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The Layers of Memory of the Urban Soul Can Be Read In the City’s Architecture and Form, Which Change According to Use and Historic Period”

Autor:   •  April 25, 2016  •  Research Paper  •  2,417 Words (10 Pages)  •  490 Views

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“The layers of memory of the urban soul can be read in the city’s architecture and form, which change according to use and historic period” – Scott Bollens.

It is significant to note and accept that urban design and architecture plays a significant role in creating a perceptional framework reflective of the political, economic, cultural and social aspirations and accomplishments of its citizens. Scott Bollens’ quotation is a remarkably concise comment on the evocative potential of the cities fabric and its continual state of flux.

Historically cities have evolved based on the controlling factors of politics, economics and culture. A few clear examples of this are seen in the cities and towns of Italy. Rome was founded not only for its geographic attributes, Capitoline Hill, Tiber River that provided a defensible area but also for the political ideas of Romulus and his desire to amalgamate the neighbouring tribes into a cohesive society. Venice, part of the economically powerful Venetian Republic was found on the basis of its excellent maritime location on a significant trade route. This enabled the city-state to acquire political strength, dominance and great economic success leading to the realization of many significant cultural buildings that marked the cultural zenith of the era. Patronage in architecture and the arts flourished.

Thus it can we seen that historically every town and city’s survival and success is integrally tied to its political, economic and cultural significance and this interaction resulting in a society that maintains and promotes these ideas. It is a symbiotic relationship of these elements that makes the place survive. This relationship obviously must embrace change to remain relevant. This essay explores the idea that this change – manifested in transformation and revitalization, is the elixir of youth for rundown parts of the city, injecting newfound vitality and relevance to the city fabric.

In this regard we explore two cities one in the Northern and one in the Southern Hemisphere, one of the old world and one of the new world and how architecture and urban design has revitalized its environment. One example is an iconic building and the other is a central park that redirects the cities pulse.

“Real architecture tends to have an uplifting effect on the people that experience it, and it creates identifiable icons that brand a city, even a country” – Frank Gehry.

Bilbao, once a prominent Spanish seaport, a center of trade and maritime dominance during the Spanish Colonial


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