This article first appeared in BTS Issue 2.
The Palladio Studio is a Term 8 sustainable design option studio led by Rene Tan, co-founder of RT+Q Architects. The studio aims to study the relevance of Palladian architecture in our modern context and apply the values of scale, proportion and hierarchy to meet the needs and challenges of architecture.
By Rebekah Low, Senior
Architecture and Sustainable Design
As I look through the photos from the recent studio trip to Italy, it brings back great moments of being in the city of Venice – learning about the great Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio (1508 – 1580), experiencing his architecture, and being inspired by the different places I have visited. The Palladio studio is one of the most interesting option studios I have taken. To be studying Palladian architecture taught by a classically trained architect, one can only wonder, how will it be relevant to architecture today?
That question never left the back of my mind even as I boarded my 15-hour flight and began my journey in Venice, our first stop in Italy. As cliché as it sounds, I fell in love with Venice the moment I arrived. Quaint cafes by the seaside, houses of reds, yellows and pinks against clear blue skies and the occasional gondolas passing by on the still water. It
was beautiful as people would have you believe. Palladio’s churches in the Venetian skyline is an image that will always remind me of how architecture can be majestic yet simple and unadulterated. Palladio’s II Redentore and San Giorgio Maggiore were my highlights in Venice. Its complexity in negotiating scale and proportions, drawing influence from both Roman and Greek architecture, yet preserving Palladio’s likes for minimalism in his designs were more than enough for me to see how he was such an influential architect in his time. He was able to take references from influences before him, create a style that was representative of him, yet at the same time foresee a movement that preceded him. It was truly an amazing experience being in his architectural creations, learning so much from a man who was from the 15th century and seeing the relevance of his values in my studies.
Another memorable moment was when we visited the Basilica Palladiana in Vicenza. We
were so fortunate to be able to enter and enjoy a display of David Chipperfield’s works
exhibited in the Basilica itself. Seeing works and the thought process of one great architect
while in the presence of another’s was a truly defining and inspirational moment for me. As
I continued to explore and visit the works of other great architects, Carla Scarpa, Tadao
Ando, and Rem Koolhaas, I grew a little more and more passionate about my field of study
and about Italy itself. I mean, gelato, pasta and pizzas? Who can resist that Italian charm!