Presentation; text for the images…
The City appears Uncompleted.
Real cities are now often imagined, built, and articulated based on filmic experiences. The architecture becomes a direct reflection of mental images.
The city does not exist in a pure form and needs to be filled with visual imagery, which does not necessarily follow the logic of the urban fabric.
We live in an age in which film has become the frame of reference for our urban existence, and our activities and thoughts are intertwined with screen-based realities.
With cinema we step through time and space to visit our favourite cities, we know their situations and personalities, and even when we go to visit them, we may never be able to see beyond the envelope of our previous fictive experience.
The one constant throughout New York City’s history has been its ability to change, adapt, and reinvent itself.
Manhattan becomes the inspiration for endless designs, the performance never ends, the cyclic restatement of a single theme: Manhattan a Theatre of Progress
In the 1930s, the time of the Great Depression, Hollywood created its first great portraits three thousand miles away from the real New York. The City was artificially re-created as film sets in LA.
In fact, movie-made skyscrapers were the only ones being built at this time, sustaining the public’s hope for the future of the city.
This tendency made use of film tricks and theatrical scenery to achieve spatial effects with the aim to create alternative realities to the city that exists. Creating a separation between the ‘real’ and the ‘virtual’ New York. Glorified the unreal over the real.
During the same period, visionary architects and planners of the Golden Age proved their projects to be unbuildable in a politically and economically devastating climate.
Exceptionally, a number of prominent architects, particularly in Germany and France, contributed to the film industry being able to create their imagined architectures and urban environments which benefited from the lack of constraints.
In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the stage set phenomena started to emerge beyond the boundaries of the film set and urban spaces began to be viewed as theatrical spaces with their own narrative qualities. This manifestation was particularly found in the design of open spaces and spaces in ‘transition’ where collective social activities were taking place.
The Old Pennsylvania Station, in New York, its a great example. Conceived as a theatrical space, the station aimed to impress, to overwhelm creating an architectural drama, which celebrated the “staging” of architecture in the city
Three building types informed the design: the columnar entry gate, the ancient bath of Caracalla in Rome, and the glass-and-iron train shed. Historical elements were interwoven connecting past and present.
Its appearance was achieved with a steel skeleton and curtain wall construction. The walls of the Station were no load bearing; granite panels were cut and inserted onto the metal structure. The essence of architectural space appears free of the functional requirements.
The waiting hall created a tectonic illusion. The deep, octagonal ceiling coffers were cast in plaster. Most of the travertine was not real travertine and the actual stone was synthetic stone mixed on site. Everything was built to achieve an appropriate scenic backdrop.
The station can be understood as a full-scale set design within the city.
In order for the world to flicker on the screen it is first cut to pieces. Objects are liberated from larger context and reinserted into a film-phrase. In the stage set the architecture is seen fragmented, sequences of elements may be linear, deconstructed, or dissociated…
We can explicitly link the cinematic spectator with a traveller among ruins.
The films featuring Penn Station act as urban archives, becoming a historic record of the city with its famous landmarks, buildings and public spaces.
Nothing above street level was needed for railroad operations. From a real estate perspective, the optimal solution was to bury the station and build a skyscraper above.
The station would be demolished and replaced with a new Madison Square Garden complex
The ruins of the universe are stored in warehouses for sets. Phantom architecture that provides alternative images to the New York that exists.
One most powerful abilities of film, is the montage, the framing and cropping of the image, and therefore, the cutting away of the spatial and temporal context. On the screen, architecture without borders can be played at infinitum.
When applied to cities, urban montage can generate urban continuity, urban cuts or urban dissolves.
In 1940s and ‘50s the powerful immediacy of wartime documentaries, and the artistic prestige of post-war Italian neo-realist, cinema started to look at more realistic tendencies, shooting on real locations within the City.
Looking for un-staged reality, the City becomes the place for filmic production and consumption.
Blurring the boundaries between the filmic space and the physical place.
Cities are increasingly defined through images, and cinema has contributes to a new perspective on how we view and engage with architectural spaces and urban environment, as well as staged authenticities.
The use of staged authenticities, the in fill of full set scale street canvas, the massive urban film advertisement strategies through the latest innovative technologies of screen evolution, such the mapping 3D projections into building facades, can be seen as a phenomenon of the City mise-en-urbanite where the city becomes a pure stage set.
To be able to have a complete experience of the city, previously manipulated images of itself need to be mentally projected.
Converting the wall into the immaterial state of the screen-ultimate window. The ‘Wall-screen’. From now on, in the time of cinematography, architecture is only a movie’ the city is no longer a theatre but the cinema of city lights.
The project is conceived as a sequence of images, which explore and reveal a new engagement with the urban environment within questions the nature of it’s architectural framework through the form of staged architectures (realities) derived from cinematic experiences.