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The force of everyday life

Stone, Sally ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5406-139X (2021) The force of everyday life. In: European Association for Architectural Education 7th Workshop on Conservation, 25 September 2019 - 28 September 2019, Prague, Czech Republic.

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Abstract

Italo Calvino in his searching recollection of cities discussed the many-layered relationship between the generation of a place and the manner in which it is occupied. A city, he said, consists of «…the relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past». He qualifies this «… the line strung from the lamppost to the railing opposite and the festoons that decorate the course of the queen’s nuptial procession; the height of that railing and the leap of the adulterer who climbed over it at dawn; the tilt of a guttering and a cat’s progress along it as he slips into the same window.» (Calvino 1979: 13) This constant use and adjustment to that use and abuse creates an ever-evolving environment, somewhere that is never finished, not complete nor content. Yet as the city develops it leaves traces and marks of that evolution. It is ordered and reordered, and in doing so displays these uncertainties and patina of time within the very grain of the streets and buildings themselves. Calvino continues: «As this wave from memories flows in, the city soaks up like a sponge and expands. … The city does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the street, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.» (Calvino 1979: 13)

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