cos'è architettura & co.

architettura & co. è stato pensato da paolo giardiello per mettere a disposizione di tutti, in particolare dei suoi studenti, i propri scritti, ricerche e riflessioni sull'architettura. il blog contiene testi pubblicati, versioni integrali di saggi poi ridotti per motivi editoriali, scritti inediti o anche solo riflessioni e spunti di ricerche. per questo non ha un ordine determinato, non segue un filo logico, ma rappresenta solo la sequenza temporale di occasioni in cui parlare di architettura, prima di farla "parlare", come invece dovrebbe, normalmente, essere.

14 ottobre 2010


The reason for the creation of a new term it is possible to establish the incapacity of communicating a phenomenon or a thing with words that already exist, to give an expressive reliable and concrete form and so a definition to a process. Between the interiors key-words, we need to distinguish words which describe actual phenomenas and phenomenas of the future, which consolidate terms that intend to communicate evolving situations, and to create process which that does not exist shared or unknown space. The need for new verbal signs which represents new ways of living also contribute to the definition and the promotion of the contents which express significant.
The term which is proposed – iSpace (1) - is not without roots and with a long critical and scientific way characterized by other words which were already known and used in time. Today the transformation is a process in which existed and was used in a theoretical way but are not always tangible.
With iSpace we want to indicate a form which has evolved from the relation’s spaces multifunctional and symbolic containers, which are part are daily lives. These spaces already have been defined non-spaces by Marc Augé and in evolution redefined as superspaces and iperspaces. Therefore to understand these new terms, taken from daily technological language, it is necessary to reread the studies of 80’s about spaces that were developed forgetting the characteristics which give an empty space to a significant and symbolic space.
In 1986 Marc Augé coined the term non-spaces (2) by which he meant all those places which are produced by super-modernity, which cannot be defined on the basis of their identity, relations and historical aspects, characteristics which on the contrary determine the very concept of “space”. Even if Augé’s theories are referred to a social and economic situation that differs from the current, they remain exemplary from an anthropological viewpoint, because they have succeeded in expounding, with great clarity and equally great concern, the danger of alienation and loss of personal values to which the individual is exposed. Moreover, his studies have highlighted the difficulty of managing functional spaces which do not create an organic social event, but rather a condition of “solitary contractuality” which is defined not so much by the communicative impact of the architecture as by the “words” which slavishly describe environments, suggesting behaviours and goals. Man’s role is reduced to that of a mere “user”, without any cultural and psychological expectation, something which results in a loss of identity.
A more recent neologism, superspace (3) reinterprets the meaning of non-places within the context of a by now global society, based on new lifestyles and on completely different expectations of social relations, in the final analysis revising the judgment of value and relation with the territory. The superspace interprets the need to have immediate and complex, diversified and simultaneous responses (solutions from public and collective places, both in the territory and in the historical space of the city; from an anthropological point of view it therefore represents the meeting of a need for a social space in which to consume the rites of everyday life. But these places, differentiated and contradictory, fail to put into words a symbolic aspect that may represent a model and image of the identity of the new social networks.
The transition between the non-places analyzed by Augé and the present-day super-places is characterized by an inability to create new languages. Scenic effects prevail on substance, and rather than giving a concrete form to a new function, the architect creates a stage on which to live a dreamed reality which may serve as a noble background to the more pragmatic and material action of consumption, be it material or behavioural.
The renunciation – cultural, social, architectural – to define a contemporary form, in order to seek refuge in a design of ideal and idealized worlds and lifestyles, is the underlying cause of iperspaces (4). The last frontier area in which to meet, get to know one another, shop, find information and enjoy exciting adventures. However, it is not a matter of real places, but of virtual dimensions, in which it is nevertheless really possible to carry out these operations. Cyberspaces (5) used by internet navigators, some of which are informal – a chat, a social network (6) – and some of which are planned, also in their formal expression, as Simcity and online role plays.
Today the realty of superspaces risk more and more to look like the immaterial realty of iperspaces because it prefers to go to a place, that is artificial manifestly, far from urban spaces, as long as it has precise performances: it must be accessible quickly and easily, it must be efficient and it is able to satisfy any hourly need, it must be soothing in the offer, and it must change with fashion. Exactly like a web-site choose with a few clicks. There always exists a precise coincidence, or even an overlap of means between virtual and real places. Atopical places characterized by solitude said by Augé, by eradication from context. Places that represent and produce more levels of guided, controlled and filtered relations, and that absolve morally from the isolation.
