Reconceptualizing the Urban Artifact
urban artifact, historical construct, theater, palace, museum, library, archaeology, public space, monuments
This is a study of the architectural and historical construct of the Urban Artifact. For the purposes of this exploration, an Urban Artifact is to be understood as the physical manifestation of the city and its collective memory. It is the product of the history and character of its place and the embodiment of an idea of its type and the memory of its lineage. In contrast to the fixed intention and permanence of a monument, an Urban Artifact has its own autonomy and value gained over time until it ultimately becomes also identified as a monument. These concepts, defined by Lévi-Strauss, Maurice Halbwachs and especially Aldo Rossi, assume the position that, while the definition of these terms used may be at times ambiguous, there is no singular explicit simple answer to the question of what an Urban Artifact is. Throughout history, the Urban Artifact has operated through a multiplicity of functions, defined in their time and society, that take place in their building type: theater, palace, museum, library, etc.
Relative to the shifts in the nature of urbanism in the city and the changing sociological values from religious beliefs to science, this thesis operates as a critique of the Urban Artifact as a historical piece that can no longer constitute the city and achieve its individuality persistently. Because of its possible eradication, the Urban Artifact must not be placed within the blocks of the changing urban fabric, which is ruled by the modern grid, and it cannot be designed without a proper form that embodies both the preservation and presentation of its own cultural content. Thus, this thesis proposes a new Urban Artifact that emerges from the public domain and embeds itself in the foundation of the city, literally and figuratively, in order to enclose its cultural content within the layers of archaeology and open its knowledge through the surface of the place. Ultimately, the Urban Artifact is transformed to construct and benefit from the conditions of public space.
Huerta, Ricardo Rodriguez, "Reconceptualizing the Urban Artifact" (2019). Architecture Senior Theses. 512.
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