REDUX Complexity and Ornament
This, perhaps, won’t kill that _ Diego Terna
The birth story of the consolidated historical city has been lost over the millennia, so that the appearance of any urban area brings with it legends and more or less verified events. It is sure, however, that the stratification of the hundreds of years, or even of the thousands, has resulted in the accumulation of complexity, of stimulating richness, that makes life in the city more complete and desirable. The description of this complexity is thus very difficult; even more so is the insertion of new projects into these realities.
Japanese artist Masao Okabe and American artist Kim Jones have presented a series of works that demonstrate possible ways to describe urban stratification and, following certain ideas of Bruno Zevi and Robert Venturi, help us bring out possible means of dialogue between the contemporary and the historical city.
The projects presented here embrace the aspirations of these two artists and of these two critics, seeking to follow the path of accumulation, rather than that of reduction, to which end they resort, among other things, to a marked use of decoration.
They return, perhaps, to an abandoned feeling, as embodied in a resolute sentence Victor Hugo wrote: This will kill that. Maybe it will not.
Sharing in Collective Living
Public Space in Contemporary Housing _ Francesco Cocco+Raimondo Pibiri
The collective residential project is always a testing ground. In recent years, European cities have been investigating new relationships between the concepts of private and collective space as a means to develop new approaches to the idea of a city.
The city is no longer seen as a conglomeration of buildings and private spaces, instead it is a network of social changes where private and public spaces are mixed.
This analysis of some collective residential projects in Europe highlights a global trend towards thinking in terms of these hybrid spaces.
In the new residential complex, the introduction of socialization areas becomes common; public areas are complementary to private dwellings; transition spaces are developed which create links with the existing urban fabric. New residential projects face the city as an infrastructure of community-based connections which break down independent and isolated blocks into functional social spaces.
A sustainable and social city will mature through various degrees of connectivity which the new collective residential complex outlines between public, private, collective and individual elements.
Towards a Second Nature _ Nelson Mota
The projects designed and built by the Portuguese architectural office Aires Mateus are, nowadays, among the most published in world professional journals. Their architecture seems to deliver such an attraction among professionals that laudatory reviews on their work are being written worldwide.
There is, in fact, a kind of universality in their recent work that goes beyond the particular circumstance where the projects are located. The Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza, writing about the House in Comporta, stated that their response to the building’s particular conditions “has all the earmarks of the universal.” He claims, thus, that “this is a universal house.”
This comment brings about a central debate in Portuguese architectural culture, a debate that, in fact, resonates with Kenneth Frampton’s campaign against a populist approach in post modernism architecture. Frampton championed the idea of critical regionalism as an architectural approach that resists both the conflation of references towards a universal civilization and the uncritical pursuit of local vernacular references for the sake of pleasing popular taste.
Portuguese architects, especially Álvaro Siza, were showcased as some of Frampton’s flagships to illustrate a critical regionalist architectural approach. The term critical regionalism became, however, charged as an “ethnographic” approach which overlooked avant-garde practices outside the most mediatic centres, meaning the US and central Europe. This would generate strong criticism on that idea from some of the architects labeled by Frampton as critical regionalists.