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Eyes on the City

proposal for an Elderly housing complex in Valjevo, Serbia and Montenegro, 2003

day and night in the life of an elderly inhabitant 

We are faced with yet another paradox concerning the growth of our global population. How can we build for a gradually aging population in Europe? The statistics report that in some countries more than a third of the people are older than 50. This phenomenon, not entirely depending on the level of the country's development status (Italy and Serbia for example share the same percentage of the elderly population) will have to be addressed by architectural decisions in the future to come. Many questions and concerns are involved, however one seems to be the most pressing: now, when the cities are getting more and more populated by a younger professional generation, which by the statistics is in the minority to the elderly one, where can the elderly feel to be a continuing part of the population? 

 

...A new Florida? A new contingent of the exported pensioners from Japan to Brazil or other 'heaven' on earth? Or another generational ghetto-like situation for the elderly like the ageing Chelsea in New York?

 

The Eyes on the City is an alternative proposal for an elderly housing complex aimed at the baby-boomer generation that looks for ways to relocate and continue post-professional life in the place other from the place of professional life. 

 

This generation was young when it was an imperative to remain young for no matter what. They were the 1968th 'revolutionary' generation. Today, in 2003 and beyond, this generation is in the line to qualify more and more as a candidate for an elderly generation, but the one that still keeps its ideal of the forever young. Therefore the building for the elderly today and tomorrow and the location for such building should follow this drive, full of experiment, investigation, creative hallucination, in two idioms: it should not look old and it should find new place. Its function, looks and flexible usage should be taken as an imperative to preserve a seed of youth deeply rooted in its prospective inhabitants in the recent futures to come.

 

A small city in a country on the brink of the recent catastrophe, now in the line to join Europe seems perfect for such attempt in creative ageing. It's architecture, using ramps, sequence of spaces that are sometimes open and sometimes closed, sensitive connection to the top of the overlooking hill, thus preserving both the top of the landscape together with the interior 'landscape' of the building, may be apt not only for a generational challenge of the 68th, but also for a promise about a bright future finally arriving to rescue social deterrence of the communist past, that the places like this may well deserve and hope for.

    

1

view from the top of the hill. 

cross section 

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The Eyes on the city is a building-medium between the top of the hill - freed for various outdoor activities including the grand-children play - and between the view of the town below, that will be there to refresh the memory of its prospective inhabitants.
2nd floor 
1st floor 
ground floor 
 basement 

 

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