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University of Detroit Mercy

April 30, 2015

From July 29 to August 8 the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture will host the first bi-annual Volterra International Design Workshop in Volterra (Italy).
The workshop is a new addition to and an extension of the UDM SOA study abroad program in Volterra, which was first organized in 1987. Beautifully and conveniently located in the middle of Tuscany, equal distances from Florence, Pisa and Siena, Volterra offers the UDM SOA students and faculty a genuine immersion in Italian history and culture.
Since 2013 the program has been housed in the UDM School of Architecture’s private facility in the city: the Volterra International Residential College. The new home base in Volterra allows the UDM SOA and its academic partner, the Volterra-Detroit Foundation, which established and now manages the facility, to plan and organize a variety of academic and cultural programs in Volterra, including AIA Continuing Education programs, collaborative academic programs with the University of Pisa (Italy) and – for the first time this summer - International Design Workshops.
This year, selected students from the UDM SOA, together with the Dean of the UDM School of Architecture Will Wittig, will remain in Volterra for an additional ten days beyond the normal length of the program. During this time they will be joined by students and faculty from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology from Poland, as well as local academics and professionals from Volterra, Pisa in Italy. The workshop will be moderated by James Timberlake, FAIA, from Kieran Timberlake (Philadelphia, USA), an alumnus of the UDM School of Architecture.
The purpose of the workshop is to create an international academic forum for sharing contemporary architectural ideas. Architecture is becoming an increasingly global profession, which offers new and fascinating inspirations and opportunities internationally. The workshop will give the students and faculty the opportunity to experience international teamwork and collaboration.
The theme of the workshop is “Society and Technology: Water, Food, Waste, and Energy”. In the words of Dean Will Wittig: “In every town, in every society, there is a daily, weekly, and yearly rhythm of arrivals and departures; oranges and milk, newspapers, workers, school children, water, coal, busses, sewage, and garbage. And the logic of logistics can be traced in these systems that anticipate the flow of water, food, energy, and waste. City form in turn is organized and orchestrated to establish the physical ecosystem of a society that enables social capital to flourish.”
For additional information about the UDM School of Architecture and other programs in Volterra please visit
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