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collective works


Dr. Ian MacBurnie, Associate Professor

There is perhaps no more honorable profession than architecture, nor one more challenging. Architecture operates simultaneously at so many different scales, from that of the general to that of the specific, from that of the part to that of the whole. At its most influential, and – arguably – at its most critical, architecture operates at the scale of the city. The task at hand would seem relatively straightforward: to conceive an urban intervention – small, medium, large, or extra-large – that may be considered appropriate. And therein lies the rub – for where some will see success, others will see failure. Importantly, it is not only time that will tell. Architecture at the scale of the city demands an informed profession, and an informed professional. If by way of this course students begin to fathom the complexity that is city building, if they begin to ask the right questions, then we as instructors may take satisfaction in knowing that we are on the way to accomplishing our goal.

Nancy Alcock, Professor

To play a role in the shaping of our cities – we must understand the context of the environment in which we live and the inter-relationships we have with each other and within our communities. Cities are organic in nature and always changing – as planners and architects, it is our responsibility to always be thinking about the consequences of our decisions and the interest of future generations in whatever we do in our professional lives.

FOREWORD Urban Design attempts to use imaginative solutions to engage the public in a continuously revitalizing, metropolitan network. It is necessary to analyze and understand the changing social structure of national and urban society to create efficient infrastructure; aesthetic and technological innovations are guided by a cultural zeitgeists. The Industrial Revolution, dating from the mid-18th to the mid-19th century brought large influxes of industrial, residential and workplace density to Western society. The distinguished cities of Paris and London were distinguished by the poor quality urban environments. From the inefficiency of infrastructure, attitudes of a Utopian city came to a vanguard. Zoning was introduced into the city structure and radially expanded to a global scale. The aesthetic appeal of cities followed becoming an object of concern; well developed communities were considered to be ones that catered to aesthetic pleasures. With the integration of principles of the influential Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) to modern society, the responsive political behaviour and economics were the reactions to the first and second World Wars. With the sense of rationality developed, modernism and efficiency became the foundational ideas of a minimal limit of living standard. With an attempt to remodel the housing market and more particularly, the urban context, a Functional city development scheme was developed from the Athens Charter. Following the period of CIAM, the rediscovery of expressive and symbolic forms of building evolution were hardly expressed within the CIAM modernist period. As a reaction to post modern development, there was an incorporation of stylistic, large scale references. The importance of contextualization of a building became particularly reliant on the cultural and social customs. The representation of urban and futuristic development contributed to the inevitable changes which developed from contextualized landscapes. The globalization and dispersal of resources have allowed for industrial innovations to create a sustainable, developed future. Without hesitation, third-world problems are brought forth, as sustainability and environmental design are merely ideas that attempt to react to the cataclysms of undeveloped nations. Political and social disasters produce harsher and greater degrees of damage to the urban context. Urban regeneration attempts to reconnect fragments of a disrupted society. Sustainability allows cities to remain responsive to growth and continue to be efficient lodging for its patrons and their evolving needs. Urban development attempts to respond to industrialization, to encompass the needs of the time without compromising future development.


PRE-CIAM Prior to 1928 Riverside Community


Alex Wojnalowicz

Chicago World Fair


Heather Breeze

The National Mall


Nicholas Ager

Alleyways to Avenues


Anusha Ramesh

Letchworth: Rethinking the City


Christopher McIntosh

Letchworth Garden City


Jason Varandas

St. Louis World Fair


Carmen Nieto



Kenneth Kan

The Singer Tower


Advita Madan

The Plan of Chicago


Douglas Belanger

Casa Mila


Ketevan Gonashvili

Garden Suburb


Sandra Dorozynska

Woolworth Building


Jenna Tario

The Equitable Building


Nicholas Van Niekerk

Bloor Street Viaduct


James Heusser- Kowoll

The Garden City of Welwyn


Asem Alhadrab

Australia’s Planned Capital


Tiffany Tse

The Ritz Tower Response


Jonathan Clarke

City Planning: Manhattan


Anita Cheng

The Pittsfield Building


Matthew McQuire

Paris Renewed: The Haussmann Plan


Kristoper Poulin

The Redevelopment of Paris


Lydon Whittle

144 CIAM 1928-1960

Mies’ Weissenhofsiedlung


Dorothy Johns



Nicola Rutherford

8601880 Lake Shore Drive


Aviv Sarner

The Rockafeller Centre


Carrie Groskopf

Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh


Shane Keepence



Angela Ng

Erasing the Stigma: Regent Park


Michele Zaradic

Suburbia 101: Levittown


Syed Shirazie

Unite D’Habitation


Anna Kobeleva

Lever House


Radomir Smiljanic

National Pensions Institute


Michael Stock

Don Mills


Mampuru Stollmeyer

Hiroshima Peace Park


Christopher Chown

Hiroshima Peace Park


Amalita Miranda

Pruitt-Igoe Complex


Aubrey Deluca

Pruitt-Igoe: Misunderstood


Alex Manojlovich

Copan Apartment Building Study


Ziju Xian

The Seagram Building


Catherine Cohen

Lafayette Park


Ron Noble


POST-CIAM 1960-1990 The City Underground


Matthew Gelowitz

Place Ville Marie


Sahel Tahvildari

Toronto City Hall


Timothy Melnichuk

Toronto Dominion Centre


Sehar Nursat

Toronto Dominion Centre


Lok See (Winny) Ko

Habitat ‘67


Michael Yantzi

Habitat ‘67


Dami Lee

Australia Square


Jessica Walker

Roosevelt Island


Krisev Stoja

Seaside Florida


Nicholas Boychuk

Seaside Florida


Amanda Mohamed

Seaside Florida


Anastasija Dudnykova

IDS Centre


Laurel Dayan

Robin Hood Gardens


Alexandre Beznogov

Robin Hood Gardens


Nikita Yakushev

Revolution of Manhattan


Brajona Bremachandran

The World Trade Center


Yi Fan (Helen) Xie

Dundas-Sherbourne Lanes and Infill


Saina Motahari

Office of the Future


Arian Hussainzada

Eaton’s Center


Gerald Karaguni

Centre Pompidou


Anna Pavia

Centre Pompidou


Courtney Nicholson

Battery Park City


Hoang Chu

Robson Square


Margot de Man



Michael Falotico

Library Square


Sarah Ives


PRESENT DAY 1995-Today Rokko Housing


Giovanna Monaco

Bce Place Gallery


Agatha Kwiatkowski



Jenny Leung



Eric Reid

Mccormick Tribune Campus Center


Yue Kwok

Seattle Central Library


Victor Huynh

The Cheonggyechon Restoration Project 461

Stephen Baik

One Cole Condominiums: Regent Park


Taewoo Lee

Beijing Olympics: City Transformation


Danqing (Lily) Huang

Terrence Donnelly Center


Alykhan Neky

One Bryant Park


Hao Yue Bai

Maxxi: Arts & Architecture


Olga Chepiga

Cultural Imperialism


Pouya Pak

Bay Adelaide Center


Leonardo Ho

Namba Parks


Tom Kowalczyk

Vanke Centre


Farzan Marzban

London 2012


Brandon Berry

The High Line


Anthony Gugliotta

Reflecting Absence


Malgorzata Kolbe

One40william Classic & Contemporary


Kyle Marren

The High Line: A Catalyst Of Change


Krystyna Ng

Urban Renewal: Vanke Center


Diana Schembri

Corus Quay


Quincy Siu

George Brown College


Wai Tsui Wong

Rebirth: Ground Zero


Arthur Goldstein


01 14


PRE-CIAM Prior to 1928 At the turn of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution redefined the urban context of the Western World. Cities began an intense transition in terms of the large influx of residential, industrial and workplace density. The civil infrastructure which had been established prior to this time was overwhelmed and cities began unhealthy, dangerous, and detrimentally unsightly. London and Paris had evolved into incubators of not only illness and effluence but also crime and poverty. The networks established in the Medieval World (or the American Colonial World) was crumbling, no longer capable of controlling the large migrating populace, the quantity of industries, and their resulting by-products, such as waste, pollution, or congestion. Many engineers, planners, and architects began to scrutinize and investigate ways of managing this paradigm shift in the way cities came to be, arriving at two different ways to “heal” the existing cities or shape the new cities with a Utopian attitude. The first of which is the introduction of widespread zoning regulations, dictating what can be built and where it can be built, the epitome of which being the 1916 Zoning Resolution in New York City. The second attempt to change the way cities were developed was the introduction of city designs, such as the Garden City or City Beautiful Movement. Until the 1920’s, these interventions were integrated throughout the world in an attempt to create healthy, beautiful cities and an overall place of well-being.

PRE-CIAM Prior to 1928





RIVERSIDE COMMUNITY ALEX WOJNALOWICZ The Riverside community was one of the first planned suburban communities in America designed by Frederick Olmsted in 1869, just west of Chicago. The Industrial Revolution was the major factor that generated a massive growth of development in the United States and created a need for the planning of suburbs. Chicago grew from an Industrial town, and as a result there was a need for housing the population of the city. Frederick Olmsted believed that accessibility of green space for individuals was an important part of a community. Riverside’s design pays close attention to detail in relation to the social and cultural aspects of the time and to the physical environment that helped shape this community. The English design for Birkenhead Park in England greatly influenced Olmsted‘s design values and concerns that he passionately integrated into the development of Riverside. Olmsted’s ideals of urban planning compliment CIAM’s Athens Charter five functions of urban planning (habitation, leisure, work, traffic, historic heritage of the city). This is accomplished through an expression of the importance of green spaces in community planning and the separation of Industrialization from neighborhoods. Although CIAM and Olmsted’s ideals were similar, the differences can be found in the flexibility of their planning. CIAM’s design for the city was rigid and inflexible and did not consider the cultural dimension of society. In contrast, Riverside set planning standards for future communities. The Riverside community is a prime example of urban planning because of the complexity of concerns undertaken in the planning and it had realized the needs of the people and their environment.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN The Riverside community in Chicago, Illinois became a model suburban community after its design in 1869. Its construction was completed in the late 1800’s. It was a project commissioned by Olmsted, Vaux and Company. Out of its design emerged some characteristics of suburban communities that were innovative at the time and those characteristics have become common in today’s communities. The design of Riverside was heavily influenced by the Industrial Revolution and the effect it had on the city and its people. The Industrial Revolution provided an equation that contained within it economic, social, and cultural factors that provided a foundation for concerns that Riverside sought to resolve. For a long time, several individuals and groups continued to try and create livable communities that have been greatly hindered by the impacts of the Revolution. These plans all attempted to provide a framework for the planning of healthy communities. One of the most famous and renowned groups that emerged was CIAM in 1928. CIAM and Riverside shared similar values in their plan. Even though Riverside and CIAM were from different centuries, they were both concerned with the same issues in their work. The Industrial Revolution began in the United Kingdom in the late 18th century. It first spread throughout Europe and the United States and then to the rest of the world. It was a catalyst for massive economic growth and development in the United States and it led to a massive increase in population. There were benefits, but with them came many negative effects that impacted the city and its people. With 18

people pouring into cities to work, the majority of the people were housed in dense, crowded housing with terrible living conditions. As these conditions began to effect the working class and the wealthy, there was a desire to provide appropriate living conditions for the working class to maintain an efficient economy. It had a profound effect on the economic, cultural, and social aspects of the cities and towns that received it. Chicago was no different and the people suffered as a result. The Revolution was a result of the innovations and design of machines that replaced hand tools.1 They were powered by water, steam, and coal and led to the creation of the factory.2 Chicago had become central to the economic prosperity and trade of the nation ,as a result of the development of the railway in the 1840’s and 50’s.3 Most businesses concentrated their markets in Chicago (such as markets for cattle, lumber, and grain) as the majority of the railways in the Industrial east coast were linked to it.4 It was an economic hub for the nation and the railway relied heavily on Chicago.5 The

Figure 1 - Birkenhead Park, England: this image highlights the curvilinear path design that was implimented in the English Gardens. This park was very influential to Olmsted’s design of Riverside.


Figure 2 - Riverside, Illinois, Chicago: this image highlights the curving paths and triangular islands that were used from Birkenhead Park.

Riverside Improvement Company was formed in the 1860’s, by an East Coast business man, and they were looking for land to develop property. They recognized the potential for the market in Chicago as many people would move there to work.6 The location was highly desirable due to its close proximity to Chicago; as it was only 9 miles from the city.7 The rail-way had already been developed in 1963 and ran through what would become Riverside.8 It provided easy access to and from the city. It had a natural oakhickory forest that was a desirable rural setting to get away from the negative impacts of the city. The Des Plaines River created cool air for the area and its well drained land essentially provided a mosquito free environment.9 They saw the attractiveness of the land and purchased 1600 acres of land as no zoning laws had been enforced until 1916. At this time they were able to purchase the land and survey it. They had contacted Frederick Law Olmsted to design an elite single-family rural community - this was the most desirable at the time - as he had become known for his work done in Central Park.10

Frederick Law Olmsted had very clear visions about how communities should be designed. His visions were influenced greatly by the English Gardens in London.11 At the age of 28 he visited Birkenhead and its park and discovered his love for landscape design. Birkenhead Park emerged out of the desire to improve the health of the city as it was very unsanitary as a result of Industrialization. The Third Improvement Act demanded that no less than 70 acres of land be used for recreational purposes in Birkenhead and the result was 126 acres of park.12 It was a park that was enjoyed by all classes of people; rich, poor and the working class.13 Frederick Olmsted’s experience in London gave him an appreciation for landscape design and he later became famous for Central Park in New York. Before Central Park the only green spaces in cities were those found in cemeteries. These values for open green space and health became the primary element that drove the design of Riverside. Open space would contribute to the mental and physical health of the people.14 Riverside was designed to have the advantages of the urban city in a rural setting just as the “City Beautiful” had tried to combine in its plan of the city.15 It wanted community provided-gas, water services and maintained streets.16 These were important amenities because during this they were not provided in the city. The streets in the cities were filthy and unsanitary and water was limited creating health problems. You can see the influence of Birkenhead Park by looking at both plans. The triangular islands and curving 19

URBAN SCALE DESIGN paths almost appear to be taken directly from Birkenhead. Olmstead recognized “whatever element of convenient residence is demanded in a town will soon be demanded in a suburb, so far as is possible for it to be associated with the conditions which are the peculiar advantage of the country, such as purity of air, unbrageousness, facilities for out-of-door recreation and distance of the jar, noise, confusion and bustle of commercial thouroughfares”.17 There are four main design principles that are prominent in Olmsted’s design. They considered views, open space, separation of uses, and enhancing natural features. He used the characteristics of the landscape and topography to guide his design. The roads followed the curves of landscape and the Des Plaines River.18 They are all organically curvilinear and the way streets cross each other create little triangular islands of green space throughout the community. These green islands encourage the experience of movement through the community to experience different views. As you travel down long common road, you experience large trees along the tree line of the road that shade the street and then you approach an island of green space that splits the road. As you continue to drive along the road you experience green islands to your left and right of different sizes and then a large public open green space is revealed.19 These curving roads were innovative at the time because towns had commonly organized their plan with a grid iron pattern and all the streets were rectilinear.20 The curvilinear roads were intended to “suggest and imply leisure, contemplativeness and happy 20

tranquility” as “regularity of plan, would suggest eagerness to press forward, without looking to the right or the left”.21 He used irregular tree placement to frame open spaces and create mystery and obscure views of the Des Plaines River.22 Homes were facing open spaces and the roads were originally sunken into the ground to create a continuous view of green space across the streets.23 Parkways were created and scattered trees were planted to help hide the homes and emphasize nature.24 Open space was very important to the community. Not only was open space manifested in his parks and 41 green islands among the community but also in the spacing of the lots. The lots were large and setback a distance from the roads which contrasted “the mere proximity of dwellings which characterize all strictly urban neighborhoods is a prolific source of morbid conditions of the body and mind”.25 Olmsted separated traffic, walking paths from vehicular paths, as well as dwelling from city. There is commercial use located near the railroad and the residential are located around it. He was also concerned with providing well maintained, roads and walkways of high quality that were frost proof, rain proof and thoroughly drained to contribute to a clean and inviting community.26 CIAM emerged in the 1928. They believed density was good hence their framework for a city. Riverside and the Athens Charter were both trying to find solutions to the negative conditions of the city. Even though Riverside and The Athens Charter were developed nearly 100 years apart, they both considered the separation of habitation,

Commercial Educational Railway line

Figure 3 - This image shows the separation of uses in Riverside between commercial, educational and residential uses. Commercial uses are mainly located along the outskirts of housing and grouped together in certain areas.

PRE-CIAM leisure, work and traffic.27 CIAM’s separation of uses was intended to work within the city as a single system. Open space, offices, dwelling and traffic, were all components of the city that people would easily be accessed. Riverside was intended to work with the city, the suburb and city would be components of a larger whole. Riverside and the city were treated as the separation of work and dwelling. Open Space and vegetation were key components that were very clearly and abundantly integrated into the community. Separation of traffic for walking and vehicles were important factors within the community and also in its connection to Chicago. The main difference between Olmsted and CIAM was Olmsted’s designs were always unique to its location and took advantage of the characteristics of the environment.28 CIAM was intended to be a universal framework that didn’t consider context or culture. They both provided open space and separation of uses but CIAM’s design was motivated by functional rationality and efficiency. It was a framework that embraced the car and integrated it as a major part of its design. Olmsted really focused on the mental and physical state of the city to provide him with the planning tools that would address those conditions and develop a community that would be culturally valued. Riverside was considered an appropriate project at the time economically, culturally, and socially, as a result of the impacts of the Revolution. The values at the time were greatly concerned with health. The fostering of open space and greenery was the solution to that and suburbs were seen as positive and

an opportunity to get away from the conditions of the city. Today the low density suburb is no longer considered a sustainable solution to housing. It is also seen to have negative impacts on the social aspect of a community as people are separated by large distances and cannot function without vehicles; kids are dependent on their parents to drive them everywhere. 29 Although values are always in a state of flux what is appropriate always seems to be related to how we can improve and respond to a set of concerns affecting communities.

NOTES 1. “Ecosystem Management Initiative.” School of Natural Resources and Environment | University of Michigan. http://www.snre. (accessed October 28, 2012). 2. Ibid. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid. 6. “Menu -Home Page.” History of Riverside. http://s242218570. (accessed October 28, 2012). 7. Olmsted, Frederick Law, and Charles Capen McLaughlin. The papers of Frederick Law Olmsted. Baltimore: John Hopkins Univ. Press, 1992.p.275 8. “Ecosystem Management Initiative.”, op. cit., chapter 4 9. “Riverside Community Web Site - Riverside, Illinois - History.” Riverside Community Web Site - Riverside, Illinois - Main Page. http://www. (accessed October 28, 2012). 10. “Menu -Home Page.” History of Riverside. http:// (accessed October 28, 2012). 11. “Ecosystem Management Initiative.” School of Natural Resources and Environment | University of Michigan. http://www.snre. (accessed October 28, 2012). 12. Ibid. 13. Ibid. 14. “Ecosystem Management Initiative.” School of Natural Resources and Environment | University of Michigan. http://www.snre. (accessed October 28, 2012). 15. Ibid. 16. “Riverside Community Web Site - Riverside, Illinois - History.” Riverside Community Web Site - Riverside, Illinois - Main Page. http://www. (accessed October 28, 2012). 17. Olmsted, Frederick Law, and Charles Capen McLaughlin, op. cit. 18. “Ecosystem Management Initiative.”, op. cit. chapter 5 19. Ibid. 20. “Ecosystem Management Initiative.”, op. cit. chapter 4 21. Olmsted, Frederick Law, and Charles Capen McLaughlin, op. cit., 280 22. “Ecosystem Management Initiative.”, op. cit. chapter 5 23. Ibid. 24. Ibid. 25. Olmsted, Frederick Law, and Charles Capen McLaughlin, op. cit. 26. Ibid. 27. The Athens Charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 28. “Design Principles - National Association for Olmsted Parks.” National Association for Olmsted Parks. (accessed October 28, 2012). 29. Radiant City. DVD. Directed by Gary Burns. null: Koch Lorber Films, 2006. FIGURES 1. appropriated from :// rschwarthist151s05/Enlightenment.htm 2. image appropriated from riverside.html 3. Aerial Map: appropriated from





CHICAGO WORLD FAIR HEATHER BREEZE The Columbian World Exposition held in Chicago in 1893 was developed during times of industrial and economic revolution, in order to bring everyone in the society together. The project was largely designed by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmstead, the former a renowned architect and the latter a landscape designer. These professionals have been heralded as some of the best of their day and leaders for future planning and this project certainly exemplifies that. The turn of the century brought with it much change and opportunities for communities and this project took full advantage. It was the first and largest plan at the time in Chicago and went on to inspire the City Beautiful movement. Like CIAM, Burnham and Olmstead believed that combining professionals of different areas such as architecture, planning and landscape design, a city would flourish both economically and socially. Unlike CIAM, the focus is not on simplicity and function but on reviving forgotten aspects of what makes a place beautiful, such as embellishing adornments on a structure or fountains or sculptures. The City Beautiful scheme embodies a lot of these ideas and set a course for Chicago planning, changing this urban landscape forever. Promoting civic pride was a goal of the city beautiful movement, as compared to the critical efficiency of modern principles. This planned minicommunity of the World Expo is a completely different and yet successful approach to planning that is a good comparison to projects from the CIAM timeframe.



The World Columbian Exposition was held in the city of Chicago from May 1st until October 30th, 1983. The purpose of this grandiose Chicago World Fair was to celebrate the quadricentennial of the year that Christopher Columbus discovered America.1 The fair took years of organization and planning to lead it to its extremely successful run. The actual set up and built forms of the fair were major cornerstones for the city of Chicago from both an architectural and a cultural standpoint. The fair was an exemplary model for urban planning history. The project used some city planning ideas that would later become integral in the modernist movement, but these alone were not the keys to the success of the project. The first large-scale implementation of City Beautiful design principles in such an inclusive and cohesive manner caused The Chicago World Fair to further both the integrity of the city in which it took place, and the planning profession nation-wide. City workers in Chicago recognized the need for change after the Great Fire of 1871. The materials and layout of buildings were dangerous and vulnerable. The city adopted a zoning code 24

in 1875, twenty five years later than New York City, but was seventeen years ahead of them in appointing a department in which to take care of these issues.2 The code called for separation between residential and industrial districts, which evolved into zoning.3 In the early 1890s regulations were passed in attempt to clean up and organize the problematic railways and streetcars.4 During the year of the fair the city imposed a height restriction of 130 metres in order to reduce the “canyon� effect of the city skyline (several years later this was lifted after arguments raised by real estate industries).5 During these early attempts at city planning, the city of Chicago was still relatively unrecognized throughout the world and even in its own country. The disparity in the inner city was extremely apparent. Dingy buildings, unhygienic conditions and strong pollution were everywhere, causing high mortality rates and generally making the city feel backwards and completely undesirable.6 In order to try to live a better life, many city dwellers fled to the suburbs.7 In their place came immigrants from overseas, further diluting what

Figure 1 - Looking down to the head of the Court of Honour, showing the abundant open plaza space with large boulevards.


Figure 2 - The large and numerous trade buildings are shown in orange, with smaller administration buildings in red.

little history and city identity was there.8 Years later, modernism principles like those outlined in the Athens Charter became possible solutions to this kind of poor planning, but as of the late 1800s clearly the need for both civic and social improvements was going unmet. In 1890, following the success of Paris’ 1889 world fair, the senate in Washington, D.C. and the World Columbian Commission decided to host Columbus’ anniversary celebration.9 The decision to host the fair in Chicago did not come quickly, but offered the opportunity to enhance the city’s internal environment and external renown. The WCC and the Exposition Board of Directors to make an agreement for funds from the federal government.10 After approval, the process of creating committees and hiring professionals began. On a municipal level, the politicians and businessmen of Chicago were used to working in a group, and that same group of people had been working on city improvements projects over the years and so were up to the challenge of organizing the fair.11 The organizers also recognized that in order to get a project done thoroughly and properly, an experienced professional in a specific field would be required.12 Based on this, they brought in Daniel Burnham and Frederick Olmstead to lead the architecture and design. Olmstead first pointed out the negative city building qualities thus far in Chicago that previously had led to disaster.13 He called for a more harnessed design approach, rather than the typical huge buildings made quickly and of shoddy materials.14 This foreshadowed Le Corbusier’s warnings of unconcentrated and relaxed efforts in planning leading to the dissipation of society.15

Olmstead’s ground plan would be efficient and well-organized, at the same time enhancing the streetscape and aesthetic qualities of the downtown. Here is a major deviation from later CIAM principles: the emphasis on the latter mentioned aesthetic qualities as opposed to the former mentioned efficiency so lobbied for by the modernist group. Olmstead proposed the site of the project itself to be on the lakefront, but settled on Jackson Park.16 The project was 700 acres17 with a capital stock of ten million dollars, with more than 21 million admissions being counted throughout the duration.18 Burnham worked with Mr. E.G. Nourse on laying track from the Illinois Central Railway all around the park,19 to deal with the huge traffic flow. These news paths helped connect the city and surrounding areas for long after the fair itself. There were at least a dozen different entrances and two different piers to serve the fair, changing Chicago’s waterfront and utilizing it for large-scale public transportation for the first time.20 The use of a variety of large-scale transportation is another aspect later advocated for in Le Corbusier’s “A Contemporary City”,21 but instead of raising and separating different types of movement, Olmstead and Burnham chose to integrate the traffic in an all-encompassing plan. This created a visually dynamic and interesting streetscape, without sacrificing comfort or function. This fair saw the most expensive public lighting system ever to be used in a public project.22 There were fifty different national and international buildings designed by both national and international architects in order to booster diplomatic harmony.23 Together Burnham and Olsmtead created a well-ordered arrangement between the built architecture and 25

URBAN SCALE DESIGN the ground plan. The central hub of the fair was the Court of Honour containing the most impressive buildings, called “The White City.” These structures were monumental in size but outfitted with flourishing details and forms. Plazas and vegetated areas were abundant and well-used by fairgoers. This theme was a recall to Beaux-Arts architecture24, which then exploded across the United States. The fair served as the beginning of an American neoclassical vernacular. Here is probably the largest deviation from the CIAM manifesto. The modernist group considered the kind of detail used in The White City to be redundant and instead simply designed based predominately on the function and program of a building.25 However, this City Beautiful design style was a direct answer to the current social and architectural plight of the city. It was the first major reform of city planning. As aptly quoted by Carl Smith, Burnham and Olmstead were “transforming the urban environment into what they believed was a more beautiful, unified, and efficient arrangement of its pars, all interconnected with the handsomely landscaped streets and boulevards.”26 The Chicago World Fair had a bigger cultural and social impact than any of the organizers had planned for. Burnham and Olmstead had created a new American standard. The project was criticized for creating even bigger pockets of disparity, considering the slum areas immediately adjacent on most of its sides.27 However, the positive outcome of the small-scale city planning of the fair gave hope and enthusiasm to town planners, who recognized the need for the continuation of this progressive planning. This planning 26

approach was much more immediately accepted than the CIAM movement, which required complete overhaul and makeover of most communities rather than focussing on improving what is there already.28 The fair was the precedent for the plan of the town of Chicago by Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett, a plan that reversed the city’s fall into disparity and is known worldwide for its City Beautiful influence. The fair led to more regulations and zoning to lessen the conditions that made inner living so crowded and unhealthy.29 It was a source of civic pride and identity for its citizens, which is one of the main objectives for a City Beautiful design. The plans of the fair showed off the city’s advances in civic reform and brought all of the new regulations and improvements together in one place for the first time, making it a model for City Beautiful design and the high standards to come for Chicago. The success of the Chicago World Fair was both unprecedented and long-lasting. It served its purpose of creating the “spirit” of Chicago by giving its citizens a chance to connect to one another and their city.30 The project took

Figure 3 - (Above) Jackson Park before the development. The red shows the high-valued land leading into the yellow areas of disparity. Figure 4 - (Right) The central train station and traffic flow.

PRE-CIAM advantages of all of the opportunities of its locations and overcame any challenges while still maintaining a uniform quality. Its advancements in open streetscape and aesthetically strong design along with the efficiency in which it was run sparked the entirety of the Chicago plan, a comprehensive design that changed an entire way of city living for the better. Zoning strategies and public infrastructure were greatly improved during and after the realization of the project. The planning techniques and ideas that made this project so successful are ones that would disregarded or deemed insignificant in the CIAM era, but The Chicago World Fair catapulted the city into a new time of planning and reform and its City Beautiful style influenced the rest of the country to do the same.

NOTES 1. Carl S. Smith, The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City (Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 2006), 3. 2. Joseph P. Schwieterman, Politics of Place: A History of Zoning in Chicago (Chicago, Illinois: Lake Claremont Press, 2006), 6. 3. Schwieterman, Politics of Place, 6. 4. Schwieterman, Politics of Place, 7. 5. Schwieterman, Politics of Place, 8. 6. Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 8. 7. Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 8. 8. Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 9. 9. John E. Findling et al., Encyclopedia of World’s Fairs and Expositions (North Carolina: McFarland and Company Inc. Publishers, 2008), 117. 10. Moses P. Handy, The official directory of the World’s Columbian exposition, May 1st to October 30th, 1893; a reference book of exhibitors and exhibits, of the officers and members of the World’s Columbian Commission, the World’s Columbian Exposition and the board of lady managers, a complete history of the exposition together with accurate descriptions of all state, territorial, foreign, departmental and other buildings and exhibits and general information concerning the fair (Chicago, Illinois: W.B. Conkey Co., 1893), 167. 11. Daniel Burnham et al., The Plan of Chicago: Centennial Edition, ed. Charles Moore (Chicago, Illinois: Great Books Foundation, 2009), 6. 12. Burnham, The Plan of Chicago, 6. 13. Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 14. 14. Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 14. 15. Le Corbusier, The City of To-morrow and Its Planning, ed. Michael Larice et. al, (Routledge: Oxon, 2007), 68. 16. Findling, Encyclopedia, 117. 17. Schwieterman, Politics of Place, 10. 18. Handy, The official directory, 167. 19. Handy, The official directory, 173. 20. Le Corbusier, The City, 70. 21. Handy, the official directory, 171. 22. Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 21. 23. Findling, Encyclopedia, 121. 24. Le Corbusier, La Charte d’Athenes, 1933, trans. Anthony Eardley (Grossman: New York, 1973). http://modernistarchitecture.wordpress. com/2010/11/03/ciam’s-“the-athens-charter”-1933/ 25. Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 21. Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 19. Corbusier, La Charte. 28. Schwieterman, Politics of Place, 11. 29. Schwieterman, Politics of Place, 8. 30. Burnham, The Plan of Chicago, 5. FIGURES 1. Perspective appropriated from: Burnham, Plan of Chicago, 2. 2. Plan appropriated from: Burnham, Plan of Chicago, 8. 3. Plan appropriated from: Burnham, Plan of Chicago, 7. 4. Plan appropriated from: Burnham, Plan of Chicago, 8.





THE NATIONAL MALL NICHOLAS AGER The National Mall in Washington, D.C. could best be identified as a microcosm of idyllic Americana, showcasing the prosperity and vitality of the United States, while achieving a universal aesthetic sensibility. Conceptualized during the 1902 McMillan Commission, spearheaded by Daniel Burnam and Frederick Law Olmsted, the National Mall was designed in direct response to Pierre Charles l’Enfant’s 1971 Plan for Washington. Over time, the project has evolved to link together countless iconic American landmarks. In doing so, the National Mall has cemented itself as the hub of American political and social activities over the past century. Echoing the way in which American Culture has been established through the combination of numerous preceding cultures, the National Mall has become a global standard in the world of urban design through the process of integrating and adapting various principles and functions of its globally renowned predecessors. As a member of the National Park system and listed in the National Registry of Historic Places (c. 1966), the National Mall in Washington, D.C. is an irrefutably significant component of American culture itself. Through examining The National Mall, one examines factors which lead to successful urban project in a design, social, cultural or political context.



The United States of America: a world super-power, often dictating global trends in a range of fields from automotive to film. At the end of the eighteenth-century, there was an opportunity to forge its own path early in its existence as a nation and truly isolate itself from former British rule. In developing the new capital of this relatively young country, there was the ambitious aim and strong potential to realize the United States as a global authority in not only the way new cities would be designed, but also in defining the way in which the country would be characterized and understood by the world. For designing the centre of American culture and seat of administrative authority, French ex-patriot Pierre Charles l’Enfant, a military engineer, was contacted by President George Washington.1 His original assignment was simply to survey the proposed sites of a new American capital. After deciding on the location of Georgetown, Maryland, the objective of elevating the capital to a level surpassing international standards was put into place, with l’Enfant being retained to instigate the plan. 30

In this early city design, one can see the first notion of what is known today as the National Mall. Since its inception and transition through subsequent redesigns, the National Mall has been influential in an array of forums, not only through the impact it has had on the City of Washington, but its perpetual relevance in the arenas of American history, architecture and urban design. L’Enfant began work on his city plan, building on precedents which he had gathered throughout his early life in Western Europe. In the original conceptual drawings, L’Enfant fixated decidedly on specific aspects of his new city, a consequence of his previous exposure to many globally celebrated cities (such as Paris and Versailles).2 l’Enfant’s focus was a fourhundred foot wide garden-lined “grand avenue” illustrated in the heart of the proposal, extending one mile along an east-west axis of the plan.3 This colossal intervention within the urban fabric was never fully implemented; however, this space would go on to be fashioned into the National Mall in the succeeding century,

Figure 1 - Aerial View overlayed with the McMillan Plan. Areas of interests remain the same and the visual connections between monuments is retained. 1, 2


Figure 2 - Formal Evolution: A. l’Enfant adapts a style seen in the Gardens of Versailles B. The McMillan Commission adapts princples of l’Enfants Plan 3, 4, 5

fashioning a novel core for Washington, D.C. L’Enfants plan was set in motion at the turn of the nineteenth-century. The newly inaugurated City of Washington was partially built according to his original intentions, featuring smaller nodes, connected by large avenues, surrounding a cruciform city centre inspired by the Garden of Versailles. Unfortunately, l’Enfant never had the opportunity to develop his plans to fruition. His temperamental nature would be his undoing as he was relieved from his position due to explicit instances of procrastination, impetuousness, and insubordination (including but not limited to refusing to submit plans to the President).4 Transitioning to the twentieth-century, the original plans progression had not only stalled but had turned into a scar on the face of the evolving United States. The city which had been designed as the crown jewel of this young country has turned into a peculiar amalgamation of decrepit green spaces, misplaced institutional structures, hazardous public transportation systems and unsightly marshlands, responsible for emitting various harmful gases.5 It was a widely held belief that this strange park-like condition did not accurately represent the United States, as a whole.6 In response to this, a commission was organized by Michigan Senator James McMillan in 1901 to examine the existing city, l’Enfant’s original plan, and how it could be adapted further in order to achieve the original objective of creating a one-of-a-kind, prized American city. Essentially, they had the intention of turning this civic embarrassment into a national treasure.7 The proposed commission

was met with general applaud from the House of Representatives despite Representative Joseph Cannon’s opposition to the allocation of funds towards any endeavour related to arts and aesthetics. This minor issue was easily circumvented by McMillan through a restructuring of the initiative, in order to draw from the Senate Contingent Funds (this did not require approval from the House of Representatives).8 This was an entirely legal maneuver to ensure the project would go forward; regrettably, this type of dealing inevitably creates enemies in the political world. The Commission’s assembled design team was spearheaded by the two paramount “Starchitects” of the day, Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmstead, who had been suggested by then Clerk of District Communications, Charles Moore; a close friend of McMillan, and then approved by the American Institute of Architects.9 Working together over a span of seven weeks, these men developed a plan which sought to emulate and adapt the grandeur of European capitals such as Paris and Rome with respect to wide boulevards and ample public space, while using monumental architecture to develop unique American civil virtue. Once the design was complete, approval of the final design scheme was sought. A subsequent exhibition of the McMillan Commission was held at the Corcaron Gallery in 1902. The team understood not only the importance of winning over the politicians involved in the decision making process but also the general public. They were able to execute both by articulating a connection 31

URBAN SCALE DESIGN to the previously accepted l’Enfant Plan due to the involvement of President George Washington, exploiting the well-known partiality towards anything associated with the former Commander-in-Chief.10 Needless to say, the exhibition was a rousing success. Regrettably, Representative Joseph Cannon was elected Speaker of the House in the coming years, coinciding with the death of Senator McMillan. This led to many hard fought years in the House of Representatives.11 Eventually, support was too overwhelming for Cannon to ignore and development began. At this time, a number of actions took place to prepare the land for development including the destruction the railroads which ran directly through the proposed site, the draining and filling of the surrounding marshlands, and the removal of a number of “slum” condition housing.12 These actions were all completed in order to make the area cleaner, aesthetically pleasing, and to increase buildable acreage. The design team attempted to respect the existing urban fabric while also carving out a new identity for the city. This provided two new, very important facets to the downtown community of Washington not directly involved in political activities. Primarily, it addressed the need for a central focus in the downtown core, connecting points of interest while providing a space where people could engage in social, recreational, and exhibitive activities. Secondly, it established a base of transportation in Washington, linking it to major cities throughout the United States and later, to other parts of the city. In being the largest station in the system, 32

Union Station acts as a hub, generating a large amount of traffic to the Mall. This station was provided to the railroad operators in gratitude for being cooperative and public-spirited during the rebuilding process where-as the “slum” housing was not substituted elsewhere in the city.13 While this highly anticipated project was symbolic of the American Spirit, it also represented the negative aspects of the Capitalist government in place: the individuals with financial fortitude had complete authority. Despite the widely overlooked social impact the project had on the city, it has stood the test of time as a highly successful park and node for the cities political, recreational and institutional activities. When examining the strengths and weaknesses of an idea or project from any field, it is important to compare and contrast it to its predecessors, contemporaries and successors in order to gauge which elements were deemed worthy of replication and therefore successful. In the case of the National Mall, it can be considered a predecessor to certain Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) Ideologies outlined in the Charter of Athens, the paramount modernist urban design document of 1943. During the crafting of CIAM’s Charter of Athens, it is possible the McMillan Commission’s redesign of Washington (and the National Mall, to a lesser extent) was reviewed simply due to the involvement of Burnham and Olmstead. However, it is the merits of the project, not the architects, which shine through the Charter. The CIAM standard of large green space is prominent in the Elm-lined promenade of the Mall; a defining characteristic, providing places of gathering

Figure 3 - (Above) Relationships between Points of Interest and connections to public space and transportation networks Figure 4 - (Right) Diagrams illustrate: A. Historical Monumnets of Great Importance B. Public Green Spaces C. Complexity of Plan2


had on the city during its inception, what it has accomplished throughout its existence, and how it has cemented itself as a triumphant swatch in the national fabric of the United States. NOTES

1 Michael Bednar, L’Enfant’s Legacy, (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2006), 7. 2 Nathan Glazer, From a Cause to a Style, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007), 117. 3 John W. Reps, Monumental Washington: The Planning and Development of the Capital Center, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1967), 20. 4 Ibid, 22. 5 G. Martin Moeller Jr. AIA: Guide to the Architecture of Washington, D.C., (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2006), 70. 6 Kirk Savage, Monument Wars, (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2009), 115. 7 Moeller Jr., opt. cit, 70. 8 Reps, opt. cit., 92. 9 Ibid., 22. 10 Ibid., 104. 11 Ibid., 144. 12 Moeller Jr. opt. cit., 71. 13 Ibid. 14 Glazer, Ibid., 118. FIGURES 1 Aerial Map: appropriated from 2 McMillan Plan: appropriated from mcmillan1.jpg 3 Versailles Plan: approprated from http://dcsymbols. com/1901plan/versailles_1866.jpg 4 l’Enfant Plan: appropriated from edu/cct/sites/cct/files/images/cct_summer12_page_053_lowres.publication%20 huge.jpg

and recreation in Washington. In addition, the preservation of historical monuments of great importance is relevant in the urban framework. Surrounding the park, architectural forms of note (Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the Capitol connected through unobstructed views) underscore the projects cultural impact on the city and have provided a venue for iconic moments, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s March for the Freedom and Right of Workers (1963) or the Inauguration of Barack Obama (2009).14 This highlights not only the importance of the architecture but its location and function in the socio-cultural context of the city. By examining the project, the associates of CIAM were possibly able to distill its essence and determine these two factors were instrumental in its success. Given that the design was conceived many years before the Charter of Athens, principle negation will be inevitable. Primarily, the aesthetically focused design of the project driven by the architects wish to establish civic virtue through almost purely monumental

architecture. This is in direct conflict with the expected use of data in the development of purely functional forms prosed by CIAM. This is in no means a detriment to the project as it completely achieves the goals in which it was constructed to meet; the ornamentation, strong attention to detail, and large concentration of American landmarks add to its perception as a symbol of the United States, while the functional by-products included but not limited to places for recreation, strong transportation networks, remain evident. The most prevalent conclusion which can be made is that The National Mall in Washington, D.C. could best be identified as a microcosm of idyllic Americana, showcasing the prosperity and vitality of the United States. The design of this park and social centre is able to achieve a universal sensibility, borrowing from and providing significant influential aspects to renowned urban projects in a global context (á la the Garden of Versailles or Athens Charter). As discussed, it is important not to take this for granted and acknowledge the impact the project





ALLEYWAYS TO AVENUES ANUSHA RAMESH This essay will focus on the McMillan plan of 1901 that was implemented to modernize the monumental core of Washington D.C. Originally the plan was designed by L’Enfant in which inspiration came from the Beaux Arts theme dominant in Europe. Symmetry, alignment and radial avenues form the basis of the design. Envisioned from the ideals of the City Beautiful Movement and as a response to the need for a new representation of the country, Washington D.C. became a beautiful and powerful icon in the United States. Till today, it holds the nation’s most magnificent and stately buildings and monuments; the Capitol, the White House, Lincoln Memorial and many more. The plan was intended to be a model for American planning and had to surpass expectations as it was the new capital of the nation. But, with this envisioned grandeur of a ceremonial space, several properties, slums and railways had to be removed and repositioned. This essay focuses on the means by which the grim alley ways of the slums of Washington now represent large avenues. A transition thought to be seamless and efficient, ignored the issues of social context resulting in poor city planning.Therefore, the essay will initially deal with the design of the plan, and then further dwell into the transformation and placement of the Beaux-Arts styled plan over time; the influence of the early CIAM period with the City Beautiful Movement and finally, to the rehabilitation of the slums in the city.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Washington D.C., the capital city of the United States of America, is situated within the District of Columbia. Between the years 1783 and 1789, the boundaries of the city were planned with the Potomac River on the South, East and West sides and with the inclusion of Alexandria and Georgetown. These considerations were made due to the economic significance the river and the two port towns had on the city. This being the first planning motive for Washington D.C., by the first president, George Washington, it set the limits of the city to two to three miles square.1 It was also his decision to appoint Pierre Charles L’Enfant, to design a grand scheme for the planning of the capital city. In 1790, President Washington decided to expand the city to include a portion of the Potomac River through land reclamation, extending the area by about ten miles square, which was the maximum allowable distance by the Constitution.2 One year later, Pierre Charles L’Enfant proposed a new planning strategy to beautify Washington D.C, the capital of the United States of America.3 The plan encompassed a beauxarts scheme of radial avenues with several public buildings marked as symbolic elements in the plan. L’Enfant, a military engineer and an artist by profession envisioned one of the greatest planning ideologies of all time. And, it was his vision to create a grand statement for the capital city by placing monuments and public buildings within wide avenues and large green spaces. The scale and complexity of his plan influenced the future planning decisions made for Washington D.C. and it proved to embody a sense of timelessness. The year of 1791 was also the time of political revolution in the 36

United States and Europe; and during this era, political stature became a predominant factor in designing a plan for the capital. However, towards the latter half of the eighteenth century there was a growing importance in rational thinking as a significant design ideology. As a result, the architecture of that period reflected a neoclassical style where rationality met with artistic expression. The plan by L’Enfant is said to derive from many of these principles and looks fairly similar to the map of Versailles; it dominantly represents a Baroque theme with several classical architectural styles influencing it as well. Mathematics played an influential role in determining the sizes, shapes and spacing of elements in the plan. By 1791, neoclassic style of architecture represented an order, beauty and purity that had not been seen before. The L’Enfant plan as shown beside is a carefully conceptualised scheme that included widely spaced avenues to create a physical and visual connection between the public buildings, large public squares that accessorized the spaces between the buildings and finally the creation of a composite system of boulevards that were positioned according to a radial system.4 L’Enfant envisioned the plan with the idea of a plain and empty canvas to exhibit his work since the city then, had a relatively low population density. He considered the natural environment and site boundaries which left him with unimaginable possibilities. Historically, the District of Columbia was initially used for agricultural purposes and was divided into plantations amongst privately owned properties.5 But, in the late eighteenth century, the idea of urbanization was strong and had taken shape in the minds of the citizens. It put





Figure 1 - (Top) Division of Washington into four quadrants Figure 2 - (Bottom) Current plan of the city showing the latin cross orientation and radially aligned avenues

PRE-CIAM forward the notion of a new city, which would result in economic and political improvements and this driving force took over the expanse of the plantations and towns. By 1930, Washington D.C. had emerged as the capital city with 500,000 citizens and remained aloof from its colonial roots.6 However, the L’Enfant plan was not implemented until the idea re-emerged postCivil War in the late nineteenth century. Two factors led to re envisioning of Washington D.C.; the need for a new representative city for the nation and the introduction of the City Beautiful Movement by the American Institute of Architects during the Colombian World Exposition in 1893. During the exposition, a powerful vision of a ‘City Beautiful’ was introduced, a city that was to be constructed out of comprehensive planning strategies proving to hold a more positive appearance with a greater socially and economically potential. This movement was essential in convincing the American population that the City Beautiful ideology will re model the city as being more economically viable while making a city a comfortable climate for its citizens as well. The movement comprised of five strategies that would be harmoniously combined to change the view of the city from ordinary to beautiful: (1) the addition of a civic centre to promote political and cultural interactions,(2) the introduction of a railway station that would connect the inner city to the outer settlements where connection was key to ensuring the city functioned economically, (3) the creation of large processional boulevards to promote public involvement and increase summer tourism, (4) an outer park system and (5) the addition of

several public playgrounds.7 It was a first of a kind urban movement that improved the flawed conditions of the industrialised and congested city and presented a beautification process involving the careful construction of artificial and natural forms. However, the transformation of planning principles was not the only change seen from the 1791 map to its reinterpretation in 1901 and eventually to its re-entry in 1997. Over the period of two centuries; the city had changed completely from the natural sparsely inhabited area to a congested unsanitary city of slums. The influence of the Potomac River as a transportation system for goods brought in several immigrants and workers as well creating a surge in the population growth of the city. Since the city had grown to accommodate housing as well as markets, it represented a strong dynamic entity. Therefore, the planning had to call for several measures to redevelop the city far from what was envisioned in the past. Washington D.C. was to be the capital of the nation, and not the slum dwelling city it was then. The southwest of Washington was a highly dense developed area consisting of these slums; this was completely erased to provide for grand avenues and large public parks with monumental postings to mark the important events or political figures from the history of the United States. What we see today, does not suggest any of the past developments that were prevalent around the stately buildings and monuments. After the civil war, Washington D.C. faced issues of housing shortage like most American cities. The housing shortage led to

the construction of small dwellings built in the alleyways between the city blocks resulting in a largely congested land use system.8 There was no zoning system in place during the late 19th century and the placement of these housing units grew in number. The houses and shelters were of a permanent nature and grew in the form of colonies. The map shows the wards present in 1877 where several of the slums were known for their notorious crimes. However, these were built according to space, convenience and requirement, and not for luxury in any sense of the term. They were the means and ends for most of the families that lived there; yet for the sake of beautification, all these houses were removed and rehabilitated to different places mostly situated on the outer boundaries of the city, all in a very short period of time.9 Although it is clear that Washington D.C. is characterised by its social and political context, much of the results of the socio and political realm have not been analysed to understand the consequences of the City Beautiful scheme that was placed. The impacts of the decisions were not predominantly according to the context but were mostly involved in solving issues of economic efficiency leaving several pressing social and cultural issues for the city to solve later. The development had its fall-outs: 82% of the families that had lived in the slum conditions for more than ten years were forcibly relocated.10 Over the years, several consequences of the City Beautiful plan have been noticed, which questions its effectiveness in the social realm. First, in 1914, a bill was passed phasing out all alley dwellings within a ten year period, it motioned that the inhabitants were to be relocated and put the need for new low cost 37

URBAN SCALE DESIGN housing in place. Fifteen years later, John Ihdler tallied an approximate of two hundred and fifty inhabited alleys in the city of Washington; the people still inhabited the alleys.11 Since they were the servants’ quarters for those who worked for the houses that were positioned on the lots with frontage on the streets, the removal of the families that lived there would require a redirection of employment opportunities and basic community necessities. But, at that time, the redevelopment was only concentrated on moving the poor population out and bringing grand avenues in. Second, the Redevelopment Act of 1945 provisioned for properties to be cleared to make way for the new city plan, thereby rehabilitating the poor to the outer boundary of the city. Further, the Act stated the limits of redevelopment which were classified according to re planning, clearance, redesign and the rebuilding of housing projects.12 Third, in 1948, the Baltimore Plan stated that rundown housing was a direct result of improper land use planning and building codes.13 Finally, the city was ‘beautified’ and was rid of evident issues in 1977 when the plan of large boulevards and public parks marked the ways while residents of the alleyways made adjustments in their new settlements out of the city core. Currently, more than one fourth of the population live in public housing units that border the new developments on the South West of the city. These housing units were built to accommodate the rehabilitated families of the slums from the south west region and they continue to be categorised as low income housing even though there are no prominent grimy alleyways in Washington D.C. today. The belief that an improved city would 38

automatically result in an improved citizen with City Beautiful Movement as a remedy for the social fabric that existed was considered the rational way to continue the planning of the city. Although the movement was a strong metaphor of hope, it dealt with creating an economically vital city while ignoring the issues of poverty and disease. The movement ultimately exposed urban America as a center of technological, cultural and economic progress.14 The city beautiful movement did not set out to solve the endemic issues of poverty, health or racism but instead masked it under a large blanket of parks and grand white stone buildings. It was just a representation of order, purity and cleanliness, all that America was asking for after World War two. It was the result of the need for a heightened economic efficiency of the state and a stately representation of the nation. The plan was also a response to the old federal core of Washington and was not intended to resolve the new urban issues prevalent today.15 America was not ready to settle for any less, the people living in the slums were rehabilitated and new low income housing systems were placed along the urban rim of the plan. The city before the people was the motto and it did in fact, prove to be a great economic and political potential to the country. The planning of the new city was based on implementing new construction on open land16; this led planners to believe that the slate was clean and the introduction of a positive climate would rid of the negative externalities present within the city. Urban design was no longer simply based on beauty; the quest for an ideal city had begun. It was hoped that ‘’the city would aim at making better citizens’’.17



FIFTH WARD Potomac River




Figure 3 - D.C. Neighbourhoods in 1877 representing the several wards which were areas of high density and low income housing

PRE-CIAM NOTES 1.Gutheim, Frederick. “Worthy of the Nation”, (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1977): 215 2.Ibid., 14 3.“The 1901 Plan for Washington D.C.”, accessed on October 18, 2012, 4.Gutheim, Frederick. “Worthy of the Nation”, (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1977): 3 5.Ibid., 15 6.Ibid., 16 7.“From Sea to Shining Sea: Planning the American Landscape as if Place Matter”, accessed on October 20, 2012, http://wesscholar.wesleyan. edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1045&context=etd_hon_theses: 51 8.“Sanborn Maps”, accessed on October 22,2012, http://www. : 32 9.Thursz, Daniel. “Where are they now?”, (Washington: 1966): 19-20 10.Ibid., 10 11.Gutheim, Frederick. “Worthy of the Nation”, (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1977): 243 12.Ibid. 13.Trombulak, From Sea to…, 12 14. “The McMillan Senate Park Commission”, accessed on October 22, 2012, pdf : 2-3 15.Gutheim, Frederick. “Worthy of the Nation”, (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1977): 243 16.Gutheim, Frederick. “Worthy of the Nation”, (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1977): 3 1.Sage Emily Elizabeth Trombulak, 2008. From Sea to Shining Sea: Planning the American Landscape as if Place Matter. Honors thesis, Wesleyan University. Connecticut: viewcontent.cgi?article=1045&context=etd_hon_theses. [accessed on 20 October 2012] 2.Weller, Charles Frederick, 1909. Neglected neighbors :stories of life in the alleys, tenements and shanties of the national capital. Collection Development Department, Widener Library, HCL, Harvard University. Philadelphia. Link: [accessed on 22 October 2012] 3.Nelson Rimensnyder, 1976. The McMillan Senate Park Commission: A Historical Overview. Committee On The District Of Colombia: House of Representatives. Washington D.C. mcmillan_pdfs/mcmillan_nelson.pdf [accessed on 22 October 2012] 4.FilarWilliams, Beth. “Benefits of Using Sanborn Maps for Exploring Histories and Places.” share powerpoint presentations. http://www. (accessed October 22, 2012). 5.Gutheim, Frederick Albert. Worthy of the nation: the history of planning for the national capital. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1977. 6.Moore, Charles. The improvement of the park system of the District of Columbia I. Report of the Senate Committee on the District of Columbia -- II. Report of the Park Commission. Washington: G.P.O., 1902. (accessed on 17 October 2012) 7.Neighborhood Renewal - Reinvestment and Displacement In D.C. Washington: United States Commission on Civil Rights, 1981. 8.“THE NATIONAL MALL - THIRD CENTURY INITIATIVE ABOUT THE MALL.” THE NATIONAL MALL 3RD CENTURY INITIATIVE. (accessed October 24, 2012). 9.“The 1901 Plan for Washington D.C.” American Studies at The University of Virginia. (accessed October 18, 2012). 10.“The L’Enfant and McMillian Plans.” U.S. National Park Service - Experience Your America. htm (accessed October 22, 2012). 11.Thursz, Daniel. Where are they now? A study of the impact of relocation on former residents of southwest Washington, who were served in an HWC demonstration project.. Washington: Health and Welfare Council of the National Capital Area, 1966. 12.Paul V. Galvin Library . “World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 .” World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 . (accessed October 22, 2012). 13.Bender, Kimberly. “Meet me down in Pipetown: DC’s neighborhoods in 1877 - Greater Greater Washington.” Greater Greater Washington. October 25, 2012). FIGURES 1: Aerial Map: appropriated from 2: Aerial Map: appropriated from 3: Map appropriated from : Bender, Kimberly. “Meet me down in Pipetown: DC’s neighborhoods in 1877 - Greater Greater Washington.” Greater Greater Washington. (accessed October 25, 2012).





