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Application and Assessment August 8, 2011

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Intern Experience Translated to a Possible Career

I would like to continue into a career in restoration, but I have decided I would like to further my studies and my work in the United States closer to my family. I have realized, more fully, their deep role in my life and happiness. I would like to complete a masters in civil engineering, but then possibly explore more specifically a conservation degree that concerns the theoretical, historical, and material sensitivities. This experience has given me more of a taste for the theoretical sides of restoration as well as structural modeling, and I would be interested in entertaining a career with more theoretical focus then I had considered before. The pace created by the intensity of the ethical and theoretical standards and critiquing has promoted a new understanding of my goal oriented personality and working style which will now be a prompting force in deciding which institutions and roles within future teams I will know my abilities will serve best.

Personal Effects of Working Internationally

I have always been very capable, as a middle child, of entertaining myself, and I have always required a certain amount of “recharge” or personal time. The culture of college life with roommates and the necessity of group input in study and projects has made me become much more comfortable with the group mentality. With this experience, however, I have learned a lot about the limits to my internal tendencies. I have been forced to enter a state of self-preservation that I have never know before. Here I am not only living alone for the first time, but I also know that the situations of group involvement I have had here can be peppered and sometimes coated with times where due to my language and experience gap I feel very secluded. I therefore now know how too be alone, but also more importantly how much I need people and especially the people I love.

Because the pace of life and maneuvering here in a Greek city are much different from back home, I have become very creative to make the daily hikes more effective. I have learned to fill my “down” time provided by Greek business hours as well as my “in between” time during my walking expeditions throughout town with reading and listening to books and lectures.

I am much more sensitive to communicating with people with a language barrier, and I even feel my english abilities being altered for the better and worse in some areas due to my gre-nglish experiences here. I have become more selective with my words, but more limited in my selection.

I am much more critical about the way systems work for example: governments, opening hours, rent, taxes, etc. In turn, based on the non-internet centered information sources, I am much more inclined to pick up a phone and call for direct information without any qualms, especially now that I have had my fair share of people hang up on me at the first English word. I miss my i-Phone every time I try to find a new place, look up the opening hours, translate something, etc, but I have learned to break out of my Techie shell and just ask.

Upon my arrival at home, I will either burst with the ability to talk and understand and do ordinary things without having to research how to do them, when to do them, where to do them, how to say them, etc. Or I will be much more guarded in my speech and actions due to a new understanding of the importance of clear expression and decisions making. Here just getting through the day with maneuvering, planning, etc. takes a lot of energy, and by the time I am finished with a day of work and general life I am totally exhausted. So that now, I think I understand more the possibilities of time management and multitasking to a whole new level. This spirit has also made me miss very much my clubs and involvements at school and fun tasks apart from my work that generate good ends in my community. I have been able to stay involved in my extracurricular activities to some extent from far away, but I miss my friends and fun I had in their service.


Strikes: An Integral Part of Athenian Life August 8, 2011

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The strikes and protesting here have shifted from inspiring, to convenient, to frustrating over the course of my time here in Athens. Based on my conversations at work; I am not alone in my assessments, but I am a little less accepting of this method of promoting change.

The initial protests were more like carnivals with street vendors with gyros and popcorn, campers in the square, stickers and signs declaring “Oxi”, frappe sipping, and families strolling. I felt this was a beautiful way for a country with past protest issues to stand as a symbol of a higher standard with the volume and diversity of the participants speaking for the cause rather than violence.

As for strikes, I have had three days off of work total, not due to my office striking, but due to work cancellations based on the transportation strikes. Two of these days were conveniently when my mother and sister were visiting me so I got to spend more time with them, but unfortunately these transportation strikes were in the middle of the Special Olympics Games in Athens which inhibited my family’s attendance as well as others I am sure. To limit the accessibility of the games for spectators, limits the amount of impact the games can have on bringing new international spectators to the games. The Special Olympics’ mission is to spread the message of inclusion and unity and unfortunately their abilities to do so was limited.  I must say the Special Olympics did a wonderful job of overcoming these difficulties for the athletes and their families with alternate transportation, and a single line of the metro was kept open to run to the games. However, the starting station for that line for my family (and many other tourists) to take it was Syntagma Square, the political center and heart of the protests.

