languages, strategies, technologies of the contemporary urban image
Emilio Faroldi, Laura Chiara Gramigna, Maria Pilar Vettori
Sant'Arcangelo di Romagna (RN)
"The conditions that in contemporary times influence and orient the government of the territory-system, have induced the strengthening of the territorial identity through new transformations and episodes of "urban regeneration", competitive with respect to the metropolitan, regional or national context, and with respect to diffused scales of international matrix. In the process of assimilating places into 'products', a founding principle of local development policies, architectural design is one of the strategies directed towards competitiveness, attributing to new building types tasks and roles increasingly characterised by urban marketing purposes: among these, the contemporary skyscraper represents a strategic architectural type able to be of great importance for the future of the city. A condenser of the most influential factors in the disciplinary sphere of architectural design, economics, technology and communication, it indiscriminately involves both the processes of redevelopment of public spaces and, more generally, of the entire urban environment, and the interacting factors of transformation and reconversion of the city's disused areas. Despite the uncertainties that these phenomena inevitably trigger, the contemporary scenario confirms the vitality of the design theme: the surprising acceleration in the design and construction of skyscrapers in recent years shows, despite the widespread tendency towards self-referentiality, research and paths that confirm, in continuity with its cultural, economic and symbolic roots, the social role of the tall building within the complex dynamics of transformation. Growing attention to the environment and the territory relates vertical architectural projects to the degree of sustainability and sociality of urban and architectural solutions, in an attempt to confirm that verticality, in addition to an economic motive, is still based on cultural and social assumptions.
Reflecting on the role of the skyscraper, not only as an icon of modernity, in the scenario of contemporary architecture and its contaminations, means questioning the varied and profoundly cultured meanings that the theme of the modern has taken on in the cultural context of architectural design, in relation to a concept of construction that has always been the distinguishing feature of the city's conformation processes. What emerges is a picture on an international scale in which experimentation aims to provide concrete answers to overcome the problems intrinsic to this typology, proposing hypotheses and projects that attempt to interpret the variables of a social, settlement, economic and energy nature, within a clearly critical relationship with the existing urban fabric. In this context, the Italian observatory intends to constitute, despite the difficulty of expressing complete and concrete experiences in an exhaustive manner, a decoding scenario of the current architectural debate, reaffirming its role as a privileged area within which theoretical reflections and reasons of substance are rooted in a solid cultural background to be reread and revisited in depth. The vertical form, between history and the reasons for the modern, between urban instances and semantics, between imagination and technology, constitutes the object of a contemporary narration aimed at highlighting the lights and shadows of architectural phenomena destined to define the codes of new urban landscapes".