LETCHWORTH: RETHINKING THE CITY CHRISTOPHER MCINTOSH Letchworth Garden City, recognized as the first Garden City actually built, evolved due to the works of Ebenezer Howard. Letchworth, was constructed in the United Kingdom and conceived with notions of various physical, social, political and cultural context during the time prior to the International Congresses of Modern Architecture; CIAM period. Ebenezer Howard was a self-educated individual who had one of the most important visions for urbanism. The architects of the project were Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin, who created the master plan of Letchworth. The layout established in 1903 followed Howard’s theoretical design intentions for land use of new communities. The zoning of land according to its use was implemented at a time where no town planning approval legislation existed in Great Britain, with the result of industrialism leading to inadequate city living conditions. An objective will be to establish the Garden City as an influential moment in time with regards to urban planning and environmental standards of the twentieth century. In addition, this paper will acknowledge how the Garden City Movement benefited the people, and the environment through a look at Letchworth as the initial prototype. Thus, Letchworth Garden City will be considered through its site selection, design principles, and town-planning scheme in light of the project being considered appropriate. Although there are no common grounds to what exactly is appropriate, the design values of Letchworth serve as an indication in defining the first Garden City as an appropriate architectural project that would ultimately follow similar principles in the later developed CIAM and Athens Charter.



Letchworth Garden City Oxford 95 km

Welwyn Garden City 25 km

London 60 km “If Garden City stands for anything it surely stands for this: a decent home and garden for every family…This is the irreducible minimum… A beautiful home in a beautiful garden and a beautiful city for all.” 1 Garden City The concept of the Garden City can be defined as both the means of ‘a city in a garden’ and ‘a city of gardens,’ adopted and defined by Ebenezer Howard himself.2 Garden Cities were built to relocate working class people through the designation of a town with healthy living standards. This creation of a functional city is a major component throughout the CIAM meetings from 1928 to 1960.3 Although, this functional city differs dramatically from the central figure of CIAM, Le Corbusier and his passionate advocacy of a high density city, it is similar with respect to improving living conditions. Ultimately, the vision for Letchworth was conceived as a city with a low-density environment through landscape gardening. Howard explored America and brought his experiences back home in the hope of improving Britain’s methods. In 1904, 42

the foundation of Letchworth was laid out, initiated in response to Howard’s formation of the Garden City Association in 1899.4 The need for the Garden City approach to urban planning globally was thus awakened, cementing the architectural project as appropriate through its site selection, design principles and town planning. A comparison of Letchworth with the second Garden City in 1920, Welwyn, will identify similar principles.5 The relationship of both these cities are shown in Figure 1. The cities embodied Howard’s ideals, and were primarily manufacturing towns, employing the majority of inhabitants. Garden Cities were intended as experiments in redeveloping great cities as groups of beautiful towns on a background of open country, where the overlaid map above illustrates the identical major connections of 1903 to the present. Interestingly, Howard’s Garden City built form lacked detail, leaving the interpretation open. Ultimately, the first two Garden Cities are considered successful working models and are of great importance to

Figure 1 - (Top Left) Aerial View of Surroundings Figure 2 - (Top Right) Overlay Of Revised Letchworth Plan, 1906


Radial Axes Town GN Railway

Figure 3 - (Top) Original Official Letchworth Plan, 1903

the appropriateness of planning. Site Selection Intentions for development of a town based on Howard’s principles preceded the notion for a viable site. In 1902, a pioneer group set about analyzing potential sites, culminating to the preferred site of the Letchworth Estate in Hertfordshire, a stretch of un-built land, 35 miles from King’s Cross Station, London on the branch of the G.N. Railway.6 The purchase negotiations of 3,918 acres of land, in addition to more land at a later date, culminated to a total size of 4,574 acres.7 Clearly, there was a risk assessed in purchasing a sufficient amount of land, where surveys were undergone to make sure the intended area was suitable, in terms of locating utilities within the built environment. Overall, the construction of the town was a result of enterprise and people who believed in the idea working against public indifference, although, the adaptation to an actual site presented a series of problems. Thus, the choice of site was influenced and determined by the chance of a large area of suitable land being purchasable at one time. This is contradictory to CIAM and the Athens Charter’s consideration of occupying the best site. Design Principles Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker, who were unknown at the time, submitted a plan layout of Letchworth and were awarded with the commission, becoming the consultant architects to the First Garden City Limited after an open invitation. The official plan was publicly unveiled in London’s Grafton galleries.8 It was understood that the high standard desired would

be met with simplistic buildings and materials, designed for their purposes with no useless ornamentation. Unwin focused primarily on the facades, and picturesque gables implicating no architectural cohesion. Therefore, a potential failure of Letchworth is the lack of architectural character and inconsistency. In addition, there were no formations of focal points due to the fact that large buildings were not permitted. Ultimately, similar design principles that urbanism must fulfill between this architectural project and ideas presented within CIAM include a focus on; dwelling, work, recreation, transportation, and the longevity of the project.9 The Official Plan, shown in Figure 3, was an exercise in formal geometries with articulation of major and minor axes fitting the topography.10 The centrally located town square, radiates a web of minor axes providing vistas throughout. The architects were partially influenced by Christopher Wren’s London Plan after the Great Fire in 1666, resembling similar central areas. In addition, acknowledging Camillo Sitte’s City Planning Principles of 1889, strengthened the emerging townscape potential.11 The formal civic design approach by Unwin and Parker created a visual climax with the town-square, civic and religious buildings. Residential areas were represented through houses designed within the Arts and Crafts aesthetic, including tree lined streets forming a visual unity.12 In 1907, Letchworth was developing into a significant industrial area, and while initial housing demand was met, low-cost housing remained a constant necessity. This housing need was met with the standardization of cottages, which would 43

URBAN SCALE DESIGN eventually become one of the leading typologies of the future town.13 The simple design of cottages was an attractive yet inexpensive means of dwelling, setting a prime example worldwide. Unwin continued to modify, and adapt the master plan until 1914 when he officially resigned, upon terminating the partnership with Parker, leaving to the Hampstead Garden suburb. Context The physical context of the overall plan of Letchworth resembles a group of connected villages around a civic centre with the factory zone on the periphery connected through various means of transportation links, predominantly the G.N. Railway. Each village or neighbourhood has its own minor centre following Howard’s idea of self-contained wards eventually becoming an important town-planning concept and encapsulated the movement, shown in the general to specific analytical diagrams above. Since most of the neighbourhoods were manufacturing towns the social composition consisted of half the working population in factories while the remaining were employed in retail. This social atmosphere population of 35,000 people in conjunction with cultural context revealed the Garden City as an effective approach in enticing the best of both worlds to take part in a quality life of local cultural art and entertainment.14 Unwin and Parker were able to integrate the social and technical factors in the art of town development. The importance of the industry is often overlooked with large contributions to the war. In terms of the economy, land was of public ownership or 44

held in trust for the community creating a town for the benefit of all inhabitants. Thus, the rights of the shareholders were limited to a maximum of a five percent dividend.15 The centralization of public planning and schools established the importance of political figures within society. The social world was completely redeveloped with a range of facilities for a social life, while a class structure was implemented integrating the surrounding environment to ensure sustainable interactions. Old neighbourhoods of working class slums were redeveloped creating a class cleansing throughout the area and integrating middle and lower classes, indicating a definite improvement to site conditions in terms of the land use and density designation, which applies to the Athens Charter. Town Planning Regulations At this point in time, the idea of town planning was unknown, only being considered a Utopian dream. The early days of Letchworth was in essence the search for a new way of life; a revolt against conventionality. Unwin and Parker’s overall plan was a recognizable

Figure 4 - (Top Left) Garden City with Neighbourhood Scheme; Pixmore Hill,1907 Figure 5 - (Top Right) Ebenezer Howard’s Three Magnets Diagram


advancement in town layout, especially considering their limited experience with largescale development. The arrangement of Letchworth consists of zoning residential districts, commercial and industrial developments, with an agricultural belt, while accommodating the population with affordable housing. The fact of grouping industries within a strategic industrial zone demonstrates the beneficial aspects.16 In addition, the emphasis on a harmonious relationship of the site with nature was crucial. The aforementioned land use depicts similar strategies used in CIAM, in terms of locating industrial zones close to residential and buffering them with parks, or in this case entire agricultural belts. The beneficial aspects of both the town and country were balanced together originally demonstrated through Howard’s Three Magnets diagram, located above, asking the question where will the people go? Although, there was no legal zoning practices with regards to Britain urban planning at this time, Unwin connected aesthetic and constructional factors that were

evident in wanting to create regulations.17 Thus, Building Regulations were established in 1905 which included building area standards, building lines, boundary treatment and materials.18 The introduction of maximum building sizes allowed was to ensure that large buildings would not be erected. The provisions were framed on top of these requirements; not more than one sixth of the site should be covered by buildings, and various sizing of houses per acre allowed base on the price and total size.19 The allotment of land use was remarkable with the amount of open green space occupying over half of the town. Conclusion The appropriateness of the design values of Letchworth depicted in relation to the overall context, provides a living standard for its residents and a solution to the harsh urban landscape typical of a nineteenth century city. Ultimately, Letchworth redefined what a city is and provided tangible evidence that the Garden City movement could achieve its original purpose, illustrating the validity of the project as a whole in the development of modern planning theory practice throughout history. Presently, Letchworth remains a fulfillment of Howard’s ideas with diverse and innovative industries and local employment, spirited community life, houses with gardens and large green spaces, demonstrating the similar design principles presented within CIAM and the Athens Charter.20 Overall, the Garden City became an important stimulus in informing the most advanced regional planning schemes worldwide and therefore is appropriate in relationship to the past, present,

NOTES 1. Unwin, Raymond. Cooperation in Building, The Architects’ Magazine. June 1906, 111. 2. Osborn, Frederic J. Green-belt cities. New ed. New York: Schocken Books, 1969, 167. 3. Jordan, R. Furneaux. Le Corbusier. New York: L. Hill, 1972, 54. 4. Howard, Ebenezer, and Peter Geoffrey Hall. To-morrow: a Peaceful Path to Real Reform. London: Routledge, 2009, 1. 5. Clark, Brett. Ebenezer Howard and The Marriage of Town and Country, Organization and Environment, Vol. 16 No. 1. 2003, 95. 6. Osborn. Green-belt, 56. 7. Ibid., 56. 8. Miller, Mervyn. Raymond Unwin: Garden Cities and Town Planning. England: Leicester University Press, 1992, 54. 9. Le Corbusier, The Athens Charter. Grossman Publishers, New York, 1973, 7. 10. Miller. Raymon Unwin, 55. 11. Sitte, Camillo. City Planning According to Artistic Principles. Phaidon, England.1965, 60. 12. Miller. Raymon Unwin, 73. 13. Ibid., 74. 14. Morris, Eleanor Smith. British Town Planning and Urban Design: Principles and Policies. Harlow, Essex, England: Longman, 1997, 51. 15. Morris. British, 51. 16. Ibid., 52. 17. Miller. Raymon Unwin, 60. 18. Ibid., 74. 19. Unwin, Raymond, and Walter Littlefield Creese. The Legacy of Raymond Unwin: A Human Pattern for Planning. With illustrations, including portraits. Pp. xii. 234. M.I.T. Press: Cambridge, Mass., & London, 1967, 125. 20. Morris. British, 51. FIGURES 1. Aerial Map: appropriated from 2. Aerial Map: appropriated from and Miller, Mervyn. Raymond Unwin: Garden Cities and Town Planning. England: Leicester University Press, 1992, 61. 3. Official Plan appropriated from: Ibid., 56. 4. Diagram appropriated from: Ibid., 73. 5. Diagram appropriated from: Howard, Ebenezer, and Peter Geoffrey Hall. To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform. London: Routledge, 2009, 23.





LETCHWORTH GARDEN CITY JASON VARANDAS “Nothing Gained by Overcrowding,” a statement made by Raymond Unwin towards a new concept of planning a city. The vision set out for a new form of city planning was to combine the best of both the country and the urban living conditions. This was a reaction towards the congestion and pollution of the Industrial Revolution in London. Ebenezer Howard created the idea of a garden city in 1898 to solve both the urban and rural problems. His idea finally molded into a reality in 1904 which became the birth of Letchworth, a live and work suburb. This essay will focus on Letchworth Garden City and the ideas implemented from Ebenezer Howard’s revolutionary vision of an enduring model for sustainable urbanisation. In addition, the research will further discuss and determine why the Garden City project would be deemed appropriate in relativeness to its time. The ideas of the garden city that were invested in Letchworth City would be further examined to understand how it led to the development of the Congres International d’Architecture Moderne(CIAM) and their implications of the resurrection of an urban city.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Ebenezer Howard, a social reformer, published his book in 1898 entitled, ‘Tomorrow a Peaceful Path to Real Reform’. In this book, he incorporated ideas and solutions to relieve congestion of the big city, London. Howard’s innovative idea at the time is what led the creation of garden cities1. Letchworth City in Britain is the world’s first Garden City, transforming the field of town planning across the globe in the nineteenth century. The architects, Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin, won the design competition that was held for Letchworth to best illustrate Howard’s ideas within a Master Plan6. The design principles of Letchworth shape and guide the physical, social, cultural, and political context that were considered appropriate values at the time. These design principles include decentralized urban living conditions, limit to city size, close town and country relationship, unified land ownership, and spacious layouts. As a result, Howard’s key ideas influenced modern city planning through the use of zoning, the importance of health, and the benefits of nature in the city1. These three foundations of modern city planning that were used in Letchworth are what led to the development and incorporations of CIAM in 1928 to redevelop the urban fabric. The physical context of Letchworth is principally designed to incorporate decentralization from the urban core and limitations to city population. The reason for Howard’s Town-Country relationship is because the country-sides were becoming depopulated, and the great cities were becoming overcrowded. Therefore, he concluded that in order to create a new and flourishing city, he needed to attract 48

people to the country-side while creating a town-like environment2. At this point in time the Industrial Revolution of London caused multiple illnesses where employees of corporations were dying because of living conditions. In addition, this forced industries to want to move away from the city core so that their employees will be well nourished and capable to work. As a result, Howard and the Garden City Association chose to develop Letchworth City 35 miles from London in order to accommodate the financial advantages of the industries that would attract the people to move into the Letchworth2. This city movement away from London created a decentralized population which, like a magnet, dragged people out of the overcrowded urban city to a metropolitan town. Thus, attracting people to live in Letchworth also lessened the crowded living conditions in London. In essence, the overcrowding conditions were due to that fact of chaotic fashion and no careful planning precautions. As a result, the purpose to achieve a less dense urban city was a solution that provided better health conditions for people. On the other hand, CIAM took a different approach to modern urban cities which established that high density is a must and that a solution towards living condition is through vertical levels of structure that provide different functions. The zoning issues within Letchworth Garden City consist of maximum allowance of density, and segregated areas, all in which refer to the pre-planning of the town framework. Ebenezer Howard`s vision for the maximum density allowance was to ensure not to repeat

Figure 1 (Top) - First iteration of Letchworth City Figure 2 (Bottom) - Emphasis on central town square with main wide axial road cutting across giving a clear direct view


Industrial Shopping Centres

Figure 3 - Final Plan of Letchworth City

Villages Green Belt

the same incident that happened in London. Therefore, the green belt is to hold a maximum population of 32,000 people within the city of Letchworth3. In addition, after the maximum population density has been accounted for, then it would be time to establish another city a short distance away separated by another green belt1. It also implicated the social and economic benefactor through healthy living conditions and a self-sustaining community. Within the city, the primary plan that Unwin establishes uses central planning along with an axial road that splits the town as shown in figure 1. The city is much like the planning of Paris, where essentially at the center is an open space park with retail and civic buildings around it followed by roads radiating from the center. Also, the main axial road cuts directly down the middle of the city providing a view of the main attraction. In the official plan of Letchworth it can be seen that the central axis is no longer used as situated in Paris, but still uses the concept of central city planning. Therefore, in the center of the town is open public recreational and retail space with the railway line, which was put into place much later, to connect the center of Letchworth with the center of London. Furthermore, the industrial workplaces are situated along the axis of the railway line with residential areas surrounding these two functions. Open greenery areas dispersed throughout and around the city to provide the country like feeling of the town. In comparison, CIAM follows the exact same guidelines of central planning, where at the center should be the hub of the city that provides open recreational spaces and connects all

transit paths. CIAM also takes into account that the urban fabric should include plenty of open green spaces for people. The only difference between the two in this scenario is that CIAM evolves their interpretation of the urban city and uses a three dimensional model to incorporate the sense of verticality for different functions. Otherwise, Garden City ideas become further developed over time, as CIAM continues to use the central city planning but also incorporating the use of vertical levels for different functions to prevent overcrowding and healthier living conditions. The social and cultural context of Letchworth provides livable areas for all social classes within a limited city size. Limiting the size of Letchworth city not only controlled the density of people, but also improved living conditions through health and amenities. The social context of the city shares a big relationship with the health conditions that differentiates London from Letchworth. Howard’s idea of Letchworth was mainly conceived because of the terrible health conditions that were evident in London. The realisation was that the heavily dense population of London that continued to grow in the time of the Industrial Revolution is what caused the illnesses and deaths of the people. Therefore, the turnaround approach of Letchworth provides the people with a more suburban scale of living. The decreased density of Letchworth along with its connection to nature offers people fresh air and open spaces with very minimal congestion. The improved housing condition also plays a factor of the reason as to why health conditions are superior 49

URBAN SCALE DESIGN in Letchworth. In the early 1900s the general idea was to fixate on creating a completely new city with a different environment to solve problems in the past without actually resolving them from where they originated. This became a result to the garden cities, where Ebenezer Howard only looked forward to creating a new city that would resolve all the problems of the old city, as opposed to creating a solution for the old city with all the problems. As the world has evolved, CIAM proposed a different solution than Howard whereas they decided to work within the high dense urban fabric and resolve the issues of living and health conditions. The Zoning regulation for residential development in Letchworth provides twelve houses per acre lot, changing the culture of cities by creating superblocks of housing separated by streets, walkways, or open green spaces. Furthermore, the housing blocks are divorced from the street which provides people with much more private spaces and allows for the interactive pedestrian paths that separate people from cars. As a result, the divorced housing from streets presents an essential opportunity of interaction along the pedestrian paths. The paths not only create a service for social interaction but also enforce change in the cultural environment of cities to offer a means of separation between path and streets for the safety of the people. In addition, Letchworth offers a highly attractive environment with public buildings and open spaces. The pre-planned city supports the convenience of the middle class workers where they are within walking distance to work, countryside, and facilities. The 50

social aspect of this type of convenience allows workers to now also have leisure time apposed to working around the clock in the inner city of London. The appropriateness of this concept within this time is the absolute opposite to that of the of London, where Letchworth combines both the aspects of the town and country which resolve the issue of overcrowding areas with a profound long lasting groundwork within the nineteenth century. As a result, CIAM further developed the ideas of the garden cities and also continued the notion of buildings in a park, where housing is divorced from streets and the use of superblocks. The only difference that CIAM proposes is in the physicality of the city where density is a need and achieved through the use of vertical layering of streets, paths, housing, and workplaces. In the political sense, Ebenezer Howard would not have been able to make his theories become a reality if it were not for the wealthy shareholders that believed in his vision towards a better city7. These shareholders made Howard’s vision possible, by purchasing the

Figure 4 - (Above) Houses divorced from the street, providing more private front yards Figure 5 - (Below) Separated pedestrian paths from streets to encourage social interaction and enforce safety

PRE-CIAM land in which the first garden city would be located7. Many companies moved to Letchworth Garden City because they were attracted to the environment and housing, which provided a better life for their workers6. Furthermore, industries purchased land and constructed houses in Letchworth so that their employees would have a place to live. The majority of the people attracted to the city consisted of those that were already part of the companies that moved there and those who were looking for a more relaxed lifestyle. Howard proposed a new method of raising revenue that would pay back the investors who paid for the construction of houses. Therefore people did not own their houses, they were merely provided as dwelling units to inhabit. This collective ownership captured and enhanced land value to fund the rich public realm. In this scenario the investors are treated as part of a governmental system of the city where they have the choice to build or replenish it. On the other hand, this method could have had a negative impact on the distribution of wealth but people accepted the terms of the leases of their dwellings because it provided them with a comfortable structured realm of living conditions in contrast to the way they were living in London. Therefore, this community structure survived because people were comfortable with this lifestyle and the company’s continued to maintain economic prosperity. In today’s society the ideas of Letchworth Garden City are still alive but have been developed over time and are now much more considered as a suburb rather than a city.

As a response to the physical decay and social inequities of industrial cities, Ebenezer Howard introduced his revolutionary ideas at the time of a new self-sustaining city that was situated in a rural environment. He came to a conclusion that density and the lack of city planning was the problem towards many industrial cities, such as London. Therefore, Howard introduced Letchworth, the very first Garden City which incorporated all the positive aspects of both the urban and rural environments. The design principles were fundamental in the development of Letchworth City which shape the physical, social, cultural, and political context that were deemed appropriate during the 1900’s. In particular the decentralization and city limit solves the issue pertaining to London’s overcrowding bad living and health conditions, although his method was a form of new development opposed to applying his ideas to the old city to make their conditions better. Another principle that Letchworth provides is a social and cultural condition that allows diverse social class to live in the city and use the different means of cultural environment then what they are used to in the old city. Furthermore, the central land ownership offers the investors with a sense of community ownership of the city and has the power to fund the rich public realm. The revolutionary idea of Ebenezer Howard used in the experimental Letchworth City is was a model of what led to future development around the world of what was transformed from a city to a suburb.

NOTES 1. Lewis Memford, The Garden City Idea and Modern Planning (New York: Routledge, 2007), 43-53 2. Dugald MacFadyen, Sir Ebenezer Howard and the Town Planning Move ment (Great Britain: Manches-ter University Press, 1970), 6387 3. Stanley Buder, Visionaries and Planners: The Garden City Movement and the Community (North Carolina: Oxford University Press, 1990), 119 4. Brett Clark, Ebenezer Howard and the Marriage of Town and Country: An Introduction to Howard’s Garden Cities of To-morrow (2003), 8797 5. Ruth, E. K. (1998). Garden cities. Planning, 64(6), 4-9. Retrieved from com/docview/206712471?accountid=13631 6. “History of Letchworth Garden City,” Heri-tage Foundation Letchworth Garden City, accessed October 24, 2012, http://www. gardencitymuseum. org/ about_us/history_letchworth_gc 7. Martha James, “Letchworth – The First Garden City”, accessed October 24, 2012, 8. “Nothing Gained by Overcrowding”, TCPA, accessed October 26, 2012, 9. “Planned Communities, Part 1:Garden Cities”, University of Maryland, last modified August 12, 2011, 10. Chris Gossop, “From Garden Cities to New Towns”, accessed October 10, 2012, FIGURES 1, First iteration of Letchworth City: appropriated from http://www. 2, Final plan of Letchworth City: appropriated from http:// 3, Images of Letchworth City: appropriated from http://www.





ST. LOUIS WORLD FAIR CARMEN NIETO The Louisiana Purchase Exposition also known as the St. Louis World’s Fair took place in 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States. It was to celebrate the purchase of the Louisiana territory from France. George Kessler, an architect and city planner designed the master plan and architect, Emmauel Louis Masqueray was the chief of design. The exposition focused on trade and agriculture and was a place where the newest technological advancements from around the world were showcased. The temporary palaces were designed by numerous architects but all in a neoclassical style. What was significant about this project was that it was designed as part of the City Beautiful Movement. The movement promoted visually appealing, “beautiful” buildings not only for its own sake but for the betterment of the community. The idea was that beautiful buildings would increase the quality of life by promoting harmonious social order. It would affect the way a citizen related to society. The importance in that is it would help people understand their responsibilities of being a member of a community. This paper explores the achievements of the St. Louis World Fair in relation to the City Beautiful Movement. In addition it looks into the impact that the St. Louis World Fair had not only in St. Louis but in the world and possibly today.



The St. Louis World Fair took place in 1904 in St. Louis Missouri. It is also known as the “Louisiana Purchase Exposition in celebration of the hundredth year anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase” 1 which was when the U.S. purchased the Louisiana territory was purchased from France. The St. Louis World fair was essentially a large public exhibition which showcased the most prominent ideas of the time such as trade, agriculture and technological advancements. It was a place focused on sharing knowledge and educating. The St. Louis World Fair was appropriate at the time because it worked within its existing landscape, fit within the physical, socio-economic, political and cultural context and continues to still be appropriate today due to its impact on urban planning and cities. The main person responsible for the design of the St. Louis World Fair master plan was George Kessler. He not only was a city planner but a landscape architect. He was inherently concerned and interested in the relationship between the natural environment and the city. His understanding of nature 54

allowed him to think outside of the city being only a dark, closed-in place, centered around man and technology. The site chosen for the World Fair consisted of “1275 acres on the Western half of 2 Forrest Park” in St. Louis. This park was fairly new, only acquired in 1874, yet was already a lively hub of activity, well liked and highly utilized. The chosen site allowed the preservation of some of the park functions which had made it such a popular place in the first place, as well as the connection of the park with the existing city environment. When laying out the St. Louis World Fair, George Kessler utilized a combination of 3 different city grid layouts. The first is a “radial grid pattern similar to the grid system used in Paris, France.” 3 This grid pattern is located in the Fair’s main areas. It houses the more dominant and larger pavilions that dealt with major advancements in technology and industry such as the electricity and machinery and manufactures pavillion The second grid observed in the plans is an orthogonal grid,

Figure 1 - Map of St. Louis, 1912


Figure 2 - Map of the St. Louis World Fair highlighting the 3 different visible grids

which is very typical of American cities. This grid is located along the Northern edge of the site and provided a framework for locating the smaller pavilions in an organized manner. The third grid that can be seen in Kessler’s plan is not so much of a grid but more of a curvilinear layout of the streets and paths. This system is located in areas of the fair that either pertain to nature and the environment, such as the pavilion of horticulture or are actually located in lands that are designated parkland. The layout of this specific grid reinforces the sense of the natural, raw environment. Kessler’s choice of a variety of grids for the St. Louis World Fair demonstrates his awareness of how a city must contain appropriate grids or layouts that relate to its surrounding context and or function. Throughout the fair, certain elements were consistently used in sculptures and structures. “Each was different in design, yet each conformed to certain standard in order to create pleasing effects as well as to establish safety.” 4 For instance structures, such as pavilions, were designed in a neo-classical style, had the same colours and material, had to conform to a specified height restriction and needed to contain operable windows and entrances on all sides. Although very different architects designed the various structures, they all conformed to these master guidelines set by the planners and organizers of the fair. A similar set of consistent guidelines was followed for the sculptures. There was a staggering amount of them yet they were all fairly consistent. The sculptures were placed throughout the land for the fair to complement its design and also

to educate the public of past historic events. What is remarkable about the design of the fair is that in spite of the variety of layouts for the paths, streets and structures they are all quite consistent with each other, bringing a sense of unity to the fair. Moreover, the grid layouts and placement of structures and sculpture works well with the natural topography and actually enhances the natural beauty of the park. The design of the expo was very respectful of the park, to the point that it seems as if the design was dependent on the natural environment. The St. Louis World Fair not only fit well within the existing physical landscape of Forrest Park, but also responded to the physical, social economic, political and cultural context of the time back in the early 1900s. Thus the surrounding context helps to explain how the St. Louis World Fair was developed and designed the way it was. The physical context of cities, in the 1900s, including the city of St. Louis, was very much connected to the Industrial Revolution that occurred in the mid to late 1800`s. The physical city structure was in a horrible state due to the revolution “St. Louis had become densely populated, unhealthful and some argued ugly.” 5 However, in the early 1900s the city no longer pursued exclusively economic development and industrialization. The disgusting urban conditions prompted the city to start looking at aesthetic considerations and how the environment could be used to enhance the quality of life of its inhabitants. The socio-economic context of the St. Louis was also influenced by the Industrial 55

URBAN SCALE DESIGN Revolution. The revolution started great economic growth and as a result created more jobs opportunities thus increasing population and development. During that time St. Louis experienced a great boom and became the 4th largest city in the United States. As a result of this prosperity, economic development was not the exclusive concern of people anymore and they started to think about their personal life and well-being. There was an increasing interest on spending on items that provided more comfort and beauty. The St. Louis World Fair occurred within a political context of social activism and political reform, when people were starting to believe that society had a responsibility to improve their conditions as well as the government. This time was known as the Progressive Era, during which there was a belief in government intervention through standards and regulations, as well as a belief that people, can better their environment and conditions. Also during this time the government recognized there was a problem with hygiene a health and even passed compulsory schooling laws regarding this. From a cultural perspective, the St. Louis World Fair was preceded by the development of the “City Beautiful Movement” which was created in response to a combination of the unappealing, unhygienic physical nature of the city, the increase in the socio-economic development and the change in political views where the belief was people can make a change and the government should enact regulations to better society. “The City Beautiful Movement” focused on the environment as aesthetically 56

pleasing through the use of decorative structure, art and nature. The movement promoted visually appealing architecture and city planning not only because it is “beautiful” but for the betterment of the community. The idea was that a visually beautiful environment would increase the quality of life by promoting harmonious and social order. It would affect the way a citizen related to society and thus would help people understand their responsibilities of being a member of the community. The physical, social, political and cultural context all focused on changing the city from being just a `machine` engaged in the production of goods to being a function-able place yet also pleasing, healthy and enjoyable. The World Fair represented the ideal city and demonstrated to the public how effective the City Beautiful Movement was. It gave “a tangible shape to a desire” 6 and idea. It provoked discussion on how this open, clean design could be incorporated not only in the actual city of St. Louis but also in other cities such as New York. The design was a great

Figure 3 - (Top) A photo from the St. Louis World Fair demonstrating the massive amount of public art that was present. Figure 4 - (Top Right) View of an ideal road at the St. Louis World Fair. It is very open containing plenty of trees, sculptures and decorative structures.


benefit to individual lives, it was therapeutic. After visitors visited the fair and returned to their cities they realized how essential urban planning and the urban landscape are to the public welfare and to the development of a city. This sparked an interest in beautifying cities through public intervention. The St. Louis World Fair was highly instrumental in developing the visual appeal of cities in the present. It was confirmation of how beneficial city-wide, regulatory government guidelines are. They not only improve safety, but promote a visual unity. The World Fair led to the creation of art groups and societies within cities who deal with aesthetic regulation in a city. It promoted the idea of preserving historic structures for the public good and educational purposes and the concept of public art being essential within cities. It provoked the thought of art being available to everyone not only the elite. Most importantly, the fair demonstrated how vital urban planning is. It shows how planning affects more than the city, but the individual. When The St. Louis World Fair was built, it responded

directly to the change and new ideas that that were just starting to develop, it was a catalyst for change and actually propelled the change by providing a successful environment that proved the benefits of city planning. The St. Louis World Fair was appropriate not only at the time but also in a more universal way. At the time, it worked with the existing natural environment of the park, addressed the aesthetics of the urban environment, fit with the mentality of the City Beautiful Movement, fit the needs of the World Fair and focused on bettering the lives of its guests and the citizens of St. Louis. In a more universal way, the fair showed the benefits of working with the natural landscape, demonstrated the importance of public art and the aesthetics within an urban setting and sparked the need for urban planning and government regulation within a community or city. The St. Louis World Fair laid out important principals that are widely used today.

NOTES 1. Herbert Phillips Fletcher, The St. Louis Exhibition, (London and Tonbridge: Bradbury, Agnew & Co., 1905), 1-12. 2. Margaret Johanson Witherspoon, Remembering the St. Louis World’s Fair, (St. Louis: The Folkestone Press, 1973), 10-11, 16-25, 58-60. 3. Walter Williams, The State of Missouri: an Autobiography, (Michigan: Press of E.W. Stephens, 1904), 192-198. 4. Margaret Johanson Witherspoon, Remembering the St. Louis World’s Fair, (St. Louis: The Folkestone Press, 1973), 10-11, 16-25, 58-60. 5. Mark Tranel, St. Louis Plans: the Ideal and the Real St. Louis, (St. Louis: the Missouri Historical Society Press, 2007), 2-5, 17-22. 6. Mel Scott, American City Planning since 1890, (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1969), 43-46, 67-71. FIGURES 1. Nieto Carmen, Map of St. Louis, Missouri, 1912 appropriated from: 2. Nieto Carmen, Plan of the St. Louis World Fair, 1904: appropriated from: fairblay.JPG 3. Nieto Carmen, Perspective of St. Louis World Fair appropriated from: 4. Nieto Carmen, Perspective of St. Louis World Fair 2 appropriated from:





DEN-EN-CHŌFU KENNETH KAN Built just after the turn of the 19th to 20th century, Den-en-chōfu was the first and most successful garden city of Japan. Eiichi Shibusawa was the developer who was deeply inspired by Ebenezer Howard’s idea of the garden city. Following precisely Howard’s concepts of what makes the garden city function, Shibusawa had created a successful eastern tribute to Howard’s concept. Situated just over ten kilometres from Tokyo, Japan’s vibrant city, Den-en-chōfu became an attractive place of retreat and a new lifestyle for the busy country of Japan. Naturally, on such a small plot of land, population had been, and still is, a key issue for such a small country, so the idea of the suburbs was very mysterious and intriguing for many people wanting a change from high urban density. Just after the Meiji period of Japan in 1912, Japan’s status had been questioned externally and internally, because of global racial issues. Many of its population were in need of new political systems, and socially equality with one another, as this transition in change created opportunity as a starting point for many successful individuals. In this essay the historical, political, social, and physical context and conditions of Japan will be described in context with Ebenezer Howard’s initial concept of the garden city, and it will be evident as to why Den-en-chōfu was an appropriate venture for Shibusawa and the people of Japan.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Japanese urbanism; for a country with approximately the same size as Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador and almost four times as many people than Canada itself,1 the issue of population density had always been a priority for Japan. Following the Matsukata deflation in the 1880s, Japan’s population grew by over 50% in 1914 over a span of 42 years. In 1868, even before the deflation, Japan’s capital city, Tokyo, was already dealing with issues of congestion and overpopulation, unlike the garden city it was supposed to be.2 Near the turn into the 20th century, Ebenezer Howard created an astounding concept to step away from overcrowding with his concept and proposal of the garden city. In 1907 his ideas were introduced into Japan. Eiichi Shibusawa (1840-1931), a prospective developer and successful businessman, saw an interesting appeal to this concept and was immediately drawn to Howard’s vision. Shibusawa then bought a plot of land, and hired a British city planner to create Japan’s first garden city, Den-en-chōfu. This, then, poses the question of whether Den-en-chōfu was a successful planning project in Japan at the time, and it was. Through an analysis of: E. Howard’s original concept of the garden city, and an analysis on the city of Den-en-chōfu in Japan’s contextual situation at the time, a comparison will be made between the similarities and differences of Den-en-chōfu and the original concept of the garden city. The verdict will be clear that Den-en-chōfu was a successful urban project in response to Japan’s population growth and its issues at the time. 60

In 1898, Ebenezer Howard first proposed his concept of the garden city. He believed that this type of planning strategy would help cure the “ills of the industrialized city”.3 An industrialized city would be an example of a highly developed city where there is already an abundance of economic and social developments such as residential units and employment areas consisting of: mid-rises, high-rises and small but many office buildings. What Howard thought at the time was that if the growth in such a concentrated area would continue to develop mainly due to economic factors, then the city would not be in control and begin to degenerate.4 His idea of the city would hold the shape of a radial circle, with arteries protruding outwards for access. The centre of the city would be 1,000 acres in size, and an agricultural greenbelt with a size of 5,000 acres would surround the centre. The ideal population for such a city would be 30,000, which would result in abundant parkland, and also a comparably low density to an industrialized city. In a re-illustration of Howard’s initial diagram of “the three magnets”, the technique of Howard’s turning a Venn diagram into graphic form about the comparisons of the advantages of the town and the country will be clearly shown to convey his idea that his garden city would contain advantages, and only advantages, of both the town and the country. In a summary, the magnet, or attractive traits, of the town were substantially higher wages and many job opportunities. However in a high economic valued area rents would naturally be higher as well. The magnet of the country, on the other

Figure 1 - Diagram of the Garden City


Figure 2 - Venn Diagram version of the TownCountry magnet concept

hand, would be that the visual appearance would be natural and thus, beautiful and undisturbed. Less urban density would equate to lower rents, but that would also mean a lower income from wages. There would also be a lack of society and limited return of social amenities and even basic systems for proper hygiene.5 Howard then creates his garden city which responds to a local community with its circular centre being a large green space for recreation and activity, surrounded by an enclosed “crystal palace”6 which provides trade spaces for a well economy; this centre full of social activity is accessible by all in his city because the centre would provide an equal distance to all residents around it. After two and a half centuries of isolation from the outside world in the Edo period of Japan (1600-1868), the Meiji period (1868-1912), also known as the Meiji restoration, was the reform of Japan to the imperial court.7 It was during this period that western influences would once again be permitted to enter Japan. Near the end of this period, just after entering the 20th century, Ebenezer Howard’s concept of the garden city was published in a newspaper article in 1907. The Japanese understanding of the garden city was simply the revival of the green space as the main feature in the suburbs; the basic concept of this city was grasped without the implications of the socioeconomic implications which were not explained in detail in the newspaper article.8 The idea, along with the technologies of the railway, further attracted many minds towards the idea of spreading out from such a dense city, such as Tokyo at the time, and into suburban lifestyles as it would certainly help with the overcrowding

and, at the time, the issue of slums’ growth.9 Eiichi Shibusawa was particularly interested, and later on he would create the city of Den-enchōfu. The plan for Den-en-chōfu was inspired by a planner by the name of Yaemon Hata, who attempted to create a garden city in Ryuzan, Korea.10 In the redrawn diagram of Den-enchōfu, the radial centre can be seen as the focal point of the city, and very similar to Howard’s ideal plan. In such a small country with limited land, however, other blocks of the city would have to be distributed in an efficient and simple way, which would be with rectilinear lots. First addressing the idea that an economically driven project would be uncontrollable, Shibusawa and his team of associates formed the Garden City Corporation Founding Association, and the Garden City Incorporated, which were non-profit development companies. The cost would be provided privately by Shibusawa and his friends, this enforces that Den-en-chōfu would not be dependent on interests of external companies. Such a charitable notion from Shibusawa was caused by the fact that he was nearing retirement, and he wanted to experiment to create the real ideal city rather than generate unnecessary profit for his future.11 As this was a time of change in the empirical state, the site that was chosen was complete farmlands. It would symbolise a new beginning, and the land would be developed so that houses would be affordable for the average person. Unlike Howard, personal possession of property would have to be done in order to eliminate risk of the project’s finances. This 61

URBAN SCALE DESIGN blank slate was free of any previous disputes of physical class and hierarchy. This was a time of opportunity for average people to create a name, a legacy. Shibusawa also called upon Kintaro Yabe, another architect who had designed a baroque influenced garden. To maintain a low density and a relaxed environment to all residents, a few guidelines were made which consisted of: prohibited disturbance of neighbours, visually appealing perimeters, restricted height limit of three stories, at least half of the lot must be for greenery, a setback of half a street width for buildings, and minimum construction costs of 120 yen/ 36 sq ft. All these setbacks and restrictions were very similar to garden city examples such as Letchworth and Hampstead, furthermore reinforcing the notion of Den-en-chōfu as a true garden city in Japan.12 These were viable solutions and guidelines established as there were no examples of organisation of zoning beforehand. These ideas to control and encourage such a setting were later on used by CIAM as proper precedents that helped establish the method for town planning. At a time of development and a seeking of resolution to a population problem, Denen-chōfu seemed like the perfect opportunity for Shibusawa to experiment, and create a legacy. It precisely follows simple guidelines from the famous built cities of Letchworth and Hampstead themselves, and of course, Howard’s conceptual ideas as well. The large factor of economic issues and risk-taking was a rare venture by Shibusawa; as in a majority 62

of minds, profit would be the only solution to survival. In such a rare situation, and such an ideal place and time, the creation of Den-enchōfu seemed perfectly responding to Japan’s situation of urban population solution, and its era of innovation and evolution. The simple choice of undeveloped farmland in a time of political change, aspirations for social equality, experimentation with foreign influences, and all the while still accessible by the main city of Tokyo, had become the starting point of the city of Den-en-chōfu, and its legacy in Japan as the first, most successful garden city.

Figure 3 - Diagram of Den-en-chōfu’s plan

PRE-CIAM NOTES 1 – “Area and Population of Countries.” Infoplease. http://www. (accessed October 27, 2012). 2 - Oshima, Ken Tadashi. “Denenchōfu: Building the Garden City in Japan.”JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIANS 55 (1996): 140. 16?origin=api& (accessed October 27, 2012). 3 - Oshima, Ken Tadashi. “Denenchōfu: Building the Garden City in Japan.”JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIANS 55 (1996): 140. 16?origin=api& (accessed October 27, 2012). 4 - Oshima, Ken Tadashi. “Denenchōfu: Building the Garden City in Japan.”JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIANS 55 (1996): 140. 16?origin=api& (accessed October 27, 2012). 5 - Howard, Ebenezer. “The Town-Country Magnet.” In Garden Cities of To-Morrow. London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., Ltd., 1902. 16-24. 6 - Howard, Ebenezer. “The Town-Country Magnet.” In Garden Cities of To-Morrow. London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., Ltd., 1902. 16-24. 7 - “History of Japan.” Web Japan. historyofjp/histjp.html (accessed October 27, 2012). 8 - Oshima, Ken Tadashi. “Denenchōfu: Building the Garden City in Japan.”JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIANS 55 (1996): 141-146. 991116?origin=api& (accessed October 27, 2012). 9 - Oshima, Ken Tadashi. “Denenchōfu: Building the Garden City in Japan.”JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIANS 55 (1996): 141-146. 991116?origin=api& (accessed October 27, 2012). 10 - Oshima, Ken Tadashi. “Denenchōfu: Building the Garden City in Japan.”JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIANS 55 (1996): 141-146. able/10.2307/991116?origin=api& (accessed October 27, 2012). 11 - Oshima, Ken Tadashi. “Denenchōfu: Building the Garden City in Japan.”JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIANS 55 (1996): 141-146. able/10.2307/991116?origin=api& (accessed October 27, 2012). 12 - Oshima, Ken Tadashi. “Denenchōfu: Building the Garden City in Japan.”JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIANS 55 (1996): 141-146. able/10.2307/991116?origin=api& (accessed October 27, 2012). Cullen, L. M., History of Japan, 1582-1941: Internal and External Worlds (Cambridge University Press, 2003), <> ( 28 October 2012). FIGURES 1 - “E. HOWARD, GARDEN CITIES OF TO-MORROW.” Cornell University Library. (accessed October 27, 2012). 2 - “E. HOWARD, GARDEN CITIES OF TO-MORROW.” Cornell University Library. (accessed October 27, 2012). 3 - Oshima, Ken Tadashi. “Denenchōfu: Building the Garden City in Japan.”JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIANS 55 (1996): 140-146. 991116?origin=api& (accessed October 27, 2012)





THE SINGER TOWER ADVITA MADAN The Singer Tower situated in Manhattan, New York, was built in 1908 and was regarded as the tallest tower in the world until the completion of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower in 1909. It was designed by Ernest Flagg who greatly believed in urban reform and architecture’s responsibility towards society. For this reason, Ernest decided to set the building back from the street, allowing for the free-flow of pedestrian activity, as well as giving a step like character to the external facade of the building. Despite being demolished in 1967, the Singer Tower had a great impact on the 1916 Zoning Resolution. With the advancement in technology, buildings had begun to get taller and this in turn negatively impacted the surrounding neighbourhoods. Tall shadows were cast on the streets and there was a great need to rethink how buildings could be integrated within the urban fabric. The Singer Tower was one of the first few buildings to use only three quarters of its plot area, resulting in a much more pleasant street environment. Sometimes referred to as a “wedding cake”, this tower redefined the way skyscrapers were built all across New York City. Often seen as poor business propositions that hindered natural light and ventilation in a city, skyscrapers slowly began to earn public acceptance after seeing how they could be designed in ways that enhanced the urban culture rather than obstructing it. The Singer Tower was definitely a landmark in its time and has played a huge role in the way we plan our towers of today.



