BEFORE THE EARTHQUAKE: RECONSTRUCTION AND PRESENTATION OF LOST SITES AND BUILDINGS
Keywords: Messina, Earthquake, Photographic archives, Perspective restitution, 3D Reconstruction, Panoramic images
Abstract. The paper presents the results of a research aiming at proving the efficacy of perspective restitution from photos for the reconstruction of buildings and sites that disappeared in the past century. The case study is the town of Messina, sited at the north-eastern corner of Sicily (Italy), facing the homonymous strait that divides Sicily from the Italian peninsula; in 1908 Messina and Reggio Calabria, at the opposite side of the strait, were levelled to the ground by a powerful earthquake, followed by a tsunami.
No building or monument survived the destruction: a new town with the same name took the site of Messina. Except for few strongly reshaped buildings, the memory of the streets and monuments of the destroyed town is today kept by some photos, taken by the end of the XIX century by professional photographers.
The experimentation on Messina aims at a twofold purpose: test the reliability and usability of perspective restitution for the reconstruction of lost buildings and urban sites; use photogrammetric tools for the recontextualization of architectural elements (cornices, capitals, portals, corbels) that once belonged to a destroyed building and are today exhibited in Museums.
Such process allows the verification of the scale of the reconstructed building and opens new forms of presentation of Historical heritage: in this study panoramic images have been used to display the building ‘attached’ to the fragment during the visit at the museum and to present, on site, the building in its original location with the fragments repositioned.
The destruction and fall of Messina strictly echoes the destiny of many other towns in Europe; the research aims therefore at showing the potentials of perspective restitution and the usability of this technique in many similar contexts.