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Photos from Italy

On the last day of our trip, I produced a list of the 10 elements of architecture from Experiencing Architecture for my granddaughter, my wife, and myself, as well as a challenge for us to photograph an example of every one. These are some of the pictures that my granddaughter took, although a few of them are from previous days.

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Heavy and Light

The bare, rusticated stone base contrasts with the light, smooth surfaces and delicately carved ornamentation above.

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Solids and Cavities

The interplay of solid columns against a sculpted niched background makes a dazzling backdrop for the statue of Oceanus and his horses in the foreground.

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Color Planes

Venice is a city that celebrates color in a way like no other. The colorful facades on the canal banks reflect into the water, making beautiful color planes ripple through the canals.

Scale and Proportion

There is an interesting interaction between the delicately scaled ornamentation of St. Mark's Cathedral on the right to the loggia (the covered walkway) on the left and to the red brick tower with little ornamentation.


The steady beat of the window pattern is broken up when the extra window is added into the middle, creating a much more interesting rhythm.


The finish of Brunelleschi's dome is made of terra cotta tiles in richly varied shades of brick red. The main facade design by Giotto is a vibrant array of green, red, and cream colored stone in geometric patterns inspired by Oriental rug textures.


Skylights and open courtyards are a common source of daylight in Italy, even in the ancient private homes of pre-classical times.

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The eye-popping use of colorful ornamentation was employed to create the sensation of otherworldliness, to inspire awe and to stimulate a sense of spiritual transcendence.

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The dome to the left forms a perfect half sphere, and the diameter of that sphere is the same as the distance between the floor and the top of the dome. If the sphere was complete, it would fit perfectly inside the room. As a result, all sound is reflected back to the center of the room with an otherworldly reverberation.
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My granddaughter took one photo that she felt had captured all the elements of Rasmussen’s book: heavy vs. light, solids and cavities, varied color planes, scale and proportion, rhythm, texture, daylight, and the sound of the cars and bicycles echoing through the Appian Way.

As the light began to cast long shadows in the canals, we rushed to our dinner reservation with an outdoor table right next to the Grand Canal, a few steps away from the Rialto Bridge. With a view of the constant passing of gondolas and vaporettos, it was show and tell time to go over the list and photos. As we had had this list in mind the whole week, my granddaughter asked if we could use pictures we had taken on previous days, and I agreed. As we ordered dinner, ate and went over the photos of the week, the long shadow across the canal gradually consumed the waterfront buildings until only a thin sliver of the day could be seen.

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