Archive for the ‘Bearing Masonry’ Category

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Roman Forum

Architect: Collective

Location: Rome, Italy.

Date: 100BC-300

Building Type: City Center

Architecture Styles: Classical

Architectural Time Period: BC

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

The Roman Forum is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum.

It was for centuries the center of Roman public life: the site of triumphal processions and elections, venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches, and nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city’s great men. The teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history.Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archeological excavations attracting numerous sightseers.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Ruins

Ruins

When visited Roman Forum, standing in front of the ruins with a history of more than 2000 years, we can still tell the basic structure system of the space, which is amazing to visitors by the intellectual level of ancient people.

People are trying to throw coins on top of the beam, it is a cultural phenomenon that architecture brings to people.

We can identify different layers of space and circulation

Ancient architectural culture shows us the order and logic behind their design. The space is well organized based on different typology of structure and the definition of “zones”

The two different structural typology: Arch and trabeation  systems, the arch is richly decorated, which shows the virtuoso of ancient Roman.

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Spanish Steps

Architect: Alessandro Specchi

Location: Rome, Italy.

Date: 1721-1725

Building Type: Stairway

Architecture Styles: Baroque

Architectural Time Period: 1700s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

The Spanish Steps are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. It is the widest staircase in Europe.

The monumental stairway of 138 steps was built with French diplomat Étienne Gueffier’s bequeathed funds of 20,000 scudi, in 1723–1725, linking the Bourbon Spanish Embassy, and the Trinità dei Monti church that was under the patronage of the Bourbon kings of France, both located above — to the Holy See in Palazzo Monaldeschi located below. The stairway was designed by architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Urban Design, Approach

Urban Design

In urban design strategy, the Spanish Stairs were built to unite Via del Babuino, which is the easternmost of the three main arteries radiating into the city from the Piazza del Popolo with Via Felice. It is the first great street planned by Sixtus V (1585). Their junction is crossed at an approximately right angle by Via Condotti, which defines the direction toward St. Peter’s and the Vatican. The architect Alessandro Specchi’s ideas were later assimilated by the chosen architect of the Stairs, Francesco de Sanctis. The very rich and varied solution ultimately employed by De Sanctis (1723-26) is based on a simple doubling in depth of the central theme from the Ripetta: a protruding volume flanked by convex stairs and a straight flight in front. The upper unit presents the theme in its basic form; the lower constitutes an articulate and lively variation.

Plan Diagram of Spanish Steps

Approach

On the way up or down, there are three landing area to take a “break” of the long approach within the two levels, which is a brilliant idea. These three landing areas function as resting space for people.

Photograph taken at the bottom of the piazza, we can see people seating on the steps to take a rest

One of the landing area while walking up

Views from the upper-most landing area, looking towards the piazza and the main commercial street

The curve away staircase while walking up, this gesture has successfully connected the upper piazza and welcoming the circulation on a wider range

Approach and sectional diagram of Spanish Steps, which clearly shows the relationship of different levels

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Sant’Agnese in Agone

Architect: Francesco Borromini

Location: Rome, Italy.

Date: 1652-1672

Building Type: Church

Architecture Styles: Baroque

Architectural Time Period: 1600s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

Sant’Agnese in Agone is a 17th century Baroque church in Rome, Italy. It faces onto the Piazza Navona, one of the main urban spaces in the historic center of the city.

The rebuilding of the church was begun in 1652 at the instigation of Pope Innocent X whose family palace, the Palazzo Pamphili, faced onto the piazza and was adjacent to the site of the new church. The church was to be effectively a family chapel annexed to their residence. A number of architects were involved in the construction of the church, including Girolamo Rainaldi and his son Carlo Rainaldi, and two of the foremost Baroque architects of the day; Francesco Borromini and the sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini.

The name of this church is unrelated to the ‘agony’ of the martyr: in agone was the ancient name of Piazza Navona (piazza in agone), and meant instead, from the Greek, ‘in the site of the competitions’, because Piazza Navona was built on the form of an ancient Roman stadium on the Greek model, with one flat end, and was used for footraces. From ‘in agone’, the popular use and pronunciation changed the name into ‘Navona’, but other roads in the area kept the original name.

