Conversation

It’s a Match!
Flavia Benfante and Jocelyn Froimovich on the Production of Architectural Images

Organized by the Lise Meitner Group "Coded Objects"

Rather than lectures, this event series is a staged conversation, clash or celebration of two people with two distinct positions. Sometimes a blind date, sometimes a fierce competition, sometimes a surprising counterpart, or the perfect fit, in these matches the two speakers will first each present their perspective on a given theme or project, to then discuss divergences or conflations with the audience. From fiery disagreements to harmonious affirmations, the conversation series organized by the Lise Meitner Group “Coded Objects” aims to refract perspectives on historical narratives as well as reconstruct creative processes. In this session, architects Flavia Benfante and Jocelyn Froimovich will discuss the production of architectural images.

For many, much of the fascination of the ruins of ancient architecture lies in their incompleteness, in the intuition of this unexpressed, mutilated formal potential. As an architect, the conditioned reflex is to question the possible completion of structures worn down by time and history. The challenge of archaeological representation stands in the balance between two fundamental themes: the reproduction of what still exists, which ends up being an inevitable reading and interpretation, and the figuration of lost volumes, which are necessarily the result of more or less imaginary hypotheses and completions, therefore it rests in the paradox of these two indissoluble aspects that should, however, be kept on separate levels. Given the great variety of conditions in which archaeological sites can appear, it is important that the selection of means of representation is equally flexible, and it is rare that the same workflow is adopted for two different projects.
In this contribution, Flavia Benfante proposes a selection of three case studies, three puzzles with three different clues. The domus delle Sette Sale, the remains of a splendid late antique dwelling that is now inaccessible for security reasons, as the subject of an "indirect" graphic investigation, the Forum of Nerva and its 1995 excavations, reconstructed backwards with a "sartorial" logarithm, and finally the Palazzo Imperiale of Villa Adriana, a site famous for the consistency of its elevations but enigmatic for its uniqueness. The common denominator of the three cases remains the contradiction between hand drawing and the use of technology: on the one hand the slowness of a continuous confrontation with the monument and the selective gesture of representation, on the other hand the rapidity and precision of the tools and the enormous amount of data to be domesticated.

“Overclocking: To increase the working speed of (a computer, esp. its central processing unit or a component of this) beyond that of the original specification.” (Oxford English Dictionary 2023, accessed 18 June 2024)
With the development of rendering engines, simple initial images of the 1960's quickly evolved into complex scenes. Since then, high-quality visualizations have been used for pilot training, automotive design, and the entertainment industry, amongst others, advancing research in fields such as simulation and anatomy. Architecture is also an important actor in the development of this industry.
In her contribution, Jocelyn Froimovich will use the term overclocking to analyze architectural renders, digital still images of real-looking places produced in the last decades, with a focus on the techniques involved in their making. While examining the use of software tools such as ray tracing, camera settings, material mapping, interchange file formats and previsualization, Jocelyn Froimovich argues that architecture has played its part in the rendering business by simplifying software capacities. With AI altering their making and immersive digital environments threatening to make them obsolete, what have architectural renders achieved?

This event will be hybrid and take place in person at Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai. There is no need to formally register to participate in person.

To participate online please register via Zoom in advance.

Representation of the remaining opus sectile of the polylobate hall of the domus delle Sette Sale (left) and its reconstruction (right). Drawings: Flavia Benfante.

Lorenteggio Library Milan. Architects: Urtzi Grau, Jocelyn Froimovich, Stefano Rolla and Laura Signorelli / Local Partners: COPRAT / Render: Max Daiber

Biographical Notes

Flavia Benfante, architect. In 2020 she took a PhD in History of architecture at the DSDRA (Dipartimento di Storia, Disegno e Restauro dell’Architettura) of University of “Sapienza” in Rome with a research on late-antique residential architecture in Rome and Ostia. Since 2017 she is part of the archaeological field projects at Villa Adriana, Tivoli led by prof. Rafael Hidalgo Prieto of Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla. In 2022 she completed a Research Grant at University of “Sapienza” in Rome for the project: Complex Survey Methodologies. Documentation, Modelling and Communication of the Forum of Nerva in Rome. She has currently a Marie Skłodowska Curie Post-doctoral Individual Fellowship with the project: 'Shine a Light on Villa Adriana', at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide in Seville, in collaboration with the Biblioteca Hertziana in Rome - Max Planck Institute for Art History, the Scuola di Specializzazione in Beni Architettonici e del Paesaggio, Sapienza - University of Rome, the Istituto Autonomo Villa Adriana e Villa d'Este and Studio Katatexilux.

Jocelyn Froimovich is an architect based in London. Her work ranges from residential projects in New York State and Chile to installations such as MoMA’s Young Architects Program COSMO (with Offpolinn, 2015) - exhibited at MoMA PS1. Current projects under construction include the New Lorenteggio Library for the Municipality of Milan (with Team BLO, to be completed in 2026) and private comissions in Chile. Jocelyn has won awards from the Arts Council and the British Council in the UK, the municipality of Milan, Columbia University in New York and the Ministry of Culture in Chile. Her work has been published in the periodicals AV, ARQ and Afasia and exhibited in the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. She has served on the jury of design competitions and has lectured internationally. She is currently a lecturer at the University of Liverpool, UK.

03 July 2024, 3:00pm

This event will be hybrid and take place in person at Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai. There is no need to formally register to participate in person.

To participate online please register via Zoom in advance.

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