: number one :
1995 / PPC N ° 15
In the frame of Piano Progetto Città, the Adriatic City is part of a pluralist context, rich in the relationships of a past history whose memory is still alive in the architecture, landscapes, languages and customs of the city. We wonder about the reasons for an inexhaustible evanescence of the concept of the Adriatic city as a construction or recovery of identity. At the same time, two identities can be distinguished: that of an Adriatic structured by the relations of a few port cities and that, more current, widespread on the coast - a conurbation of land rather than sea. In this context and in the Adriatic landscape “the project […] has to deal with the liquid horizontality of the water and the endless mutations of its skies and its wind that gives rise to instability”.
W01 ° Y'MM "
The Mediterranean "principle"
The Mediterranean “principle” runs through the history of architecture and offers itself, even in distant lands, to give greater wealth and opportunities to forms of living. Adopting this principle means answering a question, sometimes unconscious, of a closer link between body, movement, individual and collective life and organization of space, as witnessed in many different realities of the Mediterranean centers. Ernesto Nathan Rogers wrote: “Aalto is not only the best Finnish architect, but paradoxically also the best Italian architect” One could say “Mediterranean architect”. The task that Aalto continuously takes on is that of joining / hybridizing two traditions: combining “urbanity” - an idea of the city variously declined in the different Mediterranean cultures - and the extended nature of the north; fence and clearing; the red brickwork and the green undulation of the land of Finland. This graft, this mixture of shades and expressive instruments, cold and warm, starting from the passionate gaze that Northern Europe always turns to the Mediterranean, makes these works our contemporary. It is not a question of romantic references or linguistic imitations. It is a question of proposing to a community a richer and more necessary spatial experience. The intention is to learn and translate some methods of extraordinary value in the construction of an urban organization capable of increasing the quality of living and coexistence. Alto will dedicate himself to building various new urban centers, new places of movement and encounter. For the center of Helsinki, the entire material - building, infrastructural, geomorphological - existing in the area, (interpreted almost as a single large complex artifact), undergoes a general transformation where all the elements, including roads and parking lots, are called to a new recognizable role in the construction of a city center that deals with the structure of the city in a dynamic relationship with nature. The void / clearing of Lake Toolo insinuates itself into the body of the city and becomes the reference for new measurements and scans of the urban space. As later here Steven Holl will remember and recall by building the double intertwining of voids of his Chiasma museum.Aalto still in Seinajoki designs the center not of a city, but of a region: not a void in the density of a forest of trees or houses , but a void among other voids: an open place on a horizontal open landscape. But precisely this peremptory affirmation of the sacred value of this special empty space makes it similar to the most ancient tradition of the great public places of the Mediterranean: this is precisely an active void, not designated by the unity of the perimeter but invested with the power of a great territorial magnet. able to attract different materials, building a colloquial and anti-monumental sequence. To the voids, full of meaning and indispensable in the structure of the Mediterranean "public city", is inextricably connected a particular modality of organization of the full. Perhaps summarized in the famous reading made by Walter Benjamin about Naples: Porosity - Naples as a porous city (1924 One way street). An image later taken by Ernst Bloch who extended it to all of Italy: he perceived it, in fact, porous and baroque, and very different from the classical composure that he expected. But this porosity was not for him the absence of form "rather a different form, deeper or at least such as not to exclude any element of chaos, as happens instead for classical art". The reference to Benjamin's reading is explicitly presented by the authors of one of some recent intervention projects on the existing, as in the UK in the project for the Donnybrook Quarter in London by Peter Barber Architects. Projects conducted on the basis of “anti-zoning” indications suggested by the Urban Task Force headed by Lord Rogers. If, alongside porosity, we evoke other key words of the Mediterranean principle such as stratification - thickness - sequence, we understand that it is precisely in the intervention on the built - with the built - that a great field of opportunities opens up in which to experience the enormous spatial and social potential. of the use of the architectural and urban devices of the “Mediterranean way”. This introduces a thickening not only physical, but also temporal, in contexts built up in too short a time that neutralized the conflicts and the multiplicative effect of different subjectivities, contrasting the rationality of the objects with the different feelings, in movement, of the inhabitants. With regard to the schematic seriality of so many built cities it is necessary, instead of the project that it knows how to introduce the best conditions of adaptability to a change in demand that can foreshadow beyond flexibility, even a multiple evolutionary possibility up, even, to the disappearance and demolition, to obtain the production of the necessary voids in a city / archipelago that must regain its ecological and energy balance.In a condition in which the need to limit land consumption is now acquired, the reactivation of a heritage, the result of the subdivision simplifying zoning - a heritage in our country, but not only, the result of a too rapid construction especially in the sixties and seventies - requires the introduction of episodes and spatial articulations capable of mitigating the strongly assertive