zum Inhalt springen

Research Project

Urban Form and Type in the Development of Historical Places

Historic urban form is not only a background to social life, but also a record of collective experience and a means of shaping a new future. My research is focused on approaches to the sustainable development of historic urban and architectural form that integrate the built heritage and associated community values and local cultures into contemporary life through design that understands the evolution of place. Urban morphology, which provides methods for reading and interpreting the physical form of historic places, is the core methodology of the research. It takes into account social processes and perceptions, usually indirectly – through an imprint in urban forms – in order to trace social change through formations and transformations of the built environment (Caniggia, Muratori). As an emergent material culture of social relations and everyday life, urban form can be operationalised through the notion of type in the sense of paradigm, palimpsest and organism, an irreducible structure and generic idea that provides principled reasoning and rules for the design process. Reading formations and transformations in urban form and types developed in a particular place allows a qualitative interpretation of form in architectural projects. At the relational level, the typological approach can be further refined and clarified through the notion of situational typification (Husserl) and the specificity of social relations within a particular culture and place. Participatory Action Research (PAR), which allows for the interpretation of urban form from a first-person perspective, is complementary. In particular, my current research focuses on foundational cities (that have developed since the 17TH century in similar social, geomorphological and climatic conditions), with the aim of enriching the spectrum of methods for creating a meaningful, integrated architecture that reproduces the continuity in the intrinsic form meanings, interpreting historical form through its intrinsic local language.