 

My own exploration:

Keywords: Baroque& Interior Decorations

 

Baroque& Interior Decorations

We are not allowed to take photos when we can to the interior, I can introduce some of the information: there are a number of large scale sculptures in this church, including the marble relief in the main altar, placed in a setting installed by Carlo Rainaldi and Ciro Ferri, that depicts the Miracle of Saint Agnes, initially commissioned from Alessandro Algardi and completed by Ercole Ferrata and Domenico Guidi in 1688, under constraints that their product must remain in conformity with the original Algardi design. The Sacred Family altarpiece (third to the right) is also by Domenico Guidi.

The altar dedicated to Saint Alexius, depicting his death, was completed by Giovanni Francesco Rossi. The stucco decoration of angels by Ferrata with the symbols of the Saint: pilgrim’s staff and flower crown. The altar depicting the Martyrdom of Sant’Emerenziana is by Ercole Ferrata. He also completed Sant’Agnese and the flame, Leonardo Retti completed the superior portions. The altar depicting the Death of Santa Cecilia was executed by Antonio Raggi. Stucco angel decorations (with musical instruments) by Ercole Ferrata with fresco designs by Ciro Ferri. The altarpiece of the Martyrdom of St. Eustace was commissioned to Melchiorre Caffà, but generally completed after Caffà’s early death by Ferrata and Giovanni Francesco Rossi. The statue of Saint Sebastian Martyr is by Pietro Paolo Campi.

Sketch of the main alter

One characteristic of Baroque architecture is ‘painterly’ color effects, I was caught by this notion when I saw the main alter of this church, also, it has fascinating detailing with free curves and romantic motion.

 

 

 

 

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Pantheon

Architect: Apollodorus of Damascus

Location: Rome, Italy.

Date: 118-126

Building Type: Temple

Architecture Styles: Roman, Classical

Architectural Time Period: 0-700s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings

Pantheon is a building in Rome, Italy, commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome, and rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in about 126 AD.The temple is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered, concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43.3 metres (142 ft).

It is one of the best-preserved of all Roman buildings. It has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a Roman Catholic church dedicated to “St. Mary and the Martyrs” but informally known as “Santa Maria della Rotonda.” The square in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza della Rotonda.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Portico&Logistic, Rotunda, Interior

Portico&Logistic

We visited Pantheon through Piazza della Rotonda, the portico was the first part that caught into my eyes, the pediment was decorated with relief sculpture, probably of gilded bronze. Holes marking the location of clamps that held the sculpture suggest that its design was likely an eagle within a wreath; ribbons extended from the wreath into the corners of the pediment.

From the reading, I know that it took 732 construction workers over 3 years to construct the Pantheon because of its many features.The Pantheon’s porch was originally designed for monolithic granite columns with shafts 50 Roman feet tall, the substitution was probably a result of logistical difficulties at some stage in the construction. The grey granite columns that were actually used in the Pantheon’s pronaos were quarried in Egypt at Mons Claudianus in the eastern mountains. Each was 39 feet (12 m) tall, five feet (1.5 m) in diameter, and 60 tons in weight. These were dragged more than 100 km from the quarry to the river on wooden sledges. They were floated by barge down the Nile River when the water level was high during the spring floods, and then transferred to vessels to cross the Mediterranean Sea to the Roman port of Ostia. There, they were transferred back onto barges and pulled up the Tiber River to Rome.

After being unloaded near the Mausoleum of Augustus, the site of the Pantheon was still about 700 meters away. Thus, it was necessary to either drag them or to move them on rollers to the construction site. So in this case, it is really amazing that how great humans are!

Entrance of Pantheon with the large bronze doors,it is ancient but not the original one of the Pantheon. The current doors – manufactured too small for the door frames – have been there since about the 15th century.

The wooden stricture at the portico, the triangular wooden truss is brilliant because it is stable as geometry itself and does well for tension force

Rotunda

When I enter the temple, the top of the rotunda wall features a series of brick relieving arches, visible on the outside and built into the mass of the brickwork. The Pantheon is full of such devices – for example, there are relieving arches over the recesses inside – but all these arches were hidden by marble facing on the interior and possibly by stone revetment or stucco on the exterior.

The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43.3 meters (142 ft), so the whole interior would fit exactly within a cube (also, the interior could house a sphere 43.3 meters (142 ft) in diameter). These dimensions make more sense when expressed in ancient Roman units of measurement: The dome spans 150 Roman feet; the oculus is 30 Roman feet in diameter; the doorway is 40 Roman feet high. The Pantheon still holds the record for the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. It is also substantially larger than earlier domes.

