The Fragmentation of Monumental Buildings

From a Single Building to an Urban Fabric

  • Pedro Vasco de Melo Martins Lisbon University


The city is a living entity, dynamic, and in permanent construction. In the constantly changing human landscape dominated by the common fabric, prone to quick transformations, monumental buildings, given their high cultural value as well as robust construction, tend to show a greater resistance, remaining relatively stable trough out hundreds or even thousands of years. Yet, in periods of crisis or quick cultural change, even the resilient monumental buildings can suddenly lose their function or collective cultural value, undergoing a complete transformation of their unique nature as they appropriated and transformed by the common urban fabric, in a process identified as fragmentation. From the ancient monumental roman structures occupied in the middle ages to the transformation of the Kowloon fort in Hong Kong in the second half of the 20th century, the communication proposes, through an analysis of several case studies, a reflection of how the subversive, ad-hoc and informal nature of fragmentation makes it one of the richest processes of urban fabric formation. In this sense, the knowledge of this process can be an important architectural design tool, contributing for the enrichment of the erudite architectural discourse, as well as, helping to understand the shape of the contemporary city as a result of sequence of events that can be identified, interpreted, classified and explained.

How to Cite
Vasco de Melo Martins, P. (2018). The Fragmentation of Monumental Buildings. ARCC Conference Repository.