The IDEA League Summer School

12 october 2017

The 25 undergraduate and doctoral students who ventured here in Mantua from 11 to 15 September into the fascinating world of protection  and planning in the cultural heritage context came from the best technological universities Europe-wide and followed lectures from the Politecnico's teaching staff and international experts, took part in round tables and workshops with key sector players and visited historical monuments with exceptional guides.

The occasion was the Heritage and Global Challenges Summer School organised by IDEA League, a strategic alliance between Europe’s top five universities in the technological and scientific fields with the objective of increasing the impact of innovation on society. Together with the Politecnico, the network is made up of ETH Zurich, Delft University of Technology, RWTH Aachen and Chalmers University Goteborg.

The Summer School took place at Polimi's Mantua campus in the context of UNESCO Architectural Planning and Protection in World Heritage Towns, an academic project which is the Mantua campus’s one-off specialisation.

Mohd Jamaludin Muhamad Muizzudin Bin - Muiz to his friends - comes from Malaysia but for his Laurea Magistrale (equivalent to Master of  Science) in applied physics he has already been to Delft and Zurich, thanks to the IDEA League project, and he’ll soon be setting off for Aachen. “In Malaysia I studied Oil Engineering but after crisis hit the sector I decided to come to Europe to study and focus on environmental engineering and physics”. Muiz chose to take part in the IDEA League programme because of the opportunity it gave him to study at the university’s partners, each with its own specific expertise, and thus make his training even more complete.

For me the Summer School was an artistic interlude in my engineering life! I learnt a great deal about the concept of cultural heritage and, above all, I was surprised to discover that tourism can have a negative impact on it

Roasaei Hosein, on the other hand, is from Iran and, after his Laurea Magistrale in Architecture and Preservation in Mantua, is now studying for a doctorate in Architecture at the Leonardo campus. "I decided to attend the Summer School because the themes it deals with are linked to my Doctoral thesis. And I liked the idea of returning to Mantua where, to be honest, I’d left my heart behind. The campus is small but well-organised as is the town whose small size initially disappointed me before its concentration of architecture and history won me over". Used as he is to working in an 'international' class, for Hosein the Summer School was in any case an important growth opportunity. 

It was constructive to measure up to students from other universities and, above all, to work with engineers, who have a decidedly different point of view from architects and can provide interesting insight

Melanie Großkunze comes from Germany and is studying on the second year of Laurea Magistrale (equivalent to Master of  Science) in Urban Planning in Aachen. I’ve travelled a great deal since I was little and visited many Italian cities including Rome, Florence, Perugia and Spoleto.  

I think that Italy has a strong historical-artistic heritage and that it is indispensable for any architect to be acquainted with its cultural patrimony. The trip to Venice was a unique opportunity to explore the city outside its classic tourist destinations and discover the most secret details of its amazing architecture through the eyes of specialised guides

After a Laurea in China Xueli moved to Sweden to its Chalmers University for a Laurea Magistrale (equivalent to Master of  Science) in Architecture. He came to Europe for new experiences and to widen his horizons.  

Since I’ve been in Goteborg I've travelled a great deal including in Italy which I believe is the essence of Europe and merits repeat visits. For me you cannot study architecture without travelling. Travel is an integral part of the training process

Xueli appreciated the variety of subjects dealt with at the Summer School, from architecture to the cultural heritage and landscape, and the top quality of the lectures. In Mantua he was struck by the way its people and history live in perfect harmony and the way that architecture is in ongoing development and not crystallised in museums.

Lastly we met Davide Bonizzato, a 25 year old from Verona, studying on the Mantua English language Laurea magistrale in Architectural Design and History.

It was my first experience in the IDEA League network but the Summer School is closely connected to my studies and so I decided to take part. I saw it as representing an important growth opportunity as it gave me the chance to meet people from other countries and other degree programmes with different perspectives and approaches. I also found it very interesting to see how people react to the Italian artistic patrimony which we are used to but frequently do not appreciate how extraordinary it is

The next IDEA League Summer School will be in 2018 at a location and on a subject which is still to be determined. Keep informed by consulting the calendar here: