Offered to students in the fall term of 4th year, the Rome studio is located in one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, Trastevere. The main focus of the studio is to offer students a different perspective of design methods as opposed to those offered in Waterloo. Therefore, the studio involves Italian professors and critics to complement the process of designing in Rome. Every year, the questions asked become more challenging. How do we, as architects design in a place like Rome, one so dense with history. Students are invited not only to design in the eternal city but to also evolve in the eternal city. It offers students the chance to immerse themselves in a culture which operates in a way far different from that of Canada.
In 1979 the School of Architecture inaugurated its Rome Program for fourth year students. The program has provided over seven hundred Canadian architecture students with an opportunity to live and study in the eternal city, arguably the richest architectural environment on earth.
The profound influence of the Rome experience is reflected in the work, tastes, and cultural values of all past participants. Students and graduates have consistently referred to it as the most influential experience in their educational careers. Rightfully so. There is no place in the world that can bring alive the essence and intensity of the past than that of Rome.
From the foundation of the Rome Program, Waterloo has played an architectural role in the Italian capital, involving Italian academics and practitioners, creating links with Italian and foreign institutions and, widely exhibiting and publishing the work of faculty and students.
Upon the completion of the Rome Design Studio, the students put together an exhibition of the final projects at the Trastevere studio. In addition, there is a traditionally held annual "Rome show" put on by the returning 4B class in Cambridge. The exhibition not only shows the final projects that were done in Rome, but also provides an opportunity for the students to reflect on and thus recreate their Rome experience through three dimensional installations. The Rome Show is also a big event which brings the students back together to re-experience the great times had in Rome and to share it with their fellow peers, friends and families.