Online Custom «Contemporary Place-Making» Essay Sample

Contemporary Place-Making

All in the world is attributed to the ways of perception. A human being is a reflection of his or her own conceptions and ideas of the world. Perception is one of the mental processes the degree of subjectivity of which can be characterized as considerable by all means. Artists’ perception, in its turn, is exceptional. For that particular reason we as the audience are fascinated by their work. Art in itself is subject to the processes of development of science and technology. In this regard, design and architecture can be viewed as one of the most vivid examples. Assuming all of the foregoing premises are justifiable, it is possible to state that one of the objectives of an artist and/or an architect nowadays is finding a balance between innovation and traditionalism. 

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The Parc de la Villette is a site located in the northeast of Paris. The spot where the Parc de la Villette is located is believed to be one of the last largest sites (“Parc de la Villette …”). The park occupies the territory of 125 acres (“Parc de la Villette …”). La Villette is referred to as “urban park for the 21st century” (“Parc de la Villette …”). 470 architects took part in a design competition for the right to construct an edifice on the territory of the last largest site of Paris (“Parc de la Villette …”).

It is believed that la Villette can be regarded as one of the largest constructions ever built (“Parc de la Villette …”). La Villette is comprised of a series of separate constructions representing yet a coherent whole, a modern and artistically perfect architectural ensemble (“Parc de la Villette …”). La Villette blends harmoniously with the surroundings. It has become an essential part of the modernized urban space of Paris. La Villette is adjusted to different kinds of social activities, both entertaining and educational. La Villette encompasses such activities as, for instance, playgrounds, workshops, competitions, games, gymnasium and bath facilities, concerts, science experiments, exhibitions, City of Music and Museum of Science and Technology etc (“Parc de la Villette …”). The park’s playgrounds became an open-air film theater capable of accommodating approximately 3 000 spectators (“Parc de la Villette …”). It is assumed that Parc de la Villette can host circa eight million visitors per year (“Parc de la Villette …”).

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Located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, Champ de Mars is known for siting one of the most popular sights of Paris – the Eiffel Tower (“Champ de Mars …”). Champ de Mars stretches from École Militaire to the banks of the Seine river (“Champ de Mars …”). The history of the Champ de Mars dates back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; at that time, this spot was known as an area for growing grapes and vegetables (“Champ de Mars …”). This spot is known to be a training ground for École Militaire, which is adjacent to Champ de Mars, in the eighteenth century (“Champ de Mars …”). In the late eighteenth century a terrain that is nowadays know as Champ de Mars was used for celebratory occasions and festive activities for the first time (“Champ de Mars …”). Specifically, the terrain played host for the first Celebration of Federation that took place in 1790 when the new constitution was accepted by King Louis XVI (“Champ de Mars …”). In 1837 the sight hosted the Duke of Orlean’s wedding ceremony (“Champ de Mars …”). Shortly afterwards, the area became the site of “all but one of Paris' World Exhibitions” (“Champ de Mars …”). In 1889 Paris’ World Exhibition, aka Exposition Universelle, resulted in the construction of the Eiffel Tower – one of the most prominent landmarks of Paris (“Champ de Mars …”).

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The total area of the Champ de Mars was changed twice. Originally, the terrain’s estimated area was circa 103 acres; by the beginning of the 1890 World Exposition, architect Jean-Camille Fromigé redesigned the park and reduced its area; the park covers its modern area of approximately 60 acres since the early twentieth century (“Champ de Mars …”). Along with the Eiffel Tower, in the Champ de Mars the Monument to Peace is located – a modern memorial complex designed by Clara Halter and Jean-Michel Wilmotte (“Champ de Mars …”). The memorial was constructed in 2000 (“Champ de Mars …”). The monument is comprised of 2 glass structures, 32 columns; the inscriptions on the monument read “peace” in “32 languages and 18 alphabets” (“Champ de Mars …”).

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The Champ de Mars enjoys great popularity among the tourists and  the citizens of Paris themselves. Grasslands, flowerbeds, scrubs, laid-out gardens, ponds, and playgrounds for children – each of these elements has become the present of Champ de Mars (“Champ de Mars …”). Basically, it represents the way the park looks like today. Nowadays the park can be regarded as a significant monument of landscape architecture by all means.

To understand the meaning and the very purpose of both of the aforementioned sights, it is necessary to penetrate into theoretical principles of architectural art peculiar to our age. Corbusier is believed to have reconsidered the notions of calculation, economy, universal law, and harmony through the lens of design and architectural art (59). Specifically, the architect has stated the following: “The Engineer, inspired by the law of Economy and governed by mathematical calculation, puts us in accord with universal law. He achieves harmony” (Le Corbusier 59). Geometrical form as employed by the engineer is attributed to calculation; with regard to this, mathematical accuracy, in its turn, can be regarded as one of the preconditions of perfection (Le Corbusier 59).

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Contemplating the state of development of engineering and architecture in the early twentieth century, Corbusier is asserting with utter surety that “a great epoch has begun” (60). Developing this statement further, Corbusier claims the existence of “a new spirit” in architectural art and engineering (60). The artist is supporting a position that “architecture is stifled by custom”, styles are the fallacies, and a house has become “a machine for living in” (Le Corbusier 60).

Pondering the cause-effect relationship paradigm through the lens of architectural art, Corbusier asserts that the plane of expression is the result of proceeding “from within to without” (61). Therefore, exterior, according to Corbusier, should be considered as a result of interior (61). Referring to a problem of civic architecture, Corbusier is stating the following: “The problem of the house is a problem of the epoch” (61).

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Corbusier admits that by the beginning of the third decade of the twentieth century, architecture was in a process of renewal (62). Thus, the primary objectives of architecture were to bring about a reconsideration of values and a revision of the “constituent elements of the house” (Le Corbusier 62). Pondering the concept of mass-production, Corbusier made a statement in favor of mass-production spirit, constructing, conceiving, and living in “mass-production houses”. However, most importantly, the artist admits that human mind is capable of conceiving the social events, apprehending and foreseeing them (Le Corbusier 62). The artist states: “The primordial instinct of every human being is to assure himself of a shelter” (Le Corbusier 62). Developing the foregoing statement further, the architect argues that there is a strong relationship of interdependence between the life of society and the society’s conception of comfort. Specifically, the author made a statement that architecture and revolution are the two possible consequences of social unrest characteristic of social life in the early twentieth century (Corbusier 62). What causes social instability is the difference in conceiving building itself (Corbusier 62).

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Taking all the aforementioned aspects into consideration, it is possible to make the following conclusions. Both the Champ de Mars and the Parc de la Villette are the monuments of landscape architecture. Both are physical and real. Both sites contribute to better understanding of their essence and intent purpose. The choice of these particular locations was dictated by the key principles articulated by artist, architect, and philosopher le Corbusier. Even though Corbusier mostly pondered the nature of civic architecture, history and purpose of the Champ de Mars and the Parc de la Villette contemplate with the author’s idea of the essence of architecture in general. Both parks are public attractions, serving for recreational, entertaining, and educational purposes. Both sites are open-air structures; therefore, both give insight into a modern conception of urban space. Both sites contribute to better understanding of how the focus has shifted within the framework of architectural art. In both cases, the conflict between traditionalism and innovations manifests itself through different conceptions of the role nature plays in human life and through the process of human alienation from nature. As far as the problem of a link between society and architecture is concerned, it is important to admit that both sites position themselves as the markers of change that is peculiar to societies in transitional periods.

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