On Bigness and the Problem of Urban Form

  • Armando Rabaça Department of Architecture, University of Coimbra
  • Carlos Moura Martins Department of Architecture, University of Coimbra

Abstract

The term ‘bigness’ refers to large-scale, mixed-use buildings and was introduced into the architectural vocabulary by Rem Koolhaas. Contrary to Koolhaas’s focus on the ‘generic city’ and the Asian context, this essay explores the role that large-scale buildings may play in establishing a dialogue between new areas of urban expansion and the formal and typological characteristics of European cities. By looking at three designs by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron in the light of the early twentieth-century debate on urban design and the skyscraper in Europe, the problem of bigness will be seen as a continuation of a discussion on urban form and type spanning more than one hundred years. Bigness will thus be seen as a tool capable of reworking and even continuing existing urban formal types, even if devoid of ideological and symbolic meaning.

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Author Biographies

Armando Rabaça, Department of Architecture, University of Coimbra
Associate Professor 
Carlos Moura Martins, Department of Architecture, University of Coimbra
Associate Professor 
How to Cite
RABAÇA, Armando; MARTINS, Carlos Moura. On Bigness and the Problem of Urban Form. FOOTPRINT, [S.l.], p. 65-88, apr. 2018. ISSN 1875-1490. Available at: <https://journals.open.tudelft.nl/index.php/footprint/article/view/1776>. Date accessed: 17 july 2018. doi: https://doi.org/10.7480/footprint.12.1.1776.
Published
2018-04-30