Digital re-analysis of lost or unbuilt architecture

Webb, Nicholas
Digital re-analysis of lost or unbuilt architecture. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

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The research presented here utilises contemporary digital techniques enabling a consistent analytical technique to systematically study significant works of unbuilt, damaged and destroyed architecture. The analytical technique provides a methodology that can be utilised for future research employing digital tools in the context of investigating historic works of architecture. Digital representation tools are therefore used to re-analyse and re-interpret unbuilt, damaged and destroyed works of architecture. This augments research already undertaken by architectural historians, who provide traditional critique and analysis, by testing such studies further using a range of contemporary digital techniques. The research is significant as it demonstrates how contemporary representation techniques can advance knowledge and understanding of significant architectural designs that once existed, or could have once existed. Consequently, this enhanced understanding can then be used to add to knowledge already attained about a particular architect and buildings they designed. Three case studies by important twentieth century architects were used to demonstrate and advance the methodological process provided. These were an unbuilt student project by Sir James Stirling, a pair of unbuilt museum projects by Auguste Perret, and a partially built cathedral design by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Each case offered its own benefits in researching the analytical technique. The Stirling case study enabled the techniques and principles of the methodological process to be established and demonstrated that it could provide enhanced understanding of an architect’s work. The Perret case study was important in finding unexpected results as part of the digital representation construction process, which enabled the methodology to be revised to take into account the significance of serendipity in the research. The Lutyens case study was particularly successful in developing lines of enquiry through looking at primary and secondary source data available for a design, which could then be used to re-analyse and enhance understanding of the design using digitally augmented techniques. The findings offer enhanced understanding of using digital tools as a technique to study unbuilt, damaged and destroyed works of architecture. In the first instance they demonstrate the significance of the process of constructing digital representations of such architectural artefacts. During this process inferences have to be made as representational source data such as architectural drawings are almost always incomplete, therefore parallel study into the architect, their architecture and the contemporary context they worked within has to be investigated in order to fill in gaps in an informed way. It is during this investigative process that enhanced critical understanding of an architect and their architecture is achieved. The findings also illustrate how contemporary digital tools can be used to augment and enhance knowledge of unbuilt, damaged or destroyed works of architecture by following particular lines of enquiry generated through the study of primary and secondary source data. The key here is the advanced knowledge that digital techniques bring when compared against critique of a work of architecture that was established in a pre-digital context.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Additional Information: Date: 2012-08 (completed)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Digital re-analysis, damaged architecture, destroyed architecture, unbuilt architecture
Subjects: ?? NA ??
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of the Arts
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2013 11:42
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2022 01:32
DOI: 10.17638/00009369
  • Brown, Andre
  • Knight, Michael