In 1971, on the road to Istanbul, Rossi was involved in a serious car crash, a turning point in his life. The awareness of the body’s osteology, namely the re-composition of a series of fractures, comes from that accident and the ensuing pain. In the following year, this insight will lead to the cemetery of Modena project. Once completed, Rossi resumed his journey to Istanbul, as a continuation of the same experience, which also included the visit to the Bursa Mosque. Therefore, Istanbul represented both the purpose and the end of his journey, one that became a project. It was only in 1987 – ten years before his last fatal car crash – that Rossi will have the opportunity to work on the city of Istanbul. His project report begins with a declaration: everything has been said about Istanbul, but like Venice and few other cities, it should be a key part of every architect’s education and profession. The project site, which is also the gateway to Asia, was the ancient Chrysopolis that looked at Constantinople beyond the Bosphorus. Le Corbusier considered Üsküdar (or Scutari) as something sacred, which together with Pera and Stamboul formed a trinity. Mimar Sinan built here two little and yet important mosques and their külliye , existing structures that will influence Rossi’s project. Initially, Rossi’s analytical attitude does not use literature nor architectural samples, as a reference. He first considers the geographical description of an old French guide: “Üsküdar (…) important faubourg asiatique d’Istanbul, est bâtie en amphithéâtre en regard de cette ville”. The definition of amphitheater is used as an architectural reference to explain the structure of the landscape, and at the same time the extraordinary life of Üsküdar. This concept embraces some of the main issues recurring in Rossi’s architecture; firstly, the city as a spatial structure, an artifact described not only by a morphological aspect, but also by a social one: “l’âme de la cité”, as defined by some French geographers quoted by Rossi. The same spirit mentioned by Le Corbusier is even more evident in the construction of the city of Istanbul. However, the definition of amphitheater shows also the close relationship there is between architecture and theater (and therefore between architecture and life). For Rossi, architecture, similarly to theater, concerns a sequence of events: it is nothing more than an instrument and a place to stage a play.

Redesigning Istanbul: Aldo Rossi and the Project for Üsküdar Square

Eliana Martinelli
2020-01-01

Abstract

In 1971, on the road to Istanbul, Rossi was involved in a serious car crash, a turning point in his life. The awareness of the body’s osteology, namely the re-composition of a series of fractures, comes from that accident and the ensuing pain. In the following year, this insight will lead to the cemetery of Modena project. Once completed, Rossi resumed his journey to Istanbul, as a continuation of the same experience, which also included the visit to the Bursa Mosque. Therefore, Istanbul represented both the purpose and the end of his journey, one that became a project. It was only in 1987 – ten years before his last fatal car crash – that Rossi will have the opportunity to work on the city of Istanbul. His project report begins with a declaration: everything has been said about Istanbul, but like Venice and few other cities, it should be a key part of every architect’s education and profession. The project site, which is also the gateway to Asia, was the ancient Chrysopolis that looked at Constantinople beyond the Bosphorus. Le Corbusier considered Üsküdar (or Scutari) as something sacred, which together with Pera and Stamboul formed a trinity. Mimar Sinan built here two little and yet important mosques and their külliye , existing structures that will influence Rossi’s project. Initially, Rossi’s analytical attitude does not use literature nor architectural samples, as a reference. He first considers the geographical description of an old French guide: “Üsküdar (…) important faubourg asiatique d’Istanbul, est bâtie en amphithéâtre en regard de cette ville”. The definition of amphitheater is used as an architectural reference to explain the structure of the landscape, and at the same time the extraordinary life of Üsküdar. This concept embraces some of the main issues recurring in Rossi’s architecture; firstly, the city as a spatial structure, an artifact described not only by a morphological aspect, but also by a social one: “l’âme de la cité”, as defined by some French geographers quoted by Rossi. The same spirit mentioned by Le Corbusier is even more evident in the construction of the city of Istanbul. However, the definition of amphitheater shows also the close relationship there is between architecture and theater (and therefore between architecture and life). For Rossi, architecture, similarly to theater, concerns a sequence of events: it is nothing more than an instrument and a place to stage a play.
978-88-9387-097-9
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1538637
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