During my time abroad in Rome, Italy, we were asked by our professor to pick a “Perfect Work of Architecture” to study for a 2 week intensive studio. I studied the pedestrian bridge, Ponte S. Angelo, a bridge built in 134 A.D.

Elevation of Ponte S. Angelo.

The bridge is set within a bicentennial pilgrimage path through the city, approaching the Cathedral of St. Peter. Through sketching and analysis, I discovered patterns and proportional relationships that carried through its entire design.

Sketch Anaylsis of bridge in plan and elevation

final drawing of plan and elevation proportional deisgn and relationship to each other

Even with the bridge being an architectural masterpiece, its human relation makes it complete. Along the bridge procession, a series of Bernini statues tells a story progressively through perfect perspective. Each statue is designed to be viewed from 180 degrees.

Study of Statue Viewing Ability

With only 60 percent of the original bridge existing, and the processional importance, it starts to question what the word “perfect” actually refers to. My study in structural proportion directed me to a study of perspective.

Hand Sketch - perspective study Hand Sketch - perspective study Hand Sketch - research for perspective Hand Sketch - research for perspective

My hand sketches led me from studying perspective in a experiential way to a tangible way. What creates a perspective?

I set out to learn how to draw a perspective, not by a picture or by sight, but derived from a section drawing and a plan drawing of the bridge. The first step was to take actual measurements of the bridge structure to generate a scaled section. (See above in a hand sketch) The second step was to see how a section and plan started to relate to each other in perspective.

research how a plan of the bridge in relationship to an elevation generates a perspective  depiction how a square in plan becomes a parallelogram in perspective

Within my generated section, a vanishing point was needed. I chose the height on my eye level and looking straight down the axis of the bridge. Within the plan drawing, a point of view was needed. I chose the middle of the bridge. The above right drawing shows how a square in plan, becomes a parallelogram in perspective.

Final Drawing.

Final Drawing - generated from 2D drawings (plan and section)

Professor: Thomas Leslie