Laboratoire Historique 4: Qualité urbaine et la perception du paysage, Como-Cernobbio, 4 mai 2007
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Ornella SELVAFOLTA, Professore di Storia dell’Architettura, Politecnico di Milano

Lake Como and the new scenery of tourism at the turn of the centu
While already renowned as a privileged spot for vacation and elite activities at the turn of the century, Lake Como undertakes significant structural changes that display a greater and more far-reaching conception of tourism. The lecture aims to offer a general view of this territorial and cultural scenery by illustrating different architectural typologies and landscape settings belonging to an "Art Nouveau culture", not as much as their stylistic features are concerned, but as the outcome of a conscious approach to modernity. Consistent examples can be found in hotel and villa developments, new waterways equipments and mountain railways, and also in the strategies to renew the lake perception fostering a more up-to-date cultural image (e.g. the Como 1899 Exhibition celebrating electricity, poster graphics, street furniture and so on).

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Breda MIHELIČ, Research Chief Adviser at the Slovenian Republic Urban Development Institut

La contribution de Max Fabiani au renouveau urbain et architecturale au tournant de 19e siècle dans monarchie Danubienne: peut-on parler de l’Art Nouveau urbain?
Dans ma conférence je vais présenter le personnage exceptionnel de Max Fabiani, sa position dans le milieu artistique de Vienne au tournant du 19e siècle, sa relation avec Otto Wagner et le mouvement sécessionniste. Étant un des urbanistes le plus respectés à l'époque à Vienne (il a été le premier à obtenir le titre du docteur en urbanisme) et un des collaborateurs les plus proches de Wagner dans le projet de la construction de la métropolitaine et aussi dans son projet de "Moderne Architektur" il a eu une influence importante sur le mouvement moderne en architecture et urbanisme non seulement dans la capitale de la monarchie, mais aussi dans les centres périphériques. Avant la première guerre mondiale il a marqué considérablement les villes comme par exemple Ljubljana, Trieste, Bielsko, Gorizia. Après la guerre in a déménagé à Gorizia ou il était nommé l'architecte en chef du Département pour la reconstruction de Gorizia et Gradišče. Suivant la contribution de Fabiani à la pensée urbanistique de la fin du siècle je me pose aussi la question, s'il y a et quels sont les liens entre l'urbanisme moderne du tournant du siècle et l'Art nouveau.

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Erling DOKK HOLM, Doctoral Candidate at the Oslo School of Architecture

The return of the city- the hidden qualities of urban structures
A traditional urban fabric has many qualities, but one of the most important is the flexibility and the ability to foster social relations. This lecture will focus on the physical aspects of urban life and the different ways different physical structures can be understood and used. The case here is Ålesund, Norway's only coherent Art Nouveau city. There are many lessons to be learned by looking at Ålesund. The city is rich in diverse urban physical qualities and a brilliant example of how city planners worked 100 years ago.

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Jānis KRASTIŇŠ, Professor at the Riga Technical University, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning

Mežaparks in Riga – one of the first garden cities in Europe
Mežaparks, that means „Garden Forest” in Latvian and is known also as “Kaiserwald” in German, was one of the first executions of the idea of garden cities. This idea became popular in late 19th century. In 1900, the municipality of Riga decided to start construction of the new “colony of villas” north of the city centre, in a hilly forest. The director of Riga’s gardens, Georg Kupfaldt, worked out the layout of the streets, and the first family houses were constructed in 1901. Horse tramline connecting Mežaparks with the city centre was constructed in 1903 and converted into an electric one in 1910. In this year, the built-up area was extended in the northern direction according to the urban plan, which was commissioned to well-known German planner Hermann Jansen. By the start of World War I, more than 100 buildings were constructed– mainly one-family residences and semidetached houses. They all display typical features of Art Nouveau architecture, the predominant stylistic trend being something close to German “Heimatstil”. The period of intensive construction in the Mežaparks was between 1928 and 1932, when some 170 buildings were erected. It was the period of the Modern Movement; therefore Mežaparks in general display a fine interchange of two major architectural styles of the first half of 20th century. It is still an area of superb quality for healthy living.

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Marco LEONI, Architect

Tourism and industry: Hotel settlements and industrial complexes in the area of Varese for the creation of a new urban image at the beginning of the XX century
At the beginning of the XX century the territory was characterized by two phenomenons with a great impact: the development of mass tourism and the growth of industrial activities, that, in some cases, contributed significatively in transforming the territory and in constructing a new urban image. The city of Varese and the surrounding area became the destination of mass tourism thanks to huge private investments and the realization of new infrastructures (railroads, funicular, tramways) that allowed rapid connections with Milan and places of great environmental interest. The splendid panoramas of the lakes and the prealps were made easily accessible. Beside the new hotel structures (Grand Hotel at Campo dei Fiori, Palace Hotel at Colle Campigli), which became points of reference in the urban panorama, a construction of a new settlement was programmed but only partly realized, destined to residences for the rich middle class. In the lowland Bust Arsizio and Gallarate were rapidly transformed, favored by the growth of the industrial activities that rose to the symbol of the urban identity. The new industrial complexes, together with the residences for the owners, had a fundamental representative role of the power of the new middle class and they characterized the new urban districts. These buildings constitute a tangible testimony of an epoch of great transformations and today they represent an architectural patrimony that must adequately be preserved.

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Bartosz WALCZAK, Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning

Lodz around 1900- from the manufacturing village to the industrial city
The origins of Lodz reach back the Medieval times. It was, however, not before the early 19th century when the real development of the city started. The rapid growth was based on the textile industry. During less than a century the number of inhabitants increased 600 times (sic!), but Lodz remained purely a production place. There were no public spaces, no public institutions, and no other features typical for large important cities. The situation was reflected by the urban and architectural image of the city. The situation started to change gradually at the turn of the century. The lecture aims to discuss the role of Art Nouveau in this process.

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Anne MÄKINEN, Ph.D., Head of Cultural Environment Unit, Helsinki City Museum;

Katajanokka - an Art Nouveau District, Questions concerning Urban Quality and Protection
The old housing district in Katajanokka is a unique and well-preserved Art Nouveau area in Helsinki and in Finland, and also in a European context. Its urban quality is today highly valued, but it has not always been so. The first town plan is from 1895. The plan was based on regularity, straight streets lines and big closed quarters. The aim of town planning was not urban design - a city as art work, but an effective and practically engineered, steering town plan. The housing area was built in less than 20 years, between 1896-1916. Twenty architects and contractors planned highly individual Art Nouveau apartment houses and the result was a visually solid housing district. Today all Art Nouveau housing areas in Katajanokka is protected by a detailed city plan from 1984. Facades, roofs and townscape is protected, as well as the main staircases. The urban quality of Katajanokka is not only the townscape, but also the authentic spaces and interiors, staircases, constructions and details. Helsinki City Museum´s aim is to preserve these Art Nouveau buildings future generations as authentic for as possible.

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Jean MOLET, Professor at the Department of Art History, Barcelona University

“Conquering” the Collserola Range: modernity, leisure and nature
By the 1890s, Barcelona's Eixample district was well established and connected the ancient heart of the city with the settlements at the foot of the Collserola Range, most of which were incorporated into the city in 1897. From that moment on, the city began to consider absorbing this extensive area, most of it forestland that until then had been used for farming activities. The parks and green areas, among them an extensive forest along the Besòs River, that urban planner Cerdà had envisaged for the Eixample had been sacrificed to construction and planned gardens for Montjuïc were still on hold. Given this situation, the city began to look to the mountain, which was crying out to be the city's great green lung. Two private companies became the engine behind a series of works to make the mountain more accessible. From 1899, the El Tibidabo Company Ltd began building on the hillside and peak, creating a 'garden city' and modern leisure installations linked by a tram and funicular (Spain's first). The Catalonia Railways Company electrified and extended the old Sarrià train line to Vallvidrera with another funicular (1906) and opened a tunnel under the mountain range to Sant Cugat del Vallès (1917), passing through the Les Planes area, a popular new leisure destination in the middle of nature. All these works led to the construction of a series of interesting examples of modernista architecture, from houses in the garden city to the buildings required for infrastructure (such as the train and funicular stations, hotels and amusement park installations). One must add that making such a natural space accessible to the city, in which the garden city ideal came to fruition and modern outdoor pastimes were rendered possible, undoubtedly improved the quality of life of Barcelona's inhabitants.

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Maurizio MONOLI, Direzione Generale Culture, Identità e Autonomie della Lombardia, Regione Lombardia, Annelisa FAUSTINELLI, F.A.I., Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano

Regione Lombardia: The planned preservation proposal and the emblematic case of Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan
“Prevention is better than cure” is a well-used slogan; a principle more expressed than really applied in different sectors: from medicine to security and, in the end, to the immovables. The General Management of Regione Lombardia, who promotes historical heritage, launched a program to turn this principle into action. To reach the goals set, the General Management fixed and published some practices and guidelines setting a series of substantial processes for the correct maintenance of immovables. It also supported the realization of an application software called “SIRCoP” to simplify the employment of these processes. Practices, guidelines and software have been produced together with the BEST Department of Politecnico di Milano. To weigh the effectiveness of the general practices already stated in the seventies by Giovanni Urbani and to test the arranged proceedings and software, Regione Lombardia started a testing program and supported different and important interventions to promote its cultural heritage. One of these initiatives is the Villa Necchi-Campiglio, a large villa in the urban centre of Milan, F.A.I-owned. The nature of the immovable property, its history, the quality of the engineering design, its use as a “museum-house”, the occasion for restoration work and the F.A.I’s will be confrontated with new methods, making this villa a symbolic case of excellence, an example and prototype to export and an incentive to improve.


Tiziana SOLIVANI,Centro Italo-Tedesco Villa Vigoni

Uno sguardo liberty sul lago di Como

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