Metaphor and Representation: Eastern German Cities and the Contemporary Transformation of the Urban Form

By Francesco Cianfarani and Tiziana Proietti.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Traditional urban form representations have always testified a way of thinking and designing the city, but nowadays classical representative approaches and modern city metaphors are unable to build with complexity. In fact, there are new models that aim at representing the contemporary urban form. In particular, new metaphors used for the representation of European cities focus on possible relationships between public space and private dimension, leisure places, working and productive areas. So, how can the urban form include contemporary specificity of the built environment? What models are able to represent connections between traditional spaces and urban landscapes? Is it possible to imagine any repercussion between the project of architecture and the form of the city? Can architecture lead to new urban form or communicate contemporary urban paradigms? In this paper, the recent experiences of German city transformations, from post-wall reconstruction proposals to recent cases of shrinkage, are chosen as a case-study for the creation of a new contemporary metaphorical imagery. Through a synthetic reconstruction of the twentieth century metaphors adopted for the description of German cities - from Rudolph Schwarz’s Stadtlandschaft to Oswalt Mathias Ungers Urban archipelago - it is possible to understand contemporary theoretical approaches to urban form and verify recent transformations, observing what the role of the architecture is in these contexts.

Keywords: Architecture of the City, Metaphor and Representation, Urban Form, Perforated City, Urban Archipelago, Core City, Oswalt Mathias Ungers, Rudolph Schwarz, Stadtlandschaft, Iba 2010, Urban Shrinkage, Germany

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1009.883KB).

Dr. Francesco Cianfarani

Ph. D. Candidate, Department Architettura e progetto Diap, Faculty of Architecture, University of Sapienza Rome, Rome, Italy

Dr. Cianfarani was born in Sora, Italy in 1982. He received his degree with honors and special mention in architecture, from the School of Architecture Valle Giulia, Sapienza University of Rome, in 2008. He has a Ph. D. in Architectural and Urban Composition from the School of Architecture, DIAP Department, Sapienza University of Rome, which he received in 2012. He is the author of articles on various topics related to architectural design, history of architecture and urban transformation. Mostly his research activity is divided between analysis of existing building transformations and studies concerning architectural design theory. He is the winner of several workshops and competitions as first designer on the theme of design and redevelopment of housing and social environment.

Dr. Tiziana Proietti

Phd candidate, Department of Architecture: “Architettura e Progetto. DIAP”, University of Study of Rome, “La Sapienza”, Faculty of Architecture “Ludovico Quaroni”, Rome, Italy, Italy

Dr. Tiziana Proietti (1983, Rome, Italy) graduated in architecture at the University of Rome “Sapienza” cum laude in 2008. She received her Ph. D. in the same university with research about the theory of proportion, through which she stated the cognitive value of Dom Hans van der Laan’s plastic number theory. She has been hosted as a Ph. D. Visiting Researcher at the University of Technology TUDelft. Since the beginning of her research activity she has worked as assistant professor, researcher, associate editor for specialized magazines, and speaker to international conferences.