From the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries, military engineers in the Mediterranean devised a new strategy for defending a city built on a peninsular site: a navigable canal was excavated through the neck of the landmass, severing the city from the coast and isolating it within the sea. In Building with Water: The Rise of the Island-City in the Early Modern Mediterranean, Elizabeth Kassler-Taub traces the development and dissemination of this overlooked urban type. She details how the “island-city” first emerged in the Adriatic and Ionian territories of the Venetian stato da mar and later swept across Spanish and Portuguese outposts in the western Mediterranean basin, where it was absorbed into a shared Iberian vernacular. By reconstructing the circulation of the island-city through this sprawling network of colonial frontiers, Kassler-Taub argues, we can chart an alternative path of architectural influence in the region, one that shifts our attention beyond the Italian and Spanish mainlands.
Building with Water:The Rise of the Island-City in the Early Modern Mediterranean
Elizabeth Kassler-Taub specializes in the history of architecture and urbanism in the early modern Mediterranean, with a primary interest in the transcultural exchange of architectural knowledge. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Getty Research Institute, where her work focuses on sixteenth-century Sicily. In fall 2019, she will join the faculty at Dartmouth College. email@example.com
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Elizabeth Kassler-Taub; Building with Water:The Rise of the Island-City in the Early Modern Mediterranean. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 1 June 2019; 78 (2): 145–166. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jsah.2019.78.2.145
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