Though often drawn as a free-standing building, there was a building at its rear into which it abutted. While this building helped buttress the rotunda, there was no interior passage from one to the other.

Interior

the interior of the dome was possibly intended to symbolize the arched vault of the heavens. The oculus at the dome’s apex and the entry door are the only sources of light in the interior. Throughout the day, the light from the oculus moves around this space in a sort of reverse sundial effect. The oculus also serves as a cooling and ventilation method. During storms, a drainage system below the floor handles the rain that falls through the oculus.

Lighting and ventilation diagram

The lighting effect from the oculus

The dome features sunken panels, in five rings of twenty-eight. It gives a lot of depth to the roof and the space. This evenly spaced layout was difficult to achieve and, it is presumed, had symbolic meaning, either numerical, geometric, or lunar. In antiquity, the coffers may have contained bronze stars, rosettes, or other ornaments.

Circles and squares form the unifying theme of the interior design. The checkerboard floor pattern contrasts with the concentric circles of square coffers in the dome. Each zone of the interior, from floor to ceiling, is subdivided according to a different scheme. As a result, the interior decorative zones do not line up. The overall effect is immediate viewer orientation according to the major axis of the building, even though the cylindrical space topped by a hemispherical dome is inherently ambiguous. According to the reading, this discordance has not always been appreciated, and the attic level was redone according to Neoclassical taste in the 18th century.

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Santa Maria delle Pace / Bramante Cloister

Architect: Donato Bramante

Location: Rome, Italy.

Date: 1478 – 1483

Building Type: Church

Architecture Styles: Renaissance

Architectural Time Period: 1400s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings)

Just behind Piazza Navona with its street artists and baroque fountains, you can find the little church of Santa Maria della Pace with its distinctive semi-circular portico. This Renaissance church was built for Pope Sixtus IV in 1480-84 with its Baroque style facade added in 1656.

According to legend, the reason the church was squeezed into this small piazza was that it was here a soldier pierced the breast of a painted Madonna causing it to bleed. To placate her, Pope Sixtus IV (1471-84) ordered the building of a new church if she would bring the war with Turkey to an end. The deal was done and the result was this church which was actually built over the remains of an existing one.

A main feature of the church and monastery complex is the Bramante cloister, which was added creating a sanctuary of calm which is now home to concerts and an art gallery. Built in 1500-1504 for Cardinal Oliviero Carafa, it was the first work of Donato Bramante in the city. It has two levels: the first is articulated by shallow pilasters set against an arcade; the second also has pilasters set against an arcade which is vertically continuous with the lower storey, but with columns located in between each arch span.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Exterior, Interior, Cloister

Exterior

The facade of the church has two orders and is entered by a semi-circular pronaos with paired Doric columns. The church presses forward almost to fill its tiny piazza, the church facade also focused on architectural detailing, the play of concave and convex forms at varying scales in and around the predominant main facade masks the neighboring buildings, extends the apparent breadth of the facade and so increases the visual impact on the spectator physically confined by the small trapezoidal piazza. Something I also learned from the exterior also include the fact that the monumental effect of the plasticity of forms, spatial layering and chiaroscuro lighting effects belies the actual scale of this urban intervention.

Plan diagram of the church and small portion of its adjacent cloister

Interior

The interior can be reached from the original fifteenth-century door, has a short nave with cruciform vaulting and a tribune surmounted by a cupola. The interior of the dome was supported by a series of ribs radiating from the lantern. This is an early example of combining these two forms of dome decoration. Carlo Maderno designed the high altar (1614) to enframe the venerable icon of the Madonna and Child.

The interior view at the entrance, the color of the material plays a harmony set

Different type of openings brings light into the interior

Interior shot showing the openings and roof structure

Cloister

The entrance of the cloister

the cloister was designed for quiet contemplation, So the entrance way has a deep depth away from the street, it is one of those spots that is perfect when we are overwhelmed by the city of Rome.

The courtyard of the cloister. Bramante cloister has two stories, where the heavy piers with applied orders in sequence (Corinthian and Ionic). From what I know, the trabeation of the upper story, and the unadorned, sculpturesque power of the lower story, were derived from systems used in the Colosseum, and the Theater of Marcellus.

Plan diagram of the cloister, including the courtyard patterning, thus showing the proportion of the space, the cloister forms a square itself. As the floor patterning suggests, it has the self-concentrated spatial quality.

