Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, 24th ISUF 2017 - City and Territory in the Globalization Age

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Medieval Porticoes of Rome: New Methods and Technologies for Revealing Rome’s Architectural and Urban Heritage
Selena Kathleen Anders

Last modified: 11-05-2018


At the moment there are few comprehensive texts or instruments that allow architects, designers, historians, planners or even students the ability to understand the complex layers of a city’s urban fabric. As a result, this paper was prepared in order to be uploaded to a digital tool that allows for such exploration of the built environment.   The transformation of the city of Rome is documented in a number of sources and as a result makes it the ideal city for study of architectural and urban evolution.  As a case study in digital documentation this paper examines the medieval façade porticoes of Rome at three scales: urban, architectural, and detail.  The identification and mapping of these structures, are shown together allowing one to examine them in relation to historic and present day city maps.  In addition, their location is analyzed in relation to ancient Roman streets and historic processional routes, to observe the connection amongst their location and that of major thoroughfares of antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance.  At the architectural scale, the detailed documentation in plan and elevation reveal four distinct variations that existed in the use of the residential façade portico.  At the scale of architectural detail, an inventory of reused architectural elements or spolia that make up the residential porticoes reveal the reuse of ancient Roman column shafts, bases and capitals as well as the medieval masons’ preference for the use of the Ionic capital in particular.  This paper prepares a methodology for digital deployment of traditional scholarship focused on architecture and the built environment.

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