Integrierter Entwurf

PROJECT(S) OF ANAMNESIS: Palermo, or the planetary polis

The constitution, the ultimate product of the ‘political art', does not keep healthy what is already healthy, but enables cure (cares for) what has lost its health. It presupposes conflict. Nor is its aim the reintegration of the 'healthy state'. This, yes, would be the impossible. Rather, it intends to show under what conditions, under the ‘arché’ of what norms, an ever-growing city can be ‘kept-in-form’, can not disintegrate or change its form by becoming other than itself. Paradoxical, certainly - for here the problem consists in thinking of a polis that, having become, somehow ceases to become, or, again, a polis that, while retaining within itself those forces or impulses that drove it beyond 'health', comes to give itself a stable form, to be state.

Massimo Cacciari, Geofilosofia dell’Europa

Anamnesis (ἀνάμνησις) is that process of reminiscence that, stimulated by the perception of sensible objects, leads humans to gradually rediscover those universal ideas that are the cause and origin of the phenomenal world. Reminiscence or anamnesis is thus an awakening of memory, the reawakening of a knowledge already present in our soul, but which had been forgotten at the moment of birth and was therefore unconscious.

What would it be to architectonically think about architecture and the city in the terms of anamnesis?
Palermo is a planetary city, the capital of a transnational world in which we are all migrants, natives of the universe. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Spaniards, Savoys, Austrians, Bourbons, Italians, Americans and countless others. Palermo has been home to many over the last three thousand years. Its strategic position at the heart of the Mediterranean, between Europe and Africa, between the Pillars of Hercules and Jerusalem, has led to constant migrations, transformations and overlapping lifestyles. The cultures of Palermo's past underpin contemporary life in every corner. From Hippodamian town planning to botanical gardens and modernist social housing, from the bustling port to Baroque villas, from Monte Pellegrino to the Tyrrhenian Sea. From Archimedes to Giovanni Falcone, from Friedrich Barbarossa II to Paolo Borsellino.

Over the centuries, the island's strategic position in the Mediterranean has made it an ideal crossroads for commercial and cultural exchanges. The deep cultural stratification and the massive waves of migration to the island have transformed Sicily into a unique colourful mosaic of architectural fragments and identities. Beginning with the Normans and continuing through later periods until the XVIII century, the noble villas and palaces of Palermo have become typical architectural models for the urban and suburban development of the city: living mirrors of the Norman Palace, an oasis of cultural interference and scientific pollutions. These noble residences have evolved, incorporating different architectural spatialities and variegated lifestyles, resulting in a varied and fascinating portrayal of Sicily's history. An island that wanted to be the image of the world.

Today, the phenomenon of the unfinished and abandoned is a distinctive feature of Palermo's architectural landscape, particularly evident in the city centre. In 2018, as part of the curatorial analysis commissioned by Manifesta12 to the architectural firm OMA, a large number of abandoned buildings (186) in the city centre were mapped, ranging from beautiful palazzos to industrial structures.

Palermo's baroque palaces and villas will be our figures of thought, in which we will look for abstract types and lifestyles from which we can learn, while the 186 unfinished and abandoned sites will be our field of action, in which we will translate forms of living appropriate to today.

What if, instead of ‘re-use’ we think in terms of ‘architectonics of anamnesis’?

12hh, 15 ECTS
Wednesday 04.10.2023 09.00 am

Wednesdays all day (Laboratory)

To be confirmed

Sicily 23-27 October 2023

In presence

Tiss-pool application with portfolio