To try to understand which could be a possible ransom of these places, that now appear necessary for daily life and, at the same time, destructive of social relationship’s constructive basics, must begin from the consideration that some virtual iperspaces can represent the critical answer to superspaces mean like a dream and decadent style form of material and functional need.
Now social network, virtual community, theme forum, blogs, news online, shopping online are daily habit and also the alternative to physical displacement in the places where is possible to do these different activities. They are personal places but not exclusives, which help to enhance relationship and to create new comunication conditions.
Today the pc is the open window on the world, not only to observe but also to interact concretely with it. These virtual places, that are contain in the little technological and portable world, become welcoming, recognizable, expressive and communicative, and they suggest a creative and selective relational globalization. These places, global and homogeneous but not approved, are places where the single can choose and assert and communicate his character, impressions and where can still hope for free expression.
To break the rules and the contract conditions imposed from non-spaces before and from superspaces after, permits to choose not only the form but also the measure and types of relationship that we want put to use in balancing to satisfy both social relationships and individualities. It’s demonstrated that the globalization can be used to your advantage if it become a shared and intelligible language from all, to sum up, if it is possible to propose an agreement between contains and expressive forms. If these considerations can appear obvious, what there is to do; is to translate this in an architectural comprehensible form, and it is all to be tested.
Above all these means to redefine an architectural language these functional containers found a location and a relative system connected with historic city and with the territory, this system must have continuity and not divisions, it proposes the morphologies of the spaces and connexions between the functional events which come from traditions, but there are not at same time totally correct for a real new foundation and then it will avoid record a language and conform with the parts of past.
iSpaces which could be places of movement of commerce and of fun that form materials which always remained for the new function they represent and where the formed spaces contain all the necessary and psychological materials which can be used, with creativity. These forms are defined a spaces with their one needs, character and humour.
They will be spaces where you can experiment sensations and emotions, and not where you are subjected and stimulated from publicity or other means of promotion. Spaces where you can have our one personal choice of meeting, which is not amplified by solitudes, where communication and knowledge, study and play are the real visible and lived in experiences. It’s possible with this new word to recover the concept of interior; the non-spaces, the superspaces and iperspaces have a territorial dimension and an urban scale, and in this large scale the interiors were reproduced to define a dimension that is possible to see the horizon with a glance.
All things considered a real, physical and tangible space, where it is possible to reconstruct dynamism, flexibility and creativity that are embedded in “virtual places” that define and condition the new system of relationship and communication today.
For this reason the iSpace term shows the suffix “i” in addition to concept of “space, place”. Beginning from very famous Apple’s products, now this suffix is a concept based on all that suggest “interactivity”, and indicate instruments and ways that are more like “interfaces”, able to relate and connect whit others systems, rather than like objects with an exacted and determinate function but closed in own reason for being.
The interactivity involve, as previously said, from user the possibility to chose, to self build the information and action’s necessary system, adapting objects or spaces so as these doesn’t suffer conditionings never.
The user, from passive viewer, simply user, becomes protagonist and actor of chooses that he want to do and about the character’s setting that he wants. Thanks to an really interactivity, not only a slogan, the sites can to be different from user to user, from day to day, because these are really “designed” for this occasion.
Spaces of interface, multimedia and technology, and spaces of choice’s relationship not predisposed. They are also interface’s to others places, or interaction or exchange, the spaces which remains flexible and adaptable, but no definitive and absolute, spaces wherein to use up any possible actions dreamed or asked.
A related and identity’s character, based on new values that move the attention from typology and morphology’s space to its flexibility and adaptability, from direct communication between site and user to possibility to weave relationships and connections untold with space in that you are and, contemporary, with other spaces similar with the same capability, from function’s definition to opening towards requirements and needs through which to know the reality and to communicate to be among others.
Again spaces, daily spaces, present spaces to cultivate the utopia and therefore the hope to project a setting set to all and that is able to record one’s life time.

