porticus display and other typologies
I have decided to make the next new feature at Quondam about the typologies from/in the Campo Marzio. I am especially eager to do a display on the porticus. I like them because thay are such a distinctly Roman type. I'm not sure yet what the final format will be, but I would like to see some novelty and cleverness with the new display. I can certainly use animated gifs as blinking plans, for example. I will also add as much historical data as I can to each plan for whatever the typology. I'm even thinking of producing some sort of land-use map.
I found out yesterday the phalic plan formations in the Bustum Augusti are labled as poticus for the mourning of soldiers, and they will be perfectly displayed with blinking animated gifs.
the next four/five months
The work on the Ichnographia is well on its way... Besides the actual work on this project, it is becoming more and more clear that the methodology behind Piranesi's plan is very applicable to a rethinking of my own neighborhood. By that I mean that the Ashdale Valley, Rising Sun & Tabor, Cedar Grove, Tacony Creek, etc. all add up to a stimulating narrative, and can well be "drawn up" as an Ichnographia. This is where my Campo Marzio work and my Tacony Creek Park work overlap intellectually.
Plotina - the wife of Trajan
...the Templ. Plotinae at the east end of the axis of life is dedicated to Plotina, the wife of Trajan, and also the adoptive mother of Hadrian. This fits perfectly with the Imperial genealogy that is already apparent along the axis of life. Furthermore, the introduction of a "mother figure" directly on the axis of life consummates the notion of procreation that is already present.
...speculate that Piranesi is perhaps suggesting that there may have been some "incest" between Hadrian and Plotina.
use of Plattner's text
I have now decided to use the Platner text as both a point of reference and as a foil against which I will illustrate Piranesi's planning, and his intentional deviation as well. Platner's text would be a continuous stream that is only interrupted by the inclusion of large illustrations. Moreover, it is Platner's text that will act as a content guide for Quondam text and illustrations. This may become Quondam's longed-for experimental-spontaneous text.
The Platner text relates mostly to the section of the Ichnographia which is still to be redrawn. The main purpose of this text annexation is for me to write out my findings regarding the extent of fantasy vs. reality in Piranesi's plan.
the Ichnographia as [reenactment] "theme park"
I have mentally played with the notion of the Ichnographia being used (perhaps for the first time) as a "guide map." Using the Ichnographia as a guide would seem ridiculous to most because the large plan has always been dismissed as a pure fantasy. It can act as a guide, especially if one is aware of the textual background of the plan, meaning the historical texts which describe ancient Rome.
Along these lines, I came up with the idea of looking at the Ichnographia as a ancient Roman theme park--a virtual place where one can vicariously experience the ancient city as well as learn about the history of the city. I am not at all a fan of late 20th century theme parks, but their "virtuality" has not escaped me either. Judging by what is created today in terms of simulacra and mass entertainment, it is as if the Ichnographia is like their uncanny prototype.
The themes Piranesi uses are numerous:
a. the Imperial genealogy of both the Bustum Augustii and the Bustum Hadriani.
b. the forward and backward "ride" of the Triumphal Way.
c. the military themes along the Equirius.
d. the numerous garden designs
e. the nemus Caesaris and the Bustum Hadriani
In a way, the whole typological catalogue is nothing but one variation of a theme after another.
In no way do I want to cheapen my interpretation of the Campo Marzio by relating it to modern theme parks, but the fact remains that there are similarities. Does this mean that Piranesi is yet again (200) years ahead of his time in terms of planning? Does this correlation shed new light on the present relevance of the Ichnographia as a planning paradigm that prophetically explains architecture's state as well as shed light on the future? These are certainly questions that I never expected to be asking myself, yet I have thought about the possible urban design relevance of the Ichnographia for today, but not from the point of view of modern theme parks.
