Architectural Sketching: Florence, Italy

Print Friendly



I was blessed with great in-laws.

For several months in 1999 my father-in-law, an Episcopal priest, filled in for the head priest of St. James’ Episcopal Church in Florence, Italy. During that time he and his wife occupied the rectory, a house on church grounds, a few blocks from the historic city center.

Knowing what a great opportunity this was for their son-in-law the architect, they sent me a round-trip ticket to Florence and invited me to come stay with them. It goes without saying, this was an experience of a lifetime.

During my stay I not only visited many of the great buildings and urban spaces of Florence, but also visited Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano.

During those jaunts I carried two sketchbooks. One, a standard artist’s sketchbook, for more finished sketches. The other, an old fashioned composition book, for thoughts and less polished conceptual sketches and diagrams.

Here, then, are a few of the sketches I made on that trip.


Fig. 1: Tower, Florence, Italy, 1999


Fig. 2: Tower, Florence, Italy, 1999



Fig. 3: Studies of colonnade, Piazza Uffizi, Florence, Italy, 1999


Fig. 4: Study of façade profile and weathering, Florence, Italy, 1999


Fig. 5: Studies of piazzas’ forms, Florence, Italy, 1999


Fig. 6: Colonnade interior along Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy, 1999


Fig. 7: Colonnade study, Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy, 1999


Fig. 8: Symbolism of tripartite organizations in Christian art, Florence, Italy, 1999


Fig.9: Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy, 1999


Fig. 10: Study, alley, Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy, 1999


Fig. 11: Towers, San Gimignano, Italy, 1999


Well, there you have it. In future posts I plan to develop some of the thoughts penned here. Most I’d forgotten until now, they’ve remained dormant – is it time to dust them off and see if they’re sturdy enough to inspire some extended thinking and writing?


© Donald E. Armstrong and Material Practices, 2013

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *