Category Architecture as Experience Radical change in spatial practice

The north cloister

Let me now turn to the detail of the cathedral’s north fagade and the northern part of the cloister (Figures 4.4 and 4.8), where the frame of reference will be determined not by distant and varied secular structures but, rather, by immediate and consistent ecclesiastical institutions. In the thirteenth century, the north fagade was completely surrounded by an impressive array of clerics’ residences and administrative structures, so that it fronted onto a different environment than did the south. This situation is not unique: a recent general survey of canonial quarters adjoining cathedrals in northern France – i. e. quarters serving the canons or cathedral clergy – indicates that most of them lay to the north of the church.28


Cathedral of Notre Dame, Chartres, Last Judgement portal...

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From prison to luxury hotel: the story of an ironic conversion

Istanbul began to emerge from Ankara’s shadow as the country’s prime city in the 1950s. The urban development that accommodated the city’s phenom­enal industrial and financial expansion took place mostly outside the historic peninsula, which was densely packed with old neighbourhoods and landmarks. Meanwhile, even though it was home to Turkey’s most prominent cultural heritage sites, the Sultanahmet District, suffered from neglect and deteriorated considerably, having failed to generate investment. The presence of the prison – and its later abandonment which turned it into a shelter for transients by fiat – did little to improve the district’s prospects. Well into the 1980s Sultanahmet was a tourist destination only during daytime...

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The commodification of pilgrimage?

Traditionally, Christian pilgrims formed a communal relationship with each other and with the caretakers of the sacred sites throughout the ritual of pilgrimage. That communal relationship, which was forged through the hazards of the journey, the sharing of resources, and the entry into an alternative reality, defined the social character of the pilgrimage. In the modern tourism industry, however, the pilgrim’s social role was defined as that of the client who paid for travel arrangements, airfare, tourist guides, comfort­able accommodation, and pre-packaged experiences of the sacred.9

The 2000 Jubilee was special for several reasons. John Paul II has claimed, himself, that it represented the ‘hermeneutic key of my Pontificate’ (in Tertio Millennio Adveniente10)...

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‘Making possible… reappropriation and redirection’

From beginning to end of the funeral of the American Unknown Soldier, indi­viduals and groups intervened in its rites in deed as well as in word. The initial interventions were unwelcome and unwanted, and the later ones not only unforeseen by the army’s planners, but also very different from what they intended. These actions of course, took place in space (where else would they take place?) and are surely therefore to be counted as spatial practices. It was therefore spatial practices that were, recalling Sullivan, responsible for some of the ‘contradictions, paradoxes and rough edges’ with which the rites were filled, and because of that, they were contradictory, radically challenged expectations about behaviour...

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A modern fountain?


The Colosseum valley as it appeared from the mid-1930s to the mid-1980s, with white outlines marking the locations of the demolished Meta Sudans and Colossal statue base

as if Mussolini were seeking to convey not his revival of the grandeur of ancient Rome but his power to destroy that which is old, unsightly or super­fluous (Figure 2.8).

For the next sixty-odd years, it looked as if this were the end of the story of the Meta Sudans, the only exception being some important archaeological explorations of its remaining foundations in the mid-1980s and 1990s.46 But perhaps no episode in the long, tortuous history of the monument is as strange as the one unfolding today...

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