The City Wall Travel Research funded by Cavin Family Travel Fellowship 2016
Peripheries and edges develop to define counties, districts, cities, and neighborhoods. Dissolution of empires and two World Wars resulted in a series of geopolitical shifts of borders. As a result these conditions are essentially artificial boundaries that separate two regions. However, an edge to the city has existed since the medieval times that is neither artificial nor metaphorical: the wall.
The Wall is a significant topographical feature that defines and demarcates a city’s physical form. Over the years, the intention and function of the wall have varied broadly —from a defensive system to protect the inhabitants, to an isolation technique used to divide a city. Due to the dissolution of empires and the two world wars, the world map has resulted in a series of geopolitical border shifts. Wall is the testament to the cultural, social, and political values of the past. For this reason, some of the ancient walls are treated as relics, being either preserved, re-purposed, or celebrated. However, some have fallen into disrepair, to be forgotten and ultimately, demolished.
Since the city wall is a fundamental and essential element to the urban form of medieval times, understanding the cultural, social, political, and historical values of the city is inevitable. Each city visited has undergone some form of geopolitical shifts due to the world war or civil war causing them to expand, shrink, or demolish. The city wall is one architectural element that showcases the city’s fabric preceding highway and railway infrastructure.
In recent architectural discourse, the heavy emphasis on the blurring of boundaries and the dissolution of borders accentuates the irrelevance of the wall as a separational device. Thus, the periphery of the city is no longer demarcated by the wall. As a result, the functional value of the wall is extinguished. This research focuses on observing the ever-changing function of the wall to adapt and juxtapose to the contemporary context.