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  3. The Plan 094 [11-2016]


The Ancient City Working for the City of Today
*Ferruccio Izzo

Naples is a truly exceptional workshop for studying, designing and building architecture, what with the vitality of its ancient city center, the wealth of circumstances and stratifications that have accreted through the ages, and an interweaving of civitas and urbs that is reflected in the city’s relationships with life, architecture and indeed itself. To learn from Naples means to critically re-elaborate the city’s cultural and architectural heritage; it means interpreting its values, measures and dimensions in order to reinfuse ambition and meaning into architecture, at a time when what seems to prevail is so often solely formalistic research, fed by powers of persuasion based on the facile and the spectacular, on eccentricity and singularity rather than on an authentic awareness of what building and construction really mean. Such awareness implies working in continuity with the modern-day city and its destiny; it means aspiring to a collective reason-led approach, bringing back to the center of attention issues of great significance such as civic and domestic relationships, public and private space, the individual and the collective dimension, tradition and innovation... The urban fabric of old Naples constitutes the ideal terrain on which to delve into the relationship between architecture and the city, and indeed into the vital reciprocal relations between the two; it is the ideal place to fine-tune strategies and approaches to ensure a continuity of the richness and vitality that, over time, the ancient city has layered down and preserved by supporting architecture, transformation and - as a result of all this - the city’s very future. Architecture in Naples today not only means looking after its sites, it means pursuing the duty of restoring the quantity and quality of physical, cultural, economic, social and symbolic connections that...

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