Architecture Travels to Rome


The first foreign academy in Rome was funded by the French in 1666 and permitted architects to come and study antique and Renaissance architecture. That time many artists and architects from other countries went independently, one of the most famous being J.W. Goethe, and at the same time architecture was represented by the German Weinbrenner. Other countries institutionalised gradually their academies, but even from Romania some architects such as Virginia Haret or Horia Maicu (Harry Goldstein) went independently to Rome. To the travels to Italy in the 20th century recently another institution dedicated to the Rome – home country exchange, the Max Planck Institute, dedicated a conference. When going back, the architects took with them influence of Italian architecture, more sensed in the 20th century when the international style was on its way. Life in the Academies is special, connected into associations, and different from some European tradition of university colleges, which exist at Italian traditional universities, and a life experience. In this contribution walk-scapes will be described starting from the well-known map of Nolli and the importance of drawing different kind of maps, such as those of image of the city or psycho-geography. Recent projects of Rome Academies fellows were dedicated to draw new kind of maps, building on tradition even from before Renaissance (Mappa mundi). Their digital transposition will be presented. For this, we adapt a concept developed to present now and then in maps, which we successfully tested for Lisbon, Bucharest and Köln.

Keywords: art academywalk-scapemapRomearchitecture


Goal of the work is to map the landmarks of Rome as seen by travelling architects.

Sub-goals are: - Creation of a promenade on the traces of travelling architects, digitally and in real space. In real space there are some attempts, but they do not carry the historical images.

- Evaluation of the change in the urban landscape from the point of view of today for strategic planning of the landmarks as seen by the architects. From here can be drawn conclusions for conservation. Especially it is interesting if the landmarks determined the site for the Academies in Rome.

Between architecture and poetry there is a connection as in participatory projects, for example in England "A place for words". Also the cooperation in disasters is expressed in literature and architecture with a particular jargon.


In December 2015, the Hertziana library in Rome devoted a session of the professional tours by architects in the 20th century to Italy (

Architekturreisen_04_0512015.pdf ). At the beginning of the 20th century (Exhibition 1911) the area around Villa Borghese was redesigned for art academies (Garano, 2006). But the villa itself was first also in the time of Goethe, remodelled in the second half of the 18th century, by Antonio Asprucci, and the experiences of scholars in Rome played a role. The area in the Corso avenue, including Antico Caffee Greco, was the place where the artists of Rome gathered. At the time of Goethe and Weinbrenner, a German architect from Karlsruhe who travelled to Rome in the last decade of the 17th century (Schumann, 2008), there was already the French Academy in Rome (since 1666), adjacent to Villa Borghese, but not on the current location. It was then in Palazzo Mancini, the current Villa Medici being bought by Napoleon. There was explored which architects were there in an institutionalized framework, in comparison, especially since, near the Corso , located on the Pincio, there was a station of Goethe himself. Also Nolli's plan, as a basis for travel, occurred in the conference. There is still an original in Roman antiquariats. The late career of the plan refers to the teachings of the periphery of the "Agglo-Nolli" (Angélil, & Hirschbichler, 2013) but also to the Collage City from Rowe (Rowe & Koetter, 1984) and the black plan. In particular, American fellows such as Venturi took Rome as a pedestrian city, and also in the present generation sees this way, as the invited Danish architect Robert Mogensen. In Rome the peripheral variant of a picturesque city followed Nolli in Garbatella. Two German scholars from the early 20th century terms took it over, also Rolf Dieter Brinkmann, in a map in which the eyes were entered. If now the question arises whether even Rome is a place of pilgrimage for architects as it was at the time of Goethe, when Romanticism gave a new answer to the search for the ruins of antiquity, then it was postmodernism which gave a new inclination. After the ancient Rome, the Rome of the Baroque is significant to the 20th century, bringing numerous architectural historians, although Weinbrenner for example was drawn to the classicism. From Karlsruhe also Otto Bartning travelled to Rome. Bartning was impressed by the central buildings of Italy as a model for its churches also like Weinbrenner. The travel from Weinbrenner and Bartning were like that of Goethe initiative trips, beyond the institutionalized framework of the academies. Windholz (2008) examined the institutional education at the German Academy, modelled after that of France, which already existed. We started to investigate how the experiences are reflected by such initiative travellers. For example, the Villa Massimo reminds an artists' colony, and it is seen where the connection to the architecture school of Weinbrenner stays. Pasquali (2003) is dedicated to the architecture and landscape of the villas of the academies.

Earlier Work

In the just-concluded postdoctoral work of the author, building on earlier work, a concept of mapping of then and now was elaborated (Bostenaru Dan & Armas, 2015). A relation was created between the real and virtual space and tested at a workshop in Bucharest (AESOP, Becoming local, 2014).

