4. Agricultural Valleys
250. Warm Colours
The warmth of colours can make a difference between comfort and discomfort. For example greens and greys are often depressing and cold however reds, yellows and oranges can give the feeling of comfort and warmth. (Alexander 1977) Alexander does identify some superficial truth of colour affecting emotion, however I have investigated further with real life examples.
From 1944 to 1992, Albania was governed under a Communist ideal. In 2000, the Mayor, Edi Rama gave Tirana a makeover as a promise of a brighter and colourful future after the grey years of Albanians past. Rama received criticism that he failed to address the real problems of Tirana, however he made the first steps to create an eye-catching and uniquely modern city.
Today, the capital Tirana is undergoing an urban transformation which includes the restoration and refurbishment of existing buildings, the construction of a series of new public and private urban structures, which create religious tolerance between Albania's three major religions: Orthodox Christianity; Catholicism; and Islam.
"Each subculture needs a centre for its public life: a place where you can go to see people, and to be seen"
A promenade should be placed at the heart of every community which links the main activities and placed centrally, so each point in the community is in walking distance. Two main attractions should be placed at either ends to keep constant movement. (Alexander 1977)
206. efficient structure
"What is the best way to distribute materials throughout a building, so as to enclose the space, strongly and well, with the least amount of material?"
Alexander states, engineers don't have an answer to this question, but his solution is a system of load-bearing walls, supported at frequent intervals by thickened stiffeners like columns, and floored and roofed by a system of vaults. The most efficient structure will be a compression structure, which bending and tension are reduced to a minimum and a continuous structure, in which all members are rigidly connected in such a way that each member carries at least some part of the stresses caused by the pattern of loading. Openings in the walls have thickened frames, and rounded in the upper corners. (Alexander 1977)
The Trulli are limestone dwellings which are notable drywall construction, a prehistoric technique still used in the Puglia region. The persistence of traditional building techniques, with the fact that they are still inhabited today make it an exceptional historic Urban Landscape.
These settlements were identified as temporary and unstable, however their internal structure, compact and without supporting elements, remains surprisingly durable and although seemingly primitive, they are not. The Trulli is authentic in its form, design, materials, setting, and feeling and thus is an adequate example of Efficient Structure.
232. roof caps
39. housing Hill
Matera is one of the best example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region, perfectly adapted to its terrain and ecosystem. Natural caves in the tufa limestone, attracted the first inhabitants about 7,000 years ago. Later, more elaborate structures were built atop.
Not so long ago, Matera was claimed to be the “the shame of Italy” for its dismal poverty. In the 1950's, the entire population of roughly 16,000 people, were relocated to new housing projects in a poorly planned government program. It wasn't until 1986 when a law was passed to move people back in. Following this, in 1993 the the area was declared a UNESCO site.
Renovating the caves people discovered eight interconnected cisterns below the floor, part of a network developed to catch rainwater for drinking. Today, carved stone stairways still connect arches, attics and balconies, each grafted onto the other. Films, such as, 'The Passion of the Christ' (2004), and the 'European capital of culture' (2019) award has brought Matera back to life.
“Matera is one of the oldest living cities in the world in terms of continuity,”
-Antonio Nicoletti, an urban planner from Matera.
Perrottet, Tony (2014). Smithsonian Magazine
How Matera Went From Ancient Civilization to Slum to a Hidden GemOnce the “shame of Italy,” the ancient warren of natural caves in Matera may be Europe’s most dramatic story of rebirth
41 years later...
Are these towns relevant examples of 'A Living Architecture' or are they simply just beautiful?