As the cradle of Chinese civilisation, Xi’an was capital under thirteen dynasties, the Silk Road’s Eastern starting point and an urban planning model for several Eastern historic capitals. Today, the antiquity and historicity of Xi’an linger in the de-spatialised dimension of absence, nostalgia and placeless memory resulting from the common tabula rasa practice applied to any morphological or topographical sign. Defining what is precisely the object of preservation and enhancement is a key issue to assess both conservation and enhancement methodologies aimed at overcoming the falsification resulting from diffused forms of cultural commodification and a total absence of urban project. By reading the historical development of Xi’an through the structuring and typomorphological unity of the Xiaoyan Pagoda, part of a primary li fang of the Tang city and currently a UNESCO site, the book presents a methodology distancing from the notion of ‘setting’ and reading the Chinese city as a historically and physically defined context. Overcoming also the notion of value, the space of History appears as an imaginative tabula plena, a layered accretion of traces, fragile signs of stratigraphic depths and a polysemic assemblage of both intangible and physical memories embedded in the fragments of buried archaeologies, persisting traces, ground writings, voids and absences that require interpretation and re-signification. By spatialising the temporal dimension, the book brings to light the resilient order of the urban form and proposes a sound reconsideration of the UNESCO’s site boundaries. A cognitive process of rewriting is also theorised for its design enhancement as a syntactic reading as well as a hermeneutic interpretation, signification and re-configuration procedure. The inscription of new signs related by sense relations and based on principles, themes and traces inherited from the existing text defines a critical, interpretative and therefore creative act, providing the incoherent assemblage of the modern city with new legibility, and hence new writability. Interpretative design enables continuing to write and re-signifying the historic urban landscape.

Rewriting Urban Strata in China: Reading, Interpreting, Recoding Xi’an Xiaoyan Ta’s Historic Urban Landscape

Laura Anna Pezzetti
2020

Abstract

As the cradle of Chinese civilisation, Xi’an was capital under thirteen dynasties, the Silk Road’s Eastern starting point and an urban planning model for several Eastern historic capitals. Today, the antiquity and historicity of Xi’an linger in the de-spatialised dimension of absence, nostalgia and placeless memory resulting from the common tabula rasa practice applied to any morphological or topographical sign. Defining what is precisely the object of preservation and enhancement is a key issue to assess both conservation and enhancement methodologies aimed at overcoming the falsification resulting from diffused forms of cultural commodification and a total absence of urban project. By reading the historical development of Xi’an through the structuring and typomorphological unity of the Xiaoyan Pagoda, part of a primary li fang of the Tang city and currently a UNESCO site, the book presents a methodology distancing from the notion of ‘setting’ and reading the Chinese city as a historically and physically defined context. Overcoming also the notion of value, the space of History appears as an imaginative tabula plena, a layered accretion of traces, fragile signs of stratigraphic depths and a polysemic assemblage of both intangible and physical memories embedded in the fragments of buried archaeologies, persisting traces, ground writings, voids and absences that require interpretation and re-signification. By spatialising the temporal dimension, the book brings to light the resilient order of the urban form and proposes a sound reconsideration of the UNESCO’s site boundaries. A cognitive process of rewriting is also theorised for its design enhancement as a syntactic reading as well as a hermeneutic interpretation, signification and re-configuration procedure. The inscription of new signs related by sense relations and based on principles, themes and traces inherited from the existing text defines a critical, interpretative and therefore creative act, providing the incoherent assemblage of the modern city with new legibility, and hence new writability. Interpretative design enables continuing to write and re-signifying the historic urban landscape.
Il Poligrafo
978-88-9387-134-1
Xi'an, Architectural and Urban Rewriting, Heritage Design Enhancement, Urban Architecture, Urban Archaeology
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1142399
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