The architecture and urban design workshop “Urban Life. Milan-Beijing Case Studies”, which involved some 25 pupils and six teachers from research doctorate courses at Milan Polytechnic and the Masters course at the Beijing University of Technology, was designed as an experiment – and a challenge. It was experimental in attempting to bring together two very different university traditions of design; so different, in fact, that working out a joint practical proposal for two such diverse situations as those of Beijing and Milan was a considerable tour de force. The challenge, on the other hand, was provided by an absolute constraint on the design proposal: that it should identify alternative practices and solutions, not those usually on offer either from the market or in the visions that currently have the sanction of public and mass media judgment. What we mean here by “university tradition” is not so much a method or an established model of practice which the one school or the other is supposed to have developed in the course of its history (short or long); rather, we use “tradition” in the sense of familiarity with the real situations we find ourselves facing every day in each of our schools, and that situation’s problems which we tackle against their own background. In this sense, then, “tradition” for the younger school (that of Beijing) amounts to its customary situation urgently needing to invent a form of modernity to cope with the present dizzying economic development1; whereas for the Milan school “tradition” consists of its familiarity with the issue of the complex relationships between the assumptions and discoveries which history brings up again and again in Italy and the invention of an original modernity capable of maintaining some continuity with that history. In both cases what is in some sense at stake is these cities’ very identity, in the face of the over-simplifications offered by globalization. The themes tackled in the workshop – an “urban village” in the case of Beijing, and in Milan’s case the historic San Vittore prison – are ones we tentatively describe as “territories of discomfort”. In spite of the enormous differences between them, they both offer common denominator: the absence, in current practice, of any original or tailor made approach.

Milan-Beijing. Territories of Discomfort

MERIGGI, MAURIZIO
2008

Abstract

The architecture and urban design workshop “Urban Life. Milan-Beijing Case Studies”, which involved some 25 pupils and six teachers from research doctorate courses at Milan Polytechnic and the Masters course at the Beijing University of Technology, was designed as an experiment – and a challenge. It was experimental in attempting to bring together two very different university traditions of design; so different, in fact, that working out a joint practical proposal for two such diverse situations as those of Beijing and Milan was a considerable tour de force. The challenge, on the other hand, was provided by an absolute constraint on the design proposal: that it should identify alternative practices and solutions, not those usually on offer either from the market or in the visions that currently have the sanction of public and mass media judgment. What we mean here by “university tradition” is not so much a method or an established model of practice which the one school or the other is supposed to have developed in the course of its history (short or long); rather, we use “tradition” in the sense of familiarity with the real situations we find ourselves facing every day in each of our schools, and that situation’s problems which we tackle against their own background. In this sense, then, “tradition” for the younger school (that of Beijing) amounts to its customary situation urgently needing to invent a form of modernity to cope with the present dizzying economic development1; whereas for the Milan school “tradition” consists of its familiarity with the issue of the complex relationships between the assumptions and discoveries which history brings up again and again in Italy and the invention of an original modernity capable of maintaining some continuity with that history. In both cases what is in some sense at stake is these cities’ very identity, in the face of the over-simplifications offered by globalization. The themes tackled in the workshop – an “urban village” in the case of Beijing, and in Milan’s case the historic San Vittore prison – are ones we tentatively describe as “territories of discomfort”. In spite of the enormous differences between them, they both offer common denominator: the absence, in current practice, of any original or tailor made approach.
China Electric Power Press (CEPP)
9787508371375
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/532563
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