Title page for ETD etd-10192010-103753

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Goffi, Federica
Author's Email Address Federica_Goffi@Carleton.ca
URN etd-10192010-103753
Title The Sempiternal Nature of Architectural-Conservation and the Unfinished Building and Drawing
Degree PhD
Department Architecture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Emmons, Paul F. Committee Co-Chair
Frascari, Marco Committee Co-Chair
Fai, Stephen Committee Member
Feuerstein, Marcia F. Committee Member
Holt, Jaan Committee Member
Piedmont-Palladino, Susan C. Committee Member
  • drawing
  • architecture
  • time
  • conservation
  • imagination
Date of Defense 2010-02-02
Availability unrestricted
Conservation is today often interpreted as the preservation of a still-shot, an understanding informed by the belief that by displaying photographic memory of the past, it is possible to gain access to it. Naturalistic representation is unequivocal and presents the onlooker with a single meaning. The dominance of the photorealistic image as model for memory, should be challenged by undermining the notion that architectural representation is a portrayal of likeness, restoring its full potential as an iconic representation of presence.

A micro-historical study of the Renaissance concept of restoration, focused on Tiberio Alfarano’s 1571 ichnography of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, offers an alternative paradigm in order to inform, critically, contemporary theory and the practice of the renewal of mnemic buildings. The hybrid drawing (1571) extends beyond the opera of graphic architecture, realizing a real effigy.

Alfarano factured a track-drawing, providing memory traces on the drawing-site, which, acting like a veil, bear marks of the building’s presence within time. The ichnography makes visible a ‘hallowed configuration’, conceived as a substratum for the imagination of conservation. This defines a collective daydreaming strategy, from which multiple authors can imagine possible futures. Ambiguity and polysemy inform the drawing, generating an equivocal space where unforeseeable inventions occur by the process of future predictions by recollecting memories. This invites merging multiple stories.

Grasping the significance of Alfarano’s drawing, one begins to comprehend the mistaken belief in the primacy of photo rendering to access a building and conserve its essence. Any essence cannot be achieved through exact visual reconstruction, rather through a chiasmus of past and present form, expressing allegoric significance.

The retrospective and prospective character of the architectural-conservation process can be experienced through the intermediacy of hybrid-drawings directing the gaze simultaneously in two directions; a pre-existent condition engages in dialogue with future design. This is a condition absent from today’s practice, where measured drawings and design drawings are often kept separate. Seen this way, architectural drawings could rejoin these two temporal conditions, through metaphoric or literal transparency, and allow for a real transformation within continuity of identity.

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