Architectural survey and representation have changed remarkably in recent years, and this is particularly evident in the field of rock-cut architecture. The advent of laser scanning technology improved the precision during the acquisition of dimensional data, reducing costs and time of taking. At the same time the procedures of computer representation enabled surveyors to refine the traditional representations and offered them a wide range of innovative envisioning and navigation three-dimensional models. The monastic settlement of Aynali is located in Cappadocia, a short distance from the Open Air Museum in Goreme. It is just outside the large semi-circular rock cavea constituting the heart of that singular confederation of monastic communities. Possibly the whole area was ruled by a common social structure, in which each core was constantly in touch with the other ones, sharing the need for subsistence and contemplation. The rooms of the monastery of Aynali are on two main levels and were excavated around a rectangular court. The Northeast front can be assumed as the main facade: two openings allow people to enter the great room, which is covered by a barrel vault and divided in three parts by two light suspended arches, while a third opening leads to the church through a small vestibule. The church is roughly square, with a large central apse; four large columns divide its space into three naves covered by barrel vaults. The church and other parts of the monastery follow approximated geometrical rules and are rarely comparable to simple geometric shapes. This would suggest they are the result of an extemporaneous and uncoordinated program of excavation. Conversely, rooms facing the rectangular court seem to share the geometries of traditional architecture. The “traditional form” of such environments, however, is only apparent: in fact even the main hall, although to a lesser degree than the church, is suffering from a sensitive deformation that significantly alters the alleged rectangle of the plant. Yet until a few years ago these deformations were completely absent from the documents elaborated and used for studying Cappadocian heritage. For example, the survey drawings of the monastery of Aynali obtained only a few decades ago with traditional procedures show plans and sections with rectangular rooms, definitely regularized if not invented. Beyond the difficulties involved in surveying those spaces, psychological reasons must be considered to fully comprehend such “fictional” results. Not too different from idealistic surveys made by Paul-Marie Letarouilly, some current historian-oriented surveyors seem to be influenced by the idea behind the form. But the basic hypothesis that Cappadocian builders just intended to reproduce such forms in negative, seems only partially sharable. Thus the process of surveying and representing rock-cut architecture would strongly echo scholars’ perceptual and formal prejudices acquired with the experience of the forms of traditional architecture. Till few decades ago, scholars observed those caves expecting to find the efforts of people pursuing the spatial conditions similar to those of brick-and-wood constructions. But it was not, and latest surveys offer today a profoundly different perception of that people and their habitat. On the other hand the comparison between old and current surveys, highlights how the tools are subtly leading scholars towards an approach that is totally antithetical to the traditional one. Today, laser scanner operators have a tendency to simply accept uncritically the metric outcomes provided by the machine, without determining directly the nature of those surfaces. They are satisfied by simply launching the scan without having first experienced and studied the environment, as well as by the seemingly photo-realistic results provided in the first instance by the points cloud management software. The result is that they may not have the critical tools to evaluate and possibly adjust and finalize the representations from the numerical model. The proper attitude seems to be halfway between the intellectual approach of the traditional method, which tended to identify the irregular surfaces of the environments with elementary geometric solids according to hypothetical “architectural intents”, and the laser-scanner "chrono-visibilism", determining all its information by the time response of the laser beam on heterogeneous surfaces and visible. The critical interpretation of the scholar is therefore an inescapable contribution: it is fundamental in the process of representation, when he is requested to translate the model point patterns into drawings to display the metric data, meeting the specific demands of customers and communities without removing the collected spatial information.
|Titolo:||The cave revealed. The Monastery of Aynali and the representation of rupestrian architecture|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||04b Atto di convegno in volume|