Elise Francis: Santuario alle Edicole Votive
Country/City: San Fernando, Trinidad
University: Florida International University
About You: My earliest exposure to architecture was a vernacular Caribbean approach to the basic need for shelter and means of living. I was born and raised on the island of Trinidad.
I moved to Miami, Florida to pursue a degree in architecture. A new world of contemporary design and technology opened up for me, allowing me to experiment with various drawing media, modeling techniques, and new ways of thinking about architecture and the built environment at a conceptual level.
I lived and studied in Genoa, Italy whilst completing my Master of Architecture Degree. Studying in Europe allowed me to test ideas about the relationship between old (sometimes ancient) contexts, and contemporary architectural interventions. I was able to observe and experience ways of operating in urban space that were completely new to me. Traveling in Europe was akin to a pilgrimage to important architectural precedents.
The lessons I have learned through sketching and photographing important architectural projects has been invaluable to my growth and development as a designer.
My next endeavor will be to integrate these lessons and observations into a professional practice of architecture.
Santuario alle Edicole Votive
Project Description: “The ... city is a tale of places overlapping, interlocking and huddled together, flights of steps, lanes, terraces, pergolas, gazebos, cloisters, gates, soaring buildings, towers, elevators, and lookout points.”
– V. Galdi
Secret Genoa waits patiently to be discovered. Over an eight-month period I have endeavored to explore Genoa’s well-kept (and sometimes unkempt) treasures. My design methodology is an architectural form of narrative collage inspired by the writing of Italo Calvino and Bruno Schulz. The city is understood as a dense space of intertwined and overlapping stories that can be (re)written using alternative narratives that reveal essential qualities of the city without relying on what may be considered strictly factual.
Edicole Votive are the catalyst for this story, architectural constructions that are embedded within or attached to facades of buildings, usually composed of two columns and a pediment, often hosting a figure within an apsidal space.
They are typically located above eye-level, visible to passers-by from afar, but difficult to investigate at close proximity. Edicole Votive act as a portal to another realm, a potential space of connection between the sacred and the mundane.
The “Shrine to the Edicole Votive” imagines a recently abandoned and newly discovered space in which a fictional character, the Caretaker of the Edicole Votive, may have lived and worked. It is simultaneously a composition of and an erosion of large-scale, edicola-type spaces that allows the visitor to explore the mystery of the inaccessible spaces within edicole votive. At the same time, partially restored edicole are displayed within the space as a tribute to the work of the Caretaker who is no longer present.
The Shrine to the Edicole Votive evokes the material, light, and spatial qualities of the spaces within edicole votive. It is composed using a spatial and material collage technique drawn from a library of photographic and sketching studies overlaid on the collected memories of my experiences discovering hidden Genoa and my architectural pilgrimage in Europe.
Instagram Username: @elisemfrancis