Architecture and Archaeology: What an Architect Does Among Archaeologists

Posted in: ASORTV
Tags: Anthropology, archaeologists, Archaeology, Architecture, Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona, iraq, Joan Borrell, Pedro Azara, Qasr Shamamok, Spain, Syria, Tell Masaikh
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The Case of Tell Masaikh, Syria and Qasr Shamamok, Iraq

At the 2013 ASOR Annual Meeting, Pedro Azara, of Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona, presented his paper. His paper, “Architecture and Archaeology: What an Architect Does Among Archaeologists (The Case of Tell Masaikh, Syria and Qasr Shamamok, Iraq),” was co-written by Marc Marín (Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona), and Eric Rusiñol (Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona), and presented during the, “Archaeology in Context: history, Politics, Community, identity” session.

His paper was read for ASORtv by student and team member, Joan Borrell.

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Abstract from the 2013 ASOR Program Book

Dr. Maria-Grazia Masetti-Rouault (Sorbonne University, Paris), Director of the archaeological missions at Tell Masaïkh (Syria, until 2010) and Qasr Shamamok (Erbil, Iraq, since then), asked us to participate as architects at her archaeological mission not for restoration or rebuilding works but to imagine the quality of life in such structures. Was life possible? And more important, how life could have gone on? Architecture can study not only buildings but also the people in those buildings thanks to the study of the structures, their internal articulation and their relationship with the landscape. Since 2007 a group of architects from the School of Architecture of Barcelona are working at both archaeological missions. We are studying the remains as if they were an architectural project based on an architectural logic, trying to imagine how the builders were thinking and planning in order to build structures suitable for human beings. Plans, technical plans and details, 3-Ds reconstructions, and animations are used to discover the logic of the articulation of the structures—in three dimensions—imagining the impression that was pursued and that was caused. The buildings are studied as if they had been planned today, with an architectural perspective and architectural methods of planning and building in mind. So far, the relationships between architectural practice and theory, architecture and anthropology, and architecture and archaeology have been able to offer a new point of view on how the buildings could have been articulated and used, on their meaning, and on possible reasons for their construction.

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