Completed in 1908 and standing at an iconic 612 feet, the Singer Tower was once regarded as the tallest building in New York City. The Singer Company, renowned for their sewing machines, had set out to overtop all other buildings when they announced plans for a skyscraper that would be â&#x20AC;&#x153;higher than all existing skyscrapers by 200 to 300 feet.â&#x20AC;?1 Located at Broadway and Liberty Street, the Singer Tower held this record for a little less than a year before the completion of the 700 foot tall Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower in 1909.2 This however, did not hinder the towerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dramatic presence on the Financial District of New York and the Singer Tower went on to become a prime example for future skyscrapers, owing to the revolutionary ways in which it responded to the prevalent problems of the city at the time. The Industrial Revolution was a period of great change. Advances made in the fields of agriculture, manufacturing, transportation and technology had a great impact on the social, political and economic conditions of the time 66

and this was considered a major turning point in history. The mass production of steel had begun by the mid-nineteenth century and was used in the production of I-beams and reinforced concrete. Glass was also made easily available and was no longer seen as a luxury. New methods of construction soon came into play and with the invention of the elevator and the crane in the early twentieth century, skyscrapers were made possible. The advances made in the construction industry caused the powerful commercial houses to invest in skyscrapers as a means of exhibiting their status within the industry. Consolidating an entire workforce within a single building proved to be more functionally sound for such companies and attaining a monumental stature was complimentary. However, the social negativity that was brought about by this change was completely incidental and unintended. The newly evolved technology for construction was experimented around the old and narrow streets, damaging the environment. To give a simile, it was like stuffing a small room with

Figure 1 - A diagram showing the tall, wide buildings that encroached upon narrow streets and cast large shadows on them.


Figure 2 - The Singer Tower; demonstrating it’s setbacks and “wedding cake” like shape.

oversized furniture. It made the streets look dark and dingy; the gloomy atmosphere that was created greatly reduced pedestrian activity and antisocial elements found new haven as crime rates increased. Since these tall towers were cubioidal in shape and wide throughout, natural light was not easily penetrable and sufficient. Large shadows were cast down onto the streets due to the height of these buildings and people began to feel highly claustrophobic in such an environment. To top it all, density within cities was increasing at an exponential rate. Cities at the time were not designed to accommodate for such an increase in population and the upcoming skyscrapers only added fuel to fire. Traffic congestion and pollution rose. Small businesses such as restaurants found these commercial areas lucrative to their trade and began to open in tens and hundreds. These “hubs” became over crowded during the lunch hours and the streets began to feel congested and unhygienic. It was during this time that Ernestt Flagg, an American architect, was approached to design a tower for the Singer Company. Flagg’s work for the Singer Company began in 1897 when he was commissioned to build the initial Singer Building, a “ten-story, bearingwall structure in the Beaux-Arts style.”3 In 1902, Flagg was asked to design an addition to the Singer headquarters’ ten-storey base. Flagg was originally opposed to the idea of skyscrapers as he believed that they greatly reduced the standard of living within a city. He was an advocate of urban reform and architecture’s responsibility towards society and

the environment4 and thus, when commissioned with the proposal to help enlarge the original building that stood at 149 Broadway, he set about to change the ways in which high-rises were designed. Determined not to cast dismal shadows on the neighbouring streets and also to break up what seemed to be transforming into a monotonous skyline, Flagg designed a smaller and more slender tower that would stand atop the existing twelve storey base. He adopted the bright red brick and bluestone design of the original building and incorporated ironframed bay windows up the sides of the tower. However, Flagg was still not satisfied with his design. In a final attempt to make the new tower adapt to its urban context, Flagg issued for the reconstruction of the original base building; this time setting it back from the street in order to enhance pedestrian activity. Construction of the new Singer Tower began in 1906 and was completed in 1908. The tower was deemed the tallest in New York, standing at 612 feet (47 stories). It soon became one of the city’s best known landmarks and its thoughtful design made it an effective marketing tool for the sewing machine company. Becoming the first tower to use only three quarters of its lot area, the open space provided in front of the Singer Tower enhanced the street environment greatly and people enjoyed walking along the wide sidewalk. The 65 square foot tower might have provided limited operating space within the building but the heavy ornamentation managed to counteract the impression that it was in fact, very slender.5 The tower was designed so that the core was situated in the centre and the 67

URBAN SCALE DESIGN offices were arranged on all four sides. Thus, offices in the Singer Tower soon became highly desirable as they received a lot of natural light and fresh air.6 The Singer Tower was also one of America’s first skyscrapers to be artistically lit at night.7 The tower was considered the ultimate corporate symbol and there was so reason to keep this icon hidden in the dark. Subsequently, thirty projector searchlights and 1,600 incandescent lamps were focused upon the buildings shaft and summit in order to make the Singer Tower visible for forty miles.8 Ernestt Flagg had proved successful in his endeavour to design a building that catered not just to the Singer Company, but also to the people of New York. Despite the immediate success of the Singer Tower, it wasn’t until 1915 and the construction of the Equitable Building that the need to impose a restriction on the heights of skyscrapers arose. The Equitable Building was a giant; towering at a height of 538 feet without providing a setback on street level. This building produced a seven acre shadow over the neighbouring buildings, affecting their commercial value greatly and degrading the environment around them.9 Other factors that called for an urgent reform in building construction were also at play around the same time. An influx of immigrants had caused a great shortage of houses in the market and builders took full advantage of this by constructing towers with no consideration for town planning. Warehouses and factories began to expand and soon began to encroach upon the fashion district and other residential sectors.10 This sudden, 68

rapid growth within the city called for planners to look at zoning restrictions and this paved the way for the nation’s first comprehensive zoning resolution. The 1916 Zoning Resolution was a relatively simple document but one that had a groundbreaking impact on planning and construction.11 Conceived at a time when the city on New York was in urgent need to regulate its surgical physical growth, the Zoning Resolution lay down a set of rules that planners and builders were to follow. The Singer Building played a big role in determining what these guidelines would be and how they should be implemented. The city looked at the design of the Singer Building and, seeing as how it was immensely effective, established a height and setback restriction on future developments. Taking into consideration the people’s needs, the city then designated certain districts as residential. No commercial or private endeavours were to take place in such districts and buildings were to remain at a familiar scale of three to six storeys. This would ensure that the tall, commercial towers would

Figure 3 - (Above) A study showing how natural light penetrates through the Equitable Building versus the Singer Tower. Figure 4 - (Right) The Singer Tower was the tallest tower in New York City at the time.


characterize the financial district alone and give it a unique flavour. The Singer Tower became an icon; an inspiration to planners everywhere who were looking to improve conditions within their cities. The 1916 Zoning Regulation was soon adopted throughout the United States as other growing cities realised that New York’s problems were not unique. Built at a time where zoning and planning ideals were still under development, Flagg’s design for the Singer Tower also seemed to have had a great influence on the principles outlined by CIAM – an organisation founded in 1928 that believed in using architecture as a social, political and economic tool to better design and planning strategies. Le Corbusier, one of the founders of CIAM, was greatly interested in New York’s urban design ideas and the 1916 Zoning Ordinance. He realised the urgent need to regulate planning in cities and looked to this document for guidance. The Singer Tower’s architecture had greatly influenced some of the ideologies set down in the Zoning Ordinance and were later adopted by CIAM.

Flagg had addressed the needs of the public by setting the building back from the street and demonstrated a solution to the problems of light and air loss in the dense streets off Broadway.12 Enhancing pedestrian activities on the streets and designing with relation to the urban, social and economic contexts were all principles that had been applied by Flagg and that were later seen in CIAM and the Athens Charter. In 1962, the Singer Company sold the Singer Tower to the United States Steel Company and relocated their headquarters to the Rockefeller Center. Sadly, the Singer Tower did not receive a landmark designation status by New York’s ‘Landmarks Preservation Commission’ and was demolished in 1967.13 Despite its demolition however, the Singer Tower continues to be influential in terms of design and planning strategies. It has been looked upon by many great planners and architects for inspiration and is an exemplary example of a building that solved a lot of prevalent urban problems that were ailing the city. It directly addressed the needs of the city and brought about a revolutionary change in the way towers are designed. Thus, the Singer Tower can definitely be deemed as one of the most successful buildings of its time and one that will always be remembered for its contribution to architecture and planning.

NOTES 1. Sarah Bradford, Landau and Carl W. Condit. Rise of the New York skyscraper, 1865-1913. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996, p354. 2. “New York Architecture Images- Singer Building .” nycarchitecture. (accessed November 9, 2012). 3. Sarah Bradford. Rise of the New York skyscraper, p354. 4. “Lower Manhattan : About Lower Manhattan | History | Did You Know | Singer Building.” Lower Manhattan : Home. http://www.lowermanhattan. info/about/history/did_you_know/did_you_know_that_60962.aspx (accessed November 9, 2012). 5. Douglas, George H. Skyscrapers: a social history of the very tall building in America. Jefferson, NC [u.a.: McFarland, 1996, p42. 6. Douglas, George H. Skyscrapers: a social history of the very tall building in America, p42. 7. Joseph J. Korom. The American skyscraper, 1850-1940: a celebration of height, p276. 8. IBID, p276. 9. Chappell, Sally Anderson. Architecture and planning of Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White, 1912-1936: transforming tradition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992, p109. 10. “How Zoning Shaped the New York Skyline « Untapped New York.” Untapped Cities. (accessed November 9, 2012). 11. IBID, (accessed November 9, 2012). 12. Sarah Bradford. Rise of the New York skyscraper, p355. 13. “New York Architecture Images- Singer Building .” nycarchitecture. (accessed November 9, 2012). FIGURES 1. Madan, Advita. “A diagram showing the tall, wide buildings that encroached upon narrow streets and cast large shadows on them.” 2. Wikipedia. 3. Madan, Advita. “A study showing how natural light penetrates through the Equitabke Building versus the Singer Tower.” 4. New York YIMBY.





THE PLAN OF CHICAGO DOUGLAS BELANGER The 1909 Plan of Chicago by Daniel Burnham & Co. was a plan to reshape the central area of Chicago through various improvements to the city. Through improvements to the lakefront area, highway systems and railway terminals, meaningful arrangements of streets, inclusion of many outer parks and a central civic center, Daniel Burnham’s plan would achieve the goal of a more organized, connected, efficient and beautiful city. Prior to Burnham’s Plan, Chicago was infamous for its crime rates, corruption within the government and poor living conditions for the working class. Burnham’s plan had goals to address this and give Chicago a better image for the future. Burnham had many supporters for his plan and was funded by the Commercial Club of Chicago who agreed with Burnham, that improvements to the crowding city were important to creating a livable city. Because this plan was never implemented to its full extent, the final project plans look much different than the preliminary city plans, but some major goals were achieved over the years after the plan was published. Improvements to the lakefront, railway terminals and inclusion of outer parks and a civic center were notable successes of this plan. Burnham & Co. had to deal with political issues and negative response in certain contexts to achieve their goals and it is imperative to explore how the problems that Burnham had to deal with impacted the effect of the plan. It will also be important to understand how the physical improvements implemented, affected the social context in addition to improving the aesthetic qualities of the city.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN City appearance, efficiency, living conditions and environment were all focuses of many architects and planners in the early 20th century.1 Largely based on his “City Beautiful” movement, Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago set out to make Chicago a better place to live for all through strengthening these four aspects of planning. Through exploring the ideas of Daniel Burnham, the principles and goals of his plan, as well as the physical, cultural, social and political contexts, a clear understanding of how the plan would affect and create change in the city can be achieved. Through interpreting the effect and response of the plan both in idea as well as implementation within multiple contexts, it can be determined that while the plan focused mainly on improving the efficiency and beauty of the city, implementing the plan would also positively affect the city in a cultural and economic context, while the plan had shortcomings in a social context. Daniel Burnham chose to develop a plan specifically for the city of Chicago not only because of the fact that it was Burnham’s home, but also that the city was rapidly growing and because of its growth, the city became plagued with crime, corruption and poor living conditions.2 In addition to the need to fix these problems within the city, the prime location of Chicago in relation to the country created an even stronger case for Chicago to be re-planned. “Modern Chicago owes its origins to its location at the southwestern edge of the Great Lakes near a convenient portage to the Mississippi Valley and the heart of the continent.”3 In Figure 1, connections between Chicago and a multitude 72

of cities show that the location of Chicago was important to develop meaningfully as a central hub for the Central American states. Burnham’s firm, Daniel Burnham & Co. drafted a plan that set out to reshape the city, heavily influenced by his City Beautiful Movement. There were several main points to the Plan of Chicago. The first point was to improve the Lake Front, by opening the entire length of the lakefront to the public rather than having it owned by private companies.4 Next he wanted to create a large system of parkways outside of the city, surrounded by an expansive outer park system, making transportation in and out of the city more streamlined and efficient. Burnham also wanted to improve the rail system within the city as well as develop separate systems for passengers and freight. A meaningful arrangement of streets and avenues would also create efficient paths for circulation through the city. At the center of the paths through the city there was to be a civic center to unify the city.5 Burnham’s plan strongly reflects the idea that “practical and aesthetic considerations need not oppose each other. The best way to build a prosperous city is to make it beautiful and healthy”6 Through implementation of a standard building height, surpassed by monuments as shown in figure 2, as well as a meaningful arrangement of streets, the plan depicts an orderly and attractive city which is to be surrounded by public space along the waterfront and a greenbelt of parks. Through physical implementation of the plan, traffic should flow more efficiently, the city would be more consistent within the built environment







Figure 1 - Chicago as a hub between multiple Cenrtal American states.



Figure 2 - The Plan’s idea for consistent height only surpassed by monumental structures.

and civic centers and monuments would create central points within the city. In a strictly physical context, the plan would create a strong aesthetic in the city, appropriate for a major city at the time. In a cultural context, the plan strived to increase the efficiency of the population and increase the livelihood of the civic centers through implementing cultural programing such as the Field Museum.7 Prior to the plan, Chicago was already a growing city culturally, especially

in contrast to the surrounding cities in the Midwest USA.8 Leading up to the emergence of the Burnham plan, the city had developed new libraries, theatres and religious buildings, but in contrast to the positive aspects of the culture, Chicago also had largely unsavoury districts, and high levels of organized crime and corruption.9 Through implementation of Burnham’s proposed civic center, he would create a central hub for the city where radial roads would connect the hub to the rest of the city.10 In doing this, the plan could figuratively extend the cultural core of the city into many districts and could have positive impacts on the unsavoury areas and enhance the value of the area culturally and economically. The plan provides more paths for flow and reduction of congestion in the streets through widening of main avenues.11 In a cultural context, the plan’s goals would use the strong cultural center of the city to enhance all districts of the city by bringing them closer together through efficient connections. In early drafts of the Plan of Chicago, Burnham did address the need for social reform in the city, including improvement to housing and the need for the government to oversee health and education in the city. These ideas were eventually scrapped in future drafts of the plan due to instruction of many planners emphasizing that the Chicago Plan should be a business plan and that “what was good for business benefited everyone.”12 In the end, the plan did not provide solutions to the region’s social problems and many of the social goals were deemed beyond the scope of the plan.13 73

URBAN SCALE DESIGN Due to the lack of solutions for the social problems in the city, many other architects and planners criticized the plan for this. Notably the president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, John Fitzpatrick, noted that “While talking of beautifying the city, they ignored “the cry of despair among the men, women, and children whose only fault is that they must toil to live.””14 Through removal of many social solutions to the plan, it seemed to rely on the beautification and organizational goals implemented into the city to indirectly have positive effects on the social context of the city. By ignoring the social issues of the city, the plan would ultimately be held back by its lack of social solutions. Daniel Burnham’s plan was never fully implemented to the extent outlined in the plan itself, but in combination with multiple recommendations by the Commercial Club of Chicago who hired Burnham, many of the goals outlined in the plan were achieved.15 The plan also strongly influenced future developments in the city based on it’s goals. The implementation of this plan started at a time before zoning laws existed, meaning that the plan had to be promoted within influential groups of the city and the government prior to being implemented, and must also gain support of the citizens.16 In many contexts, the plan ended up achieving some of its goals. “The Plan of Chicago inspired the creation of a permanent greenbelt around the metropolitan area, the development of the lakefront parks with cultural enhancements such as the Field Museum of Natural History, and the establishment of new transportation elements, from road to river to rail.”17 Although, not all of 74

the goals were achieved strictly according to Burnham’s plan, the plan influenced many plans in the following years that addressed similar concerns. Even to this day, ideas from the plan are looked at and the successes are still built upon. “Chicago will look to build upon the successes of the Plan and act boldly to shape the future of Chicago and the surrounding areas.”18 Through understanding the physical goals of the plan, and how the full implementation

Figure 3 - Map of Chicago showing proposed park greenbelt and inner parks highlighted in green.

PRE-CIAM would affect the city in multiple contexts, as well as how the actual implementation did affect the city, it is clear in which ways the plan was appropriate and in which ways it was not. In a purely physical context, the plan would make for a beautiful and ordered city. The plan worked towards increasing the positive aspects of the city’s culture while removing the unsavoury elements through efficient circulation through the city towards civic centers, spreading the livelihood of the city through many districts. Through widening streets and developing more wide streets, although not implemented to the extent of the plan’s goal, the implementations still positively impacted the economic value of the city through efficiency of transport. Even though in many contexts the plan seemed very positive, because of editing, many social problems were left unaddressed and were assumed to be fixed just by increasing the aesthetic of the city. Many of the problems within the city prior to the plan were social issues, and by brushing these issues away, the plan became more of an economic plan, and would not be appropriate to implement in a social context. In many contexts, the plan was very successful and achieved many of the goals that it set, but social wellbeing in a city is very important to the livelihood of the city in all contexts, so by not addressing social concerns directly, social well-being could not be fully achieved without additional plans for improving the social context directly

NOTES 1 Gordon, D., & Gerald, H. (2008). Planning Canadian Communities. Nelson Education. 2 Smith, C. (2006). The Plan of Chicago Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City. Chicago: University of Chigaco Press. 3 Smith, C. (2006) 4 Smith, C. (2009, September/October). Taming the Savage City. Humanities, 30(5). 5 McClendon, D. (2009). The Plan of Chicago A Regional Legacy. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from The Burnham Plan Centennial: 6 Smith, C. (2009) 7 McClendon, D. (2009) 8 Smith, C. (2006) 9 Ibid 10 Burnham, D. H., & Bennet, E. H. (1909). Plan of Chicago. 11 Smith, C. (2006) 12 Smith, C. (2009) 13 McClendon, D. (2009) 14 Smith, C. (2009) 15 Smith, C. (2006) 16 Ibid 17 Field, C. R. (2004). Burnham Plan. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from Encyclopedia of Chicago: http://www. 18 Bachrach, J. (2008). Daniel H. Burnham and Chicago’s Parks. Chicago: Chicago Park District. FIGURES 1 Appropriated from Burnham, D.(1909) 2 Ibid 3 Ibid 4 Ibid

Figure 4 - Map of the proposed City Plan highlighting the proposed Civic Center and Grant Park 75




CASA MILA KETEVAN GONASHVILI Designed by Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi, six storey residential building, Casa Milà is situated at the corner of the Paseo de Gracia and the Calle Provenza in Barcelona, Spain. The housing complex was designed and built between 1906 and 1910. The building was commissioned by Pedro Milà, a developer who intended to create high density housing in the central and lively neighborhood of Barcelona. The highly organic and fluid form of this massive structure broke the general rhythm of rectilinear forms, and consistency of the surrounding streets. The location of the site allowed Gaudi to develop a sculptural form of the building. As Casa Milà does not have a single corner or an orthogonal line in the design of its plans or facade, the building ignores the general grid of the street and creates a soft condition on the corner of intersection. As a result, the large portion of sidewalk is exposed for building tenant interaction and general pedestrian use. The interchangeable concave and convex balconies, that follow entire facade of the building, allow for the light to enter into every apartment, while creating a very organic atmosphere on the street. Local government objected certain aspects of the design which they believed were conflicting with the building code. Number of changes were made to original drawings of casa Mila, due to the political and religious situation of the time, as well as the legal implications. Although highly unconventional and seemingly impractical, Gaudi created architecture that addressed issues of healthy living and high density housing, while bringing upon a new way of social interaction within the tenants, as well as public surrounding the building.



Located in the heart of Barcelona Spain, at a lively corner intersection, stands the unusual, six storey apartment building designed by Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí i Cornet. The highly organic sculptural form of the building breaks away from its surroundings and projects a strong presence onto the streets of Barcelona. Often considered as one of the most notable works of Antonio Gaudi, the building being his second large civil work as well as his last private commission, 1 Casa Mila addresses the issues of high density dwelling, healthy living conditions, as well as social interaction. Through the use of fluid forms, irregularly shaped compartments and free plan, Antonio Gaudi succeeded in achieving a new method of community interaction between the tenants and the public that reside in the surrounding apartment buildings. Although highly unlike the modular architecture of CIAM, Casa Mila addressed living and dwelling concerns that were later exploder by Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne. In addition, through the means of sculptural and architectural built form, 78

Gaudi managed to clearly express the cultural and aesthetic elements, which were sacred to him. Beginning in 1850’s Barcelona, the principal city of Catalonia went through a dramatic shift from industrial, factory capital, to a vision of modern capitalist city. As a result of newly acquired economic forces, the bourgeoisie of the city revealed a desire for a new urban center that would reflect the rising social and economic power of the city elite, as well as anticipated future prosperity of Catalonia.2 As a response to this social and economic development, as well as immense need for an expansion of a city due to its rapid growth, a new city plan was created. This intended to shift Barcelona from its old, slum inhabited image to a new rational structure.3 Developed by a city planner and an engineer Ildefons Cerdà, the new plan of Barcelona consisted of a grid pattern. For Cerdà the new city plan represented social inclusiveness, where people of all class could interact equally. However, due to the inner conflict of bourgeoisie and slumlords, as well

Figure 1 - Portion of Plan


Figure 2 - Access of Light into Balconies

as lacking capital and market forces, Barcelona was set up for an unequal urban development, as well as political conflicts, for years to come. In addition, restoration of monarchy between 1875 and 1923, as well as widespread anarchist movements, created more chaos and complications in city’s political and social structure.4 Born in Rues, Spain, Antonio Gaudi was influenced by number of styles. Throughout his life, Gaudi had taken up Gothic Revival, Modernisme - a cultural Catalan movement that could be identified as a form of Art Nouveau, Romanticism, Baroque as well as Islamic and Oriental architectural styles as an inspiration to his work. 5 All of these movements, especially Modernisme, were very prominent in late 19th century and early 20th century Barcelona and served as an identifier of Catalan culture and tradition. However, in the later years of his career, Gaudi developed a style of his own; this was based on fluidity and organic movements found in nature. Casa Mila is a clear example of this organic style while the influence of the oriental architecture is still evident in the detailing of the building. Gaudi’s work was often generated as a result of three main principals of design; unusual structural procedures, imaginative use of construction materials - as can be seen on the chimneys of Casa Mila - and a unique sense of decoration that drives his building aesthetic.6 Although some of these principals were not practical or efficient, Gaudi’s well thought out designs succeeded in creating both beautiful and functional architecture Casa Mila was commissioned by developer

and a wealthy businessman, Pedro Mila i Camps and was constructed between 1906 and 1909. The building was intended to house Mila and his wife, Rosario Segimon, on the main floor while the rest of the apartments would be rented out to prosperous people of the neighbourhood.7 With this building commission, Gaudi was able to address the issue of high density housing that was tremendously desirable in Barcelona due to population growth. However what differentiated Casa Mila from other apartment buildings was the demographic group that it addressed. Casa Mila was oriented towards affluent, offering comfort of amenities and high quality living, while being conscious of city’s need. The urban site, at which Casa Mila was built, is located on a northern corner lot, at the intersection of two large streets; Paseo de Gracia and Carrer Provenca. A typical chamfered corner that followed largely applauded Cerdà’s Barcelona grid, offered both practical challenges and potentials to Gaudi’s design intent for the Mila apartments.8 Due to the fluidity of the walls and lack of orthogonal shapes, the curving, sculptural form of Casa Mila broke away from the highly structured grid of street layout, creating a soft condition around the corner, while providing additional public space on the sidewalk. The single row of trees along Paseo de Gracia and Carrer Provenca provide a very natural atmosphere to the mystical, organic essence of Casa Mila. Gaudi intended for the tenants to grow plants off of the balconies for additional liveliness on the street as well as stronger and more interconnected street presence.9 79

URBAN SCALE DESIGN Number of drawings of Casa Mila were created prior to attaining the building permit for the construction of the apartment complex.10 Even as early as in 1906, Gaudi was looking into transportation and accessibility in the relation to the dwelling complex. For the first time ever, in Barcelona, a private housing project would encompass a wide spacious ramp that was intended to lead from the stable to the flat roof of the building. 11 Although the ramp had to be stopped at the second level due to the excessive amount of space that the structure required, the concern for housing some form of transportation was carried out. The basement contained a stable for the horses in the earlier years, with the introduction of use of automobiles the stable was turned into parking garage.12 Although, many changes were made to the detailing and interior of Casa Mila from the preliminary stages of design, the overall massing of the building as well as the concept for the site plan remained the same. The building was to be fluid in its form where the differentiation between walls and windows would be difficult. The distinct frontages on to the streets would not be addressed; instead the design proposed an uninterrupted rippling form while disregarding sharp condition at the corner intersection of the street.13 In other words Gaudi’s design could be seen as a monument. The struggle for social justice due to the Anarchist movement in Catalonia shaped Gaudi and his design for Casa Mila. While Spain was highly influenced by Giuseppe Fanelli, - an Italian anarchist, Marxism was a driving political force in northern Europe. Many outbreaks of 80

anarchist group in Spain, especially Barcelona soon merged with radical revolutionaries that continued to create riots and revolts in Barcelona.14 In July of 1907, two years prior to the completion of Casa Mila, many churches were burnt down as a demonstration of anarchist protests.15 This developments restricted Gaudi from expressing Casa Mila as a tribute for Virgin Mary, as he initially intended. A large sculpture of Virgin Mary and two angels were envisioned to crown the front façade of Casa Mila. However, as a result Semana Tragica –the “tragic week” of 1909, Pedro Mila protested against the erection of the religious sculpture as an expression of concern over the safety of his tenants. As a result, the sculpture was never put up. City of Barcelona objected to many aspects of the buildings as it was constructed, due to the number of violations of building code. Gaudi has overlooked the height restriction provided by the city in the first stages of construction; however local authorities opposed to this violation and ordered to demolish the exceeding structure.16 Although, legal requirements due to zoning by-

Figure 3 - (Above Left) Natural Presence on the Street Figure 4 - (Above Right) Accessible roof and Inner Courtyards Figure 5- (Bottom) Cerdà’s Grid Plan Figure 6 - (Right) Circulation and Congregation

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law for the setbacks of that time are unknown, Gaudi strategy of slightly shifted back each floor showed a clear analysis sun access into the building. Similar approach, for allowing sun into the buildings, was taken in 1916 New York Zoning, just a few years after Gaudi’s innovative design. In a way Casa Mila was Gaudi’s way of protesting against the social and political structure of the time. Gaudi not only broke away from the stiff grid of the city streets, but also demonstrated protest against a rigid system of legal by-laws through creating a building that was like no other.17 In many ways, Gaud’s architecture, especially his design for Casa Mila, opposed what Le Corbusier and number of others would later come to advocate, through CIAM movement, starting in 1928. The link between Gaudi’s architecture and General Economic System, as explained in first congress of CIAM, was missing. While CIAM proposed a highly modularized and standardized way of constructing for maximum efficiency, Casa Mila was a clear reflection of individuality. Through its hand crafted unique

forms; Gaudi created a building that could be considered irrational and uneconomic by the followers of Modern movement of mid-20th century. However, although Casa Mila could be seen as chaotic or illogical structure, due to its lack of orthogonal lines, Gaudi’s deep understanding of organic form allowed for the building to be functional, while addressing all issues of dwelling that were of concern to CIAM. Furthermore, although very different in its form and way of execution, Casa Mila addressed three of four major concerns of Athens charter. In addition to providing high density dwelling, as mentioned above, Casa Mila offered courtyards and accessible roof gardens for recreation and leisure after work hours, as well as housed a means of transportation through the use of basement garage. In conclusion, through the unusually ornamented organic form, fluid compartments and sculptural presence, Casa Mila demonstrated the movement of Barcelona and its challenges during the early 20th century, while addressing the need for good quality, high density housing for the affluent in a fashionable neighborhood, as well as new ways of social interaction.

NOTES 1. Juan Nonell. GaudiÌ: the entire works. Menorca: Triangle Postals, 2007, 67. 2. Chris Ealham. Class, Culture and Conflict in Barcelona, 18981937. Vol. 7. Routledge, 2004, 1 3. Xavier Güell i Guix . “Gaudí.” Catalònia 1 (1987): 16-17. 4. Ealham, Class, Culture and Conflict in Barcelona, 1898-1937,2 5. Jan Molema, and Antoni GaudiÌ. GaudiÌ: the construction of dreams. Rotterdam: episode publishers, 2009, 22. 6. Molema, Gaudi, Gaudi: the construction of dreams, 88. 7. Nonell, GaudiÌ: the entire works, 91. 8. Richard Weston. Key buildings of the 20th century: plans, sections and elevations. 2nd ed.,American ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2010, 38. 9. Molema, Gaudi, Gaudi: the construction of dreams, 101 10. Molema, Gaudi. Gaudi: the construction of dreams, 275. 11. Eusebi Casanelles. Antonio Gaudi; a reappraisal. Greenwich, Conn.:New York Graphic Society, 1965-1967, 81. 12. Juan Nonell, and Melba Levick. Antonio GaudiÌ: master architect. New York: Abbeville Press, 2000, 98. 13. Weston. Key buildings of the 20th century: plans, sections and elevations, 38. 14. Molema, Gaudi. Gaudi: the construction of dreams, 21. 15. Nonell, Levick. Antonio GaudiÌ: master architect, 103. 16. Gijs Hensbergen. Gaudí. New York: HarperCollins, 2001, 214-216. 17. Casanelles. Antonio Gaudi; a reappraisal, 80. FIGURES 1. Appropriated after : Antonio GaudiÌ, and Yukio Futagawa. Casa BatlloÌ, Barcelona, Spain, 1905-07: Casa Mila, Barcelona, Spain, 1905-10. Tokyo: A.D.A. EDITA, 1972. 2. Appropriated after : GaudiÌ, and Futagawa. Casa BatlloÌ, Barcelona, Spain, 1905-07: Casa Mila, Barcelona, Spain, 1905-10. 3. Appropriated after: Molema, Gaudi, Gaudi: the construction of dreams. 4. Appropriated after: Molema, Gaudi, Gaudi: the construction of dreams. 5. Appropriated after: Arthur Van der Harten, Casa Mila plans and drawings, School of Architecture. Troy, NY: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2005. 6.Appropriated after: Van der Harten, Casa Mila plans and drawings.





GARDEN SUBURB SANDRA DOROZYNSKA Throughout history, individuals have attempted garden cities in theory and execution; however, these cities have never succeeded in compatibility with the ideals of the changing society. Yet from 1907 through to 1912, Raymond Unwin prepared the earliest plans of the most successful Garden Suburb of all the Twentieth Century Garden Suburbs that have ever been planned and executed. A Garden Suburb is different from and should not be confused with a Garden City. It has few shops and public buildings, but no industry. It is not self-contained. Raymond Unwin’s Artisans’ Quarter is located near Hampstead, England; it is a primary model of a Garden Suburb. Situated in the largest sector in the northwest portion of the Hampstead Garden Suburb, Artisans’ Quarter was the first quarter planned, developed, and built. The purpose of this suburb was to create a new kind of community that had the ability to house families of different income in a green environment with a village-like ambiance. The layout of the community integrates aesthetically pleasing and functional elements with regard to open public spaces. The planners and designers took into account important buildings, views, road patterns, and entrance to Artisans’ Quarter. In addition, special treatment was given to intersections and corners so that they could define spaces in this suburb. Many positive aspects such as listed have shaped this suburb and this essay will investigate the Garden Suburb as well as the Artisan’s Quarter to fully understand how and why this Garden Suburb community was successful and still functioning today.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN At the height of the largest empire in history in the twentieth century, Hampstead Garden Suburb, including Artisans’ Quarter, was being planned, developed and built. London was the largest city in the world up until New York City emerged, developed and became the world’s largest city. This being said, the twentieth century brought challenges to the city, its development, and its population. There was poverty, sickness, famine, and a housing crisis within the beginnings of the industrial age. As a result of these calamities in London, people moved out of the metropolis and into the countryside to suburbs like Hampstead Garden Suburb, the most successful Garden Suburb in record. This garden suburb was dubbed most successful for many reasons and could have influenced Le Corbusier and his colleagues when formulating the CIAM principles and Athens Charter. Commissioned by Mrs. Henrietta Barnett, Raymond Unwin and partner, Barry Parker, in 1905 prepared the first plans for the Hampstead Garden Suburb. They fulfilled Mrs. Barnett’s objectives creating opportunities from problems. Some key design principles applied to the development and planning of this Garden Suburb were to house a variety of income groups within one borough, having low-density housing, being located in garden space, some private and some shared by the community and thus that the suburb is not self-contained in order for it to successfully connect with the London city center. This plan also endorsed and encouraged the outward spread from the metropolis of London. While there are other 84

numerous objectives and design principles applied to this suburb, Mrs. Barnett’s social objective of having mixed income and different kinds of people living in one suburb was the most important. What first initiated this development was not the objective or goal, but the importance of buying land to develop it advantageously and judiciously. Mrs. Henrietta Barnett herself initiated the development of the suburb, when she, an owner of “a weekend house on the northern fringe of Hampstead Heath”1 learned of the proposal for the extension of the London Underground Railway, also known as The Tube to Hampstead. She knew that since there will be an extension of the Tube, there will also be the development of “rows of ugly villas”2. Also at the same time, London was having a housing and overcrowding crisis in the city core, which would result in people moving out of the core and into suburbs, strengthening her objective. The piece of land that this Garden Suburb is situated on is north of Hampstead in the London Borough of Barnet, which is northwest of the city of London. This site lies higher than any Metropolitan borough next to London. For this reason it is perched on a hill, which allows for the city dwellers to see this suburb and at the same time creating a nice view from the suburb to the city. The land having good sun exposure, each dwelling and building had a requirement to have sun penetrate the structure was endorsed. Raymond Unwin first prepared the initial plan of Hampstead Garden Suburb in February 1905, and thus, in this plan, rejected the formal central framework, an element that

Hampstead Garden Suburb

Figure 1 - Map of United Kingdom with Hapstead Garden Suburb identified.

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Figure 2 - Map of Artisans’ Quarter

is evident in Letchworth, a suburb that Unwin worked on prior to Hampstead. Tree-lined roads and groups of cottages were favoured to keep a picturesque informality. However, Artisans’ Quarter did no have a formal layout until May of 1907. Within the final plan of the Garden Suburb, Artisans’ Quarter lay on seventy acres of land. Unwin’s design intention was to have picturesque massing and architectural simplicity without impairing the functional efficiency. The mass and silhouettes were an essential part of the suburb. The layout and character of the quarter was formal and had sufficient sense of enclosure as well as a sufficient degree of openness with great variety of street picture and spatial groupings. Along picturesque streets Unwin grouped structures to suggest outdoor rooms and formal green spaces. Each street had a different character, making it unique and, at the same time, representing each class with high standard architecture due to the firm design control policy of this suburb. The plan also put emphasis on road intersections, putting forth triple junctions that gave better visibility of approaching traffic and created potential open space. In addition, in Artisans’ Quarter, Raymond Unwin used a series of culs-de-sac, which in result created pedestrian routes, hence separating traffic. Having gentle angled splays of the building lines by having setbacks and projections, often symmetrical, also mitigated the monotony of corridor streets. The institutional and religious center was actually designed by Edwin Lutyens since Unwin’s preliminary plan “lacked adequate central focus”3. Given that Artisans’ Quarter being the first quarter built,

the other quarters of the suburb followed these ideas and principles. The Garden Suburb being located in an interesting physical context allowed for its interesting plan and design. Situated on a hill in the country, the physical context allowed for gardens, “labyrinths of picturesque, crooked”4 and irregular streets. “The nature of the hill forbade the building of stiff streets and layingout of level roads.”5 With this at the base of the design, the architecture and surroundings created an elderly, unspoilt, airy, quiet town like the old towns in the United Kingdom such as Evesham6. It was an intimate and a noninstitutional atmosphere created by the detailing and materiality of the homes and buildings. By having The Tube extension, the Garden Suburb would be able to connect to the nearby boroughs and cities. This elevated old-fashioned home-like suburb’s intention was to serve all classes of people and encourage social fellowship, which was the main social objective of Mrs. Henrietta Barnett for this suburb. The suburb had groupings of dwellings that created common shared outdoor spaces as well as parks, open gardens and playgrounds for the children. In regards to children the roads were safe and free from traffic, which was a luxury to the children. Aside from the green spaces, amenities such as shops, lecture rooms, clubs, baths, washhouses, bakeries and cooperative stores also allowed for social interaction of all the classes. These were centers where everyone can gather. There was “positive discrimination”7. The place where everyone, people of all classes, came as 85

























and restrictions ROAD were formulated. This suburb was to be mainly low density residential, eight to twelve houses per acre (flexibility) including sufficient sizes of gardens, with few commercial centers, located at the gates usually in the podiums, and few industrial areas. Also this Hedge Hedge suburb was to have a religious and institutional center. Mrs. Henrietta Barnett’s social objective was at the heart of this act. By-laws concerning roads and their hierarchy were also crucial. ROAD ROAD The Hampstead Garden Suburb Act enabled the suburb to have cul-de-sac roads, a matter which would have infringed the existing by-laws Hedge of the region. Having this Act, the planners were creating possibilities for planning growth. There were possibilities for extensions of suburbs and expansion of cities. Any changes to the by-laws ROAD and the Act were approved by either the Secretary State for the Home Department, Local Authority the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust Limited company. As one can see, the Garden Suburb is a derivative of the Garden City idea, an idea which has been around for some time, yet it





equals was at the center of the suburb where the church and institutions were. Here, everyone was an equal in the eyes of God. Here, Bernett’s main objective was strongest. Religion being an important aspect of the English culture also influenced and strengthened the objectives and plans of this Garden Suburb. England’s culture too influenced the architecture and the feel of the suburb. “It gave a country village feel within the industrial age.”8 Being in the United Kingdom and very close to London, English vernacular, Queens Anne, Gregorian, Grand Manner and German Romanticism9 influenced the architecture style in which the dwellings and buildings were designed. It was a design in the old style. For this suburb and these objectives to transpire, Henrietta sought to recruit influential followers to generate progress for this development. Technical, financial or procedural obstacles could not stop Mrs. Barnett from her goal. She mobilized the Heath Extension Council to buy the land and got support from The Garden City Association. This suburb was to secure the site by providing profitable development without sacrificing amenity. The rich and poor could live here and therefore she also had support from people. Having a social mix grouped together allowed for economy to be achieved. Since official zoning and by laws had not yet been established in London, the Hampstead Garden Suburb founded the Hampstead Garden Suburb Act and at the same time formed the first British town planning legislation in February 1906 when Henry Vivian introduced a private bill in Parliament. Here the goals, objectives




Figures 3-6 - Ex. Lighter building roads & drives as used at Hampstead and Letchworth.

PRE-CIAM does not apply all the planning principles of the Garden City. The suburb is mostly residential, with few shops, and a lot of green spaces. Unlike the Garden City, it does not encompass industry within its boundaries, and it requires its inhabitants to travel to the city and its boundaries, to where the industry lies. Hence, the two ideas are similar, but should not be confused with one another. It is evident that having a mixed income neighbourhood is good and keeps the suburb alive. Paying careful attention to detail of open spaces, their program, their location in the plan and having amenities that can also facilitate social interaction creates a successful neighbourghood. Identity and uniqueness also play a role as well as safety and aesthetics of the roads. With having all these factors, a great location that has good connections to the city, and support of many individuals, Mrs. Henrietta Barnett was able to realize her objectives to create better housing and a mix of housing for all classes, which in the end, was the factor that made this suburb successful. As being a by-product of the garden city idea as well as a successful suburb having elements such as ample green park space around buildings, providing a balance of housing for a range of communities, transportation, and sun exposure, this suburb could have influenced the development if CIAM principles as well as the generation of the Athens Charter.

NOTES 1. Miller, Mervyn. Raymond Unwin: Garden Cities and Town Planning. Leicester, United Kingdom: Leicester University Press, 1992, 79. 2. Ibid., 79. 3. Ibid., 86. 4. Baillie Scott, M.H., S.D. Adshed, P.W Wilson, E.G. Cuplin, and T.F. Fisher Unwin. Garden Suburbs, Town Planning and Modern Architecture. London: Adelphi Terrace, 1910, 17. 5. Ibid., 17. 6. Ibid., 25. 7. Miller, Mervyn. Raymond Unwin: Garden Cities and Town Planning, 81. 8. Baillie Scott, M.H., S.D. Adshed, P.W Wilson, E.G. Cuplin, and T.F. Fisher Unwin. Garden Suburbs, Town Planning and Modern Architecture, 31 9. Miller, Mervyn. Raymond Unwin: Garden Cities and Town Planning, 101. Aslet, Clive. “Design for living.” The Telegraph, , sec. News Features, April 14, 2007. Design-for-living.html (accessed October 25, 2012). Baillie Scott, M.H., S.D. Adshed, P.W Wilson, E.G. Cuplin, and T.F. Fisher Unwin. Garden Suburbs, Town Planning and Modern Architecture. London: Adelphi Terrace, 1910, 15-34. Beevers, Robert. The Garden City Utopia: A Critical Biography of Ebenezer Howard. United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan, 1988 26, 33-34, 64, 115, 159. Bentley, E.G., and S. Pointon Taylor. Housing Town Planning Etc. Act 1909, A Practical Guide in the Preparation of Town Planning Schemes. London, United Kingdom: George Philip & Son LTD, 1911, 142-144. Grafton Green, Brigid. Hampstead Garden Suburb 1907-1977. Hampstead, London, United Kingdom: Hampstead Garden Suburb Resident Association, 1977, 20 Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust, “Hampstead Garden Suburb Artisans’ Quarter – Area 2 Character Appraisal.” Last modified 2011. Accessed October 12, 2012. Miller, Mervyn. Raymond Unwin: Garden Cities and Town Planning. Leicester, United Kingdom: Leicester University Press, 1992, 78-103, 120-125, 135. Roberts, Tony. “The Rise of the Garden Suburb.” Last modified 1997-98. Accessed October 25, 2012. history/riseofhgs.htm. Unwin, Raymond. The Legacy of Raymond Unwin: A Human Pattern for Planning. Michigan, USA: The MIT Press, 1967, 121-124, 195-198. Unwin, Raymond. Town Planning in Practice. New York, New York, USA: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996, 321. FIGURES 1. Map of UK appropriated from: le:Uk_map_england.png. 2. Plan of Suburb appropriated from: history/unwintownplanning.html, 1. 3-7. Sequence of Plans appropriated from: Miller, Mervyn. Raymond Unwin: Garden Cities and Town Planning. Leicester, United Kingdom: Leicester University Press, 1992, 120, 124.

Figure 7 - Plan of an example of a Y-intersection at triple road junctions. 87




WOOLWORTH BUILDING JENNA TARIO The purpose of this exploration is to examine the architecture, construction, planning and design of New York’s Woolworth Building and its impact on pre-CIAM urban planning, by analyzing the discourses which contributed to the shaping and settlement of the city center. Frank Woolworth chose a site for his proposed world’s tallest building at the intersection of City Hall Park, an already thriving city center, with lower Broadway, the spine of its business district. He then commissioned Cass Gilbert to design the Woolworth Building in 1910. Gilbert shared the City Beautiful dream of visionaries like Daniel Burnham, and took a selective approach to public spaces, making sure that the Woolworth Building received the same type of programmatic and decorative treatment that he believed was appropriate for public monuments of the era. This resulted in large, complex spaces that exceeded anything that had been attempted in office buildings up to that time, and its lobby became one of the finest publicly accessible interior spaces in the city. The Woolworth Building’s siting at New York’s civic center, its composition, arcade, and its decorative elements identified it with the predominant concept of the civic building. However, Cass Gilbert’s private commission evolved in to a public in-between, and challenged the incompatibility of City Beautiful principles with economically propelled land development, and the contradiction between the notion of architecture as an art and the skyscraper’s programmatic and technical requirements. The result of these interactions is the skyscraper, a building whose existence as object and icon is undeniably linked to the city itself.


