Gjirokastra in a (Post-) Modern Condition DESARA PULA
Author: Dasara Pula
Affiliation: POLIS University
Our understanding of an architectural phenomenon is interrelated with political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental dimensions. As Friedrich Jameson would put it: architecture, politics, economics, sociology, technology, film, painting, etc., are structurally connected instances (Jameson, 1991). Therefore, to interpret an architectural creation – a building and a city – one has to look at all configurations formed out of the combination of these instances. In this context, current global conjunctures make the city face challenges posed by the capitalist system, globalization process, migration, and uncontrolled growth of the cities. Today’s society is constantly confronted by a global crisis emerging from such issues, a crisis which impacts the operation of architectural practice.
This paper studies what occurs in the city within architecture’s interplay with political, economic, social and cultural instances. The discussion will focus on the modern and postmodern period, their relation to the pre-modern history and to the vision for the future city. The concept of the city and its transformations are framed within specific changes in politico-economic and socio- cultural systems, looking at (post-)modern architecture and city planning as representations of radical ideological shifts.
This paper will discuss the conditions of the shrinking cities through the city of Gjirokastra (Albania) as a case-study. Gjirokatra’s historical part is under UNESCO protection since 2005.
The discussion for the future vision of the city of Gjirokastra relates to its historical part, which “lost” its “urban energy” to the modern part of the city. The objective of this paper is to think Gjirokastra and its future differently by framing the city in a (post-)modern condition: by providing a development scenario based on urban editing, rather than growth and new building programs.
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