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M O V I N G    B O U N D A R I E S


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Program Description
(past course)

Venice and Umbria, Italy

December 11 - 23, 2023  

Announcement on Nov.28: We are honored to host Tobia Scarpa, architect, professor, and son of Carlo Scarpa, at Moving Boundaries. We are equally honored to add two new Professors to our Winter Program: Dr.David Kirsh and Dr. Satchin Panda. 


This winter program offers an intensive two-week course in the interface between disciplines concerned with design of the built environment and scientific disciplines concerned with human perception and behavior. Grounded in the culture of Venice, Italy, participants will experience the rich cultural landscape of the city, which is the birthplace of the famed architect Carlo Scarpa. Participants will be offered tours of buildings by Scarpa and will also tour selected works by Italian masters of landscape, architecture and interior design. We will visit Brion Cemetery, Gipsoteca Canova (both by Scarpa) and Fabrica, created by famed Japanese architect, Tadao Ando.. During the last three days, we will live and study in beautiful northern Umbria, in Castello di Solfagnano, located between Perugia and Gubbio. Thirty minutes away is the legendary St.Francis of Assisi Convent, which inspired Louis Kahn. 

The course follows the first edition of our traveling workshop in Iberia, which took place in Spain and Portugal in July and August of 2022 and the second edition which took place in Guadalajara, Mexico. This third edition in Italy will feature several new distinguished faculty members, a deeper
investigation of two topics studied in Iberia and Mexico, multiple interactive sessions centered on participants, embodied learning opportunities during tours and sketching workshops in the city, and a focus on teaching practical applications of concepts from human sciences to architectural and interior design. Participants will have a chance to present work and receive feedback during morning sessions. In addition to learning from the faculty and from one another during lectures and discussions, they will work on optional design exercises, in interdisciplinary small groups.


This course will feature lectures in which an architect or designer will be paired with a scientist, to promote interaction in a dialogical format. The course is open to architecture and design professionals, including architects, urban planners, landscape architects, interior and product designers, historians of architecture and design, artists, environmental experts, health professionals, educators, researchers in neuroscience, cognitive science, sociology, anthropology and psychology, as well as graduate and postdoctoral students in the above disciplines.

We will learn how scientific concepts and methods can help develop new tools and strategies in design. We will also explore the importance of history, regional culture and identity in the making and experiencing of architecture. Every participant will receive a Certificate of Completion at the end of the course. Please read our Mission Statement for more information.


Winter course tuition includes all lectures, masterclasses, roundtable discussions, workshops and sketching sessions, Welcome Dinner and Farewell Lunch. It does not include payments for tours, although MB coordinates the tour scheduling. Participants are responsible for their own lodging, transportation and meals, with the exception of the two complimentary meals.  We are honored to host 20 of the most distinguished architects, designers, historians, philosophers, educators, neuroscientists and cognitive scientists in the world.  Tobia Scarpa will be with us in person. This course will be entirely on-site, although two speakers may join remotely. Course topics include Perception and Behavior, Atmosphere and Mood in architecture, landscape, urban planning and design.  MB will coordinate a field trip to see buildings by Scarpa and the travel  (by train)  to Castello di Solfagnano in Umbria, but participants should arrange and pay for own transportation and lodging. A sign-up list is available for those who wish to save money on lodging by sharing with other participants.


“Modern man has no unified worldview. He lives in a double world, at once in his own naturally given environment and in a world created for him by modern natural science, based on the principle of mathematical laws governing nature. It is understandable that thinkers and philosophers have often attempted somehow to overcome [this disunion], yet they have generally gone about this in a way generally meant to eliminate one of the two terms, to logically reduce one to the other, to present one—usually on the basis of causal argument—as a consequence and a component of the other.”

 – Jan Patočka

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