Is there a term for architectural scars?
October 15, 2015 7:49 AM   Subscribe

Years ago I ran across a term for the scars left behind on buildings by previously existing details or even other connected buildings. The line of a former wall, a connected roofline, that sort of thing. As time will do, the years have erased the term from my memory. I'm working on a small documentary project involving those scars, and would love to use the name . . . Any ideas what that term might have been? Thanks!
posted by pt68 to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
posted by HeroZero at 8:00 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

In restoration work I've heard it called "ghosting". I'd definitely say "the ghost of the roofline from the building that used to be next door" or "the ghost of the sill plate can still be seen".
posted by Tchad at 8:26 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

"Ghost buildings" definitely seems popular as a term.
posted by jaguar at 8:36 AM on October 15, 2015

posted by zamboni at 8:55 AM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]

Ghosting is the term we used in the preservation world.
posted by stormygrey at 9:30 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm an architectural historian and I don't have anything to add here, other than that 'Thomassons' is fantastic and 'palimpsest' is an excellent and flexible concept that is used quite broadly in our field, often when referring to landscape features. We use 'ghosts' most often though, generally as a shorthand for a much more specific description of the feature.

On preview, what stormygrey said. HP nerds unite!
posted by GodricVT at 9:33 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

I love Thomassons and Akasegawa Gempei was a fascinating person. But ghosts seems better since you are looking at "scars". Thomassons have to be maintained. But the "Atom Bomb" type thomasson where the shadow of demolished building is built in and maintained might interest you.
posted by Gotanda at 5:33 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I'd not come across that application for palimpsest before, though i love any excuse to use that word . . . ghosting had occurred to me from the use in the sign world . . . and Thomasson is a cool revelation; I want to look further in Akasegawa Gempei's life and work.
I still don't know what the term was I came across (it may have been a niche term that had its vogue and disappeared . . . pretty sure it was in an essay or article . . .), but great food for thought.
posted by pt68 at 8:25 AM on October 16, 2015

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