The architecture of the city

In Rossi’s book, ‘the architecture of the city,’ he brings out the idea of the architecture of a city that modern architecture doesn’t focus on. He puts a lot of emphasis on the history of a city concerning its architecture. A city is not to be changed wholly by modern architecture ideas; rather, its history should be integrated into subsequent architectural creations. He urges that a city is developed over time. The monuments in a city present the memories of a city. Let us break this down.

The idea of Rossi in American cities.  

Rossi viewed the history of a city, especially the monuments, as objects to be integrated into the city architecture forever. American cities seem to have followed his idea. When you walk in American cities, you get that feeling of an ‘old’ but modern city. This is because of the history that the monuments and buildings carry.

American pioneer architects designed their cities in two main forms: main street villages or laid out along grid lines such as New York. These buildings held fundamental social amenities: the church, school, bar, bank, and market. The homes also have maintained two European typologies: the Latin America Spanish coral and patio plus the U.S English country house.

Contrary to what modern architects perceive the city to be, it is a representation of history. The buildings and the order date back to the first architectural designs, which have been perceived by modern architecture as businessmen’s buildings and a whole international style design to be understood through guides.

Structure of urban artifacts.

The city is an architecture that constitutes its creation over time. With the start of civilization, architecture was born when people needed to construct their houses to offer comfort and aesthetic value. These are the two characteristics of architecture.

After the initial creation of a city, a city starts to develop based on its original themes. These themes maintain with partial adjustments to make them more specific. Modern urban studies seem to leave out individual artifacts within a city, rendering their theories artificial and useless.

Urban dynamics are characterized by changes in the structures and forms of a city. Tragedies like the world wars have distorted the individual’s work that adds up to the collective form of a city. However, monuments have stood the test of time and are maintained as a collective sign that remains fixed and unchanged.

The individuality of urban artifacts; architecture.  

When we talk about the city’s architecture, we get two views of the city: The city as works of man-engineered objects and their development with time & stand-alone urban artifacts with their own forms and history. Each urban artifact holds specific qualities and uniqueness. The function of monuments changes over time. However, the form remains. For instance, in Pallazo Della Regione, everyone that visits or has experience with this building has their own perceptions of it.

These reasons, views, and perceptions of monumental space are what lacks in modern architecture. Therefore, artifacts need to be studied individually to confirm the reality in the collective and complex existing knowledge on artifacts. Urban artifacts are complex on their own and cannot be defined though we can analyze them. Each artifact holds its own history in terms of funding and development over time and needs individual treatment. However, these artifacts relate to certain aspects. 

Primary elements and the concept of area.  

The area that is the physical location that artifacts are is influenced by natural factors. However, it is an object that makes part of the architecture of a city. The geographical area that a city is located in gives a means to classifying cities.

Considering a specific area within a city means artifacts differ as parts that make up the whole city. Other than this, there is the idea of the residential district whose area site idea differs from the sociological idea.

The idea of the area corrects the perception that the evolution of artifacts within a city is a continuous natural process. Cities are distinct in terms of time and space(area), and therefore changes in the artifacts within different cities cannot be generalized as continuous and natural.

The study area can be seen as a piece in the whole city’s architecture. It has parts within itself which summarized the image of a city. The relationship of these residential districts is not subordinate, rather interdependence in response to the entire urban structure.

As theorized by Robert Park, Zoning explains residential districts in terms of zoning, which is the tendency of residential areas to surround a central business district. These zones have specifically defined functions, including business and government zones, transition zones, working-class residential zones, wealthy residential zones, and external zones. The fact that this description describes the city in terms of functions fails to recognize many other factors. These zones are actually characteristics of the city architecture and are formed from the history of a city.  

Quality and destiny are what distinguishes monuments. The architecture of the city cannot be explained without relating artifacts to a specific framework. Therefore, there needs to be a new treatment of artifacts within the architecture of a city.

The architecture of the city – A sum up

There is a tonne of knowledge from Rossi’s writing. The ultimate goal of Rossi is to show the importance of the history of a city that shapes its formation and transformation over time. Artifacts are an important part of determining the architecture of a city; however, modern architects form a modern view of the architecture of a city without regard to the history of its formation. As much as artifacts find different functions and are rebounded over time, they maintain the original form that explains the initial intentions and plan. For detailed and more information about the architecture of a city, find the whole book’s text here.

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