The Urban-A-Where Project, Nicosia CY, 2012
Exhibition: The Urban-A-Where Project
Castelliotisa, Nicosia,Cyprus October 2012 and Dept. of Architecture UCy, Nicosia, Cyprus, November 2012
Curators: Socratis Startis, Assistant Curators: Didier Rebois, Maria Panayides
Organised under the auspices of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Featured projects: Urbis Supina (draftworks*2012)
The U-A-W ‘Extra Small Installation’ participants:
Michael Rudolph, Versaweiss, Abp Arquitectos, Maria Loizidou, Anna Poullou, draftworks*, Andreas Angelidakis, Duburcq & Martin, Pick Nick, Bernd Vlay
Urbis Supina (Supine City, Ύπτια Πόλη)
Di sotto in sù is an Italian expression meaning ‘seen from below’ or ‘from below, upwards’. It was used to describe a technique in painting, developed during the late Italian Renaissance. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Pietro da Cortona and other masters of this technique painted frescoes on the ceilings of palazzos, with scenes from mythology or the bible, as if they were actually seen from a viewer looking from below upwards.
As architects and urban planners we are trained to see the city from above downwards, this constitutes a privileged viewpoint, the viewpoint of Science or God. While as users of the city we are trained to see straight, avoiding all the dangers of the city and minding our own business, the viewpoint of bustle and rush. Our question then is: What if we could reverse the perspective that we usually have for the city. That would mean that instead of looking the city from above down, we would start seeing the city from below upwards. This would constitute a ‘supine’ view, the view that one has when lying on his back contemplating the sky.
In our project ‘Urbis Supina’, which means ‘Supine City’ we take advantage of the ‘think into the box’ concept of the exhibition and we propose the construction of such a viewpoint. More than that we propose the viewpoint to be placed 33m under the level of the city. This view, if possible, would then reveal the succession of many layers of the city, hidden underground beyond our perception, for each one of which time counts as a totally different quantity: the primordial ground, the prehistoric fossils, the ancient ruins of the city, the roots of the trees and the lines of the underground infrastructure.