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Jorge Filipe Ganhão da Cruz Pinto, Ljiljana Cavic

Published Apr 14, 2021

The integrated concept Urb-Arch describes urban-architectural symbiosis which is reflected in indissociability between architecture and urban space; an urban image that it by means of architecture configured as scenery; urban space as it serves for support for architectural design. The urban emptiness and the built structure construct an interdependent unity. Throughout the history of architecture and urbanism, there are numerous examples of this indissociability, sometimes achieved through continuous urban-architectural sedimentation and historical strata, sometimes through strong planning strategies. The first type we find in Agora of Athens initially marked by the public buildings of the Polis and the Stoa and further developed by the inclusion of Roman buildings; in the Red Square of Moscow with the presence of the Kremlin walls and St. Basil's Cathedral. The Roman square of Piazza Navona which is developed on the site of the Stadium of Domitian is another example of urban-architectural continuity that transformed usage of space preserving its initiation emptiness as the anchoring elements that hold diverse architectural pieces in unbreakable unity. The second type refers to urban-architectural units such as Spanish plazas (Plazas Mayors) uniformed by porches and arcades, or the planned French squares (Places Francesas such as Place des Vosges and Place Vendôme). Similarly in the urban-architectural tracing of the Pombaline reconstruction of Lisbon downtown, the minimum urban unit is defined by the architectural quarter repeated along the urban grid and the squares which are delimited by scenography of proto-minimalist architectural set with its repetitively rhythmic windows that characterize the block-quarters. Even though in modernity, from the garden-city models to the Weissenhof exhibition led by Mies, to Brasília by Lúcio Costa and O. Niemeyer, there are projects that preserve the underlying structuring ideas based on urban tracings, formal architectural diversification tends to disintegrate urban space, producing fragmentation and dispersion of the city image. The concept of “Architecture of the City” enunciated by A. Rossi in the homonymous book, recovers the indissociable urban-architectural unity, rooted in the historical memory of urban facts and associated with typological and morphological architectural recognitions, articulated with the meaning of the urban image. In the same direction, a revival of the Urb-Arch unit will allow for evolutionary flexibilizations and redefinition of the balance between architecture, urban emptiness, and the city image.

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