My mom, sister, and I were unable to see the Parliament or the National Gardens during their stay, but they did get to witness the Zappeion Garden lined with police bikes and the view of the tear gas cloud over Parliament from my roof. One of the most powerful moments for me was my sisters reaction when we were watching the Greek news coverage of the protests live from Syntagma Square. A protestor broke free to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He then danced on the grave before laying on top of it. I do not know exactly what that translates to in Greek culture, but my sister at sixteen and more patriotic and sensitive to the men of the armed forces then I gave her credit, would not have any of it. The television was turned off and her interest in the protests was over; for her, this man had crossed the line.

There have been some protestors up on the acropolis, but for the archeologists, architects, engineers, etc. working on the project, it is not the place for a Greek protest. The protestors use the location for the assured attention they will receive, but the acropolis is an internationally significant location and should be left in peace as that symbol and not exploited.

(Picture of protestors that I only got to see carrying in their signs through the Propylaia towards the Parthenon from my view in the Propylaia Restoration office)


For the last three weeks or so, just in time for my brother and sister-in-law-to-be to visit, the taxis have been on strike. These protests have involved not only strikes but also clogging of major transportation centers such as the port and the airport. Although this meant safer walks to work and cleaner air, it also made my directions to my brother and other arrangements exponentially more complicated. Thankfully, I have taxi driver friend who is a “rum runner” of sorts who posed as my uncle for a couple of excursions. Beyond the trite effects on my life, what has this meant for the Greek economy? These strikes have been so detrimental that the tourism minister has been making statements asking the taxi drivers to seek an alternate method or time for declaring their frustrations because it is the peak of the tourist season.



At this point, the tents are down in Syntagma and the taxis are back, but who know what might be next.

Progress Report on Life in Greece August 8, 2011

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1.  Professional Development

a. I have started a notebook of words that I record during work discussions and from the various readings and samples I have been provided.

b. Every night I go home review what was discussed or what I was supplied to study at work. From that review I form one or two questions for the next day and pin point areas that I what to explore more. From these reviews, one of my diagrams was used by my boss for simplification of his calculations and discussions with the head architect. It has also led to my boss supplying me with more direct calculations and information to explore on my own.

2. Personal Development

a. I have been dedicated to my daily Greek additions to my vocabulary with the journaling, and I have created a notebook where I record in a more structured manner my new vocabulary words and grammatical progress.

b. In my pursuit of breaking my awkward shell, I have made friends with girls my age that work in the bakery and the pastry shop. Unfortunately, when the owner/manager of the pastry shop is there its a different story. She is not as willing to work with me in my broken Greek and she cuts me off with English quickly and defiantly wants me in and out as quickly as possible. Despite that one road block, I have more (not complete, but more) confidence in embracing looking foolish and just smiling as big as I can instead of looking nervous because that usually results in a smile back and friendly service.

3. Cross-Cultural Development

a. I have music on my Ipod that I can listen to on my walk to work. I have lectures on the history of Greece to listen to on my walk. I have movies to watch even though I unfortunately found out that Netflix does not service Greece yet.

b. I have a full script written out to order at a taverna, and I went out to eat with my  Greek friend for some unofficial observation time. Unfortunately, like in the pastry shop, I will probably say want we want in Greek and the waiter will respond with, “Is that all? Be right out,” in English, but I will try none the less.

c. I have pictures of all of my favorite things from the grocery store, the meals I have eaten out, and more importantly my deserts. I have also been looking into the recipes for Greek dishes in order to be a more Greek shopper and eater at home.

