mercredi 13 juillet 2011

Genetic Metropolis.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ahmedabad, Gujerat, India, 1966.

Current society more and more ressembles the great textile-based civilizations of the past (or present) like that of the Indians - societies which represent themselves in a continuous network, a flexible and transparent fabric able to resist the knocks and tears of the internal transitions and collision with the new.

Indian civilization is based on textiles, and is therefore an anti-architectural, anti-mechanical, anti-logical, and anti-constructive one capable of understanding interweaving processes as a cosmic philosophy wherein each person's life continues beyond death, within the warp and weft of other lives. Mahatma Gandhi began his revolution by returning to the primordial act of spinning cotton as the base of a radical re-foundation of society. Thus, by skipping all the processes of modernization connected to the strong energies of mechanics, India landed autonomously in the world of web via a religious path, becoming in a very short time the world's third largest producer of software, behind only the United States and Japan.

The backdrop of Indian society, with its codes of metropolitan identity still linked with the presence of textile colors and patterns, coincides, much more than does architecture, with the mobile system of bodies in a bio-technological environment.

Speaking, then, of a genetic metropolis, we mean a theoretical model of a land where the vital and entrepreneurial energies coincide with the form of the city itself, through a constructive, reversible, and traversable apparatus. A model that corresponds to an asset that is not necessarily chaotic, but rather to an elastic system that changes with time and the needs of relations. This type of bio-technological environment is closer to the management of agricultural systems, linked to seasonal cycles, weather, and the reversibility of crops more than to the paradigms of the urban government, which act through traditional architecture. 

The genetic metropolis therefore ressembles a high-tech favela more than the great American cities. It is more similar to ancient Dharavi in the center (not the periphery) of Mumbai - where for three centuries 500 000 people have lived in a unified, fluid system of thatched huts - than to the historical European city centers, which are rigid, fragile, and untouchable. The architectural links we have spoken of correspond to the idea of a constructive, reversible, and traversable system, perennially incomplete and imperfect, but adapted to contain a space made up of networks, services, and relations, thus always open to transformation over time.

Andrea Branzi, Weak and Diffuse Modernity, The World of Projects at the Beginning of the 21st Century, Skira, 2006, p.25-27.

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