(1) This word is used by Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning (SCIL) with a different meaning: “the iSpace project is creating an international network of usable augmented environments, or iSpaces, for collaborative, project-driven learning and working”.
(2) Cfr. M. Augé, Un ethnologue dans le métro, Parigi, 1986, trad. it. Un etnologo nel metro, Milano, 2005.
(3) Cfr. M. Paris, I super luoghi. Localizzazione, schemi insediativi, rapporto col territorio. Linee guida per l'indagine e la progettazione, Imola, 2008.
(4) Cfr. P. Desideri, M. Ilardi, Attraversamenti. I nuovi territori dello spazio pubblico, Milano 1997; Cfr. M. Bittanti, Civilization. Storie virtuali, fantasie reali, Genova, 2005; Cfr. SolidLandscapes (2004) by Mauro Ceolin.
(5) Cfr. Pierre Lévy, Cyberculture, Paris, 1997; Henry Jenkins, Convergence culture: where old and new media collide, New York - London, 2006
(6) Cfr. Saskia Sassen, Global Networks, Linked Cities, New York – London, 2002

13 ottobre 2010


This comunication is centered on a new word – iSpace - that wants to identify a function that doesn't exist yet.
Events, things or situations sometimes evolve over their own expectations. Often these events start without a specific name and, during this time, they change and develop so much that, finally, their sense doesn't coincide with the original definition. Structures exist in architecture closely related with precise functions like industry, office buildings, spaces connected to new system of transport or to new inventions. In these cases morphological and typological evolution of the buildings is connected to instruments or systems modification and updates.
Instead, the spaces about which we are going to speak haven't had such a linear development and often they have received more than one definition connected to different points of view or judgement values. Rather these strong social impact spaces have had a particular evolution that have changed the reasons for which they were created.
We are speaking about relation's spaces, multifunctional containers that are an addition to many temporary shopping functions, or relaxtion, mobilty or refreshment functions. They are shopping centers, multi-cinemas, outlets, highway stops, design villages, all are strongly attractive spaces, with many features but without identity, that in 1986 Marc Augé called “nonspace”.
The word “nonspace” was used, by the french anthropologyst, to define the spaces which cannot be defined on the basis of their identity, relations and historical aspects, characteristics which, on the contrary, determine the concept of “space”. For this theory the “nonspaces” don't create an organic social event, but rather a condition of “solitary contractuality” which is defined not so much by the communicative impact of the architecture as by the “words” which describe environments, suggesting behaviours and goals. Man’s role is reduced to that of a mere “user”, without any cultural and psychological expectation, with a loss of identity.
Recent studies proposed in alternative the word “superspace” to indicate the sense of “nonspace” in the context of todays global society based on a new life style with different aspects which change the value in relation to the ambient. This “superspace” interprets the need to have an immediate, simultaneous and complex answers from public spaces either in cities or in the surrounding enviroments.
From an antropological point of view it represents the requested satisfaction for a social space in which you spend the “ritual” of everyday life in a hurry. In any case, despite this, the places don't have a symbolic aspect to represent an original model to identify the new social network.
Nonplaces” and “superspaces” are both characterized by growth needed to recive services but, at the same time, are incapable of creating a contemporary lexico or building new ways, relationships, languages or architectural styles. The scene prevals above the content and it doesn't give a new form to a function; rather it creates a scene where false dreams appear realized while, in reality, they are based only on the commercial approach.
These “real” but indeterminated spaces which have not given a form to the present, have created a new category of “virtual” spaces called “iperspaces”. “Iperspace” explains a wish for an ideal world life style, it represents the latest opportunities of areas where you meet, know, shop, get information and live emotions not producing real but virtual places where you can do real things, however.
Today we assist with the devolpment of the “superspace” with an immaterial dimension not connected to the social relationship in the designed territory but well defined by required requests: efficent, easy to access, multifunctional, flexible and, most important, these spaces are repetibly and easy to recognize.
The analisys doesn't have to be only negative and it should be interpreted by the reason which create these places. Infact the “iperspaces” should be omogeneous but in reality they don't homogenize people. Instead they allow everybody to choose, to communicate, to represent, to show themselves, and clarify their personal ideas and values.
What future does iSpace have?
Basic iSpaces will be places based on “interactivity”, designed like “interfaces”, spaces which are not demanding but should be seen as services interactible with people.
The interactivity involve by the user with the possibility to choose, to self build the information and action’s necessary system, adapting spaces. Man therefore as a spectator becomes the protagonist and the creator of the characteristics of his own life places. Through the interactivity and flexibility the spaces can change from day to day and moment to moment, projected for and by each visitor. The iSpaces will be places of exchange connected to other similar spaces, both will not be absolutly defined.
So what the principal points of projection should be:
To source a new language specific and adaptable to communicate these spaces, ceasing to copy the old styles which only create pictoresque scenes. Today these kind of public spaces are characterized by a rich interior but without a personal facade, their future would be a modifiable solution that can be changed to suit the enviroment or a “non-facade” which in itself creates the character in continuity with the landscape.
To create flexibility of use, and not a determinated organization of spaces. It's important to project living spaces which are free of usual components, so as to create a sort of hierarchichal functional layer system. A system which offers many uses to choose in a non determined manner.
To connect iSpaces with daily life places and spaces in the same easy way one can arrive in every place of “iperspace” only with a click of the mouse. Therefore iSpaces will be “transit places” in a wider network and not only “destination points”, which can be arrived at by comfortable and reliable public transport and not always by car. Infact today “superspaces” are the central point of attraction of the enviroment; on the contrary iSpaces will be “nodes” of a complex network system, not just for transport but more for services and living places.
Finally we don't know really what and how these spaces in future will be, but we know how they should not be. Infact the work of architects is not only to offer answers to requested solutions but, more importantly, to suggest and to advise in the direction of the right development of the live spaces.