dialogue #02 ‘time as a shaper’

A thousand tries

When confronted with the topic of “representation of intentions”, we were interested in the process of the translation of an abstract thought into a drawing, in the dialogue established between mind and representation. When an architect draws and redraws slight variations of an idea over and over, often on the same piece of paper, layers of lines are put one on top of the other. Each trace is the expression of a series of thoughts, constraints, questions, and intentions. Each line informs the next, and then the next; but also new parameters and possibilities appear, creating a rich density of superimposed layers.


The result is a blur, often indecipherable for everyone but the person drawing it, which is both one, and a thousand projects. The act of repetition, again and again, allows the variable of time to materialize in the final result. Imagine a dancer practicing a move in a loop. Or an actor rehearsing his or her lines. Every time with a different modulation of the voice, facial expression, articulation of the silences, and body moves. The final result of this process is the realization of just one of these attempts, and at the same time, of all of them. It is one of the thousand possible tries, but implicitly containing the other nine hundred and ninety-nine.


In applying this line of thought to an urban context, we were reminded of this photograph of the Piazza del Duomo in Milano, taken by Mario de Biasi in 1951. In it, there are implicit all the footsteps needed to create this paths, even those that are not visible. The geometry that emerges is the representation of a sum of layers, of the traces of people going by, of their needs and choices. It is a captured instant of an ongoing process.


As a result, there is an interesting contraposition between the lines drawn on the snow by a collective of thousands and the underlying pattern of the stone pavement designed by an individual, Piero Portaluppi.



11.03.2018 Barcelona

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Timeless condition

A lot of futures for Barcelona were designed[1] since its city walls had been knocked down in the 1850s, but none would be fully executed. To operate in the old city centre was a complex task; it took time, enough time to change the way of looking and understanding the city as a sociopolitical reality, too much time… Imagine that the time between an idea and its realisation no longer exists. No more red tape. Urbanists finally become real sculptors. Assuming this timeless condition, every designed plan would have been made reality. And then a question appears: is within urban transformation more important the parameter time that gives shape rather than the act of planning itself?


14.01.2018 Barcelona



1 Cerdà’s Plan in 1859, Baixeras’s Plan in 1879, Darder’s Plan in 1918, Vilaseca’s Plan in 1930, GATPAC’s Plan in 1932.

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