Surfaces of Affective Memories _ Paula Melâneo
In its etymological sense, Memory is the faculty of retaining ideas and images, as a mental process. It consists of a complex system of relations which is part of human life and culture, with its own reflexes in architecture.
Bringing literature as an analogy and the words of the North-American fiction writer Paul Auster “Memory is the space in which a thing happens for a second time”, by this extent, architecture projects dealing with memory might represent a second opportunity to construct a narrative, where some guidelines are deliberately chosen and introduced by the architects.
Related with the times past, the featured projects are concerned about retrieving part of a local atmosphere, history or identity, circumscribed in a physical space and within a group of people.
Somehow the genius loci (the spirit of a place) is preserved here, by understanding the environment, the human existence and life roots – at a local level –, and by creating new meaningful places for contemporary lifestyle.
Rehabilitation and re-use acquire a very special and specific sense in each project. The existing constructed elements don’t maintain the same functions and the materials are not re-used per se – just like stones from pagan constructions were used to build catholic churches – but they are worked-out because they have a history or a narrative attached to its surface. As a palimpsest, these proposals act as new medium to re-write everyday histories.
New Reality from Old Industrial Site
Turning Former Industrial Sites into New Realities _ Tom Van Malderen
Whilst newly built structures remain the primary focus of our building activity, we find ourselves with an ever growing collection of leftover infrastructures and abandoned industrial complexes out there. Industrial sites end up in a state of disuse due to various events and whilst their expiry periods seem to shorten, our industrial heritage is multiplying and calling for our reaction.
The projects displayed in this chapter are a snapshot of the many development opportunities these places offer, and clear indicators of the current social and political climate in favour of recovering and reconnecting obsolete industrial buildings. New positions are being developed as we speak and the debate on the preservation and the value of these building sites is opening up. Reused industrial sites could possibly enrich our cultural identity or satisfy our current craving for authenticity. It shows us new perspectives on time and permanence, and raises questions regarding what ‘programme’ buildings should be built for in the first place. What is for sure though is that we are left with places that allow for creative reinterpretations and new forms. Places that make a critical dialogue between established and emerging ideas possible.
Liberal and Functional
University Faculty Building Typology
New Monuments to Knowledge _ Aldo Vanini
Beyond the traditional monumentality linked to power and religion, a new kind of public building, associated with knowledge and scientific research and reflecting its own brand of monumentality, has emerged in more recent times. From the birth of the first universities around the XII century and the first buildings dedicated specifically to that purpose around the XV century, such construction in the second half of the XX century arrived at a definition of a typology for university buildings which, although articulated in contemporary architectural language, achieved a state that could be called classical. The basic elements of this well-established typology, despite the wide variety of examples, are strong functional integration, significant attention to the environmental conditions of areas related to learning and research, and a close relationship with the environment that fosters a vibrant system of relationships within the university community and with the rest of society. Academic workspaces, laboratories, residences and social spaces devoted to relaxation, sports and leisure produce a system of relationships that enhances the exchange of knowledge and the productivity of the academic community. After the now classic examples of the Salk Institute by Louis Kahn and the Freie Universität by Candilis, the architectural language of the university and research buildings has aimed at breaking a certain insulated, elitist character so as to communicate, by contrast, a real permeability between interior spaces dedicated to work and outdoor areas dedicated to social life.