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The debate over the aesthetics of the modern city and the location of landmarks is one that has the power to affect the urban fabric of a metropolitan city in a large way. Architectural interaction has the power to alter perceptions, cultural norms and economical dependencies in a positive way, and it was for this reason that Frank Woolworth chose a site for his proposed world’s tallest building at the intersection of City Hall Park, an already thriving city center in New York City, with lower Broadway, the spine of its business district. He then commissioned Cass Gilbert to design the Woolworth Building in 1910. Gilbert shared the City Beautiful dream of visionaries like Daniel Burnham, and took a discerning approach to public spaces, making sure that the Woolworth Building received the same attention to programmatic and decorative treatment that he believed was appropriate for public monuments of the era. In this way, he ensured that the building would be truly integrated within the urban fabric of a thriving city and business district. This resulted in large, complex spaces that surpassed anything 90

that had been attempted in office buildings up to that time, and its lobby became one of the finest publicly accessible interior spaces in the New York. The Woolworth Building’s siting at New York’s civic center, its composition, arcade, and its decorative elements identified it with the predominant concept of the civic building. However, Cass Gilbert’s private commission evolved in to a public in-between, and challenged the incompatibility of City Beautiful principles with economically propelled land development, and the contradiction between the notion of architecture as an art and the skyscraper’s programmatic and technical requirements. This has proven to withstand the test of time, as the building currently stands as a tribute to the age of New York commerce and the emergence of a major world city, as well as an important step in the development of the skyscraper, a truly innovative contribution to architecture. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the United States experienced a birth of a nationally integrated business culture. Through both horizontal and vertical integration,

Figure 1 - NY Building Height Comparison


Figure 2 - Location Plan

as well as the development of the modern corporation, the size of many manufacturing companies increased dramatically, and this required architectural response in many major cities.1 Culture emerged as a key aspect of business strategy in boosting production, planning distribution, and ensuring sales in these cities, and as a result, cultural representations were harnessed, often deliberately, to promote business and power as a fundamental American concern. (Figure 1) By 1910, the typical provisional office building was a common financial and architectural phenomenon, and the consequences and benefits of this phenomenon were understood fully by Frank Woolworth and Cass Gilbert alike. They were fully aware of the symbolic ideals involved with the construction of the world’s tallest building, its chosen location in New York (Figure 2) and the added fact that this building would be used for commercial purposes. The symbolic nature of the skyscraper is something that would be recognized too by those in the surrounding urban environment. This is due to symbolic interaction as a social psychological perspective that begins with the basic premise that people are active interpreters of their environment. The objective conditions of that environment are seen to influence behaviour through the interpretive process. The social world is composed of acting, thinking, reacting, and interpreting human beings in interaction with each other, and this can all be facilitated with the addition of an architectural entity.2 Symbolic interaction and how it orients thinking about the built environment and the experiencing of cities was one of the defining

characteristics of the City Beautiful movement.3 Initially, the City Beautiful movement was expressed in small-scale projects that reflected its origins in municipal art, civic improvement, and outdoor art. As its aims became clearer, the projects grew more ambitious, so much so that the advocates of the movement strove to improve the visual, moral and social quality of life in small towns and large cities alike.4 During the initial design stages of the Woolworth Building, Gilbert made clear that as a composition, such a work of art was to have monumental and dignified presence in the public spaces of New York City. The interests and goals of planning professionals, including Edward Bassett, George Ford, and Nelson Lewis, who crafted New York’s 1916 zoning ordinance, involved City Beautiful Ideals about urban ensemble.5 By regulating the skyscraper’s vertical line with a setback formula, they preserved individualistic design initiatives while protecting the collective goals of health and visual order, and Gilbert used this to the advantage of the design and the city alike. Together, municipal officers, planners, and civic-minded laypersons worked to develop land-use patterns, set building height and safety standards, and create and expand urban infrastructures that serviced the skyscraper’s technical and human components, ensuring that the building would be seamlessly integrated into the existing urban fabric. In this way skyscraper regulation ultimately enlarged the regulatory powers of municipal government and helped shape a skyscraper urbanism fit to be explored by Cass Gilbert. The City Beautiful extended vertically onto the skyline. 91

URBAN SCALE DESIGN The Woolworth Building, constructed from 1911 to 1913, was one of the most renowned skyscrapers in New York City of its time and was the apex literally and figuratively of the skyscraper boom of the early twentieth century. F.W. Woolworth, the “five-and-ten cent store” tycoon, commissioned Cass Gilbert to design the neo-gothic structure, which at 792 feet remained the tallest building in the world until the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building surpassed it in the 1930s.6 In his design of the Woolworth Building, Gilbert relied on architectural elements of a classical past, with balance and symmetry in architectural massing, a hierarchical arrangement of floors in a grand scheme, clear circulation patterns within and between surrounding buildings, and abundant visual representations of these ideas. Gilbert’s practice and architectural theories suggest that Beaux-Arts aesthetic and urban design principles at this time were neither irrelevant nor incompatible with the realities of skyscraper design, but were a means of making the skyscraper a landmark and a beautiful and monumental ornament to the city. Gilbert also ensured that the building would be seamlessly integrated into its surrounding context, taking into account pedestrian movement in and around the site and exploring the streetscape horizontally. The skyscraper however, also allowed the user to explore the city from a vertical perspective. This involved the evolution of the skyscraper as a building of greater height and structural intricacy—in particular with the use of foundations and systems put in place for wind bracing which was the result 92

of the convergence of a series of themes that Gilbert was exploring throughout his career as commandant of the modern skyscraper.7 The new vantage point provided by the height of the building served to empower the visitor, inverting the sense of insignificance that skyscrapers could induce when seen from the ground. The observation platform offered a new way of looking at urban space and miniaturizing the city into a pattern. From the top floor of a skyscraper the congestion of the streets became another beautiful detail added to the building.8 Gilbert and his engineer shared not only the rational articulation of structure, but also the goal of enhancing the exterior’s illusion of Gothic openness and attenuated verticality. This created a new relationship to the street, which was complimented by Gilbert’s interpretation of what the lobby of a skyscraper should entail. By relating the programmatic and decorative interior open spaces of the building to the exterior public monuments of the era, Gilbert created large, complex spaces that were publicly accessible from the street, drawing the cityscape into the

Figure 3 - Longitudinal Section

PRE-CIAM base of the building. (Figure 3) This defined the Woolworth building as an innovation in office building design, and also added to the pictorial qualities of the city as a whole. City views were becoming increasingly picturesque at this time and the Woolworth Building contributed positively to the skyline. The skyline—an image of America, progress, and picturesque beauty— along with many intricate open spaces and connections conceived piece by piece served to rival capital cities around the world.9 As ever-present as the skyscraper on the skyline was the building’s engagement with nearly every sector of the urban environment. The Woolworth Building represented not only the political and social aspects of the pre-CIAM era, but innovation in the ways that an otherwise civic building can relate to its surrounding and supporting context on many levels. Aside from creating buildings with historical allusions, Gilbert was mindful of their physical surroundings, using ambitious master plans to position his structures and carefully integrate them into the urban fabric. He believed that it was possible to respond to market forces in human terms.10 Whatever the program, he immersed the building’s occupants in a sensory experience. He chose forms, materials, colors, landscape, sculpture and murals to compose visual compositions that conducted the observer through a grand progression of programmatic spaces. The Woolworth Building currently stands as evidence of a fearless pursuit of the decorative arts applied to civic and commercial construction. The intimate relation between indoor and outdoor spaces within a

carefully selected and manipulated site allows the building to influence the user beyond their specific contact with the typical skyscraper aesthetic. The building responds to the site in a way that is as minimally invasive as a skyscraper can be to its site, which is supported in part by its careful placement in proximity to City Hall Park. Skyscrapers that respond to a variety of site conditions dominate twenty-first century New York City, but few have been able to match the success of the Woolworth Building as a project of an urban scale, the likes of which are actively visible today. More than any other phenomenon, the skyscraper has determined the character of the American city, altering its physicality and land use patterns; prompting design, technological and infrastructure developments, creating internal work environments, and redefining boundaries and expectations of individuals that interact with them on a daily basis. Historically, the Woolworth Building stands as the peak of skyscraper construction in pre-CIAM American cities, and its intimate response to its setting classify it as an innovation and major success at the urban scale by the architectural standards of the era. By altering cultural norms and extending the streetscape into the heart of a large building, Gilbert and Woolworth altered public perceptions of the skyscraper. This has rendered the Woolworth building as a civic skyscraper that is both inviting and considerate to those working there on a daily basis, as well as the public, which is why it is appropriate that it stands proudly looking over the contemporary urban environment of New York City today.


1. Anna Creadick, Cultures of Commerce: Representation and American Business Culture 1877-1960, ed. Elspeth H. Brown, (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2006), 279-281. 2. Mark Hutter, Experiencing Cities, (New York: Pearson, 2007), 11. 3. Arnold Lehman, The New York Skyscraper:A History of Its Development, 1870-1939, (Ann Arbor, MN: Xerox University Microfilms, 1974), 128-142. 4. Gail Fenske, Inventing The Skyline: The Architecture of Cass Gilbert, ed. Margaret Heilbrun, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), 257-271. 5. Roberta Moudry, The American Skyscraper, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 19-34. 6. Mark Hutter, Experiencing Cities, (New York: Pearson, 2007), 166-168. 7. Sarah Bradford and Carl W. Condit, Rise of the New York Skyscraper, 1865-1913, (New Haven: Yale University, 1996), 381-391. 8. John Stern, “Pride and Humility in the Woolworth Building and in Ourselves” Aesthetic Realism Looks at New York City, accessed October 20, 2012, <> 9. Fenske, op. cit., 257-271 10. Ibid. FIGURES 1. NY Building Height Comparison: Jenna Tario 2. Location Plan: Appropriated and constructed from maps. 3. Longitudinal Section: Jenna Tario





THE EQUITABLE BUILDING NICHOLAS VAN NIEKERK Ernst R. Grahamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Equitable building in New York City is one of the most influential projects of the 1900â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s known to the planning industry. The larger more efficient superstructure was designed at the same location following a fire in 1912. With intention of allowing for company growth of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, the design falls short of an acceptable plan. Although having aspired to be the largest and greatest structure of the time, the project seemed to overlook many quintessential contextual elements such as, distance of surrounding buildings, surrounding building heights, lot setbacks etc. In result the Equitable building located at 120 Broadway was the last of high-rise towers to not have been affected by the New York City 1916 Zoning Resolution. The drastic effects on the zoning by-laws make this project a highly studied and prime example of poor architectural and planning analysis. Affecting later projects and groups to criticize and dispute the necessity for proper zoning and adding to the complexity of the planning and architectural professions. Further discussion on the projects influence on, surrounding context, social and economic implications. As a well as on the well-known architect, Le Corbusier, a leader in the CIAM group. In addition to this, the paper will investigate ideas the lasting effect of the project, its impact on the industry nationally and globally.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Since the early 1900’s New York has been known to have had many transformations to its architectural intent and overall planning as a city. New York, more specifically in Manhattan for its diverse architecture with respect to tall buildings. Ernst R. Graham’s, Equitable Building in Lower Manhattan, New York City sits amongst many high-rise buildings today. Upon its completion in 1915 prior to the CIAM era, the Equitable building had the largest total floor area for a single building in the world. The colossal scale of this thirty-eight-storey tower paved the way for the Equitable Life Assurance Society’s rapid growth; stimulating a rapid increase in company size and value.1 To create space for the expanded workforce, the erected structure maximized the allowable plot of land with respect to floor area by using the building’s verticality. In terms of the building’s affect and relationship with its context, the architect largely overlook its surrounding effects. Encountering numerous conflicts with neighboring landowners, many concerns inevitably surfaced. The neglecting of zoning laws and regulations common established to preserve and develop areas today had many negative consequences; resulting in large shadows on the surrounding context. The building’s verticality also became an architectural and city planning case study; a prime component leading to the 1916 Zoning Resolution that was established soon after, introduced to avoid the reoccurrence of such severe lighting issues moving forward.2 The Equitable Building created a drastic influence on the future of design, planning and zoning by-laws not only within the city of New York, but 96

worldwide. The project led to many impactful issues that are to be considered when regarding CIAM principles, which emerged several years following the projects completion. Manhattan’s Equitable Building is one of many large scaled projects constructed prior to the architectural era of CIAM. Although a very profitable and properly constructed office building, the effects in which it has presented to the surrounding context are was an unprecedented misfortune. Known for its astronomical floor area, the building lays on an approximate single acre lot located at 120 Broadway. With zero setbacks from the property line, the Equitable Building soars thirtyeight floors above grade. The total building area attains an extreme size of 1,200,000 square feet of internal space, which is approximately thirty times the total lot size.3 In contemporary architecture this scale would be understood as, ‘C30’, which translates into the total allowable building area for commercial construction, is limited to thirty times the lot size, an inexplicably large building scale. Although in the early 1900’s, during the designing of the superstructure such zoning restrictions were non-existent. The underlining scheme for the project was to maximize the rentable floor area in effect to produce the highest total revenue. As stated in the New York Times; “The new Equitable building…was not constructed to create an architectural splurge or to stand as a monument to perpetuate one’s name. The building was planned upon the idea of an ocean liner, to carry a maximum cargo with the highest degree of efficiency, comfort, and











Figure 1 - The Equitable building with its large projected shadow

38 Storeys











Figure 2 - Illustrating the zero setback and scale of the Equitable building

safety to its tenants at a minimum cost.” 2 The services contained by the building were known to be the most excellent of the time to allow for maximum efficiency, with no concern to the overall feasibility. 5 With intent to achieve such desire, a key concept of modern-day planning was overlooked in the process of contextual analysis and identity. This concept is the primary component to the planning industry, demanding the consideration and understanding of: What is needed? Why do we need it? What purpose will it serve the public and the user? What are the effects on the surroundings? Many planning questions must be answered prior to determining and designing the appropriate building for a site. In the case of the Equitable building several elements were overlooked. The outcome of the development left many surrounding landowners less then content. The great monstrosity casts enormous shadows upon its neighboring sites, in some cases reaching a shadow sized at an approximate size of seven acres.6 This resulted in a community outrage since it diminished lot values amongst its surrounding. Due to such controversy, within a year of completion, New York City conceded the 1916 Zoning Resolution, which simply would restrict the reoccurring of irrational skyscrapers. This is to say, in addition to the previous building codes directed towards fire safety and overall general building safety, the city implemented laws regarding building setback from property lines, height restrictions with respect to setbacks, building sizes and shapes, all in order to regulate building designs. Employing zoning by-laws, the

opportunity to construct unreasonable structures can therefore be regulated by the city. The Equitable building became the prime representative to the passing of 1916’s Zoning Resolution, which changed the entire construction and planning industry thereafter.7 This zoning ordinance quickly became a model for many other cities within the United States. Over the course of time, the zoning documents were reworked and advanced for many other supplementary laws to be followed in the designing of all construction projects, whether being skyscrapers, low-rises, mid-rises, highrises, residential, urban, parks etc. Absolutely all projects required proper planning and approval of the city through which laws must be followed and taken into consideration. In modern day, the level of restrictions and by-laws are quite extensive with purpose of eliminating poor construction and creating well-informed structures with the intentions of enhancing the well being of the city. Impacting numerous projects and architectural models, the Equitable Building and the 1916 Zoning law have impinged on a group commonly known as, Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne or CIAM, having emerged in 1928. Le Corbusier a leader of the group having arrived in New York in the late 1930’s was faced with the zoning restrictions that had been implemented year’s prior. Many of the policies, principles and theories developed by CIAM, were contradicting to those of New York’s zoning policies. New York had created a system that was to control the city and its plans of construction, although Le Corbusier was in complete opposition. His desire was to evade 97










focused towards the architects role and process of production1. Apart from CIAM, the Equitable building lead to influence a myriad of architectural projects, prior to its completion, it was never considered to analyze direct lighting, building heights, building shape etc. theses factors are all critical to the surrounding context of a project. The simplicity of the project by simply extruding the property line and filling the building with a large number of elevators was Ernst R. Graham’s way of creating the most efficient building possible at the time. This simplistic approach is not always the appropriate way to success. Builders and architects give the impression of taking the simplest approach of construction in order to yield the largest profit. Le Corbusier appears to follow such method with his dislike for the city of New York’s zoning. Seeing the mistakes presented by Ernst R. Grahams project are widely considered catastrophic by the public yet is a fundamental component and basis to the construction and planning industry that leads the present.


theses regulations and limitations for the reason that he believed such constraints directed the built form, which in his opinion was outrageous and improper.8 Corb stated that the zoning laws were, “quite absurd zoning regulations” 9, and made buildings; “irrational from top to bottom” 10. Le Corbusier clearly believed that regulation in built form was wrong. He viewed that architecture was entirely disconnected from that of social and economical factors and encouraged mechanization and social change within his work and architecture as a whole. This had been brought forth in the first CIAM meeting, in 1928, where Corb was lead to believe that such concept would solve, “America’s Problem”.11 As an architect, Le Corbusier believed that the architect plays an important creative role when having to deal with standardization, social change and mechanization, he states; “The problem it to see what standard is in question and what may properly be standardized. That is research whose conclusions can lead housing and cities to their ruin through inhumanity and oppressive boredom, or can, on the contrary, bring grace, variety, suppleness, and the infinite manifestations of personality…those standards… are the basic expression of what is necessary and sufficient” 12 Although feeling strongly on the subject, Le Corbusier failed to impact the American thoughts and process of construction. Believing in the concepts of mechanization, social change and standardization, in New York, it was upon this that Le Corbusier assembled his thoughts and theories on the built form at the first CIAM debate


Figure 3 - The Equitable building contextual location

PRE-CIAM NOTES 1. New York Times. “Lay Cornerstone of New Equitable; Mayor Mitchel Will Officiate Next Wednesday at Big Building.” New York Times, April 26, 1914. 2. “New York City Department of City Planning .” NYC Zoning About New York City Zoning . shtml(accessed October 23, 2012). 3. White, Norval , and Elliot Willensky. A.I.A Guide To New York City. 4th ed. New York City: Three Rivers Press, 2000. 4. New York Times, op. cit. 5. Bacon, Mardges. “The Consequences of Transatlantic Exchange.” In Le Corbusier in America: travels in the land of the timid. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press,2001. 256-259. 6. New York Times, op. cit. 7. ibid. 8. Mardges, op. cit. 256 9. ibid. 10. ibid. 257 11. ibid. 257 12. ibid. 259 FIGURES 1. Shadow Diagram: van Niekerk, Nicholas: Equitable Building projected shadow. 2012 2. Zoning Diagram: van Niekerk, Nicholas: Equitable Building Zoning. 2012 3. Map: appropriated from: antonysuttonskull27.jpg





BLOOR STREET VIADUCT JAMES HEUSSER.KOWOLL The Bloor Street Viaduct located in Toronto, Ontario, is one of the largest pieces of infrastructure built in Toronto during the Twentieth Century. What would later be renamed the Prince Edward Viaduct, the Bloor Street Viaduct was proposed for a stretch of land in the north of Toronto that was divided by the Don Valley River into disconnected east and west portions. Completed in 1919, this pre-Ciam structure addressed one of the fundamental elements of the Athenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Charter of large super-roads that would separate out various modes of transportation, such as car, train, and pedestrian. The project was full of political strife, and heavily influenced by the sociopolitical atmosphere that comprised Toronto in the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Architectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Burke and Lyle were both fundamental in very different ways to the success of the project, paying attention to the fluctuating values of the time.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Bloor Street Viaduct Planning Much of a report released by the Civic Improvement Committee in December 1911 is heavily influenced by the City Beautiful movement, however, “the chief focus of the committee’s report was road improvements, with Toronto’s lack of continuous thoroughfares seen as the most pressing issue.”1 The development of and access to cheap lands that were otherwise physically disconnected was a priority to facilitate this goal of urban sprawl in hopes of accommodating the recent population boom, providing adequate transportation for workers to and from the city, and remedying the growing slum problems that the city faced. The density and height of already existing family-centered neighbourhoods was not to be intensified or increased.2 Toronto Site At the onset of the twentieth century, Toronto’s population was booming. The population growth was due in large part to prewar immigration from Europe, and much of the working class immigrants were settling in the Danforth suburbs east of the Don Valley River.3 Reports taken from the Journal of the Engineering Institute of Canada in 1919 indicate that this specific site played a key role in determining the success of the city’s progress: The development of the City of Toronto, and particularly of the eastern part, has, since an early period, been seriously hampered by reason of the Don Valley 102

River.4 The Physical Context Before the construction of the Bloor Street Viaduct the entire portion of land that Bloor Street now sits on just north of Howard Street was in fact all part of the Rosedale Ravine. People were forced to travel south on the privately owned streetcar line that serviced Broadview Avenue (owned by the Toronto Street Rail) and use one of the southern bridging points at either Gerrard or Queen, neither of which was able to accommodate the increasing congestion.5 The Social and Cultural Contexts To the east of the Don Valley River were the growing suburbs that housed much of the working class who travelled in over-packed streetcars to and from the city on a daily basis: The cars were small and rickety...and in all seasons ‘women and children were crammed in with labourers with liquor on their breaths’.6 On the opposite side, to the west of the Don Valley River, was the very desirable site of Rosedale occupied entirely by highclass residences and “ranked among the best residential districts of Toronto”. Rosedale residents feared that the viaduct not only jeopordized the value of their properties, but also the quality of their lives.7,8 The Political Context The city was divided into supporters of privately owned services and supporters of publicly owned services. The divide was even visible between the major local papers.9 Amongst all the debate, one man

Figure 1 - Proposal for Radial Roads Figure 2 - Bloor-Danforth Pre-Viaduct


Figure 3 - Viaduct Through South Rosedale Figure 4 - Symmetrical Pier Spacing

stands out as the driving force behind the Bloor Street Viaduct: Horatio C. Hocken, one-time mayor of Toronto and member of the city’s powerful Board of Control who may have seen the subway as a means of breaking the TSR’s monopoly. 10 The City of Toronto was also in a state of geographical growth, yet since the area north of the Danforth had not yet been absorbed by the city, there was much contention that residents of this area would not be required to help in financing the project. 11 Design Principles of Lyle and Burke Both Architects Lyle and Burke address various key design principles at different scales. Lyle’s dealt with the project on a larger scale. His plan for the Bloor Street Viaduct suggested the construction of a terrace in the south end of the Rosedale Ravine on which Bloor Street could be continued at a compromised, yet relatively straight, projection. “It’s also the piece of the viaduct that made the whole thing politically viable.”12 One guiding principle was respecting the current property owners in the surrounding area. Before Lyle’s clever solution, there were three alternatives to the single mile-long bridge all of which (including the original) were unsatisfactory to various stakeholders.13 Lyle’s built terrace allowed for enough distance between the extended roadways and the adjacent properties and was able to satisfy the majority of the stakeholders. Another design principle was the desire to maintain a direct route to facilitate

better transportation. Although Lyle’s proposal was 250 ft longer than the direct route, it only deviated 100 ft southward, and as the Guild of Civic Art had pointed out, most travellers from the east would be headed south to the downtown core anyways.14 The deviation would indeed be a time-saver.15 Finally, the principle to reduce material usage and thus costs was also influential in Lyle’s proposal. By deviating southward 100ft, Lyle was able to propose orienting the bridge almost perpendicular to the Rosedale Valley and thus drastically reduce its length as otherwise proposed in the original design.16 Burke on the other hand dealt with the finer aspects of the project. One design principle paid attention to by Burke was how the aesthetic treatment of the bridge would affect property values and thus city revenues. As stated in the Contract Record, “In such a district, it is essential that the architectural features of the structure be given the closest consideration, as the expenditure of a fair sum of money in this direction will make thousands of dollars’ difference to the value of adjacent property and a proportionate difference to the city’s revenue from that property”.17 Some of the techniques employed by Burke are bridges that resemble each other in many ways, steel work masked by side walls of reinforced concrete to produce abutments that appear massive, and very careful material selection and treatment of the parapet handrails.18 Perhaps the principle of future adaptability is perhaps what made the Bloor Street Viaduct such a successful project, 103

URBAN SCALE DESIGN considering its current service of the BloorDanforth subway line. That being said, it was only the lower subway decks in the bridge over the Don section that could be used, for the Rosedale section was found to have too large a curvature, and so the TTC had to construct its own bridge.19,20 Political Processes In order for the project to go forward, it was necessary for the ratepayers of Toronto to vote in favour of the by-law to spend the money on the viaduct. The first two times the matter was voted on during the municipal elections of 1910 and 1911, the proposal was rejected.21 Later that year, in 1911 the Board of Control approved a by-law authorizing the necessary funds for the construction of a number of subway lines, but “since the by-law was some $2 Million over the city’s remaining borrowing power, it was illegal for the Board of Control to pass it”, and if the project was to indeed continue, “there would have to be a referendum.”22 In 1912, the viaduct was approved but a ballot counting error was discovered, and for the third time, the viaduct had been defeated.24 The following year, after City Council officially adopted Lyle’s solution, the municipal election approved the $2.5 million needed for the viaduct’s construction by a large majority.25,26 As accurately summarized in The Journal of the Engineering Institute of Canada: “the verdicts rendered at the three elections indicate, on the part of the Toronto public, a growing appreciation of civic improvements.”27 104

Appropriateness Considering the general design values of Toronto at the onset of the Twentieth Century as described herein, such as, road improvements and thoroughfares, and the transfer of services form the private to the public sector, the Bloor Street Viaduct can be considered an appropriate project.

PRE-CIAM NOTES 1. Mark Osbaldeston. Unbuilt Toronto: A History of the City that might have been. (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2008), 22-23. 2. Hans Werner. Bridging politics : a political history of the Bloor Street Viaduct. (Toronto: Werner, 1989), 3-5. 3. “Toronto History FAQs.” Toronto Archives, accessed October 19, 2012, 4. Thomas Taylor, “The Bloor Street Viaduct, Toronto, Ontario,” The Journal of Engineering Institute of Canada 2, no. 7 (1919): 485. 5. Werner. Bridging politics, 2-3. 6. Ibid. 7. “Suggested Design in Reinforced Concrete for Proposed Bloor Street Viaduct, Toronto,“ The Contract Record (1914): 1398. 8. Werner. Bridging politics, 14. 9. Ibid., 7-17. 10. Ibid., 5-7. 11. Osbaldeston, Unbuilt Toronto, 114-115. 12. Ibid. 13. Werner. Bridging politics, 14. 14. Ibid., 15. 15. Osbaldeston, Unbuilt Toronto, 114-115. 16. “Steel Joined on Bloor Street Viaduct, Toronto,“ The Contract Record (May, 1917): 409. 17. “Suggested Design in Reinforced Concrete”: 1398. 18. Taylor, “The Bloor Street Viaduct”: 491-93. 19. Ibid.: 488-89. 20. Osbaldeston, Unbuilt Toronto, 120. 21. Ibid., 114. 22. Werner. Bridging politics, 8-9. 23. Ibid., 13 24. Osbaldeston, Unbuilt Toronto, 115. 25. Ibid. 26. Werner. Bridging politics, 12-13. 27. Taylor, “The Bloor Street Viaduct”: 485. FIGURES 1. Proposal for Radial Roads: appropriated from http://static. 2. Bloor-Danforth Pre-Viaduct: appropriated from http://static. 3. Viaduct Through South Rosedale: appropriated from http:// 4. Symmetrical Pier Spacing: appropriated from Taylor, “The Bloor Street Viaduct”: 490. 5. Original Mile-Long Plan: appropriated from Ibid., 486. 6. Lyle’s Solution: appropriated from Ibid. 7. Section of Completed Viaduct: appropriated from https:// e=City+of+Toronto+Archives&UserName=wa+public&Password=&TemplatePr ocessID=6000_1580_11104&bCachable=1&MenuName=City+of+Toronto+Arc hives&eloquentref=toronto

Figure 5 - Original Mile-Long Plan Figure 6 - Lyle’s Solution Figure 7 - Section of Completed Viaduct 105




THE GARDEN CITY OF WELWYN ASEM ALHADRAB [A Garden City is] “a town designed for healthy living and industry of a size that makes possible a full measure of social life but not larger, surrounded by a rural belt; the whole of the land being in public ownership, or held in trust for the community.” - The Garden Cities and Town Planning Association In early 20th century London, the Garden City Movement as conceived by Ebenezer Howard was not only appropriate, but a necessity. London’s ailing urban planning scheme was in desperate need of revitalization, and a planned population dispersal reorganization scheme was essential to London’s sustainable growth and to avoid collapse. This essay will delve into the social, cultural, political and economic context of London during the early 20th Century, discuss the Garden City Movement and Ebenezer Howard’s Second Garden City of Welwyn built in 1919, and also their respective impacts on London, CIAM, and the future of cities. Welwyn was chosen as the Garden City of focus as it was intended to rectify errors carried out in the First Garden City of Letchworth, and act as relief to the London’s ailing urban planning scheme by redirecting population dispersal into neighboring, self sustaining communities. This essay will also serve to highlight Welwyn’s successes and failures, and evaluate them based on whether or not it was an ‘appropriate design.’



“Half a century after its publication and two decades after its author’s death, this modest book had spawned an Act of Parliament and the designation of a score of new towns in his native country. Seldom in history can any book have had such an extraordinary impact.” 1 The aforementioned ‘modest book’ is Ebenezer Howard’s To-Morrow! A Peaceful Path to Real Reform published in 1898, republished four years later as Garden Cities of Tomorrow. Through planned population dispersal, this publication spurred wave after wave of garden cities throughout the world, with the underlying principle being of a self-sustaining, economically independent city with a green belt about the periphery, chiefly to serve the city within. The Garden City was intended to end neighborhood class distinctions, and create a vibrant community where inhabitants were able travel to and from work quickly and readily. Although globally accepted as an overall success, however, the First Garden City of Letchworth fell below Howard’s expectations,2 and thus began the planning and execution of the second. By 108

1919, Howard founded the site of The Garden City of Welwyn, which was intended to surpass and be superior to Letchworth. The site was approximately thirty four kilometres north of London along the main line of the Great Northern Railroad, and consisted of twenty four thousand acres of high land. The site was located on a greenfield, unobstructed by any previous developments and was chosen specifically as it was virgin land, and fell within the principles Howard had outlined in his publication, the key characteristic being its proximity to London.3 The site was divided into four large parcels by the Great Northern Rail line and the main line, and while the commercial and civic areas were formally arranged, the residential districts featured irregular road layouts and spaces as “the resulting oddshaped blocks often contained cul-de-sacs and closes.”4 The preliminary plan was drafted by C.M. Crickmer, however was heavily modified as it came to fruition by the appointed architect planner, Louis de Soissons in 1921, who had trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and

Figure 1 - (Aboe Left) Original Welwyn Garden City layout plan, 1921, by Louis de Soissons. The dominant north south axis of the rail line and east west main line separates the land into four distinct parcels . Figure 2 - (Above Centre) Welwyn Garden City layout plan, 1965, highlighting the main road network. Figure 3 - (Above Right) Welwyn Garden City principle land uses, red - industry, blue - residential, magenta - civic function and green - surrounding green belt and landscaping.


Figure 4 - (Above Left) Built up area in London, 1840, highlighting original Roman London, the Thames River, 10km radial growth rings and the location of Welwyn Garden City to the north. Figure 4 - (Above Centre) Built up area, London, 1880. Figure 5 - (Above Right) Built up area, London, 1914.

became the Second Garden City Company’s architect until his death in 1962.5 Soissons was very stringent over building quality and the city’s architecture, and “the consequence of Soissons’ long and very comprehensive supervision of the physical development of Welwyn Garden City is a high overall standard of harmony,”6 as the city is packaged neatly in a neo-Georgian architectural style. Another key design principle at work in the development of the Welwyn Garden City was that of a specific landscaping design scheme, where a rural-country type feel was implemented along with the ‘English front gardens,’ all culminating in a low density planned community.7 The garden city movement was also instrumental in the CIAM discourses which were to follow from 1929-1933, as arguments developed by advocates of the Garden City 8 movement laid the foundation for CIAM. O n e such example is Raymond Unwin’s publication Nothing Gained by Overcrowding, which exhibits the first early explorations in existenzminimum “with its goal of ‘secur[ing] adequate light and fresh air for healthy, adequate un-built-on ground

for convenience,’ it tried to define a minimal standard for the human living environment.”9 Up until the advances made by the industrial revolution, London’s population growth was wholly dependent on the steady flow of immigrants, and by 1900 over six million individuals lived in London alone,10 By the late 1890’s, the growing population of lower class farmers had begun to steer itself toward the city in the hopes of finding employment solutions, abandoning the rural farms. The current taxation system: a dual tax on both the occupation of, and resulting income from, commercial land was proving itself a deterrent to low income farmers.11 With the social structure of London threatened, the government mulled over its options. It was in the midst of this near crisis that Henry George’s idea of a single land value tax gained credence (expressed in his 1879 American publication Progress and Poverty), which Howard incorporated into the ideals of the Garden City Movement.12 This idea promoted the return to land cultivation in two ways; the prospect of taxation based on the unchanging 109

URBAN SCALE DESIGN value of land provided relief to those reluctant to cultivate their land, while deterring those who would purchase land solely as an investment. However, high land taxes, continuing expropriation and evictions consistently brought rural countrymen into the city. “In particular, there was a drift of population from the heartland of British agriculture … into the capital, which grew at great speed and – coupled with conversion of homes to offices and railway building – left many people trapped in central-city slums.”13 The twenty years of agricultural depression resulted in the seeming obsolescence of agrarian land, as it was estimated that by 1902, in Hertfordshire, England, 20% of farms were unoccupied.14 Naturally, the scarcity of produce would lead to dramatic price increases as food items grew rarer,15,16 or came from further away.17 These factors, combined with the horrific living conditions harboured resentment among the working class, and it was apparent to the affluent that a violent uprising was imminent.18 This was one of many reasons that Howard’s publication was so emphatically received. Howard’s chief concern and goal was to reverse the flow of migration1 back out into the countryside as he proposed the model of the three magnets, that being of the town, country, and town-country. The invention here was that of the town-country, which would incorporate the most attractive qualities of both urban life and the countryside into one planned, self sustaining city.19 The Second Garden City of Welwyn, eventually fell prey to ailments similar to those of which plagued Letchworth, however, as class division soon followed an inept overall scheme. 110

Soissons “placed the civic and commercial centers in the southwest parcel with the two sections east of the main line reserved for an industrial district with adjacent working-class housing - creating, in effect, a wrong side of the tracks”20 Which reduced overall quality of living by not creating a mixed atmosphere. Also, the associated housing projects which proposed communal kitchens, laundries and family spaces were abandoned,21 resulting in a shortage of low-income housing. Furthermore, in 1931-34, financial troubles threatened the City’s success, and major reorganizational schemes were put into motion that eventually removed the limit on stock dividends,22 which made the Second Garden City Company’s stock become more appealing to investors and speculators23 - effectively violating the basic tenet of the Garden City Movement: that being that the “unearned increment in land values must benefit the community rather than profit the speculator.”24 “In 1919, Howard ... stated the purpose of Welwyn Garden City as the ‘illustration of the right way to provide for the expansion of the industries and population’ of London.”25 The relocation of the working class to peripheral cities not only guaranteed working class Londoners adequate housing and living conditions, but also allowed for the revitalization of inner city slums within the city of London. While design values are consistently in a state of flux, a conscious design decision to enhance the lives of current and future generations of users may always be deemed as appropriate - especially when taking London’s working class urban living

conditions of poverty, disease and overcrowding into consideration. Howard positted a realistic model to eliminate uncontrolled urban sprawl while preserving a high walkability index for inhabitants in a pre-automotive city. Although Welwyn has eventually become a commuter’s city of London, and overall has become similar to Letchworth in its failures, the experiment of the Second Garden City of Welwyn was a critical move forward for the architecture and urban planning communities, and paved the way for the futures of cities.

PRE-CIAM NOTES 1. Peter Hall and Colin Ward, Sociable Cities: The Legacy of Ebenezer Howard. (West Sussex: Wiley, 1998), 3. 2. Walter L. Creese, The Search for the Environment, The Garden City: Before and After. (Conneticut: Yale, 1966), 203-218. 3. Stanly Buder, Visionaries and Planners: The Garden City Movement and the Modern Community. (New York: Oxford, 1990), 1-44. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid. 7. Ibid. 8. 6. Konstanze Sylva Domhardt, “The garden city idea in the CIAM discourse on urbanism: a path to comprehensive planning,” Planning Perspectives, 27 (2012):2, accessed October 24, 2012. 9. Ibid. 10. John Reader, Cities, (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2004) 1-88. 11. Stanly Buder, Visionaries and Planners: The Garden City Movement and the Modern Community. (New York: Oxford, 1990), 1-44. 12. Peter Hall and Colin Ward, Sociable Cities: The Legacy of Ebenezer Howard. (West Sussex: Wiley, 1998), 1-18. 13. Ibid. 14. Ibid. 15. Walter L. Creese, The Search for the Environment, The Garden City: Before and After. (Conneticut: Yale, 1966), 203-218. 16. 7. John Reader, Cities, (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2004) 1-88. 17. Ibid. 18. Ian MacBurnie, “Urbanization, Regulation, and Design Part 1” (Lecture, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, September 14, 2012.) 19. Merwyn Miller, “The Origins of the Garden City Neighborhood,” in From Garden City to Green City: The Legacy of Ebenezer Howard, ed. Kermit C. Parsons and David Schuyler. (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2002), 99-130. 20. Stanly Buder, Visionaries and Planners: The Garden City Movement and the Modern Community. (New York: Oxford, 1990), 1-44. 21. Stanly Buder, Visionaries and Planners: The Garden City Movement and the Modern Community. (New York: Oxford, 1990), 1-44. 22. Ibid. 23. Ibid. 24. Ibid. 25. Ibid. FIGURES 1. Original Welwyn Garden City Layout Plan, 1921 appropriated from: Merwyn Miller, “The Origins of the Garden City Neighborhood,” in From Garden City to Green City: The Legacy of Ebenezer Howard, ed. Kermit C. Parsons and David Schuyler. (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2002), 126. 2. Welwyn Garden City Layout Plan, 1965 appropriated from: Stanly Buder, Visionaries and Planners: The Garden City Movement and the Modern Community. (New York: Oxford, 1990), 116. 3. Welwyn Garden City Principle Land Uses appropriated from: Buder. 4. Build up area in London, 1840 appropriated from: Ian MacBurnie. 5. Build up area in London, 1880 appropriated from: MacBurnie. 6. Build up area in London, 1914 appropriated from: MacBurnie.





AUSTRALIA’S PLANNED CAPITAL TIFFANY TSE Walter Burley Griffin won the competition to design Australia’s capital, Canberra, in 1912. However, due to the war, the government diverted many of their funds, wanted to lower the scale of the project and compromised many of the key designs. Fortunately, the plan of Canberra remained quite similar to the plan which Griffin initially designed. As a representation of federation, he wanted to create a plan that would complement and accentuate the natural beauty of the site; he wished to create a city that would be flexible to urban growth and encourage community interaction. Without any major historical events or buildings to guide the plan for the development of Canberra, Griffin used the area’s most significant feature: the surrounding nature and scenic beauty. Inspired by the Garden City Movement and City Beautiful Movement, the importance of the site to this planning project is quite prominent: the original plan distributes function through the construct of its natural environment. Constructed before the Congrès Internationaux D’architecture Modern (CIAM) and the Athens Charter, it shares similar goals, responding to the natural context and providing for many green space areas. Canberra’s use of nature to shape the city plan provides the urban context with an allusion of country qualities and causes it to be adaptable to ongoing growth and change.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Continuous growth and modernization has always been a crucial concern to evolving cities. It is an element which determines many components of human living and interaction. Urban planning and revitalization projects alike have had to include this obstacle in their design. Town planning and urban design projects have always been created to better serve civilians and provide for a better living environment. Even as the city continues to grow, the plan integrates the functional needs of the inhabitants with other important components, such as aesthetics and flexibility. An illustration of a planned city which is well adapted to the ongoing urbanization of Australia is its capital Canberra. Canberra, when designed as the capital city of Australia, was subject to urbanization; therefore, it was important that the planner, architect Walter Burley Griffin, create a city which would be flexible to growth and change. A unique feature of the location selected was the scenic attributes that nature provided. Griffin, inspired by the City Beautiful Movement, the Garden City Movement, and the Prairies School, took advantage of this feature and used it to characterize and define Canberra.1 Griffin used waterways and dominant natural features to provide as axis of the major streets, while creating areas of specific function based on the topography and using nature as a separator for the radial plan. The natural environment is a long term component of any site and city; therefore, planning a city around natural and environmental features allows for the city’s continuous urbanization to be easily adaptable to the site and provides the urban environment with elements of the country. 114

After federation was established in Australia, it was necessary for a capital city to be designated as the urban center of the country. Due to the ongoing rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney, it was decided neither would become the capital, but rather, a new city would be created in a location between the two existing ones.2 A competition for the design and plan of Canberra was held in 1911. Walter Burley Griffin, a Chicago based architect’s design was selected in 1912, due to the plan’s display of appreciation for the environment’s natural context.3 Griffin, decided to accentuate the nature of the site because Australia was a fairly new country. There was no historical context, or any existing buildings to guide his creation; however, he noticed the patterns of topography, the nearby mountains, and the waterways which existed on

Figure 1 - (Above Left) The above diagram details the different circulation axis Figure 2 - (Above) The “Parliamentary Triangle” designed by Griffin to house all important institutions


Height Level of Important Buildings Height Level of Standard Building

Parliament Area Elevated

Figure 3 - (Above) Illustrates Griffinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s use of topography in planning Figure 4 - (Bottom) outlines the similarities present day Canberra holds to Griffinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s original plan

Area Institutional Buildings of Lower Hierarchy

Capital Hill Elevated

the site.4 As the war broke out, funding for the city had to be reduced to supplement the war efforts, causing the government to ask for the scale of the project to be lowered.5 After many meetings, debates, and public council meetings, certain secondary features were reduced and Griffin was removed as the lead overseeing this project.6 Fortunately, much of Griffinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plan still remains presently and is part of a master plan initiated by the Australian government in 2004.6 Using natural features as guidelines, Griffin created a city which was adaptable to growth and change without compromising the presence of green space. One of the main uses of natural features present in Canberra is implementing major points of nature as the guide to creating central axis and means of circulation. The main land axis runs from Mount Ainslie through Kurrajong Hill, towards Bimberi Peak, framing all three of these mountains in the process.7 The water axis runs from the Black Mountain towards the southeast.8 Finally, the main street, present-day Constitution Avenue runs parallel to the water axis, it forms a triangle with the apex being Kurrajong Hill (Refer to Figure 1 & 2).9 Inspired by the City Beautiful movement of Daniel Burnham, Griffin believed in the idea of

grandeur and monumental civic structures.10 This hypothetical triangle was important as it was a representation of the heart of the city, with all the civic significance framing its boundaries. At its corners are the Municipal Government, the Capital and the Market Centre.11 The most important buildings are to be located within this triangle while other minor forms of axis are to be created in relation to it. This relation with the natural context was meant to offer civilians an experience that their built environment was second nature, yet convey the essence of civic glory.12 During this period, Australia wanted to introduce a new form of social culture by creating an abundance of space for outdoor congregation.13 The use of nature as a dominant guide to circulation creates a serene atmosphere encouraging pedestrian traffic and increasing the chances and areas of social interaction. It offered the city a basic plan and concept. All civic buildings would incorporate the grandeur style and be positioned in a location of stature, incorporating the importance of aesthetic, as well as function. The select area designed as the core of Canberra offered future planners a basic organization of site to infer possible solutions while dealing with the growth of Canberra. From this core, the rest of the city 115

URBAN SCALE DESIGN was separated with designated programs which radiated from this urban center. The Congrès Internationaux Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;architecture Modern (CIAM), a modern movement found in 1928, offered many progressive guidelines on improving the city to better suit the functional requirements of its inhabitants.14 It suggested devising specific areas for certain functions to better develop its required needs and strategically placing them to encourage certain human behaviour. Walter Burley Griffin was ahead of his time, as he used the existing natural contours and characteristics of Canberra to group certain functions and place them for the benefit of the people.15 The greatest change in elevation, the hills, was designed to be the site of the most prominent and distinguishing structures. An example of the use of topography to distinguish building hierarchy would be Capital Hill, which sat upon the apex and biggest change in buildable topography, on Kurrajong Hill.16 With its elevated site, the government building provided a monumental and grand experience (Refer to Figure 3). As it was elevated, it could be viewed from further away, and it was a constant reminder of their democracy and freedom.17 They offered a very demanding presence and could be seen from far off. As these elevations began to decrease, the function of the building would lower in hierarchy as well. Additionally, he outlined areas that would be left alone in order to separate certain functions and provide the urban neighbourhood with a multitude of parks and green space.18 These areas were determined based on the 116

views and vistas that it provided as well as the quality of the land for plants and vegetation.19 It was important that Walter Burley Griffin examined the geology, topography and natural features of the site as it provided exceptional insight onto the organization of programming for his planned city. Prominent buildings would be located in elevated areas and in close proximity to the lake, and park space would have to be surveyed for its quality and views. Grouping and situating the programmatic spaces in relation to the natural site offered Canberra with a rare abundance of park space in an urban environment and provided future planners with an easier scheme to follow. Planned cities have always successfully incorporated different natural features with functional elements, even when they are considered a flaw or disadvantage. Similarly, the site of Canberra was not perfect; a portion of the area was subject to flooding due to the flood plain of the Monlonglo River.20 Many entries of the competition ignored this detail and designed this area to be a park or open space. However,

Figure 5 - (Above)The evolution of Lake Walter Burley Griffin , from inception to present day Figure 6 - (Bottom) Highlights the many green space areas the city holds

PRE-CIAM to Griffin’s advantage, he designated this area to be a chain of artificial lakes.21 After examining the success of incorporating bodies of water in many cities, Griffin was convinced that the city of Canberra would similarly benefit from one.22 At the time, it was the largest pool of artificial water and is presently known as Lake Burley Griffin, named after the architect who designed Canberra.23 Griffin wanted a synthetic lake not only for its aesthetic presence, but also to act as a divider to separate the many functions Canberra was to hold. Mainly, it separated the government area from the recreational space.24 Griffin believed that the designated recreational area would create a new interactive outdoor culture and be the most popular location for social congregation. Having the water adjacent to this area would allow for a waterfront park or congregational space encouraging the public to relax and socialize. Additionally, the chain of lakes consisted of two adjacent basins. The straight shore by the center of the lake was considered a water axis, parallel to the municipal axis (linking City Hill and Market Centre) offering a different style of circulation, meeting the apex of Kurrajong Hill at a right angle.25 They were also symbolic to the mentality of the nation, after establishing federation; the nation was evolving into a more sophisticated civilization with the use of domestic and sanitary systems.26 The lake also naturally ran into the river, aligning and grouping the residential neighbourhoods.27 The institutional structures still remain on the south of the lake directly facing the war memorial and park. Although the form of the lake has evolved since its original plan (Refer to Figure

5), the creation of Lake Burley Griffin provided Canberra with contact to the natural environment in an urban setting, while providing function as a divider of program which is still used presently. Walter Burley Griffin’s plan for Canberra was extremely forward thinking as it was able to incorporate many important aspects of planning a city. He was able to include the importance of the presence of nature in a dense area and provided a natural solution in which generations of planners could easily build from as Canberra continued to grow and urbanize. A city can never be designed on a clean slate; there are always different factors which must be taken into account: the site and natural environment being a major cause. Canberra, selected as the capital was subject to imminent growth, and Griffin was able to design a plan which incorporated the natural scenic qualities and functional elements it could provide to enhance his plan. Due to many factors, multiple sections of the original plan never came to be; however, Walter Burley Griffin’s plan of Australia is still the centerpiece to the planning of Australia. Presently, as Canberra urbanizes, the original plan can still be seen and it remains to be a major factor in the current planning and revitalization projects of the city.

NOTES 1. Fisher, KF 1984, Canberra: Myths and Models, Institute of Asian Affairs, Hamburg, P10. 2. Freeston, R 2007, Designing Australia’s Cities, UNSW Pressbook, New York, P25 3. Firth, D 2000, Behind the Landscape of Lake Burley Griffin: landscape, water, politics and the national capital 1899-1964, University of Canberra, pp36-37. 4. National Capital Authority, 2004, The Griffin Legacy: Canberra the nation’s capital in the 21st Century, Commonwealth of Austra lia, p33. 5. Reid, p 2002, Canberra Following Griffin: A Design History of Austrlia’s National Capital, National Archives of Austrlia, p201 6. Holford, W 1961, Advisory Report on the Landscape of the Canberra Lake Scheme, Canberra ACT for the National Capital Devel opment commission, p 2. 7. Taylor, K 2006, Canberra: City in the Landscape, Halstead Press, Ultimo, p133. 8. Reid, P, op cit, p 334 9. Holford, op cit, p 52 10. Firth, op cit, p 96 11. Fisher, op cit p26 12. Freeston, op cit p 98 13. Freeston, op cit p 231 14. National Capital Authority, op cit p 146 15. Holford, op cit, p 37 16. Freeston, op cit p 135 17. Taylor, op city p 85 18. Firth, op cit, p 78 19. Freeston, op cit p 147 20. Fisher, op cit p53 21. Fisher, op cit p85 22. Freeston, op cit p 160 23. Firth, op cit, p 158 24. Taylor, op city p 190 25. Taylor, op city p 195 26. Holford, op cit, p 59 27. Taylor, op city p 221 FIGURES 1,2,3 and 5. Appropriated from planning-1.html 4. Appropriated from Senate/Research_and_Education/pops/pop57/c01 6. Appropriated from national-assessments/canberra/pubs/canberra-factsheet- june2012.pdf





THE RITZ TOWER RESPONSE JONATHAN CLARKE Prosperity had hit New York City in the 1920s and the needs, conditions, and contexts of the city were changing rapidly. There were many demands for new developments that needed to be met; including a demand by the affluent for luxury residences. In the bourough of Manhattan developers were forced to build upwards due to the scarcity of land. These new towers had very little regulations and were causing social problems. These social problems in combination with the political turmoil at the time helped to create the 1916 New York City Zoning Resolution. This resolution created districts for land use, stipulations requiring open lot area, and stipulations requiring the buildings to step back as they rose. The Ritz Tower was created from the contexts of the time, the requirements of the 1916 ‘Zoning Resolution’, and the response by Emery Roth, John Carrére, and Thomas Hastings to the relevant conditions of the site making the Ritz Tower an exemplary example of how unified urban planning measures impact architecture and subsequently, the city. CIAM formed two years after the Ritz’s construction and would task itself in addressing some of the similar conditions and contexts that the Ritz Tower had already addressed.



