The Bath of the Architect Hippias

A student teaching project in winter semester 2018/19

Under the name of the Greek author Lucian, a praise of the architect Hippias has come down to us, who is praised for the construction of thermal baths. The unusually detailed description of the ancient baths names each room and its merits in the manner of a tour.

The sequence of rooms in the so-called ring type finds its best parallels in the thermae of the later 2nd century AD, especially in North Africa. However, it is disputed whether the thermae described existed at all. It does not matter, however, because the standard expectations of a visitor to the baths in the imperial era can be summarised here, wrapped up in the praise of the architect and his achievements. These are primarily directed towards "practicality, comfort, brightness, symmetry, adaptation to the terrain and the possibility of using it safely (apart from thieves)".

Accordingly, the project, which was carried out with students from the Georg August University of Göttingen in WiSe 2018/19, attempted to bring to life an ideal-typical thermal complex of the 2nd half of the 2nd century AD with the reconstruction of the Hippias Bath. The visualisation of the text source was only possible by analogy with existing baths. However, the students involved were able to achieve this transfer in a short time. Within the project week, it was possible to reconstruct the various rooms in Blender, an open source programme that the students had just learned and will use more often in the future. However, great importance was also attached to documenting the sources and learning processes for the benefit of the team and subsequent students. Thus, the goal of increasing the personal connection to the subject matter through own research, practical implementation and digital competence was achieved.

Participants were: Sven Anschütz, Armin Blaschek, Chiara Engesser, Laura Heynlein, Thorben Michael Langer, Martin Langner, Jonathan Jörg Lawrenz, Jule Meyer, Sarah Nöcker, Deborah Schlauch, Lena Johanna Schrötke, Leon Miles Schwope, Jaqueline Stock, Alexander Zeckey.