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La ciutat i el seu estat d'agregació = The City and its state of aggregation

Quaderns d'arquitectura i urbanisme
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  • Mathematics


' l. AN INTRODUCTORY LOOK AT THE PLAN OF A CITY When we look at the plan of a city such as Basle, we can distinguish compact geometrical forms t hat define the centre and by other, more amorphous forms that characterize the periphery. Between these areas we find «Zones of disturbances», which either correspond to specific or particulary dense industrial areas, or to railway systems, whose fluid form is contrasted by the crystalline forms of the historical districts. 2. THE ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT: A PROJECTION OF THE ARCHJTECT'S PERCEPTUAL FRAME Our perception of the city is closely related to the ar- chitectural products we create. Indeed, these architec- tural products tend to be identical to our perceptions of the city. We try to seek our architectural images in the same way a detective searches for evidence at the scene of a crime, or in the way a scientist attempts to find systems in Nature. Everything lies before us already, yet sometimes we have to make enormous ef- forts to perceive even the simplest relationships. We are faced with a puzzle whose complexity increases as our culture becomes more and more discontinuous. What then, is the model that we carry in our mind's eye and upon which we base our projecte? The scientist builds models that allow him to qualify and describe how Nature functions. Similary, we use ar- chitecture as a kind of model or too\ to help us perceive our urban reality; that is, to grasp a set of phenomena, to establish relationships between them, and to give them meaning. For this reason I shall make a com- parison between the scientific model based on atomic theory and our perception of the city. The interest in this comparison lies in the fact that the scientific model offers us images of a material world. 1 The image of the invisible is important because it allows us to in- terpret the image of the visible as a pan of a global process; in other words, as an element of a connec- tion of parts to a whole, as occurs with

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