Architecture unifies people within a Nation

Ana Isabel Pérez

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Architecture, the art and practice of designing and building, has been influencing human behavior from the very beginning. It has influenced the way human beings see the world as well as the way we experience it, but more importantly architecture unifies people within a nation. Throughout history we are able to see this in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Plaza de Las Tres Culturas in Mexico City the as well as the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.

Designed in 1560 by Giorgio Vasari, the Uffizi gallery is the oldest of the top museums in the world. This space holds some of the most famous works of art that have marked mankind’s artistic innovation through the centuries. The works of art displayed in this museum are masterpiece’s that were either owned or commissioned by the Medici family. The Uffizi Gallery was a place in which artists such as Leonardo da Vinci as well as Michelangelo gathered to admire magnificence, together with work and recreation.

It is known that this building was not originally built as a museum but rather as offices for the Florentine Magistrates, but it was then thought this would be better used as a place for arranging great Italian works of art.

The architecture of this building emphasizes perspective through its long narrow corridors, which lead to the Palazzo degli Uffizi.

Given that the interior of the building as well as its outside are comprised of long narrow corridors, it is safe to say that this creates a place where people, not only from Italy but also from other countries come to admire Italian art and architecture.

 

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The Uffizi Gallery is comprised of two narrow corridors which being people from all over the world to recognize the talent of Italian Renaissance artist.

 

At Plaza de Las Tres Culturas in Mexico City, three periods of Mexican history converge, the Aztec period, which is represented by the squared form of the plaza with  the remains of Aztec temples. The Santiago de Tlatelolco Catholic Church part of the Pre- Columbian period and finally the housing complex at the back of the plaza that represents the modern period. Not only does this Plaza represents unification through architectural styles from different periods, but also serves as a place were citizens gather to express, in a unified form, their believes and opinions against or in favor of situations that affect their every day lives. The Tlatelolco Massacre, which as held on October 2, 1968, was an event in which students and civilians came out to the Plaza in order to protest about the government actions for the summer Olympics and peacefully listen to speeches. As the protest progressed, the police and military surrounded them and fired red flares in order to disperse the masses escalating into violence. What started out as a peaceful protest turned into a massacre where thousands died and hundreds more was injured.

The fact that the Plaza de Las Tres Culturas was able to bring people together in order to protest for a common belief, demonstrates how architecture can unify people within a nation.

 

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In the front of the image we see the ruins of an Aztec temple, which marks the Aztec Period, in the middle a church which marks the Pre- Columbian Period and a set of apartment building which mark the modern period.

 

The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany was designed by New York architect Peter Eisenman in 1989. The design of this memorial consists of 2,711 concrete slabs that vary in height and which are arranged in a tight waving grid, extending over 5 acres in central Berlin. This memorial honors the thousands of Jews massacred by the Nazis, conveying the message that despite our differences, all humans are the same. Our sameness is represented though the use of the same slabs for each lost life, and our differences   by the varying height and arrangement of the concrete slabs. This memorial is complemented by an underground information center.

 

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Having a place in which people are able to come and commemorate those who lost their lives during the Nazi regime is a way of unifying people and creating a space for them to gather together. Having such slabs of concrete around the whole area creates a kind of maze when travelling throughout, which is the same kind of feeling the Jews might have felt during the time when they had to run from the Nazis in order to save their lives.

Throughout history, we are able to see how architecture can unite people in certain ways, this being thorough admiration, common belief, commemoration, and even sports. Architecture has affected people’s lives thru out history and will continue to do so in the future.

 

Brazil, the largest economy as well as the most populous country in Latin America for the past decade has been a model of robust growth. Despite this growth, the country is still unable to provide to its citizens adequate overall well-being.  As a result of an increase in Drug trafficking and consumption, violence has been on a rise.  Increasing costs in Public Transportation as well as deficient educational y health systems, together with signs of economic slowdown in recent months which has produced devaluation of the local currency, rising inflation and interest rates, has all caused  discontent amongst its citizens.

 

In summer 2014, Brazil will be hosting the Soccer World Cup and in 2016 the Summer Olympics.  As a result, very large sums of economic resources have been  assigned  to the construction of the infrastructure needed to celebrate the games thus sacrificing, to certain extent, other areas in need of funds such as health, education, security just to mention a few.

As a consequence of the government dedicating large sums of economic resources to the games in a country that lacks adequate basic social services and in a current unfavorable economic environment, large protest movements have taken place in mainly in large cities throughout Brazil, both because they concentrate the largest amount of people and because its urban spaces allow them to express themselves in large masses. Citizens understand the games should not be held due the enormous economic costs the country must invest this money on other things such as public education as well as heath and hospital quality. On the other, hand the government believes celebrating the games will help grow the economy by generating jobs to construct the infrastructure and by bring millions of tourists to the country.  In addition, once the games are over, all infrastructures will remain for the use of the citizens.

One of the stadiums under construction is Arena Pantanal designed by GCP Architects in Brazil, which will hold about 43,000 people located in the city of Cuiaba. The design concept for this project will have nature within the stadium. This green building will be part of a complex where citizens will be able to enjoy parks, restaurants, a lake and playground, enhancing the urban city, by bringing people outside and allowing them to interact with nature.

 

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Arena Pantanal in Brazil

 

 

In the same way architecture contributes, thru an organized urbanization of cities, by designing spaces for its people to freely express their thoughts and opinions in large masses, in these games controversy, architects must design the buildings and facilities in such a manner that they are flexible enough to allow them to be used not only for sports but for other activities the community may need such as educational, housing, recreation facilities as well as urban enhancement.  These designs must be done in such a manner that its maintenance will not be an economic burden in the future. In the end, Brazil will have more aesthetical environments and will unite more its people under their national passion and pride for soccer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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