Archive for the ‘Giuseppe Valadier’ Category

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Piazza Del Popolo

Architect: Giuseppe Valadier

Location: Rome, Italy.

Date: 1811-1822

Building Type: Piazza

Architecture Styles: Neoclassical

Architectural Time Period: 1800s

Construction Type: Cut Stone Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

Piazza del Popolo is a large urban square in Rome. The name in modern Italian literally means “People’s Square”, but historically it derives from the poplars  after which the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, in the northeast corner of the piazza, takes its name.

The piazza lies inside the northern gate in the Aurelian Walls, once the Porta Flaminia of ancient Rome, and now called the Porta del Popolo. This was the starting point of the Via Flaminia, the road to Ariminum (modern day Rimini) and the most important route to the north. At the same time, before the age of railroads, it was the traveller’s first view of Rome upon arrival. For centuries, the Piazza del Popolo was a place for public executions, the last of which took place in 1826.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Urban Design Strategy

Urban Design Strategy

Speaking of Piazza del Popolo, the well-known gesture it made on the urban scale is that the piazza act as a merge space for three main artery of Rome: Via di Ripetta, Via del Corso and Via del Babuino, and it connect to a gateway on the central axis. The piazza functions not only a big public space for people, but also a significant circulation point on the urban design strategy.

Analytical Plan Diagram, analysis of geometry and behavior of the piazza

Sketch facing east of the piazza

The other effect of Valadier’s masterstroke was in linking the piazza with the heights of the Pincio, the Pincian Hill of ancient Rome, which overlooked the space from the east. He swept away informally terraced gardens that belonged to the Augustinian monastery connected with Santa Maria del Popolo. In its place he created a carriage drive that doubled back upon itself and pedestrian steps leading up beside a waterfall to the Pincio park, where a balustraded lookout, supported by a triple-arched nymphaeum is backed by a wide gravelled opening set on axis with the piazza below; formally-planted bosquets of trees flank the open space. The planted Pinco in turn provides a link to the Villa Borghese gardens.

This sketch was facing north, it shows the connection towards the gateway.

The three main artery and the twin church on the southern side of the piazza

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San Giorgio Maggiore is a 16th century Benedictine church on the island of the same name in Venice, northern Italy, designed by Andrea Palladio and built between 1566 and 1610. The church is a basilica in the classical renaissance style and its brilliant white marble gleams above the blue water of the lagoon opposite the Piazzetta and forms the focal point of the view from every part of the Riva degli Schiavoni.

Plan and section diagram of the church

Exterior:

The façade is brilliantly white and represents Palladio’s solution to the difficulty of adapting a classical temple facade to the form of the Christian church, with its high nave and low side aisles, which had always been a problem. Palladio’s solution superimposed two facades, one with a wide pediment and architrave, extending over the nave and both the aisles, apparently supported by a single order of pilasters, and the other with a narrower pediment (the width of the nave) superimposed on top of it with a giant order of engaged columns on high pedestals. This solution is similar to Palladio’s slightly earlier facade for San Francesco della Vigna, where the other parts of the church had been designed by Sansovino. On either side of the central portal are statues of Saint George and of Saint Stephen, to whom the church is also dedicated.

Interior:

What I am interested in this church is how Palladio playing with light,based on the geometry of the church, which is symmetrical along the elongated  longitudinal axis, I assume Palladio use this brilliant idea of carving in the roof to ring light in, and at the same time, the light got reflected and pointed to the longitudinal axis, thus to strengthen the feeling of the space.

Zoomed in shot of the roof, showing the reflection of the light

The bright and spacious interior is marked by symmetry, by the clam, uniform distribution of light that arrives from and so called thermal windows in the form of lunettes, divided into three parts, that reflect the religious sensitivity of monastic times.