In June 2011, the School hosted a three-day conference, “From Vernacular to Classical: The Perpetual Modernity of Palladio.” Bringing together scholars, practitioners, educators, and students from various disciplines, the conference explored how the Palladian tradition inspires the evolution of classical architecture.
A main attraction of the conference was the construction of a jack arch by Project Manager and Architectural Consultant Travis Kline, ’03 and fifth-year student Joey Hiben. Kline and Hiben “hand pitched” Indiana limestone a technique employed by striking a smooth edge of stone to create a rough, convex appearance, the same way Palladio’s craftsmen would have done in the 16th-century, to create an arch that could stand without mortar.
Palladio, a full member of the prestigious guild of masons and stonecutters by age 20, produced carved window and door frames, cornices, fireplaces and stone work that became a key feature in many of the buildings he designed. The arch will be permanently installed on campus in the fall and will remain a teaching tool to students on the design-build process. Bybee Stone Company of Bloomington, Ind. generously donated the limestone and underwrote a video on the process.
Two exhibitions, “Palladio and his Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey” at the University of Notre Dame’s Snite Museum of Art and the “New Palladians,” an exhibition of 50 international classical architects’ work in the Bond Hall Gallery, were also held in conjunction with the conference. The exhibit, on display at the Snite until July 31, 2011, offers a rare opportunity to see some of the most important drawings in the world of architecture—31 works from the hand of Andrea Palladio.
One of the most influential architects in history, Palladio’s impact is evident throughout the U.S. in buildings such as the White House, the U. S. Capitol, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the National Gallery of Art, among others. Conference participants reconnected Palladian ideals to the living tradition that has informed icons of American democracy and continue to shape vital paradigms for sustainable architecture, urbanism and architectural education. Topics ranged from Palladio’s Rome, his incremental urbanism, his contributions to a sustainable architectural language and his work methods to Palladio’s influence in America, England, Spain and India.