Rethinking Space and Place

In September 2014, I participated in the 5th Global Conference on Space and Place, at Mansfield College, Oxford, UK. The conference was organized by Inter-disciplinary.net, a British Association for Interdisciplinary Research and Publishing. My paper, titled From Space to Place, A Necessary Paradigm Shift in Architecture, was included by the organizing committee in the ‘Rethinking Space and Place’ section, which inspired the name of this website. In that paper, as an architect with an interest in both practical and theoretical aspects of a discipline closely related to questions of space and place, I urged for a reconsideration of the traditional interpretation of the two concepts to find a better correspondence between architecture and the current epoch. We are in the background of a clash between abstract and concrete modes of thought, for which space and place are perhaps two of the most representative concepts. In an epoch in which, with the affirmation of virtual domains, the barrier between reality and the image of reality is definitely falling down, I believe the right balance between concrete and abstract modes of thought is crucial for our future, the future of our cities, and the future of the natural environment. This future – our common future – strongly depends on the way we think about space and place, the way we plan and organize them, as well as the way we take care of existing places.

Since that presentation, I have been devoted to studying the two concepts to clarify their meanings by relying on different disciplinary sources. To paraphrase the sense of an expression used by the American thinker and polymath Charles Sanders Peirce, it has never been in my intentions, or in my power, to study anything – philosophy, physics, biology, ecology, the social sciences, arts, linguistics… – except as a study of the relation and influence that those disciplines have, might have, or might have had on architecture, by means of the concepts of space and place. Architecture is my direct field of competence, so my position on the subject – the concepts of space and place – is inevitably biased by my profession. Nonetheless, a serious study of such universal concepts inevitably transcends any disciplinary boundaries, and conciliation between different perspectives is necessary, based on a transdisciplinary approach to knowledge. I created this website to delve deeper into many important questions that I mentioned in that paper and to share and confront my thoughts on the subject with other scholars from different backgrounds, hoping to gain new insights and extend my knowledge on questions of space and place.

As for the structure of this website, I have decided to introduce my reformed understanding of the concepts of space and place (i.e., place as a system of processes) through a synthetic definition in the article What Is Place? What Is Space? In the following articles, I have tried (and I will continue to try in the future) to pick out and summarize those readings and considerations that led me to adopt such a reformed understanding for those ubiquitous notions. I will also add new items from time to time, inspired by more recent readings or events, without losing focus on the subject: rethinking the concepts of space and place.

To get the overall theoretical argumentation of this website, I suggest the reader start by reading the articles I posted first and progress through the more recent ones. In the menu, under the heading ‘INTRO’, you will find the article Preliminary Notes, which is a general introduction to the main themes that I’m going to discuss at RSaP – Rethinking Space and Place; under the heading ‘BOOKS’, you will find the presentation of books and/or my commentaries on books that I consider especially important for the spatial debate in general, as well as for elucidating my specific perspective on questions of place and space.

About Me

I am an architect and an independent researcher from Milano, Italy. I graduated with honours from the Politecnico di Milano School of Architecture, where I spent some years as a Teaching Assistant before collaborating with other architects and firms. Eventually, I began working on my own projects under the name Alessandro Calvi Rollino Architetto. If you click on the name link, you can find some of the awarded and published projects I designed in the past. Currently, my focus is on developing a place-based implementation framework that can help architects better understand the relationship between architecture and the environment – physical, biological, ecological, and sociocultural environment as a seamless whole. I refer to this seamless whole as ‘place’.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact me via the Contact form. Thank you.

Featured Image (source): Mansfield College, Oxford, UK, https://www.mansfield.ox.ac.uk/

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1 Comment

  • daniel zhou
    Posted August 5, 2021 5:45 pm 0Likes

    A very good web space here, where nobody left with a word place.

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