Archive for the ‘Urban’ Category

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Duomo di Siena

Architect: Collective

Location: Siena, Italy.

Date: 1215-1263

Building Type: Piazza

Architecture Styles: Medieval, Baroque

Architectural Time Period: 700s-1300s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

Duomo di Siena, dedicated from its earliest days as a Roman Catholic Marian church and now to Santa Maria Assunta (Most Holy Mary of Assumption), is a medieval church in Siena. The cathedral itself was originally designed and completed between 1215 and 1263 on the site of an earlier structure. It has the form of a Latin cross with a slightly projecting transept, a dome and a bell tower. The dome rises from a hexagonal base with supporting columns. The lantern atop the dome was added by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The nave is separated from the two aisles by semicircular arches. The exterior and interior are constructed of white and greenish-black marble in alternating stripes, with addition of red marble on the façade. Black and white are the symbolic colors of Siena, etiologically linked to black and white horses of the legendary city’s founders, Senius and Aschius.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Plan & Entrance Study

 

Plan of the Campo with the entry studies. There are four entries, each one is illustrated with a perspective sketch to show the feeling and view when approving the space.

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Piazza del Campo

Architect: Collective

Location: Siena, Italy.

Date: 1280-1350

Building Type: Piazza

Architecture Styles: Medieval

Architectural Time Period: 700s-1300s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

Piazza del Campo is the principal public space of the historic center of Siena, Tuscany, Italy and is regarded as one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares. It is renowned worldwide for its beauty and architectural integrity. The Palazzo Pubblico and its Torre del Mangia, as well as various palazzi signorili surround the shell-shaped piazza. At the northwest edge is the Fonte Gaia. The twice-a-year horse-race, Palio di Siena, is held around the edges of the piazza.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Plan&Section, Pavement

Plan&Section

Plan of the Campo, with the entry studies

Sections of Campo

Pavement

Pavement of the Campo, in a word, different zones have different pavement patterns

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American Academy in Rome

Architect: McKim, Mead, and White

Location: Rome, Italy.

Date: 1913

Building Type: School

Architecture Styles: Neoclassical

Architectural Time Period: 1900s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

The American Academy in Rome is a research and arts institution located on the Gianicolo (Janiculum Hill) in Rome. The academy is a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers. The Academy serves as a “home” to visiting U.S. scholars, and artists having been awarded the Rome Prize. The Rome Prize is awarded for work in the following fields: classical studies, ancient studies, medieval studies, modern Italian studies, architecture, design, historic preservation, art conservation, landscape architecture, musical composition, visual art, and literature. The latter is the only field that is awarded by nomination through the American Academy of Arts and Letters.In addition to Rome Prize Fellows, visiting scholars and artists live and/or work at the Academy for varying periods.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Neoclassical

The main facade of the building, the facade resembled a harmony set of color

The courtyard of the building, it is symmetrical and strictly follow the axis and views, which forms the characteristics of neoclassical style

The view through the window, the visual connection are set to the axis

Displayed physical model of the studio

The garden space at the rear of the building

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Saint Peter’s Basilica

Architect: Collective

Location: Vatican City

Date: 1506-1626

Building Type: Church

Architecture Styles: Renaissance

Architectural Time Period: 1500s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, commonly known as Saint Peter’s Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within Vatican City. Designed principally by Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Bernini, St Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and remains one of the largest churches in the world. While it is neither the mother church of the Roman Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, Saint Peter’s is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic sites. It has been described as “holding a unique position in the Christian world” and as “the greatest of all churches of Christendom”.

In Roman Catholic tradition, the basilica is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to tradition, was the first Bishop of Rome and therefore first in the line of the papal succession. Tradition and some historical evidence hold that Saint Peter’s tomb is directly below the altar of the basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St Peter’s since the Early Christian period. There has been a church on this site since the 4th century. Construction of the present basilica, over the old Constantinian basilica, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.

St Peter’s is famous as a place of pilgrimage, for its liturgical functions. Because of its location in the Vatican, the Pope presides at a number of services throughout the year, drawing audiences of 15,000 to over 80,000 people, either within the Vatican Basilica, or in St Peter’s Square. St Peter’s has many strong historical associations, with the Early Christian church, the papacy, the Counter-reformation and with numerous artists, most significantly Michelangelo. As a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. Saint Peter’s is one of the four churches of Rome that hold the rank of Major Basilica. Contrary to popular misconception, it is not a cathedral as it is not the seat of a bishop; the cathedra of the Bishop of Rome is located in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Baldacchino, Structural Member

