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KATARXIS

On Tradition

"...That between the traditional and the new, or between order and adventure, there is no real opposition, and that what we call tradition today is a knitwork of centuries of adventure."

Jorge Luis Borges

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The Greenbrier at West Village Golf Resort, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
by Robert A.M Stern Architects
( Photo by Kawasumi Architectural Photograph Office )

TRADITION and MODERNITY in CONTEMPORARY PRACTICE

Architecture and City-building are necessarily imbedded in a desire of building.They encompass physical and moral changes in the built environment of human societies as they propose new buildings, monuments,neighbourhoods, piazzas, streets etc. in order to restore, to improve, to complete, existing built or unbuilt sites.Architecture's main purpose has always been and cannot be other than to conceive in a consistant way good buildings, good cities, good landscapes, good interiors etc. in the perspective of building and of dwelling.

Rue de Laeken,Bruxelles,Model View

Reconstruction of Rue de Laeken,Bruxelles(1989-1995)
Final and built project.(Model by J.Ph.Caufriez 1995)

"He may construct, within the world as it is, a pattern of the world as he would have it.This is the way of humanism, in philosophy, in life and in the Arts."

Sir Geoffrey Scott

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Urban Village in Potsdam
by Leon Krier

The Contemporary

Now architecture remains essentially a pursuit of ideals.How can the new classical and traditional architects and city-builders integrate the contemporary which seems so antagonistic to the fundamental values of classical and traditional cultures?How can ideals be maintained alive in times of alienation,confusion and fragmentation?

The issue of the "ideal world" colliding with the "real world" is not exclusively a contemporary one.It is a permanent struggle of mankind.

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The "Cite Judiciaire" in Luxembourg (1992-95) by Rob and Leon Krier.
This project is approved by the Luxembourg Government and Parliament but has now been challenged by UNESCO for not following the modernist prescriptions of the Charter of Venice (1963)!

To address the "real world" is not to compromise ideals of excellence, but to consacrate reality as a manifestation of an eternal and sacred creation.Now reality is not a fatality beyond human planning intelligence.Even if the world is governed by "chaos", this apparent disorder is nothing else than the complex development of life.Now any cultural achievement and any action is guided by choices transcending the contiguity of existing conditions.The practice of architecture and city-building is not locked into the contingencies of the "real world" and the contemporary.

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Sa Paissa de Na Carolina,the House of Caroline in Ibiza, by Philippe Rotthier (1980-1982)
Photography by Pere Planells (Ibiza)

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Dobson House, Seaside, Florida
by Cooper Johnson Smith Architects

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Quinta do Pilar, Portugal, by Jose Cornelio Da Silva and Jose Baganha

The new and contemporary traditional architects and urbanists are not looking for striking statements and for competitive innovation.Their works are exciting and unique by their harmonious and elegant integration into existing social and environmental and urban contexts...This is done without servility to the past and without blindness to the future.It acknowledges the contemporary with positive lucidity and proposes new standards of modernity for a better world in a context of humanist and ecological criterias.