and basically "monumental" character that it was just an entire season, for example, of Edi's creations Public Residential Law. A monumentality that decreed an irremediable alterity between the “figures” of the new neighborhoods and the confused and vital swarm of forms of the spontaneous city to which these neighborhoods were often linked. The voids, the interstices can represent - as in these London cases - the opportunity to overcome the simplified dialectic between built and open spaces with the introduction of new "figures" capable of literally making the system of relationships more complex, also perceptive, mixing several expressive tones, making the background “speak” today mute. It is thus possible to build an indispensable new landscape, a continuously moving response to the need to make intervention on a part - a neighborhood - the tool to reinterpret and redevelop an entire context, opening up to a multipolar, fluid and dynamic vision of a shape. urban, reconsidered as a vibrating system of relationships between many different materials. It is a modality that introduces the theme of reuse, of the new naming and signification of the existing thought or re-thought to accommodate different styles and times of life. A theme of enormous importance especially in that fragmentary and confused, but enormously extensive, peri-urban heritage in which the compact city opens up through dialogue with the countryside to an apparent, but unexpressed, porosity that must instead be conquered through a careful direction of relationships between distances and proximity. Proximity expresses the idea of a distinction, but at the same time of a familiarity between things: the other is the neighbor. Different, but originally formed by the same substance. Complexity - a multiple entity of folds, the infinite folding of Deleuze's Baroque - is anything but a datum of the contemporary city. Rather, a quality to be added and achieved, a complexity that is achieved through an open composition experienced through flows and movement. It is sought in Holl's phenomenological approach which is clearly linked to the experiences of Team X - think of the great city buildings of Candilis, Jaosic and Woods to the Smithson's Mat-buildings; to De Carlo's research and thought: tortuosity; “Basically architecture means projecting one's body into space”. But also to Aalto's previous hybrid and tactile experiences in which Nordic rationality and southern porosity are mixed. Merleau Ponty also speaks of porosity by proposing a sort of chiasm - Holl's chiasm in Aalto's Helsinky - between space-time dimensions and movement understood as a flow and not as a passage from one point to another in the objectified space. From this derives a dimension of doing for architecture in which Gestaltung counts more. Formation - form rather than Gestalt, form. More the texture than the fabric. Not the search for a structure, but the action of a structuring that requires a subject involved in it, receptive and active at the same time, an actor capable of suffering and who, by experiencing the city aesthetically, can implement that mixture, that circularity of space and time able to renew our perspectives. The Mediterranean city is a city that is built as a shared interpretation of the different geographies, realizing the different contexts. Context: a past participle. Con-text: woven together. A deposit of innumerable materials, traces, which, as in an archaeological excavation, constantly poses a question to us about its very meaning. His disturbing eruption into the present. His role tomorrow. The "fabric-together" can then also be, declined to the future, a commitment, a wait: a hope to be woven together. This is a commitment that is opposed to a common feeling in which the project of the city and the territory is perceived as impossible: the conscious production of a space to live capable of hosting new requests, new ways of settling down is not feasible. Instead, it is possible to imagine intervening by activating the inherited contexts in their evolution that corresponds to different ways of organization - not given, nostalgically, to be cohesive and unitary, but also vitally articulated and conflictual - of a society of metropolitan individuals. Moreover, the achievement of a "shared vision" is a crucial step in the new tools that urban planning is introducing to bridge the gap between the modern idea of territorial governance - its utopian and all-encompassing version - and reality of the ways of transformation. A detachment that can be overcome, trying to overcome its limits in a dialogic process in which contexts are given voice, as a complex network of physical and immaterial relationships: different layers of imaginaries; memories; waited. Bauman (in Ethics in a World of Consumers) reminds us that Kant, in 1784, pointed out that the planet we live in is a sphere and reflected on the consequences of that clearly banal observation, namely that we all find ourselves and move on the surface of this sphere, that we have nowhere else to go and that therefore we are destined to live side by side and with each other. Moving on a spherical surface, if we try to move away from one side, we inevitably get closer to the other. Any attempt to increase distance is invariably doomed to be whipped. And therefore, Kant reflected, the unification of the human species into a single citizenship is the destination that Nature itself has chosen for us, the ultimate horizon of our universal history. Sooner or later, Kant warned, there will be no free space in which those of us who find the already populated places too limited - or too uncomfortable, cumbersome or uncomfortable - can venture. And therefore Nature requires us to consider hospitality as the supreme precept that sooner or later we must all embrace, in equal measure, just as we must seek a solution to the long chain of trials and errors, to the catastrophes that our mistakes have caused and to the ruins that those catastrophes have left behind. Mediterranean principle, then, as acceptance, translated into the forms and tools of architecture, of an open and colloquial idea of welcome and shared breath, in the many Mediterranean people of the world, more and more "nourished by movement".