A UTSA College of Architecture Study Abroad Program

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Luigi Moretti: an architecture of la bella figura

Casa Cooperativa, 1947

Raguzzini: the late Baroque wall of surfaces, lines, and volumes

Piazza S. Ignazio – an extension of the geometry of the plan of S. Ignazio into the city to form a truly Baroque parvis

Piazza S. Ignazio – the oval from the side chapel…

Piazza S. Ignazio

Piazza S. Ignazio

Piazza S. Ignazio

S. Gallicano

S. Gallicano

S. Gallicano

S. Gallicano

S. Gallicano

Carlo Rainaldi

S. Maria in Campitelli – the exterior is a bold relief of nested aediculae

S. Maria in Campitelli

S. Maria in Campitelli – The unorthodox plan lends itself very well to the intriguing development of Baroque space.  You proceed through a sequence of aediculae animated by the use of free-standing columns.

S. Maria in Campitelli

S. Maria in Campitelli

S. Maria in Campitelli

S. Maria in Campitelli

The Piazza del Popolo and Rainaldi’s “twin” churches, S. Maria di Montesanto (left) and S. Maria dei Mirocoli

 

da Cortona: the envelope of the sculpted wall

S. Maria in Via Lata (behind the church was our studio!)

Where the church meets the city, the wall becomes a vestibule, a porch that gathers and reconciles differences.

SS Luca e Martina

SS Luca e Martina – da Cortona’s deep sculpted wall on the interior

SS Luca e Martina

interior, SS Luca e Martina

S Maria della Pace – the extension of Baroque space out into the city

interior, S. Maria della Pace

interior, S. Maria della Pace – the church in miniature

One of our favorite restaurants – enveloped by Baroque space!

Borromini: the plasticity of form

Oratorio S. Filippo Neri and Chiesa Nuova in dialogue

Oratorio S. Filippo Neri

Oratorio S. Filippo Neri

Oratorio S. Filippo Neri

Oratorio S. Filippo Neri

Oratorio S. Filippo Neri

A hierarchy of materials and forms allows us to “read” the wall

Oratorio S. Filippo Neri – the cornerless corner

Oratorio S. Filippo Neri

S. Agnese in Agone – Borromini, Rainaldi, and others

S. Agnese in Agone

S. Carlo alle Quatra Fontane

S. Carlo alle Quatra Fontane

S. Carlo alle Quatra Fontane

S. Carlo alle Quatra Fontane – the cloister

S. Carlo alle Quatra Fontane – the cloister

S. Carlo alle Quatra Fontane – reconciliation at the doorway

S. Ivo (after a cappuccino at S. Eustacio)

S. Ivo – plastic form

Bernini: Before and After the Proscenium… the space of theater

Capella Raimondi in S. Pietro in Montorio

Capella Cornaro in S. Maria della Vittorio

Ecstasy of St. Theresa

S. Andrea al Quirinale (with Nancy sketching)

The proscenium in the theatrical space of Bernini – the place where the audience sits before the scene – is not quite so easy to define.  Somehow, perhaps because the dictionary offers a definition that seems so obvious, or maybe because we have all watched staged productions and thereby feel as if we know the difference between what happens on the stage and what happens off of the stage.  It is clear until we are drawn closer.

Within Bernini’s architectural work, the proscenium (and perhaps any proscenium for that matter) has layers.  Upon entering the Capella Raimondi or S. Andrea al Quirinale, we perceive the stage set before us: a re-inactment of some divine event, the presence of which seems about to unfold.  The proscenium, that surrounds and frames the scene, joins and separates two realms: the sacred and timeless and that of a temporal existence to which we cleave.  The event, however, is not confined to the aedicule (temple frame), it surrounds us. Bernini sculpts onlookers (detail above, Capella Cornaro) who seem, in their theater boxes, to be discussing the same scene that is before us.  Their questions, their dynamic presence, moves us.  The event that we are drawn into is both mythical and immediate.  It includes our presence.  The dome above encircles and its narrative of divine wisdom holds us in this moment.  The entire interior is the stage upon which we also strut and fret.  The timelessness of the unfolding scene, and the contrary, our human existence,  seem to join, infuse each other.  At this moment, a bridge is formed.  Even prior to entering the church (or the chapel), we were enveloped.  The proscenium’s layers organize a temporal sequence that brought us to the moment of unfolding, moved us from the tattered fabric of the city to the pure garments of St. Theresa…

somewhere between Michaelangelo and Maderno


In S. Pietro, there is a moment where we find the meeting between Michelangelo and Carlo Maderno… a place where the two seem to effortlessly speak to each other.  Far from two opposed and opposing voices, they seem to effortlessly merge their distinctly different architectural languages.  In the church as a whole, the two seem to speak with a single voice even though they stand at such a great distance apart in time and thinking.  Michelangelo, afterall, is situated in the time of architectural Mannerism at the tail end of what we call the Renaissance (mid 1500s), and Maderno, practiced in that period following the Council of Trent when the Baroque was being fashioned (~1600).

What I find so compelling here is how the younger architect clearly acknowledges his master (S. Pietro was the “school” for most of the leading architects of the Baroque)… and yet, there is a shift.  The world was indeed different… it had changed.  Science seemed to emerge from behind its veil of belief; Catholicism sought its own reformation and reaffirmation; economics and politics followed an elliptical course; discoveries in the new world challenged the current model of thought… And there, at the meeting place between the central, stable, Renaissance order, and the dynamic tensions that characterized the Baroque – between the abstract and the conceptual; between the rational and the emotive – the two found one voice.

the study of the rational wall: Bramante’s Tempietto

the approach: the sacred precinct extended into the city

the Medieval wall

Jason contemplating the Medieval wall at S. Agnese fuori le Mura • 7c

S. Agnese fuori le Mura • 7c

S. Constanza • 4c

within pre-perspectival space at S. Constanza • 4c

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