The Book of Fortresses

Ed Triplett


2017-18

The aim of this project is to spatially reconstruct an exceptional architectural source from early modern Portugal called the “Livro das Fortalezas” (Book of Fortresses). This bound volume was created by a Portuguese squire named Duarte de Armas in 1510. It includes a folio of perspective drawings from two vantage-points of over 50 castles on the border between the kingdoms of Portugal and Spain and a second folio of measured plans for each site. With the assistance of student researchers, the book will be reconstructed as a data-rich, three-dimensional map. Sub-projects will include 3D models of the fortresses based on Duarte de Armas’ plans and drawings, a database identifying architectural features and scenes from daily life in the drawings, and GIS layers designed to study how the castles formed a fortified chain on the border with Spain. Future plans include a photogrammetric analysis of the sites in order to determine with greater precision where Duarte de Armas had to be standing when he drew the perspectival drawings, how accurate he was in terms of perspective, scale and detail, and how these castles and towns have changed since 1510.

Paris of Waters

Sara Galletti

Spring 2014 - present

Paris of Waters is a research project that focuses on the impact of water on the demographic, social, architectural, and urban development of the city of Paris through time. The project is concerned with water in a wide array of forms—as resource, as commodity, as means of transportation, as funnel for the city’s waste, and as cause of disaster and death—and with making it visible as a powerful agent of urban change. Paris of Waters challenges traditional urban history narratives—which tend to focus on design, monumentality, and the stylistic features of the built environment—by highlighting the role of infrastructure, underground works, and hydraulic management and engineering as defining elements of a city’s development and history.

Statues Speak

Faculty Advisors: Elizabeth Baltes, Coastal Carolina University; Sheila Dillon, Duke University

Undergraduate Fellows: Jessica Williams, Christy Kuesel, Darrah Panzarella, Mary Kate Weggeland


2015-2017

Statues are all around us, but we often walk past them without reflecting on who or what they represent. Once shiny new landmarks in the built environment, statues can become invisible over time. In our hurry to get from one place to another, we do not stop to read the inscriptions that often tell us why the statue was set up. In any case, the information given on the statue base is only part of the story. Statues can “speak” to us in many ways, but what if we could actually give them a voice? What would they want to tell us about themselves?

This project, a collaboration between undergraduate students and faculty at Duke University and Coastal Carolina University, aims to help statues speak, to help them tell their own stories. By combining historical research with mobile and web technologies, we will present the “autobiographies” of the statues on Duke’s campus, exploring how they fit into the fabric of Duke’s history and the long-standing practice of setting up honorific portrait statues.