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Kuntal discusses public squares which he visited during the MAUD field trip to Italy, and the importance these squares hold within their respective cities. He highlights how the squares are used for festivals, public gathering and markets, stressing how their role is a significant one in cities. This supports Camillo Sitte’s (1945) claim, that cities had the tendency to enclose public squares and dominate them with surrounding buildings, such as Temples, Basilica’s and Market Halls. In doing this, great focus was drawn upon the public squares and piazzas, and in ancient times, these squares were almost like concert halls without a ceiling (Sitte, 1945). However, I have concerns with the designing, as well as the maintenance, of public squares today. Too often they are susceptible to decline, and we are potentially seeing the demise of the traditional public square. Kuntal highlights that the squares he visited in Italy had numerous sculptures and monuments concentrated in one part of the space. This type of urban design is much more effective than what we see nowadays. We usually have a monument/statue erected in the centre of a public square, meaning that there is only ever one erected. The rest of the sculptures are hidden away in “an art prison that we call a museum” (Sitte, 1945).  Also, locating important buildings close to a key piazza is a dying tradition, as we tend to scatter important buildings across the city.

Italy maintains a strong belief in the importance of the public sqauare – something I also realised during my trip to Milan. The Piazza del Duomo, as Kuntal points out, compliments the extraordinary Duomo du Milano perfectly.

References

Sitte, C, 1945. The Art of Building Cities, Vienna: Reinhold Publishing Corporation.

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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