From 10 October to 15 November 2018, the Complesso Monumentale di San Domenico Maggiore in Naples is the location for the exhibition promoted by “Annali dell’Architettura e delle Città” Foundation Naples – Metropoli Novissima is an exhibition dedicated to urban suburbs, whose history unfolds through architectural and urban projects of international relevance. Curated by Prof. Cherubino Gambardella and promoted by the Annali dell’Architettura e delle Città Foundation.
Structured as a single urban route and thought as a ‘carnet de voyage’, the exhibition drives the viewer through suggestions and ideas of some of the greatest protagonists of urbanism and international architecture. Among the designers invited to share some of the most significant works on urban renewal there are works by: Alejandro Aravena, Archea Associati, Stefano Boeri, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Andreas Kipar of LAND, Francisco Mangado, Piuarch, Sauerbruch Hutton and Cino Zucchi.
Architects and planners’ task is to develop the great potential of marginal places, redefining their suburban status in favour of antifragility conditions that are confronted with the new frontiers of rights, acceptance and coexistence. Thinking about a renewed conception of these spaces – in the visual history of the exhibition – unprecedented collective spaces, places of resistance and invention emerge, as a representation of a city capable of renewing itself.
Metropoli Novissima shows a concept of “periphery” not intended as a marginal part of urban fabric, but rather as an unexplored resource to be shaped: more than forty designers have been called to present new scenarios and assets for the so-called “difficult places”. Anti-fragile, sustainable and prolific, the suburbs represent a challenge for contemporary architecture and engineering.
The professionals were called to provide an analytical insight into urban contexts, to offer an exhaustive overview of the evolution of marginal spaces and the underlying social dynamics. “The goal is to bet on a big city which is no longer divided by social and aesthetic hierarchies, but united in a kaleidoscope of figures” states Cherubino Gambardella.
The connotation of suburbs doesn’t come from a geometric formula that measures its position in the urban perimeter, nor from a question of historicity: it is due to the ancient fabrics that it has acquired the unhappy connotation, as in the case of Naples, Genoa, Palermo, or as it was in times very remote, as for Ortigia.
Therefore, the connotation of the periphery is not irreversible: plans and projects are essential remedies to the loss of meaning, degradation, caused by issues that mostly come from the outside as market logic, wrong social policies, marginalization. The periphery has an interesting, alive and enormous potential, it is up to the architects to develop it.
The city is therefore redefined and transformed through its dimensional explosion, a liquid metropolis in which the centre and the borders are in continuous evolution, fluid and vital spaces, mirrors of multitudes. The installation, curated by Simona Ottieri for gambardellarchitetti with the scientific advice of Cherubino Gambardella, is very powerful: a red structure talks to the viewer simulating a metropolis inside an amazing baroque refectory.
It is made by osb (oriented strand board) panels attached to a wooden frame that emphasizes the eco-sustainable nature of the design choice – materials were obtained from processing waste. Each of the projects is shown through illustrations of different nature, like a choral collection of fragments and traces that merge into a single rhapsodic vision.
The chameleonic body of this compromising organism pushes the visitor to enter and fall into the intimate soul of different cities. Through the viewfinders, imagined as real windows on the world, it is possible to look beyond, pushing into the red perimeter, a place where are collected the testimonies and signs of life of those that we could define symbols of a collective domestic imaginary.