Scientifically accurate, three-dimensional digital representations of historical environments allow architectural historians to explore viewsheds, movement, sequencing, and other factors. Using real-time interactive simulations of the Roman Forum during the mid-Republic and the early third century CE, Diane Favro and Christopher Johanson examine the visual and sequential interrelationships among audience, actors, and monuments during funeral rituals. Death in Motion: Funeral Processions in the Roman Forum presents a hypothetical reconstruction of the funeral of the Cornelii family in the early second century BCE and argues that the conventional understanding of the staging of the funeral oration may be incorrect. It then reviews the imperial funerals of the emperors Pertinax and Septimius Severus to compare the ways that later building in the Roman Forum altered the ritual experience, controlled participant motion, and compelled the audience to submit to an imperial program of viewing.
Barry Jones, Andrea Sereni, and Massimo Ricci examine how Brunelleschi built the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence between 1420 and 1436. Building Brunelleschi's Dome: A Practical Methodology Verified by Experiment seeks to refute the widely circulated hypothesis that Brunelleschi set out to build the octagonal dome as if it were circular. This article describes the practical principles of an alternative hypothesis of radial construction, developed by Ricci, and it argues that Brunelleschi probably used a method based on these principles. This is supported by the experience of building a one-fifth-scale model of the dome, by evidence discovered within the dome during the recent fresco restoration, and by a fresh interpretation of a contemporary illustrated document prepared by Gherardo da Prato.
In Constructing Melchior Lorichs's Panorama of Constantinople, Nigel Westbrook, Kenneth Rainsbury Dark, and Rene Van Meeuwen propose that Melchior Lorichs's 1559 Panorama of Constantinople was created by using a viewing grid. The panorama is thus a reliable graphic source for the lost or since-altered Ottoman and Byzantine buildings of the city. The panorama appears to lie outside the conventional symbolic mode of topographical depiction common for its period and constitutes a rare "scientific" record of an encounter of a perspicacious observer with a vast subject. The drawing combines elements of allegory with extensive empirical observation. Several unknown structures, shown on the drawing, have been located in relation to the present-day topography of Istanbul, as a test-case for further research.
A previously unpublished selection of letters by Walter Gropius to his daughter, Manon, reveals a personal side of the architect and Bauhaus founder. In Walter Gropius: Letters to an Angel, 1927––35, James Reidel chronicles a decisive period in Gropius's life, from his last months at the Bauhaus until his move to England. At the center of the letters is the architect's quest for a closer relationship with his daughter, whom he rarely saw following his 1920 divorce from her mother, Alma Mahler-Werfel. However, the correspondence also offers rare insights into Gropius's political, social, and religious views, and it highlights those professional activities that he deemed worthy of his daughter's attention——housing, C.I.A.M., theater, and automobile design. Gropius's last letter was written shortly before Manon died from the complications of polio.