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The digitally reconstructed architectural object in the age of post-orthography

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2020-8
Beril, Önalan
In his much-quoted essay The Work of Art In The Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin discusses that original artworks have an inherent aura and emphasizes the importance of material authenticity, arguing that mechanical reproduction leads to the loss of that auratic and iconic qualities. Within this context of the materiality argument that fails to consider the values that might emerge as a result of the digital technology of reproduction, it is difficult to redefine the digitally reconstructed object as a legitimate source of knowledge. In the face of such arguments, this study aims to demonstrate the potential for a remanifestation of authenticity in architecture through the implementation of contemporary digital technologies of reproduction. From this perspective, it is suggested that the authenticity of the architectural reproductions can be preserved along its trajectory through time and space by the redefinition of the nature of its material relations. The study argues that architectural reproductions are essential for the original to survive beyond the conditions of its material presence since all prospective architecture originates from the architectures past, and the profession of architecture as a cumulative form of knowledge relies on the making of copies. It is further discussed that as an act of inheritance itself, the act of drawing as the fundamental method of architectural reproduction and the orthographic consciousness as the preconceptual shape space of architectural design, are being reinscribed by the logic of real-time and electronic interfaces in our present era of post-orthography as heralded by John May. In order to illustrate the critical role of digital reconstruction technologies in the field of architecture, the photogrammetry method will be employed to partially reconstruct the case study buildings in a specific space and time, resulting in 3D interactive models that reveal the existent texture, color, patina, and use.