City Idols

The urban coats of arms made me think of the amazing city models that are to some extent the antithesis to the postage stamp icon.
Dubrovnik probably has the most intimate relationship with their city model. Throughout the gates, one finds sculptures of their bishop holding the model of the city – a reference to the complete reconstruction of the city after a 1667 earthquake.

Similarly, Berlin houses an enormous model of the present day city, as well as a replica of the Soviet plans that were only partially built.

I believe the largest of the these city models is of Shanghai.

Koolhaas talks about the 1845 model of New York as an act of self-idolatry – both possessive and communicative. Unlike the icon, the model is aspirational.

5 thoughts on “City Idols”

  1. Check out Pipers for some great scale models of London – click on the individual titles in the body of the page for some images. City of Sound, meanwhile, had a quick review of these models a bit back; and New London Architecture now has one of those models on permanent display (“a 1:1500 scale model of Central London, surrounded by a display showing a cross section of current building projects”), a display that, in turn, was reviewed by Jonathan Glancey.
    Microscale urbanism. Not representation – speculation. Or aspiration, as you say.
    It’d be interesting, meanwhile, if you met someone who had built a scale model of London in his garage but then he spends his time inflicting disasters on it, like a voodoo doll – meteorites, fires, explosions, floods, plagues of locusts – in the hope that such catastrophes will come true… Action at a distance. The micro- altering the macro-. Revenge of the simulacra. Revolt of the model. Voodoo urbanism.

  2. and not to forget the “panorama”, the scale model of all 5 boroughs of new york city at the queens museum of art. it was created by robert moses in the 1960s for the new york world’s fair.

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