The paper illustrates the research carried out by the author at the School of Architecture of Bari on the form of contemporary city, with particular reference to the Mediterranean city, and its crisis. Against the indifferent continuity of the urban sprawl, against its "amorphous" and unlimited condition, the research proposes and explores a new order founded on the idea of "città per parti", theorized by Aldo Rossi and revised by O. M. Ungers in the proposal for the reconstruction of the city of Berlin (1977). In this project, called The cities within the city, the city of Berlin is assumed as a laboratory for experimenting the idea of "city as archipelago", where the "islands" are the unitary and recognizable parts of the city (neighborhoods and monumental areas) and the "sea" are the green spaces of nature, which have the role to confer a new upper unity to the city. This metaphor expresses an idea of city that seems to correspond not only to the morphological conditions of the contemporary city but also to our aspiration to assume the green spaces of nature as the new collective places of the city. It contains the two interpretative keys for the solution of the problems of form of our large "formless" cities: the recognition of the polycentric character of the contemporary city and the role of the "vacuum" as space of relation between its built parts. It expresses a settlement principle which is based on the unity, the autonomy and the formal identity of the "islands" as well as on the concept of nature as "context" of the urban construction. The open and "dilated" spaces of the nature become the places through which the relation between the urban "islands" is established. The city is thus conceived as an "open" and "discontinuous" system, constituted by many "cities" and unified by the empty spaces of the nature which hold the new public places. In the light of this principle, the urban voids within the contemporary city (remaining rural areas or brownfield sites) represent an occasion for rethinking the form of the city, a "resource" for the formal individuation of the preexisting and new "islands" of the "city-nature". They should never be intended as residual areas to be occupied and "clog", according to the logic of the expansion like wildfire. These unbuilt areas, whose position is often not casual, should be transformed into "green intervals" necessary to individuate the parts of the city, corresponding to its "centers", and to confer a new unity to the city itself. On the other hand, the settlement principle of the "urban islands", constitutively founded on the discontinuity and "finiteness" of the built parts, presents the problem of the individuation of the "island" as a unit of the urban construction. Therefore, a crucial step of the research is the definition of the form of the settlement units. This step poses two problems: the first related to the definition of the building types of the unit as well as of the urban spaces within it; the second related to the reciprocal disposition of the units in the void space of the nature. In the paper these specific problems, as well as the theoretical approach synthesized here, are dealt with through both the illustration of some important historical and modern paradigms and the presentation of some urban projects elaborated by the author in different contexts (design competitions and didactic workshops).

Discontinuous polycentric city vs continuous sprawled city. The urban voids as "resource" for the form of the city of our time

Defilippis, Francesco
2013

Abstract

The paper illustrates the research carried out by the author at the School of Architecture of Bari on the form of contemporary city, with particular reference to the Mediterranean city, and its crisis. Against the indifferent continuity of the urban sprawl, against its "amorphous" and unlimited condition, the research proposes and explores a new order founded on the idea of "città per parti", theorized by Aldo Rossi and revised by O. M. Ungers in the proposal for the reconstruction of the city of Berlin (1977). In this project, called The cities within the city, the city of Berlin is assumed as a laboratory for experimenting the idea of "city as archipelago", where the "islands" are the unitary and recognizable parts of the city (neighborhoods and monumental areas) and the "sea" are the green spaces of nature, which have the role to confer a new upper unity to the city. This metaphor expresses an idea of city that seems to correspond not only to the morphological conditions of the contemporary city but also to our aspiration to assume the green spaces of nature as the new collective places of the city. It contains the two interpretative keys for the solution of the problems of form of our large "formless" cities: the recognition of the polycentric character of the contemporary city and the role of the "vacuum" as space of relation between its built parts. It expresses a settlement principle which is based on the unity, the autonomy and the formal identity of the "islands" as well as on the concept of nature as "context" of the urban construction. The open and "dilated" spaces of the nature become the places through which the relation between the urban "islands" is established. The city is thus conceived as an "open" and "discontinuous" system, constituted by many "cities" and unified by the empty spaces of the nature which hold the new public places. In the light of this principle, the urban voids within the contemporary city (remaining rural areas or brownfield sites) represent an occasion for rethinking the form of the city, a "resource" for the formal individuation of the preexisting and new "islands" of the "city-nature". They should never be intended as residual areas to be occupied and "clog", according to the logic of the expansion like wildfire. These unbuilt areas, whose position is often not casual, should be transformed into "green intervals" necessary to individuate the parts of the city, corresponding to its "centers", and to confer a new unity to the city itself. On the other hand, the settlement principle of the "urban islands", constitutively founded on the discontinuity and "finiteness" of the built parts, presents the problem of the individuation of the "island" as a unit of the urban construction. Therefore, a crucial step of the research is the definition of the form of the settlement units. This step poses two problems: the first related to the definition of the building types of the unit as well as of the urban spaces within it; the second related to the reciprocal disposition of the units in the void space of the nature. In the paper these specific problems, as well as the theoretical approach synthesized here, are dealt with through both the illustration of some important historical and modern paradigms and the presentation of some urban projects elaborated by the author in different contexts (design competitions and didactic workshops).
Changing cities. Spatial, morphological, formal & socio-economic dimensions
978-960-6865-65-7
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11589/16440
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