Urban form is the major factor in creating a living environment. This is why the most criticized and discussed modernistic concepts are urban projects. Trying to provide better living conditions, architects unintentionally created spaces which are nowadays perceived as antisocial and dehumanized.
The most radical and – fortunately – theoretical urban project is the Voisin Plan designed by Le Corbusier in early 20s of 20th century. The concept of total reorganization of the centre of Paris became a flagship idea of modernism urbanism. What is now treated as a national treasure and one of the most touristic areas had been intended to be demolished as too small and too dense to live in. Corbusier wanted to replace it with huge, 60-storey, cross-shaped buildings, organized with the orthogonal grid and flooded in greenery, creating a new business and residential area.
The main problem in that project was its lack of human scale and negative emotions it would evoke in people. In our concept we tried to recall this oppressive urban form and criticize it by confronting it with existing city and its inhabitants.
Our new definition of a memorial monument is a farewell – a temporary structure in urban scale. Eighteen black crosses taken directly from Le Corbusier’s plan will be floating above the Parisians’ heads throwing a shadow on the existing urban fabric. Each cross would be built with 5760 black balloons filled with helium – the number symbolizes the amount of people meant to stay in one building.
The whole concept will not be easy to read from the level of the street. Its mysterious form is intended to make people feel lost, uneasy and insecure – just as they would have felt if the Plan Voisin was built. In that sense even a person which is not familiar with the history of urbanism is able to understand the message of the installation. To emphasize lack of human scale in modernist assumptions, the monument as a whole will be visible only via Google Maps or similar application.
Balloons would be used because of their fragility and temporality. Day after day, they would be getting smaller and would be constantly falling down, providing more sunshine and the dark shadow of modernist urbanism would Vanish, leaving no visible mark.
In this way, we would like to show how the world could look like… And get rid of this.
199089: Dimitris Chatziioakeimidis
(Faculty of Architecture, University of Patras)
758493: Achilleas Pliakos
(School of Architecture N.T.U.A.)