Redrawing Venice

Workshop Tutors: Eren Çıracı, Erdem Tüzün

 

An early Grand Tourist, Thomas Howard travelled in Italy in the 17th century with architect Inigo Jones. His travels have set precedent for trips undertaken by many young European men and women. The Grand Tour became the culmination of a classical education.

Around the time of Inigo Jones’s travels in Italy, Evliya Çelebi was born in Istanbul. Starting from his early twenties he spent the rest of his life traveling and writing Seyahatnâme – a ten volume travelogue, a mixture of facts with accurate descriptions of places and stories crossing the border to fiction and fantasy.

If Jones was the analytical observer as a traveler who studied Palladio and the architecture of ancient Rome, Evliya Çelebi was quite the opposite. In addition to places he visited as a part of diplomatic missions and military convoys, he wrote of places he had never seen, people he had never met and things that possibly could not exist. Oscillating between fact and fiction, Seyahatnâme offers a view of the Ottoman Empire, and beyond that, it is both informative and entertaining.

From Inigo Jones to Le Corbusier and countless other architects who traveled in different parts of the world, drawing has been an important part of their journeys. A drawing can capture many different aspects of a building from stylistic elements to various construction techniques used, spatial and formal arrangement of spaces etc. However it would be hard to claim that a building can be described fully as an object in relation to the rest of the world.

Given the limited capacity of a drawing to fully describe a building, what would be the potential of approaching the subject from the opposite direction –that of Evliye Çelebi– to freely re-imagine the history, programme and formal organisation of landmarks in Venice and creating a visual travelogue?