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PRINT Summer 1989

MIRABILIA URBIS: A WONDERFUL HISTORY

Never wonder: wonderment is the second name of ignorance.

—Indian saying

WONDER IS THE SUM OF a thought plus an emotion. It is sometimes the result of an intention, sometimes simply the way by which cultures and traditions (which, as such, are rarely conscious of the reasons for their being) manifest themselves. City and architecture have always been a source of wonders; a space, or the artistic manipulation of a space, generates a reaction in those who live there. From mirage, architecture becomes wonder.

That this is all the more true now than in the past is certain. The problem is to understand how the original architectural wonders, the wonder archetypes, have evolved, and continue to evolve. Beneath what new forms are they hidden? What are their new connotations? We would do well here to compile a kind of genealogy of the wonder, supplying for it the ancestry without which it remains

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