With the three scaled Piranesi’s drawings I was then able to calculate the dimensions of most of the main elements of the iseum.
Importing Piranesi’s maps as svg re-drawings (made in Adobe Illustrator) I could have extruded all the basic features of the iseum directly. However, I knew this process can generate a number of unwanted vertexes in 3D studio max that can be difficult and confusing to manage. For this reason, I decided to use the svg file only as a visual guideline and to redraw the plan with the line tool in 3D studio max. This choice also gave me a better control on my model.
I have simplified the shape of the columns (both the Corinthian of the main temple and the Doric of the porticus) because they were not relevant for my visualisation. If I’ll be able to take this research further, I would like to verify if the elements of the columns as Piranesi drew them, follow the rules canonised by Vitruvius.
Before building the colonnades (the temple one and the porticus one) I had to decide if I wanted to be as faithful as possible to the plan or if I’d rather to use the tools offered by the software to make a perfect alignment. Although a perfect geometric alignment is very unlikely (if not impossible) in an ancient building, I decided to apply this option to all the columns in my model because
- it was the fastest and simplest solution and the columns were not one of the focuses of my research
- I wasn’t sure if the uneven position of the columns on the plan was a reproduction of the uneven disposition of the columns in the actual temple or just material errors of the drawer.
I didn’t model any of the doors because I had not enough information about them, even though Piranesi, in his plane, designed the space for the pivots. I kept this feature for the main temple door (also because Piranesi drew interesting studies about doors and openings that I would like to include in my model in the future) but I simplified all the other doors.
I was surprised to see that according to Piranesi, the cella inside the main temple is only 1,20 meters high. I would like to verify this information on site, sooner or later.
I have also simplified the front of the temple, removing many of the architectonical decorative features. However, I believe that the peculiar shape of the Temple is still very much recognisable.
When the Temple of Isis was discovered, the roof was already destroyed. My knowledge in Roman architecture doesn’t allow me to make my own hypothesis about the appearance of the roof or the other missing elements. So I decided to follow Piranesi’s hypotheses and to apply them to my 3D model.
In this way, Piranesi’s drawings would have been both a guideline to follow and a restoration hypothesis to challenge within a 3D environment.