- Conference Paper
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
This paper aims to shed light on the status of travel-photography and is based on the hypothesis that the automobile revolutionized the way architects perceive the city. It focuses on a close examination of the photographs taken by architects John Lautner, Alison and Peter Smithson and Aldo Rossi dur-ing their travels, with special emphasis on those taken from the automobile and while encountering places for the first time. The main hypothesis that it explores is that the view from the car changes the architecture of the city, as well as the relationship between architecture and the city. It explores this hypothesis through the investigation of the above-mentioned case studies, contributing to a broader understanding of what is happening in cases of photography taken from the car. Regarding the theo-retical framework on which my interpretation is based, I could refer to Rosalind Krauss’s understanding of photography in “Photography's Discursive Spaces: Landscape/View”. Besides from the photos they thematised in their book entitled AS in DS: An Eye on the Road, depict-ing landscape views of the British countryside, Alison and Peter Smithson also took many photos dur-ing their summer vacations. The main interest of these photos lies in the fact that they employed them in their teaching process and reasoning. The way they treated these photos in order to illustrate their arguments in their teaching, their publications and their projects is an aspect that is scrutinized here. Rossi started taking polaroid photographs during his journeys in the late 1970s, nearly a decade after noting his first impressions in his 47 quaderni azzuri (1968-1986), which are strongly reminiscent of trav-els diaries, both in form and content. His polaroids, which documented journeys and his whereabouts, include images of boats crossing a river in Bangkok, a Shaker village in Massachusetts, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and constitute a visual diary of the Italian architect and an important source for understanding his use of travel-photography in order to organise his “visual memory”. In John Lautner’s archives, tens of thousands of slides can be found, illustrating trips throughout the United States, Eastern and Western Europe, Scandinavia, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, and Egypt. One of my objectives is to show how these photographs of landscapes can inform us on the specific vision that his buildings introduced and vice-versa. Lautner’s travel slides constitute a precious resource since they represent a visual record equivalent to the more usual sketchbook used by many architects to record their study notes. His buildings trigger an ocular-centric vision which cannot but be related to the pre-eminence of landscape views in his conceptual edifice, as emerges not only through his archi-tecture but also through the views captured on his camera when confronted with various landscapes. Show more
Book titleImmagini, forme e narrazioni dalla città globale. Images, forms and narratives from the global city
Pages / Article No.
PublisherL'Associazione promuove e diffonde lo studio della storia urbana (AISU)
SubjectPhotography; History and theory of urban design
Organisational unit09643 - Avermaete, Tom / Avermaete, Tom
02655 - Netzwerk Stadt und Landschaft D-ARCH
NotesConference lecture on September 13, 2019.
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