3 February


1994.02.03 death of Manfredo Tafuri.

Still in the process of reading Theories and History of Architecture (again). Now over a week ago, one of the illustrations collected toward the end of the book struck a new register of recognition.

caption: Andrea Palladio, Existing and ideal reconstruction of the Romulus temple. R.I.B.A, London
This is the third illustration corresponding to Chapter 1: Modern Architecture and the Eclipse of History, and I'm sure I've seen the image many times before (since I've owned a copy of the book since 1980), but never before did it register any significance for me. There is no explicit reference to the Palladio reconstruction drawing within Chapter 1, and the only possible reason for the inclusion of the illustration lies within a passage from page 19:

"One of the main features of Borromini's architecture is that he sees himself as the heir of the troubled Mannerist issues, of their uneasy symbolic world, of their ethical criticism. It is for this very reason that Borromini gives first place to the problem of history. For Borromini, architecture must not follow a programme imposed from outside, but has to find its own motives in the independent shaping of its programmes, must fold on itself to show its structure as a renewed instrument of communication, has to stratify itself in a complex system of images and geometric-symbolic matrixes. Therefore the spatial synthesis that will unify such a tangle of problems van only tend to a multi-valence and to a simultaneity of meanings. In the typological syntheses constantly adopted by Borromini as a method of configuring space, there always seeps through a bricolage of modulations, of memories, of objects derived from Classical Antiquity, from Late Antiqity, from Paleo-Christian, from Gothic, from Albertian and utopistic-romantic Humanism, from the most varied models of sixteenth-century architecture. They span from the spatial permeations of Perruzi to the anamorphic contractions of Michelangelo and Montano, to the anthropomorphic decorativism of Pelligrini, to the attempts at linguistic renewal by Vignola and Palladio."

Palladio's reconstution is of the temple that once stood atop the mausoleum of Romulus (son of Maxentius), which forms part of the Imperial (munus) complex along the Appian Way.

Thanks to Palladio's drawing, I can more accuratly draw the plan of the mausoleum/temple. The plan I had been using (from an image found online) was not clear enough to make a definitive rendition of the plan.

Coincidentally, and now also over a week ago, I found a detailed eighteenth-century engraving of the Maxentian complex plan, incorrectly placed within a wiki collection of G.B. Piranesi's images from Le antichità Romane:

Since this engraving is not by Piranesi, it is difficult to discern who the real engraver is. My guess it that it is by Piranesi's son, Francesco, based on the engravings similarity to Francesco's plan of Hadrian's Villa.

On 3 February 1544, the sarcophagus of Maria was discovered (very likely while the old basilica was being demolished to make way for the new/present one). The sarcophagus of Maria may well be the last substantial imperial artifact of (the city of) Rome, and after an illustrious title page and a frontispiece, it is an image of the sarcophagus of Maria that Piranesi uses to begin his Campo Marzio publication. In a most elegantly covert way, Piranesi began the 'history' of the Campo Marzio with what is really it's ending, and what is probably the world's greatest designed architectural inversionary double theater goes on from there. But there is a strange fabrication going on there too. theory/methodology is best described as appositional.

Architecture reenacts human imagination, and human imagination reenacts the way the human body is and operates. The human body and the design thereof is THE enactment. The human imagination then reenacts corporal morphology and physiology, and architecture then reenacts our reenacting imaginations.

I can still remember how it was difficult (for me) to find a definition of bricolage back in the late 1970's. It's not at all difficult now, however:

"In the practical arts and the fine arts, bricolage (French for "tinkering") is the construction or creation of a work from a diverse range of things that happen to be available, or a work created by such a process. The term bricolage has also been used in many other fields, including intellectual pursuits, education, computer software, and business."

"Bricolage is considered the jumbled effect produced by the close proximity of buildings from different periods and in different architectural styles. It is also a term that is admiringly applied to the architectural work of Le Corbusier, by Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter in their book Collage City, suggesting that he assembled ideas from found objects of the history of architecture. This, in contrast to someone like Mies van der Rohe, whom they called a "hedgehog", for being overly focused on a narrow concept."

While appositions are not always bricolage, it might well be true thought, that bricolage is always a form of apposition.

Feb 3, 14 1:48 pm

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