sentiment & reason
Category

The_grid_as_generator

 

 

 thoughts  500*579  2012/03/25
The grid as generator
P7
Christopher Alexander
I want to call those cities that have arisen spontaneously over many years ‘natural cities.’ Siena, Liverpool, Kyoto, Manhattan, are examples of natural cities.
P8
The artificial grid of streets that was laid down throughout Manhattan in 1811 has not prevented the growth of those overlapping patterns of human activity which caused Alexander to describe New York as an organic city. Life and living have filled it out but the grid is there.
P11
Savannah in 1734
The central square become a continuous band of open spaces and public buildings.
In 1613 the original Dutch settlement was limited to the tip of the island. In 1760 there was little expansion beyond this and contemporary illustrations depict to the north a rolling landscape. Taylor's plan of 1796 shows the first modest growth of a city laid out on a gridiron pattern. Surveys in 1785 and 1796 extending up the centre of Manhattan set out the basis for a grid, and in 1811 the special State Commissioners confirmed this in an 8 ft
long plan which plotted the numbered street system of Manhattan as far north as 155th Street. The plan showed 12 north-south avenues each 100 ft wide and 155 cross streets each 66 ft wide. The size of the rectangular
building plots set out by this grid are generally 600 ft by 200 ft. There were some public open spaces. (Central Park was of course carved out later. And it is this framework that has served the successive developments of the
built form from 1811 to the present day.

P13
Here then are three types of grid, that of Savannah, the gridiron of Manhattan and that of Chicago. Each one is rectangular. Each one has admitted change in the form and style of its building. Each one has admitted growth, by intensification of land use or by extension. Savannah, as it grew, tended to produce a green and dispersed city of open squares (Fig. 1.1). In Manhattan, the small scale subdivision of the grid and the exceptional pressure to increase floor space within this, forced buildings upwards.

P14
The stages of this latter process can be traced in the early plans of Manhattan produced in 1850. The grid of roads is already built. Within this general plot pattern the separate building plots are being established. To the north, on the building frontier, there is a line of huts and shacks. Further south more permanent but separate buildings are being built. And in the most developed area further towards the tip of Manhattan the full building arrangement has solidified into connected terraces of four to six-storey houses arranged around the perimeter of the site and enclosing private gardens.

But the grid now exerts a powerful influence: the limited size of the grid suggests the notion that increased floor space in an area can only be gained by tall buildings on each separate plot. The notion suggests the form; the regulations shape it into ziggurats and towers.



Olmsted
Olmstead and Vaux writing in support of their design for Central Park in 1863: 'The time will come when New York will
be built up, when all the grading and the filling will be done and the picturesquely varied rocky formation of the island will have been converted into formations for rows of monotonous straight streets and piles of erect buildings' (Reps 1965).

In their opposition to the grid, the relief from its monotony became a specific aim. Central Park itself is an attempt to imitate nature and to recreate wild scenery within the grid. The garden suburb with its curving streets is one form of attack on the grid system, and an attempt to replace it.

The choice of the grid allows different patterns of living to develop and different choices to be elaborated. The grid, unlike the fixed visual image, can accept and respond to growth and change. It can be developed unimaginatively and monotonously or with great freedom.

P17
In the case of these American cities the grid or framework can be regarded as an ordering principle. It sets out the rules of the environmental game. It allows the player the freedom to play with individual skill.

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Modern_Architecture:_A_Critical_history

 

 

 thoughts  283*400  2012/03/25
Modern Architecture: A Critical history
Kenneth Frampton.

P220
The skyscraper was concerned, displayed a preference for the Gothic. This tendency was reinforced by the results of the Chicago Tribune competition of 1922. A stripped Gothic enabled the architect to overcome the problem of a large number of windows ‘by means of strongly marked ribs which accentuated the verticalism and therefore the impressive appearance of towers.’
P222
Recording Art Deco skyscrapers that were then either completed or already under way and anticipating the apotheosis of the Rockefeller Center, this was a science- of fiction vision of a city towers as scenographic  and theatrical as the style itself – a New Babylon born of euphoria, land values and the set-back profiles imposed by the 1916 New York city zoning code.
P237
Mies’s typical suppression of all that was programmatically incompatible with the monumental manifested itself most strikingly at Crown Hall. Mies’s approach offered the publicity-conscious client an impeccable image of power and prestige. After the completion of 860 Lake Shore Drive in 1951, he began to work increasingly for the real-estate and institutional establishment, the final ‘breakthrough’ coming in 1958 when he was commissioned through the agency of Phyllis Lambert to design the 39-storey Seagram Building in New York. In this bronze and brown glass office tower, Mies once again achieved that Semperian interweaving of fenestration with structure. This time, however, unlike Lake Shore Drive, he created a frontalized axial composition facing a granite piazza, the slab itself being set-back some 27 metres (90 feet) from the building line, as a compliment to the 1917 Racquet Club by McKim, Mead and White on the other side of Park Avenue.
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Disenchanted_mountain