Γεια σου Ελλάδα August 8, 2011

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Work Culture: I was not informed
of the nature of the work environment so I packed both semi-formal and informal work attire to suit both occasions. Thinking I was going to be working in a standard office space due to the address indicated on my acceptance letter I packed sensible walking flats, tennis shoes, and sandals. My office to my utter joy, despite my packed wardrobes dismay, is on the top of the acropolis next to the Propylaea. The attire for the office is light, comfortable wear with tennis shoes, hiking shoes, or boots. The office is crammed with people and with desks in an open room just big enough to fit everyone. It is a constant shuffle of archeologists, marble craftsmen, architects, engineers, historians, and academics filtering through with loud conversation, stone cutter buzzing, and workers chiseling. Everyone is a part of a large family that I was graciously welcomed to and gradually becoming integrated into. So when my family comes to visit I am requesting more t-shirts, more tennis shoes, and I need to find some more “locally” fitting pants. Also I need to take in sound proofing headphones to block the noise (a co-worker of mine wears them so I feel it will be polite) because there are only 2 to 3 hours a day that it is quiet enough for me to think at my best so I have had to do a lot of refreshing and study outside of work as well. My work day is from 8am to 2:30 pm which leaves me plenty of time to explore the city before heading home, but unfortunately all of the banks and some other crucial services close their doors at 3pm.

Politics: As you may know, Greece is phases severe financial troubles and has been for some time. Here the situation is described with a very emotional title: “η κρίση” or “the crisis”. The political parties here are very aligned with what township you are from or what

street you live on; so the debates are very personal. The discussions had in my office over coffees that have turned into work stopping hourlong debates. These discussions are all in Greek, but thanks to the hand gesturing and volume I can still ascertain who is on who’s team and each arguments approval rating. Another indication of people’s opinions are the phrases “εντάξει” (“of coarse/ok”). “ναι,ναι,ναι” (“yes,yes,yes”), “όχι” (“no”), and a disapproving “tisk” sound. Based on this passion, needless to say, I have avoided the topic in conversation I have one on one with people.
There have been a large number of strikes since I arrived, but they are c

entered around the Parliament building and “the Center” as well as mini protests along the strip with the President’s house and the Ministry of Internal Affairs which is not part of my walking route to work. It seems that although not everyone is involved in the strikes and they are as much a social outing, viewing party as much as a demonstration, each person has a clear opinion and passion for what they believe which is very inspiring. However, the strong passions seem to further the concept of “The Crisis” and unrest beyond a healthy level of motivating concern to a public obsession.

Meals: One of the most surprising aspects for me was the structure of meals here in Greece. On working days, it is mainly lightish meals and snacking throughout the day and then a large dinner at 9 or 10 pm. There is no formal lunch or coffee breaks, but you are welcome to take one at your leisure. On weekends, lunches come more into play but those last from 2 or 3pm till 5 or 6pm. So my worries of not having a lunch box or knowing when and how to ask for a break were quickly averted.

Goals of My Experience with the Acropolis Restoration Project August 8, 2011

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My Goals:

I want to investigate the possible roles of a civil engineer in historic restoration. In particular, I want to explore through engineering application experience on this unique project the challenges that the ethical standards for restoration that the Charter of Venice have set for restoration design as both reversible and stable.

Employer Goals/Objectives:

Gain a full perspective of the history surrounding the structure and restoration practice so as to fully understand the application of the theoretical calculations that have produced the design model for the restoration of the Acropolis project. The method of study will include on site tours and observations as well as extensive studies of written reports and models. Finally application of the design process for the securing of each member individually and within the greater scheme of the structure, in particular the current focus is the South Wall. This design procedure includes assessment of the fragments; determination of the design for the titanium bars, dowels, and clamps; and strategic evaluations of the feasibility of the final design of each member throughout the fabrication process and placement.

July 9: Venice August 3, 2010

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Piazza San Marco

Chronology of the Square

  1. Bascilica
  2. Palace Ducal
  3. Camponile
  4. Right Side of the square with the Procurate (secret service on ground level)
  5. Mint
  6. Library
  7. Logetta
  8. Left Side of the square
  9. Napoleon’s wing to frame off the square opposite San Marco’s


The orthodox faith promotes the holiness of images and their ability to perform miracles. The western church determined at the Council of Trent that idolatry was to be avoided at all costs and that pictures were only representations to help you reflect; not direct links in themselves.


