The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project
Stephen Lauf



1 November 1778   Sunday





1 November 1812   Sunday
The wind from NW blew violently during most of the night, abated towards morning. ... We had at meeting [blank] Rhoads from Derby accompanied by Halloway Jackson, the former about the ..... time of ........ up prayer in silence; expressed in a few words that had we carefully gathered the fragments of former plenitude ....... we should not have felt the abstinence of a silent meeting with the pain of hunger. Soon after our return Pxxxx Wiltbank with 3 of his children came to dinner after which he read to me sermon preached on Madison Fast Day July 20th which had been censured by more than one of his congregation; I thought it an excellent composition free from the political censure cast upon it, and felt as if he must have had more than the common aid of school learning to have addressed his audience so well on the decision. I .......... its publication. ...


1 November 1992

taken literally


1 November 2000
quick idea
New history of the Baroque (fortifications to double theaters).


1 November 2007

Virtual Architecture 089


Virtual Architecture 090


1 November 2008
Stab one: a thesis declaration
"Contrary to common perceptions, it is the female that is hard and the male that is soft. In simple undeniable terms it is woman that enables embryonic development within her own body -- woman's bodies themselves are a hard protective shells (only women corporeally possess and facilitates the human egg that in turn allows fetal development). Men, on the other hand, very much do not have that "built-in" protectiveness, hence men make great displays about forever being on the defensive, and indeed it is almost exclusively men that have continually created our planet's foremost industry, if only to create that protective shell that their sex was not born with -- the age old military apparatus (shields, armor, war ships, submarines, tanks, stealth bomber, etc. are all "man"-made protective shells).
So what then is architecture? Is it a hard, 'simple', 'natural' protective shell that engenders the continuation of life? Or is it a soft formlessness forever (re-)designing an applied shell it doesn't naturally have?"
--ironically, I never mentioned skin
My thesis in a nutshell, you might say.


[1 November] 2015
On All Saints' Day, one of the greatest artists of the eighteenth century lay dying. Few Romans would have noticed. Nearly everyone was attending to their own dead, gathering sweet almond biscuits and candles to take to the city's cemeteries to celebrate the feast of All Souls the following morning. For eight days the bladder ailment that had tormented him for more than a decade intensified its assault on Giovanni Battista Piranesi. He believed that his family was trying to poison him, insisting in the days before his death that one of his workshop assistants bring him his food to prevent his family's access to his plate. His son suggested a doctor. Piranesi refused, pointing to his copy of Livy's history of Rome and saying, "I believe only him." But belief was not a cure. On November 9, 1778, Piranesi died. Learning of his death, an old Venetian friend wrote, "I heard rumors here that before he died he had his money (which must have been abundant) so well that his children despair of finding it. Indeed, it is said that he died crazy. If the strange things that people are saying are true, it cannot be otherwise."
Heather Hyde Minor, Piranesi's Lost Words (2015), p. 1.


1 November 2016
Long derided by architects, Prince Charles' model town Poundbury might not be all that bad after all
I love the local mid-century scream!
2015.04.06 11:05
What's your favorite piece of architecture?
Rather than just lists, it might be interesting to know whether an architect's favorite architectures are even experientially known by the architect. For example, of all the different buildings above, the only building that I have known inside and out is Whitemarsh Hall in its 1970s abandoned state. The other buildings I've experienced--Rialto Bridge, Habitat, Sydney Opera House, Loyola Law School, Vanna Venturi House, Gehry House--I've really only visited briefly and seen only from the outside. As to the rest (posted by others), I know those buildings only by pictures and sometimes also by drawings (plans, elevations, etc.). And my own list I know via interacting with the designs in 2D and 3D CAD. I seriously wonder if it is realized how much appreciation of architecture is oft times more virtual than real. Like, my choices of favorite piece of architecture would be completely different if limited to within a 5 miles radius of where I live.
Frank Weise, Sheppard Residence, 1950-51


About 3 minutes away by car. Drive by it a few times a month, Never been inside, but there are interior shots online. Wish I knew it was on sale a few years ago; would have seriously considered buying it. Koolhaas wo bist du?


1 November 2019

Mary Boone's 180 hours of community service   hours 57 58


1 November 2022   Tuesday
"I'm kind of getting tired of this Piranesi stuff."
"Yeah, you should get another artist."
Russian proverb: "So the question, so the answer."
Go figure.

The first paragraph of Piranesi's Lost Words is a condensed conflation that produces little in terms of historical accuracy. If you want to more successfully imagine the days before a specific historical event, then approach those days with only the knowledge and viewpoint of the times just before the final days. After the fact/event knowledge has no guaranteed bearing on the event itself.

It's a bit surprising that the words Circus Flaminius jam tum Apollinaris backwards might just be the last thing Piranesi ever etched. Yet, at the same time, it's wonderful to see Piranesi's final project seamlessly align with the transition from Maxentius to Constantine, the very hinge of ancient Rome's pagan/Christian double theater.




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