Jan '11 - Feb '12
It's the home stretch....
As the end of my time at K-State rapidly approaches, I decided it would be a good idea to pick up my Archinect blog for this final semester. To properly put the current term in perspective, I will try to do a series of short posts replaying the events since my last post.
The last time I posted, I was a few weeks into a semester abroad in Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy. Most of the semester was devoted to travel, but we also were tasked with developing an independent study project located somewhere in Italy.
My project for the semester, titled "Pop-Up Urbanism," dealt with temporary event spaces and their relation to the urban fabric, culture, and history of a city. The end goal was to create a narrative locating contemporary design culture within the broader climate of a city's past. This becomes increasingly important in historically significant cities (like Florence) that are still struggling to acclimate to globalization and the digital age.
Tape Tunnel by Numen / For Use @ White Night in Florence
Pitti Uomo is a twice-yearly men's fashion event held in the Renaissance military base Fortezza da Basso, located north of the main train station. Its location isolates the event from the rest of the city, as the Fortezza is surrounded on all sides by a Medieval moat and enormous, load-bearing walls.
My proposal begins to unravel the event from its home base, creating a processional of fashion personalities, buyers, and sellers through buildings and public spaces significant in the history of Florentine fashion (especially the guilds). Conceived as a series of raised walkways, the processional also serves as a kind of stage for these influential figures--many of whom have become celebrities through the influence of "street-style" blogs--to be seen and photographed, while protecting their identities as they are escorted through the busier and more rowdy parts of the city. The processional becomes a sort of bastardized version of the Medici-era Vasari Corridor. Unlike the Vasari Corridor, however, the pathway is open to all, allowing the average person to experience the stage.
Raised walkways in Venice allow pedestrian access through the city during heavy rain and flooding. They also become natural stages, rest spots, photographic perches, and viewing platforms during drier days.
The marketplace, another pillar of the Italian culture, is co-opted towards the creation of pop-up shops and stalls for vendors throughout the city. The majority of the vendors will still show within the Fortezza da Basso, but selected vendors will set up shops within historic monuments throughout the city. These historic monuments have been altered to allow for a atypical experience of the spaces (through viewing height, circulation, et al), presenting a new perspective on the city and the past.
Leather Market, Florence. These ad-hoc marketplaces alter urban space and redirect circulation.
The last pillar of the Italian culture -- at least for my purposes -- is the ritual or performance. Pitti Uomo has a very small selection of shows highlighting rising stars or significant milestones for established veterans. Last year, Gareth Pugh showed in the medieval guild hall, and former grain market, Orsanmichele. Like the relationship between Prada and AMO's fashion shows and the space of the Fundazione Prada, the coupling of spectacle and space can frame the experience of the clothing.
In my next post, I'll summarize my proposal for the project, stay tuned.
A first-person account of the interior life of the College of Architecture, Planning, and Design at Kansas State University. This blog seeks to bring you the latest architecture news from the fabled Little Apple -- Manhattan, Kansas.