Architectural Survey in the Future
Technology is changing our way to work, study and preserve architecture. This revolution deals with the processes that allow to make digital surveys. The use of laser scanners, drone, 3D-print and artificial intelligence is the way to discover new scenarios in learning from architecture of the past and transmitting these values to the future.
Only a careful understanding of the meaning of architectural values of building from the past may push us to preserve and protect them for the future generations.
An integration of the most innovative technologies has been conducted to survey a magnificent aqueduct of Roman inspiration: Ponti della Valle (Italy).
The need for architectural survey derives from the desire to identify the significant physical elements of our past in order to preserve and protect them for the future generations. The main work of architecture disciplines of surveying cultural heritage must look beyond the physical aspects of buildings to look deeply to other invisible aspects of the built environment that combine to form our historic fabric, such as bridges and dams, wharves and ships, canals, fabrics, parks and gardens, etc.
This case study is centered on the monumental site of Ponti della Valle which is part of the Carolino Aqueduct that was conceived, designed and built by the architect Luigi Vanvitelli, in 1762 under commission of the King Carlo di Borbone.
The architect used Roman aqueducts as a model for the design of the Ponti: the Pont du Gard (19 BC), and the 17th century Maintenon aqueduct, in France. Particular attention was given to the aqueduct of Segovia (dating to the 1st and 2nd centuries BC) both for its architectural features and because it was built in Spain, the birthplace of the Bourbon dynasty.
The building became the emblem of the entire Aqueduct. Numerous visitors came to admire the massive structure. The bridge is 529 m long and 58.08 m high. It has 90 arches: 19 on the ground floor, 28 on the first floor and 43 on the second floor where the waterway is located. Within each pillar of the first and second floors, Vanvitelli designed small openings across the entire pylon from side to side to allow workers to move freely during construction and maintenance.
At that time, the Ponti di Valle was the largest covered bridge in Europe due to the size of the structure. The whole work retains all its charm and splendor even today. It stands in the valley and continues its water transport work to the royal gardens of the Vanvitellian complex of the Royal Palace of Caserta. Because of its peculiarities, this architecture has allowed the application of technologically advanced surveying methods.
From the pictures captured by drones, the digital architecture modeling has made it possible to obtain an interrogative model: a copy of the reality that is printable in three dimensions with a high degree of accuracy.
3D models are a passage between reality and imagination: navigating in virtual environments, communicating with artificial intelligence are experiences made possible by modern technologies.