 

 

 thoughts  591*591  2012/03/25
Disenchanted mountain by Manfredo Tafuri, in the American city.
P390
The skyscraper as an event, as an anarchic individual – object separated from urban contexts.
It is an overcome of the innovation of 20th century-technological innovation (elevator), structural innovation, and innovations in the design of the architectonic organism.
Small firms contradicted the very nature of the skyscraper and gave rise to evasions and hybrid concessions to the ideology of the “Cathedrals of Business” on the part of the designers.- Publicness is not the nature of skyscrapers.
P396
The submission of the Chicago Tribune competition, 1922-The entrants had to present only two plans (a ground plan and a typical floor plan), plus elevations and one perspective drawing of their projects.-shows simplicity and efficiency.
P421
Theoretical design by Louis Sullivan for a city of setback skyscrapers shows controlling of building form to utilize better environment through providing light and air to the pedestrian ground.
P432
The New York zoning law, enacted in 1916, exercised only minimal controls over the use of urban space and lacked any provisions for public investment. Such laws could hardly encourage the unified, coordinated type of undertaking proposed by Saarinen; they merely regulated the current practice of isolated building projects in the business centers dominated by corporations. Instead, it was in the context of attempts at regional planning between 1920 and 1930 that new utopian conceptions of control over urban concentration were delineated. The Regional Plan of New York and Its Environs, promoted by the Russell Sage Foundation and directed by Thomas Adams, is a particularly significant example, since it represents an extreme compromise between regional planning and the philosophy of zoning.
P433
Franklin D. Roosevelt-governor of New York
In 1932, he declared his interest in “not the mere planning of a single city but in the larger aspects of planning,” adding that “perhaps the day is not far distant when planning will become a part of the national policy of this country.”


Raymond Hood
P440
The type of skyscraper he proposed was actually a “City under a Single Roof.” His construction would occupy three blocks, with the possibility of being extended into the surrounding area. The ground level would be left for traffic and parking; the second through tenth floors, allocated to storage space, stores, theaters, and so on; the eleventh through the twenty-fifth, office space; the twenty-sixth through the thirty-fifth, clubs, restaurants, and hotels; the uppermost floors would be reserved for residential apartments.
This was an anticipation of the super-skyscrapers of the 1960s and 1970s, but with one difference-Hood theorized an almost complete reconstruction of Manhattan on the basis of his model, to be carried out within about twenty years. This hypertrophic concentration, which would eliminate not only the phenomenon of commuting but also, paradoxically, the drama of congestion, was valid only if New York could be transformed into a ville radieuse. Hood intended to extend his utopia over the entire grid of New York.
Thomas Adams
P441
E. Maxwell Fry’s drawings, introducing a multileveled traffic system with elevated walkways and arcades for pedestrians, which recalled Corbett’s studies made for such a project.
Perhaps the most complete image of the new organization envisaged for the subcentral areas is provided by the product for the renewal of the Lower East Side of Manhattan: sidewalks on two levels, and assumed the continuous development of a series of isolated commercial skyscrapers to either side of the projected Chrystie-Forsyth Parkway. P442-445 drawings.
It is impossible to ignore the relationship between Thomas Adams’s proposals for Manhattan and Hugh Ferriss’s Metropolis of Tomorrow. In this volume, published in 1929, the former draftsman of Cass Gilbert, Corbett, and Hood translated the images suggested by the rebuilding programs of the Regional Plan of New York into the vision of a late romantic utopia.
He made poetic image of a skyscraper.
P448
The historical significance of the designs of this able conjurer of images lies in their poetic celebration of the skyscraper. The skyscraper is “sung” by Ferriss in an attempt to restore an “enchanment” to what could by this times be only a “disenchanted mountain.”
In 1924,
American Radiator Building-an isolated object.
P454
In a statement quoted by Arthur T. North, Hood affirmed:
The success of a building is measured by the degree of satisfaction to its occupants in its use, by its economic soundness and its acceptability to the public.
McGraw Hill buildings (1931). Like Hood’s previous works, they came into being from the exigency of creating architectonic structures that in themselves functioned as publicity.

P457
The drawing and photomontage with which Hood presented his Manhattan 1950 project have much in common with the images of Hugh Ferriss’s Metropolis of Tomorrow. Although their interpretations differ, both responded to the problem of restructuring the downtown and heart of the commercial center of New York.

Ferriss’s bridges, which in reality only interpreted the model of residential bridges Hood had designed as early as 1924, are conceived as double catenaries, between which the traffic passes.

Hood’s system of bridges not only confirmed but exalted to the maximum the concept of centralization and intense concentration in Manhattan.