Baldacchino

The altar with Bernini’s baldacchino

Bernini’s first work at St. Peter’s was to design the baldacchino, a pavilion-like structure 30 metres (98 ft) tall and claimed to be the largest piece of bronze in the world, which stands beneath the dome and above the altar. Its design is based on the ciborium, of which there are many in the churches of Rome, serving to create a sort of holy space above and around the table on which the Sacrament is laid for the Eucharist and emphasizing the significance of this ritual. These ciboria are generally of white marble, with inlaid coloured stone. Bernini’s concept was for something very different. He took his inspiration in part from the baldachin or canopy carried above the head of the pope in processions, and in part from eight ancient columns that had formed part of a screen in the old basilica. Their twisted barley-sugar shape had a special significance as the column to which Jesus was bound before his crucifixion was believed to be of that shape. Based on these columns, Bernini created four huge columns of bronze, twisted and decorated with olive leaves and bees, which were the emblem of Pope Urban.

The baldacchino is surmounted not with an architectural pediment, like most baldacchini, but with curved Baroque brackets supporting a draped canopy, like the brocade canopies carried in processions above precious iconic images. In this case, the draped canopy is of bronze, and all the details, including the olive leaves, bees, and the portrait heads of Urban’s niece in childbirth and her newborn son, are picked out in gold leaf. The baldacchino stands as a vast free-standing sculptural object, central to and framed by the largest space within the building. It is so large that the visual effect is to create a link between the enormous dome which appears to float above it, and the congregation at floor level of the basilica. It is penetrated visually from every direction, and is visually linked to the Cathedra Petri in the apse behind it and to the four piers containing large statues that are at each diagonal.

 

Structural Member

The main structural member I am focused on is the column, they has a large scale and the dimensions are noted in the sketch

The size of the column is huge compared to the size of a person

 

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Saint Peter’s Square

Architect: Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Location: Vatican City

Date: 1656-1667

Building Type: Piazza

Architecture Styles: Baroque Neoclassical

Architectural Time Period: 1600s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

Saint Peter’s Square  is located directly in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, the papal enclave within Rome (the Piazza borders to the East the rione of Borgo).

The open space which lies before the basilica was redesigned by Gian Lorenzo Bernini from 1656 to 1667, under the direction of Pope Alexander VII, as an appropriate forecourt, designed “so that the greatest number of people could see the Pope give his blessing, either from the middle of the façade of the church or from a window in the Vatican Palace” (Norwich 1975 p 175). Bernini had been working on the interior of St. Peter’s for decades; now he gave order to the space with his renowned colonnades, using the Tuscan form of Doric, the simplest order in the classical vocabulary, not to compete with the palace-like façade by Carlo Maderno, but he employed it on an unprecedented colossal scale to suit the space and evoke emotions awe.

The site’s possibilities were under many constraints from existing structures (illustration, right). The massed accretions of the Vatican Palace crowded the space to the right of the basilica’s façade; the structures needed to be masked without obscuring the papal apartments. The obelisk marked a center, and a granite fountain by Carlo Maderno stood to one side: Bernini made the fountain appear to be one of the foci of the ovato tondo embraced by his colonnades and eventually matched it on the other side, in 1675, just five years before his death. The trapezoidal shape of the piazza, which creates a heightened perspective for a visitor leaving the basilica and has been praised as a masterstroke of Baroque theater, is largely a product of site constraints.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Colonnades,Geometry&Floor Pattern

Colonnades

The colossal Tuscan colonnades, four columns deep,frame the trapezoidal entrance to the basilica and the massive elliptical area which precedes it. The ovato tondo’s long axis, parallel to the basilica’s façade, creates a pause in the sequence of forward movements that is characteristic of a Baroque monumental approach. The colonnades define the piazza. The elliptical center of the piazza, which contrasts with the trapezoidal entrance, encloses the visitor with “the maternal arms of Mother Church” in Bernini’s expression. On the south side, the colonnades define and formalize the space, with the Barberini Gardens still rising to a skyline of umbrella pines. On the north side, the colonnade masks an assortment of Vatican structures; the upper stories of the Vatican Palace rise above.

Geometry&Floor Pattern

The geometry of the square is ellipsis, which has a center occupied by an obelisk, it has symmetrical and self-centered spatial quality, what’s smart about the design is that the paving is varied by radiating lines in travertine, to relieve what might otherwise be a sea of cobblestones. Circular stones were set to mark the tip of the obelisk’s shadow at noon as the sun entered each of the signs of the zodiac, making the obelisk a gigantic sundial’s gnomon.

The plan diagram with the floor patterning

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San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane

Architect: Francesco Borromini

Location: Rome, Italy.