I guess this is just another issue to consider, but it is also a very far reaching one because of the implications toward a possible understanding of the future of architecture.
new insights regarding the Campo Marzio Busti
As I am proceeding with translating all the Latin labels of the Ichnographia, I've developed some new ideas regarding the Bustum Hadriani and the Bustum Augustus. I never compared and contrasted them before, but I now see that Piranesi treated them as opposites of each other. The development of this notion ran as follows:
I was today finally able to translate Piranesi's label of the radiation triangular clitoporticus of the Bustum Hadriani--a porticus dedicated to the evocation of the gods and the spirits of the Lower World. Of course, such a porticus fits perfectly with the axis of death, and this axis is also further reinforced by my now knowing the correct meaning of the Bustum (burning place) and also knowing about the slab for the burning bodies and the funeral-pyre. Moreover, the design of the clitoporticus directs all focus upon the place of burning, and it is easy to imagine the wailing that would emanate from this place--it is interesting to match the raising of wailing voices from the clitoporticus with the raising of smoke from the cavea bustum. The whole Bustum Hadriani, now more than ever, comes across as exceedingly morbid, and, ironically, it seems that the burning of the dead within the Bustum Hadriani is treated as a spectator sport, especially with the grandstands of the cavae bustum.
Next, I began to translate the labels of the Bustum Augustii, and here I found the exact opposite wording--the joyful recollection of Augustus. The evocation of joy is certainly the opposite of evoking the spirits of the underworld, and it was this sharp contrast that led me to notice all the other contrasts between the Bustum Hadriani and the Bustum Augusti.
The list of contrasts is as follows:
a. where Hadrian's clitoporticus funnels inward, Augustus' memoriae fans outward.
b. where the Hadrian precinct is square, the Augustin precinct is round.
c. the Hadrian Bustum proper is a "depression," where the Augustan Bustum is "uplifting," raised on a hill.
d. the center of the Bustum Hadriani is fire and the center of the Bustum Augustii is water.
e. the Bustum Hadriani is surrounded by a canal (moat) and the Bustum Augustii is surrounded by a wall.
f. the Bustum Hadriani, with its circuses, is open to all, where the Bustum Augustii, with its iron gate, is closed.
g. where the Bustum Hadriani has a fair degree of archeological veracity, the Bustum Augustii is full of blatant misplacements.
In simple allegorical terms, the Bustum Augustii reenacts the "rise" of Rome, and the Bustum Hadriani reenacts the "fall" of Rome, which is just another inversion derived from a whole set of inversions. The notion of "rise" and "fall," moreover, can be seen in the phallic porticus of the Bustum Augustii versus the Arch of Gratian, Valentinian et Theodosius, which represents the last Roman triumph along with the end of the unified empire.
I never expected to make this type of discovery, and this certainly is an important one because it encompasses the Campo Marzio's two largest complexes, and the two Imperial mausoleums. It is also important because of all Rome's history, pagan, Christian, and Imperial are allegorically represented in the plan. Furthermore, it is now clear through the designs of the two Busti that Piranesi was very consciously drawing and designing the Ichnographia allegorically with a full knowledge and understanding of Rome's history and its archeology. It is almost as though the design of the Bustum Augustii is Piranesi's own expression of joy in evoking the glories of Augustan and Imperial Rome at its best.
Along with this new discovery, I now also know that Hadrian basically built his mausoleum because the mausoleum of Augustus was full, and this is just another example of how pretty much everything has its reason for happening.
Campo Marzio - new discoveries
...St. Peter's Basilica and Square match exactly the outline of the Porticus Neronianae and the Temple and Area of Mars complex. The piazza of St. Peter's matches the dimensions of the Area Martis, the Temple of Mars fits within the forecourt of St. Peter's, and the nave and transept crossing of the Neronian Porticus falls right in line with the crossing of St. Peter's. ...so exact, and unquestionably deliberate on Piranesi's part. ...firmly locks the analysis of the life and death axes.
The other discovery deals with the horti Luciliani and the horti Lucullani.
Piranesi places the fictitious horti Luciliani where the horti Lucullani ought to be, and places the horti Lucullani at a location further north.
It is the horti Lucullani that Messalena murdered for.
