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-   -   A 21st Century Urban Project (http://www.archboston.org/community/showthread.php?t=2840)

ablarc 04-11-2009 09:25 PM

A 21st Century Urban Project
 
A 21st CENTURY URBAN PROJECT

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/21s...anism/0010.jpg

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Lurker 04-11-2009 10:48 PM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
Looks like another superblock project given the separation of vehicular and pedestrian circulation.

ablarc 04-12-2009 07:55 AM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
Superblock:

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/brattle/brattle.jpg

Superblock?

Lurker 04-12-2009 10:47 AM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
I say SUPERBLOCK because the project, despite its figure ground, doesn't integrate itself with the surrounding street pattern's circulation.

It is the equivalent of putting bollards to barricade the ends of every street in the Back Bay. Sure it would be nice to have the streets completely car free and have pedestrians reign supreme, yet in practice the neighborhood would actually become significantly isolated from the circulation of the rest of the city.

ablarc 04-12-2009 11:24 AM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lurker (Post 75035)
the project, despite its figure ground, doesn't integrate itself with the surrounding street pattern's circulation.

Like the Cambridge example ... right?

Or Quincy Market?

These places have their own order, and it doesn't come from the surroundings. They are precincts.

You can probably think of others; many are quite well known.

The brief in the above example was to create a centrum in an amorphous Twentieth Century banlieue that had none. One of the reasons: no respite for the pedestrian from roadside sidewalks.

One of the general principles of placemaking is to distinguish your place from its surroundings. Examples: Place des Vosges, Palais-Royal, Georgetown's Washington Harbor, the National Mall.

.

ablarc 04-12-2009 12:16 PM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
Another recent urban project:

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/ple...inson/0010.jpg

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The first time it was avant-garde, it used to look like this (Corbusian planning):

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/ple...inson/0070.jpg

Though it?s getting replaced, some still survives:

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/ple...inson/0080.jpg
What a variety of subdivision types all in one photo! Like a sampler.

The new parts are nothing if not picturesque. They let people live normal French lives, like they grew up living. When the buildings get dirty, only archaeologists will be able to tell they?re new.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/ple...inson/0090.jpg

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Would you just look at all the zoning categories. This municipality will try a little of everything. A veritable buffet:

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/ple...inson/0150.jpg

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/ple...inson/0160.jpg

11 stops by RER to the Latin Quarter.

belmont square 04-12-2009 01:54 PM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
The photos I've seen of Poundbury, the block of new rowhouses in the Amsterdam docks, and the first example from this thread all suggest that these places share the Seaport District's and Kendall's Square's problem attracting humans. In fact, Kendall seems much more vibrant, at least during the work day, than any of these places (not including the last Paris example from this thread).

ablarc 04-12-2009 02:40 PM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
Not much you can tell from photos. Urban photos are often taken on Sundays --even aerial photos. You don't see many people in the Brattle photo, do you? If you drew a conclusion from that about its ability to attract people, you'd be wrong, wouldn't you?

And anyway, some places don't have to attract crowds to be nice. Have you seen the teeming masses in Louisburg Square lately?

czsz 04-12-2009 03:57 PM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
Not to be a stickler for detail, but there is a little street opening up the interior of that Brattle block to circulation. See where the white truck is?

In any case, I agree with ablarc that his examples don't really implicate the problems of the superblock in the traditional sense. The passageways and alleys of these developments still approximate streets, compared to the free-form spaces of, say, Government Center or Charles River Park. Many 19th century European neighborhoods (in, say, Barcelona or Berlin) are composed of huge blocks. The streets are lined with 4-5 story apartment buildings, but their interiors are usually massive, park-like courtyards or even (in working class areas) auto-body shops or factories!

Quote:

normal French lives
Doesn't this assumption, insofar as it lurks behind such developments, imply a sort of insidious essentializing of culture every bit as bad/wrong as the utopianism of Le Corbusier?

Another issue with living in a historic(ized) development: all the auretic charm of real history is evacuated. Streets curved and dipped in old neighborhoods for a reason. Walls and gates were built for a reason. There's nothing necessarily wrong with art for art's sake, but it seems particularly odd that today's art should be a facsimile of yesterday's necessities, other than to provide a comforting but obviously false illusion. I guess that's why these places seem designed to appeal to the Thomas Kinkade crowd. I mean, for god sakes, do even the signs even have to be neotraditional, too?

ablarc 04-12-2009 05:23 PM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
Anyone care to identify the first project?

lexicon506 04-12-2009 09:50 PM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
Ugh...they might as well hang up a sign that says: "WELCOME TO DISNEY LAND!!"

