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Tale of the detail

The conversation between a “Detail” and the maintenance man.

D:   Hey what are you doing?  You need to slide me and the rest will be taken care of.  All you have to do is slide and then push.

M:  But you are a door, I’m suppose to just push or pull on you.

D:  I’m not a door, I am a detail.

M:  What does that mean?

D:  Just look around you.  I’m not typical as everything around you.

So doors perform to let you in and out and provide a sense of privacy and protection.  Most doors operate from using a door knob, opens and closes from one axis from a set of hinges.  So when a door completely changes the way we are used to a door, it becomes something else.  Here the door slides left to right, but once you reached a certain point of the railing the door rotates the door 90 degrees.   The door now becomes more of an Architectural detail.  A detail that makes you change the way you look at a simple door.  The detail makes you become active with the Architecture.  You notice how the door is different, and since you notice the difference, you start picking up on the other “detail” that is different.  The “detail” made you active.

How is Venice, Venice and not anywhere else?

Would Venice be the “City of Water” or “City of Bridges”  without gondolas and gondolier?  Before I can answer, I have to take a look behind the scenes of Venice.  Behind the doors, there is a Legend called Saverio.  His 35 years of craftsmen make him a legend.  Without his dedicated lifestyle there would be no gondolas and gondoliers to make Venice feel like Venice.  So what masterful skill does Saverio poses.  He has the skill of making a Forcula.  Not one Forcula is the same as another.  Each Forcula is made specifically for the gondolier.  Many components are taken inconsideration when it comes to making a Forcula, the height of the gondolier, the type of rowing, the type of gondola are just a few.  So can Venice still be Venice without gondolas?  No, because without the hidden culture of a Forcula, there is no Venice.

How is Siena, Siena and not anywhere else?

Many buildings have Fresco’s, but the Palazzo Pubblico has one that will always stay with me as part of Siena.  After a discussion that we had in Sala della Pace of the Fresco of  Good Government and Bad Government, the space really has a purpose.  The purpose does not fall under how the room was used, but what the fresco reminds people when they enter and exit the space.  As you enter the sala, you are reminded what could be a bad government, and as you exit you are reminded to become a good government (see image above) .  As to what I know, it is the only room that has an allegory to what your occupation entails.  So to me the good and bad government is what distinguishes Siena as Siena and not anywhere else.

What makes a good architectural translation?

So translation or “Translatio” is defined as  the action of transforming data or instructions from one form or from one given alphabet into another form or alphabet, without loss of information.  But as for Architectural translation, I believe that the essence and performance must be translated and captured in a new form or idea of Architecture.  As in the image, you see a Museum (name soon to come) with an elliptical form.  With the long access of the ellipse perpendicular to the main entry.  The space it self as seen in the image is set up for public gathering or social event.  But to me that elliptical form also reminds me of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, as the ceiling seen is the direct copy of the floor plan of the church.  Also an elliptical form with the long access perpendicular to the entry, as a space for public gathering but more of a ritual gathering.  So as both have similar form and performances in gatherings, but for different reasons, I believe that the Museum makes a good translation from San Carlo.

How is history made active?

Architectural history to me is always made active unless it is underground or abandoned.  Just that certain buildings actively perform better than others.  As the Colosseum has active history through time from brutal sports, to worship center to housing.  But at the moment it is actively frozen in time as a tourist attraction and only as tourist attraction.  But as the church in Napoli, the community makes this space of worship very active.  Not only are they using the space for worship, but as a symbol of pride to the community.  Here Napoli’s are cleaning the church.  And to me that is a historically active architecture.  The daily life’s of people is what makes history active.

What does “this” map tell you about the city of Rome?

Here two Mausoleum of Augustus maps.  Both with floor plan and surrounding structures.  Lanciani’s tells me the information from three different Roman Eras. The Allen Ceen’s map dedicates to one time and shows everything that was there with more detail.  It really explained how the area looked at the time of the map.  But that is just one map, and just one era.  So “these” maps, is one more important than the other?  Which map is more helpful?  That of course depends on the information you need.  But Roman maps don’t just provide information, they provide a story and there are many stories.  Through time these stories change with a never told ending.  So to me maps tell me a story of Rome and help me understand to why the name; Eternal City.

What stands between a mountain and sea?

As my travels to the Lazio Region of Italy there where multiple areas of mountain and sea.  But one area had a Mountain and sea and once more mountain and sea.  How can there be two seas between two mountains?  It is amazing what time does to land.  In Herculaneum you see that exact phenomenon.  In the 1st Century  Herculaneum was built on the shore of the Tyrrhenian  Sea and nature and time has moved the sea about a mile away from its original state.  So what lies between a mountain and sea is a town with agriculture, culture, customs, community, government, buildings and life, but time can change that.  So what used to stand between a mountain and sea becomes no more than history and built around it, and the town restarts.

Blog 4 Whats the difference between a large building and a small city?

The more I think about this question, the harder it is to really find a true difference in both.  Architecturally, one is completely different from the other; however that alone does not define each other.   All the small components that make up “something” differentiate it from others, yet at the end they are very similar.  It’s all the components from a large building and small city that define them.  So when you analyze them at the minute detail, there generally isn’t much of a difference.  Small city has houses, streets, people, communities, public spaces.  A large building may not have houses, but it has rooms, the streets are the hallways and stairs, the people are the users, communities could be the different floors of the building.  The public spaces are the lobbies or court yards.  So are they different yes, but they are brother and sister with love and hate relationship.

What does one wall say to the other?

Left Wall: John

Right Wall: Jon Jon

Center Wall:Rocky

Rocky: I’m sick and tired of being stuck here.

Jon Jon: What’s a matter Rocky, you don’t like us any more.

Rocky: I just think that’s theres more than just being a wall.

John: I don’t get you Rocky, yesterday you were just making us laugh.

Rocky: All I do is stop people from walking bye, you two get all the attention.  I just want to be like the stones in Roma.  You know that they have there area guarded and all they do is lay on the floor all day.  Now thats my type of life.  The glamor, pictures, and people taking notice of me.  I want to be a ruin.

John:  So you rather leave us after centuries of friendship and maybe even let us down.  With out your shearness we’re nothing.  You can’t leave us now, after all we have been through.

Rocky: Come on guys, you don’t need me, plus if I just call it quits, I could make Abruzzo into Roma.  That means more people here for all of us to see, more glamor, more special attention, more money.

Joh Jon: your crazy Rocky, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Rocky: I’m going to do it!

John & Jon Jon: NO ROCKY! DON’T DO IT!

Rocky:  Hahahaha, got you guys.  I’m stuck with you for the rest of stone time.

How the building meets the ground?

The Teatro di Marcello is an ancient open-air theatre, built in the closing years of the Roman Republic.  At the theatre, locals and visitors alike were able to watch performances of drama and song.  It was named after Marcus Marcellus, Emperor Augustus’s  nephew, who died five years before its completion.    Here you see  current day ruins near Teatro Marcello with Piranesi’s  section etching.  But these scattered, chipped, stained, remains are physical artifacts of what used to be a magnificent building meeting the ground.  But now what meets the ground are reminiscence of Teatro di Marcello.  For locals it creates a short cut from a busy street (Via del Teatro Marcello) and housing directly above the teatro, for visitors it is a visual reminder of what was there thousands of years ago.  There are so many buildings in Roma, but very few have broken visual reminders and these stones now meet the ground.

Piranesi Section to Teatro Marcello