Date: 1646

Building Type: Church

Architecture Styles: Baroque

Architectural Time Period: 1600s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

The Church of Saint Charles at the Four Fountains is a Roman Catholic church in Rome, Italy. Designed by the architect Francesco Borromini, it was his first independent commission. It is an iconic masterpiece of Baroque architecture, built as part of a complex of monastic buildings on the Quirinal Hill for the Spanish Trinitarians, an order dedicated to the freeing of Christian slaves. He received the commission in 1634, under the patronage of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, whose palace was across the road. However, this financial backing did not last and subsequently the building project suffered various financial difficulties. It is one of at least three churches in Rome dedicated to San Carlo, including San Carlo ai Catinari and San Carlo al Corso.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Interior

Interior

The church interior is both extraordinary and complex. There are three principal parts that was identified vertically as the lower order at ground level, the transition zone of the pendentives and the oval coffered dome with its oval lantern.

In the lower part of the church, the main altar is on the same longitudinal axis as the door and there are two altars on the cross axis. Between these, and arranged in groups of four, sixteen columns carry a broad and continuous entablature. The arrangement seems to refer to a cross plan but all the altars are visible as the two central columns in each arrangement of four are placed on the oblique with respect to the axial ordering of the space. This creates an undulating movement effect which is enhanced by the variation in treatment of the bays between the columns with niches, mouldings, and doors. Architectural historians have described how the bay structure of this lower order can have different rhythmic readings and the underlying geometric rationale for this complex ground plan, as well as discussing the symbolism of the church and the distinctive architectural drawings of Borromini.

The dome with its intricate geometrical pattern

The pendentives are part of the transition area where the undulating almost cross-like form of the lower order is reconciled with the oval opening to the dome. The arches which spring from the diagonally placed columns of the lower wall order to frame the altars and entrance, rise to meet the oval entablature and so define the space of the pendentives in which roundels are set.

The oval entablature to the dome has a ‘crown’ of foliage and frames a view of deep set interlocking coffering of octagons, crosses and hexagons which diminish in size the higher they rise. Light floods in from windows in the lower dome that are hidden by the oval opening and from windows in the side of the lantern. In a hierarchical structuring of light, the illuminated lantern with its symbol of the Holy Trinity is the most brightly lit, the coffering of the dome is thrown into sharp and deep relief and light gradually filters downwards to the darker lower body of the church.

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Baths of Caracalla

Architect: Collective

Location: Rome, Italy.

Date:212-216

Building Type: Baths

Architecture Styles: Classical

Architectural Time Period:0-700s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

The Baths of Caracalla were Roman public baths,  built in Rome between AD 212 and 216, during the reign of the Emperor Caracalla. They would have had to install over 2,000 tons of material every day for 6 years in order to complete it in this time period. Records show that the idea for the baths were drawn up by Septimius Severus, and merely completed or opened in the lifetime of Caracalla.This would allow for a longer construction time frame. They are tourist attractions today.

My own exploration:

Keywords: History, Tectonic & Structure Expression

History

It is of great benefit to know about the history of the site and the urban context. The Baths were erected in the the southern part of the city. This area was previously beautified by the Severan dynasty with the construction of the via Nova-leading to the morthern part of the new Baths-and the Septizodim, a grandiose nymphaeum built by Septimius Severus on the slopes of the Palatine hill as a monumental backdrop to the beginning of via Appia.

The thermal complex was planned over three large sloping terraces, to camber the different levels between the small Aventine hill and the Carnene Valley.

9000 workers were employed daily for approximately five years in order to create a huge platform of about 337 x 328 meters.

Tectonic & Structure Expression

Since it is a historic ruins, I am interested in the building technology back then, I am looking for some tectonic evidence in order to read the intellectual idea for ancient architects

The different layers of space are coordinate with the structure, the arches are the main structural expression

Different depth of space

Through the ruins we can read the brick pattern and get a better understanding of how to build this mega structure

The bricks start deform as they form the arch

The vast open space, the structural expression here would be described as different typology for vertical layers

The logical and regular layering of mosaic floor patterning

It is a good example of how to use brick to build an arch, and the axial spatial quality can attribute to the placement of the archway

It is a natural “section” for us, there are two different kind of brick patterns: on the base it is more irregular than it is on the top, from my own understanding, it is because the base need to be more strong to take the upper load, and the irregularity can increase the friction among different bricks. On the contrary,  at the top, the regularity of the brick pattern can make the construction faster while owning the same weight.

The marble facade was attached on the brick behind it, which gives us the sense of their tectonic nature.

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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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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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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