The portion of the palace on the square side was completed in the 15th century while the side on the water was completed in the 14th century. Each capital is unique with its own design program.

Porta Della Carta

This door represents Venetian Gothic at its best. The names on the door were added later because no craftsmen at the time it its completion would have signed his work.


He was chosn to build the library and the mint which are attached to each other. Rather than giving them a flush face he wanted to show the difference between the two buildings functions by adopting two different design programs. The mint was the Fort Knox of the republic so it follows the style of the bankers homes in Venice with the rustification on the bottom with Doric columns. The library is much more delicate in design without the level of rustificaiton of the mint.

Doge’s Palace

The palace was rebuilt in the Gothic style. Palladio did submit a more classical design but it lost in the competition.

San Marco

This church assumed the area and the role of two previous churches. In about 828 the Venetians brought back the remains of St. Mark from Alexandria. The Doge initially had them put inside his palace chapel, and once the first Romanesque base of San Marco was complete the remains were relocated, but they were still considered under the Doge’s protection. After a fire in 979 the church was rebuilt and enlarged. The current structure was consecrated in 1094. From 1202 to 1204 the fourth crusade brought huge wealth  to the city, and much of the plunder was used to decorate San Marcos. The brick Romanesque church was covered in marble, the narthex was extended to its current ‘L’ shape, and the wood and led eastern inspired domes were added during the 13th century. In the 15th century the Gothic pediments and central window were added. The Mosaics on the interior have been worked on and repaired since the construction of the church.

Santa Maria Formosa

San Giovanni Campo

This society was geographically not skill or guild based. This was a hospital they built for the area. These organizations would provide social security and hospitals and support widows and orphans. The perspectives of the lions on the sides of the door are more pictorial then architectural.

Basilica Giovanni E. Paolo

Santa Maria Del Miracori

Peitro Lombardo and Caducci worked on it from 1481 to 1489. It is in the classical style which was an imported style for the area.

San Fransisco Della Vigna

Sansovino designed this church. The façade was adapted to the church of Sansovino’s design. The church was designed based on musical proportions. The Franciscan brother Fransesco Goergy provided the algorithm with which the church was designed; he was a specialist in musica proportions. It is a basilica but the side aisles have completely isolated chapels.

San Salvatoria Monte

This is in the puritan classical style.


Looking at the belief of John Ruskin that the beauty of something is measured by the amount of work that can be seen was put into the object, the level of detail and the apparent devotion of the people crafting the pieces to the glory of their product and their God leaves San Marco a masterpiece. Every inch of that building has been touched with working hands to make it beautiful, and therefore every inch is beautiful. I whole heartedly agree with Ruskin but with another addition. The number of hands that have worked on the pieces as well as the number of people that have loved the piece throughout time also solidifies the beauty of a piece of art or building .

July 8: Venice August 3, 2010

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Venice’s only defensive system was the open sea, and it was so important to continue trade through Venice that it was never really necessary to fortify it. The Classical style was unsuitable for the Venetian topography; it was too heavy in design. Therefore the pointed arch was always an acceptable feature in Venice because it lighted the walls.

St. Giorgio Maggiore

This was a Benedictine monastery with no control from Venice as an independent island in the lagoon. The Doge was like the pope of Venice with control over his priests and his home parish of San Marco’s, but the Benedictines were able to operate outside of that control. Christ is on top as the savior in honor of the end of the plague. There are two pediments as if they were flattened together. On the interior are thermal windows that are the style of the windows used in the baths. The space is acquiring a Baroque feel as well with the elasticity of the space and the curve of the transept.

Il Redentore

From 1575 to 1575, the plague devastated the population. The church was built to celebrate the victory of the Venetians versus the Turks, and it was almost a joke in a sense to have the minaret like tower. It was in the Jesuit order and followed a Jesuit design with a huge nave and side aisles.


