Anonymous City

Laka2020 159 DesignAuthors’ description:
What is a city? How do we interact with it? What is included in our impression of an urban environment, our image of the city?
The project reflects on our perception and interaction with reality and with urban environment in particular as a deeply personal and subjective. Often places are perceived chaotically and inconsistently. Nevertheless, the relationship between them has subjective logic and appears to be more of a path from one point to another, rather than a map with urban tissue printed on the classic understanding.

CONCEPTION: Anonymous city
What would happen to the perception if one withdraws city’s crucial places? What will be the mental image of the city, without major landmarks? What will draw the human perception to create a mental picture of the environment without the auxiliary urban elements which facilitates this process?
In an attempt to answer these questions the concept of anonymous space is introduced – the symbols which form observers mental picture of the city are obstructed, giving way to a formation of new perception of the city.

PROJECT: Anti-symbol of Marseilles
The concept of metaphorical withdrawal of the main city symbols, is an idea to erase all city landmarks, not by demolishing them but rather physically concealing them. A single observation place, where there is no visual reference of the city landmarks, where the city loses its identity, should allow the observers to find themselves out of urban and cultural context of the city.

The location suitable for the project should be such that offers not only on the greatest number of iconic places but also grasps the rest of the city within the same view. In Marseille observation deck of Esplanade de La Tourette is suited for this purpose, since major monuments are observable on several main axes, while the whole city literally surrounds it.

In order to create an Anti-symbol of a city, the concept of a blind window is used. Blind window is an antagonistic metaphor of the archetype of a window – an object transparent, allowing to see through it.Blind window imitates the window aperture, through which nothing can be seen. It is an object which loses its figurative symbolism. The blind windows are placed on the observation deck to hide monuments, symbols and the main landmarks of the city. Moving along the viewing platform, the observer will gradually reveal city symbols appearing one after another. Once the viewer accomplishes the tour a complete picture of each of the hidden landmarks will be revealed. A brief historical information about the hidden object is provided on the opposite side of the corresponding blind window.

This concept, developed on the example of Marseilles, may be used as a tool for city reidentification and recreation of the new city symbols. This place, denying and opposing itself to its own hypotheses of anonymity, becomes a new point of attraction, a new reactive symbol of the city.

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