With the brutality of World War I ending in 1918, the United States found itself in a state of prosperity named ‘the roaring twenties’. This economic shift paved the way for social, cultural, and political change that subsequently impacted architecture. When the employed citizens’ “per capita income grew by a third”1 they were able to spend money on what they wanted instead of only being able to afford what they needed. After 1913, when cars became widely available,2 the roads of New York became highly congested.3 The congestion of roads slowed traffic and public transit, creating a new desire for housing within the city. Developers responded by commissioning ”residential high rises… so people could live close to their place of employment”4. The lack of land virtually forced developers to increase their development’s density by increasing the building’s height. Therefore, prosperity and the emergence of the automobile had indirectly created a greater need for downtown housing. In the early 1920s, the overcrowding of the proletariat class was being addressed with the ‘tenement housing’ 120

of the Progressive Age (1890-1920)5, however there was a new demand of the affluent people that had yet to be addressed. They demanded luxurious housing located in the downtown area. This new social concern would be solved by developments like The Ritz Tower. Before The Ritz Tower could fill this new social demand it had to be first subjected to the political context of the time. The political context of 1925 New York was one of turmoil. The mayor of New York, John Hylan, worked against the “invisible government”6 that had “reached out into every direction so successfully that men with any individuality at all had lost hope”7. This political turmoil was a reaction to the recent, and current, exploitation of the average worker by their powerful employers. Even though the conditions for workers had improved since the turn of the century there were many problems that still needed to be addressed. The recent formation of labour unions would inevitably create more social and political turmoil, for they were considered to be formed by radicals and were being deemed as “un-American”8. This

Figure 1 - NYC’s ‘romantic symbol’ skyline25


Figure 2 - Massing & Stepback Diagram26

charged political climate may have pressured politicians to act beneficially to the public rather than for economic interests. These were the political conditions that may have helped to create the first American zoning ordinance. Before 1916, New York’s skyscrapers could be extrusions of a plot of land to any bulk and height the developers wanted. Typically, these new developments were built to a maximized bulk and maximized height to yield the highest profits and quickest returns. The 1916 ‘Building Zone Resolution’ was the response to social concerns, namely the lack of sunlight and fresh air reaching the sidewalk9 (see figure 4), that these extrusions that had created. The zoning resolution would limit architectural form in many ways but, as Hugh Ferris explored, these forms could still take on a variety of different possibilities. Although the regulations formed buildings that would stepback in a style “resembling a Babylonian ziggurat”10, Ferris showed that the end form was a product of the architect’s will. With the new zoning regulations adopted, The Ritz Tower’s form already began to take its massing shape (see figure 2). However, before the zoning regulation could be applied the site was first chosen, the relevant contexts were investigated and attempted to be addressed. The location of the site of the Ritz Tower was probably chosen because it was zoned as a residential street and had several important amenities in the area11. The Ritz was adjacent to a major transport artery (Park Avenue), above a subway line, and within blocks of Central Park. The site did not address social problems, such

as social housing, because of its prominent location. Therefore, with the developers agenda aside, since the site for the Ritz tower was prominent, the site’s location changed which contexts were more relevant to the development. For The Ritz Tower the relevant contexts were mostly those which effected the affluent class. The Ritz’s form would be further altered by the site’s designated parameters outlined in the ‘Zoning Resolution’ of 1916. The 1916 ‘Zoning Resolution’ regulated the bulk of buildings, the area of yards, and the allowable uses12. The location that was chosen for the Ritz tower was designated to a one and one-half times height by the resolution13. In this district “no building [could] be erected to a height one and one-half times the width of the street”14 (see figure 3). Therefore, the allowable height on 57th Street would be significantly less than the allowable height on Park Avenue. Additionally, the regulation stipulates that in this district, for every one foot of building stepback, the height can be increased by three vertical feet. The Ritz Tower steps back more quickly and frequently on 57th Street than on Park Avenue emulating the zoning regulation directly (see figure 2). The Ritz Tower was formed as an ‘appropriate’ response to social concerns and political context that it was developed in. The area of the yard was stipulated in districts as well. The site falls under a ‘District B’ designation15 requiring the building to have “one inch [of yard] for every foot in height”16. Finally, the zoning regulation designated the site’s land use to be either residential or business17 (see figure 3). This allowed for the site to be both a 121

URBAN SCALE DESIGN hotel and a residence. The Ritz Tower complied with the stipulations required by the 1916 zoning ordinance and was then ready to be crafted into an architectural masterpiece by Roth, Carrère, and Hastings. After the parameters were complied with, the architects manipulated the Ritz Tower congruent to the contexts that were both relevant at the time and relevant to the buildings purpose. The architects morphed the Ritz Tower from its zoning resolution form into the architectural form it is today. Arthur Brisbane commissioned Emery Roth to design the luxurious Ritz Tower18 probably because Roth was experienced and also “renowned for upscale Manhattan apartment buildings”19. Roth teamed up with the architecture firm of Carrère and Hastings; both of whom also had extensive experience and have now come to be regarded as “two of the most significant… architects…[of the] early-20th centur[y]”20. This design team worked to fit the relevant contextual conditions of the time and to understand the urban typology, morphology, density, character, and site planning of the project. The Ritz Tower fulfilled the previously noted new affluent demand for downtown residences creating a building that served as a “prototype for a new lifestyle”21. Therefore, the Ritz Hotel fulfilled the social and cultural concern of 1925 New York City affluent society; being the desire for a ‘new lifestyle’ of downtown luxury living. Additionally, the Ritz Tower seemed to be designed to become another “romantic symbol”22 of the Manhattan skyline (see figure 1); fulfilling a type of emerging cultural requirement. The newly popularized ‘Art Deco’ architectural 122

style23 was used to exhibit the contemporary luxuriousness of the Ritz. The Ritz Tower was also an appropriate response by the developers and architects in terms of economic and political context. The prosperity of the ‘roaring twenties’ enabled the developer to undertake the massive investment the Ritz Tower project would require. Though the zoning ordinance hindered profit, limiting building bulkiness, it still allowed for a large buildable lot area and had no height cap. The Ritz Tower complied with the political decisions made for the benefit of the social context of the general public of New York City. The ‘new lifestyle’ that The Ritz Tower created was the response by intelligent architects working within the parameters of a unified plan while addressing the social, political, cultural, and economic contexts of the time. The Ritz addressed conditions and contexts that were similar to the concerns that were the basis for the formation of CIAM. In 1928, a two years after the Ritz Tower was constructed, CIAM was formed. The congress saw that architecture and urban

Figure 3 - Site27 Land Use28 & Stepback Districts29 Figure 4 - Sunlight and Stepback Diagram30

PRE-CIAM planning can create changes in other contexts and how a unified planning effort could be beneficial to the world. The functional city, created from CIAM’s ‘Athens Charter’, focused on specific land use zones similar to New York City’s 1916 ‘Zoning Resolution’. Similarly, the ‘1916 Resolution’ addressed issues that CIAM’s 1933 ‘Athens Charter’ addressed. The ‘Athens Charter’ had recommendations that addressed issues of sunlight, amount of yard space, and density24. The Ritz Tower serves as an example of how similar various cities concerns were, how interconnected contexts are, and the need, and subsequent benefits, of an overall unified plan for urban areas. The Ritz Tower became project of architectural importance because of how it responded to its conditions. It was a product of the conditions that had started before its inception, was shaped to form an architectural response to the city’s requirements of the time, and to the conditions the architects decided were relevant to the project. The Ritz Tower will forever serve as an exemplary example of how architecture is never done singularly, in a vacuum, rather it is a collective project that is effected by and later effects the fabric of the city, its conditions, and its contexts.

NOTES 1. Robilotti, Elizabeth, Martina Lynch, Donald Olson, and Prea Gulati. “The Living City: New York City 1920s.” The Living City. (accessed October 25, 2012). 2. McShane, Clay. “The Origins of Globalization of Traffic Control Signals.” Journal of Urban History 25, no. 3 (1999): 380. (accessed October 25, 2012). 3. Robilotti, Elizabeth, Martina Lynch, Donald Olson, and Prea Gulati. “The Living City: New York City 1920s.” The Living City. (accessed October 25, 2012). 4. Craighead, Geoff. “High-Rise Security and Fire Life Safety” Google Books. 10. (accessed October 20, 2012). oks?id=4BWyBELDQIwC&pg=PA11&lpg=PA11&dq=Emery+Roth+Architect ural+Print+Collection&source=bl&ots=GbgvDF8GHl&sig=f8piilMHgPuz0avC DytTrEbXmnU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=M4WMULajI6KFywHY9YC4DA&ved=0CE cQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=Emery%20Roth%20Architectural%20Print%20 Collection&f=false 5. Avena, Camille. “Tenement Houses and Progressive Solutions.” Fordham University; The Jesuit University of New York. (accessed October 27, 2012). graduate_s/undergraduate_colleg/fordham_college_at_l/special_programs/ honors_program/hudsonfulton_celebra/homepage/progressive_movement/ tenements_32232.asp 6. Haylan, John. “Mayor Hylan of New York an Autobiography.” Collections: HathiTrust Digital Library. 85. (accessed October 20, 2012). http://;seq=15;view=1up;num=5 7. Ibid., 84. 8. “New Era.” Labor History Links. (accessed October 27, 2012). 9. Dolkart, Andrew. “The Architecture and Development of New York City: The Birth of the Skyscraper.” Columbia University: Digital Knowledge Ventures. 23. (accessed October 13, 2012).nycarchitecture.columbia. edu/0242_2/0242_2_fulltext.pdf 10. Scott, Mel. “American City Planning Since 1890: A History: Commemorating the Fiftieth.” Google Books. 156. (accessed October 20, 2012). ban+planning%22&hl=fi&pg=PA158&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false 11., LLC . “Ritz Tower - 465 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022: Ratings.” New York City Real Estate, Apartments and Condos: City Realty. (accessed October 27, 2012). 12. “City of New York Board of Estimate and Appointment; Building Zone Resolution.” Official New York City Website. 1. (accessed October 13, 2012). Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. (accessed October 20, 2012). sons.html 20. University of Florida: George A. Smathers Libraries. “Carrère and Hastings.” UFDC - George A. Smathers Libraries. (accessed October 20, 2012). 21. Craighead, Geoff. “High-Rise Security and Fire Life Safety” Google Books. 11. (accessed October 20, 2012). ks?id=4BWyBELDQIwC&pg=PA11&lpg=PA11&dq=Emery+Roth+Architectu ral+Print+Collection&source=bl&ots=GbgvDF8GHl&sig=f8piilMHgPuz0avC DytTrEbXmnU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=M4WMULajI6KFywHY9YC4DA&ved=0CE cQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=Emery%20Roth%20Architectural%20Print%20 Collection&f=false 22. Dolkart, Andrew. “The Architecture and Development of New York City: The Birth of the Skyscraper.” Columbia University: Digital Knowledge Ventures. 9. (accessed October 13, 2012). nycarchitecture.columbia. edu/0242_2/0242_2_fulltext.pdf 23. Bryn Mawr College. “History of Art Deco.” Bryn Mawr College. (accessed October 28, 2012). proj/p2/npk/historydeco.htm 24. CIAM. IV sess. Cong Res. “Abstract: Charter of Athens (1933).” Cong. CIAM. Athens Charter. Athens: Le Corbusier, 1935. Getty Conservation Institute. (accessed November 3, 2012). conservation/publications_resources/research_resources/charters/charter04. html FIGURES 25. Clarke, Jonathan. “NYC’s ‘romantic symbol’ skyline.” (created October 26, 2012). 26. Groth, Paul. “Living Downtown: The History of Residential Hotels in the United States.” University of California Press. 3. (accessed October 20, 2012). 27. Scott, Mel. “American City Planning Since 1890: A History: Commemorating the Fiftieth.” Google Books. 156. (accessed October 20, 2012). ban+planning%22&hl=fi&pg=PA158&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false 28. Ibid. 29. Scott, Mel. “American City Planning Since 1890: A History: Commemorating the Fiftieth.” Google Books. 158. (accessed October 20, 2012). ban+planning%22&hl=fi&pg=PA158&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false 30. Clarke, Jonathan. “Sunlight and Stepback Diagram.” (created October 26, 2012).





CITY PLANNING: MANHATTAN ANITA CHENG Taking a look at New York City skyscrapers today, one can notice a similar pattern of tieredtype buildings. The source of this design came from the implementation of zoning by-laws in the early 20th century. The Barclay-Vesey Building, also known as the Verizon Building today, is one of the first buildings constructed in compliance with the 1916 Zoning Regulation, the first document of zoning rules written in United States of America. Designed by Ralph Thomas Walker in 1926, the Barclay-Vesey Building took advantage of the required setbacks and incorporated it into the design as a perspective piece. By setting back tiers at different edges, this project became iconic because of its creative response to the regulations, which created the style of Art Deco of the 20th century. The combination of ornamented Romanesque features and indents of the Barclay-Vesey building solved design requirements and pushed future architects to design creatively despite city restrictions. After the success of the 1916 Zoning Regulation, problems were also discovered in other cities. It then became clear that zoning rules were a way to regulate the issues and please the public, thus leading to future planning documents. It is the rules and guidelines provided by the government (yet initiated by the public) that dictate how a city develops, however, it is the architects and designers that add character and interest to buildings. By focusing on Walkerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s response to the zoning ordinance, one will understand how the architecture of a city is heavily influenced by its planners.



In America’s Pre-CIAM era, the ideas of zoning and planning were at its beginnings. It was not until it became a concern of public interest that zoning started to become official. As Manhattan’s streets became more congested in 1915, officials found the need to provide a set of guidelines to protect land value; thus the implementation of the 1916 Zoning Ordinance1. Because of this new regulation, skyscrapers of Manhattan deterred away from being one massive building block and instead, designed to have step-back configurations as height increased. The Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building, designed in 1926 by Ralph Walker of McKenzie Voorhees & Gmelin Architects, is one of the buildings that responded to the 1916 Zoning Regulation2. Doing so, it shares the same characteristic of setting back like many other skyscrapers in Manhattan. Image 1 highlights the Barclay-Vesey Building in red and also shows the surrounding context of Manhattan’s skyline with similar tiered type configurations in blue. Looking at five key elements: the need, political context and zoning, social and cultural 126

context, economic context, and ideas towards the future, one will be able to conclude that the Barclay-Vesey Building is a successful and appropriate architectural project of the early 20th century. Situated close to the harbour, this architectural project is successful because of its contribution to design innovation. To start, this project was an answer to the demand of new telephone service after World War I3. With space shortages due to the incline of this service, it was required for the telephone company to provide its own building for its services. In the BarclayVesey Building, it is interesting to note that there is a push towards technological discoveries and ‘machine-like’ designs on the exterior to reflect the modern technological innovations of the interior. Regulation is not possible without public’s opinions on how their cities are laid out. For Manhattan, it became a public concern on how dark the city was becoming because of the emerging towers that blocked sunlight at pedestrian level. Political authorities took this

Figure 1 - (Top) Manhattan Skylne Figure 2 - (Right) Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building

PRE-CIAM into account and made legal documents to protect neighbouring land values for the comfort of the public. Specifically to the Barclay-Vesey Building, designs were heavily influenced by zoning and economic means. In addition to requiring a major setback at eighteen stories, the 1916 Zoning Ordinance created the problem of finding the most economic and efficient floorto-space ratio4. Because of the indents the setbacks created, elevators had to be shifted and planned carefully to compensate lost rental space. Image 2 showcases the building as a regular rectangular block until the 18th floor. This is the height at which the major setback had to be according to the zoning by-law and it is the start of where many indentations start to occur. After World War I, making buildings beautiful was not as important as concern for city efficiency, living conditions, and environment. With this new mindset, standardizing a set of rules helped control the shape of buildings and minimize costs. So, in the early 20th century, it became clear that political authority controlled and maintained the conformity of Manhattan. With the success of this zoning legislation, it was discovered that other cities had the same problems (public concern at pedestrian level) which led to implementations of zoning regulations in cities outside of America. Specifically in Paris, Le Corbusier took the idea of legal regulations and expanded it into a set of rules governed by a team which is later known as CIAM. The 1916 Zoning Regulation was initiated by the social and cultural response to the city. Essentially, a building is built by the

people for the people. What is most important for workers inside the building is illumination. With regulations setting back the building at different heights, Walker took advantage of this and created more indents to create openings for sunlight. Image 2 (indicated by the arrows and highlighted in blue) show the indents and opportunities where the building was setback to accommodate windows for natural light. The design of combining indents and wall to window ratio was very innovative that it allowed more than enough natural light indoors compared to a building with supposedly more windows overall5. In addition, keeping in mind that ones relationship to the building extends past its exterior walls, the Barclay-Vesey Building provides an active public realm for people to interact with the building at ground level. Because the majority of these people are commuters just passing by, Walker designed an arcade along West Street at a human scale with visible ornate detailing. What makes this arcade detail human scale is the comfortable width it allows people to pass by or stop and interact. Like the context of constant movement of vehicular traffic, parallel to it is the reflected movement of people. Image 2 highlights (in red) the arcade of the Barclay-Vesey Building and shows its scale and relationship to the streets. Also, the detail carvings on each bay are of plants, food, and animals, which respond to the programs of the adjacent shops and markets6. As a result, the Barclay-Vesey Building revisits the community feel a Roman Forum offered in the middle of lower Manhattan. Le Corbusier sparked the idea of 127

URBAN SCALE DESIGN imagining the future city as a machine in the early 20th century. Looking at the Barclay-Vesey Building, there are hints of futuristic designs because of its â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;machine-likeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; characteristics7. The layout of window openings suggests regularity that it seems like it has the precision of machinery. Also, the height of the building describes the necessity of standardization and repetition throughout the building for economic efficiency8. Based on its historical context, a city would of course want to save by all economic means after a war had occurred. So, a massive building such as the Barclay-Vesey Building had to have organized methods of mass production for a project of that scale (and in that time period) to be viable to build. The location of the building also has an economic significance because it is located halfway between lower and mid-Manhattan; the district separation between where money was made and where it was spent9. Le Corbusier was interested in how New York solved urban design ideas and it could be that the regulations of the 1916 Zoning Ordinance is what influenced Le Corbusier`s CIAM. Both were created because of the urgent need to regulate by legal means to maintain and enhance property values. What CIAM and the Barclay-Vesey Building both seem to revolve around is the dictatorship of the machine. Walker designed the telephone building taking the ideas of the future into consideration. In this case, it was the idea of using machinery to solve economic problems in the designing, constructing and using stages of the building. Also, machinery was seen as a way to 128

eliminate the redundancies and unimportant ornamentation for the benefits of its occupants and economy. CIAM also took into consideration economic efficiency and standardizing by the means of mass production. The 1916 Zoning Ordinance standardized heights and controlled shapes of buildings which led to many buildings designed with tiered-type configurations. With this standardization, a certain form was regulated, which made it easier for engineers to figure out whether the building would stand

Figure 3 - (Left) Hugh Ferriss Illustrations Figure 4 - (Above) Barclay-Vesey Building Preliminary Massing Figure 5 - (Below) Typical Tiered Type Massing

PRE-CIAM or not. Also, the process of mass producing windows made easier configuration for savings in time and money. Image 3 and 4 show the preliminary massing configuration of the Barclay-Vesey Building in comparison to Hugh Ferris’s massing configuration. This image represents the similarities in the evolution of standardizing forms and the need to regulate despite what time period it is10. Another similarity that the Barclay-Vesey Building has with CIAM’s regulations is the human scale measurement. Although Walker had widths, depths and heights in proportion to human scale, he went beyond the basic connections to human scale by adding details people can engage with (something Le Corbusier did not pick up on for his CIAM standards). Most importantly, Walker’s BarclayVesey Building responds to political, social, and economic factors, all of which Le Corbusier considers as factors that influence the course of events. Although urban design values vary from city to city and fluctuate over time, zoning has become a standardized tool to maintain conformity. As some cities regulate differently in terms of height, coverage, setbacks, etc., there is the commonality that each city does have a concern over how tall buildings should be, how much of the property it covers or how far apart they are from one another. Overall, if a building positively speaks to the political, social-cultural, and economic needs of that particular neighbourhood, it can be deemed as a successful building. And by successful, it means that it pleases the politicians, investors, designers, constructors, and most importantly,

its users, internally and externally in the surrounding context of the present and future.

NOTES 1. Andrew S. Dolkart, “The First U.S. Zoning Law,” Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures, 2003, http://ci.columbia. edu/0240s/0242_2/0242_2_fulltext.pdf. 2. Ibid. \ 3. Howard Robertson, “The Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building, New York,” The Architect (and Building News) 117, (January 7, 1927): 35. 4. Ibid. 5. R.T. Walker, “The Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building, McKenzie Voorhees & Gmelin, Architects,” The American Architect 130, (November 20, 1926): 397. 6. Ibid., 398. 7. Howard Robertson, “The Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building, New York,” The Architect (and Building News) 117, (January 7, 1927): 34. 8. Ibid. 9. Ibid., 35 10. Benjamin Waldman, “The New York City that Never Was: Part IV A Visionary Dream of the 1916 Zoning Resolution,” untapped New York, November 16, 2011, FIGURES 1. Skyline appropriated from: LM070.htm 2. Perspective appropriated from: com/LM/LM070.htm 3. Sketches appropriated from: newyork/files/2011/06/hugh-ferriss-VIII.jpg 4. Sketches appropriated from: R.T. Walker, “The Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building, McKenzie Voorhees & Gmelin, Architects,” The American Architect 130, (November 20, 1926): 391. 5. Massing diagram: Anita Cheng





THE PITTSFIELD BUILDING MATTHEW MCQUIRE The building which will be analyzed in regards to this essay is the Pittsfield Building in Chicago Illinois completed in 1927 and designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White. The building is located in Downtown Chicago which during the time of its construction would have been a growing urban core. Around the turn of the 20th century Skyscrapers were rapidly proliferating in major urban centers like Chicago and New York City in the United States. This is in part a reflection of the changing social and economic climates found in these cities during the time period. America was emerging as a global power in a number of ways including the financial, banking and commercial sectors. The Skyscraper would come to house many of the intuitions and personnel who would be active in the aforementioned sectors. Subsequently with the growth of economy came the growth of the built environment in the urban cores of cities like Chicago. As Cities would increase in terms of density, it would become apparent that planning would be needed to control this growth. The Pittsfield building follows this notion as it was design in accordance with Chicagoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 1923 zoning ordinance regulating building height and form. This idea can be seen in the massing of the building as it sets-back on its upper floors allowing more light to reach street level. The Pittsfield Building is a good example of a building which is responding to the greater context which it forms a part of and contributes to the urban condition of the city around it. Also its formal qualities help to elaborate planning practices and urbanism in the period prior to the CIAM.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN The Skyscraper is a ubiquitous feature of the contemporary city; in the built world it is perhaps the most recognizable manifestation of metropolitan life. The Empire State Building is not simply an office building in New York but can be seen as a symbol of the city itself. At a broader scale Skyscrapers are a symbol of urban life, they are representations of city living. While the Skyscraper is synonymous with Manhattan and New York City its birthplace as a building typology can be attributed to Chicago.1 It was in the American Midwest that the first buildings that can be described as Skyscrapers would be built. As such Chicago has a long history of building tall towers and displays numerous examples of Skyscrapers amongst it skyline. Of these the Pittsfield Building which was built in 1927 and was designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White is in many ways representative of an early 20th century Skyscraper. 2 While a fine example of the gothic revival and an impressive structure, as a case study the building will be examined in regards to the connection it has with the city that surrounds it. Precisely how the forces of city building would affect the Pittsfield Building in terms of its planning and design. The Skyscraper is one of the defining architectural advancements of the 19th century. In the architectural world they are among the largest, most complex and expensive projects. With that being said the origins of the Skyscraper are rather humble. Two advancements; namely the safety elevator and the fireproof steel frame would constitute the fundamental elements needed to construct this building typology. 3 These two technologies would essentially allow 132

an entire new type of building to enter the world. How communities, particularly cities would react to these new buildings was a significant question that architects, city planners and lawmakers would have to answer. The Skyscraper was effectively a new tool in the realm of city building and as such presented new opportunities for how cities could grow. This notion is surmised by Rem Koolhaas in his retroactive manifesto for Manhattan Delirious New York â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the early 1880s the elevator meets the steel frame, able to support the newly discovered territories without itself taking up any space. Through the mutual reinforcement of these two breakthroughs, any given site can now be multiplied ad infinitum to produce the proliferation of floor space called Skyscraper.â&#x20AC;? 4 The Skyscraper exerts a predicament on the urban condition. It presents an opportunity to increase density greatly, but with a caveat. The structural steel frame does away with the need for a bearing wall which increases in depth proportional to height; this gives the typology of the Skyscraper the ability to have a profound impact on cities. The Skyscraper can replicate a site vertically in such a way that the building wall can rise vertically from the property line

Figure 1 - The Setbacks of The Pittsfield Building make the buildings envelope less massive especially juxtaposed to that of the Equitable Building.


Figure 2 - The Setbacks of The Pittsfield Building allows more sunlight to penetrate to street level.

without setting back. Clearly the Skyscraper could proliferation density in cities but at the same time how much density could cities reasonably accommodate. The architects and planners who designed the Pittsfield building would have to consider this. The negative impact that Skyscrapers can potentially exert on cities can be seen in the Equitable Building, which was constructed around the same time as the Pittsfield Building. The Equitable Buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Massing can be seen as monumental and grossly oversized and in many ways disregards the context which surrounds it. Juxtaposed to the mass of the Pittsfield building it is apparent that the designers of the Pittsfield building were much more conscious of the buildings site and context. This comparison exemplifies the need for planning in urban centers. It can be seen how no regulation in the massing of sky scrapers produces a building that is over bearing and detrimental to its context. The Pittsfield building reacts to its urban surroundings and its massing is far less overbearing than the solid block that constitutes the mass of the Equitable Building. Undoubtedly cities have embraced the Skyscraper as a building typology, this is evidenced in cities through the world; they are full of Skyscrapers. In many ways this is a reflection of the cultural and society atmospheres in cities. Skyscrapers are symbols of modernity and as such early examples of this typology like the Pittsfield Building are reflections of a changing society. The Skyscraper would come to represent modernization and the forces behind it including new advances in construction, financing and engineering. 5 The Skyscraper is

a symbol of power, efficiency and capitalism. As such many of the first Skyscrapers such as the Met Life Building, the Singer building and even the Chrysler Building were named after the corporations that would occupy their floors. The first Skyscrapers would begin to dominate the skylines of cities that were the epicenters of changing times, cities like New York and Chicago. As this new building typology would begin to establish itself in cities, it would become apparent that their growth would have to be regulated by planning practices. As discuss earlier too much proliferation of these new buildings could be detrimental to urban life and urban living conditions. It would become apparent that city planning would have to address the Skyscraper. The question of how planning theory and practice would integrate a building like the Pittsfield Building to the urban fabric of a city like Chicago. At the turn of the 20th century one of the most influential planning ideals was the City Beautiful Movement. Central to the City Beautiful Movement was the idea of a visually unified city that was typically low rise and displayed a continual cornice line.6 The Skyscraper can be seen as antithetical to these ideas; it produces a fragmented cityscape and is anything but low rise. The Skyscraper would create streets that were dominated by tall buildings creating a canyon form at street level. Proponents of the city beautiful movement would certainly be wary of the potential negative impact that the Pittsfield Building could have on Chicago. Outside of aesthetic concerns it was thought that the Skyscrapers would negatively affect the environmental quality of 133

URBAN SCALE DESIGN downtown cities particularly with regards to air quality and natural light. The mass of a given building has the capacity to cast a shadow on neighbouring properties and buildings. One of the most effective and prevalent remedies to this is to set a building back as it increases in height. The setback of the building wall reduces the amount of sunlight that the building blocks out. With these concerns the formal regulation of Skyscrapers as an act of planning cities would begin as early as the mid 1890s and the Pittsfield Building would certainly be affected by this.7 The Pittsfield building was the tallest Skyscraper in the Chicago skyline when it was built. With that said it would certainly have had an impact on the city that surrounds it. This includes other buildings and the public realm which the building is found in. The design of the building acknowledges this and a number of setbacks reduce the mass of the building as it grows taller. This architectural maneuver shows that the Pittsfield building was designed with a conscious regard for its surroundings. It can be said that urban design was a factor in the overall design of the building. If the Pittsfield Building was a simple replication of its site the form of the building would be much more substantial. The setbacks which progress as the building rises carve away a large portion of what could be a bulky envelope, which would cast an enlarged shadow on surrounding areas. It can be said that the form of the Pittsfield building was in many ways shaped by a defined city planning framework but also by the broader planning ideas and theories that were prevalent 134

at the time of its construction. The Municipality of Chicago had passed a Zoning Ordinance in 1923 which specifically regulated Skyscrapers and their built form. 8 The design of the Pittsfield Building; its form and massing would be directly affected to the Chicago Zoning Ordinance of 1923. In this sense the Pittsfield Building is a product of urban planning in a very literal way. The building can be seen as a unit which integrates into the city of Chicago in a legal formal and philosophical manner. The building considers the urban condition it is a part of not simply the space bound by its own property lines. As time progresses it is becoming increasingly evident that our future on this planet will be an urban existence. As the global population continues to move to urban centers it is apparent that the Skyscraper will certainly play a role in our collective futures architecturally but also socially. As such it is important that the design of tall buildings be appropriate and thought out. Planning practices will have to help guide us as we continue to build upwards. The Pittsfield building is an example that can be looked to in terms of the Skyscraper and its relation to the city. The Pittsfield Building is a formal representation of planning theory manifest in the real world and shows that tall buildings and density can be achieved in our cities so long as they follow an existing framework. Figure 3 - while the Setbacks of The Pittsfeild Building deminishes the overall floor space of the Building they contribute to the urban condition of the city which surrounds the building.

PRE-CIAM Notes 1. Pauline A. Saliga, The Sky’s The Limit: A Century Of Chicago Skyscrapers, (New York: Rizzoli, 1990), 6. 2. Saliga, The Sky’s The Limit: A Century Of Chicago Skyscrapers, 137. 3. Saliga, The Sky’s The Limit: A Century Of Chicago Skyscrapers, 6. 4. Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York, (New York: The Monacelli Press, 1994), 107. 5. Roberta Moudry, The American Skyscraper: Cultural Histories, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 19. 6. Moudry, The American Skyscraper: Cultural Histories, 39. 7. Moudry, The American Skyscraper: Cultural Histories, 42. 8. Saliga, The Sky’s The Limit: A Century Of Chicago Skyscrapers, 11. 9. Saliga, The Sky’s The Limit: A Century Of Chicago Skyscrapers, 137. Figures 1.Illustrations Appropriated from: Chuckman , John. “Chuckman’s Photos On Wordpress: Chicago Nostalgia And Memorabilia.” Last modified 2010. Accessed November 1, 2012. http://chuckmanchicagonostalgia.files. & Time Shutter, “” Last modified 2010. Accessed November 1, 2012. 2. Original Illustration. 3. Photograph Appropriated from: Crocker, J. Wikipedia, “www.” Last modified 2010. Accessed November 1, 2012. http:// jpg.





PARIS RENEWED: THE HAUSSMANN PLAN KRISTOPHER POULIN The modern day Paris; a city of vast boulevards, stunning architecture, and public squares, would have not have come to fruition if not for a few keen minded people that sought to change the state of their city during the mid-nineteenth century. Previously, it had been a stuck in squalor, a city of the Middle Ages with tight streets, narrow alleys, never evolving for its ever-expanding population and growth. This caused great problems for the city, as it became a complexity of disordered streets and a stagnant dump. This brought about sanitary issues, unhealthy living conditions, and disease due to a non-existent flow in traffic, light and air1. As such, the monarch, King Napoleon III was to commission a project that would see the end to the old Paris and bring about a new, one that idolized the vast open green spaces of London2. As Prefecture (district councilor) of the Seine, Baron Eugene Haussmann was chosen to create the plan that would help renew the city3. The plan was to have places of interest and importance connected to one another through long, wide avenues, allowing ample flow for both human and cart traffic. Thus requiring restructuring of the streets and pathways, to be bordered by buildings that would fill the entire block they were situated on, not deviating from one another in their height or façade; as each was to be identical4. With the newfound connections and regulations defining the streets, one may observe that although not completing his plan in its entirety, Haussmann created the essential backdrop for the revitalization of the city, ultimately leading it back into itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s former glory as the lead city of France.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN To understand the Haussmann plan in its entirety, one must examine the social, political, and economic factors that lead to the restructuring of France’s capital. During the sixteenth and seventeenth century, Paris saw a great rise in population of it’s upper middle class5. This growth paired with the depart from feudal nobility created a presence under the monarch, known as the Noblesse du Robe6. This in turn, created a newfound political pressure under the royalty, as there was a great notion to create places for the upper class. This pressure led to the creation of vast institutional entities, such as the Place Royale and the Ecole Militaire. These places became large rifts between the expanding urban fabric due to the open space they occupied, with only the nobles being allowed to enter them7. With the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, there was a call to provide greater public amenity and ease of transportation throughout the city. Napoleon I’s effort was in the creation of new high streets such as the Rue de Rivoli (1811), a street of commercial and residential buildings that linked the Louvre and the inner city with the Place de la Concorde8. Following Napoleon I’s effort would be his successor Louis-Phillipe, who had the first inter-urban railways brought to Paris; yet the stations were placed on the outskirts of the city due to issues such as congestion, soot, and smoke9. These efforts came to create an awkward situation for Paris as it sat in the mid 1800’s. The city’s form was composed of the old inner city that served and housed the existing working class, with a bourgeois periphery(suburb) that had 138

been walled in by fortifications. This caused problems as the working class population was on the rise and new settlers to Paris started to dwell on the outskirts. This boom in population created pockets of built areas that resulted in overcrowding, sordid smells, a build up of filth, rampant epidemics, high pricing of land, and a lack of public transportation10. To further these complications was the lack of adequate housing for the soaring middle class that propheted from the sales of goods and services to the rising population11. With a foothold on the political prowess of Napoleon III, the middle class would seek a resolution to their problems; creation of new, plush housing , and adequate retail space, widely accessible to the public12. Come 1852, Napoleon III begins to mount his attack on the problematic city with his Prefect of the Seine(Seine district counselor) Georges Eugene Haussmann. The plan would be comprised of four main aspects: streets, buildings, parks, and services13. The street condition, was addressed by cutting vast arterial routes through the existing urban fabric, connecting key points within the city; an approach widely used in Europe during the baroque period14. Wider streets were easier to control in the case of a public uprising or revolution, as troops would have an easier time breaking through blockades and have direct routes to important places. They would link administration and business buildings(fire, police, ambulance services) for easier access between the two. In addition to this, it would create an easier access from periphery railroad stations to internal nodes such as markets,

Figure 1 - Street-Monument Corelation






Figure 2 - (Top) Repetitive Facade Figure 3 - (Bottom) Class Division

entertainment districts, and newly founded government offices as these new streets were also to be places of elegant living, socializing, and promenading15. The Paris Cross was to be at the centre of the city; cutting of the main eastwest (Boulevard du Centre) and north-south (Boulevard de Strasbourg) arteries across the urban fabric16. Other new north-south boulevards would connect both ends of the city through the new Rue de Rennes, and extensions to the Rue de Rivoli and Rue St. Antoine would create an east-west artery. Diagonal avenues, such as the Rue de l’Opera would connect important points, such as the Louvre, and the opera house17. Newly created streets would stress a visual focus on the institution, by creating lines of sight to places such as the railway terminals and the Tribunal de Commerce, and the Palais de Justice18. The creation of these new streets did require extensive demolition of the existing built form, ultimately requiring around 14000 people to relocate. Yet, Haussmann and Napoleon III would not concede to any other social concern at the time. They sought to negate these issues in the public realm by creating more jobs, an expanded school system, extensive parks, improved health facilities, new sewers and waterworks19. Upon these streets lay the uniquely designed four to six storey buildings that were to seamlessly front entire block lengths. These units would allow for great public retail and amenity spaces at grade, with middle to upper middle class housing on the two above storeys, and an attic space for the working class and servants. This philosophy of shared space, a unique French idea, helped spar vast spaces

of Paris from becoming slums, breeding space for all to use and maintain equally20. Paris’ revived interest in public health after cholera epidemic in 1948 led to the establishment of a number of new administrative bodies, and to the passing of legislation providing for the inspection and improvement of unhealthy dwellings in 1850(Melun Law: gave power to demolish unhealthy places). Thus the Paris Unhealthy Dwellings Commission made a plea for public works in its first annual report21 need for light and air to reach old dwellings. Greenery in gardens and squares would serve to renew vitiated air22. From this the introduction of open space and greenery was also to become a key factor in Haussmann’s plan. Although not sharing the king’s idea that parks brought positive effects to the morale of the working class, he believed that fresh air, air circulation, and sunshine had a great role in prevent disease and illness. Providing open green areas and tree-lined boulevards would be crucial in achieving this notion. Places like the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes, once royal grounds were now being open to the public and incorporated as part of the plan23. As well as the need for more open space, Haussmann had to address the need for adequate street lighting, sewers and fresh water. He would construct aqueducts that brought water from Yonne and Vane24, doubling their fresh water supply. To further this achievement he would set up a network of street sewers that fed water via gravitational force to large elliptical shaped collector sewers that emptied into the Seine outside of the city25. Although not dealing with 139

URBAN SCALE DESIGN human waste, these sewers helped eliminate the vast pools of stagnant and feted water left on the streets, creating dryer and healthier living conditions for all. Haussmann and Napoleon had taken previous infrastructure experiences and sought to learn from them. In the case of the not so old Rue de Ramberteau; it had not been constructed wide enough, houses were small and inconvenient, as not enough land was acquired. The more land acquired the better, as the slum land was cheap to buy and its resale value would enable the City to recoup some of the betterment value that would result from its investment efforts26. Law had coded expropriation in 1807; limitations created such that properties acquired that were not needed for the works should be restored to the owner. This law was changed on May 3, 1841, where expropriation was deemed reasonable if for public works, railroads. Modified again in 1852, which allowed the expropriation of all properties for street works, allowing for enough land to be bought in order to build rows of houses on both sides of a street27. Throughout the renovation, Paris’ revenue jumped from 42 million francs in 1840 to 146 million francs in 1869(with new infrastructure and annexation of periphery units)28 yet, over the years a rising inflation (land was 866 francs per m/sq in 1858 vs its 1595 francs per m/sq cost in 1866)29 and the Conseil d’Etats ruling of 1858, ultimately saw the demise of Haussmann. With the council’s ruling, property owners were able to claim full compensation for the displacement of their commercial interests, and that owners could 140

maintain procession of the land outside of the improvement lines, thus making the city pay more to purchase the extra parcels of land. As this slowed down the process of acquiring land, affecting construction as it could not advance at the rate it previously had. Thus with the newly constructed elements brought an increase in price to the surrounding buildings in Paris, making the process more expensive as it went along. Critiqued for the creation of a wardrobe effect; that of the long fronted boulevards receiving all the new construction and grand looks, opening onto a network of disorder and havoc behind the so-called “doors” of the city, Haussmann’s plan, although destroying large chunks of the city, kept the cities nature and history intact behind the newly built form. It allowed for the lower classes to be kept for the most part unfazed by his ideals as it kept the smaller shops and merchants, peoples businesses, intact; satisfying the bourgeois that utilized these industries. To further accommodate for the loss in working class housing, efforts were set up to negate the negative effects on the government. In 1849, Paris Assitance Publique set to provide jobs in the rail, fortification, and public works/building trade sectors. Whilst in 1853, the Caisse de la Boulangerie was setup to provide cheap food for the working class following bad harvests30. These moves were essential in helping to maintain the social, political, and historical balance within the city. Finally, as CIAM was not to be considered for another ninety years, this project might be largely viewed as a precursor

Figure 4 - (Top) Plan of Proposed Streets Figure 5 - (Bottom) Proposed demolton for the Rue de l’Opera

PRE-CIAM for the intentions of CIAM with the creation a central civic core for the local government, large parks, railway stations, public squares, and sewer systems that did not just satisfy a few but benefited the masses and future generations to come.

NOTES 1. Weeks, Willet, The Man Who Made Paris Paris, London: London House 2. Weeks, W. 14 3. Weeks, W. 14 4. Weeks, W. 7 5. Saalman, Howard, Haussman: Paris Transformed,New York:George Brazilier Inc,1971, 34 6. Saalman, H. 34 7. Saalman, H. 42 8. Saalman, H. 44 9. Saalman, H. 44 10. Saalman, H. 47 11. Saalman, H. 47 12. Saalman, H. 48 13. Saalman, H. 14 14. Saalman, H. 14 15. Saalman, H. 14 16.Sutcliffe, Anthony, The Autumn of Central Paris, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1971, 33 17. Saalman, H. 15 18. The Art History Archive. “Haussmann’s Paris” Accessed Nov. 5, 2012. 19. Saalman, H. 15 20. Saalman, H, 114 21. Sutcliffe, A. 23 22. Sutcliffe, A. 30 23. Saalman, H. 19 24. Saalman, H. 20 25. Saalman, H. 20 26. Sutcliffe, A. 24 27. Sutcliffe, A. 26 28. Sutcliffe, A. 31 29. Sutcliffe, A. 41 30. Saalman, H. 30 FIGURES 1. Boulevard to monument view, appropriated from: http://www. html 2-3. Typical building fronting new boulevards, appropriated from: 4-5. Plan of proposed streets,





THE REDEVELOPMENT OF PARIS LYDON WHITTLE The 1850s redevelopment of Paris demonstrates principles relating to urbanism which may have influenced the fundamental construct of CIAM standards and the Athens Charter through its response to the reorganization and creation of public parks, transportation routes, water works, waste management, building typologies, and public facilities. It is important to identify whether the influence had positive or negative implications in order to determine society’s response and the impression the project instilled in CIAM. Baron Haussmann’s redevelopment appears to have demonstrated an appropriate architectural and urban response, since he introduced strict functional segregation, redistributed the population into blocks, increased circulation, redistributed water through the city, and installed sewage systems. The project has been celebrated for improving the conditions of the city on an urban scale. However, it is important to examine the degree of the success achieved by looking at how society responded to the changes and thus determining how the redevelopment altered the lives of citizens both socially and culturally. It is significant to examine how the redevelopment may have contributed to a social imbalance between Paris’s wealthy and poor classes. Studying these results may indicate some of the ideals at the time and its correlation to the governing CIAM and the Athens Charter principles. A final evaluation of the various approaches, decisions, and principles surrounding Paris’s redevelopment will help to conclude whether the change was an appropriate response, what the change meant, who the change was for, and the effects of those changes on the urban setting today.



Advances in agricultural practices and technology stemmed an increase in food supply, production and commerce which initiated the Industrial Revolution. The shift from agricultural to industrial reshaped the social, political, cultural, and economic context of society during the nineteenth century in both Paris and around the World. This shift also transformed the existing urban and architectural principles which required rehabilitation in order to accommodate the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution increased the population of Paris resulting in unhygienic conditions, reduced circulation, slums, and a poor middle class. The redevelopment of Paris represents an architectural project of an urban scale which demonstrates principles relating to urbanism that may have influenced the fundamental construct of CIAM standards and the Athens Charter. The principles of CIAM view architecture as a social, political, and economic device that can, through its design, improve society on an urban scale. This view is in alignment with redevelopment of Paris which presents an urban scale project that 144

portrays the various devices necessary for improving Paris’ society. The redevelopment of Paris occurred during the 1850s and its documented success may have served as a source of precedence to the principles of urbanism and to the consistency in architecture and urbanism approaches aimed at aligning the various expressions and architectural responses in order to achieve an internationally uniformed narrative. The redevelopment incorporates the reorganization and creation of public parks, transportation rouges, water works, waste management, building typologies, and public facilities 1. These properties incorporated within the cities fabric solidifies Haussmann’s redevelopment plans as an architectural project at an urban scale and is further exemplary of the framework by which CIAM and Athens Charter emulate. Haussmann’s redevelopment was an appropriate architectural and urban response because he introduced strict functional segregation, redistributed the population in to blocks, improved urban circulation, redirected water to

Figure 1 - Map of Paris showing Haussmann’s plans


Figure 2 - Haussmann’s Plan Overview

and from the city and implemented sewage systems 2. CIAM principle advocate that housing districts should occupy the best sites and a minimum amount of solar exposure should be required in all dwellings. Further, buildings should be not be constructed along transportation routes for hygienic reasons and the practice of modern techniques should be used in the construction of high rise apartment buildings which are to be widely spaced in order to accommodate large green parks between buildings 3. The redevelopment of Paris has been documented as a successful urban planning project. However, the redevelopment contributed to a social imbalance between Paris’s wealthy class and poor class. During the renovations poor families were forced towards Paris’ outer arrondissments as a result of not being able to comply with the rise in rent 4. The relocation of the poor families resulted in a high concentration of poor on the outskirts of the city while rich families stayed in the cities center. This is significant because it further highlights the social imbalance caused by the redevelopment process which was intended to beneficial to the city. The results also demonstrate a segregation of classes rather than integration and this is contradictory to CIAM principle. However, it serves as a lesson of what type of conditions should be avoided and some of the consequences associated with redevelopments. The documented success of the redevelopment generates questions as to how much a city must sacrifice in order to achieve success for the overall benefit of the majority of its citizen and further, is it acceptable to eliminate exist-

ing social conditions in order to achieve ideal infrastructure and systems which better operate the city. Haussmann’s redevelopment of Paris significantly reshaped the historical fabric by cutting through the old Paris of dense and irregular medieval alleyways into a more rationally designed city with which provides wide avenues and open spaces which extended beyond old city limits 5. The urbanization of Paris during its redevelopment process presented a transformation of the political, cultural, and social way of life. It is significant to examine how the redevelopment from a political and military perspective enabled the control of central Paris which appears to have been in the hands of the working class 6. This significant because it highlights and signifies that although there where issues in the city that needed to be resolve a level of control and power over the population at the time needed to be re-established in order to enhance control over the working class which at the time was considered a danger to government . Therefore, the urbanization of Paris was not only a necessary hygienic, social, and cultural change but also a political strategy orchestrated by the Napoleon government. Regardless of the underlying agendas, governments may have added to the need for a redevelopment of Paris’s pre-existing fabric. It is important to focus on the results and implications that Haussmann’s plan created as a response to the various conditions. Despite the relatively minor social problems which occurred during the redevelopment, there are various positive contributions that outweigh the 145

URBAN SCALE DESIGN negative implication associated in the Haussmann’s plans. The creation of new roads, public spaces, public buildings, monuments, new sewer systems, and the redistricting of the city are way in which Haussmann not only improved the appearance of Paris but also the health of its population 7. The sewage systems created a cleaner environment by redistributing human waste and waste water away from the city which resulted in cleaner air and a more civilized living environment. The redevelopment further provided more functional and structurally stronger buildings than previously built, and more housing was provided along with widened streets as a response to overcrowding from population growth, traffic, and threat of diseases 8. Haussmann’s redevelopment of Paris presented an urban renewal of the city accomplished by mass demolition and the removal of large amounts of the historical fabric which one engulfed the city. It is important to further understand the decisions made to demolishing large areas of the city rather than the gentrification and upgrading of the pre-existing urban fabric. One of the key ideas of modern urbanism is the division of urban spaces according to functions of daily life and the belief in zoning constraints 9. CIAM identifies these functions as recreation, work, housing, and traffic as it synchronizes to recreation, work, and housing 10. The building of dwellings uniform in height, and the self-contained superblocks separated by large green surfaces are essential CIAM principles that are evident in the plans for the redevelopment of Paris and may have been influential to the formulation of the principles presented by CIAM. 146

Haussmann’s plan presented a change which reflected the underlying stance that architecture and planning must be the direct means of social transformation through facilitating and enabling the direct improving of social relations by manipulating the architectural and spatial forms 11. These same characteristics can be observed in the fundamental principles of CIAM influenced projects and further demonstrates why Haussmann’s redevelopment of Paris may have been a positive source of precedence to many of the CIAM ideals. The ideas of zoning had been expressed repeatedly prior to collective organization of CIAM and the Athens Charter. One of the central problems of modern urban planning is traffic and for hundreds of years it has dictated the parameters of successful urban governance 12. The unofficial use of zoning principles indicates that the redevelopment plans utilized demonstrates principles that were congruent to principles which enhance the social, economic, political, and environmental arrangement of the urban fabric which facilitates a better conditions in the city. This further demonstrates how unofficial zoning principle many have been extracted from Haussmann’s plan as a source of precedence to the CIAM principles and Athens Charter principles. The rapid population growth fuel by industrialism resulted unhealthy and unhygienic living conditions of the working classes whose situations worsened until the epidemics and diseases forced urgent improvements in living conditions. “True to the image of the urbanist as rehabilitating the diseased city through surgical

Figure 3 - Different Classes under one roof

PRE-CIAM measures, Haussmann carved out whole ‘diseased’ areas of Paris, creating long, broad avenues and forever changing the city’s patterns of residence and movement.” 13 This is quote is significant in capturing Baron Haussmann’s role as an urban planner who in his role preforms like a doctor in cleansing the contaminated and sickened city by creating long and broad avenues allowing the city to breathe and live. This quote further celebrates and solidifies Haussmann’s role in the redevelopment of Paris that was necessary in order to improve hygiene, traffic flow, defense, and as precedence to the CIAM and Athens Charter fundamental principles.