View from the second story, which was open to public as a restaurant and bookstore.

Trabeation system of the upper story

Tectonic sketch showing the trabeation system of the second level arcade.

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Fontana di Trevi(Trevi Fountain)

Architect: Nicola Salvi

Location: Rome, Italy

Date: 1732-1762

Building Type: Fountain

Architecture Styles: Baroque

Architectural Time Period: 1700s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings)

The Trevi Fountain is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy. Standing 26 meters (85.3 feet) high and 20 meters (65.6 feet) wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world.

In 1629 Pope Urban VIII, finding the earlier fountain insufficiently dramatic, asked Gian Lorenzo Bernini to sketch possible renovations, but when the Pope died, the project was abandoned. Though Bernini’s project was never constructed, there are many Bernini touches in the fountain as it exists today. An early, striking and influential model by Pietro da Cortona, preserved in the Albertina, Vienna, also exists, as do various early 18th century sketches, most unsigned, as well as a project attributed to Nicola Michetti one attributed to Ferdinando Fuga and a French design by Edme Bouchardon.

Competitions had become the rage during the Baroque era to design buildings, fountains, and even the Spanish Steps. In 1730 Pope Clement XII organized a contest in which Nicola Salvi initially lost to Alessandro Galilei – but due to the outcry in Rome over the fact that a Florentine won, Salvi was awarded the commission anyway.[9] Work began in 1732, and the fountain was completed in 1762, long after Clement’s death, when Pietro Bracci’s Oceanus (god of all water) was set in the central niche.

Salvi died in 1751, with his work half-finished, but before he went he made sure a stubborn barber’s unsightly sign would not spoil the ensemble, hiding it behind a sculpted vase, called by Romans the asso di coppe, the “Ace of Cups”.

The Trevi Fountain was finished in 1762 by Giuseppe Pannini, who substituted the present allegories for planned sculptures of Agrippa and “Trivia”, the Roman virgin.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Baroque&Symmetry, Coin Throwing

Baroque&Symmetry

On an architecture perspective view, as a baroque fountain, Trevi fountain has the character of symmetry and free curves.It owns the nature of baroque style that exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture.


The top of the fountain was characterized by free and sculptural use of the classical orders and ornament, which is the baroque language, it gives a richness feeling for the skyline, at the same time, under its “free form”, it has the logic of classical orders, it has rational horizontal and vertical elements to form a symmetrical order.

Unlike the classical architecture, new emphasis was placed on domes, light-and-shade effects, and the bold play of volume and void, which we can tell clearly fro the facade.

Analytical sketch of the facade, I learned how to read the baroque language and classical order from it.

Coin Throwing

A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. This was the theme of 1954’s Three Coins in the Fountain and the Academy Award-winning song by that name which introduced the picture.An estimated 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day. The money has been used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome’s needy.

As the tradition manner, I throw a coin as well, hope I can be back to Rome in the future!

Villa La Rotonda is a Renaissance villa just outside Vicenza, northern Italy, designed by Andrea Palladio. The proper name is Villa Almerico Capra, but it is also known as La Rotonda, Villa Rotonda, Villa Capra and Villa Almerico. The name “Capra” derives from the Capra brothers, who

completed the building after it was ceded to them in 1591. Like other works by Palladio in Vicenza and the surrounding area, the building is conserved as part of the World Heritage Site “City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto”.

Sketch of facing the front of the Villa

Ca’ Rezzonico is a palazzo on the Grand Canal in Venice. Today it is a public museum dedicated to 18th century Venice and one of the 11 venues managed by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.

Ca’ Rezzonico stands on the right bank of the canal, at the point where it is joined by the Rio di San Barnaba. The site was previously occupied by two houses belonging to the Bon family, one of Venice’s patrician families. In 1649 the head of the family, Filippo Bon decided to build a large palazzo on the site. For this purpose he employed Baldassarre Longhena, the greatest proponent of Venetian Baroque, a style slowly replacing the Renaissance and Palladian architectural style of such palazzi as (its near neighbour) Palazzo Balbi and Palazzo Grimani built over 100 years previously. However, neither architect nor client was to see the completion of the Palazzo Bon: Longhena died in 1682, and Filippo Bon suffered a financial collapse.

