The formal, the temporal and the modern

The formal, the temporal and the modern

150 150 Valerio Perna

The formal, the temporal and the modern

ISSN: 2227-7994

Author: Dasara Pula
Affiliation: POLIS University, Albania, and University of Ferrara, Italy

Following Walter Benjamin’s thinking of “the modern” – which is an important theoretical contribution to the study of form – one could understand that the term designates both a formal temporal structure and the diverse range of its historical instances, past and present, whose reinterpretation and critical reading can stimulate possible future scenarios for urban spaces, or the understanding of specific developments related to them. For Benjamin’s theory to be applicable in the discipline of architecture, particular knowledge and methods are required, through which unfold the processes of modernity in relation to the temporal and formal phenomenon. Thus, the aim of this essay is to re-read Benjamin’s modernity within the discussion on temporality, by using architectural form and language as tools. Temporality and modernity are widely discussed topics of scientific research, particularly linked to the tradition of the Frankfurt School. However, we are interested in deciphering these two topics through a historical category, as an object through which the scientific architectural research is crafted. And in order to connect this category to a practical level contextualized within an urban setting, this essay studies the urbanization of modernist cities, the historical events impacting it, and the stages of modernity, focusing on the city of Prishtina in Kosovo. Prishtina is used as a case-study on account of its particular history in the course of the twentieth and twenty-first century. It is the capital city of a post-socialist state that experienced a radical shift in ideological and political systems, characterized by a complex architectural and urban form with distinguished modern features. This paper will study the unfinished modernism in Prishtina (1945-ongoing), – interrupted by politico-ideological instances – which led to a fragmentation of the urban form and the presence of multiple urban realities.  In so doing, this paper will decipher specific events from different time periods, to be defined as critical junctures of Prishtina’s modern history, which had a particular outcome in architecture and its urban setting. The study of the temporal and the formal in modern architecture and city planning will focus on two plans: 1) The political and economic context in Prishtina, within former Yugoslavia, which produces an ideological condition within which architecture becomes ideological; 2) The discipline of architecture, which impacts the form and aesthetics of buildings and cities through modern ideology and normativities. 

Publisher: Polis_press

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