Reading of the Modifications of an Urban Edge: From Art Nouveau Palermo to Present City

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To commemorate the battle of May 27, 1860, the City Council of Palermo in 1910 decided to build a monument. The center of a large circular plaza was chosen to serve as the final part of an elegant arterial road on the edge of the town where the monument would have done as a backdrop. The construction of the monument was commissioned to Ernesto Basile who also designed the plan of the garden, beyond which ran a circular road that delimited and concluded the square. In 1927 the City Council decided to dedicate the monument to the fallen in war and asked Basile to add an architectural backdrop. The initial project was a continuous curtain that completely absorbed the square and the ring road, only interrupted by passages in proximity of the surroundings roads. The final project was instead the realization of a semicircular exedra with columns that separated the monument from the ring road and introduced a change in the perception of the square. The subsequent development of the city has incorporated the square between high and anonymous buildings, made without an order of relationships, causing a loss of identity of the surrounding tissue. A road with three carriageways was built behind the monument, and the square is now an intense traffic node. The circular path affects the perception of the square, the monument and the dynamic hierarchy of the elements that compose it. The square and the monument have lost their characteristic of terminal elements of the urban system, their symbolic intentionality and the role of place in the social relationship. Through the survey of the current situation, the analysis of the original drawings (1909 and 1930), the representation of the changes that occurred over time and analysis of formal, dimensional, spatial and urban connections, this paper proposes a reading of the square configuration and its surroundings from the design of the monument to the present day.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine1
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2017


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