The "hidden" city: morphological developments and knotting phenomena in the commercial fabric from the passage to the mall

Marco Falsetti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

9 Downloads (Pure)


Several examples, over the course of history, testify to the formation of specialized fabrics and buildings starting from commercial paths: the linear conception of the market has in fact often determined the creation of complex structures which, over time, have reached an autonomous dimension, typologically coded. The market-type has evolved processually starting from the dimension of a path up to defining a real building organism, that very often, due to the progressive extension of the phenomenon, has assumed an urban character, involving large portions of fabric: gallerias, bazaars and shōtengai are therefore structured according to these aggregative logics, translating an idea with a temporary origin into a stable form. The knotting processes, transformations of originally temporary elements into buildings, have been structured with different levels of complexity, developing the typical characteristics of the fabric in which they were going to settle. In fact, in the absence of an architectural organism suitable to contain the functional principle, the latter has always developed giving rise to “special” spaces, without a typological determination, but which reflect the characteristics of the place in which they are located. And yet the typological migration of a path-function within a fabric and the transformation that it entails are a phenomenon with much more ancient origins: starting from the great plants of the Hellenistic period such as the colonnaded streets of Syria, a taxonomy of “internal” urban spaces has evolved closely linked to the market type. The particular fortune of these typologies in the Near East has given rise to type-morphological families of commercial fabric-buildings such as the souk, the arasta and the bazaar, whose characters have remained unchanged until modernity. Passages and gallerias therefore represent morphological configurations of a characteristic phenomenon of the contemporary city, in which a further evolution of the specialized urban fabric is manifested.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnual Conference Proceedings of the XXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form
Subtitle of host publication"Urban Form and the Sustainable and Prosperous City"
Place of PublicationGlasgow
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2022


  • shōtengai
  • knotting
  • underground arcade
  • commercial fabric
  • passage times
  • urban form
  • gallerias
  • urban morphology


Dive into the research topics of 'The "hidden" city: morphological developments and knotting phenomena in the commercial fabric from the passage to the mall'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this