24-11-16 Buildings, Cities and their Decay

Palace of Diocletian.jpg

(above) Palace of Diocletian in Split, Croatia

When we talk about cities, it is perhaps more common that we speak about it’s changes, growth and decay. The most exemplary book title might be Jane Jacob’s The Life and Death of Great American Cities, albeit her work looks at changes from a social point of view. Morphological changes, take for example, in the Palace of Diocletian, shows how a single entity is taken over and eaten up by the city. It is yet still evident the traces of the previous complex by looking at how parts of the palace wall become walls of buildings and how grand paths of the royals open up to form public squares.

What if we reversed this process and start from the medieval city? Can we wrap a wall around parts of the city to create a single, recognisable unity? Can that react with the tight fabric of the city to create a new territory?

If we take that to the urban village, can that new entity enable migrants to reoccupy the public spaces of the past? What could the new Palace of Diocletian look like in the urban village?

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