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Samir Younés, Ettore Maria Mazzola
Gangemi, 2003 - Architecture - 94 pages
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Como: The Modernity of Tradition chronicles University of Notre Dame's School of Architecture studio section that studied and proposed interventions for the eastern edge of the historic center of Como. The first phase of the project began with a two-day analysis of the historic center of Como. Students familiarized themselves with the city by completing a rigorous block-by-block study of the city within the walls. Every type of urban space and building that contributed to Como's unique character was identified. Typical details, materials and construction techniques were catalogued. Examples representing the full spectrum of hierarchy, from the most commonplace and vernacular to the most articulate and refined were documented for each type.

The criteria for the students' evaluation of the city's present state was to what degree its building and urban spaces contributed to the public realm. Where they found deficiencies, they proposed ways in which these areas could be enriched and improved. But, rather than imposing upon Como predetermined ideas about what they imagined might be good for it, the students proposed interventions that were based on an understanding of what was already good about Como.

Continuity is judiciously approved where architectural production has rationally been proven successful, and change is carefully accepted where and when there is a rational need to depart from a practice that has failed. Such is the rationality of tradition, and this is why the University of Notre Dame teaches traditional architecture as a modern practice.

Written in English and Italian.

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Stefano BRUNI
Braulio Casas
Roberto Bedetti

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About the author (2003)

SAMIR YOUNÉS is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame. Now also the Director of the Rome Studies Program, Younés taught at the Catholic University of America from 1986 until 1991 when he joined the Notre Dame faculty. He also taught at the Prince of Wales' Institute of Architecture and lectured and reviewed student work at the Universities of Bologna, Ferrara, Miami and Maryland. His projects and essays on architecture and aesthetics have appeared in publications including Architectural Design, Archi e Colonne and American Arts Quarterly. He is the author of 'The True, the Fictive and the Real' and 'Quatremère de Quincy's Historical Dictionary of Architecture' and member of the Scientific Committee of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Affairs, which makes recommendations on national architecture issues and is composed of seven superintendents of the major regions and museums in Italy and five foreign scholars.

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