the watch of chair William Brockschmidt, ICAA Fellow and New York-based designer, works tirelessly throughout the year to conceive a destination wish list diverse in both architectural and artistic content and geographical spread whether domestic or abroad.  These plans now extend out in some cases for as far as three years. We welcome your recommendations of possible itineraries especially when accompanied by researched reasons of why and contacts with prospective local guides including but not limited to well-versed scholars.

Once a destination is approved we generally work with Classical Excursions and its able stewards, Tom Hayes and Lani Summerville, who share in the shaping of ground details and precise curatorial content, with one or the other of them always part of the trip as group leader. More recently we have extended this travel partnership to Pamela Darling and her Paris-based firm Exclusive Cultural Travel Programs, especially in the Francophone world, which applies most imminently to upcoming trips to Paris and to Lebanon/Jordon (She will soon guide as well a trip to the Veneto and Venice, exceptionally in this case, as it is a well trod path also trodden by Classical Excursions given Palladio’s centrality to modern classical studies and appreciation.)

The trips now available can be found online here. Never hesitate to visit the Web site to learn of others as they become final and are then added.   Besides Pamela’s trips, Denmark; the Hamptons of Eastern Long Island, New York; Cuba; Hawaii; Boston, Cleveland; Rome; and San Diego are all taking shape among many others in various states of gestation and review. Again if not yet posted they will soon be with alerts informing you of their advent. During uncertain times, travel can help inform and inspire for the better days to follow when the marketplace favors refreshed minds.

In light of past client demand, the uncertainties in today’s world, and the richness of sites yet to be explored, domestic trips are now preeminently (although never exclusively) at the planning forefront. The Travel Committee is framing plans for the next few years with that guiding preference.

Meanwhile take stock and take advantage. We do it all with you in mind.

Cheers for August’s drawdown.

P.S. The Forum newsletter will arrive next month for Fall 2011 and all continuing education and public programs likewise are posted on the Web beginning next week, August 15. Heads up.

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by Calder Loth
Senior Architectural Historian for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and a member of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art’s Advisory Council

Calder Loth

The triumphal arch grew out of a tradition originating during the Roman Republic. Victorious generals, known as triumphators, had monumental arches erected to commemorate their victories. Following construction of the arches, the generals were often granted a triumph, a celebratory procession passing beneath the arch. In Rome’s imperial era, triumphal arches were normally restricted to the honoring of emperors. These later arches were decorated with fine sculptures depicting the emperor’s conquests and other deeds.  Nearly forty ancient Roman arches survive in one form or another scattered around the former empire. Most famous are the three imperial arches remaining in the city of Rome: the Arch of Titus (AD 81), the Arch of Septimius Severus (AD 203), and the Arch of Constantine (AD 312).[i] These three arches have inspired imitations throughout the world.  Some of the best known are the Arc de Triomphe and Arc du Carrousel in Paris, the Wellington and Marble arches in London, the Siegestor in Munich, and the Washington Arch in Manhattan.

Arch of Titus

Figure 1: Arch of Titus, Rome. (Loth)

Read more »

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ICAA and the Traditional Architecture Group (TAG) Announce Formal Alliance

On Friday, July 15, 2011 the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art announced a formal alliance with the Traditional Architecture Group, London (TAG), a linked group of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

The Traditional Architecture Group is the only organization of it’s kind in the UK with over 400 members within the RIBA community, and leading classical and traditional architecture practices in the UK. Through the alliance, both organizations aim to promote shared goals through education, publication, and advocacy directed toward increasing the public understanding of architecture, urbanism, and the allied arts.

Peter Pennoyer, Chairman of the ICAA and Alireza Sagharchi, Chairman of TAG, said “Our formal alliance builds upon common goals and shared objectives for creating more sustainable architecture and urbanism. Our intention is to develop initiatives linking together ideas and best practices of the United States and the United Kingdom. We are planning joint educational programs on both sides of the Atlantic including courses, symposia, drawing programs, and debates. We look forward to working together on our mutual interests”.

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SUMMER: A Propitious Absence of Rest

A message from our President, Paul Gunther

Paul Gunther

I am pleased to announce that the foremost educational priority of recent months–the planning and upcoming launch of the new trail-blazing Beaux-Arts Atelier for fall 2011–has advanced beyond our brightest expectations. Click here for a description of the program if you’ve yet to see it; the deadline just passed June 30.

Despite a relatively rapid turn-around for this inaugural Class of 2012, this first-ever, year-long design atelier framed by our unique curriculum and regular instructors has received a diverse and talented pool of worthy applicants from seven states. The admissions committee under the watch of Atelier head, Richard Cameron, as coordinated by Registrar, Anne Lawson, has made their admission decisions along with tuition assistance awards requested as resources allow. More details will be reported ahead but the goal of an initial student body of ten shall likely be exceeded. Such progress validates the formative impulse that took us down what so far seems truly the auspicious education pathway we aimed for. Your steadfast support makes it possible.

Special thanks go to Richard Driehaus and his Chicago colleagues for bringing the promise of the Richard H. Driehaus Scholars program to bear from the outset with essential prospective tuition assistance for those whose need coincided with the merits of the according application and training to date. It is a magnificent ten-year challenge to one and all.

I am pleased too to acknowledge Taconic Builders for announcing the three-year Taconic Scholars tuition award reserved each year for one outstanding candidate who may signal special interest in pursuing a career in the building arts per se including the commission of complementary craft excellence. Rigorous classical training offers promise in so many inter-related ways. The One West 54th Street Foundation is another precious source of tuition assistance as they have now been for nearly a decade. We are exploring possible assistance from other sources and welcome contact from any and all interested in stepping forward to do so in the name each donor specifies.

Read more »

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Roam around Rome: A Look Back

by Elizabeth Deans
2011 Rome Drawing and Painting Tour participant
A mystical place so rich in culture, so prolific in architecture, and so seductive in its ambiance creates the ideal destination for artists and architects alike. This is Rome. Over the course of one week, a group of fifteen architects, students, artists, and those captivated by the classical tradition participated in what was, in a word–inspiring. The architecture of this city possesses an unparalleled panorama of architecture creating poetry worth capturing on paper.

But this was perhaps the secondary mode of inspiration for those of us on this particular tour.  Our leaders, Michael Djordjevitch, Richard Cameron, Patrick Connors, and Leah Aron, together provided the greatest sense of inspiration anyone could have possibly asked for. With his profound knowledge and scholarship in architectural history, Michael Djordjevitch emanated a true love for Roman history, which I believe hereafter we will all embrace.  Richard Cameron’s enthusiasm for form, color, and light, and the symphony these elements generate simultaneously, prompted us to relearn how to experience architecture. Likewise, Patrick Connors provided us all with a practical knowledge of perceiving what we see in front of us and translating this onto paper. And how can we forget Leah Aron, whose sense of humor and supreme optimism set the tone for our entire group. Some say one will never fully comprehend the sophistication that the Romans cultivated, nor will one ever see the complexity manifested within this eternal city. All that remains of Rome is but a shadow, yet this shadow still beguiles modern man. Although our trip to Rome has come and gone, we still persist in emulating this shadow—in paint and in mind—at least now we know to always use more blue.

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