City Patterns
We are used to look at our cities, as citizens or visitors, from eye level upwards: there is where architecture exits and defines our city
space. I am used, as well, to shift my PC lens upwards, in order to depict that architecture and the urban landscape. Yet, there is life
down there. Free of cars or pedestrians, the ground of our cities –Lisbon and Helsinki in this case– is an abstract texture and layout:
sidewalks, crosswalks, tram rails and paving compose a unique surface, a carpet that flows and slides ready to receive that other
vertical layout of the skin of architecture. This quote by Mirco Zardini, Director of the CCA in Montreal, comes along:
“Looking through my travel photographs some time ago, I noticed that in most photos of buildings asphalt typically occupies half of the
image. This led to my research on the evolution of asphalt as an urban phenomenon shaping our cities. Over the years, the role and
perception of this surface has turned from good to bad in many eyes. Our contemporary cities need much improvement, but all too
often it is assumed that large problems require large and complex solutions. I would like to propose that it is often the smaller ideas
and individual initiatives that can lead to big and radical changes. It is the actors that shape our understanding of the architecture”.
A+U no. 460, p. 69.
Iñaki Bergera. Lisbon and Helsinki, 2011-12