NOTES 1 Emily Kirkman. Haussmann’s Architectural Paris - Architecture in the Era of Napoleon III - The Art History Archive. Haussmann’s Architectural Paris - Architecture in the Era of Napoleon III - The Art History Archive. N.p., 2007. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. < architecture/Haussmanns-Architectural-Paris.html>. 2 Ibid. 3 Lawrence D. Kritzman, Brian J. Reilly, and M. B. DeBevoise. The Columbia History of Twentieth-century French Thought. New York: Columbia UP, 2006. Print.: 349-350. 4 Emily Kirkman. Haussmann’s Architectural Paris - Architecture in the Era of Napoleon III - The Art History Archive. Haussmann’s Architectural Paris - Architecture in the Era of Napoleon III - The Art History Archive. N.p., 2007. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. < architecture/Haussmanns-Architectural-Paris.html>. 5 Ibid. 6 David H. Pinkney, Money and Politics in the Rebuilding of Paris, 1860-1870, Journal of Economic History (1957) 17#1 pp 45-61 7 Matthew Gandy. The Paris Sewers and the Rationalization of Urban Space. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 24, , no. 1 (1999): 23-44. 8 Ibid. 9 Lawrence D. Kritzman, Brian J. Reilly, and M. B. DeBevoise. The Columbia History of Twentieth-century French Thought. New York: Columbia UP, 2006. Print.: 349-350. 10 Ibid., 349 11 Ibid., 350 12 Ibid., 350 13 Ibid., 350 FIGURES 1. appropriated from’ 2. appropriated from’ 3. appropriated from’



02 148


CIAM 1928-1960 CIAM was a series of 10 international congresses of architects, between the first meeting in 1928, to its disaggregation in 1959. This meeting of minds was a response to the political, economic and social pressures of the time. Encouraged by political incentives and subsidies to create housing solutions, prominent European architects of the time attempted to rationalize and respond to these issues. The first organized meeting of CIAM was held at the private residence of Hélène de Mandrot, along with 28 Architects du jour, including Le Corbusier and Sigfried Giedion. The ethos developed through these congresses went through an evolution, but the essence was one of rationality, modernism, economic efficiency, and human comfort, establishing Existenzminimum, a minimal living unit standard. The intention was to “clean up”, according to Mies van der Rohe, the housing crisis and urban situation using rational site and city planning. The occupant was a unit, much like their newly designed existenzminimum, idealized and in their prime. This section of essays will explore the development and physical manifestations of the CIAM ethos within that era, and show how these international projects were successful – or not – in the context of the times as well as present day.

CIAM 1928-1960





MIES’ WEISSENHOFSIEDLUNG: A BRAVE NEW DOMESTIC WORLD DOROTHY JOHNS In the wake of the First World War and utopian city planning projects such as Ebenezer Howard’s Garden Cities of Tomorrow, emphasis on efficient living became increasingly popular in the 1920’s. Particularly in Stuttgart, Germany, already known for its modernity and ardent use of Bauhaus design principles, this period evoked notions of wellness, style, wealth, and prosperity for the urban dweller. In an age profoundly opposed to preceding traditional styles, lay a firm belief in rationalization and functionalism. One of the pioneering masters of modern architecture, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe became the face and organizer of a new project in Stuttgart in 1923 for the Deutscher Werkbund entitled Weissenhofsiedlung. Mies assembled a group of architects including, Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Hans Scharoun and more to each individually design a house for his master plan. Social, economic, political and cultural values of the time ultimately led to the organization, design and construction of this project, in an approach later recognized as the International Style. The economic, yet anonymous unity of the exterior facades, were the epitome of modernity at the time, and today are representative of the International Style. Stemming from the involvement of many members of CIAM, the Weissenhof Estate embodies characteristics of the CIAM time period and arguably influenced many principles later laid out in The Athens Charter. This research paper will investigate the context under which Weissenhofsiedlung was developed, and which factors contributed to its international recognition as the epitome of Modern and International style.



For many architects their role in the Weissenhofsiedlung project in Stuttgart, Germany, was a decisive event in their careers. Directed, planned, and narrated by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who at the time was working at his own architectural practice in Berlin, the Weissenhofsiedlung housing project is worldrenowned for its portrayal and advancement of modern and international architecture in the early 20th century. Following the First World War, “modernists who were also consciously echoing the revolutionary aspirations of international socialism were also responding to chronic housing shortages”1 created by rapid increase in population. Germany was facing a large financial deficit due to the Treaty of Versailles and incurring repair payments. The mark was at an all time low,2 and the housing crisis continued to escalate in severity until 1923, when the introduction of Rontenmark catalyzed a period of reconstruction in Germany, aiding the Weissenhofsidelung project to become a reality in 1927. 152

Reactionary to both the housing crisis and the continued attempts to “purge architecture of its bourgeois past,”3 architects worldwide became enthralled with a utopian goal of achieving the ultimate housing and living solution. Mies responded to these issues and achievement of this goal through five key design principles: standardization, rationalization, normalization, functionalism and efficiency. Descriptive of the neues Bauen4 movement, these principles heighten the importance of functionalism and conformity within what “forward-thinking architects”5 of the 1920’s would consider appropriate planning and architectural design of a city. By this time, Mies had already been designing formally reduced utilitarian architecture, however, acceptance of this style did not emerge until necessity for efficiency and functionalism became apparent after the war. Though primarily to aid in creating a large quantity of affordable housing units, Mies also realized the opportunity for international publicity of the Weissenhofsiedlung, and prepared to capitalize financially and

Figure 1 - (Above) Ink drawing showing the continuity and anonymity of the exterior facades and the dominance of Mies’ apartment buildings at the top of the hill becoming a backdrop for the smaller homes in front Figure 2 - (Below) Aerial view of Weissenhofsiedlung, emphasizing the curvilinear bouding roads, 1927


Block Plan by Stadterweiterungsamt (urban expansion office) July 1925

Block Plan by Mies, September 1925

Block Plan by Mies, November 1926 Figure 3 - Evolution of Massing throughout the planning process

intellectually on this project. Appointed as artistic director of the Deutscher Werkbund by the chair and his colleague, Peter Bruckmann, Mies also prepared to take full advantage of the advertisement of the proposed Die Wohnung exhibition to enforce the technological and intellectual power of Germany as a country, and to spread modernist ideas and style globally. The exhibition itself was exceptionally avantgardist for the time period and is still recognized for its importance in developing what is now known as the International Style. “The Werkbund Exhibition attracted 500,000 visitors and worldwide publication to highlight its ideas, resulting in contacts being made and maintained into June 1928, leading to the foundation of the CIAM.”6 As political values were shifting towards equality, democratic planning became prevalent in an attempt to embrace a larger diversity of citizens.7 Although the effects of the war were crippling from a political, social and physical point of view, its merciless demands from the manufacturing industry vastly increased the necessity for efficiency which led to the “assembly of prefabricated components, exactness of fit, and truth to materials (as) essential wartime lessons that sparked a rethinking of the building process.”8 Le Corbusier, a member of both the Deutscher Werkbund, and a prominent member of CIAM articulates the issues pertaining to housing: “The problem of the house has not yet been stated. Nevertheless there do exist standards for the dwelling house. Machinery contains in itself the factor of economy, which

makes for selection. The house is a machine for living in.”9 This mindset was a necessity for all “radical thinkers”10 involved in activities conducted by the Deutscher Werkbund, it also set the stage for the CIAM period by emphasizing the importance of simultaneous efficiency and rationalization. Though the plan of the Weissenhof estate itself is a precursor to ideals later formally addressed by members of CIAM through the Athens Charter, the homes proposed maintain many primary functionalist principles. Located on a topographically curvilinear slope, the site had already been intended for affordable housing and was owned by the Bauund Helmstattenverein and the Urban Expansion Department.11 Though originally planned for a strictly low-income housing development, in dealing with the housing crisis to date, Stuttgart had not seen any architectural progression, only quickly assembled masses to house the influx of people. It was Mies’ proposal that caught the attention of the municipality, and the City of Stuttgart, as it finally began to offer solutions not only to the housing crisis, but to the housing typology as well. The continuity of the facades of the proposed modernist style of housing can be seen in Figure 1. Mies’ experimental housing proposal was selected by the municipal council of Stuttgart in 1926 by a clear majority.12 The experimental nature of the project meant zoning regulations could more easily be tested, and the project overall was less restricted in terms of the Official Plan and by-laws of the city. The curvilinear nature of the roads as seen in Figure 2 and vehicular traffic bounding 153

URBAN SCALE DESIGN the site juxtaposes the grid pattern of the proposed development, however, the efficient nature of the street grid had already been proven internationally, primarily in America, and in utopian city projects such as Corbusier’s Contemporary City. The integration of the proposal into the physical context of the site and the city was achieved primarily through the continuity of the facades regulated by Mies as seen in Figure 4, and their placement carved out of the hill overlooking the city and river of Stuttgart13, as seen in Figure 5. In an attempt to “balance regional german housing issues with an initial proposal for a genuine international architecture”14 Mies invited international architects to display their concepts of modernity and functional design to the world. The original proposal, submitted in July, 1925 by the building committee of the city council showed “43 dwellings divided among 29 single-family houses and hone building of 14 apartments...After several urgent reminders Mies finally submitted his own 1:200 sketch layout plan in September of 1925.”15 The interlocking nature and horizontal unity of the massing in the original proposal was as stated by Mies, “a sketch.. but entirely adequate for negotiating purposes.”16 The evolution of the massing can be seen in Figure 3. The debate over Mies’ layout began with his own submission. By October 15, 1925 it had been agreed that “this form of building represents a total break with tradition, and its abstract form means that it must be defined as international art... therefore it is understandable that the Werkbund would want to involve 154

architects of international reputation on the proposed development.”17 Although the original proposal was much higher in density, and therefore more widely accepted, the iterations of planning were developed and approved by “authoritative architects”18 such as Dr. Paul Otto, who was also the head of the City’s Urban Expansion Department, and only small amounts of what Otto considered “necessary”19 information was released to the public. Dr. Otto spoke influential words to his colleagues and the building committee regarding the project thereby positively influencing the press, and in turn the reception of the project by the public. “It was now necessary to conciliate or confront the local architectural interests, represented within the Werkbund by the Stuttgart School headed by Paul Bonatz and Paul Schmitthenner,”20 who, on May 5 1926, in a meeting arranged by Bruckmann with Mies, condemned the project violently. “This plan goes far beyond our worst fears... an assemblage of flat cubes swarms up the slope in a succession of horizontal terraces, looking

Figure 4 - (Above) Mies’ apartments, showing achieved continuity of the facades Figure 5 - (Below) Perspective showing exterior facades overlooking Stuttgart Figure 6 - (Right) Le Corbusier’s House 14/15, regulated by Mies but still representative of his five principles


more like a suburb of Jerusalem than dwelling in Stuttgart.”21 An uproar among architects and the city council building committee continued for months, until finally Mies, Stotz, Bonatz and Schmitthenner were each given the opportunity to submit their own individual proposals. Overall, these disputes caused a large delay in the planning process, even with the increasing weight of the housing crisis. However, “on June 5, 1926, the Werkbund replied by confirming Mies in his position as the person responsible for the artistic direction of the exhibition,” after which Mies no longer considered the planning opinions of any other architect or designer.22 Another delay occurred shortly thereafter when the Communist party voted against the Werkbund project, even though Mies had every intention of attracting left-oriented architects to join him in the project.23 The Communist party argued that “the building of villas is something that we may safely leave to private capital... we cannot agree to experimental building within the framework of the public housing program, paid for by city funds.”24 The Communist amendment

of placing lower-income dwellings in greater quantities on the site was negatived by the city council and the Weissenhof project was finally considered “safe.”25 The first full layout proposal was presented to the Wurttemberg Werkbund Committee then to the city’s executive department in July 1926.26 By November 1926, Mies had assigned the lots or ‘blocks’27 to individual architects and leading avant-gardists,28 including: Docker, Gropius, Haring, Hilberseimer, Le Corbusier as seen in figure 6, Mendelsoh Mies, Oud, Rading, Scheck, Stam, Taut, Max, and Tessenow. The new proposal kept original intent in less density. The organization of the units surrounding his own apartment block at the top of the site, evident in figure 5, presented an improvement towards the ratio of living space to ground area. After years of planning, construction took only five months thanks to the efficiency of prefabrication and standardization processes and the existing manufacturing industry. This proves the progress of the systematic and streamlined approach to mass production. In a time of an economic explosion, drastic population increase, renewed optimism and precedence of the future over the past, exploitation of new ideas became the binding agent between intricate layers of the urban fabric. As forward-thinking, authoritative individuals began to both compete and collaborate, the evolution of architectural style was simultaneously strained and developed, through projects such as the Weissenhof, into what is now recognizably known as the International Style.

NOTES 1. Sebastian, Harcombe. “Machines for Living,” New Statesman. 12(2006):906, accessed September 12, 2012 doi: 224355904/13631 2. Daniel, Castillo. German Economy in the 1920’s. (December 2003). projects/1920s/Econ20s.htm 3. Sebastian, op. cit. 4. “Weissenhofsiedlung,” accessed October 17, 2012, http:// 5. Ibid. 6. “The Weißenhofsiedlung Stuttgart,” accessed october 16, 2012, http://www. php?lang=en 7. Karin, Kirsch. Weissenhofsiedlung: Experimental Housing Built for the Deutscher Werkbund Stuttgart, 1927 (New York: Rizzoli International Publication, Inc., 1989), 9. 8. Ibid. 9. Ibid., 10 10. Ibid. 11. Ibid., 34 12. Ibid. 13. From bauhaus to art powerhouse: (2004, Oct 16). Financial Times, Retrieved from: 14. Mark,Stankard. Re-covering Mies van der Rohe’s Weissenhof: The Ultimate Surface. Journal of Architectural education, May 2002, 55/4: 247. 15. Karin, op. cit., 34 16. Ibid. 17. Ibid., 35 18. Ibid. 19. Ibid. 20. Ibid., 36 21. Ibid., 37 22. Ibid., 36-40 23. Ibid., 38 24. Ibid. 25. Ibid. 26. Ibid., 39 27. Ibid. 28. John, Bentley. (2006, Nov3). International style choses reason over passion. The Globe and Mail, Retrieved from: http://ezproxy.lib. FIGURES 1. Dorothy, Johns. “Mies’ Elevation” appropriated from: Kirsch, Karin. Weissenhofsiedlung: Experimental Housing Built for the Deutscher Werkbund Stuttgart, 1927 (New York: Rizzoli International Publication, Inc., 1989), 36 2. Aerial View: appropriated from 3. Dorothy, Johns. “Sequence of Plans” appropriated from: Kirsch, op. cit., 38 4. Mies’ apartments appropriated from: com/ 5. Dorothy, Johns. “Perspective” appropriated from: http://www. 6. Dorothy, Johns. “Corbusier’s House” appropriated from: http://





SIEMENSSTADT NICOLA RUTHERFORD In the turbulent and impressionable period between two devastating wars, Germany was struggling to recover from their defeat and combat the societal problems stemming from overpopulated slums and inadequate living conditions. An example of this mandate that has survived, currently owning the title of UNESCO Cultural World Heritage site, is the Siemensstadt Housing Estate in the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district of Berlin. Siemensstadt, built in 1928-1931, was inspired by the Garden City movement of the late 19th century and Corbusier’s Ville Contemporaine of the early 1920s, along with the political intent of the Weimar Republic to give “Every German decent housing.” A team of world-class architects and planners worked with the Siemens corporation and the Weimar-era economic tax incentives to house the masses of the working class close to their place of employment. This essay will discuss how Siemensstadt was a manifestation of the ideals of the times, and served as a reinforcing example -- as well as learning model -- for support of CIAM’s Functional City, of which Walter Gropius, one of the architects on the team, was involved in crafting by being an active member in CIAM. The current World Heritage status of the project inspires investigation of how it was a contextually appropriate and successful approach to the existing urban environment, as well as highlighting the challenges, if any, of being an early expression of the modernist ethos. Faced with growing slums and population expansion in the present day, applicable lessons relevant from this project will also be explored.



World War I left Germany in tatters. However, with the German Revolution in 19181919 came a beneficial shift in government, from Imperialism to the implementation of the Weimar Republic, which lasted until the National Socialist German Workers’ Party took over in the early 1930s. This period between 1919 and the start of the Great Depression in 1929 had a huge impact on German architecture. Despite the pressures from hyperinflation after the war reparations, Germany quickly got back on its feet in the affectionately termed Goldene Zwanziger, the mid-1920s, thanks to American loans1. The population of Berlin during the Weimar era exploded from 2.5 million to 4.4 million.2 With the magnitude of this overpopulation crisis, Gustav Stresemann, the political leader of the time, introduced employment centres, welfare and incentives for better housing to assist the working class.3 Those housing reform incentives guaranteed “a healthy home for every German,”4 and encouraged many developers and architects of the time to come up with innovative solutions for social housing. 158

One of these projects, which will be explored in this paper, was Großsiedlung Siemensstadt. The City Building Councillor in Berlin, Martin Wagner, managed a group of modernminded young architects called Der Ring, between 1926 and 1933. The focus of this collective was to promote Modernist architecture, further developing Neues Bauen (New Building) and always looking for innovative technologies to develop. A few of the members of the “Ring of Ten” went on to attend the CIAM congresses and further develop their concepts. Der Ring worked on several large-scale planned communities; one of these, Siemensstadt Housing Estate in 1928, was also known as Ring Estate or Ringsiedlung, using the collective’s namesake. Der Ring architects involved in Siemensstadt included Hans Scharoun, Otto Bartning, Walter Gropius, and Hugo Häring, introducing additional architects Fred Forbat and Paul Rudolph Henning during this project. Modernist landscape architect Leberecht Migge also played a key role, creating the space between


Rail Car

1:10,000 Figure 1 - (Top Left) The Siemens Electrical Factory in Charlottenburg, south of Siemensstadt. Figure 2 - (Bottom Left) Site in context of Berlin shown in Red. Figure 3 - (Top) Plan of Seimensstadt and major transportation. Area discussed within red boundary: 19.3ha.Yellow to the south is the Siemens Factory. Green to the north is Volkspark.

the buildings. Siemensstadt was different from many of the other housing projects in this era in that it was funded not just by the City, but also privately by the Siemens electrical factory, who employed a workforce of over 60,000. Siemens had been in operation since 1847; by 1899 they purchased a large, empty lot in Charlottenburg, on the outskirts of Berlin, for new factories and adequate worker housing. (Fig 1 + 2) This appears to have been following Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City of Tomorrow ideals developed in 1898: taking the workers out of the inner city and creating a new life for them in a sattelite town. The vacant lot of Siemens was to be a company town with 18,000 units5, the Siemensstadt development housing 2,800 of those residents6. This desire to have company housing nearby wasn’t merely a good deed by Siemens, but one based in economic and political reasons: healthy workers work harder, providing adequate housing would give employees more association with their employer, and keeping the masses happy would ideally halt further revolts and revolutions, pacifying the population in the worst physical conditions. The Siemens factories were located to the south and west of the housing because of the prevailing winds, with a park to the north and more post-war residential by Scharoun to the east after 1946.7 This site, according to the Garden City principles, was already well-connected to Berlin with the U-Bahn rail transportation, which was taken into consideration during design. The transportation

arteries influenced the development to the point where they curved the form of Bartning’s 338m building to act as a visual and sound barrier to the rail line.8 (fig 3) In the future, CIAM would propose to separate rail functions from residential functions more thoroughly to improve the quality of life, sheltering residential areas from the noise and pollution.The Charlottenburg borough became part of Greater Berlin in 1920, when city expansion encroached the boundaries during this period of growth.9 (Fig 2) Scharoun developed the master plan for Siemensstadt with modernist, proto-CIAM, Corbusier-inspired ideals. Using the concept of “neighbourhood units,”10 he arranged the fivestorey buildings into characterized clusters. This was further affected by Bruno Taut’s work earlier that decade establishing “outdoor living space,”11 paying close attention to the space contained between buildings and incorporating a central park area instead of having them densely packed. Migge’s landscape contributions to Siemensstadt differ from Taut’s ideas in that the green spaces are not enclosed, but remain open to the surroundings. This approach was radically different from the norm of the time, and is a very early example of le Corbusier’s “city in a garden” intention in practice. These methods became more popular following World War II after further development by CIAM. While Scharoun developed the master plan (fig 3) using primarily the Zeilenbau method of linear blocks arranged vertically north-south to allow access to the most sunlight and air,12 159

URBAN SCALE DESIGN each architect had their own neighbourhood unit to develop within that plan. The result was the display of a broad range of aesthetic character for visual interest. While all architects involved agreed on the overall themes of continuous green space, access to natural light and air, simple detailing, expressive structure and the functionalist, rational approach, there remained plenty of personal interpretation within the individual components. Scharoun, for example, explored a lot of naval influences in his buildings, utilizing porthole windows and sundecks.(Fig 4g) This seems to be reflective of the wartime aesthetic. Häring, on the other hand, took a more sculptural, organic approach with his contributions; his use of curved balconies being a good example of this notion.(Fig 4e) Gropius, with his clean lines, brought his rational functional aesthetic influence from Bauhaus, as he was the school’s director until 1928, shortly before Siemensstadt was erected. (Fig 4a) The combination of minds culminated in a dynamic district which was instantly regarded as a turning point in urban thinking, and an “architectural exhibition.”13 Each building had some sort of balcony or patio space to look out to the treed walkways below. (Fig 4) The exterior space was a key consideration in this project, acting as somewhat of a consolation prize for the difficult working conditions of the occupants for which it was built. All mature trees existing on the site were conserved by Migge, strengthening the character of the gardens and paths from the beginning.14 There was also meant to be a large central park, which later got reappropriated into 160





Henning Gropius


Migge Forbat Haring

Bartning Scharoun


a parking lot, much to Scharoun’s chagrin. The green spaces were not enclosed, and instead integreated with Volkspark, the “People’s Park,” to the north. Despite being devastated in the First World War, Berlin remained world-class in the arena of science and technology, due to its many great universities attracting great minds. Functionalism was a very important concept of the times, visible in Siemensstadt both in the minimal detailing as well as the expression of

g Figure 4 (clockwise from top left): Individual architectural contributions: Gropius, Henning, Migge, Forbat, Haring, Bartning and Scharoun.

CIAM structure through the straight-lined, geometrical Bauhaus style.(Fig 4) This mentality was also present in the planning: streets were all named after famous inventors, physicists and engineers: Watt, Ohm, Gramme, Volta, and so on. This further symbolized the break from the past, imperialistic planning regimes, moving into an era of rationality and progress. Although the planning of this development happened prior to the first CIAM congress, many of the same principles from Siemensstadt were discussed in the subsequent CIAM meetings. Rational design, open green space, access to sunlight for all classes of people, taller -- but not too tall -- dwellings and a separation of function, while retaining accessibility to work and recreation amenities were all themes which can be shown in the Siemensstadt development. These practices were a stark departure from the vernacular approach of densly packed low-rise tenements. Siemensstadt was a very early example of the CIAM ideals in practice, serving as a learning model in the following years. Even today this is “one of the largest residential areas in Berlin.”15 Because Siemensstadt was such an exemplary and forward thinking residential development of this era in German architecture, created by several great architectural minds of the times, the area was carefully maintained and preserved as an icon of the times. During World War II, Siemensstadt suffered extensive damage, but was recreated to the original plans by the original architects in many cases. Most of these buildings had more recently undergone

renovations to renew their former state during the 1980s. Finally, in 2008 this site was granted a UNESCO World Heritage status, and today it is quite a wealthy neighbourhood. The present health of Siemensstadt is a testament to its appropriateness: people are proud to live here. However, it takes more than a clean aesthetic approach and open space between buildings to make a successful project. Der Ring were passionate about creating beneficial housing for the people, and this is reflected throughout this response. What made this work was that the citizens and owner found value in it. The density of five stories was enough that residents could meet their neighbours, resulting in the development of community -- a place they could call home. The people treated the structures with respect, and as a result, the buildings continue to serve the people.

NOTES 1. GCSE Bitesize. “How did the Wiemar Republic survive?” BBC. Accessed September 20, 2012. germany/weimarsurviverev1.shtml 2. Berlin Property Portal. “Housing Demand and Development in Berlin Since 1880.” 2007. Accessed September 21, 2012. housing_history.htm 3. GCSE Bitesize. “How did the Wiemar Republic survive?” 4 . Berlin Property Portal. “Housing Demand and Development in Berlin Since 1880.” 5. Architectuul. “Siemensstadt.” 2012. Accessed on October 12, 2012. http:// 6 . Haspel, Jörg & Jaeggi, Annemarie (eds.) Housing Estates in the Berlin Modern Style. 2007 (Berlin: Deutscher Kuntsverlag GmbH München), 85. 7 . Haspel & Jaeggi. 85. 8 . Ibid. 88. 9. Architectuul. “Siemensstadt.” 10 . Haspel & Jaeggi. 85. 11 . Architectuul. “Siemensstadt.” 12 . Haspel & Jaeggi. 88. 13 . Ibid. 85. 14 . Ibid. 88. 15 . Ibid. 86. ADDITIONAL SOURCES 1 . Mumford, Eric. The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960. 2000. (Cambridge: MIT Press) pp 1-65. 2. ArchINFORM. “Plan für die Großsiedlung Siemensstadt” Accessed on September 20, 2012: FIGURES Figure 1: Appropriated from: denkmale_in_berlin/en/weltkulturerbe/siedlungen/siemensstadt.shtml Figure 2: Appropriated from: where-is-kreuzkolln-property-investment.html Figure 3 & 4: Appropriated from: de/denkmal/denkmale_in_berlin/download/weltkulturerbe/siedlungen/ siemensstadt_karte.pdf Figure 4 a, b, c, d, e, f, g: Appropriated from: “UNESCO World Heritage Site in Berlin -- Tours of Berlin Modernism Housing Estates. Siemensstadt Estate.” 2011. Accessed on October 12, 2012: seite-2/siemensstadt/ &





8601880 LAKE SHORE DRIVE AVIV SARNER Presented as a radical departure from the typical residential brick apartment buildings of the time, 860/880 Lake Shore Drive towers on Chicago’s Lakefront were built between 1948 and 1951 by Mies van der Rohe. Designed as a series of middle-income apartment buildings redefining highrise living for the post-war generation, these towers, with facades of steel and glass were essentially rectangular boxes with a non-hierarchical wall enclosure, raised on columns above a glass-enclosed lobby, creating an unprecedented open plaza. So inflectional, this became the prototype for countless new towers built after. Such a groundbreaking architectural solution for a typical apartment block of the time was a product of political, economic and cultural conditions. Exploring some of these conditions, this essay will focus on factors that contributed to van der Rohe’s design, including historical, political, site and city requirements and architectural theories of the time. Located along Chicago’s Gold Coast, the buildings relate informally to one another within a relatively small site, creating a dynamic feeling and enabling lake views from the above levels due to the building’s slight offset, perpendicular relationship. The buildings do not take up the entire site, and are offset giving room to the travertine plaza and green space. Being situated in a highly dense urban fabric, van der Rohe could of easily chosen to cover the entire site with the building; Instead he chose to give room for public interaction, similar to what did with the Segram Building in NYC. Van der Rohe’s tower architecture seems to be similar, although each project presents new ideas about the formation of highly sophisticated urban space at ground level. Its iconic stature around the world, being one of the earliest pioneers of Modern architecture, is due to it being van der Rohe’s clearest interpretation of the new age of technology while maintaining structural clarity, tectonic nature, and poetic yet functional architectural expression. 163

URBAN SCALE DESIGN Known for his structural clarity and striving for perfection, German-American Modernist architect Mies van der Rohe is best remembered for his innovative design of highrise buildings, whose influence is still being felt today. Considered a pioneer in his field, building, van der Rohe’s work, from his early days as an educator at the Bauhaus School of modern architecture in Germany to his successful career in the United States, has had a major impact on the contemporary look of cites around the world. His success is linked to Europe’s rich architectural scene of the 1920s and 30s that helped shape architectural theories of the modern age still influencing contemporary architects. Emblematic of this architectural revolution is van der Rohe’s benchmark 860/880 Lake Shore Drive apartment buildings in Chicago. Also known simply as “860,” it is an early example of post-war residential housing redefining the then typical high-rise building1. Such was its architectural significance that it was eventually declared a national landmark. Many critics consider 860 van der Rohe’s finest example of the high-rise form due to its structural clarity, tectonic nature, and its poetic yet extremely functional architectural expression2. Such a groundbreaking architectural solution for a typical apartment block of the time was a product of political, economic and cultural conditions. Exploring some of these conditions, this essay will focus on factors that contributed to van der Rohe’s design, including historical, political, site and city requirements and architectural theories of the time. 164

The Site Lake Shore Drive Chicago River Tower & Condominium Strip

The 1920s and 30s were a time when past architectural traditions were being challenged with new definitions. This intensified through the foundation of CIAM (the International Congress of Modern Architecture) in 1928 which provided a forum for discussion of architectural theories regarding the future of buildings and cities. This led to an embracing of technology and a more efficient, functional architecture and, in turn, city planning. Although this near-revolutionary approach began during the early 1920s, it

Figure 1 - (Above) Aerial View of the city of Chicago, 1947 Figure 2 - (Right) Site plan of 860/880 Lake Shore Drive

CIAM E Delaware Pl

ake NL S ho re D r

E Chestnut St

was related to the industrialization that began in the 1800s with the building of the railway.3 Introducing such major infrastructure into a built city presented many challenges necessitating a rethinking of the way cities functioned and were planned.2 The massive economic and political upheaval during the first half of the 20th century including the Great Depression of the 1930s and WWII prompted an efficient, low cost yet functional form3 of architecture on a large scale, thus calling into question the traditional approach to architecture. In the early 1930s, van der Rohe was director of the Bauhaus school of architecture. It advocated many of the modern ideals of the time. The Bauhaus Style, along with the International Style, embraced the Modern Movement’s principles which had a strong influence on architects, first in Europe and then in the rest of the world. Both styles promoted minimalism, functionality and a lack of ornament in their designs4.Shortly after coming to power in 1933, the Nazis closed the Bauhaus school. In subsequent years as the Nazis stepped up their

persecution of Jews in Germany, many Jewish architects, prevented from practicing their profession, left for other countries. Following the outbreak of WWII in 1939, many architects in other European countries (especially Jewish ones facing increasing Nazi persecution of their people) went into exile elsewhere, which helped spread the principles of the Modern movement around the world. Soon after WWII ended, an economic and building boom began, creating new opportunities for van der Rohe who had moved to Chicago in 1938. Post-war America ushered in a period of prosperity alongside extreme growth in all fields, especially in construction due to the need of housing for a growing population. William Jordy, a leading architectural historian of the time, explains: “Overnight, it seemed, the skyscraper silhouette of brick and stone at the heart of large American cities gave way to highly polished reticulated metal and glass walls nearby.” 4 The growth was seen both in the cities and suburbs with the arrival of new types of building, such as shopping malls, parking garages and highways. The modern apartment block evolved due to a acute need for residential housing. In the mid-1800s, Chicago was a transportation hub between eastern and western United States. In the second half of the 19th century, the city gave birth to the Chicago School movement of architecture. Its devotees pioneered new technologies of steelframe construction in commercial buildings and espoused an aesthetic related to European

Modernism. Not coincidentally, the first highrise building was erected in Chicago during that period. In 1983, the Chicago Exposition increased interest in the city which lasted until the downturn of the Great Depression and WWII.5 Post-war growth in Chicago also led to the emergence of the Second Chicago School which exerted a strong architectural influence on the city, thanks in no small part to van der Rohe. Further, the growing need for change allowed van der Rohe to explore the dematerialization of structure so widely talked about in the Modern Movement; enabling him to create single span areas, extending in all directions bounded only by columns and glass conceived in symmetrical order; a space so different from the earlier buildings that flowed among the restraining of walls and columns. Between 1948 and 1951, his 860/880 Lake Shore Drive (860) project was built on Chicago’s lakefront.6 Designed as a series of middle-income apartment buildings, it redefined high-rise living for the post-war generation. Located on the uptown part of the city, it was adjacent to the Lake Shore Drive parkway, which runs alongside the shoreline of Lake Michigan.7 The Lake Shore part of Chicago was intended for public development, long before Daniel Burnham’s city formal plan in 1909. True to that heritage, today’s zoning regulations state that 24 of the shoreline’s 30 miles should be reserved for public parks. City regulations are strict about not turning Lake Shore Drive into an expressway for fear of losing pedestrian traffic in the vicinity. It does that by strict lane dimensions 165

URBAN SCALE DESIGN and street values. Running northwest, the parkway was first intended in 1875 for leisurely strolls for the wealthy in their carriages but later, with the arrival of the car, it was repurposed for traffic. During the construction of the 860 project, there was much talk about turning Lake Shore Drive into a fast-moving expressway (in violation of Burnham’s plan), jeopardizing the dense fabric of that part of the city. Bordering the affluent Gold Coast neighborhood with an even higher-class residential population, the lakeshore strip was being occupied by high-rise apartments and later condominiums, home to the city’s political and financial elite. 8 The 860 project was designed by van der Rohe based on the concept that architecture is independent of its site, conforming with the ideals of the International Style. The towers followed their own rules “by being the first step towards the industrialization of architecture.” His unique approach to the site distinguished the towers from their surroundings by setting the two towers at cross axis toward each other (90 degrees) creating a Roman travertine plaza at ground level. Van der Rohe was so precise in his design that he even set back the first story from the tower’s perimeter to reveal the structural column and opening up to the plaza. 9 The plaza provided a rare urban open space facing eastward to a front lawn, an even rarer feature for a downtown high-rise. It offered protection from the weather, and added ceremony to one’s arrival. A mere few blocks from the busy Michigan Avenue, 860 provided an unexpected haven amidst the downtown neighborhoods. Van der Rohe set the towers alongside the 166

Chicago city grid, not parallel to Lake Shore Drive, allowing the apartments in the backside of the building to have a panoramic view of the city on one side and on the other, views of the pride of Chicago, Lake Michigan.10 Identical in mass, volume, form and height (26 stories), the two towers are organized in a 7-meter grid represented with steel columns placed at the intersections of the system. The arrangement of the towers on the triangular site creates a compelling tension. Although identical, their grid pattern creates a poetic expression further enhanced by the opposition of the horizontal public space and canopy opposing the towers’s verticality. The only connector between the two masses is the entrance, marked by a horizontal roof. This extreme visual, continuous dynamism between the buildings was intended to attract pedestrians or passing traffic to experience the highly expressive composition. 11

Van der Rohe wanted to express the grid inside and out. Thus he made the columns and the grid structural. The distance between columns due to the grid enables a maximum degree of freedom and self-expression to those living in the apartments Therefore, the structure consisted of a system, creating a striking pattern to the exterior with its contrast of black steel to the glass surface. Even the mullions were thought of and conformed with the grid system by manufacturing standard components making construction easier as they simply attached to the building.12 The project’s structural expression was also groundbreaking due to local strict fire

Figure 3 - (Above) Grid system outlining columns and beam grid system Figure 4 - (Right) Photomontage of interior apartment enhancing city views out to the city available due to van der Rohe’s steel and glas constuciton


safety regulations that resulted from the great Chicago fire in 1871 that had destroyed much of the city. , While the building is steel framed, the Chicago building code required steel to be fireproofed with 50 mm of concrete all around, which would have made the building ugly by being wrapped with concrete cages.13 Van der Rohe’s solution was to bring the steel frame to the surface by covering the required layer on the beams and columns with steel plating. To compensate for this layer and to emphasize the vertical expression of the building, he added thin I-beams welded to the steel plates covering the mullions and columns. Many architectural functionalists suggested the use of I-beams was decorative, when in fact van der Rohe added them as an aesthetic gesture emphasizing its height, creating depth and texture, dramatizing the play of light and shadow. 14 Interestingly, van der Rohe’s design for the 860 project can be traced back to the groundbreaking design of his glass-and-steel Friedrichstrasse Office Building 30 years earlier. 15 In his design for 860, he found the meaningful

link between his architectural aesthetics and the American love of the new and of technology. 860 set a new architectural building grammar, setting it apart from the traditional brick and stone high-rise building type of the late 1800s. Above all, what distinguishes the 860 towers and makes it an iconic post-war building is that it is aesthetically pleasing, yet extremely functional and clear. The use of glass and steel, materials of significance due to their connection with the new age of industrialization, contributes to its break from the past.16 Van der Rohe’s subtle nearly indiscernible design emphasizes the towers’s verticality emphasizing the new technological age. Unlike many of the earlier high-rise buildings built for the sole purpose of representing power, 860 is light and delicate, presenting new qualities of architecture, looking to the future. Its use of prefabricated parts was groundbreaking at the time. Van der Rohe believed in the purity of construction and that, above all, construction is what makes a building’s true expression. Thus, he made construction of 860 the design priority. “From outside to inside, from permanent to temporary, the architecture evolved in the sequence of construction.”3 Today, more than 60 years since van der Rohe designed 860, it stands as a testament to his enduring influence both on the shape of cities high rise fabric today and as it commands such attention by the architectural community and the general public.


1 . “The Buildings Place in History.” 860|880 Lake Shore Drive Buildings. (accessed October 24, 2012). 2. Ibid 3. “Behind the Postmodern Facade.” UC Press E-Books Collection, 1982-2004. view?docId=ft7c60084k& (accessed October 23, 2012). 3. Ibid 4 . Ibid 5 . “Interpretive Digital Essay : The Plan of Chicago.” Encyclopedia of Chicago. (accessed October 28, 2012). 6. Phyllis Lambert, and Werner Oechslin. Mies in America Conversations with Mies van der Rohe. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2008. 7 . Perez, Adelyn . “AD Classics: 860-880 Lake Shore Drive / Mies van der Rohe.” AD Architecture Classics Residential Skyscrapers . www. (accessed October 21, 2012). 8 . Lambert, op. cit. 9 . Interpretive, op. cit. 10. Blaser, Werner. Mies van der Rohe: Lake Shore Drive apartments : high-rise building = wohnhochnaus. Basel: Birkhauser, 1999. “City of Chicago.” City of Chicago. (accessed October 24, 2012). 11. Interpretive, op. cit. 12. Blaser, op. cit. 13 . Ibid 14 . Behind, op. cit. 15 . Interpretive, op. cit. 16 . Blaser, op. cit. 17 .“lakefront plan of Chicago .” U.S. Government Printing Office Home Page. CZIC-ht168-c5-c48-1972.htm (accessed October 25, 2012). Figures 1. Aerial View of the city of Chicago, 1947.Pre-construction of site. Appropriated from “History | Research.” 860|880 Lake Shore Drive Buildings. (accessed October 18, 2012) 2 . Site plan of 860/880 Lake Shore Drive. Appropriated from Blaser, Werner. Mies van der Rohe: Lake Shore Drive apartments : high-rise building = wohnhochnaus. Basel: Birkhauser, 1999. “City of Chicago.” City of Chicago. (accessed October 24, 2012). 3. Grid system outlining columns and beam grid system. Appropriated ibid. 4. Photomontage of interior apartment enhancing city views out to the city available due to van der Rohe’s steel and glas constuciton. Appropriated from History, op. cit.





A CITY WITHIN A CITY - THE ROCK CARRIE GROSKOPF Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center sets a precedent for a successful urban complex. Located in the heart of New York, it is considered a “city within a city.” Parallels can be made between this development and Le Corbusier’s linear city, le Radiuses. Many requirements for urban developments outlined in the CIAM’s Athens Charter (1933) were met in the grand plan for what was then the largest development in the world. The project’s development was in constant flux with social, political and economic factors altering the final product multiple times. The adaptation to these changes, combined with developer John D. Rockefeller’s and principal architect Raymond Hood’s strong opinions and urban ideals, resulted in the long-lasting success and positive social, economic and cultural influence of the development. The design reflected Rockefeller’s objective of achieving “maximum beauty consistent with profitability.”This paper will explore the reasoning behind several design considerations which influenced Rockefeller Centre’s lifetime recognition worldwide as a successful urban design project. These considerations reflect many of the urban planning requirements and observations of the Athens Charter, including building orientation, proximity to public transit, consideration of traffic circulation, and pedestrian-friendly spaces. The design was a notable prototype of an urban, mixed-use complex, establishing a hub that created economic and social gains for the city and its residents. This was accomplished by including a well planned corporate commercial center, open plazas and promenades facilitating social interaction, and landscaping creating green spaces within the city allowing the “proper play of light and air.”



As one of Manhattan’s most iconic office complexes, Rockefeller Center is recognized world-wide as a precedent-setting design for a modern, mixed-use urban complex, the first modern urban renewal project. Two decades after receiving the American Institute of Architects’ first 25 Year Award for Excellence in 1969, it was also awarded the ULI Heritage Award for developments that have displayed industry excellence for at least a quarter of a century, a testament to its enduring quality.1,2 Today, millions of employees and visitors still respond positively to the complex’s striking architecture and engaging, pedestrian-friendly public spaces. Located in the heart of New York City, Rockefeller Center is described as a “city within a city.”3 The largest development in the world at the time of its conception, it was the first to integrate offices, restaurants, entertainment venues, including studios and theatres, retail and the first underground parking garage, into one complex. Construction of the original fourteen building complex began shortly after 170

CIAM was first established, in 1930, and continued through the Great Depression until its completion in 1939.4 The design reflected many design considerations highlighted during CIAM Congresses, including benefits of public spaces, the importance of traffic circulation and public transit access, and the need for design that allows good access to light and air. Rockefeller Center’s monumental, striking design, facilitation of pedestrian traffic flow through public spaces, extensive underground pathways connecting all of the buildings, and connections to public transit contribute greatly to its success. Adaptation to changing social, political and economic factors, coupled with the strong opinions and urban ideals of developer John D. Rockefeller and principal architect Raymond Hood, resulted in the long-lasting success and positive social, economic and cultural influence of the development. The multi-faceted design successfully reflected Rockefeller’s objective of achieving “maximum beauty consistent with profitability.”5 Rockefeller originally planned to

Map 1

Map 2

Map 3

Map 4

Map 5

Map 6

Map 7

LEGEND: Underground Retail Office Space Ground Level Retail Ice Rink Public Space One way

Map 8

vehicular traffic Pedestrian sidewalks Underground Pedestrian walkway Symmetry Balance



Figure 1 - (Above Left):Aerial view highlighting the proposed Rockefeller Center development in 1932. Figure 2 - (Left): Maps 1-6 Display a breakdown Of the Multi-Use Program of the Rockefeller Center, Map 7,8 display the Balance and Symmetry In Rockefeller Center Design Development in accordance to the 1811 NYC grid Figure 3 - (Above) Vertical Breakdown of Program allowing for Light and Air flow in the Public Space

revitalize the area around his family home on 54th Street, a declining but once fashionable district in mid-town Manhattan, through redevelopment of 12 acres between 48th and 51st Avenues.6 About 200 shabby brownstones and low-rise rooming houses were to be razed for the construction of a civic center, including a new opera house.7 When financial and legal difficulties during the Depression forced the New York Opera to withdraw from the project Rockefeller decided to take advantage of the low construction costs during the recession and proceed with development of the site.8 New plans for a profit-oriented, commercial and entertainment center were created.9 While profit was an important consideration, Rockefeller, a socially minded visionary, was also motivated by the immediate and long-term social benefits the project would provide for the city. This included providing work for over 75 000 men during the depths of the Depression. Rockefeller personally guaranteed all project loans, despite losing half of his fortune during the 1929 stock market crash.10 He envisioned the project as a community focal point which would attract crowds for diverse activities throughout the day and evening, including business, shopping, entertainment, dining, walking and sightseeing. An advisory board of three top architectural firms adapted the original plans to reflect the complex’s new profit orientation, taking into consideration the key design principles for an urban architectural project: standardization, efficiency, uniformity, rationalization and typification.11 They created a development which incorporated the latest technology and

best ideas of emerging modern urban design, a complex intended to attract and satisfy the needs of masses of people. Its buildings and plazas became landmarks, meeting points and centres of public life. The modernist idea of a city developed in three dimensions was utilized to create a design with a new urban scale. Multilevel planning encouraged views from numerous different perspectives. Amassing the three block site foretold the modernist “superblock,” while designing around a central plaza created a distinctive, effective social hub. Architect Raymond Hood greatly influenced the design of the complex’s central structure. The monolithic RCA tower is a tall, thin slab with two distinct axes, appearing narrow from the sides, while presenting a wide frontal face. This economically effective design maximizes available light to the offices while eliminating darker, internal rooms, since the core is utilized for elevators and other services.12 Hood, whose body of work helped make the “skyscraper city, the vision of the future American city,” is credited as the primary architect whose aesthetic vision guided the overall planning for the development.13 The 1920s saw great interest in skyscrapers. Considered an essential element in the changing urban landscape, modern skyscrapers were depicted as the heart of the “City of the Future” in numerous art exhibits and films.14 Many believed they were an architectural interpretation of America’s economy, utility and size.15 Their scale and visual aesthetic communicated the idea of the modern American city.16 While there was considerable optimism regarding developments in urban living and new 171

URBAN SCALE DESIGN technology, such as steel frame construction, and the heating, air-conditioning and elevator improvements that made skyscrapers possible, critics expressed concerns over their negative impact. They claimed the rapidly growing number of taller structures were dehumanizing, causing overcrowding, pollution and noise.18 Complaints about skyscrapers casting immense shadows across neighbouring buildings had already led to the enactment of a revolutionary zoning bylaw regulating building mass and use in New York City, in 1916. As early as the 1870s, New Yorkers were protesting the loss of light and air that resulted from the construction of taller residential buildings.19 The 1916 bylaw recognized the need for zoning restrictions separating residential, commercial and manufacturing uses, and for controls over the height and form of all buildings. Its objective was to stop buildings from blocking air and light by using setbacks to limit building mass at specific heights. Tower heights were restricted to a percentage of lot size. The new law was popularized in Hugh Ferris’s 1922 drawings outlining possible forms to maximize building volumes.20 The use of skyscraper setbacks, originally built in response to the bylaw, became popular world-wide by the end of the 1920s. New York’s tiered skyscrapers, built in the 1920s and 1930s, are the direct result of this law.21 The RCA Building, later renamed the GE Building, is an Art Deco masterpiece whose cleverly designed “wedding cake” shape was a direct result of the zoning bylaw’s setback requirements.22 Using plazas or low-rise buildings around a monumental tower centered 172

on a site, as was done at the Rockefeller Centre, became common by mid-century.23 Buildings added to the Rockefeller Center development after 1961 were affected by revamped building codes based on FAR, the floor area ratio, instead of setback rules. An incentive provision granting building area increases to compensate for building plazas, helped increase the public space in city developments.24 The uniformity of the Manhattan street grid system created in 1807 necessitated strategies to distinguish between the uniform blocks.24 To make the Rockefeller project both visually impactful and economically viable, the designers consolidated property covering three New York City blocks into one large superblock. Thirteen shorter buildings surrounding the larger RCA structure, created a more “humanscale” experience while allowing maximum light and air into the plaza.25 The central RCA/GE building could then be built to its full 70 story height of 850 feet.26 Characteristic of Art Deco style, the individual buildings demonstrate “streamlined verticality, setbacks and massing,” while the overall design exhibits a typical Beaux Arts, “hierarchy, symmetry and axiality.”27 For Rockefeller and his designers the skyscraper represented science and democracy, symbolizing man’s progress, a theme perpetuated throughout the Center.28 The incorporation of both commercial and leisure activities, supported by a wellconceived “pedestrian and vehicular circulation system...extensive landscaping and public art programs” contribute to Rockefeller Center’s success.29 Its pioneering three-dimensional

approach to urban design, with the buildings planned in relation to each other as well as the open space, was also a key factor.30 Each structure was positioned in the overall site to enable full exposure to sunlight and air, and to ensure its best contribution to the overall architectural design. Facilitating anticipated increases in vehicular and pedestrian traffic flow is a key modernist design feature of the development, achieved by incorporating Rockefeller Plaza, an extra street bisecting the complex, and an underground passageway known as the Concourse. Pedestrian traffic moves from Fifth Avenue, down a wide promenade to a sunken plaza, which was originally a shopping area, but now a famous skating rink in winter and an outdoor cafe in summer. From here, visitors move through the underground concourse and shopping arcades, along pathways connecting all the buildings to the Sixth Avenue subway, or walk along the streets above, enjoying the shops located at street level in each building. Originally there were two theatres and multiple broadcast studios.32 The impressively scaled Radio City Music Hall, was designated a city landmark in 1978 and continues to be the city’s biggest tourist destination.33 Rockefeller envisioned the multi-structure development being used by office workers and shoppers during the day and theatre-goers, diners and strolling sightseers during the evening. The complex can be entered at several points along the pedestrian Promenade, which is as wide as a city street. A centrally located fountain ensures that pedestrians move along the sides

CIAM of the street facing the shops. The Promenade, now called Channel Gardens, is considered one of the finest public spaces in the city. The construction of Rockefeller Center was a major accomplishment. Rockefeller rose above the financial chaos and political-social constraints of the Depression era, to pursue his strong beliefs in what constituted good urban design, both aesthetically and socially. He risked constructing a coordinated, multi-building complex designed to stand the test of time in terms qualitative execution, following his own ideas rather fluctuating design values. In a time of great economic uncertainty he chose to invest in long-term quality, to build a foundational model for future urban construction. His design team took a forward thinking approach to urban design, creating and positioning structures to achieve a sense of monumentality. They strove to follow the dictates of good urban design relating to access to light and air, incorporating transportation, shopping, entertainment facilities, as well as modern commercial space, in order to provide a total urban experience. The result is a development that continues to “set the bar,” and functions productively, both socially and economically, around the clock and through the years.


