In The Presence Of Another World

Posted: April 3, 2018 in Body Count, It's not the heat, it's the humanity

Before I even start to talk about my Further Adventures In Modern Medicine, I think I need to be forthcoming about a more important thing.

We went to Italy.  Kind of a thing for architects.  They got a few buildings, you know.

We did go on a tour, but based on our trip to Ireland, this group does a helluva job, and we spent WAY less time in lines to see things like David and the Coliseum than if we had wandered in on our own.  Downside?  the bus environment allowed me to get a chest cold, but it didn’t take hold until we were home.

We started in Venice ,and we did not, perhaps, experience it to it’s full as it was snowing.  Fuck.  We did at least see the Doge’s Palace and Piazza San Marco, which were as spectacular as I had been led to believe.  Also, got to have a chilly gondola ride, with musicians.  Best time, was we went to a random nearby restaurant, met a fellow American on an adjacent table, and spent like 3 hours talking to her about all the things we had in common.

We moved on, and hit Florence, or as they say Firenze.  I very nearly bought a 700 euro leather jacket that looked great, even on me, and settled on gloves and a belt.  I saw several cathedrals that I studied in college, and much of the medieval architecture started to come back to me, even as I tried to ignore it back then.

Most importantly, however, was that our guide at one point said that they had an ongoing cleaning program on the cathedrals that consisted of sandblasting the marble.  When I pointed out that sandblasting was destructive, he admitted that they just replaced the marble.  I was seriously appalled.  As a professional that works diligently to preserve buildings, especially exterior materials, to have such a cavalier approach presented so casually was kind of a punch in the gut, and these were not even the buildings that I cared about all that much. Here’s what it looks like when you sandblast marble:

Yeah, that’s what it looks like when you sandblast ANYTHING. Sandblasting buildings is something that responsible people just don’t do anymore, and finding that people do it to significant monuments just…kind of hurt.

Rome is amazing.  A contemporary city, fetid and squirming around the history of epochs.  My first thing to say, is that walking into the Colosseum, is that it is completely recognizable as an arena  that are being built right now.  Also, if you want a building to last for centuries, then overbuild it by a factor of like 12.

We also went to Pompeii.  They liked fucking, apparently.  Not like us.

I had many great servings of carbonara.

The colors got to me.  It is obvious that there is a Color Police, they are inside of my head, but they are great colors. They, and a couple of other things, helped me to resolve a couple of design issues on a project I am currently working on.  In particular, this:

these are called rafter tails, and my own house has them all the way around.  I like to use a simplified version on my projects and DAMN but carpenters whine about doing it.  Photos like this will be my excuse for saying “these hard-asses did this with hand tools.  How good are you?”

We spent much time doing great stuff.  We went through the Vatican as they were preparing for Holy Week, which involved armed guards.  I internally laughed, as I thought even Holy Poppa does not trust in Gawd’s protections….

but but but , I still absorbed a lot, a a country (and one that is younger than the building my office is in) and liked everything, everything, everything….because experience makes my thing wiggle, as they say.

And at the end of they day, it still comes back to the fact that while nobody in Pompeii ever though to name streets, they still resorted to street signs:

it points to porn district.  Humanity never changes.

 

ETA.  Nobody asked, but here is the design model for the rooftop deck that I resolved using inspiration from the trip:

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Comments
  1. Jim H. says:

    But did you stand in the doorway of Cathedral of Santa Maria in Fiorenze and see the Baptistry as Brunelleschi did with his perspective machine? Something I’ve longed to do.

    • rottenmcdonald says:

      I did not, Jim. We were on a walking tour, although this was one of the buildings that I talked about with the sandblasting. I did, however, find it amusing that in the Uffizi Gallery, there was a da Vinci painting that was made much of, and the group was marched in front of to see how the perspective changed; I was fatigued and sat on a bench to enjoy the painting, and when a fellow tour person asked about the my view, I said, perhaps a bit dyspeptically, “I understand how one point perspective works”….

    • Also, notable, the photo I posted with the horrible damage to the green marble was taken from the Baptistry….

Go ahead, tell me how I fucked up this time.

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