Contemporary Issues

The Explorations through Roma set forth an idea of understanding a project through the stratification of its history. The project that is used is The Basilica of Santa Cecilia which resides within Trastevere in Roma, Italy. This Church is not the only building that occupies the site it is grounded on for there exists a house directly beneath the basilica which is accessed through the gift shop within the church. The underground portion of the site reveals the hidden strategies the designers and builders used to construct a church above the this ancient housing structure. The lower walls of the house are all load bearing and foundation walls from which the basilica is built up from. The connections these lower walls share with the upper project shows the advancement in building techniques from the 2nd century BC, when the housing complex was built, to the 800s-1500s, when the basilica was built and then reconditioned by different head figures. Because both share the same ground space, the new view is that it is not just a church, but one massive complex that is connected through several light wells in the floor. This connection of light and voided spaces that this creates is where this examination starts to trek forth an develop a new idea of planes, relations, and spatial connections.


The view of the church to the house is not clear as the darkness conceals the lower level through the wells. This is why most would not give a second thought about the secondary spatial experience below. The church is lite through the front main door, and the clerestory windows that wrap the two sides of the nave above the side aisle. The transmission of light through the void space of the church is then diffused through the single light into one room below. The underneath parts will not suffice with just the use of the sun, as the churches void steals most of it, so the use of artificial lighting is used through most of the rooms. When in the first room of the underground, sun light is able to provide ample amount, as well as the third room that is directly beneath the basilica’s center point. It is through these distinctions where the drawings are constructed and viewed as a way to understand the structural relations and the visible connections both sectionally and planimetriclly. The combination of both the plan and sectional qualities into a parallel lens produces the final axonometric drawing of the relations.


These Studies are imperative to further understanding of contemporary architecture as they offer insist to past expertise of compound complex spaces. These spaces are not only what makes architecture interesting, but also re-establishes the connections to the ancient past of architecture. Contemporary architecture is nothing more than the expression of spatial moves through subjective viewports, which is exactly what the masterminds of the past where executing centuries ago.

Class: Contemporary Issuess

Instructor: Dr. Paulette Singley

All work and Images © by Jeff Moro. Usage and distribution is strictly prohibitive without my consent.