Nederlands English

disnification of society
disnification of society

design of orchard and ArchiDom
design of orchard and ArchiDom

plan of ArchiDom
plan of ArchiDom

arcade | urban 'umbilical cord'
arcade | urban 'umbilical cord'

orchard route | exploration of urban identity
orchard route | exploration of urban identity

stage and auditorium
stage and auditorium

forum | discourse
forum | discourse

urban context
urban context




PROJECTINDEX
 
ARCHIDOM, DEFRAGMENTATION OF THE GENIUS LOCI
Academie van Bouwkunst Maastricht
ARCHITECTURE

Falsification of the urban identity of Skopje
My design for an urban orchard, an architecture centre and a discovery trail in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, is an endeavour to retain the urban authenticity and the quality of life in my native city.
The present urban structure is based on a revelatory master plan drawn up by the Japanese Metabolist architect Kenzo Tange for rebuilding the city after the earthquake of 1963. Tange’s plan won the UN competition for the reconstruction of Skopje and has yet to be implemented in full. It did make Skopje the world capital of Brutalist architecture. To consolidate this status and preserve the qualities Tange’s plan possesses for the quality of life for the city’s population, the plan should be completed. Instead, however, the threat of Disnification hangs over Skopje. The government has set up Skopje 2014, a project whose aim is to convert Skopje into a neoclassical city. This alarming situation in my opinion calls for dialogue between the inhabitants of Skopje and those architects who seek to carry the city forwards rather than backwards. I would like to initiate a shift though the defragmentation of the genius loci. I gave concrete form to my vision in a close-knit design for an urban orchard, an architecture centre and a discovery trail.
The urban orchard is projected on the site of the present urban void, an incomplete component of the reconstruction programme. The orchard brings people together along informal lines and symbolizes a social ‘wake-up call’. The trees are planted in a grid. The geometric pattern allows for a high social density and transparent access to the space. Traces of the old layer, a former residential neighbourhood, are retained and give the confused inhabitant or visitor to Skopje city centre cause to reflect.
The neighbouring architecture centre - ArchiDOM (dom means home in Macedonian) - is the place for dialogue, fuelled by the information it has about urban developments in Skopje. ArchiDOM acts as both a place of reflection and a cultural incubator. The centre is a way of securing the identity of the genius loci. Designed as a continuous concrete wall, the building enfolds an outdoor area and creates enclosure in the transparent environment of the orchard. Contained, protective and yet inviting from the outside in. Open, hospitable and welcoming from the inside out.
The hospitality takes on concrete form as a public route that ties the building into its setting like an umbilical cord. Islands created along ths route hold out an inviting array of generally accessible functions. From ArchiDOM the visitor is guided to a route - ‘city as process’ - along the Vardar river that constitutes the origin of Skopje’s genius loci. This route draws together the fragments remaining from the different periods in Skopje’s 2000-year history as a city and contributes to the quest for its true urban identity.
The orchard together with ArchiDom and traces of the cultural legacy present a common balcony for those living in the city centre. The new fragment in the genius loci of Skopje forms part of the route of urban identity. It lies along one of the most attractive parts of the waterfront, in the footsteps of the visionary past as a Metabolist ‘Open City’.
This is my answer to the situation as it now is in my native city, and as such reflects the way I think as an architect. As a professional group we bear a major social responsibility since the ‘product’ of our work remains present in the layering of the genius loci, with all the consequences that entails. Distracted by the ease of ‘dupli-tecture’ and the amusement of ‘thema-tecture’ it is increasingly difficult for us to embrace the values of ‘archi-tecture’. Regrettably, Skopje is not the only example of Disnification in the world today. Referring to Robert Venturi’s famous book, the question now facing the profession is whether we really have learned anything from Las Vegas.