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ARCHITECT AS GEOGRAPHER: THE RENAISSANCE ARCHITECTURAL THEORY ON FORTIFICATION AND TERRITORY

Y. Revzina
Friday 9 November 2018 by Libadmin2018

ABSTRACT

One of the most important architectural theoreticians of the late Italian Renaissance Vincenzo Scamozzi drew an analogy between architect’s work and work of a geographer in his famous treatise “La idea dell’architettura universale” (1615). That analogy based on Strabo’s authority led Scamozzi to some reflections on importance of intensive examination of the territory by every architect. He considered an architect to be not only a natural scientist but a person who would be able to combine natural philosophy, mathematics and visual art in order to study and to represent (by means of visual arts) land itself before designing any project. The background of Scamozzi’s reflections is clear: that was about fortification. At that time there was no distinction between a civil architect and a military one, so Scamozzi considered the geographical knowledge to be important for every architect, but especially for those who designed fortresses – objects that are, on the one hand, very closely connected with the land and on the other – with mathematics. Meanwhile, the close connection between geography, mathematics, visual arts and architecture, so definitely emphasized by Scamozzi, was to some extend reflected by his predecessors including not only architectural theoreticians but also by humanists of the Cinquecento as Baldassare Castiglione – the author of the famous “Book of the Courtier”. He declared (on behalf of one of his protagonists) the art of drawing to be of great importance because it equips “the courtier” or his sovereign with visual knowledge of the governed territory. In the late XVI century Buonaiuto Lorini wrote that imperator Charles V had a real passion for drawing because it gave to him knowledge of the land with all its physical particularities, so no one could deceive him while he was at war. Later on the union of military architecture and geography was over and over again confirmed by professional lives of many military architectures and engineers (for example, Erick Dahlberg of Sweden) that were not only builders of fortification but prominent geographers as well. So that union erstwhile reflected during the Renaissance had a great impact on the future architectural thought and practice.

Keywords: fortification, architectural history, architectural theory, the Renaissance, Vincenzo Scamozzi


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