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The Duke in His Domain

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Matthew Ozga-Lawn


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The Duke Vespasiano Gonzaga (1621-1687) was a true renaissance man. A prince, soldier, poet, artist and architect, he lived amidst the emergent and unstable originso f the architectural discipline. He created through force of will the città ideale of Sabbioneta, a place that in conflating the military and civic gives insight into the militarised mindset that helped birth the discipline we recognise today. Sabbioneta is the result of this mindset: the Duke was free to explore his existential condition through the medium of architecture. One means he used to achieve this was a theatre he commissioned at the centre of Sabbioneta, designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi. The theatre was a space, housing a stage-set representation of the surrounding city, for the Duke to viscerally engage with the ideal, militarised world created around and through him. The paper will show how the duke and his domain, interacted with via the theatre space at Sabbioneta, can act as allegory for the architect in his studio space. The paper blurs agencies of the military and the architectural, with the designer’s role as viscerally engaged with and immersed within the design process discussed in this context.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ozga-Lawn M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Architecture & Education Journal

Year: 2014

Volume: 11

Issue: Nov 2014

Pages: 119-134

Online publication date: 01/06/2014

ISSN (electronic): 1646-6756

Publisher: LABART - Architectural Lab. Research Centre