Two theoretical studies for re-hinking Gjirokastër ALBERTO GRANDO
Author: Alberto Grando
Affiliation: Ferrara University
The aim of this paper is to seek an approach that goes beyond the dualistic - and maybe simplistic – contraposition between the old and new part of Gjirokastër; an approach where the method is more important than the result itself and where design is not predetermined by the initial conditions. An approach, therefore, where the old and the modern part of the city are seen as two sides of the same urban entity, where the imposition of an idea “a priori” is the tool that helps to think “against the grain”.
This article refers to two different research fields, both raised within the contemporary discussion of the urban planning. The first one refers to the postmodern debate: starting from some of the most important studies of the post-war period, which are largely based on the theoretical work of M. Ungers and lately R. Koolhaas, the case study of Gjirokastër takes inspiration by imposing an ideal grid (or bands in this case) as a governing principle. This hypothesis makes us see the entire urban landscape trough a pattern of bands, like a strong array of directional sectors, perpendicular to the intuitive NE-SW direction of the main streets. In addition, this method allows a process of de-contextualization and re-composition of different “pieces” of the city, in a dialectical action of relating the singularity with the entirety urban complexity. The second study refers to the pioneers of the psycho-geographical approach like that of Guy Debord, which helps develop a distribution model of how visitors experience the urban space, in order to give useful inputs for the final urban design proposal. A set of images describes the design concept, which aims to enforce and strengthen the relationship between the different neighborhoods of the city - in particular between the old and the modern part. The design aims to achieve this target in two ways: as a physical one, by implementing a set of paths that can mend the different parts, and as a programmatic one by encouraging to relocate different functions in the city in order to drive the future development.
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