One Year at the Window
53 Views on Turin


An agglomeration of buildings is not sufficient to constitute a city. And it does not matter how big it is, nor what the architectural quality of the individual buildings or the urban organization of the whole is. What matters is how the agglomeration is perceived by those who live there, how it is told to those who visit it, and how those who visit it in turn will tell the outside world about it. Physical cities exist, of course, but they are cities only insofar as they are perceived. The agglomerations of buildings we call cities are living organisms that feed on perceptions and in return give back stories, emotions, and dreams.

Before coming to Turin, I lived for thirteen years in New York City. I absorbed it and tried to draw it all as one thing. I drew its profile as seen from the rivers surrounding it, then its profile from Central Park. Then, as I was about to move and with the boxes almost ready, I looked out of my window and realized that there was not one city, but millions, as many as the number of its inhabitants. And so I visited a multitude of windows to draw its views and find out how those who live there see the city. When I arrived, I did not know Turin at all. And perhaps I still don’t know it: not a day goes by that I don’t encounter a new glimpse, a corner or a building I have never seen. But after “a year at the window” I feel I have begun to discover it. Instead of approaching it from the outside and slowly trying to get to know it – as normally happens – I dove straight into its heart. I saw how it is perceived by those who live there; from its windows I heard the stories of those who live there and were born there, or those who, like me, came from elsewhere. From the windows I was able to notice time, you can see it in the architecture, and how in recent years it has changed this city.

To those I asked to show me their windows I said that this will be the tale of a Turin as seen from its openings, of the most intimate and truest of cities.

– Matteo Pericoli
May 2011