In photography this specialized approach is common, and it was getting even for Rome at the time of Piranesi in a project of Randolph Langenbach, former fellow of the American Academy in Rome in architecture preservation: to photograph the urban landscapes of Piranesi with modern camera technology (Langenbach, 2008), since the ruins remain largely the same. Particularly after disasters, the method was applied. Also 2015-16 Palazzo Altemps devoted an exhibition entitled "The Forza delle Rovine" the comparison between the ruins caused by a disaster, and the ruins in the ancient world, and how they can be integrated into the landscape (Barbanera, Capodiferro, 2015). But in mapping, it is rare. At the time of Piranesi, Goethe, and Weinbrenner, the plan of Nolli 1748 (, originated much less attention (Verstegen & Ceen, 2014). The concept of Nolli pioneered by the fact that public buildings were showing their inner plan in the map, like public spaces. In today's approach of strategic planning, it is very timely. The Badische Landesbibliothek in Karlsruhe, Germany, recently inherited a collection of books from a former employee of the Hertziana library in Rome and displays them currently in an exhibition ( called Bella Bibliotheca, with an accompanying guide on what meant the Grand Tour young aristocrats and artists made after Goethe to Rome.

The author has dedicated research to the strategic planning in participatory approach (Bosternaru Dan, 2007), and it is expanding its concept. First, the concept has been tried for Lisbon (Bostenaru Dan, 2014), where the display before and after the disaster is true. Lisbon (from the same period as Nolli, Piranesi created their images of Rome, Goethe saw) was hit by an earthquake 1755 that had Europe-wide reach, both in the natural and in the humanities and social sciences. For there the author adapted the concept of the architectural path, a sequence of interest, at today's map, as compared to a game of finding lost treasures on the former map. Sergio Freire also investigates Treasure Hunt today in Portuguese space (Santos, Mendes, Rodrigues, Freire, 2012). It is based on the concept of tourist guided tour. These cards put Lisbon before and after the quake. The concept was also transferred for the lost natural and cultural heritage of Bucharest, as part of the collaboration with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. From the time of Karlsruhe, the application for the city of Cologne counts before and after the bombing, images by August Sander viewed by the Canadian Centre for Architecture was developed and later translated in an ESRI GIS story map, currently contest entry.

At the Romanian Academy in Rome Andrei Ciurdarescu built a map of Rome, which is based on the medieval map, called Mappa Mundi, under the name "Neo Mappa Mundi". Of these, which, as shown by Fra Mauro in Venice (to stay in the Italian space (Cattaneo, 2011)) or Hereford (De Wesselow, 2013) in the journal Imago Mundi - The international journal for the history of cartography can be cited. Other art academies devoted architecture views to maps, for example, at the Villa Medici - Accademie de France a Rome a plan of Rome with its current vegetation by an architect. The relationship between our plans and Mappa Mundi is that the key buildings are also shown simplified. In the report drawn up by the author the concept is suitable not only for the presentation of plans as in Nolli, but also for a silhouette illustration of how, in the image of Lisbon, and this simplified drawings bring it near Mappa Mundi. Between the map of Nolli and of Mappa Mundi (of which the former is known for Venice in Italy) can be put Leonardo Bufalini's map of Rome (Maier, 2007), a Renaissance, the first printed for Rome, and thus the change before Nolli as that is considered to Nolli until today.

To do maps related to Nolli are the ones of the 1960 years Cannigia (1986) and Muratori (1960), but for other Italian cities such as Venice, but also for Rome, consistently building material on the ground floor. In our approach to Bucharest, we used the archive plans for hazard study, also the floor plans. Jeffrey Cody, fellow at the American

Academy in Rome, dedicates his study to Muratori ( ). The connection to Nolli and to Mappa Mundi are visible in the talk.

During his Italian journey Goethe also dealt with the theory of color, through the study of Italian painting and own painting. The author has developed an educational concept that includes digital for drawing, including colour theory (Bostenaru Dan, 2016), and the overlap of the Vedute with the relevant color of an area is involved in the work, similarly to Mappa Mundi.

Works Completed

For Rome the former map the map of Nolli is the starting point. For today's map, some new concepts are added, which were explored in the context of post-docs, namely Psycho-geography of Guy Debord (1955) and the reading of the city by Kevin Lynch (1960). Guy Debord's derivé was applied for Rome (for the periphery in Willey (2009) in movies by Tesser (2012)). Wollen (2001) combines Situationism by Guy Debord with architecture. In tourism, where there are guided tours, as proposed in this work there is a kind of awareness of the built heritage in which directed walks was also seen at the base of the research of Debord as a source (Smith, 2013). The research of Tesser (2012) served the tourist research. Closer to our days, the Walk-Scapes of a former Karlsruhe graduate and colleague, Pia Fricker, a lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the ETH Zurich, in a workshop in Helsinki were applied (, based on the strollology Burckhardt (2011), which has already been initiated in the 1980s. Even at other universities is the art of walking to explore the aesthetics, in teaching, in geography, applied (Bassett, 2004).

