Continuing with the year-long reflection on The Form of Form, Issue II invites you to analyse the current form of the city with The Architecture of the City. A Palimpsest, guest edited by Victoria Easton, Matilde Cassani and Noura Al Sayeh The issue’s conception coincides with the exhibition The books of the Architecture of the […]
«Tout est forme, et la vie même est une forme.»
Honoré de Balzac.
By teaching a child how to put little wooden shapes into correspondingly shaped holes, one could consider form as something that is absolutely defined. However the transitive of this title in itself suggests the malleability of form, of which the phenomenon of the city offers one of the best examples.
The city is shape. The city is shaping shapes. But the city is also about rules and the defining of rules. Enough has been written on the topic of the city and our ambition here lies not in reassessing this topic in a completely new way. On the contrary, we consider one book to still be relevant as one of the best commentaries on the city and its cosmos. Exactly 50 years ago Aldo Rossi wrote his seminal work The Architecture of the City and suggested in the most dedicated, vague and yet convincing manner the ways in which the city is defined by shape. With his legendary ambiguity, Rossi believed in the permanence of form but also in its obsoleteness.
We choose to dedicate this issue of CARTHA to the city, and to its architecture. Paying tribute to Rossi, we have borrowed the original structure from The Architecture of the City as a canvas, with the ambition of attempting to delineate their possible contemporary interpretation. Each author was attributed one of the 33 subtitles of the original book, and was given carte blanche to define the extent to which his or her contribution would directly relate to Rossi and to the topic assigned. The resulting contributions range from essays and critiques to project descriptions and images. The initial motivation was that the result would be as eclectic and fragmented as its source, while also emphasising the contemporaneity and universality of Rossi’s thoughts. Above all, this issue of CARTHA has the aspiration to represent a collective work, one that honours the collective form of form: the city.
Victoria Easton (Lausanne, 1981) studied architecture at the EPF Lausanne and at the ETH Zurich, where she graduated in 2005. Since then, she has been a collaborator of Christ & Gantenbein, where she became Research Associate in 2012. After teaching at the EPF Lausanne, she taught in the studio of Emanuel Christ and Christoph Gantenbein at the ETH Zurich from 2010 to 2015. There, she lead the academic project Typology which documents more than 400 buildings as the urban constants of the modern city. Easton has taught and lectured at the Berlage Institute, TU Delft and IIT. Throughout her professional and academic activity, she has been involved with research, edition and curating, working on exhibitions such “Hong Kong in Zurich” at the Swiss Institute in Venice (2011) and “Remaking Zurich” at the Rotterdam Architecture Biennale (2012). She is a regular contributor to San Rocco Magazine and editor of “Christ & Gantenbein: Around the Corner” (2012), “Typology: Hong Kong, Rome, New York, Buenos Aires” (2012) and “Typology: Paris, Delhi, São Paulo, Athens” (2015). In 2016, she will be curating an exhibition on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Aldo Rossi’s seminal book L’architettura della città at the Swiss Institute in Milan.
Born in 1980, Matilde Cassani studied Architecture in Milano and Lisbon, then Architecture and Urban culture at the CCCB (Centro de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona) in Barcelona/Spain.After her graduation Cassani worked as a consultant for GTZ (German association for technical cooperation) in Sri Lanka, where she started developing a research project on the post tsunami reconstruction. She currently teaches at Politecnico di Milano and at Domus Academy. Her practice reflects the spatial implications of cultural pluralism in the contemporary Western urban context. Matilde Cassani often moves on the border between architecture, installation and performance. She has been a resident fellow at “Akademie Schloss Solitude” in Stuttgart and at the “Headlands Center for the Arts” in San Francisco. Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York hosted her exhibition “Sacred Spaces in Profane Buildings” in September 2011. She moreover designed the National Pavilion of The Kingdom of Bahrain at the XIII Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012 and she was part of the XIV Venice Architecture Biennale (Monditalia) with the piece “Countryside worship. A celebration day”, recently acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She has taken part in many international conferences and lectured in various international Universities such as Columbia University in New York and Ecole Speciale d’ Architecture in Paris.