ARCH 4101/4102/5101/5116/7113
Split 3.0 — Urban Editing: Contemporary Potential of Late Modern Public Urban Space

rendering of modern buildings and a public square in a city

Split, Croatia. photo / D. Pejkovic

The city of Split, Croatia has had a long history of urban development, of which the most valuable and important historical example is Diocletian Palace (AD 295–305). The last Roman Emperor House has, over time, become the structure for a very lively city — a house/city that is not a monument, but a place full of life, people, and events and that, after 2,000 years, is still being upgraded, built, and rebuilt with new contemporary layers.

This example of Diocletian's Palace encouraged the young Team X architects to refuse the tabula rasa methodology of modern urban development. Dutch architect Jaap Bakema "rediscovered" the palace during the 1956 CIAM Team X meeting in Dubrovnik, and described it as "a model for a strategy of preserving a building's historic substance by employing a method of permanent transformation and contemporary reacquisition," Today, more than 50 years later, the palace might again become a source of inspiration for architects and urban designers in regards to new challenges.

The winning team of the urban design competition of the Split III district was led by architect Braco Mušič. A Harvard GSD graduate in an age when Modernist principles were strongly criticized, he had also participated in Dubrovnik Team X, CIAM congress, and his project established a connection between the architecture of megastructural scale and the reestablishment of the pedestrian zone — the street.

Our studio, Split 3.0 - Urban Editing, is therefore about researching, editing, and improving public space in the city of Split. Fifty years after the very successful design and realization of this (late Modern) quarter Split III, we will examine the potential of its streets and neighborhoods at both urban and architectural scales. This studio recognizes the role of the street — the urbanistic and architectural potential of the street — in the matrix of the city of Split (Nolli plan of Split 3.0 revisited).

We will be using the editing method, as used by filmmakers, musicians, classical and contemporary DJs, and cook master chefs. And, as in film editing, we will use the "ready-made" elements and found realities on the spot, rearrange them, adapt, transform, repair, reuse. The studio also aims to critically explore the contemporary impact of digital technologies on communities and urban space. Sensors and networks are part of everyday life now. The addition of temporary, adaptive, innovative objects/structures (parasites), can transform existing spaces into spaces of urban and cultural production that interact with neighboring parts of the city. What will the consequences of this new scenario be on urban public life?

Students are highly encouraged to independently visit the exhibition Towards a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980 at MoMA in New York City (closes Sunday, January 13, 2019). The exhibition serves as an important introduction to the period of the creation of the Split III district, demonstrating not only an urban and architectural overview but also the social, economic, and political condition of that country and that time. Sasa Begovic will be in Ithaca for an anticipated four, 10-day visits on the following dates: January 22–31, March 13–22, April 10–19, and April 29–May 9; and will also participate in the weeklong field trip* to Split from February 16 to 22. Visiting Critic Gesa Büttner Dias will collaborate in the studio on a full-time basis in Ithaca.

The final product of the studio will be realized through a presentation, exhibition, and publication/folder book.

*$500 field trip contribution per student is required.

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