The shape of the Earthly Paradise
by MAURA MANTELLI
The word paradise comes from the Greek “paràdeisos” and literally means “garden” . In the imagination it is a place where the world opens up and becomes luxuriant, full of life, with the presence of flora, fauna and a lot of water. This depiction is the perfect description of Atlantis , the island surrounded by water and crossed by countless rivers that Plato describes for the first time in the dialogues of Timaeus and Critias written around 360 BC.
Atlantis disappeared one day, but those who managed to escape that catastrophe could continue to narrate its beauty. Over time that beauty turned into myth . Atlantis thus became a land of legend, reserved for gods, heroes and holy souls. An unreal land was born from what was once a real, rich and concrete land, as much as the one on which we rest our feet today.
The beginnings of our existence are there, in the remote and faded memory of our ancestors, not yet faded. A memory that has always seen beauty as the object of our interest and aesthetics as a harmonic science of designing well .
For architecture, and therefore for built spaces and nature, it could be said - to paraphrase Stendhal - that beauty is nothing but a promise of happiness, a prelude to the ability to imagine happy and harmonious spaces. Spaces of life born from infinite variations, in the great majority from the forms of nature and from mathematical, symmetrical, asymmetrical schemes that regulate their coexistence. Architecture has always been the one that has generated a new Atlantis in our world, in which man and nature are at the center of a harmonious paradise of sign and meaning.
The imaginary map of the island of Atlantis by Athanasius Kircher contained in his "Mundus Subterraneus" of 1625.