1 .“Rockefeller Centre.” Emporis: Buildings, accessed October 24, 2012, 2. “Resilient Communities: Rockefeller Center Endures in Its Heritage Role,” last modified December 13, 2011, 3. “People & Events: the building of Rockefeller Center, 19311939, accessed October 23, 2012, peopleevents/e_rockctr.html 4. Ibid. 5 . Ibid. 6. “New York City Architecture,”accessed October 24, 2012. 7 . Ibid. 8. “People & Events: the building of Rockefeller Center, 19311939, accessed October 23, 2012, peopleevents/e_rockctr.html 9 . Ibid. 10 . The Architecture and Development of New York City: The Skyscraper City: Rockefeller Center: The Genesis, accessed October 26, 2012, 11 . “New York City Architecture,”accessed October 24, 2012. 12. Eric Gordon, “Toward a Networked Urbanism: Hugh Ferriss, Rockefeller Center, and the “Invisible Empire of the Air,” Space and Culture (August 2005), 8 (3), pg. 247-268. 13. Merle Crowell, The Last Rivet (New York: Columbia University Press, 1940) 4 14. Crowell, The Last Rivet 15 . Eric Gordon, “Toward a Networked Urbanism: Hugh Ferriss, Rockefeller Center, and the “Invisible Empire of the Air,” Space and Culture (August 2005), 8 (3), pg. 247-268. 16 . Ibid. 17 . Ibid. 18. Merle Crowell, The Last Rivet (New York: Columbia University Press, 1940) 4 19. “About Zoning,” New York City Department, accessed Dec. 26,2012 20. Ibid. 21 . Ibid. 22. Ibid. 23. “About Zoning,” New York City Department, accessed Dec. 26,2012 24 . Ibid. 25 . “New York City Architecture,”accessed October 24, 2012. 26. “People & Events: the building of Rockefeller Center, 19311939, accessed October 23, 2012, peopleevents/e_rockctr.html 27. “New York City Architecture,”accessed October 24, 2012. 28 . Eric Gordon, “Toward a Networked Urbanism: Hugh Ferriss, Rockefeller Center, and the “Invisible Empire of the Air,” Space and Culture (August 2005), 8 (3), pg. 247-268. 29 . The Architecture and Development of New York City: The Skyscraper City: Rockefeller Center: The Genesis, accessed October 26, 2012, 30. “People & Events: the building of Rockefeller Center, 19311939, accessed October 23, 2012, peopleevents/e_rockctr.html 31. The Architecture and Development of New York City: The Skyscraper City: Rockefeller Center: The Genesis, accessed October 26, 2012, 32. “People & Events: the building of Rockefeller Center, 19311939, accessed October 23, 2012, peopleevents/e_rockctr.html 33 . Ibid.


1. Aerial View: Appropriated from note/n/art-history-final-exam/deck/880326 2. Plan study: Appropriated from data from http://www. 3. Perspective photo: appropriated from personal photo http://www.

Figure 4 - (Above) The image shows the Art-Deco style of many of the Rockefeller Center Buildings as well the Setbacks seen in the tall buildings Figure 5 - (Below) Blocking Diagram depicting the Super block formed By the Rockefeller Center in line with 1811 NYC grid





LE CORBUSIER’S CHANDIGARH SHANE KEEPENCE The capital city of Chandigarh was created after the split of India and Pakistan when the British left India in 1947. Unfortunately, this left India without a capital city as the former capital, Lahore, was now situated in Pakistani territory. After the sudden loss of the Chief Architect, Le Corbusier was approached to take over as Architecture Advisor and soon after he was asked to take control of the master plan. Through Le Corbusiers concepts of light, space and greenery, the capital city was born. One of the key concepts Le Corbusier used in the design of the city was his idea of a clear separation between slow and fast traffic. He designed a transit system based on hierarchy and purpose that are labeled V1-V8. After merely four days of being appointed for the job he had already changed the previous master plan from an “urban village” based around superblocks to Le Corbusiers sector plan. The city was divided into 47 sectors based on a grid system; each sector had a unit size of 800 meters x 1200 meters and a population ranging from 5,000-35,000 lowering in density in the northern sectors. The sectors were connected through North-South running green strips and also through his road systems running East-West. Each sector is self-sufficient containing schools, shops, places of worship, health and recreation centers. The buildings were designed to allow ample amount of sun and air, and also to allow green spaces and circulation below by raising the structure on “pilotis”. It is clear that Le Corbusier wanted to make a statement by implementing some of the fundamental concepts of the modern city set out by CIAM by integrating them through technical, economic and social circles throughout the city.



The city of Chandigarh evolved through a series of political events due to the state of Punjab gaining their independence over British rule in 1947. The previous capital of Punjab, Lahore, was now located in Pakistani territory, which left India without a capital city1. Pendit Nehru, the newly appointed prime minister saw this as an opportunity to create a new capital and to bring the modern world to India. After 200 years of British rule Nehru wanted Chandigarh to be a representation of India off to a fresh start. Due to the extreme circumstances there was urgency to create this new capital city. Once Corbusier was placed in charge of the master plan this allowed him free range to implement his ideals to form a city based around CIAM. “A great victory for CIAM and an opportunity to show that the participants in CIAM are capable of real action,” states Corbusier2. It was a perfect situation for him as the newly appointed prime minister wanted nothing more than to leave the past of India behind and create a modern city for the future. It was clear that after the recent rejection of Corbusiers CIAM UN tower in New 176

York that he wanted to demonstrate his own as well as his colleagues principles from ciam, and also prove the logic behind their theories. Corbusier took his principles of light, space and greenery and applied them to the four major functions of CIAM: living, working, recreation, and circulation. These four major functions created the Capital City of Chandigarh. The forceful push of the fundamentals of CIAM on Chandigarh is reflected through the lack of context in the final designs. Is Corbusier’s Chandigarh an Indian City? Or is it a European city that was merely placed in an Indian terrain. Albert Mayer, an American town planner living in India since the war, was chosen to carry out the first master plan. He was chosen due to his expertise in town planning as well as his understanding of the Indian culture3. His master plan was based around the Garden City movement. He organized the city into what he called “superblocks”, which were seen as neighborhood units and contained all the basic amenities. The superblocks were 1350 x 900 meters and were divided into sections of 3.

Figure 1 - (Top Left) Mayer’s Initial City Plan Figure 2 - (Top Right) Le Corbusiers Modified City Plan


Intellect (Educational) Head (Capital Complex) Circulatory (Roads) Heart (City Centre) Lungs (Green Spaces) Viscera (Industrial)

Figure 3 - (Top) Body Diagram

The circulation of the city was based around vehicular roads that followed the natural terrain. The administrative capital was located in the north with the commercial complex located in the centre of the plan4. After the sudden loss of Mayers Chief Architect his plan was never constructed and the Indian government looked to Europe for a new lead architects and a team of town planners to complete their project. Originally the government sought out English architects Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry (both members of the English CIAM), but unfortunately they could not take on the project due to an already prior commitment. They did, however, agree to design the housing units in the master plan and also recommended Le Corbusier for the job of architecture advisor with control of the master plan5. Corbusier was reluctant at first to take the job due to what he thought was insufficient payment, as the project would tie him up for a few years. He soon changed his mind under the condition that his cousin Pierre Jeanerette was hired on as site architect. Corbusier’s initial role was to take on the Mayer plan in principle and was responsible for its development and detailing. After a mere 4 days Corbusier had changed the master plan completely. It now reflected his principles of city planning. The density of the city was increased by 20% by designing the city within 5,380 acres compared to that of Mayers 6,908 acres6 (see figure 1 for Albert Mayers Plan; figure 2 for Le Corbusier’s Plan). In addition, the roads were straightened out to form a grid, a hierarchy of circulation was established, and the dimensions and organization of the superblocks

were altered. The city was now divided into 47 sectors that were to be completed over two phases. Mayer’s once “Urban Village” was now changed to Corbusier’s “Sector”. Corbusier took his metaphor of the human being and applied it to the city by placing the Capital Complex as the ‘head’, the city centre as the ‘heart’, the green spaces and leisure valley as the ‘lungs’, the educational district as the ‘intellect’, the roads as the ‘circulatory system’ and the industrial sector as the ‘Viscera’7 (see figure 3). This also allowed for him to separate the living, working, recreation and circulation apart. Corbusier had changed Mayer’s terrain friendly city plan, and had placed his rectilinear grid. In the process he had adopted the new plan of Chandigarh and scrapped the old. The transportation of the city is one of the most significant aspects. It was split into a hierarchy of road systems separating the fast moving traffic from the slower traffic. The road systems were split into what was known as the 7v’s with a cycle pathway added later to make 8 ‘V’ sections. Each V pertained to its own purpose, V1 was used as arterial Roads connecting one city to another, V2 was for urban city roads, V3 for vehicular roads surrounding sectors, V4 for shopping streets, V5 for distribution roads that meander through sectors, V6 for residential roads, V7 for pedestrian paths, and V8 for the cycle tracks8. Corbusier’s main intention was to separate the pedestrians from the vehicle paths and ensure that residential areas were separate from the noise and pollution of traffic. He saw Chandigarh as a walking city having pedestrians channeled through little valleys 177

URBAN SCALE DESIGN surrounded by trees. Although he designed long green belts within sectors for pedestrian circulation, Chandigarhs circulation paths were mainly designed around the requirements of the automobile and not around pedestrians9. He also designed parking lanes to be as wide as main roads to prevent congestion and parking problems10. Corbusier saw the recreation portion of the city as the care of the body and spirit. It was made up of the Leisure valley that is an 8km long linear park that runs through the city from the north-east tip to the south-west end. Along with the Rose Garden, Bougainvillea Garden, Fitness Track, Botanical Gardens and many more11. This portion of his design can be linked with the circulation sector as the green belts are highly used for pedestrian traffic. The living function is made up of the residential sectors. Each neighborhood unit was designed with the dimensions of 1200 x 800m (see figure 4) that contained a population ranging from 500-35,000, which became less dense in the northern sectors and moved from rich to poor downward from the capital12. All the sectors were designed to be self sufficient with residential as well as commercial zones within walking distance. Although all were designed similarly, each sector has its own unique characteristics. The differentiating colour of vegetation, for example, was one method used to characterize the sectors13. The neighborhood units were designed to create unique social structures that were connected within the city through north-south running green strips that run through every sector and is bisected by a commercial road that runs east-west containing 178

shops to allow for amenities in walking distance. Each sector is typically divided into 4 parts with some form of circulation at each major controlled point. On top of the green belts, and commercial streets that intersect the units, urban city roads and fast moving vehicular routes surround each neighborhood unit without having any buildings open on to them14. All sectors were under architectural control, which consisted of frame control, material control and elevation control15. Some of the example of exterior controls in the commercial zones include 17’ x 3” bay size, standardized facades of set height, also full architectural control was applied to shops only showing variation in the interior layouts16. Although none of his housing was built, he wanted to design dwelling units based off of his Unite D’habitation, apartments designed around vertical living. To emphasize their relationship with the sun and the sky, they were to be lifted up on “pilotis” to be free of the ground floor. Instead, symmetrical dwellings for middle class were created to provide a balance and organized environment17. These were designed as clusters of bungalows that are placed side-by-side and back-to-back that allow for the sharing of gardens and common playgrounds for children. Although the residences may appear to be similar from the exterior, the interiors differed based on the uses of the occupants18. It was clear that Corbusier did not want to be associated with any of the housing projects as he had differing ideas of the living units, and only ended up designing two houses for industrialists Ahmedabad19. One of Ciams main principles is that they wanted the

V2 and V3 routes V7 V4

1200 m

800 m

Figure #4 - (Top) Sector Diagram Figure #5 - (Right) Dune Diagram


Capital Complex 1.5 m dune

work and living environment to be separated, Corbusier emphasized this by creating 1.5 m dunes that literally separated the head from the body (see figure 5). What once showed his famous secretariat building silhouetted to the Himalayas now showed the dune as a back drop20. Corbusier’s theory through drawings depicts that the distance was not enough of a separation between work and home that there had to be a physical impediment as well. However in the process of separating work from the living environments he also separates the context of the natural terrain from the city by hiding the once picturesque back drop of the Himalayas behind these man formed dunes. Corbusier saw Chandigarh as a great accomplishment by implementing the fundamental concept of the modern city set out by CIAM through the technical, economical and social circles of Chandigarh. However, through lack of context it fell short. Corbusier’s refusal to live in Chandigarh during the development of the project and his suggestion that all of their problems could be solved right at his office at

35 rue de Sevres was the first suggestion that he himself did not care about the context of the site21. The context of the site was not important to his overall design and principles as he had completely changed Mayers City plan that took into account the natural terrain and culture of Chandigarh in a mere 4 days. Although it was pushed by the prime minister to move away from the historical context of India they ended up losing the very essence of an Indian city and created a European city that was dropped into the terrain of India. What was originally an attempt to prove CIAMS theories of the city plan ended up proving that Corbusiers and CIAMS theories of city planning could not be simply placed in a city without taking into account the full context.

NOTES 1.Scheidegger, Ernst, Maristella Casciato, and Stanislaus von Moos. Chandigarh 1956: Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Jane B. Drew, E. Maxwell Fry. Pg 17 ZuÃàrich: Scheidegger & Spiess, 2010. 2.Scheidegger & Spiess, 2010, pg. 25 3.Prakash, Vikramaditya. Chandigarh’s Le Corbusier: the struggle for modernity in postcolonial India. Pg 39 Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002. 4.Prakash 2002, pg 42 5.Ibid., 43 6.Ibid., 45 7.Finance Secretary. City Development Plan Chandigarh. Chandigarh Administration. Municipal Corporation Chandigarh. Pg 6. October,20 2012. 8.Prakash 2002, pg 45 9.Ibid., 48 10.“Le Corbusier‚Äôs Modernist Chandigarh City Planning | Architecture Student Chronicles.” Architecture Student Chronicles. http://www. (accessed October 28, 2012). 11.Secretary, 2012. Pg 6 12.Malik, Bipin 2004. City planning and realities- a case study of Chandigarh. Pg 2. Chandigarh College of Architecture. UIC, October, 20, 2012. 13.Architecture Student, 2012 14.Secretary, 2012. Pg 7 15.Malik, 2004. Pg 2 16.“Urban and Architectural Work of Le Corbusier in Chandigarh UNESCO World Heritage Centre.” UNESCO World Heritage Centre. http://whc. (accessed October 20, 2012). 17.Prakash 2002, pg 65 18.Architecture Student, 2012 19.Prakash 2002, pg 66 20.Ibid., 69 21.Ibid., 43 FIGURES 1. Mayer’s Initial City Plan from note/n/review-images/deck/2718827 2. Le Corbusiers Modified City Plan from http://agingmodernism. 3. Body Diagram from architectural-theories-a-subversive-approach-to-the-ideal-normatized-body/ 4. Sector Diagram made by Shane Keepence 5. Dune Diagram from





CHANDIGARH ANGELA NG Le Corbusier, a prominent figure of his time, designed the master plan for Chandigarh in Punjab, India, with the help of Pierre Jeanneret, Jane Drew, and Maxwell Fry. In 1947, British India was divided into India and Pakistan, and as a result, India needed a new capital city to be planned. Le Corbusier, one of the fundamental players in the CIAM, designed the city according to his “A Contemporary City” and “The Radiant City” as models, while retaining the seminal ideas of former master planner Albert Mayer and Matthew Nowicki. Drawing from these models, Le Corbusier planned the city as an organism, and created a network of streets called The Seven V’s. One of the CIAM principles that were manifested in Chandigarh includes the division of four urban functions: housing, work, recreation, and traffic. Mayer and Nowicki’s original master plan with a curving outline was reorganized into a mesh of rectangles, but the capitol complex, the city center, the university, the industrial area, and the linear parkland of the original plan remained in Le Corbusier’s plan. More importantly, Clarence Perry’s neighbourhood unit permeates through both Mayer’s and Le Corbusier’s plans. Le Corbusier was also tasked to design the capitol complex, for which he drew from his own design principles, including the Modulor system. Chandigarh proves to be an appropriate project for its time, with an emphasis on the values of the political and physical conditions over the social and cultural contexts.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN One of the most significant projects of the postwar period is the capital city plan of Chandigarh in Punjab, India. In 1947, there was religious and political conflict with the partition of Punjab, which had separated India and the new state of Pakistan. As a result, refugees were pouring into the Indian province of east Punjab after losing all their possessions in the new state of Pakistan. This caused the population of east Punjab to double in that year, and refugees were obligated to live in a land with inadequate services, lacking amenities like drainage and water supply.1 In addition, the ancient provincial capital of Lahore became the property of Pakistan, so the Indian government was forced to move out. The culmination of these problems led to the search for a new capital city that would become the symbol of post-colonial India, while accommodating the resettlement of the displaced Punjab Hindus in better living conditions.2 Thus, the Indian government set out to look for their new headquarters. Before Chandigarh was chosen as the site for their new headquarters, seven other sites were considered, including Simla and Ambala. Simla was the temporary location of the government after partition. Although Simla was the old Himalayan summer capital of British India, it proved to be insufficient as their permanent headquarters because it was only accessible by a long and dreadful climb. Ambala, which hosted the main military base, was also considered but rejected because there were implications that enemies would attack Ambala first, leading to the downfall of the Indian government. Other existing towns 182

were investigated, but the problem with these towns was the fact that they only allowed limited expansion and not enough floor space was available for government buildings. Thus, the inhabited, but unpopulated land of Chandigarh was chosen from airplane reconnaissance.3 Chandigarh lies on a gentle slope and is bounded by two seasonal rivers, the Patiali Rao to the west and the Sukhna Choe to the east, with an irregular subsidiary dry streambed that runs throughout Chandigarh. The city is situated near the Shivalik Mountains, where the dramatic mountainous backdrop of Chandigarh is the most notable feature of the site. Chandigarh’s extreme climate is characterized by its freezing winter months, dry and hot summer months, and hot and humid fall months.4 The once agricultural land was home to 24 small villages, marked by groups of mango trees. One village included a temple to the goddess Chandi, from which the name Chandigarh derives from.5 Hitherto, the political and physical conditions of Chandigarh have been examined with great scrutiny, which the remainder of this essay will highlight as they play key roles in the planning of Chandigarh. The capital city plan of Chandigarh is a prime example of the application of presiding planning models and principles of its time, which responds with greater consideration towards its political and physical conditions than its social and cultural contexts. This is evident in the application of Clarence Perry’s neighbourhood unit, Le Corbusier’s A Contemporary City and The Radiant City, and Le Corbusier’s design principles. Albert Mayer, who served as lieutenant

Figure 1 - (Top) Albert Mayer’s plan of Chandigarh Figure 2 - (Top) Le Corbusier’s plan of Chandigarh


colonel in India during World War II, was recommended by the Prime Minister of India, Pandit Nehru, to create the master plan for Chandigarh. The December 1949 contract stipulated that the plan should accommodate 150,000 people and leave room for future expansion. Mayer collaborated with several specialists, including Clarence Stein and Matthew Nowicki, to create a plan based on the neighbourhood unit. The result is a fanshaped outline with a loosely curving network

of streets that surrounds residential superblocks each containing a central area of parkland. Although it is evident that Mayer applied the physical appearance of Clarence Perry’s model of the neighbourhood unit to his residential sectors, he did not follow Perry’s idea of mixing different income groups in the same superblock. Instead, Mayer planned three different types of superblocks, corresponding to the different income levels of low, middle, and high income in Chandigarh.6 Principles of Le Corbusier’s Radiant City can also be extracted from Mayer’s plan, where the “thinking” function is located at the head of the city and there is a distinct separation of commercial, residential, and industrial areas (see Figure 1). In Mayer’s plan, the government buildings are located at the upper edge, the head of the city, while the central business district constitutes the heart of the city, and the industrial area is situated to the east, separated from the city by a greenbelt. The result is a plan that does not conjure Nehru’s vision of monumentality. The plan has no guiding overall grand design, but is rather a multiplication of several neighbourhood units.7 Mayer’s plan was never realized due to complications within the government, which led to Mayer’s resignation from the project. No one in the government had studied Mayer’s plans, no preparations had been made for the project, and the Chief Engineer of Punjab, P. L. Varma, was about to resign.8 This ultimately left Nowicki in charge of the plan of Chandigarh, but even then, Nowicki died in a plane crash on 31 August 1950, which left the government searching for a

new architect to lead the project.9 Consequently, Le Corbusier was appointed as architectural advisor, along with Maxwell Fry, Jane Drew, and Pierre Jeanneret as senior architects in November 1950.10 Le Corbusier’s plan for Chandigarh retains some elements of Mayer’s plan, but also makes several adjustments to align with his own models, A Contemporary City, and The Radiant City. Le Corbusier was a prominent figure of CIAM, an organization that advocated the separation of four key functions: housing, work, traffic, and recreation. In his plan for Chandigarh, Le Corbusier separated these functions by creating sectors for housing, a central business district for work and a capitol complex for the government, a hierarchical traffic system, and parklands for recreation (see Figure 2). This separation is translated in his model, The Radiant City, where the city is portrayed as an organism. In “The Radiant City”, the head is the capitol group, the heart is the commercial centre, the hand is the industrial area, the brain is the intellectual centre, the stomach is the central market, the veins and nerves are the roads and utilities, the lungs are the green spaces, and the flesh is the buildings. 11 Chandigarh is organized as an organism, while retaining elements of Mayer’s plan. The neighbourhood unit is preserved in Le Corbusier’s plans, although it continues to express a lack of concern for the social and cultural context. In Le Corbusier’s plan, each neighbourhood unit is called a “sector” which is a self-sufficient, rectangular unit with a school, community centre, central park band, bazaar 183

URBAN SCALE DESIGN street, interior loop road, and housing (see Figure 3). Similar to Mayer’s plan, the new plan has the sectors divided into three main density groups based on income level, so that those of lower income live in clusters of singlestorey terrace houses, while those of higher income have the luxury of detached houses. The introduction of 13 categories of government housing that correspond to Civil Service rank sets the new plan apart from the old. 12 Both Mayer’s and Le Corbusier’s residential plans demonstrate a lack of consideration for the social and cultural contexts. This is evident when observing the traditional Indian organization of society in caste quarters, where three or more generations share the same dwelling and their physical containment represent their social identity with regards to occupation, custom, and religion. The plan of Chandigarh ignored this tradition by introducing sectors solely based on income. Furthermore, cattle traditionally represented social status in India, but the Chandigarh planners outlawed all cattle within the city in order to create political unity. As a result, social status and culture were weakened. In addition, there was no distinction or delineation between different spaces inside the traditional Indian house, and the washroom was foreign to Indian dwellings. Chandigarh’s houses made clear distinctions between different uses of space and included a washroom, disregarding the traditional Indian dwelling in favour of a western version.13 Therefore, the sectors show an inclination towards the political and physical aspects of the city, while neglecting the social and cultural contexts. 184

In “The Pack-Donkey’s Way and Man’s Way”, Le Corbusier suggests that employing the straight line is the right way to plan a city.14 This is evident in the remarkable difference between his plan and Mayer’s curving plan. Le Corbusier’s cross-axis clearly defines the central business district, which is roughly in the same position as in Mayer’s plan (see Figure 1, 2). The capitol complex also remains in the same general area as in Mayer’s plan, but is shifted slightly northwest to take advantage of a greater elevation, which is more visible against the Himalayan Mountains.15 Here, it is clear that the political and physical conditions have been addressed. In “A Contemporary City”, Le Corbusier writes about different types of streets, which are separated vertically by use, based on a 400 metre grid.16 In Chandigarh, Le Corbusier created a hierarchical street system called “les Sept Voies” or The Seven V’s. In this breakdown of traffic, pedestrian traffic is separated from vehicular traffic vertically, following his model of A Contemporary City, with vehicular streets bounding sectors of dimensions 800 metres by 1200 metres, which are multiples of the 400 metre grid that he had suggested. The Seven V’s regulate the use and intensity of traffic, with V3 restricting pedestrian access due to fastmoving motor use, and V7 restricting vehicular access to create a safe pedestrian and cyclist environment. The political context is taken into account where V2 leads to the capitol complex and is open to all types of users and speeds, highlighting the importance of the government in Chandigarh through diverse methods of

Figure 3 - (Top) Sector 22, the first residential sector developed in Chandigarh

access. The physical context is also accounted for with leafy trees along V2 to provide shade for pedestrians and dense permanent foliage along V3 to account for the low sun during winter months.17 In the 1950’s, bicycling was the dominant transportation method in India18, which contrasts Le Corbusier’s design of wide vehicular streets for cars. Therefore, The Seven V’s show Le Corb usier’s attentiveness to the political and physical conditions, in contrast to his lack of consideration for cultural

CIAM conditions. Besides planning the overall plan of Chandigarh, Le Corbusier was also in charge of the capitol complex design. Le Corbusier’s design principles permeate through the layout of the capitol complex, as well as in the individual buildings of the High Court, the Secretariat, the Assembly, and the Museum of Knowledge, which was originally the Governor’s Palace. In all of these buildings, brise-soleil and rough concrete were employed with Le Corbusier’s Modulor system, which is a system of proportioning based on the six-foot human figure.19 Characteristic of his architectural works is the incorporation of pilotis, which is evident in the Secretariat. In “The Radiant City”, Le Corbusier suggests raising buildings on pilotis to free the ground plane for pedestrians.20 The Governor’s Palace also used pilotis in this manner along with Le Corbusier’s famous roof garden that is reminiscent of the traditional Mughal paradise garden, called the “charbagh”. Le Corbusier retained elements of the charbagh in the terraced levels, the watercourses, the mountain of paradise, the sacred tree, and the crossing of the two major axes to create the four gardens.21 The capitol complex consists of reflecting pools and a vast pedestrian plaza that connects all the government buildings.22 Obelisks are arranged around the complex to mark 400 and 800 square metre subdivsions based on the grid of A Contemporary City, showing the basic design principles of the city.23 Therefore, Le Corbusier’s design principles are manifested in the capitol complex of Chandigarh, highlighting the importance of the political and

physical conditions. To protect his planning efforts, Le Corbusier and other planners created zoning by-laws to preserve green areas and ensure ventilation throughout Chandigarh.24 Concerned for the overall city appearance, they also created architectural controls over volumes, heights, facades, textures, and materials for public and commercial buildings. These bylaws were subject to approval by the Capital Project Office.25 Additionally, the Periphery Control Act of 1952 regulated development within five miles outside the city of Chandigarh. This prevented the creation of undesirable semi-urban conditions on the periphery by prohibiting development of additional towns and villages around Chandigarh, creating a positive relationship with rural communities.26 These regulations express an attempt to address the physical conditions of Chandigarh. Chandigarh is an embodiment of Clarence Perry’s neighbourhood unit, Le Corbusier’s models, A Contemporary City and The Radiant City, and Le Corbusier’s design principles. With the application of these preeminent planning models and principles of the postwar era, a new city was born, with greater consideration for the political and physical contexts than the social and cultural contexts. Although there are universal planning principles that remain constant, each planning project has its own set of design values, which vary from project to project. Thus, the appropriate planning project is founded on the constant, while adapting to change.

NOTES 1. Norma Evenson, Chandigarh (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966), 6. 2. Caroline Constant, The Modern Architectural Landscape (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 158. 3. Evenson, Chandigarh, 6-7. 4. Ibid., 5. Bärbel Högner, Chandigarh: Living with Le Corbusier (Berlin: Jovis Verlag, 2010), 72. 6. Evenson, Chandigarh, 12-18. 7. Ibid., 8. Ibid., 19. 9. Ibid., 23. 10. Ibid., 25-26. 11. Ibid., 30-31. 12. Sehdev Kumar Gupta, Chandigarh: A Study of Sociological Issues and Urban Development in India (Waterloo: University of Waterloo, 1974), 1-8. 13. Ibid., 14. Le Corbusier, “The Pack-Donkey’s Way and Man’s Way,” in The Urban Design Reader, ed. Michael Larice and Elizabeth Macdonald. (London and New York: Routledge, 2007), 68. 15. Evenson, Chandigarh, 30. 16. Jacques Guiton and Margaret Guiton, The Ideas of Le Corbusier on Architecture and Urban Planning (New York: George Blaziller, 1999), 98. 17. Evenson, Chandigarh, 32-33. 18. Högner, Chandigarh: Living, 123. 19. Evenson, Chandigarh, 36. 20. Guiton, The Ideas, 105. 21. Constant, The Modern Architectural Landscape, 166-167. 22. Ibid., 162. 23. Ibid., 160. 24. Högner, Chandigarh: Living, 126. 25. Ibid., 121. 26. Evenson, Chandigarh, 35. FIGURES 1. Albert Mayer’s map of Chandigarh appropriated from: Norma Evenson, Chandigarh (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966), 110. 2. Le Corbusier’s map of Chandigarh appropriated from: http:// 3. Sector 22 map appropriated from: Evenson, Chandigarh, 115.





ERASING THE STIGMA: REGENT PARK MICHELE ZARADIC Canada’s first attempt at tackling a large-scale urban renewal on the city of Toronto, being the most documented neighborhood and one of the oldest social housing developments, Regent Park is a notable project of an ‘urban scale’ and idealistic planning. The plan was initiated by city planner Eugene Faludi who was behind the philosophy of ‘buildings within a park’. The project was a blank slate to what city officials described as a slum and was focused inward while envisioned as a modern, car and noise free, pleasant environment keeping in mind the ‘Garden City’ ideal of planning inspired by Ebenezer Howard. This park-like setting sent waves of optimism like all projects done for the purpose of the development of social housing. The project was developed in two phases, the North Regent Park first, from 1948 to 1957 developed by architect J.E Hoare. Regent Park South was built between 1957 and 1959, designed by architect Peter Dickinson of Page and Steele architects winning a Massey Medal for Architecture. By cutting off the noise and aggravation of city life, sprinkled with a chain of low and mid-rise buildings across the site amongst increased green space, Regent Park was meant as a new beginning for residents of the area; in turn it cut residents from the city and its benefits as well as making navigation and location of addresses exceptionally difficult. Initially being a process of urban renewal and redevelopment, popular with residents, politicians and media for the beginning years of its existence, Regent Park, is today considered a slum and this location of Toronto is consequently, once again a revitalization project.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN 16 storey-South

6 storey-North 3 storey-North 2 storey-North


Ten thousand people inhabited Toronto’s Regent Park, the experiment of public housing development immediately after World War II. In spirit of new optimism through urban renewal, the housing units looked out onto open spaces. The plan removed streets having no through traffic, creating a self-contained neighborhood. North Regent Park consisted of low-rise, walk up apartments and townhomes in a large superblock. South super-block of Regent Park consisted of high-rise apartment buildings and townhomes (Figure 1). The initial designs did not include any retail, employment or institutional buildings. This isolation and confinement lead to the residents of Regent Park living under the rule of outsiders using the Park as a haven for crime. The intent, cause and effect of the urban renewal social housing project were a spiral of events leading to the downturn of the modernist approach to the design and development of Regent Park. Cause Following the conclusion of World War II, Canada had undergone significant growth, both physical and economic, leading to a substantial 188

development of social services. Consequently, housing became a topic of discussion as it was lacking and was of desperate need throughout the country, particularly in its major cities. While Canada was noted as the second highest standard of living at the time of the early 1940’s, the growth of slums within its major cities persisted. These circumstances resulted in the rapid deterioration of the home, causing for unsanitary and unsafe living. Due to the growth of slums in cities such as Toronto, those of higher financial status left the city and fled to the suburbs.1 However, the city which they fled from was the only option for those who needed to live close to their workplace, the workers cottages.2 This remained the case for a large number of Canadians at the time as citizens did not make enough in order to purchase homes while sustaining an acceptable standard of living.3 The Bruce Report of 1934, by LieutenantGovernor Herbert Bruce’s Committee on Urban Renewal, managed to call attention to Toronto’s slum neighborhoods. Bruce held that it was vital for the city to get on board with a major urban renewal project, one that would recognize the undeniable

Figure #1 - (Top) Elevations of North and South Regent Park housing.


Dundas Street

Shuter Street

River Street

Parliament Street

Gerrard Street


Figure #2 - (Top) Site Plan Of North and South Regent Park. Figure #3 - (Bottom) North Regent Park; balance between density and public green space

right of every man, woman and child to a decent and healthy environment.4 This not only included the clearing of slums in lieu of better development but also the initiation of repair to unfit dwellings. In the early 1940’s signs of action by Canada were recognized through the establishment of Federal, Provincial and Social agencies whose intent was to work collaboratively in hopes of implementing resolutions to the issues and crisis of housing. Things began to proceed in full swing, in 1944, the federal National Housing Act came about, while at the same time, a group of social activists initiated what was known as the Citizens Housing and Planning Association. The Provincial Planning Act was arranged two years later, as the first provincial planning department in Canada. Simultaneously came the establishment of the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation; a federal agency responsible for implementing housing policies.5 Combined, these organizations proceeded taking on the task of the clearing and redeveloping of what Bruce deemed to be the worst slum in Toronto - Regent Park. Provincial and Federal levels of government were not ready to comply with the project development in its early phase. Aside from the fact that there was a sudden presence of political bodies responsible for guiding the planning process, facilitating funding procurement was not as simple. January 1st of 1947, due to the proposal set by the Citizens Housing and Planning Association, a municipal ballot vote took place resulting in its approval by the public and for the public. The clearing of slums in exchange for healthy modern living conditions was set out but grants for such was only permitted through

limited-dividend corporations. As a result, in May, 1947 Housing Authority of Toronto was established as the city’s limited-dividend housing company accountable for the construction, maintenance, management and operation of the housing projects. Cause The attention to poor housing pushed the idea of Regent Park into a reality. Located in the Downtown East end of Toronto, enclosed by Gerrard, River, Dundas East and Parliament streets, on the crossover of Moss Park to the West and Cabbagetown to the North (Figure 2), covering 40 hectares of land - Regent Park was built as a transitional community.6 One which was to house people suffering financial difficulties, with residents on social assistance or those working who paid rent in proportion to their income. Canada’s first attempt at tackling a large-scale urban renewal on the city of Toronto, being the most documented neighborhood and one of the oldest social housing developments, Regent Park is a notable project as well as a constructed example of the planning ideologies and forward thinking of its time. Steered by Ebenezer Howard’s theory of the Garden City, during the early to mid-20TH century, architecture and planning experienced a heavy lean towards the most admired attributes of both the town and the country and focused in on what way they might work together harmoniously. This balance was sought by architects and planners world-wide, the perfect antidote to the housing crisis was the blend of density and green public space (Figure 3). The most accepted plan of Regent Park 189

URBAN SCALE DESIGN was that of architect John E. Hoare Jr., who went on to becoming the chief architect of the Housing Authority of Toronto.7 His plan was favored because his design principles kept the intent of the project in mind, he designed his apartment structure to put to use a more economical method of construction, lightening the weight on the limited funding available.8 Hoare designed stretched 2-3 storey cruciform apartment buildings encircled by expansive parks.9 He implemented large open green spaces in his design in hopes of creating a sense of community and providing a natural environment for each resident. Another anticipated result in the implementing of large open green spaces was to create the feeling of a low-density environment (Figure 4). Hoare decided to eliminate the use of any through streets within the neighborhood; this was initiated for the purpose of a more pedestrian friendly environment. This idea was common throughout CIAM, apparent in projects such as Le Corbusier’s Contemporary City and Plan Voisin (Figure 5). The project was a blank slate to what city officials described as a slum, and was focused inward while envisioned as a modern, car and noise free, pleasant environment. Having been developed in two phases, Regent Park North had its first resident’s move in by March, 1949. The environment was used to its maximum potential to accommodate a greater density. Hoare’s design enveloped all of the modern principles for placing low income tenants into one location. Regent Park South was built between 190

1957 and 1959, putting to use a similar method of design by the help of architect Peter Dickinson from Page and Steele Architects.10 Hoare was behind the 253 townhomes on the site while Dickinson designed the five 14-storey high-rise towers.11 In his design, there was a new method of programming through the use of a skip-stop elevator system where each unit was bi-level stretching the width of the buildings. In 1958 these innovations won a Massey Silver Medal, by making cross-ventilation and maximum lighting possible.12 Cutting off the noise and aggravation of city life, sprinkled with a chain of low and midrise buildings across the site amongst increased green space, Regent Park was meant as a new beginning for families of the area. Effect Providing residents with a higher standard of living, Regent Park was highly regarded by the city, citizens and occupants. By 1960 Regent Park North and South inhabited over 10,000 residents in 2083 units.13 Slowly resident’s became aware of the failures of the

Figure 4 - (Top Left) Arial view of Regent Park building heights in relation to that of Toronto. Figure 5 - (Top Right) Le Corbusier’s Plan Vision, for Central Paris. Figure 6 - (Right) Regent Park South-Erasing the past in hopes of a brighter future.


project, while criticism and conspiracy came about. The disconnection of streets through the neighborhood made navigation and location of addresses exceptionally difficult. Large amounts of open green space became problem areas.14 It was in the 1970’s where an increase in crime rate was recognized. The small windows and impermeable masonry encouraged crime by providing for ideal conditions. Much of the crime was brought from outside the area as media focused on the negatives of regent part, advertising to criminals from Scarborough and Etobicoke, for instance.15 The product of the expansive parklands was a feeling of isolation forcing residents into their apartments. Providing a higher standard of living for large numbers of low-income families resulted in negative impact due to the high concentration of a socially marginalized population. These downfalls continued to affect Regent Park for the next forty years, by the beginning of the 21st century the City and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation realized the return of the slum conditions familiar to Regent Park.

To the residents, Regent Park was an ignored community; now buildings go down one by one in order to account for the housing of its residents. Regent Park’s second major Revitalization Project of a mixed income community began in 2006 (Figure 6). Is this attempt being done because the buildings are beyond repair, or is it due to society’s negative perceptions of Regent Park? During its design, development and construction Regent Park’s innovative planning and architecture possessed all of the principles of what was seen as a cohesive and well thought out solution to the social housing crisis. Nonetheless, not even 10 years later all it was known for was its inevitable demise. As design ideals are ever changing due to the impact social, economic, political and environmental realms, would it be safe to say that the appropriateness of a onetime successful project can only remain one for a limited period of time? The current revitalization of Regent Park is cautious and is still trying to erase the stigma of the shortcomings of its past.

NOTES 1. Albert Rose, A Study in Slum Clearance (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1958). 2. Agatha Barc, “Nostalgia Tripping” remembering Regent Park,” blogTO, May 17, 2010, /2010/05/nostalgia_tripping_remembering_regent_park/ 3. Rose, Op. Cit., 12 4. “Housing Policy from a Child’s Perspective: The Lieutenant-Governor’s Committee on Housing Conditions in Toronto,” City of Toronto Archives, http://www. 5. John Swell, The Shape of the City (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993). 6. “Regent Park - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 7. Ibid, 74 8. Rose, Op. Cit., 74 9. Sewell, Op. Cit., 70 10. Sewell, Op. Cit., 110 11. Ryan Kelly, “Exploring Place: Spatial Transformations in Toronto’s Regent Park.” Graduate Thesis, Ontario College of Art and Design, 2010), 12. “Massey Medals for Architecture 1950-1970 « Toronto Modern.” Toronto Modern. 13. Kelly, Op. Cit 14. Return to Regent Park, directed by Bay Weyman (1994; Montreal, QC: National Film Board of Canada) 15. Spencer, Steven . “Residents of Toronto public housing four times more likely to be murder victims .” The Globe and Mail (Toronto), August 24, 2012. FIGURES 1. Michele Zaradic. Regent Park building elevations. 2. Redrawn- Spatial City. Dundas Slums, JPEG, showthread.php?t=235086 3. Cabbagetown. Children redesign Regent Park, 1999, JPEG http://individual. 4. WRap Dictionary. Regent Park North, JPEG, 5. Le Corbusier. Grand vision for central Paris, JPEG, http://arjargot.wordpress. com/category/tv/ 6. Daily Dose of Imagery. Demolition of Regent Park, Dundas, JPEG, http://wvs.





SUBURBIA 101 SYED SHIRAZIE America came out of World War II a superpower; leading politically and economically. The end of the war saw millions of middle class Americans returning home looking to build their future; purchasing homes, starting families and seeking comfort in consumer products. This led to an exodus from urban to the suburban contexts with a large cohort of Americans moving from overfilled cities to new planned suburban housing communities to satisfy these domestic aspirations. The first and perhaps most famous of these suburban communities was Levittown; located in Nassau County, New York, consisting of 17,000+ homes. As the archetype of suburban housing; this regimented neighbourhood was comprised of rows of architecturally monotonous, box-like single family dwellings. Built to be safe and comfortable, its rapid expansion resulted in numerous infrastructural challenges such as bottlenecked gas mains, insufficient power and an inadequate transit system. Despite its planning, Levittown was inevitably insular; a by-product of its isolation from an urban context, restrictions on the types of people that could own property in the area, architectural tedium and the predictable lifestyles its residents led. This research paper will examine the political and socioeconomic factors influencing Levittownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s conception, critique its various infrastructural elements and its social impact. The paper will also look to draw conclusions about Levittownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s imprint on suburban housing in America and the legacy the project has left behind.



With millions of veterans returning home to a United States Post-World War II, America quickly became the world’s premier political and economic force. As the country continued to expand economically and government measures such as the GI Bill were put in place to encourage ownership of property spur the economy; millions of Americans looked to move from urban to suburban environments. Abraham Levitt saw opportunity in this and developed Levittown; America’s first Planned Suburban Community, built in the Town of Hempstead in Long Island, New York City between 1947 and 1951. Despite the numerous conveniences available to residents within this community, it was isolated from its greater context, extremely inefficient and violated many of the design principles established in more developed parts of New York City such as Manhattan. Nevertheless, Levittown became the archetypical suburban neighborhood and the Levitts would continue on to build over 180,000 units in additional units across the country. Levittown consisted of 17,477 homes 194

designed by his sons William and Alfred Levitt. New York City is comprised of three islands; Manhattan, Staten Island and Long Island, where Levittown was developed. Design wise, New York City’s architecture is synonymous with verticality, particularly in Manhattan—laden with tall, slender skyscrapers; made possible with the advent of steel frame construction, the elevator and incandescent lighting.1 Many of these taller buildings looked to express themselves via the modern technology used to conceive them; exposing their rectilinear structural frames and iron girders. Even buildings such as Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building and Raymond Hood’s Tribune Building that clung onto older New York’s Neo-Gothic influences using it as a form of ornamentation, embraced new construction methods for vertical expression. While Levittown did not make use of steel frame construction, it did draw on the Henry Ford’s idea of the production line; using rapidly produced pre-fabricated components (Figure 3) to quickly assemble houses in Levittown at a never-seen-before pace. As New

Figure 1 - Site Plan of Levittown





African American


African American

Figure 2 - Demographic Breakdown (1950)

York City became more densely populated, areas such as Manhattan introduced setbacks to ensure adequate amounts of natural light was being received at grade. This was however, not an issue in Levittown because its population density and average building height was significantly lower than that found in more urban parts of New York City. The space was also needed for pedestrians to circulate and make connections at grade. Another distinct design feature in Levittown was that unlike the rest of New York City, particularly Manhattan where the cost of land was significantly higher, Levittown did not use a Hippodamian or gridiron plan; instead using a series of inefficiently designed curved roads connected to expressways around its periphery, which in turn connected the neighbourhood to other parts of the city.2 This rendered public transit extremely inefficient and propagated residents’ reliance on automobiles. As the first fully planned suburban housing community in the United States; Levittown featured 41 sections, 17,331 homes, swimming pools, baseball fields, schools, churches shopping centres and community halls— seemingly possessing everything a community requires to operate. The amenities, comfort and sense of community Levittown presented was however only available to some in this racially exclusive development (Figure 4). Also, a balance with nature is something that is omnipresent in New York City; evident between Central Park, the High Line and countless parks and green spaces throughout the city. Levittown however presents little variety in terms of green or outdoor space; riddled with

its boxlike architectural monotony and front and backyards. Furthermore, next to its metropolitan counterpart with its vertical structures, high population density, transit system and ample pedestrian network, Levittown is not efficient as a low-density, low-rise, energy inefficient cluster of architecturally monotonous homes, whose residents are reliant on automobiles. Levittown was conceived after developer Abraham Levitt encouraged his sons to invest in housing for GI’s returning from World War II. Together, his sons “…amassed over thirty-five thousand acres of potato fields” from farmers in Long Island, developing it into the United States’ first fully Planned Suburban Housing Community.3 This site was chosen because it presented a significant economic opportunity to Abraham Levitt and his sons. Between the farming industry’s profits declining and a series of bug infestations in the lands where Levittown would be erected, the potato fields were not yielding any crop, decreasingly the value of land significantly. The Levitts noticed its close proximity to the densely populated metropolitan areas that would soon empty out as returning GI’s from World War II looked to start families and therefore purchased it with a view to develop a suburban housing community. The site consisted of acres of land developed into a suburban neighbourhood, ripe with meandering roads off which near identical homes were evenly spaced apart. These two storey homes came in two separate models; the 3 bedroom ‘Colonial’ or 4-bedroom ‘Ranch.’ (Figure 2) The inefficient, non-cardinal roads were a complete break from the gridiron system 195

URBAN SCALE DESIGN found in New York City’s metropolitan areas. In addition to this, the small box–like massing found in Levittown was diametrically different from the colossal vertical buildings found in areas such as Manhattan.4 As far as natural geography goes, Levittown is barren in comparison to other parts of New York City; such as Manhattan that has Central Park located in the middle and the Hudson River flowing between it and New Jersey. Consisting of vast amounts of land and no natural bodies of water, Levittown was carved out acres of potato fields into a landscape primarily of asphalt from the curved roads and expressways, scattered green spaces, several man-made lakes and rows of cookie cutter boxlike houses (Figure 1). The United States emerged victorious from World War II a world superpower on the political and economic stage. In the post-war period, America looked to build at home; starting with the development of her infrastructure. Economically, the Post World War II boom was largely a result of the rapid highway development in the United States.5 In addition to this, between trigger happy bank financers and the government’s GI Bill that provided subsidies to veterans looking to purchase homes, the housing industry erupted with thousands of people moving from urban to suburban environments looking to start families. “All the elements were in place: the demand, sixteen million veterans were coming back to America in need of homes; the government subsidies provided by the GI Bill; the innovations in mass production; and banks “bursting with money.”6 Not everyone had access to these new homes 196

however, as in the background racial tensions were growing; with the United States on the cusp of its Civil Rights Movement. As veterans returned to the workforce, millions of women lost their jobs and were forced towards domesticity; tipping gender ratios in the workplace towards the male side.7 For the majority middle-class during this time period, purchasing a home provided a great sense of ownership and security, especially on the back of a tumultuous few years politically and with memories of The Great Depression their parents had endured still fresh in mind. Levittown certainly characterised the social tensions at the time; with homes that were male owned, female operated and restricted to Caucasian Americans, most of who were employed middle-class blue collar workers. Furthermore, residents of Levittown also had access to everything they needed to operate via automobile, significantly reducing their involvement with their greater community and planting the seeds for what would become an increasingly insular way of living in suburban neighbourhoods when paired with this

Figure 3- (Top) 2 Types of available homes Figure 4- (Right) Pre-fab components for homes


generation’s predictably comfortable lifestyle and infatuation with commercial comfort.8 The main zoning issue Levittown faced was the absence of a basement in the houses’ designs; a violation of the local bylaw. The lack of a basement was a move on Abraham Levitt’s part to save money by looking to quickly erect his pre-fabricated units on slab foundation instead; allowing him to put up nearly 30 units a day at the peak of production.9 This objection was inevitably overturned after a Town Meeting in Hempstead. Recognising the average Americans’ interest in home ownership, the Levitts’ goal with the development of Levittown was to give people the opportunity to own property and provide them with what he felt were necessary services within their community. With its near 17,500 units— all of which were low-rise, two storey homes; Levittown’s population density was 7175.5 people per square mile.10 It was comprised of a series of roadways that connected to arterial expressways that tied the community to the rest of New York. Although a public transit system was put in place, it was extremely inefficient and

people were reliant on vehicles to commute. Pedestrian traffic in Levittown was minimal; all of it strictly recreational within confined parts of the neighbourhood for social purposes. All said and done, Levittown lacked the character, layers and visual amenities that more urban parts of New York City had as a result of history, planning and development over a longer period of time. Built in response to the overwhelming demand for houses after returning World War II veterans vacated cities to fulfil domestic aspirations, Levittown quickly became the first planned suburban housing development in the United States. The Levitts’ resourcefulness saw them purchase land just outside of New York for cheap, overcome local bylaw restrictions and design and erect cheap, pre-fabricated homes that got sold rapidly. The end result however was a development that was poor planned, architecturally monotonous and perpetuated reliance on vehicles. Furthermore, the rise of consumerism and the boom in the economy along with the isolated nature of the development fostered an insular mentality within a community that was devoid of greater context and became increasingly self-absorbed and disconnected. Levittown spurred the development of many more such communities across the United States, leaving behind a legacy as the archetypical low rise, inefficient, non-environmentally friendly, cookie-cutter suburban housing community.

