In-person registration is going on now.

Interested students should contact Katherine Rinne ( right away to start the approval process for registration.

Rome remains one of the most visually potent and historically complex cities in the world.

With nearly 2,800 years of built history -- ranging from the foundation of the Palatine hill and the Roman Forum to Bernini and Borromini’s baroque environments to Mussolini’s Fascist monuments and to Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI museum and Renzo Piano’s Parco della Musica -- this deeply layered city has continuously adapted to meet contemporary conditions within an exalted historic framework.

Even under the weight of history, Rome remains an exhilarating urban laboratory for extracting relevant lessons regarding design innovation and resilience.

Seeing Rome: An Architecture & Interiors Summer Studio

Instructor: Katherine Rinne
June 2-20, 2014
Housing check-in: Saturday, May 31
Housing checkout: Sunday, June 22


Design students have followed their inspirational compasses to Rome since the 15th century. They come not to complete a checklist or to simply honor the past, but, like Bramante, Palladio, Bernini, and others before them, they come for the inspiration to create buildings and environments that resonate and respond to contemporary conditions, materials, and programs.

Many of Rome’s monuments offer provocative examples of building reuse over time and offer important lessons when addressing current issues of sustainability, design process, social justice, urban restoration, and historic preservation.

The ancient Mausoleum of Augustus, for example, has been serially transformed from a funerary monument into a medieval fortified castle, a famous Renaissance garden, a 19th century bullring, an auditorium, and then, under Mussolini, an exhibition hall that glorified Augustan and Fascist Rome.

Structured as a “walking studio,” students in this course visit many of Rome’s most important buildings, piazzas, streets, and gardens.

From the smallest church interiors to the most monumental piazzas, students experience and analyze the city’s complex built environments. Each day is spent in a different part of the city -- from the historic center out to the periphery -- taking a topographic approach that allows students to study the city as a living organism rather than a series of historic sites.

The city is both laboratory and studio. Classes include onsite lectures and discussions, drawing or mapping assignments, museum visits, and visits to historic and contemporary buildings with local architects, artists, interior designers, engineers, or other experts.

Housing is located in Trastevere in fully equipped, shared apartments within walking distance of all amenities. The studio space is in the Renaissance Palazzo Cenci, located in the heart of the Jewish ghetto near the Tiber River.

The class has its own studio space, but shares the palazzo facilities (terrace, library, kitchen, lecture hall, etc.) with students of architecture, landscape, interiors, painting, and historic preservation from two other universities.

About the Instructor

Katherine Rinne is an authority on Rome, where she lived and taught design studios and seminars for several years. The focus of her research is urban infrastructure with an emphasis on water and design.

Her book, The Waters of Rome: Aqueducts, Fountains, and the Birth of the Baroque City (Yale University Press, 2010) won numerous awards for scholarship and design.

She is currently at work on a coauthored book, Rome: an Urban History, scheduled for publication in 2015.

Learn more about Katherine Rinne »


Undergraduates: Completion of at least junior level by Spring 2014 and instructor approval; for Architecture Studio credit, Architecture majors must have completed Architecture Studio 4; Interior Design majors must have Interior Design Studio 4
Graduates: Completion of Architecture Studio 2 and instructor approval

All students must be in good academic, conduct, and financial standing for the 2013–14 academic year.

Course Satisfies

For Architecture undergraduates this course satisfies 3 units equivalent to half of an Advanced Architecture Studio or one 3-unit Architecture, or Studio, Elective.

For Interior Design undergraduates this course satisfies Interior Design Advanced Interdisciplinary Studio, a Studio Elective, or History 1.

For all other majors this course satisfies a Studio Elective.

For Architecture graduate students, this course satisfies one 3-unit Elective.

Program Fee

$4,700 + $50 registration fee

Included in program fee:
3 units, housing, studio/classroom, field trips, one month bus pass, entrance fees, visiting artists, and travel/health insurance

Not included in program fee:
Airfare to and from Italy, meals, supplies or printing. Students must pay a 25 Euro-refundable deposit for studio and apartment keys and a 5 Euro-refundable deposit for a printer card.

Please make sure you read the related links in full:

In-person registration is going on now for all summer study abroad courses. Students may still register as long as spots are available in the class and accommodations have not been finalized.

All CCA summer study-abroad courses (including the New York Studio and Marfa Fieldwork Project) are coordinated by the Office of Special Programs.


Office of Special Programs
Oakland campus, Ralls 201

Nina Sadek
Dean of Special Programs

Carol Pitts
Operations Manager, Special Programs