“Territory is now eclipsing urban symbols that remain fragments of memory and fiction. We could take into consideration the Tour Eiffel: that is a clear example of an object that is being affected by this process, even if it is one the best iconic buildings ever designed, it already started being eclipsed“.
Considering the case of Torino though, we have to say that La Mole Antonelliana never had any other function besides being built for Savoia’s king and becoming just an icon for the city.
All in all we can say that there is a curious link in between cities and their landmarks.
Nowadays the role tour Eiffel has in Paris is weak, in fact, it seems like the tower has been turning into a simple trofee.
So the Eiffel Tower is what the colosseum is for Roma. Whether when we consider American cities we are pretty much in front of places that, at the time they were built, were looking more like “blank” spaces where was possible to design and build “the ideal perfect city” without mistakes. Of course this did not happen.
It is interesting then to notice that any city, depending on what kind of locomotion they were build around, are characterized by different “tempos.” It is clear that any city had several different tempos: Pedestrian tempo, Cars Tempo, Vespa tempo (mainly Rome), Tram tempo, Metro Tempo (New York). Putting all those tempos together can suggest a different symphony for each city.
Like individuals, cities have different personalities as well as “mistakes” (let’s think for instance about policy mistakes).
In order to explain that we could take into consideration the case of Zurich and its waterway. In fact, its skyline had changed radically in the past few years after contemporary urban planning of the city. Some of the distinctive elements that were facing the river were, in fact, removed altering the perception of the city itself. That is a sample that makes clear that sometimes the solutions we think of can just be fake ones: too much generic and not satisfying.
More often it is the mix of visible and invisible elements that make and compose the actual fabric of the city, not landmarks. Looking at “The Sky above Berlin” we can see an introspective city, made and composed by inner courts and gardens that are not perceptible while walking along the street. To make it more clear we can think of Postdamer Platz right after WWII: a lot of nothing left but ruins and a memory of a place that does not exist any more.
Unfortunately our perception of the city has a little to do with it.
Using the tram we can pretty much see and deduct where we are. The perception changes, moreover we get to analyse or “record” other passengers while matching them to the surrounding environment of piece of the city.
It is an “active landmark” that can be made better and more useful by changing its path. It can be corrected and perfected. It is also a correctible landmark.
Every ride has to deal with an unconscious dimension – Intervista, by Federico Fellini 1985: the last ride to Cinecittà. Main theme: nostalgia – sense of a polarized life.
All Photos by FlexGravity, Francesca Gordini