SIENA10 | Christopher Tarantino – Siena and Breaching the Wall – Territory encompassing Porta Fontebranda, Porta Laterina, and Porta S. Marco

12 09 2010

Name: Christopher Tarantino

Project: Document Siena Territory through a contemporary lens of cognition

Assignment: Minding / Breaching the Wall


SIENA10 | Gruppo Parkour Territories Fonti di Follonica

2 09 2010

GROUP NAME: Dazed & Confused
GROUP PROJECT: SIENA10 | Gruppo Parkour Territories Fonti di Follonica
GROUP MEMBERS: Moe Elsayed, Tim Madrid, Edwin Arbito, Caio Moretti
ASSIGNMENT:  Minding the Wall

Interactive Presentations

Two journeys searching for the Fonti di Follonica revealed a hidden structure overcome by foliage.  The manner in which it was discovered is interesting in that there remains a steady flow of water from the fountain which served as one of the main metaphorical bread crumbs that eventually lead us to Fonte di Follonica.  Clearly abandoned for years, the fountain still retains a steady supply of water received from the old waterways of Siena.

While the fountain lies within the confines of the current wall of Siena, there are remnants of additions that suggested the moving of the perimeter outward from the center.  Therefore, there are layers within the city which gradually emanates toward the periphery and into the valley of the fountain.

The fountain lies within the valley between the two ridges along the eastern perimeter of the city.  The ridges serve as a natural topographical barrier which is further reiterated by the modern apartments which places its rear exit ramps toward the ridge.  The current wall possesses several military stations to guard the most vulnerable locations of the city.  Upon initial observation, the valley in which the fountain lies seems to have been left barren, perhaps serving as an initial buffer zone prior to reaching the city.


barrier/militarization of Siena

city/urban fabric, original wall of interior thresholds

Upon further research, the first record of the fountain’s existence was found in a document of 1226.  The wall was built along the exterior of the wall and quickly fell out of use due to more convenient locations within the center of the city.  Periphery fountains, particularly those found on lower grounds, were typically used as overflow stations reserved for animal watering and washing clothes to avoid pollution and contamination for human use.  Fonti di Follonica seems to differ in that there are several barriers creating different watering stations which may suggest a need to separate use within the fountain.


Fonte d’Ovile


Final Layer Model

SIENA10 | Yarn Theory

1 09 2010

GROUP MEMBERS: Shannon Hohlbein, Matt Holdsworth, Brad Kern, Neil Shah, Ian Siegel
ASSIGNMENT: SIENA10 minding the wall

Our first walk through the area surrounding Porte Ovile took us to Fonte Ovile, a fountain built to serve the community who lived in the river valley just outside the Sienese wall. To reach the fountain, we walked down the steep slope of Via Valderozzi, through Porte Ovile, and down a staircase into the valley to the base of the fountain.

We were intrigued that there were three points of entry into the city; locations at which one could breach the wall:

We observed that different users tended to utilize each opening: tourists tended to use the escalator entrance, whereas locals in automobiles tended to utilize the other two openings. This hypothesis led to a mapping investigation to confirm our predictions.

From the data we collected, it is safe to say that the escalator is a primary tourist entrance into the city. We had already known that the escalator is convenient for tourists arriving by car because there was a parking garage at the base of the entrance, but during our investigation we observed that at the base of the wall was a major stop for tour buses; whose passengers frequently use the escalator throughout the day.

We also took a closer look at the vehicular traffic patterns of Porte Ovile and the nearby opening in the wall. Porte Ovile is a one-way entrance into the city—no vehicles exit through the gate. After counting the total traffic and comparing numbers, we deduced that the total number of vehicular entries from those two points is comparable to the total number of vehicles which exit: drivers who enter through Porte Ovile likely exit the city through the wall opening.

This led us to question: will Porte Ovile die as the city continues to limit vehicular traffic?

With this question in mind we decided to create a temporary installation as a type of experiment to test whether pedestrians could be drawn to the area around Fonte Ovile and Porta Ovile.  Our experiment consisted of laying yarn down on the ground from three different starting points, all leading into the Fonte Ovile.  To stimulate interest of locals as well, we used yarn that was the same color as the contrada that it passed through.  Our thought was that if something as simple and temporary as yarn on the ground could attract users through Porte Ovile, then a more permanent installation could ensure the life of the gate beyond vehicular traffic.

