Roots of a 21st Century Urbanism: The Vision of Manuel de Solà-Morales

For Manuel de Solà-Morales (1939–2012), urbanism necessarily entailed the application of ideas to different realities. He saw urbanism as a social construct, subject to political debate, but he knew that the design project must define strategies and actions for diverse conditions. After studying at Harvard GSD, he returned to Barcelona to establish his practice. His projects reflect the influence of his professor Josep Lluis Sert, as well as Ludovico Quaroni, Aldo Rossi, and Henri Lefèbvre. This symposium celebrates Solà-Morales’s synthesis of the roots of urbanism with contributions by Lorena Bello, Joan Busquets, Felipe Correa, Jean-Louis Cohen, Alexander d’Hooghe, Alex Krieger, Rafael Moneo, Marcel Smets, Marion Weiss, and Mirko Zardini.

by TheHarvardGSD

The construction of urban theory in the field of urbanism and urban architecture calls for a refined conceptual formulation and a socially valid practice; above all, it needs the time to develop. In this process, the emergence of figures capable of generating “new visions” is commendable: Manuel de Solà-Morales, Barcelona architect, was one such. He was one of the first Spanish students of Josep Lluís Sert at Harvard, he founded the Laboratori d’Urbanisme de Barcelona, and he created new concepts and introduced innovative practices for transforming urban design in Europe.

Ignasi de Solà-Morales Rubió (Barcelona 1942 – Amsterdam 2001) was a Catalan architect, historian and philosopher.He was professor of Architectural Composition at the School of Architecture in Barcelona, and also taught at the universities of Princeton, Columbia, Turin, and Cambridge.Among his most notable architectural works are the reconstruction of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion, and the reconstruction and expansion of the Liceu Theatre in Barcelona.Ignasi de Solà-Morales has coined the term “terrain vague”, applied to abandoned, obsolete and unproductive areas, with no clear definitions and limits. More >>>

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