Reflecting Upon Architecture As Theme
“The project consists in a research on the geographical and anthropological dynamics that determined the morphological evolution of Rimini’s urban form and public spaces.
Rimini is divided in two by the railway line, and such division can be spotted in the geographical features of the area as well. The tracks of the railway follow an existing natural line, the ancient cliff that was formed 7000 years ago after the Würm glaciation.
The research on the geographical morphology of the city has played an essential role in the identification of the historical themes of division that are intrinsically part of the city and the project area, even without considering the railway itself.
The reading of Oswald Mathias Ungers’ work about architectural themes was indeed crucial, and so were other readings from Aldo Rossi, Carlos Martì Aris and Arthur Smailes about urban form and geography.
By means of a renewed congruence between geographical and infrastructural artifacts, the project aims to achieve a new form of urban landscape that can establish a new relationship between city, infrastructure and geographical elements.
Who influences you graphically?
In regard to the plans, in which I used a mixture of technical drawing, aerial photography and realistic textures, specifying an exact reference is not easy task. I used common methods, which I merely applied according to my graphic sensibility.
Basically, the idea behind this kind of representation was to bring out the geographical elements and urban infrastructures as the main morphological structure of the city.
The views instead have as main reference the collages made by Yves Brunier, which have always fascinated me because of their strong emotional charge and rough simplicity. I tried to reinterpret his way of communicating urban landscape by applying a language related to the themes and the materiality of the design.
To what extent did the readings influence the project? Did this extend to visualizations?
Since the beginning of my studies I’ve been interested in the role of theme in Architecture and Urban Planning as a basis for the development of a design. The reading of Oswald Mathias Ungers’ “Architecture as theme” is clearly crucial and influential on the way I conceive a design. I personally believe that the architectural theme is a result of an investigation, a research leading to the discovery of an artistic principle that arises as a direct link between architecture and reality.
It is truly a discovery that derives from a cognitive phase which provides design solutions on multiple levels, including architectural representation.
The urban theme, which concerns the geographical and infrastructural origin of the city, has led to the graphic style of the plans, in which the technical design and aerial photography come together in a relationship of integration and contrasts, like architecture and nature in the city. This contrast between nature and city is an historical feature of the roman planned city that still persists in architecture and public spaces and finds its expression in the design through the architectonical theme of assemblage (as coincidence of the opposites).
The choice of using the collage technique as a mean of expression wants to convey this theme, this constant friction through which the design elements create the urban space. In conclusion, the readings influence the visualizations and I strongly believe that the graphic style you use to describe a design must somehow reflect its topics, qualities and ambitions.
How does the materiality and textures reflect the proposal?
The urban design tries to bring back geographical coherence to the city, recalling the presence of the ancient cliff on which nowadays the railway line passes. The choice of the materials and textures derives from the geological sections of the Adriatic Sea Coast’s cliff, using stone, clay and luxuriant grass on the continental side (South-West) and using sands and silts on the littoral zone (North-East).
The presence of human figures textured as if they were made of old cartographies of the city refers to the thought of Paul Vidal de la Blanche, French geographer creator of the theories on the geographic Possibilism, in which he considered humankind as a geographical factor that can profoundly change the territory.
What was the objective when constructing each image?
The main objective was to convey the complexity and multitude of elements that can be deduced from an historical theme.
The images are designed to show the size of urban spaces, without unnecessary claims of photorealism, but trying to remain faithful to the design’s intents.
How important is the aerial view?
Honestly the aerial view is not crucial, as it has been drawn. If I were to do it again today, I would do it probably with the same technique used for the collages. Anyway, the original intent was simply to show an image of the whole design in relation to the geographical elements, the city, the urban artifact and infrastructures.”