Graduate students in the University of Minnesota's Master of Landscape Architecture Program (MLA) in Venice Monday afternoon to begin the 7-week Venice Urban Design Workshop portion of the Port Cities Study Abroad Program. The landscape architecture students have just completed an intensive two-week study of the landscapes of The Netherlands, with Adjunct Professor Cynthia Lapp (Dept. of Landscape Architecture). They are met by Professors Arthur Chen (School of Architecture) and Robert Sykes (Dept. of Landscape Architecture). They join graduate students from the University of Minnesota's Master of Architecture Program (MArch) who have just completed a week of typological study of the Venetian campo (town square) that punctuates, and provide orientation, to the labyrinth that is Venice.
Arrival is at Santa Lucia railroad station next to the newly installed (2008) fourth bridge to span the Grand Canal, designed by Caletrava. Students are also met by Ida Massaria, our local contact who lined up apartments for the students and professors, along with representatives from the rental agency that contracts with the University for the apartments. For a city with streets filled with water, Ida has arranged for two water taxis to take students and their baggage to their apartments.
The apartments are scattered over the neighborhoods of the city of Venice so that students can experience the daily life of Venice and get to know a neighborhood as home - an intentional plan devised by Prof. Chen that has been in use since the beginning of the workshop program. Students spend the rest of the day getting settled in their apartments, buying groceries (all have kitchens with washing machines), and exploring their neighborhoods.