The design was for a three story marble façade facing the canal. The ground floor rusticated, containing a central recessed portico of three bays without a pediment, symmetrically flanked by windows in two bays. Above this the piano nobile of seven bays of arched windows, separated by pilasters, above this the “second piano nobile” was near identical, and above this a mezzanine floor of low oval windows. The slight projection of the two tiers of balconies to the piano nobili accentuate the baroque decoration and design of the building. The palazzo today follows this form, although it was not finished until 1756 by the architect Giorgio Massari, who had been brought in to oversee the completion of the project by the new owners – the Rezzonico Family. Massari however, seems to have adhered to the original plans of Longhena, with the addition of some concepts of his own which reflected the change in architecture between the palazzo’s conception and its completion 100 years later.

The courtyard

Above are some interior images of this museum

The Palazzo della Ragione is a Medieval town hall building in Padua, in the Veneto region of Italy. Located just south of the historic Caffè Pedrocchi, and a necessary destination for those meandering about the historic center of town, the picturesque open-air markets of Piazza delle Erbe (Square of the Herbs) and Piazza della Frutta (Square of Fruit) frame this massive 13th-century palazzo and have stood as the town’s political and commercial nucleus for centuries.

The building, with its great hall on the upper floor, is reputed to have the largest roof unsupported by columns in Europe; the hall is nearly rectangular, its length 81.5m, its breadth 27m, and its height 24 m; the walls are covered with allegorical frescoes; the building stands upon arches, and the upper storey is surrounded by an open loggia.

The Palazzo was begun in 1172 and finished in 1219. In 1306, Fra Giovanni, an Augustinian friar, covered the whole with one roof; originally there were three roofs, spanning the three chambers into which the hall was at first divided; the internal partition walls remained till the fire of 1420, when the Venetian architects who undertook the restoration removed them, throwing all three spaces into one and forming the present great hall, the Salone. The new space was refrescoed by Nicolò Miretto and Stefano da Ferrara, working from 1425 to 1440.

The interior is as impressive as its exterior. The two-story loggia-lined “Palace of Reason” is topped with a distinctive sloped roof that resembles the inverted hull of a ship, the largest of its kind in the world. Inside the building, a large wooden sculpture of a horse attributed to Donatello. The 15th-century frescoes are similar in style and astrological theme to those that had been painted by Giotto, and comprise one of the very few complete zodiac cycles to survive until modern times.

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Scrovegni Chapel is a church in Padua, Veneto, Italy. It contains a fresco cycle by Giotto, completed about 1305, that is one of the most important masterpieces of Western art. The church was dedicated to Santa Maria della Carità at the Feast of the Annunciation, 1303, and consecrated for use in 1305. Giotto’s fresco cycle focuses on the life of the Virgin Mary and celebrates her role in human salvation. The chapel is also known as the Arena Chapel because it was built on land purchased by Enrico Scrovegni that abutted the site of a Roman arena. This space is where an open-air procession and sacred representation of the Annunciation to the Virgin had been played out for a generation before the chapel was built. A motet by Marchetto da Padova appears to have been composed for the dedication on March 25, 1305.

The chapel was attached to a new palace built by Enrico Scrovegni and was ostensibly a family oratory, but it also served some public functions related to the Feast of the Annunciation. Apart from Giotto’s paintings, the chapel is unornamented and features a barrel vault roof. Giotto’s Last Judgment covers the entire wall above the chapel’s entrance and includes the aforementioned devotional portrait of Enrico. Opposite it, on the chancel arch above the altar, is an unusual scene of God in Heaven despatching an angel to Earth. Each wall is arranged in three tiers of narrative frescoes, each with four two-meter-square scenes. Facing the altar the narrative sequence begins at the top of the right hand wall with scenes from the life of the Virgin, including the annunciation to her mother, St. Anne, and the presentation at the temple. The series continues through the Nativity, the Passion of Jesus, the Resurrection, and the Pentecost. The panels are noted for their emotional intensity, sculptural figures, and naturalistic space. Beneath the main scenes at dado level, Giotto used a faux architectural scheme of painted marble decorations and small recesses containing figures of the Virtues and Vices painted in monotone.

Photo of the interior, it is a symmetrical long space

The painting is vividly present to people, 3d quality are shown on a 2d plane wall.

Interior shot along the longitudinal axis in the opposite direction

The marble was painted on the wall, it is so vivid thus to give us a misvisual sense of the materiality