CIAM 8. The Heart of the City as the symbolical resilience of the city

Leonardo Zuccaro Marchi

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    The “Heart of the City”, title of the 8th CIAM held in 1951, is a contradictory and pervasive figure of speech which has marked a thinking and urban transition after the Second World War. In 1951, two opposite urban conditions are considered by Sert, President of CIAM, as main issues which the discourse on the Heart should face: the disappearance of city centres because of the destruction of war and the negation of urban centrality due to urban sprawl and the constant enlargement of city boundaries ad infinitum. However, the Heart itself also represents two different figures of speech, the symbol and the metaphor. On the one side it becomes a humanist symbol ‘which springs directly to the senses without explanation’, as stressed by Giedion during CIAM 8; on the other, the Heart retains its anatomical and metaphorical organic meaning though translated into the presumed correct physical form and dimension of the city. Analyzing the CIAM 8, the paper investigates these Post-war urban tensions, which lie at the crossroads of intellectual-theoretical and architectural-design worlds. The aim of the paper is to analyze and re-interpret these complex theoretical layers of significance of the Heart between reconstruction and recentralization within the Modern Movement in the 1950s.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHistory Urbanism Resilience
    Subtitle of host publicationThe Urban Fabric
    EditorsCarola Hein
    PublisherTU Delft Open
    ISBN (Print)978-94-92516-09-1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    Event17th IPHS Conference History-Urbanism-Resilience - Delft, Netherlands
    Duration: 17 Jul 201621 Jul 2016

    Publication series

    NameInternational Planning History Society Proceedings
    ISSN (Print)2468-6948
    ISSN (Electronic)2468-6956


    Conference17th IPHS Conference History-Urbanism-Resilience
    Internet address


    • CIAM 8
    • Resilience
    • Symbol
    • Metaphor
    • History and Theory


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