Through our experiment we learned that our hypothesis was correct and that pedestrians were attracted by the string and we observed several people follow it all the way to the fountain.

Our proposal for a more permanent intervention could consist of relocating the tourist bus stop closer to Porte Ovile and within sight of Fonte Ovile, which would create an awareness of their existence and could attract them to visit these monuments. We would also propose an alternate path with a less intimidating slope up to the primary tourist streets that would take visitors past Fonte Nuova, another potential tourist monument.

The way that we chose to represent our project and installation in studio was to hang our colored yarn from three starting points, each representing the starting point in Siena, and having them all meet at our presentation spot.  We hung various pictures from the yarn of our experience creating our installation, and of users experiencing it.

SIENA10 minding the wall PROJECTS / gruppo bocce/ Porta Giustizia Final Review

18 08 2010

GROUP NAME: gruppo bocce      

GROUP PROJECT: SIENA10 minding the wall PROJECTS      

GROUP MEMBERS: Cara Constantino, Jill DeBari, Jennifer Mortensen, Joseph Roque      

ASSIGNMENT: Porta Giustizia final review      

 A primary task was revising the Siena map to accurately portray our territory. As an area of the city seemingly considered a “void,” it has not been given the same precision as other, more central and traveled neighborhoods of Siena have in its representation on the map. We corrected that.      

New” Map of Siena:  The numbers on the map correspond with the numbers of the pages below      


In our research and analysis, after struggling to intervene in this territory and solve something, came to the conclusion that this place is beautifully incomplete. Its charm and success lies in its sense of community, small but strong. The people who spend time here understand it for what it is, a piece of Siena void of tourists and noise, but certainly not void of community.  So, instead of figuring out a way to enhance the territory, we decided to credit it. We made a series of splices, which could be read in two directions: 1. the more literal landscape seen as we moved from the center of the city outward to the edges of the territory, and 2. the “path” we took in studying this territory and its relationship to the dense city (drawings, diagrams, etc). So the product can be read from both sides, each telling a different story.      

Each page below features a front and a back:      

  •  FRONT:  left side column, represents a section in watercolor to convey our sense of experience as we moved through the valley towards the wall. 
  • BACK: right side column, holds the diagrams, sketches and maps that gruppo bocce created as we went through the experience of understanding the valley.

1.  Loggia della Mercato      


2.  Passage out to the Campo      


3.  Il Campo and Palazzo Publico      


4.  Via di Porta Giustizia      


5.  Split in the terrain      


6.  Piazza Mercato      


7.  Edge of the valley      


8.  Down the stairs      


9.  Laundry House      


10.  At grade with the Laundry House      


11.  Begining to see the greener side of Siena      


12.  The last of the built enviroment      


13.  Gate to the valley, but not Porta Giustizia      


14.  Walkway lined with kitchen gardens.      


15.  Understanding the valley as a community.      


16.  Completely isolated from the built world of Siena.      


17.  The valley is a place of repose.      


18.  The Wall.  The only remains for Porta Giustizia.      


19.  Beyond the wall.      


We hung these temporal episodic moments over a topography model of the landscape on which we spent so much time, helping to make our story even more complete. The undulations in the landscape is yet another piece that is missing from the maps of Siena, and one that creates an identity for the territory around Porta Giustizia.      

Side 1, Strung


Side 2, Strung


The space we used to present our stories was lined with wildlife from the territory we studied. This was done not only to portray the importance of agriculture to the area around Porta Giustizia, but also to frame it and give the territory a reverence which we developed for it over our time in Siena. We wanted to show our respect and represent it in a manner in which it likely has never been portrayed, but one it is truly worthy of.      

Setting Up


View from Behind Plants









Perhaps the most important part of our project is its transience. After displaying our stories, they can be dismantled and (using the same string which held them in position along the topo) folded into a compact booklet, which we can take with us back to New Jersey. The topography model, like the real, existing landscape, remain in Siena, for others to study and learn from.     


