Editoriale

How sublime theory could teach us when an urban renewal project could really work

di Alfonso Casalini

How sublime theory could teach us when an urban renewal project could really work

In 2005, in “A discussion between two architects”, Gharib Abbas and Bahram Shirdel, defined the expression “post-contemporary”, as a “forward-looking aesthetic philosophy distinguished by a re-constructive, global, human ethos which posits that the aesthetic experience is universal to humanity and that this experience can inspire understanding and transformation”. Although a comprehensive definition of post-contemporary society is yet to come, in this still preliminary framework, culture plays an almost ubiquitous and multi-faceted role: from economics to sociology, from arts to mathematics, robotics, and engineering. Narrowing the reflection on the relationship between culture and territory, in a certain sense, culture, today, seems to play the role that was played by nature in past aesthetic and philosophical theories.  Like nature, whose capability to conquer rubble and ruins was interpreted as a vital and re-shaping force,  culture is asked to intervene in our post-contemporary human-built-landscape in order to re-shape and re-vitalize the rubble and the ruins of our modern and post-modern eras. From Bilbao then on, culture has been chosen as one of the key drivers of the urban renewal phenomenon. There are many reasons that could illustrate why culture is so important for this kind of project: to somebody culture plays a greenwashing role in real estate, useful to communicate such investments as attempts for social development, while others underline the importance of culture as an essential social glue enabling the overall development of a peripheral area, and avoiding the specter of gentrification processes. Regardless of this kind of evaluation, there is, maybe, an even more important question to which analysts try to answer: why do cultural-lead urban renewal projects sometimes greatly succeed while on other occasions they’re just a flop?

Leggi tutto

Metropolis

Contemporary art and enterprise in the suburbs of Milan. The emergence of artistic geographies?

di Ginevra Addis

How do artistic geographies emerge in certain territories? How does the entanglement of art and enterprise reflect the artistic geography of a territory? These are some of the research questions that this article aims to address by focusing on the urban shape of contemporary art enterprises which determined the rise of certain “art districts” in a metropolis such as Milan. An analysis of the urban space demonstrates that there are cultural institutions which can be identified in a certain number of areas that serve as not as mere examples of static contemporary art attractions, but are in fact active triggers of a new vision of a city that provoke the re-defining its character and shape over the course of a number of years.

Leggi tutto

Luoghi insoliti

Giving new function to heritage building, and it is still a failure?! The case study of an unsuccessful transformation of a historic house to a multifunction cultural center in downtown Budapest

di Melinda Harlov

Change is essential to sustaining heritage sites, enabling them to meet new uses and evolving expectations, goals, and requirements. Rehabilitation for reuse is one of the steps to be considered in order to safeguard architectural heritage. [1] In this context heritage means only something from the past without any connection to UNESCO’s [2] or the European Commission’s [3] heritage notions and institutions. The category of architectural heritage, including both buildings with defined cultural heritage and the ones that are worthy to save for next generations due to their historical-documentary or artistic value, is a comprehensive set of buildings and consequently it is a considerable variety of characteristics, values and constraints. The reuse must always be investigated thoroughly, because it is the highest form of restoration. Such project unites past and present assuming the respect for environment, historical memory, identity and local culture as basic parameters in the final outcome of the architectural resolution. [4] Accordingly, the existing building is seen as a container in which new units should be placed that are defined by contemporary lifestyle. In a process of proper protection and conservation there is an ongoing challenge to search for balance between structure and shape or old and new. The aim of this challenge is to respond to the needs of modern men and women in the limits of the existing structure. [5] For this reason many questions have to be asked and discussed regarding for instance the management of economic sustainability, integration and hybridization of uses as well as absorption capacity or compatibility. The present case study introduces the most recent phase in the life of a historical building on one of the liveliest street of the Hungarian capital, Király utca (King Street). The building had been in a very bad condition due to the destructions in World War II and the neglect since then. A private company bought it from the municipality in 1999 and got transformed to a multicultural building complex. The grand opening happened in 2007 and it operated successfully at the beginning. More than a year ago, in January 2015 it got closed down and has been stayed closed and empty since then. It is unquestionable that there are multiple effects, human falls and outside circumstances that together lead to such a tragic end of an initiative and the building but such storyline is unquestionably not unique hence it is worthy to investigate it thoroughly to find out and to propagate the prevention of these causes in the future.

Leggi tutto