Christopher Kovel

Document Type

Thesis Prep

Publication Date

Spring 2014


Kovel, Abbey, McDonald, Civitas, Bricolage, Urban






De Arce constructed a system--an experiment--that could be applied to the Corbusian city to elicit new meaning from the set pieces. The process of additive transformation allowed the existing monuments to become engaged in a new conversation with their context. The superimposed fabric--‘urban poche’-- created a uniform vertical surface, or datum, against which to read the set pieces. Thus, the city of street and square was educed as fabric and figure were once again allowed to mutually reinforce one another. Public space, understood as the place of confrontation and discussion, has arguably been devalued in the contemporary city.

The ancient city was sustained by public space, both physically and culturally. The urbs, or physical environment, created a stage for the unfolding of sociopolitical life--or civitas.4 However, the contemporary city eludes such clear distinctions. The totalizing and homogenizing forces of urbanization and economics continue to dilute ‘city of street and square’ as the city tends towards disconnected fragments and sprawl.

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