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Thesis in English 2023

Architecture and the city

  1. The building creates the city. The Bilbao effect has clearly demonstrated that a single work of architecture can alter the perception of an entire city. Nowadays, the city no longer consists of carefully planned urban blocks. Roads and flyovers intersect them, leading residents to temples of commercialism. The architecture of shopping malls is considered unattractive. This does not bother users and creates new urban landmarks that are easy to see from the surrounding thoroughfares. Le Corbusier might have been wrong to believe in the beauty of the speeding car.
  2. Architecture is built for itself. Yet hasn’t art always been created for itself? The seats of great rulers were created to please them and were meant to be the most significant places in the area and to dominate their subjects. Wide avenues, too wide for horse-drawn carriages, led to palaces. Fortified buildings erected on hills have lost their defensive character over time, but not their symbolic significance. After all, art does not need function.
  3. The city is created by architecture. Sometimes it is the city, with its streets and urban layout, that facilitates the perception of even imperfect buildings. Venice makes one perceive everything one encounters while visiting its remarkable corners as beautiful. However, it appears that modernity wants to follow a completely different path. It remains to be seen whether such a friendly 15-minute city can be further developed and appealing. The modern world is fascinated by something that is to be 170 kilometres long and called The Line. Such a new design or rather a monstrous reclining skyscraper like those from sci-fi movies is unlikely to offer a path to happiness to its future users.
  4. The canons of architecture have created the perfect space. However, contemporary architectural icons, as we call uncommon and indefinable buildings, create a new space that is equally attractive to the observer unfamiliar with art. The games played with the spectator by the artists from Coophimelb(l)au in Dresden build a previously unseen connection with the ‘sad’ buildings surrounding the cinema. It may be just a delusion, and the backdrop of residential buildings considered ordinary is the most important thing, without which the contrast and happening of art could not be built.
  5. Context is not necessary. Great artists are not interested in the buildings that surround their works. Architecture is created for advertising and that is its most important purpose. Investors and patrons want to leave behind works that are unique and unlike anything before. The early 20th-century architects could only draw their unknown architecture. Modern times with computers and new building materials offer artists absolute freedom to create form. After all, nothing is forbidden and there are no longer any rules, styles or audience habits that hold the creator back. That which is constructed automatically becomes a work of art in the same way as it happens in galleries with ready-made art. If an artist shows us something, it apparently must have some value. Overrun with commercialism, the modern world creates nothing selflessly, everything is for sale.

Tomasz Kozłowski