a visible city

The fictional city of Adelma is one of the fifty-five city Italo Calvino describes in his book Invisible Cities. The aim of the project was to construct this described city into a visible city.

form and division

cities & the dead

based on a novel by Italo Calvino

site plan
the prelude

“Never in all my travels had I ventured as far as Adelma.” ¹

the arrival

“It was dusk when I landed there. On the dock the sailor who caught the rope and tied it to the bollard resembled a man who had soldiered with me and was dead.” ¹

basket and balcony

“[…] on every new face you encounter, it prints the old forms, for each one it finds the most suitable mask.” ¹

the alley

“The stevedores climbed the steps in a line, bent beneath demijohns and barrels; their faces were hidden by sackcloth hoods […]” ¹


“[…] if I turned my gaze just a little toward the crowd that crammed those narrow streets, I was assailed by unexpected faces, reappearing from far away, staring at me as if demanding recognition, as if to recognise me, as if they had already recognised me.” ¹

“I thought: ‘Perhaps Adelma is the city where you arrive dying and where each finds again the people he has known. This means I, too, am dead.” And I also thought: “This means the beyond is not happy.'” ¹

¹ Italo Calvino, The Invisible Cities, viewed 31.03.2021,