I know looking from studying San Marco’s for my presentation that the role of iconography in the church changed with the control from eastern to western theology, but the cat in the painting in St. Giorgio brought up the role of art in an even broader concept, not just the use of iconographic images as things to be worshipped. Art in religion must also be careful because it has to be ture to the stories or tradition it is expressing. Although  I think to the level of “was there a cat at the last supper” was a bit trite, I do think the right concepts are in line for a church that believes itself the protector of the faith. Just as Muslims do not want Mohammed dedicted in art, Catholicism in this case did not want that which was untrue or unfounded to be depicted in art.

July 7: Vicenza August 3, 2010

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This is an archetypal normal Italian provincial city. It was under the control of Venice. Paladio started his career here, and his only successes in Venice(or a large audience) were later in life. He is the opposite of Michelangelo. Instead of playing with Classical elements and pushing the envelope like Mannerism does; he presents Classicism as purely and cleanly as possible with no excess. He was a mason as a young man, and that background helped him in his later career as a builder and architect.

Basilica Palladina

This is a Palladian shell on the town hall made of brick with Gothic pointed arches form the early 15th century AD. He received the commission after winning a contest when the façade burned down. He called it a basilica for its function not for its structure. As to Classic standards it is Doric on the bottom and Ionic on the second level.

Loggia del Capitaniato

This was designed by Palladio as well. This structures has more errors in respect to the pureness of the Classicism. The entablature protrudes in a more Baroque manner; the lentil is interrupted by the top of the capital. There are also hanging triglyphs. It is located directly across from the Basilica.

Palazzo Chiericati

Palladio invented this façade but it has been repeated numerous times throughout history. He did an extensive study of archeology and also carefully documented his own works to show the how true he was to the spirit of Classicism, but his drawings are not perfect representations of his buildings just like his buildings are not perfect models of Classicism.

Palladio’s Villa

It is cruciform with an outward attention to nature, concerned with symmetry, and temple like in appearance. Pallo Americo the consultant to Pius IV and V wanted a villa, and commissioned the job to Palladio in 1566. Palladio died before it was completed, and the Caper Brothers took over before it was finally finished by Vecenso Comosi. It has a semi-circular arched dome and not the full hemisphere component of the Pantheon. This building was not for permanent residence, but was more of a weekend or party house. Each of the four sides and its coordinating window opens to the four winds with fantastic views framed in every window.


There was the same steer skull is in this design as was in the Medici Library. The planning and genius that went into the design of this seemingly simple party home of a papal advisor is inspiring. Every view is so well aligned it was fantastic. It looked so much like the Pantheon from the outside, and it gave me a very similar excitement as far as the geometry and games played within its grid, the same way the numerology is manipulated in the Pantheon.

July 6: Florence/Venice August 3, 2010

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Pitti Palace

The original structure dates from 1458. The façade is attribute to Brunelleschi, but it was more likely one of his students. It first belonged to Luco Pitti who was a famous Florentine banker, but then it was a assumed by the Medicis and finally the king of Italy. Upon becoming property of the state, it became the largest museum complex in Italy. Amanatti took over the desing in 1553. Niccolo Tribolo installed the first irrigation system. Three important types of garden are the French(18th century , represent nature as manicured), the English(represent nature as wild, 17th century), and the Italian Renaissance garden(creates blocked perspectives, 16th century). These gardens for a time were a public park and are now under the control of the museum. The courtyard of the palace is a masterpiece of Amanatti. The columns progress form Doric, to Ionic, to Corinthian up the three levels with rustification used to decorate and create the transition of the floors as well. The amphitheater is in the shape of a circus complete with an obelisk.

Medici Library

This was the first public library. Michelangelo was the designer, but he left to go to Rome in 1535 so it is unsure how much was completed when he left. The dome addition was added later, and it is in the Neoclassical style. Michelangelo provided a wooden model of the stairs for the builders to follow with Amanatti left in charge. Michelangelo always had conflicts of interest. When he was working for the pope, he became a Protestant, and he worked for the Medici’s before and after the war he fought against them. The stairwell and main library are both Michelangelo’s design, and they create a feeling of unease in both with the stairwell room being too high, ad the book room being too long. He also has fun with and manipulates the classical features such with bowing curls in the weight supporting areas and drama.


