How Best is helping to pave the future for Adelaide University Architecture with the Bob D'Ottavi Scholarship

Posted on: 08-Mar-2019 10:00:00

As a proud South Australian owned and operated company, Best Bricks & Pavers (‘Best’) recognises the importance of giving back to their community. One way that Best do this is through providing a Scholarship to an Adelaide University Master of Architecture student that enables them to travel to the Italian town of Ascoli Piceno and spend two weeks there. The town runs deep in connection to Best and has inspired the design direction of the company for multiple generations. As part of the Scholarship, a student from the University of Camerino in Ascoli Piceno is brought to Adelaide.

Established in 2017, the Bob D'Ottavi Scholarship is named after the late founder of Best Bricks & Pavers.


The Story

Bob D'Ottavi migrated to Adelaide from the Italian town of Ascoli Piceno in 1954. Bob loved Adelaide and became an Australian citizen in 1966. For the last 25 years of his life, Bob would visit Italy every summer, making sure to always return to his home town.

Ascoli Piceno (Asculum as it was) is a town in central Italy and was founded before Rome itself. For many years, it was under the reign of the Vatican and therefore was shrouded with wealth and eccentric architecture. Ascoli Piceno is known as the “City of Travertino” due to large deposits of Travertine in the surrounding area, which is featured in almost all the town’s architecture throughout its history.

Two wonderful cities which he loved were so completely different. Because of this, Best felt the contrast would be of interest to any student of architecture.

Ascoli grew organically. In the heart of the city no roads travel straight for long and the site chosen for the city (as it sits between two rivers) was driven by self preservation and ability to protect itself from invaders. Adelaide, however, founded less than 200 years ago, is the complete opposite in that it was planned on paper and then constructed, with the most determining location factor being access to clean water form the river Torrens.

The Scholarship

Due to the vast differences in the cities, Best thought it would be beneficial to show architecture students from each town what the other city is like. There are two recipients of the Scholarship each year, one being an architecture student at Adelaide University and one being an architecture student from the University of Camerino in Ascoli Piceno. Each student is fully funded by Best to spend two weeks in the other city, studying the architecture and experiencing a different way of life.

Melissa Bullen, an architecture student at the University of Adelaide recently received the Scholarship and spent two weeks exploring the architecture of Ascoli Piceno, including a couple of days in Rome. Melissa spent her time with Architecture students from the University of Camerino, wandering through the town to find architecture that appealed to her. Melissa also met with professors from the University to discuss the unique architectural differences between the two cities. As with anyone visiting Italy, the amazing food that can be found in small towns throughout the country was a major highlight of the trip. Melissa’s journal can be found here, which includes images, sketches and descriptions of inspiring buildings (and more about the incredible food).

The 2019 winners of the Scholarship are soon to be announced. More information on this will be available shortly.

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