The Polycentric City
Leon Krier


Leon Krier

©Monica Pidgeon

I'm going to talk about city and human labour. The city in the past has been an accumulation of buildings and stones, and nowadays the city seems to be a collection of parts, of spare parts. Between one notion and the other, there seems to be a fundamental difference, notably the real city and the abstract city.


Diagram. Two Forms Of Accumulation: Mountain Of Buildings (Left) & Mountain Of Money (Right)

©Leon Krier

In the first image I show a mountain of buildings and the mountain of money. They are two forms of accumulation. One is real and the other one is abstract. So architecture and capital seem to be contradictory notions. The problem lies in the fact the moment where money becomes dominant, architecture has to give up its dominant role. The city is not just any accumulation of labour. The city is an invention of Man which is far superior to the discovery of fire or to the discovery of the wheel. It is a much more complex notion and therefore dependent on an effort on a constant effort, a will of construction and of reconstruction, on a constant effort at clarity and correctness. It is a notion that must be reinvented by each generation in order to survive in its form. The construction of the city and the destruction of the city are two notions which go hand in hand. But as in any natural organism, reconstruction is a constant process of maintenance and life, the fundamental principle of life itself.

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