August 13 2014

Farewell to The Grid from Marilena Mela in Florence, Italy

When I applied to be a blogger for The Grid six months ago, I was in a phase of my life when I knew I should try a new creative activity. I was towards the end of my studies in the Architecture school, and eager to share my newly formed thoughts about architecture and urbanism. Although I had never written professionally before, blogging seemed the next logical step.

Me  and my camera above the fields of Tuscany, Italy, Marilena Mela

My desire to communicate my ideas had a significant relationship with the start of my Erasmus semester in the Architecture Faculty of Florence, Italy. I would visit cities and buildings, and then reflect and write about them. What better way could I imagine to get to deeply know a city?  This aim proved harder than I had imagined, and the blogs required quite a lot of research, but the result was rewarding. With the tireless help of my editor, Erica Besler, who fortunately had spent a semester in Florence herself, I started the series of my blogs from the fundamentals up to the current development of Italian urbanism.

Seen at the end, the articles I produced indeed seem to present a continuous narration. From articles of general interest about the Italian city, like “The Creation of the Italian Commune: Architecture as a Tool of Politics,” we passed to more specific ones describing, and socially criticizing, architecture elements of the city, in “Connecting Buildings – Separating Social Classes: The Vasari Corridor in Florence,” to end with problems regarding the historic cities’ sustainability (Impact of Tourism in the Italian Art Cities: Venice, Florence, & Rome). During this process the readers of The Grid hopefully got a clear idea about the form and function of the historic Italian city, and I obtained a special bond with Florence, a city I perceived first as a visitor, then as a resident, and lastly, thanks to the blogging internship, as an architect.

The protagonist of my blogs, the city of Florence

During these six months I formed a totally new attitude towards writing. I learned to develop a subject in a short but essential way, such that other people could easily perceive and respond to my ideas. I saw my skills improving directly from one blog to the next, as I had the time to use the advice of my editors. Finally, I searched and photographed aspects of the city I would have never discovered otherwise.

Blogging about what interests you is an activity both professionally and especially personally rewarding. And this internship was the best way to introduce me to this new, – full of potential – world!

Credits: Data linked to sources. Images by Marilena Mela

Marilena Mela

Marilena Mela is an Architecture student at National Technical University of Athens, and is spending a semester abroad studying in the Architecture Faculty of the University of Florence, Italy. She is especially interested in the history of buildings, and the manners in which monuments affect the growth of the city. Also, her participation in restoration projects in traditional settlements has introduced her to the the significance of locality. She considers the past as a base we should fully understand before taking step towards the future. Along with studying urban history, the fact that she speaks several languages, including Greek, English, Italian, Spanish, French and Chinese, gives her an extra advantage in understanding rhythms and the local spirit of the places she visits.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 at 9:49 am and is filed under Architecture, History/Preservation, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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