06/08: Medinas

Why are medinas worth exploring? They are some of the most densely populated areas on earth and represent some of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements. Their organization and structure are informed by climate, religion, social structure and transportation modeled after pedestrians and goods-laden animals. Public and private realm are extremely well defined and delineated. In some places these worlds still define gender relations and the separate realms of men and women. Some places have seen household structures shift from extended families to nuclear and single person households.
These places also defy description in many respects. Written accounts are often clouded by oriental, colonial or romantic lenses. Photography struggles to capture all of the streets, alleys and courts. Examples of cinema such as Pepe le Moko and The Battle of Algiers are successful at capturing both tectonics and the character of the medina. Physical models have their limitations as well, as they often must choose between a complete representation or an accessible representation of these tunnel and canyon like spaces.
A casting of the void seeks to inverse the positive/negative relationship in order to accurately model all sides of the public realm. The sky becomes the base and alleyways and courtyards protrude down to the ground plane.

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