The Revolution of Architectural Survey: Santa Prassede, an (Ongoing) Survey for Knowledge

Marco Carpiceci


The architectural survey is a living matter. The survey of a monument always entails the description of a work in progress. The survey is a critical operation whereby you can study, measure, and represent an architectural structure. In the case of Santa Prassede, there are at the moment 35 scans that cover most of the interior of the church. The other lateral chapels, the crypt, and the bell tower, which will be studied this year, are currently missing. The colour of the areas covered with mosaics will be also analysed. A high-resolution digital camera and homogeneous illumination will be used to avoid light variations in the chiaroscuro effects and in the shadows. Subsequent processing involves the elaboration of a geometric model (or solid model). Once this model is built, the next step is the graphical analysis, that is, the decomposition of the architectural structure in coherent elements. It’s a sort of architectural reverse engineering, which, starting from the object as we see it, reconstructs the component elements, selecting them based on dating, material, and functionality. This is done in order to develop (but not only) a reconstructive hypothesis of the consistency of the monument over time.


Santa Prassede; architectural survey; laser scanning; chromatic detection

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