Ross Altheimer of HGA Architects and Engineers (HGA), photo provided by HGA.

HGA landscape architect Ross Altheimer has won a prestigious Rome Prize for study at the American Academy in Rome. Residents stay in the Villa Aurelia, a 1650 palazzo atop the Janiculum Hill overlooking the city. Famous for its libraries and 11 acres of formal gardens, the Academy was founded in 1894 as a center for American artists, architects and scholars to pursue research and independent studies in a classical setting. His 11 month fellowship starts in September.

Altheimer plans to "explore the interdependence of architecture, landscape, infrastructure and culture in Rome's subterranean city," specifically the city's subway system which keeps bumping into archeological ruins as engineers try to expand it.

As he put it in an HGA statement, "Rome's subterranean [world] is where history plays out. It is rich with strata and stories: layers of fill, quarries, crypts, temples, foundations, water infrastructure, artesian wells, mushrooms, exotic plants, large rats and metro lines."

Previous winners of Academy fellowships and prizes include artists Frank Stella, Carrie Mae Weems, Beverly Pepper, Alex Katz, Bruce Nauman, Chuck Close, Eric Fischl and Minnesota-native Doug Argue; architects Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, Robert Venturi and Edward Larrabee Barnes (designer of the 1971 Walker Art Center).



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