The final component was an offering to the community which has formed in our territory. Using the basic outline of the territory, we made a series of diagrammatic plates, each relaying something we uncovered from studying the territory. We wanted to give these people something that showed that we too understand the value of this area.      

Our Offering


Some images of our presentation:      

After Distributing the Revised Map


Preparing the Gift for the Community



Cutting the pages free from the display.


Travel book complied


SIENA10 | Porta Giustizia 2

6 08 2010






Path 1: Directly Through the Valley

SIENA10 | Porta Guistizia 1

6 08 2010

GROUP NAME: gruppo bocce


GROUP MEMBERS: cara constantino, jill debari, jennifer mortensen, joseph roque

ASSIGNMENT:  initial posting

Finding our way to Porta Giustizia….

… textures are used as locators…

… maps are created to document and understand the territory…

…how does one breach the wall…

…multiple paths …

…documenting views, movement and sensation…

…always keeping in mind the city around us…


6 08 2010

GROUP NAME: Spaziale
GROUP MEMBER: Joann Lui, RJ Wells, Shawntel Young, Adam Lasota, David Florez
ASSIGNMENT: Siena 10 Minding the Wall

Entering Siena…

When we thought we have fled from the confines of the Santa Maria della Pieta complex, we came to a city within a wall – Siena. A city where urban growth has been contained inside the wall. But there is one special condition where the wall is opened and the city sprawled out. Our group (newly named) SPAZIALE is studying this condition starting from the heart of the city to its boundary which has been breached and developed years prior; the heart being the Terzi and the boundary being the Fortezza di Sant Barbara.


Siena has a strong sense of urban organization and development. The most prominent is its division of three segments constituted by its three major arteries: Via di Citta, Via Banchi di Sotto, and Banchi di Sopra. The Terzi is often referred to as Siena’s belly-button and holds high importance for our departure in mapping.

Fortezza di S. Barbara…

The Fortezza di S. Barbara is located on the northwest of Siena, where an urban sprawl had been extending outwards through this opening. The heart of commerce and trade still very much remained within the wall and around the Terzi, but the area outside the wall has become mainly residential development.

Preliminary Mapping…

In order to study both the urban and suburban area, we took a walk around the city and mapped along the way.


The path we took goes from the Terzi around the Campo to south side of the Stadium into the residential area. Then we entered back in the wall along the north side of the stadium to the Terzi.


Along the path, we found nodes that were significant from the commercial to the residential areas, ranging from piazzas to intersections to public stairs.


Out of the hilly nature of Siena, the topography changes along our journey significantly.


General public transportation along the path.


Being the heart of the city, the area around the Terzi is mainly commercial while the area outside the wall is dense with residential buildings.

Path Interpretation…

Learning from our general mapping exercise, we did a series of diagrams depicting the characteristics that we see on our trip.

…Live Activity

The area around the Terzi and the Campo, being the main attraction of Siena, is full of tourists and activities, moving along to the Fortezza is calmer and less dense.


The signage along the route clearly shows the automobile nature of the suburb. All the words written in boxes are signs that are related to cars, and those around the Terzi are all stores for pedestrian shopping.


The obvious change in material is from the famous cobble stone that Italy is well known for to the asphalt in the residential area.

…Major Piazzas

As we were walking towards the Fortezza, we found this very interesting phenomenon: all the piazzas, starting from Il Campo, gets larger in size and at the end the Fortezza is the largest of all.

…Piazza and Routes

Further looking at the piazzas, we noticed that the routes are subservient to the piazzas. The roads act as connection from one piazza to the next but then they also becomes the public space when one meets a piazza. On the other hand, the public space is the road itself.

…Public space + transitional space

We believe that the connections are as important as the destinations, so beside from doing drawings in the piazzas, we recorded videos from the transitional spaces between the main public spaces.


Our focus is on the conditions of:

…Public and transional spaces…

from the Heart of the City to its Outer Boundary…

during normal and market days.

Means of Analysis…

After the different studies, we came up with 4 main ideas about Siena:


Experience of each public space is different and worth noticing. Each piazza has its own unique characteristics that stimuli people differently. Thus, the brain wave deflects more in bigger open space, and less in the connecting roads.


