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By : Melinda Benko

One of the innumerable ways to systemise contemporary European urban projects is to analyse the urban form originates from the master-plan concept. The duality of closed and open urban situations is an excellent conceptual tool for classification. This classification helps us to recognise, understand and represent the diversity of the city, as it is present on each level of a settlement and architecture. In the case of "Solid-oriented" projects construction and emplacement of buildings are the main goals. The principle of "Solid-oriented" projects are based on two very different, still existing traditions One is the classical European closed block structure, while the other one is the Modernist open urban system. Today we can identify two new approaches combining those two traditions in different ways. Urban transparency preserves streets, the effect of enclosure, and the dominance of buildings. At the same time density is coupled with spaciousness, blocks are fractured and the environment becomes more complex even within one block. The in-between method, based on the idea of structuralism, attempts to balance the importance of mass and space and creates permeable blocks in a new open urban structure. Besides creating urban volumes or buildings in the city, there is a new type of challenge in contemporary urban design. Since the 1990's attention has shifted to cityscape, i.e. to re-interpreting and reforming open spaces. The international literature calls this un-volumetric architecture. The duality of openness and closedness also appears here. While openness seems to dominate urban situations in contemporary cities, buildings are predominantly used in a closed manner.
Keywords : Urban Design Theory, Closed Blocks, Transparency, In-Between, Openness.

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