Architecture: In The Field

Robin Rhodes and Phil Sapirstein discussing an old temple block. © Robin F. Rhodes 2007. All Rights Reserved.

The first phase of the Project focused on the reconstruction of the 7th century BCE temple on Temple Hill, the first truly monumental temple in Greece. As is the nature of first examples, precedent and parallel were of limited use in reconstructing its form and character. Nor has a single trace of the temple been found in its original position. Instead, the evidence for reconstruction lies almost exclusively in the displaced and fragmentary remains of hundreds of temple blocks, tiles, and mud bricks found, for the most part, dumped as a mass in an ancient road bed on Temple Hill.

Reconstruction begins with the process of sorting and re-sorting blocks and tiles into groups of related characteristics. With such fractured and unfamiliar remains, it often requires several different fragments to reveal all the features of a single block or tile type, and as a result the sorting has to be refined over and over again. As the characteristics of each type are further understood, the fragments are consolidated into fewer and fewer groups. Only when every fragment has found its group and every cutting, bedding, surface finish, and dimension has found a reasonable explanation within that context is an accurate reconstruction possible.

This process was carried out by the director in 1994-95 on a fellowship from the 1984 Foundation. During that year the overall character of the building and nearly every detail of its reconstruction was determined. In the summer of 1999 he returned with a crew of assistants to begin the long process of examining the relevant excavation notebooks, completing field drawings of the blocks and tiles, inking them and polishing them in PhotoShop for publication, compiling the block and tile catalogues, and creating reconstructed elevations, sections, and 3-D models of the temple. From 1999 through the summer of 2005 summer field work consisted of five six-week field seasons dedicated to this work and two six-week seasons of exhibition preparation. For the exhibition the primary sources for the reconstructionóthe broken blocks and tilesówere replicated in cast concrete and terracotta and presented together with samples of their recording, from the initial dimensioned field sketches, to their scaled translations in the office, to the final inked and computer-polished publication drawings. 2006 and 2007 were dedicated to the final preparation of the monograph on the temple and to preparing the exhibition for travel.

The field work for the second phase of the project is not directed towards a series of detailed monographs on individual Corinthian buildings, but towards the creation of a synthetic history of the architectural development of Corinth. The buildings addressed in this phase of the Project have almost without exception been published to one degree or another, in the annual excavation reports of the directors of the Corinth Excavations or in the Corinth Excavations volumes themselves. Thus, the Project energies are directed towards evaluating the existing publications, examining the excavation notebooks, recording the present state of the Greek architecture at Corinth, creating new reconstructed drawings of the buildings, constructing 3D computer models of the architecture and topography of Ancient Corinth, collecting all of the Greek stone architecture at Corinth under a single cover, and presenting a coherent, synthetic narrative of the development and nature of the Greek stone architecture at Corinth and its relationship with and contribution to the evolution of Greek architecture as a whole.

 

Jean Dibble photographing a roof tile. © Robin F. Rhodes 2007. All Rights Reserved.
  An old temple block. © Robin F. Rhodes 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Corinth Architecture Project welcomes Contributions

© Robin F. Rhodes 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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