Why do these projects have to pretend that they were built centuries ago?? They may have the right idea from an urban perspective, but architecturally they're so obviously fake that I can't really take them seriously. I have much more respect for those developments in the Netherlands that incorporate sound urban design practices and at the same time are unabashedly 21st century.

kennedy 04-12-2009 10:52 PM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
First, style has nothing to do with urbanity (unless you're designing like Corbusier in the French photos).

Second, I would definitely say these are some of the more realistic revivalist buildings I've seen recently. Why does it matter if it doesn't look like it's hundreds of years old now, it it isn't? As ablarc said, once they get dirty only archaeologists will be able to tell.

I noticed one incongruity in the two developments albarc shared. The French example works because it seems like it integrates itself (in the close-ups), however, from the aerial photos you can tell there's not a whole lot it must integrate into. The Italian (Spanish?) example is the opposite-the close-ups make it look very separate from it's surroundings (could be a result of the lack of life when the photo was taken). Yet, in the aerial photo, it looks more integrated into the city around it. Which is more important? The sense of street level integration (small scale) or the preservation of the city fabric (large scale)?

ablarc 04-13-2009 05:44 AM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by lexicon506 (Post 75081)
I have much more respect for those developments in the Netherlands that incorporate sound urban design practices and at the same time are unabashedly 21st century.

You've probably seen that I too like these, but can you name a second example?

ablarc 04-13-2009 06:35 AM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kennedy (Post 75082)
The French example works because it seems like it integrates itself (in the close-ups), however, from the aerial photos you can tell there's not a whole lot it must integrate into.

It's a somewhat isolated fragment of urban fabric. Like a piece torn out of a city and placed in Suburbia --where it functions as the community's core.

They're even building these in places like Charlotte, dotting them throughout Suburbia. In a few hundred years, they may fuse together if they're allowed to survive. Then you'll have a city.

Quote:

The Italian (Spanish?) example is the opposite-the close-ups make it look very separate from it's surroundings (could be a result of the lack of life when the photo was taken).
Italian. It's a subcenter by Leon Krier for a typical 20th Century road-based extension just outside the urban core of Alessandria, a small city in Piedmont. Places like that teeter on the edge of walkability; this is an attempt to tilt the balance. It should cover more territory.

Quote:

Yet, in the aerial photo, it looks more integrated into the city around it.
Well, it departs from the linear order of the road, and introduces a bit of medieval randomness.

Quote:

Which is more important? The sense of street level integration (small scale) or the preservation of the city fabric (large scale)?
In this case, the existing fabric is no great shakes --though on Huntington Avenue, it would probably be a hit.

ablarc 04-13-2009 07:36 PM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by lexicon506 (Post 75081)
I have much more respect for those developments in the Netherlands that incorporate sound urban design practices and at the same time are unabashedly 21st century.

What you mean is you approve of their style. Sometimes styles are revived. Should we dislike Richardson's Trinity Church because it's an obvious ripoff of St. Trophime? If I hadn't told you, would you have known? Looks like it was built in the damn 11th Century! Why should you care (as long as the urban design is sound)?

czsz 04-13-2009 08:45 PM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
No style is revived as a facsimile of what is originally was. Williamsburg, Virginia was praised as an accurate representation of the 1760s when it was first built in the 1930s-50s, but is thought to be a bit cartoonish today. Historians think similar things about the reconstituted Paul Revere house, incidentally.

Even the Parisian suburb pictured here doesn't look exactly like 1885; it's an idealized version of that time period based on our late-20th, turn-of-the-21st century understanding of history.

Still, as Williamsburg illustrates, it's problematic to try too hard. Serious revival is a dialectic of old and new. The Renaissance was much more than just neoclassicism. Most of Washington, DC is a very modern interpretation of this same mode.

kennedy 04-13-2009 08:58 PM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
Well, if it's too accurate no one will want to live there. I mean, I sure like my running water...

...but on a serious note, no style can be perfectly copied and applied to a modern situation because the entire world is different. There are different needs to be met. The only truly accurate copy of an old style should be in a museum. Otherwise, it's obsolete. Note, I'm not rejecting a revivalist movement of anything, just noting that nothing can or should be a perfect copy of the movement it's imitating.

ablarc 04-14-2009 05:33 PM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kennedy (Post 75156)
Well, if it's too accurate no one will want to live there. I mean, I sure like my running water...

...but on a serious note, no style can be perfectly copied and applied to a modern situation because the entire world is different. There are different needs to be met. The only truly accurate copy of an old style should be in a museum.

Damned if you do (doesn't meet modern needs); damned if you don't (oh, it's not a perfect replica; clearly pastiche).

kennedy 04-14-2009 06:34 PM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
So somewhere in the happy middle sounds nice. Story of American culture, huh?

ablarc 04-15-2009 09:18 PM

Re: A 21st Century Urban Project
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kennedy (Post 75231)
So somewhere in the happy middle sounds nice.

Ain't no happy middle. Ain't no middle.


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