CIVITAS LUDENS – The evolution of Megastructure

Project

Landscape and project in an architectural composition exercise about the addition of one and more megastructures in a uniform system for collective space. The project is grafted onto the existing, almost wanting to continue it: integration of the Cementir complex, located in Caserta, which from 1968 to today, appears to be a fundamental component in the landscape around. We hardly notice it anymore. As if it wasn’t there. We do not want to redevelop the peripheral, productive part of the city. The biggest mistake would be to not recognize the incidence of Bigness on men, and wanting to forget about its presence; but, above all, not to respect works of such architectural strength. Recurring elements, as in a form’s vocabulary. Iron, cages and sailor ladders, conveyor systems such as stretched arms, cranes, pylons, bridge cranes, silos, pipes of all sizes and diameters. An industrial archaeology, made of micro-objects that make up the mega-structure, without any aesthetic aim, only functionality; all that, recreate a nearly picturesque setting. Only the visit, the temporary staying of that place can turn on the emotion of finding oneself in a stranger world. Long shadows, disarming heights. The human dimension is lost in the massive dimensionality of the Artificial. Irregularity, iron suggestion, disorder. The bigness will therefore become an incubator of research, exercise and compositional experimentation, with residential and collective intentions, where volumes will be multiplied, will grow in colonies. Everything will be occupied with new structures. The megastructure will experience evolution. From a functional megastructure, it will become a playful place, based only on the concept of self-participation, of play, of fun as knowledge of experience. Civitas Ludens, Homo Ludens by Constant: “The Homo Ludens will alters and recreates this environment and this world according to his needs. The exploration and creation of the environment will then overlap, because Homo ludens, creating his territory to explore, will take care of exploring his own creation”.

FROM AFAR WILL APPEAR NOTHING BUT THE CHAOS.

NO INDICATIONS, ONLY THE CURIOUS WILL KNOW HOW TO DISCOVER EVERY ELEMENT.

NO RULE, ONLY SELF-PARTICIPATION.

NO INVENTION, ONLY THE EXISTING.

NOT A PRECISE LOGIC, NOT A “STYLE”: A GLOSSARY OF FORMS AND STRUCTURES.

NOT AN UTOPIA, NOT A MONUMENT: A CITY.

NOT A REQUALIFICATION: A TRANSLATION.

NOT A FUNCTION: A CONCEPT.

MORE THAN A PROJECT: AN ACT OF LOVE.

Interview

What prompted the project?

The choice of this theme is driven by the desire to discover forms and features of industrial architecture, always underestimated, then seeking new and personal formal and functional compatible solutions. No demolition, no new scenario. Only intellectual research and formal speculation, on one of the sites that obsessed my professional growth the most, as always visible from my house. Architecture without architects, pure machine design.

What questions does the project raise and which does it answer?

No questions or answers defined prior to the project. Those who read it, will wondering about a possible and dystopic transformation of such a large space machine, unknown for the neighbors themselves – as if it were not there, as if no one knew what it is. For that reasons it is needed to re-stabilize that place. An heterotopy.

What drew you to write a manifesto for the project? Do you believe in the contemporary relevance of the Manifesto?

The manifesto helps to clarify and draw the twisted thought that drove the project. It is a drawing in the form of writing, an integral part of Civitas Ludens. It is not a question of contemporaneity, the manifesto (to be manifested) wants to outline programs, intentions and choices … it will always be relevant.

What case studies, texts and manifesto's did you look to when developing the project?

The project developmentis determined by a great effort of visionarity. There were relatively significant influences, starting from Piranesi’s Campo Marzio, Tony Garnier’s Cité Industrielle, Cedric Price’s Fun Palace, Metabolist architecture, Archigram aesthetics, Italian radical architecture (Superstudio, Archizoom, 9999 …) and then Yona Friedman, Arata Isozaki, Ludwig Leo, Bernard Tshumi, Michael Heizer, Carsten Höller … but on top of all Contant with his New Babylon. The texts which helped me the most were those of Michel Foucault, as example “Utopias and Heterotopias”.

What tools did you use to acquaint yourself and research the site?

No tools were needed, the place was and is still part of the landscape that surrounds me. My empathy with it, moved the project, the invention was given by the reality observation.

What tools were implemented in the development of the project, from concept to research to execution?

The project idea was born from the frenetic accumulation of objects, mircoarchitectures and megastructures, up to the creation of the playful, dystopian and unreal city. Of all the tools implemented, the most important is undoubtedly the drawing, the re-design of the existing gave me awareness.

What informed the language of representation of the project?

The representation is nothing but the result of one’s own way of expressing oneself, everything seen and studied over the years remains and even unconsciously manifests itself. It is a mechanism without rules or recipes. It is the tool of transformation, evolution from industrial archeology to civitas ludens

What role does colour hold?

The color is absolutely the main actor of the project; it comes from the industrial architecture itself, particularly from some already colored elements of the Cementir site; also, it represents the desire for attention of each object, all different from each others, but placed together they create an harmonious system of shapes, composition and coloring.

What is for you the architects most important tool?

Without any doubt the ability to express theories through drawings: the thought drawn!

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