Paulo Mendes da Rocha on Cities

Ordos City Center, Inner Mongolia. Source: Business Insider

“The idea of a city made of monuments takes us to the figure of Palladio. In that day and age, with a class of monied bourgeois beginning to emerge, it was thought that a city could consist in its entirety of an assemblage of palaces placed one next to the other. Palladio himself affirmed that the city would no longer be that of classical antiquity, made of monuments, but that humanity would now see the emergence of the monumentality of the city. When summoned in today’s world, the rationale of a city made up of monuments seems an anachronism, a degenerate idea, and a symptom of a decadence capable of producing veritable horrors, even from a technical point of view. Contemporary architecture is essentially the design rather than the decoration of such with a hideous succession of extravagant artefacts. We need to untie the knot in the schizophrenic separation of architecture from urbanism, art from technique, and art from science.”

— Paulo Mendes da Rocha in “Genealogia da Imaginação

This is part of the Polis collection of quotes related to cities.

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