As discussed at our final tutorial, there was a grave need to restructure my presentation, as I spend way too long setting up the thesis and fizzling out when it comes to the project. Im pretty terrible at makig scripts therefore, iv tried to write my scipt in an essay format, setting up the thesis by talking about the Projection and the Rorschach, followed by the Nolli and Roma.
Here is a revised version-
This year I have been exploring the process of projection as a way to enter and reimagine cities. The creation of architecture is vastly dependent on the process of projection. As Robin Evans states, “ What connects thinking to imagination, imagination to drawing, drawing to building, and buildings to our eyes, is projection in one guise or the other”. Projection exists as a method of transfer that creates a channel through which we perceive the world. Whether this process of projection is described as geometry and drawing, or through mental forms of projection, such as Projective tests in phycology, it is vital to understand the interdependence of architecture and projection.
The architecture and spaces we inhabit is the marriage between the existing environment and our imaginations, our imaginations being a pictorialized version of our subjective consciousness. Understanding projection as a transitive process, and as a way to externalize our imagination, it can be said that the cities and spaces that we inhabit are the direct result of projection. However, at times, we trap ourselves in the fabric of what has been historically created and the act of projection becomes a more passive activity, instead of a dynamic changing one. It is vital to understand the value of imagination, through the act of projection, to enable cities to evolve and survive. To understand the potential of projection, it is useful to examine the Rorschach test. The test involves the reading of an inkblot, an ambiguous form, so empty of meaning that it’s full of possibilities. This unique feature of the inkblot, allows us to see a range of pictures within the same form. If this quality of the Inkblot can be used as an analogy to the way we plan cities, it becomes interesting as a mechanism to enable cities to evolve constantly. However, cities steeped in history are trapped by their past, time-locked by relics and monuments that create a sense of immortality. How can such cities evolve? How can projection be used as a tool to liberate cities from decline?
If we take Rome as an example of an archetypal city, it is interesting to assess the reasons behind its decline. Understanding the Roma Interrotta competition held in 1978 is a useful way to examine and understand a city that was stagnating. Carlo Argan the Mayor of Rome in ’78 along with Piero Sartogo in Italy and Colin Rowe in the USA called for a competition to redesign Rome, naming it Roma interrotta. What the competition intended to achieve, was to interrupt Rome from its period of stagnation that the infamous Nolli map had caused. The 12 entrants were each given a fragment of the map to work with. The Nolli map, drawn by Giambattista Nolli in 1748 was a highly accurate map that surveyed Rome, at the time and amazingly it was used as a planning document for Rome until the late 70’s. Quite naturally, using an archaic document to plan an expanding metropolis is not going to yield good results and this is indeed what happened, as seen with the fascist architecture and other suburban developments around Rome. However, what is ironic is that the competition, that was to interrupt Rome form its stagnation, went back to the Nolli map as a basis for ‘re imagining’ the city. The outcome of this decision, on the architects that took part in the competition, is almost as intriguing as the city itself. Saratogo sliced the Vatican to bits, Stirling, placed his shelved projects on Rome whilst Venturi compared the strip in Las Vegas to the city. The Nolli map was used much in the same way that an inkblot was used in the Rorschach test. The Order of the map, caused disorders in the architects mind, resulting in intriguing and sometimes, senseless results. It’s crucial to understand the importance of a competition such as Roma interrotta, as a form of exhibition, one that allows us to project our subconscious visions into a physical form.
However where we can be critical about such competitions, is that they don’t go beyond the surface. It’s perhaps wrong to even call this exercise a competition; instead, it was an exhibition of ideas. The entries added another layer on top of the Nolli map, rather than intrinsically changing the map. Over millennia, cities have been planned though the use of a planametric projection, however, the city is much more than series of black and white, figures and voids. It’s a complex membrane of experiences, spaces and inhabitants, and the only way to understand it’s complexities, in order to project and transform it, is to enter it, three dimensionally.