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In Memoriam: Mario di Valmarana

October 14, 2010 — Architecture Professor Emeritus Mario di Valmarana died Oct. 13 at his home in Venice. He was 81.

Valmarana, who joined the University of Virginia School of Architecture faculty in 1972, retired in January 2000. He started the school's Venice and Vincenza study-abroad programs.

The School of Architecture is developing an online tribute where colleagues and friends can share memories. The website is expected to be live on Monday.

Valmarana, a native of Venice, came to U.Va. 37 years ago for what began as a three-month appointment. He ended up staying, discovering and sharing Italian architect Andreas Palladio's influence on America and modern architecture.

Valmarana generously shared his family home, the Villa Capra-La Rotunda in Vicenza, designed by Palladio and built in 1560, with the students over the years – even after he retired. He also enthusiastically shared with them his interest in Palladio and his passion for his native region of Italy, known as the Veneto.

When Thomas Jefferson designed his treasured Rotunda and its now famous Lawn, he studied the laws of architecture set down by Palladio. He did not copy Palladio exactly, but instead used his laws of proportion, light, color, form and movement as design tools in creating the University.

In addition to learning about the Academical Village, students in the School of Architecture learn about Palladio firsthand when they visit the Venice and Vicenza programs, both designed by Valmarana. The Vicenza program, the University's first official international study program, was started in 1975. The Venice program followed four years later.

The U.Va. Board of Visitors established the Mario di Valmarana Professorship in Sustainable Communities in the School of Architecture in 2001. It was made possible by gifts from friends and former students of Valmarana and from the Center for Palladian Studies in America.

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