Memories of the future
A structuralist framework
The post-war period posed the crucial question of historic cities and their future facing modernist conceptions of planned development.
The historicist vision of the Tendenza advocated by Aldo Rossi led to the updating of typo-morphological schemas and paved the way to a structuralist understanding of urban integration, and then to the large-scale territorial models developed by Vittorio Gregotti or Oswald Mathias Ungers. The idea of a factory of the city, of a structural semantics, enriched the syntactical representations of urban forms, engendering new thinking about complexity and leading to the more overtly semantic and phenomenological approach originated by Peter Eisenman. A morphological understanding began to supersede the abstraction of the modern plan.
This new vision, at first relying on the urban research of Team X, spread towards a new economy of intervention on a vaster scale.
The great territorial linkages that mark the language of Vittorio Gregotti resonate in the shift toward syntactical grids introduced by Peter Eisenman for his Venice project or in the programmatic framework of Bernard Tschumi’s follies in the Parc de La Villette. The memory of structuring urban frameworks and their morphogenetic capacity has replaced simple historicism. These links pave the way towards a new approach to writing the city that can give rise to a new economy of continuity based on a structural intelligence of the discontinuous, thus inverting the modern proposition, which, through the continuous extension of a grid, generated the improbable effect of discontinuity.