quondam piranesi

Stephen Lauf

Inside the Density of G. B. Piranesi's Ichnographia Campi Martii

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3 :
to spread or develop irregularly or ungracfully

urban sprawl 9.0

Outline/notes on Ichnographia urban sprawl:

1. Piranesi clearly demonstrates, with a dashed line running through the Ichnographia, that he knew the extent and location of ancient Rome's Aurelian Wall relative to the Campus Martius, but he then blatantly ignores this regulating feature in his own design. What is the meaning of this paradox? Is it merely another example of inversion? Or was Piranesi being prophetic in that the line between urban center and suburb is no longer a clear, distinct (built) demarcation?

The black line indicates Piranesi's dashed demarcation of the Aurelian Wall. The area below the line was enclosed by the wall, while the area above line corresponds to ancient Rome's northern and western suburbs.

2. Regardless of whatever reason Piranesi chose to negate the Aurelian Wall, it is nonetheless clear that he supplanted the wall and the regions beyond the wall with reenactments of ancient Rome itself. This leads to several questions concerning the urban sprawl of our time:

a. Are the suburbs of today reenactments of the cities they surround?

b. Could the suburbs of today be reenactments of the cities they surround?

c. Should the suburbs of today be reenactments of the cities they surround?

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