Lucilius is the father of Roman satire. Is there anything satirical in Piranesi's plan of the garden? Perhaps the answer has something to do with a shrine to Minerva being in the center of one of the building complexes--literally "wisdom" (but also "weaving") in the center of a garden of satire. The theater and salons, now make more sense.
satire 1 a : an ancient Roman commentary in verse on some prevailing vise of folly b : a usually topical literay composition holding up human or individual vices, folly, abuses, or shortcomings to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, or other method sometimes with an intent to bring about c : LAMPOON 2 a : a branch of literature ridiculing vice or folly
censure 1 : a judgement involving condem-nation a : spiritual chastizement by an ecclesiastical agency
wit implies intellectual brilliance and quickness in perception combined with a gift for expressing ideas in an entertaining, often laughter provoking, pointed way, usually connoting the unexpected or apt turn of phrase or idea and often suggesting a certain brittle unfeelingness
satire can apply to any criticism or censure relying on exposure, often by irony and often subtle, of the ridiclous or absurd qualities of something
The notion of Piranesi being satirical himself throughout the Ichnographia is an intriguing idea.
...the various other gardens and buildings that Piranesi places on the same plateau as the horti Lucullani. Some of them, like the horti Narcissi, relate directly to the Messalena story since it is the freedman Narcissus that ultimately kills Messalena. There is also the horti Anteri--Anteros means "an avenger of slighted love," which describes both Messalena and her husband the emperor Claudius, although for different reasons.
...Tafuri could have said so much more about the horti Luciliani.
connection between Rossi and Piranesi
I just realized that the St. Peter's - Area Martis overlay is just the same as the Modena Cemetery - Bustum Hadriani connection
Campo Marzio - the ultimate book outline
I now intend to follow my own works' chronological sequence (drawing and notes) in order to write the book outline. Essentially, the book outline follows my own path of redrawing, research, and discovery. My written notes will supply the largest portion of source material, and therefore, no major or significant topic will be discussed in the book prior to its appropriate place within the sequence of notes.
The following is the outline's first draft:
a. learning about the Ichnographia in school (Temple), the Kahn connection, the Stewardson competition.
b. "Thoughts on Architecture" in Oppositions 26 1984, patterning, CAD.
c. beginning the redrawing the large plan with ARRIS cad software, August/September 1987.
d. first reading of Allen's article in Assembledge in 1990-91.
e. pick up redrawing with the horti Lucilliani (ref. Tafuri).
f. Campo Marzio - Philadelphia scale comparison, 1993.
g. Bloomer text, August 1994.
h. record plot of the typologies, letter to Sue Dixon (Beginning of phone calls).
i. contiguous elements.
j. Piranesi's imagination.
k. the long axis - and other axes: Hadrian's, the Triumphal Way, Equiria, Bustum Augustii.
l. via Flaminia, streets in general.
m. the Area Martis, significance of Mars.
** I think the issue of archeological correctness will permiate all the topics where applicable.
n. language of the plans, the key plan, plan hierarchy.
o. the sacred axis vs. the profane axis :: the love axis vs. the war axis.
p. life and death axis
r. first Triumphal Way analysis.
s. Piranesi's art of representation - master of the virtual realm
t. Fasolo article redux.
u. the existing texts.
v. Campo Marzio and the Nolli plan of Rome.
w. 3-d re-construction of the Ichnographia.
x. philosophy of history - reenactment.
y. Schinkel connection.
z. the Campo Marzio today - the Ichnographia as theme park.
aa. downtown vs. suburbia.
bb. pomp and circumstance.
cc. Platner, etc.
dd. the theme of inversion - Plattus article on the Triumphal Way.
ee. chronology of the Ichnographia plans.
ff. the Pagan-Christian inverion of Rome
gg. the Scenographia as the stage set.
hh. new Fasolo diagramming (D'Aulerio).
ii. Aldo Rossi.
jj. Augustine's The City of God Against the Pagans.
kk. "Continual Mistakes and Inversions"