O’Neill (2009) sees it that exactly today's digital world, a revival of the Situationist Debord is allowed because computerized exploration of virtual spaces allow this shortening of routes.

The two concepts of Lynch and Debord from the 1960s, so when the participatory approach was born, can be transmitted in strategic planning. Some so-called (by Lynch) features of the city will be better in the mental map of is exploring the city by walking and so better transfer. These were probably the ones that Weinbrenner has endorsed. The map itself can be broken, and their surroundings displayed on a different scale than the path (another concept by Lynch) joins them. The blown-up map in turn communicates to Mappa Mundi, because it is precisely the strategic characteristics, shown in silhouette or symbolically represents the enlarged areas of the map there. Such a tour on the trail of Weinbrenner and Goethe can be now designed, and is one of the results of the study. It is digitally displayed with Adobe Director. In comparison, the vistas are on the map of Nolli are means of the game, also digital, can be placed after the reader of the study has explored the city on the basis of the first, or visited a this specific exhibition. The Vedute represent characteristics while the paths of Walk Scapes are paths which meet at nodes. Paths and nodes by means of Space Syntax analysis are presented (Hillier, 1999). Space Syntax is a method to map the walking paths, the plan is suitable for public spaces outside as well as inside as Nolli's located. The digital representation can be as at the AESOP workshop on real exchange. McGarrigle (2010) presents some urban games where with a map of an imaginary space can be migrated into a real space (as is Bagdad visited in New York). Advanced digital media build it in e-installation (Munoz Morcillo et. al., 2016) by doing with glasses, but in Rome, where the before and after photograph is versus reconstruction genre with the ancient ruins represented by Piranesi most widespread, can map from then on the map of now well explore, with means of DERIVE. Also worth mentioning is the reference to Camillo Sitte that is processed in the framework of the picturesque pedestrian city of Rome as mentioned at begin.

Methods Used

The following methods were employed:

-Site visits – Walkscapes/artistic walk

- Exploring photography

-creation of collages

- urban site analysis

- Space Syntax analysis

- Multimedia Programming

In detail this means:

1st phase:

- Ordering the geographic layout of the Vedute of Weinbrenner. Limitation of the urban zone where these are on the plan of Nolli and on today’s plan.

- Exploration of the city through walking, following the psycho-geographic method of Debord and photographing the way they look today, followed by noting the colour and exploration of the art academies.

- Reading the writings of Goethe about Rome and identification of some visited routes (ex. carnival in Rome).

2nd phase:

- Strategic planning analysis of the plan of today, including recognition of the landmarks, pathways, limits, zones, boundaries according to Lynch followed by drawing of the Lynch elements and through this of the map of today. The nodes and the pathways are suitable for a Space Syntax Analysis. The last step is the recognition of the determinative colours of these elements. In this the focus lays in the experience of the architects travelling today, such as those from the art academies.

- Layout of photographs on the map of today with the scope of the creation of a derivé promenade through the Rome of today, which lets recognise the Rome from then.

3rd phase:

- Collage of the map of today following Debord by scaling the zones according to their importance.

- Sketch of a Mappa Mundi of Weinbrenner including silhouettes in colour.

- Writing of texts to the landmarks of the Vedute for the digital application.

4th phase:

Creation of the digital application: - Programming the guided Tour with Adobe Director. The texts are shown written and also as sound, alongside the images when clicking on the map at that place.

- Programming of a game to place the historical Vedute on their place - Integration of an application to teach colours.


The modern digital maps are still somewhat traditional, and have failed to fully translate the work with collages

and drawings. An agent such as Adobe Director, from the same family as Flash for Prezzi can form an innovative

visual presentation. We are looking for new ways of representation for new ways of planning by trying evoke the

memory of historical times. Ancient ways of paper are translated for today's digital representation, and that means

no simply scanning, but adapting the content for the new medium. It is also made content a connection between past trips.

Most of the art academies were built during the interwar time, hence a new research on this dimension is necessary building on previous work on Italian interwar time.

The multimedia system better resembles the drawing on paper than a GIS system and is hence better suitable for this work. However, a CAD system might also prove adequate, through the embedding of one drawing in another. A goal of further work is to allow this zoom between the scales, as in the Nolli and Muratori maps, also in a GIS system. This would further develop the concept from the postdoctoral work.

The mobility of architects is today just one of the many, mobility being supported in research by the European Commission. How this exchange influences the work is a further goal to be investigated.


The author gratefully acknowledges the one year postdoctoral fellowship Vasile Pârvan of the Romanian government for a stay at the Romanian Academy in Rome.


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