Land Surveys and Representation Methods
In addition to analysing the topic from a territorial and therefore “quantitative” perspective, this course also takes into consideration the “qualitative” relationships among the landscape elements and it faces the problem of the perception within the logic of the “visibility” culture. The theory of the “pura visibilità”, such as defined by the Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce, is famously supported by the German idealism theoreticians such as Konrad Fiedler and Adolf von Hildebrand.
The photograph becomes the main means of communication and addresses experts and non-experts alike. In architecture and landscape representation, many times the the drawing and the traditional representation tools based on plans, sections and elevations, have been joined by the photograph, real, synthetic or mixed.
Despite the moral criticisms about this phenomenon which has populated both press specific of this sector and the popular press in general, it becomes fundamental to analyse the root of the problem and start considering the photograph as a tool that analyses and represents actual reality rather than a simple esthetical and commercial representation of an architectural project.
About the change of the land during the year it is important to evaluate and analyse the seasonal change of the colours and the natural and artificial signs of the land during the time.
Finally, the course will supply the instruments to reading the land with the contemporary technics based on the photographic and video analysis:
- The landscape vision in the Italian cinematography
- How modifying the landscape. From the existing values to the new icons
- Technics and procedures of the changes using the drawing
One of the first examples of the union between photography and architecture is the representation of the Modena cemetery (Aldo Rossi) in 1983, by Luigi Ghirri. The photographs are the personal reading of the landscapes where the architectural element does not stand on its own, but it rather merges together with the photographer’s interpretation.
In his work Topographia-Iconographia he writes: ‘The photograph is not a mere duplicate nor the eyes’ chronometer that paralyses the physical image, it is rather a means of communication where the slight discrepancy between reproduction and interpretation exists and leads to an endless number of imaginary worlds. Even those objects that seem to be entirely described by human sight can be represented as some empty pages of a book not yet begun”.
This is the most important element, the “discrepancy between reproduction and interpretation”: the architectural survey as well as the drawings can't never be objective or application of a mechanical and quantitative reading of the reality; they are inevitably a mirror of our personal feelings.
It is still dangerous to think, especially nowadays with the support of technological tools, that reality as well as invention is the simple result of a mathematical calculation or of a demonstrable theorem. Sergio Crotti affirms that “the more an architectural system can be demonstrable through technical and technological tools, more dangerous it becomes, because it leaves very little space for criticism and opinions about the architecture itself”.
What we see is what we personally perceive and our perception is strictly based on our past experience and culture. Everyone’s perception and view is different and can generate different opinions about something. The more we try to create a common view about something, the greater the distance from ourselves becomes. It is not a matter of science or an established rule and it is not mandatory, yet it is difficult to understand the reason for which a lot of people are inclined to create an automatic and comprehensive reproduction which only represents a cold and distant standardisation.
Michelangelo Antonioni is one of the most extraordinary and recognised inventor of innovative perspectives on the world, his cinema photography becomes a story and sees reality in a unique way, without creating anything new. The camera could be placed in the usual location but Antonioni’s camera has the intrinsic power of becoming an all comprehensive eye and making the public see the world through the eyes of an invention. The camera merges what is obvious with the unpredictable and the routine becomes something unexpected.
In 1989 Luigi Ghirri in his “Paesaggio italiano” define the landscape as “a sentimental geography where paths are not precise or well defined but subject to the inexplicable entanglement of perspectives”. The author deals with an intimate reflection about the perspective and tries to justify this introspection through the surrounding reality. It is a similar situation to when we go to the library and without having in mind what we want to read, we find ourselves in front of millions of books: what shall we do? which one shall we choose? It is in this uncertain situation that we are guided by a sudden perception, or an inexplicable feeling, that we spontaneously find ourselves at ease in the library. We move within this space as if we were at home and we are able to naturally identify our path amid walls made of books whose titles suddenly become bricks. We manage to reach the end of our path without getting lost and hence justify that personal feeling, which originally pushed us through. We always observe reality through the prism of our own imagination.
There is no doubt that the technology revolution has already taken place, but from now on we should refocus on the architecture and the landscape. Roberto Longhi wrote in one of his first essays: “The technique starts and ends as soon as you buy your colours at the shop and the glue is ready to be used and the piece of marble has been measured. Have I ever told you how beautiful are the mineral colours when compared to the vegetable colours? This would mean talking about the technique. The art comes straight afterwards and then its art enjoyment”.
This is the key element that connects the personal reading of the architecture and the surrounding landscape with the analytic survey, which being a real drawing becomes a unique representation of the environment. Some works show a synoptic perspective of the representation, in which the plans, elevations and sections are drawn within a macro map and follow a sequence of paths and projections linked together by a symbolic red coloured thread.
Metric representation of the Earth surface through maps and 3D models, implies the use of measurements and surveys, that can be ‘contact’ measurements such as traditional topographic surveys, or ‘remote’ survey, such as aerial or satellite photographic survey (in visible or non-visible portion of light spectrum). All these measurements produce geographic data that are nowadays digital, Digital Terrain Models (DTM) or level curves, for topography, digital maps, digital satellite images or aerial orthomosaics.
The analysis and comparison of geographic data coming from different sources and, therefore, with different content and details, needs common and precisely defined reference systems, the definition of precise rules for 2D cartographic representation, and powerful software tools for a semi-automatic extraction of metric and tematic information. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) give the possibility to overlap properly, compare, analyse, integrate, many different kind of geographical data, to study space distribution of characteristics, and time variability.
Basis of digital images, acquisition and processing.
Fundamentals of metric environmental survey and representation: basis of Topography, Cartography, Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.
Practice with aerial and satellite images with photogrammetric software and GIS.
1- An intermediate test with questions on theoretical lessons.
2 - At the end of the practical part of the course, the students have to give a short presentation on projects developed from a given set of aerial or satellite images.