Amalie ElFallah (B.S. Architecture ’18) has been awarded the Fulbright U.S. Student Program’s two-year Laurea Magistrale in Architecture and Urban Design at the Politecnico di Milano in Italy. The program trains students in advanced architectural design and develops theoretical, humanistic and artistic competences based on the Italian tradition.
“The way I approach my architecture education is very well-rounded,” said ElFallah, who at Maryland served as a volunteer with UMD’s Solar Decathlon 2017 team, was an undergraduate representative on the Architecture Program Curriculum Committee and volunteered with the Neighborhood Design Center.
She spent her final undergraduate semester at the International Studies Institute in Florence. “I really enjoyed the culture, the language and the immersion,” she said of her semester abroad, “my time supplemented my formal education and increased my awareness of using travel, language and drawing as a tool to navigate and comprehend layered cities like Florence.”
This fall will be the first time Fulbright is offering an award to study architecture and urban design at Politecnico di Milano. A laurea magistrale is equivalent to a master's degree in the U.S.
“What I really like about the program is that it fosters a theoretical and humanistic approach towards architecture in a historical context,” ElFallah said. "Going to a school in Milan specifically and having access as a student in an Italian institution will allow me to access archives and do the things that I would like to do to pursue a design thesis project.”
ElFallah credits Professor Michele Lamprakos’ graduate seminar — “Destruction, Memory, Renewal” — as a “huge foundation in getting where I am towards pursuing this Fulbright.” One of just two undergraduates in the class, ElFallah's research on the historic center of Tripoli, Libya, under Italian Colonialism and Fascism may provide the basis for her thesis at the Politecnico.
“The courses Amalie took with me — 'Destruction, Memory, Renewal' and 'Adaptation' — introduce students to complex, layered historic buildings and sites, as well as the challenges and opportunities they present for designers,” Lamprakos said. “For Amalie, this became a passion. I’m thrilled that she’ll have the opportunity to pursue it at the Politecnico di Milano. The Fulbright is a great honor for her, and for MAPP.”
Although her classes will be in English, ElFallah said she hopes to take an intensive Italian course before moving to Milan in September.
"It's still kicking in, to be honest."
-By Dan Novak