The Philadelphia School, deterritorialized

Ichnographia Campus Martius     1762

4004p   q   r   s

3. reenact Kahn's Philadelphia via (enlarged) Campo Marzio. Kahn's City Hall + surfaces.
5. Warhol / Kahn at Furness.

2004.06.16 5:53
cloning architecture - a global search
On the Campo Marzio issue, I've (already) compiled a bibliography of architectural literature on Piranesi's large plan. Briefly, before Tafuri there is Fasolo in 1956 (who Tafuri in places reiterates, but he did not note any of the 1956 mistakes), and Scully on Kahn in 1962. Tafuri's Architecture and Utopia was first published in Italian in 1973, and his The Sphere and the Labyrinth was first published in Italian in 1980. Since 1980, most architectural writers have sprouted off the Tafuri branch, and there is only one architectural writer who, in 1981, began to sprout off Kahn's branch of investigation entwined with reenactment.

2004.12.16 13:56
Re: Ichnographia Romaphilia
While working with Piranesi the discussion is often enlightening.
"So why exactly did you produce two versions of the Ichnographia Campi Martii and keep everyone none the wiser?"
"Overall, I just wanted to see who would find the two versions first. They were found, eventually (after more than two hundred years, but it's embarrassing for all the Piranesi "scholars" because it wasn't one of them."
"Why do you think the so-called scholars failed? Why did they not see what was always right in front of them?
"Simply put, they never reenacted the source."
"Kahn reenacted the source, and he didn't see the two versions."
"Well, I'd say Kahn was busy manifesting new versions of his own."
"Perhaps it's just plain destiny that Philadelphia itself reenacts the source."
"You know, I love you guys like brothers."
"That's fine as long as you realize that we're all independent as well."
"Ha, tell that to Romulus and Remus."

2005.10.12 11:36
Jimmy Venturi's new website...
I can't say that the writings of V&SB made me think differently about architecture (having first read Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture while a sophomore in high school 1971-72), rather they just made me think more about architecture. Did the writings of V&SB allow me to go in new directions for design? No, CAD allowed me to go in a new direction for design, and it was CAD that allowed me to redraw Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius which ultimately lead to my thinking regarding St. Helena as architect and reenactionary architecturism. It was Kahn that first lead me to the Campo Marzio, however.

2005.10.14 13:57
Jimmy Venturi's new website...
Is changing history the same as making history? I'd say the work of VSBA made history by their introduction of directions of architecture theory and practice other than the (then) status quo. Changing history is different and occurs in at least two different ways. History is changed when events are recorded and taught as history but are not really reflective of what actually happened, like the 'perversion' that Venturi feels happened to his theory, and, inversely, history is changed when a discovery occurs that nullifies established certainties, like the discovery of there actually being two renditions of Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius.

2006.03.05 11:51
Thesis Semester [blog] 25 years ago
I don't know Roy Vollmer at all. I know he was a partner with JC and B Knowles in the early 1970s, but he wasn't around Temple when I was there, plus I worked at BCJ/Knowles Architects 1979-80, and never met Vollmer then either. I did virtually all of the 'brochure' drawings of BJC/Knowles past and (then) present projects, and you can see some of my drawings in A+U 83:09.
JC 'founded' Temple University's Architecture Program in 1973 (I think), and he was chairman of the department until late 1978 or early 1979, when the core group of faculty got him 'dethroned' via a 'surprise attack'. When I had JC as thesis crit, I think of that time as his 'loose cannon' years. As I mentioned before, I initially wanted to do a 're-urbanization of the Ben. Franklin Parkway' as thesis project, but that proposal was not accepted; JC then suggested I do an Institute of Contemporary Art at Logan Circle. As you know, I did an ICA, but for Rittenhouse Square.
In starting this thesis semester blog I realized that I remember virtually nothing of whatever JC said to me during crits, whereas I remember a whole bunch of what Hal Guida said to me during crits.
A large photostat of Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius hung in the light shaft at the BJC/Knowles residence, it was too high up to look at closely. The last time I spoke with Brigitte (over the phone) in 2001, she said she didn't remember where the photostat was from. I still wonder what ever happened to the photostat of the Campo Marzio that hung over Louis I. Kahn's office desk.

S + M + L = QBVS
Hi Steve:
I had taken out Scully's American Architecture and Urbanism. On page 224 I noticed this picture--don't know if you had seen it before. Contrary to what the caption says, Kahn's plan for Philadelphia was not "drawn over" the Piranesi plan: it's plain to see from the photo that it was just pinned over it. It's a very interesting picture in light of what you have since done: Kahn simply covered over his Campo Marzio with the Philadelphia plan, whereas you have actually conjoined them.

Thanks Tony. I've never noticed the image on page 224 before. It's neat, too, to see that Kahn had a copy of the Ichnographia Campi Martii in its second state.

2007.02.28 12:10
Theory Part II - Doing What I Said I Would Do...
...does theory today make better designers? Personally, I think teaching style and technique would make better designers, where theory applies to the various styles and techniques and not so much to forming a priori thought processes of the designer.
Most of my architecture teachers worked in Kahn's offices and/or were students of his studio at Penn. Does Goldhagen mention Piranesi's Campo Marzio hanging over Kahn's office desk or the Guadet volumes on the desk?
Naturally, his thinking has foundations in architectural history. As Joseph Esherick sees it, "There is a moral injunction and an ethical character about Kahn's pronouncements. It is familiar in the writings of Julien Guadet, whose Éléments et Théorie de l'Architecture in four volumes (1870-1880) posits that the elements of architecture are not the ancient orders but they are windows, walls, floors, and light. The idea that a wall wants to be a wall and the idea of master spaces and slave spaces are both in Guadet. I remember," Esherick adds, "that the prominent thing on Kahn's desk when I first went to meet him in the late 50s was a copy of Guadet's old testament."
--C. Ray Smith, Supermannerism: New Attitudes in Post-Modern Architecture (1977), p. 82-3.
Note to self: Kahn reenacts both Piranesi and Guadet?

2009.01.31 19:34
Re: Misc. stuff and the best of youth
I always saw that kind of Kahn geometry play as maybe Campo Marzio inspired.

2012.03.24 09:20
Re: Traditional Architecture
In preparation for a forthcoming Quondam exhibition of "The Philadelphia School," just yesterday I began (re)reading Scully's Louis I. Kahn (1962) where we see Kahn's early 1920s Beaux Arts architectural education being somewhat of a hindrance during the 1930s and 1940s, but then significantly informing the beginnings of his mature design work from the 1950s onward. And, by the late 1950s we begin to see the influence of Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius, e.g. First Unitarian Church, scheme 1, 1959; Salk Institute Meeting House, 1959; Bristol Town Hall, 1960.



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