Hood’s proposal- hyper-congestive utopian-housings on the bridges.
Rockefeller Center
P467 diagrams **
        •        Benjamin Wistar Morris – december1927, the conventionally designed building of the Metropolitan Opera and Century Theater faces on an open, landscaped square, but architecture and square not yet coordinated.
        •        The Plaza was included among the mandatory items in the program.
        •        P470 plans, Associated Architects 1932, - P472 the Roof Gardens, presented in precise and highly elaborated drawings, connected the lower blocks of the complex in a continous artificial park, complete with bridges passing over 49th and 50th streets. It was the first time that a commercial development had deliberately and ostentatiously presented itself as a civic attraction for the entire community. Rockefeller Center, indeed, seemed intent on integrating speculative aims, new conditions for work in the commercial city, and open spaces for leisure and recreation into a single, gigantic financial and publicity operation and all in the blackest years of the depression.
        •        Faked socialism- Rockefeller and Trump – p472 Rockefeller presented himself as the spokesman of a democratic capitalism, a Maecenas concerned with social problems.
        •        P473 For many Rockefeller’s undertaking reflected the American hope in the capacity of an enterprising capitalism, solicitous of the welfare of the community, to overcome the crisis.
        •        p473 Merle Crowell, director of the public-relations department of Rockefeller Center-“Rockefeller Center was not conceived as a cultural Olympus, but, rather, as a “sincere attempt to incorporate art into business by introducing a high aesthetic standard into the daily use the mass public make of the complex.
        •        The first landscaped skyscraper – p474-realistic utopia
        •        The Sunken Plaza-p480- The plaza thus became quite literally a pulsating urban center, a point of magnetic attraction for the public.
        •        P 481 Paradoxically, the public success of Rockefeller Center surpassed its economic success.
        •        Unintended publicness with capitalistic idea.
        •        P484 Sigfried Giedion – What really needs to be changed is the entire structure of the city. The parkway and Rockefeller Center are only small beginnings, isolated new growth in the immense body of New York, like the young braches of a tree. But it must not be forgotten that tiny new branches properly grafted can change the whole inner structure of a plant. Rockefeller centeris simply in advance of its period in the urban scale. What must change is not the Center but New York itself. The city must adopt the new scale which is identical with that of its bridges and parkways. Only then will the civic center must transformed, not in the interest of single individuals but for the sake of the community as a whole.
        •        Enterprise interest created social benefit.
        •        P484 – Manfredo Tafuri- The Center represented a victory for the zoning law by a perfect understanding of its full possibilities. At the same time, Rockefeller Center marked the definitive eclipse of the skyscraper as an individual. Presenting itself as a city within a city.
        •        Diversely, the Center as a model for restructuring the city in terms of its elementary variables – comparison with the Lever House or the Seagram Buidling.

P485
The revision of the New York zoning law advocated in 1956 by Frank Fogarty as an incentive for the creation of free space for social use at the foot of skyscrapers became a reality in the early 1960s.

P487
In the Architectural Forum in 1965, Peter Blake – Where the old Rockefeller Center grouped its building to create a variety of streets, malls, and a single landscaped, sunken plaza, the new Six Avenue is a chaotic agglomeration of piazzas, pizaaettas, piazzettinas, arcade and ‘courts.’ Where the motto of the Beaux Arts period was ‘when in doubt, do a boulevard.’ The motto of some of today’s architects seems to be ‘when in doubt, do a plaza.’
P487 hand drawings


P499 diagram
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Delirious_NY

 

 

 thoughts  600*400  2012/03/25
Delirious NY, Rem Koolhaas
P82
A metro-politan paradox: the greater the distance from the earth the closer the communication with what remains of nature
-“Lose the community on the street” – but people don’t care about this due to Culture of Congestion.
-Street is not a place to stay in NY.

P85
The building becomes a stack of individual privacies.
From now on each metropolitan lot accommodates an unforeseeable and unstable combination of simultaneous activities, which makes architecture less an act of foresight than before and planning an act of only limited prediction.

P87
1909, the skeleton of the theorem: a utopian formula for the unlimited creation of virgin sites on a single urban location.
The Skyscraper is the instrument of a new form of unknowable urbanism. In spite of its physical solidity, the Skyscraper is the great metropolitan destabilizer: it promises perpetual programmatic instability.
P88
In this branch of utopian real estate, architecture is no longer the art of designing buildings so much as the brutal skyward extrusion of whatever sites the developer has managed to assemble.
-designing by invisible hand of capitalist, regulation generated form.
Through volume alone, life inside the Skyscraper is involved in a hostile relationship with life outside: the lobby competes with the street, presenting a linear display of the building’s pretensions and seductions.
-microcosm, no relation with public realm
Manhattanism’s more insistent themes: from now on each new building of the mutant kind strives to be “a City within a city.” This truculent ambition makes the Metropolis a collection of architectural city-states, all potentially at war with each other.
-but, particular program make a zone binding skyscrapers (Theater district)
P91
1911, Theodore Starrett’s 100-story building proposal.
Programmatic enrichments: “the 20th floor is a general market, the 40th a cluster of theaters, the 60th a “shopping district,” the entire 80th floor a hotel and the 100the an “amusement park, roof garden and swimming pool.”
-one example of Manhattanism.
Total Architecture: Starrett’s antihumanistic proposal
P97
That potential also implies an essential isolation: no longer does the city consist of a more or less homogenous texture- a mosaic of complementary urban fragments- but each block is now alone like an island, fundamentally on its own.
Manhattan turns into a dry archipelago of blocks.
-grid system and prevalent skyscraper consolidate the isolation of blocks’ connection.

