Archive for August, 2009

By Blake Middleton FAAR’82: In memoriam, Thomas L. Schumacher (1941-2009), FAAR’69, RAAR’91

August 18, 2009

Schumacher c2005,jpgThomas Schumacher, 2005. Courtesy University of Maryland

Architect Blake Middleton FAAR‘82 writes: Thomas L. Schumacher, FAAR’69, RAAR’91, professor of architecture at the University of Maryland, died on July 15, 2009 after a short battle with brain cancer. He was 67 years old. Tom also taught at Princeton and Virginia, and joined the Maryland faculty in 1984, teaching architectural design studios, history and theory courses. [See here for an obituary on the Abitare website.]

His passion for the Eternal City manifested itself in many ways over a four decade career beginning with his Academy Fellowship studies in 1967. He came to speak fluent Italian, originated the Maryland Rome architecture program, visited the city almost on an annual basis with students or during his own research forays, and published numerous books and articles on Italian modern architecture of the 1930s. Over the last three decades I saw Tom only intermittently, but he was an inspiration in my development as an architect and teacher, and to countless others. In putting this tribute together, I have gathered some recollections from his colleagues and friends, and have tried to briefly sketch a picture of Tom as architect, scholar, educator, and passionate Italophile (see Note 1 at end). (more…)

Looking back at the AAR’s summer 2009: the Gabii Project

August 16, 2009

GabiiViscontiAn early look at Gabii’s Temple of Juno, from E. Q. Visconti, Monumenti gabini (1835)

The holiday of Ferragosto (15 August) has now come and gone, so perhaps it’s not too early to start taking stock of this past summer at and around the American Academy in Rome. Let’s start 12 miles east of the city—with the field program of the Gabii Project, an unusually promising new major archaeological campaign under the patrocinio of the AAR. The Academy in recent years has extended this “patronage” status to about a dozen significant Roman archaeological excavations, at sites that range from the Forum and Palatine to points as far afield as the island of Jerba in Tunisia. But the Gabii Project is easily the largest of these AAR-affiliated digs.

The Gabii Project is an international, multi-institution initiative under the direction of Professor Nicola Terrenato of the University of Michigan. The Project’s goal is the excavation, study, interpretation, and analysis of Gabii, an ancient city-state in Latium that had a significant cultural influence on Rome, especially in the sphere of religion. It now emerges—thanks specifically to the work of the Project—that Gabii also offers a surprisingly early example for Italy of regular, orthogonal town planning. The details of this important discovery for ancient urbanism are scheduled for publication in the October 2009 issue of the American Journal of Archaeology. See also the end of this post for a video interview on the site of Gabii with Nicola Terrenato, where he explains some of the more significant attributes of the ancient city. (more…)