The Institute for Field Research: Learning from Nature

Sun, 2018/07/01 - Sat, 2018/07/28
Val Taleggio, Italy

The Institute for Field Research (IFR) is a nonprofit organization focused on supporting quality, peer-reviewed research and providing hands-on experiential learning opportunities to undergraduate students. In 2018, among our 47 field schools we will be offering two focused on Sustainable Design and Biomimicry. Located in the beautiful Val Taleggio, Italy, the Rock and Stone and Learning from Nature field schools will immerse students in multidisciplinary research that will combine anthropological research methods, assessment of local ecology, architectural investigation, and design implementation. Students will earn 8 semester credits from Connecticut College for their successful completion of the course. For further information about these programs or if you have questions about the Institute for Field Research, please contact our Program Manager, Miriam Bar-Zemer at info [at] ifrglobal [dot] org.

The unique ecology of the Taleggio Valley, set in the mountainous Italian PreAlps, lends itself to the study of an array of natural systems that will serve as the backdrop for a course on bio-inspired design. Through the observation and analysis of the pre-alpine ecology students will translate the learned principles to develop architectural projects that incorporate sustainable design elements stemming from biological inspiration. The course will be taught by long-term collaborators Dr. Shauna Price, a biologist specializing in insect ecology and evolution, and architect Ilaria Mazzoleni, who develops conceptual design projects focused on sustainability and biomimicry.

The program includes treks in nature, including historical paths along streams and canyons, visits to heritage sites, such as medieval settlements, historical villages, and the world-famous San Pellegrino Terme, as well as the Bergamo Science Museum. Students will live in a cozy residence in Sottochiesa, a charming village north of Bergamo. The expertise of the instructors, in combination with the ecology of the field site and the local community, will serve to provide a model for conducting integrative research and producing sustainable bio-inspired designs for the students.


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