Time Matter(s): Invention and Re-Imagination in Built Conservation: The Unfinished Drawing and Build (BOK)
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Even though the idea of altering an existing building is now a well-established and well received practice within the context of contemporary adaptive reuse, when the building in question is a 'mnemic building', of recognized heritage value, alterations are viewed with suspicion, even when change is a recognized necessity. This book fills in a blind spot in current architectural theory and practice, looking into a notion of conservation as a form of invention and imagination, offering the reader a counter-viewpoint to a predominant western understanding that preservation should be a 'still shot' from the past. Through a micro-historical study of a Renaissance concept of restoration, this book provides a theoretical framework to question the issue of change as a possible creative endeavour, when a mnemic building is concerned, entailing conservation of memory within changes. It focuses on Tiberio Alfarano's 1571 ichnography of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, into which was woven a complex body of religious, political, architectural and cultural elements. Alfarano created a track-drawing, providing memory traces on the drawing-site, which, acting like a veil, bear marks of the building's presence within time. By merging past and present temple's plans, he questioned the design pursued and opened the gaze towards other possible future imaginings. The drawing thus acts like a daydream, being a substratum for the imagination of conservation, realizing a real effigy. This book uncovers how the daydream drawing was acted on by Carlo Maderno (1556-1629), who literally used it as physical substratum to test his new design proposals for the addition of an eastern arm, completing the renewal of the temple in 1626.This study reveals a hybrid architectural-conservation approach, merging of the two practices, revealing their interdependence and reciprocity through a viewpoint / counter viewpoint questioning, which can be equally used in contemporary renovation projects. By creating such hybrid drawings, the retrospective and prospective character of architectural-conservation can be experienced and it is possible for new and old, past and present to form a continuous and contiguous reality. Directing the gaze simultaneously in two directions, a pre-existent condition engages in dialogue with future design - architectural drawings could rejoin multiple temporalities, through metaphoric or literal transparency, and allow for a real transformation within continuity of identity. This concept might provide a paradigmatic and timely model to retune contemporary architectural sensibility when dealing with the dilemma between design and preservation in the process of transforming a building of recognized significance.