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San Gemini Preservation Studies 2019
Session 1: Monday, May 27 – Friday, June 21 (4 weeks)
Location: San Gemini, Italy


This program aims to give students an introduction to restoration of historic buildings by offering both theoretical and hands-on experience. The program includes two courses:

Course 1
Restoration of Traditional Masonry Buildings in Italy
Instructor Prof. Nikolas Vakalis
SG 201 (3 Units) Syllabus

The first course deals with the restoration of masonry buildings in Italy and focuses on traditional building materials such as stone, brick, stucco and mortars out of which structures, decorations and fixed art are made. This course involves lectures in the morning and a restoration workshop in the afternoon. During the lectures students are instructed on the nature of the building materials, how they are used, how they age and deteriorate over time, the agents of deterioration, and various approaches to their restoration. In the afternoon students participate in a workshop (a total of at least 12 work days) directly restoring the masonry façade of the Oratory of San Carlo, a 13th century church in San Gemini.

Course 2
Sketching and Analyzing Historic Buildings
Instructor Prof. Max Cardillo
SG 209 (3 Units) Syllabus

In this course students learn how to identify and analyze historic buildings and their settings. The lecture classes develop skills by familiarizing students with the following topics: the evolution of the Italian city, building typologies, architectural styles, traditional building materials, structural systems, building components and construction methods. The afternoon sketching workshop offers the opportunity to develop analytical skills by observing and documenting historic structures in San Gemini’s medieval core using the information learned during the morning classes. The sketching exercise is not only a gratifying personal experience, it is also a valuable tool (portable and low tech) for guiding the mind through a process of methodical observation and thinking. Beyond this class, the ability to sketch an observation or an idea is very useful in many situations.

The course aims to teach a process of observation and analysis using the historical reality of San Gemini and Italy as an example. Specific information relevant to Italy is not always relevant to other places in the world, however, the methodology used in this process can be applied in any cultural setting. This course is not an art class: it teaches communication via drawing skills that can be learned by most people whether or not they have an artistic inclination. The principal goal of the sketching is to document and communicate effectively the observations and analysis that are carried out by the participants. Students will be required to produce ten 11″x 14″ sheets of freehand sketches and a short written report on the buildings or elements being studied. Students also may be invited to present their findings to other participants and faculty.

Program Information

Students are required to take both courses, participating in the lectures in the morning and the field projects in the afternoon. In the four weeks of the program, field project participation is split in two equal blocks of time: The first is working on the material restoration of the façade of the church of San Carlo; the second is sketching and documenting various buildings or historical features of the town of San Gemini.

This program is intended for students planning to be involved with building conservation and restoration, architecture, art history, civil engineering, art, restoration, field history, management of cultural heritage, anthropology and history of technology.

Field projects associated with this program:

Units are comparable to credits. Please click here to read about obtaining credit for SGPS programs.

Past architectural restoration projects done by SGPS:

Restoration and Survey of San Giovanni Battista
Powerpoint Presentation – Restoration and Survey of San Giovanni Battista
Restoration and Survey of Church of S. Gemine
Finding History in Art
Restoration of Porta Burgi
Restoration of San Carlo
Gallery – Sketches

San Gemini Preservation Studies
International Institute for Restoration and Preservation Studies

203 Seventh Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215, USA
tel. 718 768 3508