P101
Lobotomy-the surgical severance of the connection between the frontal lobes and the rest of the brain to relieve some mental disorders by disconnecting though processes from emotions.
The architectural equivalent separates exterior and interior architecture.
-compare this with phenomenon of Manhattanism: it hides everyday life (from the street)

Manhattanism
-programmatic instability or enrichments, diversity in the section of skyscrapers
-separation of interior and exterior
P103
Murray’s Roman Garden
-a retroactive utopia
-enclaves, emotional shelter for the metropolitan masses that represent ideal worlds removed in time and space
-the fantastic supplants the utilitarian in Manhattan
-swimming pool is the same meaning?
P107
The 1916 Zoning Law describes on each plot or block of Manhattan’s surface an imaginary envelope that defines the outlines of the maximum allowable construction.
P108
If Manhattan was in the beginning only a collection of 2,028 blocks, it is now an assembly of as many invisible envelopes.
P109
Hugh Ferriss – Phantom  
After 1916, no structure in Manhattan could exceed the limitations of this spectral shape.
-Contained within its basic legal shape
-A cosmic container
-Each block become an island with its own lighthouse, the Ferrissian phantom house (p123)
P120
Over the culture of congestion
Harvey Wiley Corbett- elevated and arcaded walkways
-Very modernized Venice
-The Culture of Congestion is the culture of the 20th century (p125)

Definitive Instability: the Downtown Athletic Club
P152
The Club is used as a Constructivist Social Condenser: a machine to generate and intensify desirable forms of human intercourse.
P155
Swimming pool on the 12th floor
Definition of Manhattan’s version of functionalism distorted by the demands and opportunities of density and congestion
Locker rooms-It is not a locker room but an incubator for adults
P158
Skyscrapers like the Club announce the imminent segregation of mankind into two tribes: one of Metropolitanities, self-made, who used the full potential of the apparatus of Modernity to reach unique levels of perfection, the second simply the remainder of the traditional human race.
-Sphinx hotel: typological particularity for metropolitans, self-isolation, separation from the traditional humans.
The Downtown Athletic Club is a machine for metropolitan bachelors whose ultimate “peak” condition has lifted them beyond the reach of fertile brides.

Modernists’ trials to use street as a public space
P1667
The 1916 Zoning Law, which can never control the ultimate bulk of Manhattan’s buildings only their shape. Hood wanted to establish a constant ratio between the Volume of Building and the street area.
P170
Raymond Hood, McGraw-Hill Building, 1931
-the fire of Manhattanism raging inside the iceberg of Modernism
-modernism + 1916 zoning law

Hotel Sphinx 1975-76


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Perception_of_a_City - The_Image_of_the_City

 

 

 thoughts  563*360  2012/02/13
The image of the city - Kevin Lynch

Not only is the city an object which is perceived (and perhaps enjoyed) by millions of people of widely diverse class and character,
but it is the product of many builders who are constantly modifying the structure for reasons of their own. -p2

It will concentrate especially on one particular visual quality: the apparent clarity or "legibility" of the cityscape. -P2
-Legibility, Perception of people about the city could be different from physical form of the city, whatever which is called as urban design or figureground. -JK

A legible city would be one whose districts or landmarks or pathways are easily identifiable and are easily grouped into an over-all pattern. -P3

But, the city being perceived by its inhabitants. -P3  

Disorientation makes the sense of anxiety and even terror -P4

An ordered environment - it may serve as a broad frame of reference, and organizer of activity or belief or knowledge, like Manhattan. - P4
Seoul- mountain and natural topography were important factors to make the orientation of the city. -JK

City planners are primarily interested in the external agent in the interaction, which produces the environmental image. - P7

"public images" - P7 --- perception of the city -JK

We can conveniently divide the city image: path, landmark, edge, node, and district. - P8

"identity of form" - P8

The city image and its elements
1. paths     2.Edges     3. Districts     4. Nodes     5. Landmarks  - P48

For most people interviewed, paths were the predominant city elements, although their importance varied according to the degree of familiarity with the city. - P49
  

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