The absent spaces in the European city, as a stitching system of the urban infrastructure and the collective in the contemporary city
Hans Ulrich Orbrist interviews the architect Rem Koolhaas about the Berlin Wall. He answers: “The Berlin Wall as architecture was for me the first spectacular revelation in architecture of how absence can be stronger than presence. For me, it is not necessarily connected to loss in a metaphysical sense, but more connected to an issue of efficiency, where I think that the great thing about Berlin is that it showed for me how (and this is my own campaign against architecture) entirely "missing urban presences or entirely erased architectural entities nevertheless generate what can be called an urban condition[…] And that was the beauty of Berlin even ten years ago, that it was the most contemporary and the most avant-garde European city because it had these major vast areas of nothingness” . This paper will look at the urban spaces created in the city often defined as peripheral, empty and absent in the European city. Most of these spaces resulted after the construction boom that led to the 2008 economic crisis, and now are left abandoned in the political crisis facing Europe (a continent that suddenly disintegrates with countries leaving the EU). The spaces as Koolhaas defines in his answer above that while he refer as missing urban presences, are nevertheless and generate an urban condition in the European City. Abandoned spaces often left to their own device, growing in the outskirts of the city, in the empty centre of the city. This paper proposes to re-visit the significance of these terrain-vagues (Ignasi de Sola-Morales) first from a theoretical point of view in the Southern European context (Auge’s non-place, Boeri’s anti-citta) and look critically at their role in the urban infrastructure of the urban system in cities, making them integral in their absence as a presence of the new collective in two European cities: Belfast and Madrid.
Citation : Martinez Perez, A. (2020) The absent spaces in the European city, as a stitching system of the urban infrastructure and the collective in the contemporary city. Architecture and Culture,
ISSN : 2050-7828
Research Institute : Institute of Architecture
Peer Reviewed : Yes