j u x t a p o s e d: A Revelatory Appraoch to Reconcile Past and Present

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2005-04-28
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Virginia Tech
Abstract

Carlo Scarpa, Italian architect, designer, painter, had a vision of a deliberate juxtaposition of the presence of the past against the backdrop of the present. Such are the conditions that describe various palimpsests, partially legible windows into the past. Reconstructing the Ca'Foscari (1935-37), Scarpa's first real commission marked the realized reconciliation between the old and the new. The finished work of the Ca'Foscari reflects the poetic manner in which the presence of the history and the present moment are allowed to be what they are no more, no less; yet the two operate in ethereal symbiosis. A perforated semi-transparency and sophisticated manipulation of light evolved to become the governing strategies for future projects. Revelatory changes in materials establish a relationship with an evolving fabric. Scarpa believed that arranging such exhibits as the Ca'Foscari project kept these delicate reconciliations at the forefront of one's mind.

In an era of placelessness, Niall Kirkwood states that history's failures are repeating themselves. In efforts to "Hold Our Ground" he make the revelation that spaces built from the 1990's on may deteriorate faster than expected as landscapes evolve. Spaces are redesigned with new forms masking what was.

Kirkwood proposes a working paradigm, similar to a palimpsest, to provide legible insight into a site's past.

This thesis investigation is intended to explore possible reconfigurations of history's artifacts, lending themselves to a dialogue between the past and the present as applied to a conceptual palimpsest. This is possible taking Scarpa's ability of weaving a new work into the ongoing dialogue of an evolving fabric paired with the fusions of modern/historical impulses of sculptor Isamu Noguchi strung with Walter Hood's improvisational analysis whereas the site informs the design.

This design project will take form as a revelatory unveiling of Love Plaza's history, one of Philadelphia's many reused canvasses.

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land recycling, cultural landscape, palimpsest
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