Venice is nestled in a lagoon created by a chain of islands in the Agean Sea. During the Middle Ages with the threat of barbarians and lootings on shore, people took refuge on island. The eight-century brought the election of the representative Doge; the city also applied to be chartered by the Eastern Empire. The flourished in with success in trading as the link to the East; evening during war trade was maintained. In the 13th century, Venice sponsored the Fourth Crusade, and held Constantinople for 60 years and gained safe ports. In the 1290s, the prior tradition of free citizenship was halted and the Golden Book with its list of 1000 families was the new code of citizenship. This new government was called a seignior. People eventually found ways to buy into the book. Venice was no longer a model of social mobility. Plague hit in the mid 14th century devastating Venice, and the founding of the new world and the shift the world of trade left Venice debilitated. The island was more or less disserted until it was rediscovered in the early 1800s with the influence of Napoleon on the area, and then revived with the foundation of the Italian government in 1866 as a model of Italian greatness. John Ruskin’s study of the area then made it a huge tourist destination.


It is interesting to me that the unfinished look of rustification became so popular in Renaissance art when that effect on stone for the Classical mind would have been that the pieces was incomplete. The Greeks and the Romans both smoothed their stone faces once they were in place, but their emulators the artists of the Renaissance assumed that look as part of the decoration. To me it makes me believe this rustification was one of the earliest forms of Mannerism. It was a way of manipulating the Classical. Then Michelangelo took those ideas of manipulation and respect for the Classical and made creations like the stairwell we saw today. No classical aspect was untouched by the influence of Michelangelo.

July 5: Florence V August 3, 2010

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Museo Galileo

This museum is in honor of Galileo who was spared prison and held under house arrest under the protection of the Medicis. The collection was first the Medici private collection, and then it was assumed by the Lorane family in the 1700s. The Palazza Vecio was once th home of the math and science room for the family. The major science observatory was moved due to light pollution to Specola. In 1966 there was a huge flood in which many of the instruments were lost. Something that is very important to surveying is that the bigger the angle you can create to conduct the measurements, the more accurate the projections of the distance of stars and the height of mountains can be. This concept was used in the star equipment from 1085 is an Arab tool used to map the stars, but there was still a prevalent belief that all of the stars were equally distant from the Earth. The nocturnal is an astrolabe used at night to tell time and determine the date using the north-star with fifteen degree shifts per hour. Spring clocks were some of the first trial non-sun related clocks, but due to the motion of the spring they ran fast one minute and slow the next. One of the most beautiful pieces in the collection was the Model of the Cosmos dating from 1588. It is three meters in diameter with different layers of the different planets and stars that when cranked can show you their patterns of movement.  With Galileo and his telescope, came the birth of modern astrology. Galileo was a professor at the University of Pisa (although he never graduated) working to support his sisters dowries and his own family. He moved to a better job in Padua where he sold composes, gave lectures, and gave lessons. One of his students was a Medici, and he would later finance and protect his teacher in his later life.

Pitti Palace

The Pita Palace’s façade’s seven original bays are at the center, and it was later enlarged, but the regular Renaissance pattern was easily transferred. The windows on the first level are of Michelangelo’s design. It was redesigned in 1588 by Amanti. The Piti’s were competitors with the Medici’s as bankers the building has the strong rustification at the bottom.

Medici Library Cloister

This was built at the same time as the church. The domed looking vaults with no groins are the brainchild of Brunelleschi, and they are called sailing vaults.


I think the development of the theories of sciences should be more heavily emphasized in our curriculum at Tech. As well the history or each of the perspective majors at Tech. I am studying the history of buildings out of my own interest within civil engineering, but there is no requirement or course for the respective majors to know where their major and future career started. How can we move forward in our fields if we don’t know the stepping-stones that got us there. We just accept to many aspects within our respective fields so that we can move onto the next step, but are we really ready for that next level of information. Will we really be able to understand it and retain it let alone use it properly?