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hat is the connection between the Industrial Revolution and Human Rights? There are many possible connections that can be supported by valid arguments of course, but in this case it is worth focusing on what the Strasbourg project expresses. Since the Beaubourg project, the factory and everything surrounding it has become an inevitable element of construction for Rogers. But in the case of the Human Rights Building there is something more… Something playful, but also something with symbolic connotations. The building’s layout clearly evokes a human figure, an android of sorts – with almost no body, long legs and a head with enormous eyes – lying on the river bank. The building’s function has therefore been interpreted using the age-old practice of imitation to create a highly evocative element. This reveals how modern-day architecture’s DNA still contains significant traces of an archaic past, when architecture differentiated itself from a simple shelter through the shape of a concave sculpture serving as a container of functions as well as a structure with a symbolic energy capable of instantly expressing contents of a certain degree of complexity. This anthropomorphic vision, and the references to other categories deeply ingrained in our collective imagination seem to reappear as a possible design process capable of marking with architectural features and through a system of easily recognizable signs an increasingly chaotic and indistinguishable territory. In this sense, a pattern of relations seems to

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La scala elicoidale vetrata, vista dal basso, che conduce all’Aula della Corte. Nella pagina a fianco, l’atrio accessibile anche dal pubblico. The glass spiral staircase, seen from below, leading to the Court Room. Opposite page, the lobby which is also open to the public.

emerge, composed of nodes which are no longer just spatial but also cultural, and which might revive an idiom that was abandoned during the golden years of Rationalism. Industrial imagination combined with, for instance, symbolic and metaphorical shapes could generate a language capable of creating extremely striking features by associating the evocative force of primeval forms to the energy of modernity. In the “factory of human rights”, Rogers creates a sense of order, a hierarchy of signs in which surface and color do not seek to blend with the surroundings, nor do they seek the duality of Artifice and Nature, but rather the dialectic of opposites. The refined system of the panel assembly and the structural connections highlighted by exposed plates and rivets represent a quest for a direct idiom, without mediations or pretences. The structures painted in fiery red become a system of signs capable of evoking that ideal leit-motif running throughout human history and our social conquests. Indeed, it is no coincidence that red surrounds the two large cylinders that house the Supreme Court and High Commission. In Strasbourg’s glass and steel urban landscape, the scintillating metal “machine” that is the Human Rights Building is a real flash of light, an object of rare industrial beauty that reflects and illuminates its surroundings. When architecture is not just a functional container, but a communication structure, the surrounding setting turns into a nonverbal narrative, a very effective language of images. In fact, by using the powerful signs of modernity, architecture is trying to position itself as a symbol of progress and movement toward the future.

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arcVision 9  

Un approfondimento sul concetto di limite. Da un lato la propensione tutta umana a superare ogni confine attraverso uno sviluppo continuo de...

arcVision 9  

Un approfondimento sul concetto di limite. Da un lato la propensione tutta umana a superare ogni confine attraverso uno sviluppo continuo de...

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