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ZHAW (eds.), Sylvain Malfroy, Gianfranco Caniggia

A Morphological Approach to Cities and Their Regions

Book design: Wessinger und Peng, Stuttgart

English edition
282 pages, ca. 200 images, 21 x 29,7 cm, Softcover

Euro (D) 49.– / Euro (A) 50.40


ISBN 978-3-03863-045-6

CHF   49.00

Handbook of urban design practice
Urban design terminology such as “type” and “organisms” is comprehensibly explained
A guideline for the analysis of grown cities

Reading and understanding urban histories establishes the basis for further development of our cities. In that sense, the metaphor of “reading the city” stands symbolically for an analytical approach to the urbanistic context. The morphological perspective of city and territory provides comprehensible access to that topic and represents a helpful tool of analysis for working in grown urban contexts.

Cities evolve in a process developing over centuries that needs to be read and analysed to be able to assess the scope of future possibilities, which, at best, could lie beyond our current dependencies. A prerequisite to this, however, is a certain curiosity for urban history and willingness to deal with those grown structures. 

Sylvain Malfroy conveys that clearly in his texts. At the same time, we sense his enormous enthusiasm for the city which, in turn, encourages us to engage in the history of urban design.

Importantly, the publication of this classic guide book on urban morphology responds to the great demand for literature on that topic. 

Sylvain Malfroy starts by introducing Saverio Muratori’s (1910–1973) urban planning and urban design theory, who defined the “morphological perspective” and established it as a method. In accordance with Muratori, Malfroy describes urban structures as formed results of historical processes and indirectly challenges architects and urban planners operating in the city to read the history of the city and to take historical discourse into account as suggested in this work. Gianfranco Caniggia (1933–1987) exemplarily demonstrates Muratori’s theory in his analysis of the city of Florence. 

About the author:

Sylvain Malfroy is art and architecture historian and lecturer at Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). When he wrote this specialist book, he was assistant at the Chair for the History of Urban Design and researcher at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta), ETH Zurich. He is co-founder of the International Seminar on Urban Form (ISUF) and member of the editorial committee of the journal Urban Morphology.

Gianfranco Caniggia (1933–1987) studied architecture at the University of Rome. After briefly assisting Professor Saverio Muratori, he decided to pursue his academic career as a design lecturer, with stays in Reggio Calabria, Genoa and Florence. Together with Gian Luigi Maffei, he is co-author of the successful publication on design methods, Composizione architettonica e tipologia edilizia.

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