Heterotopia Urbana, by Ruxandra-Iulia Stoica

15th June 2006

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Thursday 15 June 2006, 19.00 – 21.00, The Romanian Cultural Centre, 8th floor, 54-62 Regent Street, London W1B 5RE; Tel. 020 7439 4052, ext 102; e-mail: bookings@romanianculturalcentre.org.uk Click here to see images from this event. "This paper investigates the cultural values of historic urban areas and their theoretical construction between a ‘meta-discourse’ on the desirable features of the urban fabric and their meaning and a ‘speci(fic)-discourse’ on the specificity of urban fabric and its historical construction and significance. On one hand, there are inner values in architecture and urbanism, which should be correctly identified in order to provide a reliable method for choosing what to be conserved. Therefore, the ‘meta-discourse’ involves a philosophical perspective towards values as principles, and is indeed the discourse used by architectural and urbanism history for centuries. On the other hand, there is the result of specific circumstances that determine the ‘speci-discourse’ as an anthropological approach aiming to reveal values, both existing and latent, as seen by urban communities. Urban space is essentially an existential space; human existence is dependant, therefore, of the mental image of urban space. Urban fabric has thus its own identity and a structured, not chaotic, complexity that can be read through the eyes! of its inhabitants. By examining this second discourse, this paper seeks to uncover some of the key issues and processes that shaped the historic urban fabric to become what we perceive now as urban discursivity." (Ruxandra-Iulia Stoica, Architecture, The University of Edinburgh) Ruxandra is a PhD candidate in Architectural History and Theory at The University of Edinburgh. Her research investigates the historical evolution of urban conservation ideology in relationship to architectural theory in general, and seeks to reveal its political and cultural determinism. Previously studied architecture at Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest (BArch, MUrb) and Medieval Studies at the Central European University, Budapest (MA). Since 1997, has been an Inspector of Historical Monuments in the Romanian Ministry of Culture. Currently part-time tutor in Architectural History at the University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh College of Art, and part-time lecturer in Area Conservation at the Edinburgh College of Art, editor of the Edinburgh Architecture Research journal, initiator and coordinator of the annual seminar on Historic Settlements Conservation of Pro Patrimonio – The National Trust of Romania. In 2004, was a consultant to the Heritage Settlements Unit, ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) in Rome This presentation is part of the CULTURE POWER program which is initiated by the Ratiu Foundation UK. The program consists of a series of seminars focused around a presentation followed by a constructive dialogue with an invited audience. Organised by The Ratiu Foundation UK. Details on www.ratiufamilyfoundation.com