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Stoppani, T (2008)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Languages: English
Types: Article
Zaha Hadid’s Kartal Pendik Masterplan (2006) for a new city centre on the east bank of Istanbul proposes the redevelopment of an abandoned industrial site located in a crucial infrastructural node between Europe and Asia as a connecting system between the neighbouring areas of Kartal in the west and Pendik in the east. The project is organised on what its architects call a soft grid, a flexible and adaptable grid that allows it to articulate connections and differences of form, density and use within the same spatial structure ?1?. Its final overall design constitutes only one of the many possible configurations that the project may take in response to the demands of the different areas included in the masterplan, and is produced from a script that is able to generate both built volumes and open spaces, skyscrapers as well as parks. The soft grid in fact produces a ?becoming? rather than a finite and definitive form: its surface space does not look like a grid, but is derived from a grid operation which is best explained by the project presentation in video animation. The grid here is a process of ?gridding?, enacted according to ancient choreographed linear movements of measuring, defining, adjusting, reconnecting spaces through an articulated surface rather than superimposed on an ignored given like an indifferent colonising carpet.
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    • arq . vol 12 . no 3/4 . 2008 Notes
    • 1. Zaha Hadid's Kartal Pendik Masterplan. See Zaha Hadid, GA Document, 99 (2007). See also [accessed 2 December 2007].
    • 2. Stan Allen, 'Field Conditions', in Points + Lines: Diagrams and Projects for the City (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999), pp. 90-103. Available online on [accessed 2 December 2007].
    • 3. 'Furthermore [continues Celant] the arabesque, is the form of a creation ex nihilo, tending towards supreme beauty and extreme harmony. Its linear structure triggers a profound revision of our mental and cognitive attitudes. There is the particular case of the possible and the impossible. Agnes Martin looks for the same synthesis of absolute contraries, she tries to depict the undepictable, to see the unseeable, to feel the unfeelable […].' Germano Celant, 'Perceiving as Receiving as Responding: Agnes Martin's Secret', in Agnes Martin: Paintings and Drawings 1977-1991 (London: Serpentine Gallery, 1993), p. 9.
    • 4. Here I do not consider the implications of the grid as it was applied in the North American city and territory, a topic which deserves complex and ample consideration beyond the scope of this essay. The North American grid, although different in its scopes and applications, shares with the Modern grid the idea of the tabula rasa as a virgin, totally available, measurable and controllable territory. Here instead I 'look' before (and underneath) the tabula rasa, at grids that are always already compromised with reality, not only in their actuation, but in the very definition of their processes of 'gridding'. And yet, 'to look' is the wrong word here, because if one only 'looks' one only sees grids (or non-grids). What I want to suggest here is indeed a reconsideration of the grid beyond the visual and the formal. For the political implications of the grid in relation to democracy see Joan Copjec, 'The Grid and the Logic of Democracy', in Mario Gandelsonas, The Urban Text (Chicago: Institute for Architecture and Urbanism; Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991), pp. 13-15.
    • 5. Rosalind E. Krauss, 'Grids' (1979), in The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths (Cambridge and London: MIT Press, 1985), pp. 9-22.
    • 6. Ibid., p. 9.
    • 7. Ibid.
    • 8. Ibid.
    • 9. Patrick Ireland, in Patrick Ireland: Language Performed / Matters of Identity (Derry: Orchard Gallery, 1986), p. 21.
    • 10. Lucy Lippard, in Patrick Ireland: Drawings 1965-1985 (Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1986), p. 17.
    • 11. Elizabeth Broun, in Patrick Ireland: Drawings 1965-1985, p. 8.
    • 12. Ibid., p. 8.
    • 13. Ibid., p. 11.
    • 14. 'My formats are square, [explains Martin] but the grids never are absolutely square; they are rectangles, a little bit off the square, making a sort of contradiction, a dissonance, though I didn't set out to do it that way. When I cover the square surface with rectangles, it lightens the weight of the square, destroys its power.' Agnes Martin quoted in Lucy Lippard, 'Homage to the Square', Art in America, 55.4 (1967), 55.
    • 15. Celant, p. 9.
    • 16. Agnes Martin quoted in Celant, p. 8.
    • 17. Bridget Riley, Bridget Riley: Collected Writings 1965-1999 (London: Thames and Hudson, 1999), p. 62.
    • 18. Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, The Ten Books on Architecture (De Architectura), trans. by Morris Hicky Morgan (New York: Dover Publications, 1960), I, p. 5.
    • 19. Harry Francis Mallgrave, Architectural Theory. Volume I. An Anthology from Vitruvius to 1870 (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006), p. 6.
    • 20. Sanford Kwinter, 'La Città Nuova: Modernity and Continuity', in Zone 1/2 (New York: Zone Books, 1986), pp. 88-89.
    • 21. Stan Allen, 'Field Conditions'
    • 22. Albert Pope, Ladders (Houston: Rice University Press, 1996). The book analyses the recent transformations of the North American territorial and urban grids, focusing in particular on the breaking of the grids' links and interconnections into what Pope calls 'ladder' structures. Partial, centripetal, and enclosed, the 'ladders' that both host and are determined by the enclave systems of large private developments such as industrial parks, shopping complexes and gated housing communities, break the continuity, openness and multidirectionality of the centrifugal grid of the American foundation and colonial expansion.
    • 23. Max Weber, Die römische Agrargeschichte in ihrer Bedeutung für das Staats- und Privatrecht (Stuttgart: Ferdinand Enke, 1891). See now the authoritative edition by Jürgen Deininger, MWG I/2 (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1986).
    • 24. Respectively: ager divisus et assignatus, divided and allotted land; ager per extremitatem mensura comprehensus, land defined by the measurement of its outer boundaries; ager arcifinus, qui nulla mensura continetur, superfine land, not defined by any measurement.
    • 25. For a definition of the operation of striation, also in relation to the subdivison and organisation of the territory, see Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, 'The Smooth and the Striated', in A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (London: The Athlone Press, 1988), pp. 474-500.
    • 26. I have discussed this in Teresa Stoppani, 'Mapping. The Locus of the Project', Angelaki, 9.2 (2004), The Politics of Place (ed. by A. Benjamin and D. Vardulakis), 181-196, where I reconsider mapping as an open project in light of a philosophical thinking linked to the dynamic.
    • 27. Superstudio's Supersurface appears in their project 'Fundamental Acts: Life, Supersurface' (1972). See the chapter '1972-73. Superexistence: Life and Death' in Peter Lang, William Menking, Superstudio. Life Without Objects (Milan: Skira, 2003), pp. 175-212.
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