Eternally Aging City
  • Sotiriou, J., 2015. The Eternally Aging City – On Modernism and Ageism. Pidgin Magazine, 20th Issue. Princeton School of Architecture. pp. 40-53



Looking back to Piranesi’s “Views of Rome,” one is greeted by ruins which do not stand as mere deteriorated stones; they are neither rust nor waste. The urban structure remains, and the urban essence echoes against its walls. Rome never denied its mortality—on the contrary, it opened its gates for Géras accompanied by Kléos, Gnósi, and Areté, and welcomed them. Having no interest in appearing as a shiny novelty, it humbly recedes so that society can regenerate itself and mark its future course, responding to its own needs and inquiries.

As Arata Isozaki had declared, “Ruins lie in the future of our city and the future city itself will lie in ruins.”12 Indeed, the city that does not demon- ize its own aging, but trades nostalgia for tranquility, stands loyal to the promise of its own future. Disturbing images of urban barren lands call for an urgent revaluation of the concept of progress. Societies which sought to infuse their urban structures with progress now see those structures in decay. If those societies can learn once again to welcome their own aging and reclaim their essence, then they will be able to reoccupy contemporary ruins, and cities will once again be free to age without fearing death.