MTS 01 - 14 - 2010

Among many other responsibilities, architecture (and design in general) serves as a reflection of what a community or a culture is. But the difficulty is how do you define a culture? Additionally, you must take into consideration the past and present society, and find the balance between the two. Architecture should do the same, and provide visual connection between history and present day. There exist multiple methods of doing this, and so far we have experienced many. The image on the left is a sketch of the main entrance of the Saint Peter and Paul church, along the river banks in Granada, Spain. Originally, the church was an Islamic mosque (like many churches in the area), and upon reconquest, was refitted as a church. Ironically, despite the fact that the Christians wanted to remove evidence of the previous religion, the main distinction still exists: the main entry. The original ******, distinctly Islamic, is clearly visible around the new ‘Christian’ door and sculpture had been forced into it. Even though the original intention was not to embrace the past, today is can exemplify what not to do when trying to link two eras of a single culture: it is not necessary to provide a literal bridge, or connection, between historical and modern cultures. It doesn’t seem to best represent a blend, and rather a collision. The second image is a sketch of Granada in section cut between La Alhambra and the San Nicolas church. Unlike the first example, this demonstrates a simple, effective way to communicate a connection: eyesight. Given, La Alhambra sits atop the highest point in the city, and is easily viewed from any place in the city, but it is this simple fact that can help to connect any culture’s past and present. For the San Nicolas church, its doors open out to a vista that lines up nicely with the base of the Alhambra complex across the river. Unlike the Saint Peter and Paul church, where the past and present were physically touching, San Nicolas demonstrates how that connection can be equally strong simply by using line-of-sight. Such relationships between past and present should be considered in all designs, and could be used to strengthen the sense of community within an area. If the architecture (and other designs) seems to correlate with a city’s historical pieces, then the bond between both the architecture and the community will grow.

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