Analyzing, Classifying, Safeguarding: Drawing for the Borgo Murattiano Neighbourhood of Bari

Analyzing, Classifying, Safeguarding: Drawing for the Borgo Murattiano Neighbourhood of Bari

Valentina Castagnolo (Polytechnic University of Bari, Italy)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3613-0.ch006
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A modern city can be studied through its representation, from the urban to the architectural and detail scales. The image of a city is characterized by a plurality of architectural shapes that are visible across the urban landscape. This chapter describes the scientific method of the representation science, namely the architectural survey and drawing, as knowledge methods, that play the role of tools for the analysis of the structuring place dynamics. The methodology includes the retrieval of existing documentary material and the redrawing of the façades and their subsequent composition within the urban space. The research aim is to show the city image of Bari in its architectural, historical, and cultural essence, implementing a graphic model that can be an effective tool for protection, which contains the reference documentation of each architecture, that can be viewed and studied individually or placed in relation to other façades of the city.
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Since 2009, a research on the image of the city of Bari1. The aim of this project was the acquisition of a deeper knowledge of the architecture in itself and in relationship with the environmental, historical, cultural and visual context, comparing a series of data coming from both the world of representation and the visible reality. The result is the implementation a visual archive named “BDA Bari Disegno Architetture” (BDA Bari Drawing Architectures). The investigation is focused on the the architecture in historical Murat, Madonnella and Libertà neighbourhoods and it is linked to the methodology of survey and architectural drawing.

Figure 1.

Bari city plan


The thriving iconographic data derives from the systematic survey of the main urban fronts and from the historical studies and archive-based research which produced a rich number of original design drawings and photographs.

Figure 2.

Some of the architectures built between the nineteenth and early twentieth-century


The used method is the representation science, namely the architectural survey and drawing, that as knowledge methods (Schneider, 2007), are suitable for playing the role of tools for the analysis of the structuring place dynamics and to identify the relationship systems (Massari, Pellegatta, & Bonaria, 2006). Therefore the method is the guided analysis by the building reality drawing.

Good drawing, by virtue of this intrinsic reciprocity between mind and act, goes beyond simple information, allowing one to fully participate in its significance, its life. In exploring a thought through drawing, the aspect that is so intriguing to our minds, I suspect, is what might be regarded as the speculative act. Because the drawing as an artifact is generally thought of as somewhat more tentative than other representational devices, it is perhaps a more fragmentary or open notation. It is this very lack of completion or finality that contributes to its speculative nature (Graves, 1977).

The drawing - conceived both as a practical action of representing reality and as a critical action - has a pivotal role, because it needs to be regarded in its theoretical dimension of linguistic system allowing the comprehension and communication of the architecture, and of method to study it from a functional and morphological point of view. When operating a reconstruction through graphical images of architectures and their composition within the urban fronts, information needs to be selected, and the knowledge is conveyed by letting the strength of the representation emerge as a result of the plurality of architectural languages, that is to say the variety of the historical, cultural, social, economic, aesthetic and human values that characterize the city today.

BDA is a “visualization project” aimed to give emphasis to the peculiar characters of the objects, be they meaningful or basic architectures, which exist along the street fronts. The buildings are analyzed both individually and as objects embedded in the continuity of the fronts.

Therefore the city is investigated by reading its architectures. More than the city architecture, it is studied the city of architectures (Ambrosi, 2000). This definition contains the intrinsic value of the architectures themselves and of the relationship that each of them establishes with the urban system, with reference to other road front elements and of the city in a broader sense in that collective work which is the backdrop road, considered as a continuous urban space envelope (Portoghesi, 1968, p. VII). Architecture actually confers an image to the city and determines its peculiar identity (Venturi, 1967), that is nurtured by encounter and juxtaposition of ancient and modern buildings: a plurilinguistic identity layered in space and time. Through the architecture the city history, the building succession events, the political and social thought transformations, the different cultural currents transit can be read.

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