Welcome to Zibaldone

Please login to update your blog

If you have suggestions or problems with the website please contact Tam Tran at info@tamthientran.com.

Member Login

Lost your password?
wordpress analytics
question 04: what’s the difference between a building and a city?

notes on villas and an ancient city

The reader’s initial reaction would be to question the opposite. What are the similarities between a large building and a small city? There are endless distinctions between the two. A building needs to be situated within a city to exist–is one not an entity of the other? Where to begin discussing the differences?

The answer obviously lies in scale. A small city will always be larger than a big building. That’s how it works on The Built Environment Food Chain. But ancient Ostia didn’t exactly trump Hadrian’s Villa.

Then maybe the answer lies in infrastructure. Cities with their roads and sidewalks and neighborhoods and districts–buildings, regardless how large, don’t function in the same way. Nevermind the corridors and hallways and stairs and rooms of Hadrian’s Villa resembling the roads and buildings of ancient Ostia–not only did they resemble them, they also functioned similarly: roads and hallways as circulation, rooms and buildings housing specific functions.

Okay, so maybe it’s really about the user. Cities are built for everyone to inhabit, but not anyone would (or could) walk into Hadrian’s Villa. But you did have people performing various roles within each: citizens and residents, visitors and guests, workers and servants.

Or maybe it’s this: maybe there there are no fundamental differences between a large building and a small city. Maybe the real difference lies in the nature of these inherent similarities, in the context where each lies. A large building does not exist without its surrounding city, and neither will a small city exist without its surrounding world. But each operates uniquely within its walls.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.