Engineering Rome



This page constitutes the syllabus for this course.


Course Instructor
Steve Muench
Associate Professor
Mailbox 352700
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
Teaching Assistant
Heta Kosonen
Graduate Student
Mailbox 352700
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
Rome Coordinator
Tom Rankin
Studio Rome
Piazza Sant’Anastasia, 3
Rome Coordinator
Adriano Morabito
President, Roma Sotterranea
Via Appia Antica, 26

Course Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Communicate engineering ideas in a clear, concise and effective format both in oral presentation and written report.
  • Exercise critical thinking by making engineering judgment decisions based on real-world information that is often inconsistent or incomplete.
  • Discuss the major civil infrastructure of Rome including how it was built and the engineering principles governing its function to include, masonry arches, water supply, sewers, foundations, passive solar, roads, urban development, and sustainability.
  • Explain and analyze the function of select civil infrastructure using engineering principles, equations, and technical description. To include masonry arches, aqueducts, pavements, passive solar, and sustainability.


Final grades can be viewed on Catalyst when posted after the course.

Homework (30% of Grade)

It is perfectly okay to work in groups for these assignments. In fact, I really encourage it. Everyone should turn in their own assignment but you can work together to arrive at the answers. Given that the experience level of students in this class varies, group work will benefit all. There may be one more homework assignment but it is doubtful at this point.

  • Homework 1 (20 points): Italian. Fede will give you a short assignment. We will check for completion.
  • Homework 2 (100 points): Masonry Arches. Steve and Heta will give you an assignment on arches after the structures lectures. You have 1 week to complete it.
  • Homework 3 (100 points): Aqueducts. Steve and Heta will give you an assignment on acqueducts after his lecture on the subject. You will have 1 week to complete it.

Photo Journal and Class Participation (20% of grade)

Your participation in class is essential. Also, to encourage you to take photos (and to create lasting memories) you will upload photos to a class site.
Do these for full credit:

  • Participate in class. This means come to all classes and field trips on time and participate (ask questions, listen, etc.). Sleeping in the classroom while someone lectures is NOT participation. It’s sleeping.
  • Upload at least 20 photos to the picture sharing site (link provided once class starts).

Final Exam (10% of grade)

To be administered the last day of class. You can’t really study for this short exam but if you’ve been paying attention along the way you should do fine.

Final Project: Wiki article (40% of grade)

Each student picks an engineering subject that has a relationship to Rome in some manner. Most topics are acceptable after consulting the instructor. Upon approval of the subject by the instructor, the student will assemble a Wiki article that is the equivalent of a 10-20 page report (20-30 pages for graduate students…with a more comprehensive literature review). Each report shall include the following features:

  • Literature review. This means that you need to do some research to see what others have wrote about the subject. And you need to include these things and properly reference them. If you don’t know how, take a look at the Project Resources page.
  • Personal field observations from in and around Rome (the student is expected to go observe the subject in the field if possible…and take pictures/video).
  • Photographs and/or videos taken by the student (minimum 10)
  • Map(s) (minimum 1)
  • Engineering commentary and/or analysis. Your paper needs to be more than a tourist’s guide to the subject. The goal is to create something that one could not find in a tour book somewhere. That means there is an engineering perspective, commentary, and/or analysis. Your voice should be evident in the work.

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.