ARQ, n. 58 En planta / Plan view, Santiago, december, 2004, p. 26.


Building Footprint

Eduardo Sacriste

In an age dominated by a culture of images when architectural photography and rendering have become the media of choice, we take a look back at the ground plan. A genuine footprint of a building on its site, the ground plan contains many of the key aspects of a project, at once a means of representation, an architect’s design tool, and a layout and instruction pattern for the builder. Though the ground plan is invisible to the inhabitant, it determines with precision the quality of the spaces we inhabit.
Without the photos, we see the plan view once again.
Key words: Architectural ground plans, architectural drawings, representation, layouts, surveys.

The Hypostyle Hall, Karnak, Egypt
This plan corresponds to what was the great hall of the imperial god Ammon. Standing on the east bank of the Nile in the ancient city of Thebes, which is called Luxor today, the area of this hall is one third of that of St. Peter’s of Rome. The great Hypostyle Hall was built by the Pharaohs Seti I and Rameses II in the period lasting from 1312 to 1275 B.C. and it was virtually finished during the Twentieth Dynasty. It was constructed of brownish-red sandstone and all the wall surfaces are practically covered with bas-reliefs which originally had polychromatic finishes.
This hall was set between the pylon of Amenophis III, which stands on the east, and that of Rameses I, which stands on the west. The former has been shown in the plan only up to its axis of symmetry.
Plan: Luigi Cannina, L’architettura antica.
Re: Lange and Hirmer, Egypt, 1957.

The Hall of the Hundred Columns, Persepolis, Persia
This famous hall was built by Xerxes in the last years of his reign i.e. about 500 B.C. The terrace of the palace of Persepolis is situated in the plain of Merudacht, at the foot of a mountainous chain, into whose sides are sculptured the famous tombs of the Archaemenian Kings. This terrace is 1.552 ft long and 930 ft wide, and its height above the plain varies between 33 and 43 ft.
The walls of this hall were made of mud with a thick finishing of stone, which also forms the jambs, and lintels of the openings. This finishing was covered with bas-reliefs representing scenes of the court and of war. The slender stone columns were topped by double human-headed bull capitals of the same material. The beams of the flat roof were made of Lebanese cedar. According to Perrot and Chipiez the hall was illuminated in its central part by a certain difference in level in the roof. The intercolumnar space of the hall of Xerxes is appreciably less than of its predecessor, The Apadana of Darius.
Plan: E.F. Schmidt, Persepolis, The University of Chicago, The Oriental Institute Publications, 1956.
Re : Perrot and Chipiez, Histoire de l’art dans l’antiquité, Persia.
A.T. Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire.

Plans and Spanish and English texts from Sacriste, Eduardo; Building Footprints. Ed. Eudeba, Buenos Aires, 1960.