Undisciplinary is the personal wiki of Martin Zemlicka.

Pier Vittorio Aureli – After the Diagram

25.10.2005, Architectural Association, London



  1. Nolli map
    1. 1748
    2. A lot of architects and urbanists use the map as an illustration of a rhetoric about the city, for example, Colin Rowe uses it as an illustration of «figure-ground» urbanism; others as the division between public space and private space.
    3. For Pier, the map is the first scientific map of Rome, an extremely accurate one.
    4. The map shows, for the first time, the difference between the city and architecture. While architecture is drawn in its usual way, plans, the city is abstracted as swabs of generic footprints (black). Breaking the continuity between city and architecture (remember: Alberti said that to design a city and a building is the same thing)
    5. Piranesi helped Nolli do the architecture part of the map.
    6. Architecture was represented empirically, with plans; while the city was represented abstractly.
  2. Piranesi - Campo Marzio
    1. Answer to the scientific abstraction of the Nolli map
    2. Removes the entire black of Nolli and draws architecture everywhere
    3. Trying to represent the whole city only by architecture, can’t even see streets
    4. Certain parts of the map are darker, these are the existing parts
  3. “The truth is in the diagram” Le Corbusier, La Ville Radieuse
  4. For those interested in form, diagrams are the only way of representing the city
  5. In the 50s and 60s, the diagram is fed back into architecture. Before it was a way of working with that which is outside of it.
    1. Colin Rowe etc.
    2. Alison and Peter Smithson, urban plan (?), first time that the diagram became the architecture.
    3. Tokyo Bay by Kenzo Tange, the form of the city itself became the diagram
  6. In a way, architectural form is less and less important. But architecture is becoming more about thinking, enabled through diagram.
  7. “Liberated from the obligation to construct, [architecture] can become a way of thinking about anything - a discipline that represents the diagram of everything.” Rem Koolhaas, 2004
  8. The risk here is that the diagram can become autonomous from what it is meant to represent. A projection of change without a link to what it is effecting.
  9. A form of inteligence that is attempting to consume, transcend, form.
    1. See, for example, Rossi and his attempt to find typologies. We read The Architecture of the City through its later effects, but when Rossi was writing it he was attempting to find inteligence that was transcending the current form.
    2. This is the power and problem of diagrams. It allows to go beyond form, but is becoming a form of ideology.
  10. Pier is not proposing to get rid of diagrams, the After the Diagram is to be sceptical. A diagram cannot be seen as a natural representation of something. We project, therefore, reduce, reality with diagrams.
  11. Diagrams should be ideograms.