Visibility

By Anderson, Michael P. | Antiquity, September 2002 | Go to article overview

Visibility


Anderson, Michael P., Antiquity


Whilst much as been written on the decoration and spatial significance of Roman houses (Wallace-Hadrill 1994; Clarke 1991), an in-depth analysis of visibility and visual effects has never been carried out. Visual aspects are particularly relevant to the explanation of the Roman atrium house which, unlike mosaics and hypocausts, did not spread to areas beyond peninsular Italy. This distribution is not simply one of centre versus periphery, since by the end of the 2nd century AD the atrium house had been entirely replaced by a new form--the peri-style house--even within Italy itself. The substitution must reflect a change in social values in the Roman Empire as well as the role of the house (domus) itself. Analysis of new aspects of the domus will explain the subtle changes in building emphasis that heralded this transition.

The analyses

The most immediately intuitive representation of visibility is the `viewshed', in which all possible views are traced from a single point (Hanson 1988). The logical extension of this idea for the analysis of architectural spaces is to create a viewshed for each space, allowing the `viewer' to walk freely within the space. This `maximum' viewshed presents the largest possible range of views from any one room (FIGURE 1). Unfortunately, this diagram is not terribly diagnostic because free motion means that the viewer can see the entirety of every adjacent room. Discussion of the limitations on or control of visibility is impossible.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

In their most simple form, rooms are either open or closed. The `open' form, or exedra, is a room with one completely exposed side. The `closed' form has walls on all sides with an opening. The differences between these forms can be characterized by how they limit visibility. An exedra will block visibility into it from either side, at an angle relative to the depth of the room.

A closed-room limits the visibility more than an exedra, but a viewer walking past an opening will gain a fairly complete impression of the contents of the room despite its `closed' opening. This is because his viewpoint pans across the majority of the internal space as he walks by (FIGURE 2). Even if the viewer's motion is limited so that he cannot get close to the opening (increasing [b.sub.1] to [b.sub.2] in FIGURE 2), the overall coverage of his visibility is not greatly reduced. Rather, the distance he must travel in order to achieve complete room coverage is increased (FIGURE 2). In neither case does the opening significantly limit the range of visibility from the outside. Visibility range is only truly reduced by the relative depth of the opening (e) to its width (d).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Visibility
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.