The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project
Stephen Lauf



20 May 1778   Wednesday
This is when Ancient Circuses was becoming an actual working project. Unexpected, for sure, but the discovery of the meaning of the (so-called) Circus of Caracalla's unsymmetrical plan geometry was even more unexpected for Piranesi. And this discovery manifest a number of base issues. For example, a seemingly 'imperfect' plan form stems from an otherwise 'perfect' calculation of game fairness and equality. This was something like, but actually more unlike, the Baroque's double theatrics; there is an paradox in the combination of the imperfect and the perfect generating fairness and equality. It's been a long time since something about ancient Rome confounded Piranesi.


32-33 y.o. Francesco Piranesi 1791
Collezione delle piu belle statue di Roma

Discobolus in the act of throwing the discus, ancient marble copy of a famous bronze by Mirone, found on the Esquiline in the Villa Palombara, and extant in the Palazzo de' Marchesi Massimi.
To His Excellency Mr. Ulrico Gustavo de Franc Secretary of State of His Majesty the King of Sweden General Director of the Post Office for letters of the Kingdom, and Commander of his Royal Order of the Polar Star
Francesco Piranesi D. D. D.
Ludovico Corazzari drawn     Cav. Francesco Piranesi engraved 1791.


20 May 1812   Wednessday

Morning thick clouds, wind E, temperature 50. We cut the grass in the circle first time and finished the yard. Therm. rose to 55. Air very raw and unpleasant. I go to town about 4 PM, a misty drizzle all the way. I drove to my brother's who goes a journey tomorrow. Thence to SL's. It soon began to rain.


20 May 2004
Re: architectural $pam?
Earth's magnetic field is due to invert. Architects and engineers prepare for rare gravity blips during which to rebuild Tower of Babel. Millions to be employed. No trash can left unturned.
Aliens return to Mexico. Immigration loses all it wants to control.


20 May 2008
The Official Paradigm Shift thread
Seven Typical Plans of Ambiguity or Plan Atypical
The first typical plan of ambiguity arises when a detail is effective in several ways at once.
In the second typical plan of ambiguity two or more alternative meanings are fully resolved into one.
The condition for the third typical plan of ambiguity is that two apparently unconnected meanings are given simultaneously.
In the fourth typical plan of ambiguity the alternative meanings combine to make clear a complicated mind in the architect.
The fifth typical plan of ambiguity is a fortunate confusion...
In the sixth typical plan of ambiguity what is designed is contradictory or irrelevant and the user is forced to invent interpretations.
The seventh typical plan of ambiguity is that full of contradiction, marking a division in the architect's mind.
5, 6 and 7 are my favorites.


20 May 2016



20 May 2017

zero four one


20 May 2021

Streets of the Campo Marzio   Portico


20 May 2023   Saturday
Reading about precious artifacts being returned, albeit conditionally, to the Russian Orthodox Church reminded me of Constantine's use of Christianity to further secure his military efforts to re-unite the empire under himself. First, rather than persecute Christians, he welcomed them into his army, and second, on 27 October/28 October 312 before going into battle against Maxentius outside Rome, Constantine tells his soldiers to paint the sign of Christ on their shields because that's what the Christian god told him to do in a dream just before he woke up. Luckily for Constantine, the hoax worked.




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