The route we took from the Terze to the Fortezza introduced several Piazzas along the way. Initially we viewed the route as a single artery from the Terze to the Fortezza but we later concluded the entire route consists of attractors (the piazzas), segmenting the route into several micro connectors. In essence, the entire path becomes subservient to the Piazzas, giving emphasis to the piazza, not the connections, like a chain.

…Material Influences

Throughout our route, we came across several spaces that varied in form and material. Being architects, we tend to assess spaces via physical form firstly and materiality secondly. Our study in material isolation for multiple instances within the urban context allows us to compare the successful nature of a space and its material characteristics, and more importantly, people’s reaction to the material.

…Suburban Sprawl

We see the city of Siena as a pupil, confined and internal, but from years to years, suburban sprawl out of the wall, resulting in many residential houses outside the wall, especially around the Fortezza.


In order to further understand each public space, we went on a 60-second sketches exercise. In each piazza, we did a quick sketch within a min (30 seconds for sketching out the section and background; 30 seconds for highlighting our idea on the section). On top of that, we made collages to show each of our 4 ideas in the space.


We all experience the city differently. In each experience, we believe that cultural spirit is as important as the physical space. Thus, we try to portrait the cultural symbol of each space in the collages  (wedding, street performance, fruit stand, church, tree, fountain)  by enlarging and overlaying the specific image and a word or two that describe the experience of the space.

Piazza Del Campo…
…radial movement

Piazza Tolomei…
…column division

Piazza Salimbeni…
…barrier layers

Piazza de San Dominico…
…entry spectacle

Fontana di Fortezza…
…central convergence

Piazza Quattro Novembre…
…transitional context


The connection from the piazza to the surrounding urban fabric is as essential as the space itself. We want to show it through the collages by highlighting each main corridor/street.

Piazza del Campo…

Piazza Tolomei…

Piazza Salambeni…

Piazza de San Domenico…

Fontana di Fortezza…
…fortezza / suburban

Piazza Quattro Novembre…
…urban / suburban

…Material Influences

Bricks, Bricks, Bricks…The city of Siena is full of masonry. The combination of different kind of masonry and other materials, such as grass and water, gives each piazza an unique atmosphere, some more inviting than the other.

Piazza del Campo…

Piazza Tolomei…

Piazza Salimbeni…

Piazza de San Domenico…

Fortana di Fortezza…

Piazza Quattro Novembre…

…Suburban Sprawl

The suburban growth only occurs at the last two spaces that we visited. The main characteristic of suburb is very evident in these spaces – automobile.

Fortana di Fortezza…
…residential sprawl

Piazza Quattro Novembre…
…automotive sprawl

Transitional Spaces…

…Between Piazza del Campo and Piazza Tolomei

normal day…

market day…

…between Piazza Tolomei and Piazza Salimbeni

normal day…

market day…

…between Piazza Salimbeni and Piazza de San Dominico

normal day…

market day…

…Between Piazza de San Dominico and Fontana di Fortezza

normal day…

market day…

…Between Fontana di Fortezza and Piazza Quattro Novembre

normal day…

market day…


normal day…

market day…

Final Installation…


…Final Review


SIENA10 | Fonti di Pescaia. [Territory]

5 08 2010


Please click here for FINAL PRESENTATION

Initial Documentation:

Site Plan:

1226: Fish Supply to Siena

La Fonti di Pescaia:

Impression Board:

Figure Ground:

Three urban fabric typologies [medieval, 19C, early 20C]:


Street Map:

Related Geometry:


Through the Contradas:

Sectional cuts:

1 [roof garden]

2. [recreational park]

3 [community garden]

Spaces/ Uses:

Elevation Changes:

Micro/Macro Topography:

Procession to Time:

SIENA10 | Gruppo Satellite_Porte Ovile Ravacciano

5 08 2010

The site we have to map is Porte Ovile, Fonte Ovile, and the Jewish neighborhood of Ravacciano.

Traveled Path

Site Plan

Site Section

The following images represent our concepts of our neighborhood and gate mapping:


Over the Wall

Under the Wall


Entry Conditions

Threshold and Shift

Changing Landscape