Feng Shui with Dr. Anna Markovic Plestovic

FENG SHUI * ARCHITECTURE * URBANISM * GEOGRAPHY * SOCIETY

3. The sublimation of space-society segment: City Hall

The characteristics of the space-society segment are present in a sublimated form in the City Hall, the architope that is most tightly linked to the formation and development of the city, and therefore carrying the totality of space- and society-defining patterns. The building is twofold linked to the reproduction of these patterns in the built environment and in society. Firstly, it expresses the social characteristics and values in material form, and secondly it is the central point of social identification and the central decision-making spot.

 

 

The space- and society-reflecting quality of the building  

The building was built at the same place three times in ever expanding dimensions. The contemporary building is a very important identification point for the city, the importance of which is emphasized by the fact that the changes in the spatial or social structure of the city after the completition of formative period occurred while the central decision-making function was dislodged from the building, while the reconstitution of hereditary forms coincides with the return of the central decision-making function to the City Hall. The solitary placement of the large building separated from its environment by a system of squares that isolates the primary center, the „castle mound”, which is weakened by low traffic-accessibility too, shows the pattern of favouritizing matter over spirit. The forms of the building demonstrate the same characteristic by eccentrical placement of the universal symbol of spiritual legitimation – the tower. The materialistic set of values are most prominently depicted by the wide square block of the building, but can be traced also in the use of space – the ground floor of the building is occupied by exclusive shopping objects that provide the material foundation for the authority of the local self-government, illustrating the real-estate based social set of values.

 

Forms of appearances of the basic character of the place in the position, shapes and structure of the City Hall

The shape, proportions and the internal structure „thickening” towards the street fronts of the building along with the hidden main entrance and the obstacles restricting the communication of the exterior space with the interior of the building revoke the image of a fortification that was the typical formation of the initial accumulation point.

 The communication corridors through the City Hall are modelling the watercourses and bodies of water, while the four quarters/flanks model the elevations typical to the physical space that formed the city. 

 

The conservativism resulting from the materialism and the exclusion of movement appears in the shapes of the City Hall hand in hand with the expressions of authoritarian organizational forms, confirming the pre-modern basic set of social values closely intertwined with the classical patriarchal family model. The most obvious expression of this model is the part of the building surrounding the main entrance, where the asymmetrical towers stand for the parents – the high tower for the pater familias, the much lower for the dependent and obedient mother – while the Town Hall stands between them on pillars, above empty space symbolizing the children lacking the grounds to become independent. The authoritarian model can be traced at the cross-section of the building too, where the rooms at the front of the building are much higher, than at the rear, depicting the social standing and importance of the people occupying each part. The original division of the physical space of the city by negative forms that is the basic pattern of ethnical and religious divisions inside the society is repeated in the internal structure of the building by which is communication along the central axes of the building is made impossible, the building is divided in four quarters according to the original division of the physical space.  

 

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