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Embodied Imaginings: From Piranesi's Carceri to Digital – Bridging 18th-Century Imagery with Contemporary Architectural Drawing Techniques


Students Status

Danitza Canales

BArch Second year



Universidad Austral de Chile


Second Semester


Archicad and Illustrator

In the pursuit of cultivating students' adeptness in utilizing digital tools for bidimensional and tridimensional architectural drawings, this semester's exercise delved into the intricate world of Giovanni Battista Piranesi's 'Imaginary Prisons'. The course began with a comprehensive analysis of Piranesi as an architect, subsequently transitioning into his prowess as a draftsman. Through this, students immersed themselves in the 18th-century architectural milieu, discerning and drawing parallels between the architectural styles and representational techniques of that period.

Participants engaged in meticulous studies of Piranesi's engravings, embarking on an imaginative journey to extrapolate the entirety of the spaces depicted. Their challenge lay in formulating architectural models and drawings based on projects that either inspired Piranesi or bore thematic semblances to his work. Among these inspirational projects were the 'Tombs of Hadrian' (1756), Boullee's 'Cenotaph for Sir Isaac Newton' (1784), Jeremy Bentham's 'Panopticon' (1791), and 'Fuga Albergo dei Poveri' in Naples (1749). Furthermore, to accentuate the continuum of inspiration, students were introduced to a range of artworks and representations that drew from Piranesi's oeuvre. This spectrum included Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis', Goya's 'Caprichos', the mathematical intricacies of M.C. Escher, and contemporary references from the 'Harry Potter' movies and books. For the exercise's culmination, student groups were assigned specific Piranesi engravings. They were tasked with generating a series of architectural drawings using software platforms like ArchiCAD and Illustrator, converging their newly acquired knowledge with digital representation techniques.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Circus of Mars with Neighboring Monuments Viewed at the Via Appia, Rome, Italy, 1756

Isaac Alarcón, Sebastián Alderete, Ignacio Alvarado, Angélica Álvarez, Araceli Antipa, Heros Caro, Sofía Carrasco, Monserrat Cerda, Roberto Díaz, Ayline Faúndez

The Giant Wheel, 1761, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Italian, 1720–1778

Marcos Ojeda, Belén Paillamilla, Belén Pardo, Daniela Peña, Catalina Pérez, Sofia Pizarro, Catalina Prieto

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Veduta interna della Stanza contigua alla Camera sepolcrale de Liberti e Servi, ec della Famiglia Augusto, ca. 1750s,

Marcos Ojeda, Belén Paillamilla, Belén Pardo, Daniela Peña, Catalina Pérez, Sofia Pizarro, Catalina Prieto

The Pier with Chains, 1749-1760. Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Italian, 1720–1778

Antonia Saldías Cortés Javiera Salinas González Isidora Salinas Salinas Alan Serón Barría Pollet Simao Mignolet Sofía Villagra Aliaga Catalina Villarroel Calisto Karla Yáñez Sánchez Pamela Zambrano Hidalgo Valentina Zárate Moncada