/ Events/ Urban Culture di: Enrico Tognoni

Disjointed cities

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The 76-year-old architect Moshe Safdie, best known for the pioneering Habitat 67 housing project in Montreal, speaks at World Architecture Festival 2014.
After discussing his work he faces the problem of dense urbanism, which he described as “the most urgent issue of the day in terms of how cities are working”.

In the past, he said, individual buildings were linked to create common spaces such as streets, squares or more in general urban connections.
The European historic city,  since its inception, is a perfect example of how the urban objects coalesced to define public spaces, connections and therefore urban identity.

 

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But today the new typology is the superblock that is, with privately-owned malls at its base, clearly disjointed from the rest of city relations.

The boom of supertall building, across East and Middle East, is moving now in every part of the world and doubtless most of the architecture avant-garde today is preoccupied with exclusivelly the object building.
An immediate consequence of this trend is the “vanity approach” to the building design.
The world’s vainest skyscrapers have been revealed in the latest report from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which reveals the unnecessary “vanity space” added to the top of the world’s tallest buildings (drawn in blue below).

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Surely Moshe Safdie, well known for his unscrupulous projects such as Marina Bay in Singapore, is not the best messenger for this calling. He generalises when talks about the contemporary architecture avan-guarde and ignores important phases in architectural/urban theory in the last decades of the nineteenth century but the call for a “reorientation” to urban design and planning should be taken seriously in consideration if we still care the identity of our cities and their sustainability.

To whom it may concern below the complete piece:

Skyscreaper are creating “disjointed and disconnected” cities