NOTES 1. Jackson, Kenneth T., Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. 1985. 2. Gans, Herbert, The Levittowners: Life and Politics in a New Suburban Community. 1967. 3. Kushner, David. Levittown: Two Families, One Tycoon, and the Fight for Civil Rights in America’s Legendary Suburb. New York: Walker & Co., 2009. 4. Slaton, Deborah. Preserving the recent past. Washington, DC: Historic Preservation Education Foundation, 1995 5. Kushner, David. Levittown: Two Families, One Tycoon, and the Fight for Civil Rights in America’s Legendary Suburb. New York: Walker & Co., 2009. 6. Kushner, David. Levittown: Two Families, One Tycoon, and the Fight for Civil Rights in America’s Legendary Suburb. New York: Walker & Co., 2009. 7. Brands, H. W.. American dreams: the United States since 1945. New York: Penguin Books, 2011. 8. Brands, H. W.. American dreams: the United States since 1945. New York: Penguin Books, 2011. 9. Brands, H. W.. American dreams: the United States since 1945. New York: Penguin Books, 2011. 10. Ferrer, Margaret Lundrigan, and Tova Navarra. Levittown: the first 50 years. Dover, N.H.: Arcadia, 1997. FIGURES 1. Site Plan of Levittown - appropriated from Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States 2. Demographic Breakdown - appropriated from The Levittowners: Life and Politics in a New Suburban Community. 3. Types of available homes - appropriated from http:// 4. Pre-fab components for homes - appropriated from http://





UNITÉ D’HABITATION ANNA KOBELEVA Unité d’Habitation, highly controversial housing project located in Marseilles, France was designed in 1947 by Le Corbusier as a response to the post WWII shortage of housing in France. It represents the first of a new kind of housing unit of the mid 20th Century that focuses on the private and communal living spaces for its inhabitants. Le Corbusier, as one of the founders of the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne and modern architecture itself, not only incorporates many of his visions of Radiant City into this project but also applies urban planning approaches described in the Athens Charter, published in 1943. The paper examines the importance of Unité d’Habitation as a residential unit and its contribution to new approaches in urban community planning. An indepth analysis of social, political and cultural aspects of the first half of the twentieth century will help us to better understand the important role city planning principles of Le Corbusier and the Athens Charter play in the development of today’s urban planning. In the proposed research paper, I further investigate aforementioned design principles applied to Unité d’Habitation as well as external factors that are often left out when measuring the success rate of the project and its effect on further housing developments. Unité d’Habitation is examined as a vertical neighbourhood unit as well as in its relationship with the surrounding context.



Unité d’Habitation is a culmination of more than thirty years’ worth of ideas and design principles in housing and city planning by Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known by his pseudonym, Le Corbusier. Unité d’Habitation most celebrated and criticized apartment block in Marseilles, France, represents the beginning of a new approach to planning of housing units worldwide. The construction of Unité d’Habitation from 1947 to 1952 marks an important transition in modern architecture from CIAM city planning principles and subsequent work of their opposition Team 101. It provides the first prototype of a vertical urban block and a physical embodiment of Le Corbusier’s concepts of Contemporary and Radiant cities as well as planning principles of Athens Charter. Unité d’Habitation is a valuable project that offers various successful and unsuccessful solutions to city planning and acts as a precedent for latter urban housing developments. It takes new approach in creating housing at a new scale that better resolves problems of congestion in cities and personifies the beginning of a new 200

architectural style, Brutalism. Figures 1, 2 and 3 show the progression in design of Unité d’Habitation from the initial idea to when it was actually realized and how the building including the surrounding context changed overtime. Le Corbusier is one of the most important figures of 20th century modern architecture 2. His forward and often unattainable thinking in architecture and city planning had an international impact on urban design. Almost thirty years prior to the construction of Unité d’Habitation, Corbusier conceived a basic formula linking architecture with cities: both should be a “machine for living” 3. His desire to bring order to what he described as “chaotic cities” of the time often caused Le Corbusier to be unable to recognize the larger context of the problem and prohibited him from offering thorough solutions. Le Corbusier’s approach to city and housing planning was often biased and pre-occupied with developing new and, as he thought, better ideas. Based on these ideas he declared that “building is a city”. Le Corbusier addressed a housing problem in cities for many

Figure 1 - (Top Far left) Initial proposal by Le Corbusier for Unités d’Habitation, a housing complex template that could be applied anywhere. The initial proposal shows eight buildings surrounded by green space and separation from vehicular traffic. Figure 2 - (Top Middle) Unité d’Habitation in 1952 when it was first built. Only one building was constructed instead of three as initially planned for Marseilles. The site picked by Le Corbusier is in the center of Marseilles residential area surrounded by green space. Figure 3 - (Above) Unité d’Habitation in 2012. The context significantly changed in the last sixty years. The building is surrounded by shopping malls, busy parking lots and major roads.


Figure 4 - Site Plan of Unité d’Habitation showing: parking among trees, pedestrian access points, West and East orientation of the building harvesting daylight, surrounding context of trees and grass.

years and by 1947 when he was commissioned to design and build Unité d’Habitation, Le Corbusier already developed many variant solutions 4. He described these solutions in his several Utopian city concepts: Contemporary City of 1922, Radiant City of 1933, and Functional City outlined in the Athens Charter of 1933. Many of the concepts of the three cities overlap but there is a clear progression of ideas in city and housing planning that reflects the values and concerns of each decade it was written in. In the mid-20th century the principle views about housing construction were in a state of flux 5. The main concerns dominating city planning were city appearance, urban living conditions and housing, the state of natural environment, and concern over efficient city functioning. All of these concepts focused on separation of zones for specific functions: living, working, circulation, and recreation 6. Cities of early 20th century were seen chaotic, inefficient, and failed to fulfil its density requirements 7. City no longer served its function of providing appropriate shelter for physical and mental health of human beings 8. Architecture was seen as a driving force for creating order and clarity in cities. Le Corbusier believed that architecture and improved city planning would result in better citizens and therefore cities failing to take many of the factors into consideration. Le Corbusier and the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne believed Radiant City and Functional City would act as a blueprint of social reform 9. It was a lifelong dream for Corbusier to design and building a housing complex in France. After

many years of rejection, Le Corbusier was finally given a chance to realize his dream when he was commissioned by Raoul Dautry, the minister in charge of construction and planning, to design a housing complex in France 10. Le Corbusier was originally commissioned to build three buildings but due to rising costs and increasing criticism only one unit was built. Marseille is the second largest city in France with a total land area of 240.62 square kilometers 11. It is also the largest city on the Mediterranean coast and largest commercial port in France 12 . During World War II, Marseilles was severely destructed which prompted re-planning and reconstruction of the city in the late 1940s and 1950s. Rapidly growing population required more and better housing units. When taking on the project Le Corbusier’s one condition was for all building regulations to be lifted as it was his way of rebelling against established practices 13. Le Corbusier had several inspiration sources in designing Unité d’Habitation. He adapted some of his ideas from the Utopian residential complex described by philosopher Charles Fourier in the early 19th century14. Fourier developed what he believed to be an ideal type of a living unit in the form of the Phalanstery 15. Fourier designed a new social model of living arrangements that aspired to solve the problems of people living in an urban environment, such as: poor sanitation, poverty, and lack of clean water. Fourier designed apartment units at twenty different prices and public halls for socialization 16. Le Corbusier also developed a system of assembling apartment units in 23 configurations of different 201

URBAN SCALE DESIGN sizes 17. Another inspiration source for Unité d’Habitation was the Carthusian Monastery, built in the 15-16th century in Florence 18. The monastery paralleled with Utopian ideas of Charles Fourier. The spaces at the monastery created a harmonious interplay of individual and collective. The monastery was a carefully planned miniature town, with path systems, squares, and staged views 19. Each dwelling was planned out with an individual garden, but the central theme of the monastery was circulation with internal streets 20. Le Corbusier applied this concept to his “villa block”, which was made of vertically stacked residential units with “hanging gardens” 21. Le Corbusier also referenced passenger liners of the time as a principle for minimization of individual units in order to maximize communal facilities. Le Corbusier designed an 18 storey apartment complex housing approximately 1600 residents in 377 units. The housing unit is surrounded by green spaces. The site, a former park located in the prime residential area of Marseilles, was picked by Le Corbusier for its natural qualities. Similarly to ships, Unité d’Habitation, as seen in Figure 6, featured internal streets on floors seven and eight along with shops, restaurants, open roof deck, and even apartment units have cupboards and shelves built in much like aboard a ship swimming in the sea of greenery 22. Unité d’Habitation was the first post-war building, which distinguished itself from the architecture of the pre WWII years 23. Unité d’Habitation provided a solution to quite a few housing problems of the time, such as: better sanitation and living conditions, individual living 202

units with a private outdoor space in an urban setting, eliminating congestion, which were all common problems of earlier urbanized cities. Figure 5 represents the design considerations of Unité d’Habitation. It contains an elaborate ventilation and sun shading systems. Unité d’Habitation features new design materials and elements of the time, such as rough concrete and smooth wood finishes, coloured glass and artwork throughout the building. Le Corbusier, when creating Unité d’Habitation, applied the concept of ‘tabula rasa’, the unformed, featureless mind in the philosophy of John Locke, which resulted in visual and programmatic isolation from the rest of the city 24. Le Corbusier improved living conditions by bringing clean water to every unit, which was uncommon in Marseilles at the time. But large windows that bring sunlight into spaces tend to overheat the units and elaborate ventilation system fails to cool down central spaces of the building. The city concepts describe the importance of picking the best possible site for the housing complex. The green field site picked for Unité d’Habitation is ideal according Athens Charter planning principles. Unfortunately Le Corbusier completely negates the city and landscape refusing to take into account any specific siting constraints 25. Unité d’Habitation is designed as an isolated selfsustaining small village yet it is expected to be an integral part of larger city. In its abstraction it exemplifies with extreme clarity the benefits and problems of a vertical urban block. It stands out visually among the low rise structures and is physically separated by greenery and parking.




Figure 5 - Unité d’Habitation building section showing considerations guiding design building: access to natural light, ventilation, separation of living spaces and transportation, landscape setting of the site. Figure 6 - Building section showing circulation and relationship of public and private spaces.

CIAM Raised on stilts which are placed on a concrete platform, it is also physically separated from the site itself missing landscaping and ground programing opportunities. Another aspect of city planning proposed by the city concepts is the importance of using modern materials and building techniques 26. Le Corbusier pushed for new structural systems by hiring research groups of specialized engineers trying to create an autonomous prefabricated unit that would be inserted into the main structure of the building. These ambitious experimentations were done in hopes to reduce the cost of constructing units at various price points making them affordable to a number of different people. Unfortunately innovative construction methods and use of new materials significantly increased the cost of the housing complex thus making them too expensive for the general public 27. Unité d’Habitation proves that Utopian theories often fail to succeed in reality and that architecture does not provide a sole solution to all city problems. The proposed improvements by Le Corbusier and CIAM can only be seen as suggestions and only certain elements can be incorporated in actual architecture or city plans because cities are living, evolving organisms and not machines to live in. Cities change and grow, even on a smaller scale of Unité d’Habitation. Radiant and Functional City concepts fail to consider long-terms factors, such as: shifting living patterns of the inhabitants, changing programs of spaces, and maintenance and ownership of the housing complex. ‘Tabula rasa’ misses the importance of incorporating existing context and inclusion of

successful traditional ways of laying out a city or a housing complex. Unité d’Habitation has been more of a success then failure possibly due to the takeover by a private enterprise, which managed to maintain the building in a good condition yet it has changed dramatically in the last 60 years. The development outside Unité d’Habitation of shopping centres and other programs caused the closure of the shops, nursery, gymnasium, and many more amenities in the building. Unité d’Habitation should be studied in-depth to better understand the principles Le Corbusier used in attempting to create physical and mental comfort of its many inhabitants 28. Ideas in city planning and housing proposed by Le Corbusier in Contemporary City for 3 million, Radiant City and Functional City of the Athens Charter, prove great success in theory but fail to succeed when realized. Unité d’Habitation became the embodiment of these design principles that successfully addressed many problems of the time, yet created new ones. These new problems presented by the vertical urban block forced architects and city planners to rethink the planning process of cities. It not only had a strong effect on the urban fabric but also on social, political and cultural aspects of city planning. Zoning of sites was carefully rethought, healthy and affordable buildings became of great importance. Though it has many unsuccessful components, a decade later in inspired an entire generation of young architects that designed Utopian mega structure projects 29. It has been a great success as an inspiration for later housing developments and it is the ideas behind the design that really matter.

NOTES 1. Alban Janson and Carsten Krohn. Le Corbusier: Unité d’Habitation, Marseille, ED. BY Axel Menges (Stuttgart: Druck- und Bindearbeiten, 2007), 7. 2. Ibid.,10. 3. Ibid. 4. Kees Somer, The Functional City: the CIAM and Cornelis van Eesteren, 1928-1960 (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 2007), 12. 5. Alban Janson and Carsten Krohn. Le Corbusier: Unité d’Habitation, Marseille, ED. BY Axel Menges (Stuttgart: Druck- und Bindearbeiten, 2007), 13. 6. Kees Somer, The Functional City: the CIAM and Cornelis van Eesteren, 1928-1960 (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 2007), 12. 7. Ibid. 8. Ibid. 9. Eric Mumford, Defining Urban Design: CIAM Architects and the Formation of a Discipline, 1937-69 (China: World Press, 2009), 9. 10. Ibid. 11. Ibid. 12. Ibid. 13. Alban Janson and Carsten Krohn. Le Corbusier: Unité d’Habitation, Marseille, ED. BY Axel Menges (Stuttgart: Druck- und Bindearbeiten, 2007), 19. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid. 16. Ibid. 17. Ibid. 18. Ibid., 9. 19. Ibid. 20. Ibid. 21. Ibid. 22. Ibid. 23. Ibid. 24. Eric Mumford, Defining Urban Design: CIAM Architects and the Formation of a Discipline, 1937-69 (China: World Press, 2009), 12. 25. Ibid. 26. Kees Somer, The Functional City: the CIAM and Cornelis van Eesteren, 1928-1960 (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 2007), 12. 27. Eric Mumford, Defining Urban Design: CIAM Architects and the Formation of a Discipline, 1937-69 (China: World Press, 2009), 22. 28. Alban Janson and Carsten Krohn. Le Corbusier: Unité d’Habitation, Marseille, ED. BY Axel Menges (Stuttgart: Druck- und Bindearbeiten, 2007), 23. 29. Ibid., 35. FIGURES 1. Initial Proposal of housing units by Le Corbusier: appropriated from 2. Unité d’Habitation – 1952: appropriated from http://www. 3. Unité d’Habitation – 2012: appropriated from 4. Site Plan: appropriated from Alban Janson and Carsten Krohn. Le Corbusier: Unité d’Habitation, Marseille, ED. BY Axel Menges (Stuttgart: Druck- und Bindearbeiten, 2007), 13. 5. Building Section 1: appropriated from 6. Building Section 2: appropriated from http://spacecollective. org/florianv/564/Unit-dhabitation.





URBAN DESIGN AND THE SKYSRAPER RADOMIR SMILJANIC When trying to understand buildings within an urban scale it is important that the building be both a pivotal part of what is urban as well as an appropriate response to the conditions. Designing within an urban environment is a tricky task; one must look at an example that exemplifies greatness in order to grasp how it might be approached. The Lever house by Gordon Bunshaft is an example of a building that does this. Located in the heart of New York, it is one of the best examples of an office tower built during the 1950â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. In the following paper, The Lever house will be analyzed through the physical, social and cultural contexts of the city, as well as how it responds to the restrictions of the zoning. These issues are in play both at the micro scale of the building itself and the macro of the whole context of the city.



In order to understand what urban planning is, one must know what elements effect the erection of a building and more importantly how those elements shape the building physically. In the next paragraphs Lever House by Gordon Bunshaft will be discussed at length. In its examination, it can be concluded that it is an appropriate response to the site and better yet a proper response to the city. The elements that will be examined in order to prove this are: the physical context, social context, cultural context, and how each of them affected the zoning of the site. The Lever House has won many awards and is used as an example of a successful office tower. Built in 1952, it quickly became a corner stone for how to comprise a design for an office building. This was a very interesting time for architecture because CIAM was still in effect and was shaping how cities and architecture were being created. CIAM did not take into consideration the many contexts of the city; rather it used the â&#x20AC;&#x153;tabula-rasaâ&#x20AC;? approach of starting with a clean slate and designing what you think is appropriate based 206

on their principles. It is most important to note that the contexts that will be examined all link into the zoning and how it affects the building. In order to understand what lead to the design, first the physical context of the site must be examined. It is the most pertinent of the elements. Where a building is located weighs in on why certain things are done architecturally. The Lever House is Located at 390 Park Avenue in New York. Park Avenue is part of Midtown Manhattan and houses some of the most famous architectural projects with regards to height and general stature. The Lever is included in this category because of how it addresses the physical parameters of the site. Located on Park Avenue between 53rd and 54th, the Lever House takes into consideration the way to deal with not only on corner but two (Figure 1). During the time of the building of the Lever House it is important to note that the City of New York was still going by its initial zoning plans that were set in place in 1916. These zoning by-laws were put in place for the good of the city and specifically were geared towards how to deal

Figure 1 - Lever House block location


Figure 2- Massing and Expression

with the skyscraper. The 1916 zoning law is not to be used as a restriction rather as a “formgiving” principle for a new modern skyscraper. 1 In ordinance with the zoning the tower could go as high as the architect wanted but there must be a set-back so that the streetscape would be provided with both light and air that would promote a healthier environment. Thus the office building became one of the first to utilize the podium and tower system.(Figure 2) The design was not only effected by these physical elements of the zoning the social context also played a large role in its building and further development The Lever House was built in what can be classified as one of New York’s business districts. Before the 1916 zoning was in place a developer may have wanted to develop the land with whatever he would see fit to make a profit, but with the zoning by-laws in place, special districts became evident and more order was given to the city.2 For example the people that owned land in what was known as the shopping district were worried about the manufacturing industry encroaching on the area and creating a discourse between the public realm of the retail and the working class realm of the manufacturing companies. This can be directly linked to the principles that CIAM put in place with regard to urban design and how to address the city as a whole. The zoning put in place acts as the legally binding document that does not allow zone to be mixed. This principle allows there to be a difference between a place of work and where you live. The social culture of the city called for this type of a change and

it was put in place. The Lever House falls into a Commercial zone because it is located in the business district and so the building of the office tower is appropriate. The social context of the city plays an important role in what needs to be done within the site and the city, but the cultural contents plays one of the most pivotal role because it takes into consideration all of the elements and puts them together. The culture within New York at the time where the Lever House was built was booming. The war was over and everyone was enjoying a very economically prosperous time. Thus there was a lot of building going on and the city was developing into a very densely populated area. The zoning by-laws from 1916 were still in place and this allowed for a freer rein of creativity for architects of the time. Although, the Lever House was built during the CIAM period it was also a time where the principles of CIAM were being disputed by many, like Jane Jacobs. There was no need for “tabula rasa” kind of approach for within any city during this time.3 More specifically within New York; it has such culture within its architecture and some of the greatest buildings to have graced the world. Its skyline has influenced many cities around the world and has been a major contributor on how to deal with zoning and skyscrapers. The Lever House is a prime example of what it is to use the zoning setback to create something unique that responds to the city as well of allowing the city to respond to it. The culture within the city will depict what it needs and the events within the world effect culture differently across the world. The economic boom leads to times of 207

URBAN SCALE DESIGN expansion and building, and allows for many incredible projects to be constructed. Bunshaft responded with a solid podium, with a tower covered in glass. Its modern style followed that of what a residence would look like based on Le Corbusier’s vision. Only instead of being a building designated for living it was then converted into a model for the skyscraper and how to follow the zoning by-laws of the city of New York. In analyzing the main factors that affected the design and consequently shaped Bunshaft’s Lever House, urban design of the time period can be understood. It is important to note that the zoning was so significant to this project because it would not be changed for another nine year, in 1961. Bunshaft was bound by the zoning from 1916 and used it to its very extents to make the most appropriate and wonderful response Moreover it can be concluded that in his design, Bunshaft, used some of the CIAM elements within his own interpretation and created a building that really set itself apart from conventional skyscraper design. After carefully going through the contextual and zoning elements it can be deduced that then Lever House took embodies a proper response to the city as well as the micro-context of the site specifics. It is important to note that although architecture was under the influence of CIAM during this period in time, its principles and approaches to how the city should be shaped are not always relevant within the scope of any given project. Regardless of the size of the project, it will always affect the city in one way or more, so thinking about those 208

affects and how to make them positive will lead to successful and “good” urban design.

Figure 3 - (Above) Podium and Tower Plans Figure 4 - (Below) West Elevation

CIAM NOTES 1.New York City, Department of City Planning, assessed on November 9th, 2012, zoning_resolution.pdf 2.New York City, Department of City Planning, assessed on November 9th, 2012, 3.Greenberg Ken. “Walking Home”, 97 (Random House Canada FIGURES 1.Map Retrieved from 2.Made with Google Building Maker 3.Retrieved from Richard Weston’s Key Buildings of the Twentieth Century 4.Retrieved from Richard Weston’s Key Buildings of the Twentieth Century





NATIONAL PENSIONS INSTUTE MICHAEL STOCK The modern era is notable as being an experimental period during which city planning and architectural ideals were re-evaluated as a response to the ills of the industrial revolution. Organizations such as CIAM served to create new manifestos addressing ideal environments for human living and methods for their creation. Helsinki in Finland can be analyzed as having a hybrid between grand civil planning and modern residential planning values due to its state of transition from centralized and distanced government to municipal committees advocating local issues. Alvar Aalto, sometimes acclaimed as Finland’s most prominent architect, has shown the level of utility of various modern values through his projects, influenced the development of the modern value system with his involvement in CIAM, and carefully integrated some CIAM values with contextual intervention as a means of creating appropriately human scaled projects. The following essay serves to evaluate Aalto’s design prerogatives by examining the National Pensions Institute, one of his best-known public complex developments in Helsinki. It is to weigh the development against CIAM values as outlined in the Athens Charter, and the importance of the connection of the human person to nature. It will check the building’s physical, functional and semiotic organization against that of the urban-residential context of Helsinki, and against the efficient motifs of the modern movement. It will also check Aalto’s personal planning and aesthetic values, and evaluate their integration into the project.



The modern movement in planning and architecture acted as a response to the postindustrial need for better quality of life, and to the unique economic fluctuations brought on by the world wars. The designers of the time made it their mission to develop built interventions as a means of reinventing the city as a more efficient and less dense entity. Alvar Aalto is noted as being one of the forerunners in the modern era, an elect member of CIRPAC, the highest ranking members within the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM). As a member elect of CIRPAC, Aalto delivered various lectures and speeches to CIAM members, and helped shape serious elements of the movement. He however had “...confrontation with the unrealistic utopianism and barren theories of the participants of the Athens congress [which] aroused his instinctive opposition.”1 The following paper is to examine Helsinki’s National Pensions Institute in the context of modern planning ideals as well as that of Helsinki’s urban core. The complex is one of Aalto’s more prominent urban developments, and serves as a point of evaluation for Aalto’s design interventions, functionalist ideals, and ability to 212

gear his work to benefit surrounding context. It should be noted that Finland achieved its independence from centralized Russian rule in the early 20th century, and as such was in the midst of pioneering its own organizations and manifestos for maintaining local planning interests2. Helsinki became fodder for urban experimentation and development in light of the nation’s freedom, and the post-WWI population migrations from Finland’s northern settlements3. Alvar Aalto was frequently commissioned by Finland, and more specifically Helsinki’s committees and developers to create public complexes and participate in urban planning initiatives throughout his career, and has quite a bit of influence over the built environment in Finland. The National Pensions Institute is a modern exercise in public relationship, urbanresidential context, and mixed use office complex programming. Completed in 1956, the building plays host to Finland’s social insurance agency making it a destination for many Finns seeking information about their offered legal services and benefits4. Aalto’s design is largely influenced by the context of Töölö,

Figure 1 - 3 km Route from National Pensions Institute to Employee Housing Complex


Figure 2 - Line of sight from National Pensions Institute, through parkland to bay.

a neighbourhood that is acclaimed as one of the most livable and high class residential areas of Helsinki. Developed in the 1920’s to respond to Helsinki’s rapid growth and housing shortage, Töölö became one of the city’s cultural hotspots as many nationally important buildings were developed in the area, including the Opera House and the Olympic Stadium5. The building’s massing is very well suited to the area, as it is adjacent to many mid-rise residential units whose facades are extruded almost directly from the street. The facade distinguishes itself from these residential units using continuous strips of glazing, and red brick cladding as opposed to the lighter stucco of the nearby units6. This cladding also helps define the institute as being a mediator between nation and civilian7. It insinuates a relationship to the monumental stone civil buildings remaining from the era of centralized government, as well as humanizing the material proportions to address the workman, their places of residence, and their industry. It is stated in the Athens Charter that “Structures built along transportation routes and their intersections are detrimental to habitation because of noise, dust, and noxious gases.”8. Aalto deliberately ignores this edict, takes the small urban site he is given and subtly raises the public domain on his site away from the traffic routes, as opposed to separating the building physically from the street. Parts of the institute are designed to ignore the street completely, including the restaurant which has a solid wall facing the street and a glazed wall opening into the complex’ interior garden9. Implementing elements of shelter for his end users, Aalto has adapted the site to still be conducive to work without disruption from the exterior traffic. Unfortunately, the introversion that is then created

has the effect of separating the public from the interior realm, as the building’s overtly public and inviting entrances tend to be raised away from the streetscape, and “employees [are] not encouraged to mingle in the real world outside;”10 Aalto also specifies that the vast majority of the use-spaces of the complex have operable windows despite mechanical ventilation interventions11. The Athens Charter often cites fresh air as being essential to maintaining peoples’ health, however it implies a sort of polarity indicating that exterior air in urban cores is supposedly detrimental to human health, and people must leave the city condition to restore themselves. “Aalto [advocated] the protection of the individual and the feeling of safety.”12 By implementing operable windows, Aalto seems to be much more pragmatic than the edicts of CIAM, making the best of the urban context by allowing the end user to choose whether or not they want marginal relief from processed interior air. “By splitting up the functions of the city according to the scheme Housing, Recreation, Work, Transport System and Historic Buildings, the unity of the city was shattered and such a crucial part of the body as its heart, the city centre, was entirely forgotten.”13 Aalto’s original design for the National Pensions Institute challenged CIAM values pertaining to the elemental separation of planning as it promoted mixed use programming to extend the building’s usage outside of regular business hours. Unfortunately, his more grand and diverse original plan had to be scrapped in 1952 due to a change of site during the project’s conception, leading to much of the auxiliary program save the restaurant being removed to cater to new constraints.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Aalto also choreographed the development of a housing solution for the employees of the institute just 3 kilometres away, creating a convenient live-work dynamic for the building’s end-users. The main work complex is located just west of the Mannerheimintie, one of Helsinki’s major automotive and pedestrian arteries, allowing for easy and direct access between sites and outward into the city. The residential complex seems somewhat unnecessary considering that the district of Töölö is a mixed use residential area. It however benefits workers and their families by giving them direct access to a large green space adjacent to the building site, and allows them to form a community based on their working relationships. It also defeats the purpose of the modern era’s obsession with automobile traffic as it allows for residents to walk or bike to work with ease. Aalto advocates expressive architecture as a necessity in distinguishing “the building owned by everybody”14 The National Pensions Institute is differentiated from the trending office building uniformity by being rationalized as several interconnected rectilinear masses which are easily discernible from ground level, and speak about the arrangement of the institute’s various programmed departmental relationships15. This is visible from several of the exterior viewpoints of the complex, as building’s massing is stepped backward vertically and horizontally to cater to general human points of view as well as the site’s constraints. He also frequently choreographs his designs so that they address the human scale via exaggeration of perspectives and connection to natural elements. This occurs when he opens spaces on outward angles and also creates acute exterior corner conditions so that fields of space open up to a sense of being extra 214

wide and emulating landscape conditions16. This occurs in the institute’s interior courtyard space which opens itself onto the Kirjailijapuisto parkland. The park has the ability to provide employees a brief reprieve from Helsinki’s urban environment as they can spend time in there on break, or follow it to the waterfront. “Characteristic to an Aalto-type centre was its connection from one side to the main dominant of nature [...] The centre was a social link between the people and a spatial link between urban life and nature.”17 Aalto uses the National Pensions Institute’s site to its fullest to create his definition of a civic centre, a park an amenities complex with many public roads converging around the centre, and a residential backbone to supplement the building and usage of the complex. Aalto defines his planning method saying that it “...involves a simultaneous solution for all functions [...] so that they become bounded together in a unified network.”18 Finding a completely integrated solution is an admirable motive, however Aalto’s obsessive method of designing a solution to every last ‘problem’ degrades various issues instead of repairing them. We see this manifest in

Figure 3 - Diagram showing the stepping back of massing to address human scale.

CIAM the aforementioned separation of public and private realms despite the overtly public nature of the complex. A more appropriate design intervention to express public access may have been to reduce the complex’s mass and to implement more transparent glazing at street level, while maintaining the heavy sheltering elements of the upper, more private spaces. Despite over-designing having generated this minor flaw, the National Pensions Institute represents some of the first steps in the modern movement toward mixed use planning while appropriately integrating some of CIAM’s guiding principles and eschewing others. Aalto’s design is articulated to clearly address modern and contemporary urban issues including programmatic expression, Helsinki’s architectural legacy, housing solutions for population booms, mixing program to address the pedestrian realm, creation of public space, issues of human health in an urban environment, and separation from automotive traffic while maintaining efficient access to transit routes. He is able to compile all of these concerns into an architecturally provocative complex and maintains efficient functionality without having it becoming a disjointed checklist effort. In his design for the National Pensions Institute, Aalto takes CIAM’s values with a grain of salt and focuses on creating a contextually valid work as opposed to defacing the context in the name of modern aesthetic and mass production, thus addressing the ‘little-man’s concerns as well as those of the agglomerated city.

NOTES 1. Goran Schildt, Alvar Aalto: His Life (Finland: Alvar Aalto Museum, 2007). 344. 2. Laura Kolbe, “Helsinki: From Provincial to National Centre,” in Planning Twentieth-Century Capital Cities, ed. David Gordon (New York: Routledge, 2006) 73-85 3. Richard Weston, Alvar Aalto (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1995). 148. 4. “About Kela >> Operations.” Last modified January 28, 2009, NET/130608114644HS?OpenDocument 5. Nicholas Ray, Alvar Aalto (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2005). 122. 6. Ibid. 123. 7. Richard Weston, Alvar Aalto (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1995). 148. 8.. Le Corbusier, The Athens Charter (New York: Grossman, 1973). 58. 9. Richard Weston, Alvar Aalto (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1995). 158. 10. George Baird, Masters of Modern Architecture: Alvar Aalto (London, Thames and Hudson, 1970). 11. Goran Schildt, Alvar Aalto: Masterworks (Italy: Otava Publishing Company, 1998). 99. 12. Jussi Rautsi, “The Alternative: Alvar Aalto’s Urban Plans, 1940-1970,” Habitat International 12 (1988): 7. 13. Goran Schildt, Alvar Aalto: Masterworks (Italy: Otava Publishing Company, 1998). 344. 14. Richard Weston, Alvar Aalto (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1995). 157. 15. Goran Schildt, Alvar Aalto: Masterworks (Italy: Otava Publishing Company, 1998). 98. 16. Richard Weston, Alvar Aalto (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1995). 17. Jussi Rautsi, “The Alternative: Alvar Aalto’s Urban Plans, 1940-1970,” Habitat International 12 (1988): 12. 18. Ibid. 8. FIGURES 1. Aerial Photo of Helsinki Finland. 2012. Online Database. DigitalGlobe. Accessed through Google Earth. Accessed 28 October 2012. 2. Maire Gullichsen. 2005. Plan of the eventual triangular site of the National Pensions Institute, with the coast to the top of the drawing. Book. Aalvar Aalto. Nicholas Ray. 3. Heikki Havas. 1995. Garden facade, in the center the “crystal skylight” of the main hall; to the right of the restaurant. Book. Alvar Aalto. Birkhauser.





DON MILLS MAMPURU STOLLMEYER Don mills, developed between 1952 and 1965, is one of Toronto’s major suburban neighbourhoods. It is located North of the city’s core, in the North York district. It is a mixed-use neighbourhood that is comprised of residential, commercial, and industrial sections. Designed by Mackin Hancock, it was planned to be a self-supporting town, as at the time it was not considered an official part of the city of Toronto. The ideas behind the planning stem from the concepts put forward by Ebenezer Howard and the garden city movement. Hancock also looked closely at the principles implored in the development of the community in Radburn, New Jersey. What Hancock tried to do was to apply a Modernist motif to the ideas developed by Howard’s Garden City. Apart from the modern aesthetic, ideas incorporated by Hancock include: the separation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic; the inclusion of green spaces through the area; the integration of industry into the town; and connection to the main city. Don Mills became a benchmark for Toronto’s post-war development in sub-urban areas. This paper will investigate the design and planning principles used by Hancock, as well as address the various issues he ran into along the path to realizing his vision of a self-supporting satellite town.



Leslie St

The Donway W

Don Mills Rd

The Donway E

Don Valley Pkwy

Lawrence Ave E Single-Family Residential

Town Centre/Don Mills Plaza

In the years immediately following the end of the Second World War there was suddenly a great need for housing. The return of troops from abroad meant a new need for work and many new families being started. This was the start of the period known as the ‘baby-boom’ and the subsequent economic boom that went along with it. During this time many new housing schemes were being developed to deal with the rapidly increasing population. Most of these developments focused on speed of construction and the immediate needs of the population while paying little attention to issues of planning for the long-term. The developers of Don Mills sought to break that trend by creating a town where the focus was not just on providing housing, but also creating a self-contained community with an emphasis on the neighbourhood and quality of life. In his plan for Don Mills, principal planner Macklin Hancock attempted to address not only the built form of present and future development, but also issues of social and cultural development within the community.1 Located seven miles 218

Mid-Rise Residential

to the North-East of Toronto’s downtown core, Don Mills encompasses over 2000 acres of land. In 1947 E.P. Taylor, a successful corporate businessman and developer, began purchasing farmland on the outskirts of Toronto. The land was at first thought to be purchased with the intention of building a new plant to add to the breweries for which Taylor was well known.2 At the time, the site was quite isolated from the more developed parts of Toronto. On the south, west, and east sides the site is cut off from the surroundings by ravines that have railway lines running through them.3 The location was seen as isolated enough to become its own entity, yet the main city core was still easily accessible. In 1951 Taylor’s company presented its proposal for the planned community to members of the North York Council. After going over the proposal it was suggested that an industrial component should be added to the scheme as a way to help balance the assessment and tax loads.4 During that same year, in Seattle and Cincinnati, Taylor’s company presented the planned scheme to the Urban Land Institute, an

Single-Family Residential

American based organization with interests in development. The institute gave its approval in early 1952 after members visited the site.5 At the time that Hancock was asked to take over as chief planner for the development he was a student at Harvard University. He took up the position despite a lack of support from his teachers. After his appointment he hired Douglas Lee, Henry Fliess, and James Murray. These young architects from Toronto were brought on board to help with the specifics of design involved in Hancock’s plan.6 The town was to be designed for 30,000 people.7 Hancock was responsible for developing the master plan and Douglas Lee was designated as project architect, but site-specific development was carried out by various other architects and builders, with Hancock and Lee overseeing. Hancock based planning decisions on: building neighbourhoods around a central town district; preserving and enhancing existing land conditions; creating a hierarchy of streets and roads revolving around an internal boulevard; mixing different types of housing and delegating land use patterns; the


St Leslie eE

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Figure 1 - (Top left) Sectional analysis (not to scale) Figure 2 - (Top) Major transportation routes Figure 3 - (Bottom) Relative location

inclusion of public transport (to connect the town with the city); preservation and promotion of trees and green spaces throughout the site; integration of industry into the town itself (workhome relationship); separation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.8 Hancock wanted to create a town where individuals could feel like a part of where they lived and have a greater sense of participation, inclusion, and responsibility. The idea was to recreate the neighbourhood feeling and dynamic on a larger scale.9 Don Mills comes out of a response to the post-war housing demand. Hancock was not pleased with the state of the construction boom that was driven completely out of demand and lacked elements of central planning, dealing simply with ease and speed of construction. Many of the design principles incorporated into the planning of Don Mills stem from ides presented by Ebenezer Howard’s “garden city” ideal, with influences from Le Corbusier and other planning minded European’s of the day.10 When the plan for the new town was first made public it was met with some skepticism. There were concerns about the feasibility of developing such a large area of land for 30,000 people, and questions of if the 25,000 jobs that were planned could actually be created. While it was not Toronto’s first suburb, Don Mills was the first of its kind.11 Construction began on May 8th, 1953 and the development received a great deal of attention, both from local and international media. Stories were even published in The Wall Street Journal, which led to the New York City Planning Department calling the project “preposterous.”12

Two major roadways bisect the town: Dons Mills Road, and Lawrence Avenue East. At the intersection of the roads is the town’s central core. This central core is encircled by a boulevard, The Donway, inside which is located commercial facilities including a shopping mall, as well as some higher density housing. The neighbourhoods, seven in total, are located around the outside of this central core, on the other side of The Donway. These neighbourhoods are split into four quadrants, each with access to either The Donway or an arterial road by means of a main street that is fed by smaller neighbourhood streets.13 Within each quadrant is located a school and a church as a community focus. These amenities are linked not only to individual neighbourhoods, but the larger community as well through a series of pedestrian paths and linked green spaces. Approximately 20% of the land is designated for parks. Neighbourhoods are linked through pedestrian paths and there is no direct way to move between them with vehicles. The discontinuity of the roads within each neighbourhood is an attempt to make the community closed to outsiders.14 On the outskirts of the neighbourhood quadrants, located in the northern and southern peripheries, you find Business parks made up of commercial, office, and industrial buildings.15 A sense of order is achieved through the hierarchy that Hancock constructs amongst the streets and greenbelt. The highest density is located right around the town centre at Don Mills’ core, and as you move away from it the lower density is reflected in the build forms and more “park-like” settings.16 219

URBAN SCALE DESIGN Whereas most suburbs contain predominately one type of housing, one of the major successes of Don Mills is its incorporation of more affordable housing options into its scheme. Midrise apartment buildings, townhouses, and semidetached houses are mixed with the singlefamily homes. This creates a more diverse community as not only one tier of society has the means to reside in the area.17 This planned socioeconomic mix is to prevent the town from being made up entirely of the same middleclass motif and also to help alleviate some of the poverty ridden areas within Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s central district. A total of 8121 units were eventually built in Don Mills, and of those 4501 were apartments. Most of these apartments were located in three-storey buildings, which is a response to the 35ft height limit imposed by the North York municipality.18 To add to this socioeconomic mix, Hancock planned for both ownership and rental options to be made available. The proposed semi-detached units were to be subsidized by the government in order to promote low-income families moving into the area. Proposals for two-bedroom units that were meant to serve some of the lower income workers at the factories were blocked by the North York Council because they saw them as being too modest for the development.19 Although there was a mix of housing types, the master plan dictated that each block was to contain only one type of residential building. The land distribution within the Don Mills area is as follows: schools - 85 acres; churches - 16 acres; parks - 400 acres; residential 800 acres; 220

commercial - 75 acres; industrial - 320 acres; public utility - 44 acres; streets/railways - 320 acres.20 The original intention was that the workforce for the industrial component would come from Don Mills itself, however only 5% of the jobs were held by local residents. This was because most of the factory workers could not afford to live in Don Mills, and for those who lived in the area working at the factories was not part of the vision they had for their lives.21 In the years following the war, largely because of the great amount of money involved, municipal councils tended to shy away from new large-scale developments. It was becoming a common practice to require developers to pay for internal servicing as to relieve the burden from the taxpayers. With Don Mills, there was still the issue of how to fund the water and sewage services for the development. There was no water surplus in the North York region and the municipality had no intentions of financing new water lines or a sewage plant.22 The eventual outcome was that Taylor agreed to absorb these servicing costs. What this meant

Figure 4 - (Top middle) Neighbourhood relationship Figure 5 - (Top right) Land use designation Figure 6 - (Bottom) Neighbourhood layout Figure 7 - (Right) Planned development


was that the municipality was relieved of the financial risks and responsibilities attached to the development. Now that the risk was taken off their shoulders, the municipality had little reason to object to the developer doing what he saw fit. What Taylor had done here was to change the rules governing development. By making the municipalities’ role a more passive one, they were in a position to basically approved everything that was put forward.23 In more recent years the loss of industrial and office space has become one of the major threats to Hancock’s plan for the Don Mills. Land that has been left behind by businesses for various reason is being redeveloped into residential or commercial property. Existing affordable housing buildings have also been torn down to make way for new condominiums. All this was not part of the original vision for the town, and so these types of developments must be carefully planned and connected to the existing framework. Hancock did produce a secondary plan to help guide future development, however, some of these

The secondary plan seems to deal mostly with the development of areas outside the limits of Don Mills itself. If additional residential components are to be added they would have to be some how connected to the existing neighbourhoods, and follow along the same guidelines that Hancock outlined. If ample consideration is not given to future developments Don Mills runs the risk of becoming much like other suburbs, which seems to just revolve around strip malls and lack a certain community dynamic. The unexpected economic success of Don Mills led to it becoming a blueprint for developers across Canada. The question of the necessity for good planning has forever since been intertwined with projected corporate success, rather than focusing the goals and objectives of the public. While it is seen as the first example in Canada of ‘good planning’ being the driving force behind a suburban development, the new type of relationship Taylor created between municipality and developer meant that it was also the last. Don Mills was very successful and appealed to the multitude of new, young families that came about as a result of the postwar economic boom.25 Many developers have since picked up on the success of Taylor’s corporate approach and the planning principals implored by Hancock, and in the years following its completion the outskirts of Toronto and other Canadian cities began to be developed with neighbourhoods in the likeness of Don Mills.

NOTES 1. Cliff Harvey, “Learning from Don Mills,” Perspectives: The Journal of the Ontario Association of Architects 7, no. 1 (1999): 19. 2. John Sewell, The shape of the city: Toronto struggles with modern planning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 80. 3. John Sewell, The shape of the city: Toronto struggles with modern planning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 80. 4. John Sewell, The shape of the city: Toronto struggles with modern planning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 81. 5. John Sewell, The shape of the city: Toronto struggles with modern planning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 82. 6. John Sewell, The shape of the city: Toronto struggles with modern planning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 82. 7. Cynthia Martin, “Don Mills Turns 50.” The Globe and Mail (Toronto), May 9, 2003, sec. Globe Real Estate, G1. 8. Cliff Harvey, “Learning from Don Mills,” Perspectives: The Journal of the Ontario Association of Architects 7, no. 1 (1999): 19. 9. John Sewell, The shape of the city: Toronto struggles with modern planning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 84. 10. Cynthia Martin, “Don Mills Turns 50.” The Globe and Mail (Toronto), May 9, 2003, sec. Globe Real Estate, G1. 11. Robert Lehman, “Macklin Leslie Hancock, FCIP 1925-2010 [Obituary],” Plan Canada 50, no. 4 (2010): 10. 12. Cynthia Martin, “Don Mills Turns 50.” The Globe and Mail (Toronto), May 9, 2003, sec. Globe Real Estate, G1. 13. Cliff Harvey, “Learning from Don Mills,” Perspectives: The Journal of the Ontario Association of Architects 7, no. 1 (1999): 20. 14. John Sewell, The shape of the city: Toronto struggles with modern planning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 86. 15. Robert Lehman, “Macklin Leslie Hancock, FCIP 1925-2010 [Obituary],” Plan Canada 50, no. 4 (2010): 11. 16. Cliff Harvey, “Learning from Don Mills,” Perspectives: The Journal of the Ontario Association of Architects 7, no. 1 (1999): 21. 17. Cliff Harvey, “Learning from Don Mills,” Perspectives: The Journal of the Ontario Association of Architects 7, no. 1 (1999): 19. 18. John Sewell, The shape of the city: Toronto struggles with modern planning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 90. 19. Ibid. 20. John Sewell, The shape of the city: Toronto struggles with modern planning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 91. 21. John Sewell, The shape of the city: Toronto struggles with modern planning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 93. 22. John Sewell, The shape of the city: Toronto struggles with modern planning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 94. 23. John Sewell, The shape of the city: Toronto struggles with modern planning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 95. 24. Cliff Harvey, “Learning from Don Mills,” Perspectives: The Journal of the Ontario Association of Architects 7, no. 1 (1999): 20. 25. John Sewell, The shape of the city: Toronto struggles with modern planning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 95. FIGURES 1. Sectional analysis: Mampuru Stollmeyer 2. Major transportation routes: appropriated from 3. Relative location: appropriated from 4. Neigbourhood relationship: Mampuru Stollmeyer 5. Land use designation: appropriated from geo.scholarsportal. info 6. Neighbourhood layout: appropriated from geo.scholarsportal. info 7. Planned development: appropriated from http://urbantoronto. ca/forum/showthread.php/4526-Don-Mills-Plaza





THE METABOLIST MOVEMENT AND POST-WAR JAPAN CHRISTOPHER CHOWN The Hiroshima Peace Park is a symbolic representation of identity and culture. When postwar Japan lay in ruins, the re-building also brought about a re-thinking and re-creation. Kenzo Tange being influenced by CIAM and functionalist perspectives implements the ideals of rationalization, a socialist nature as well as the points of the Athens Charter in search of creating a healthier and more efficient architecture and urbanism. This goal then questioned the methods of planning; with a â&#x20AC;&#x153;tabula rasaâ&#x20AC;? as a site, Kenzo Tange had the opportunity to merge particular points of the functionalist movement with those of the emerging transition of Japanese architecture and urbanism. These characteristics of a more organic nature sees the city as a dynamic entity that is a continual process, and these values are seen in the Hiroshima Peace Park. Where typically social housing would come to occupy the site, especially in a time of housing shortage, Kenzo Tange creates a museum and urban green space in social human scale as a reflection of the Japanese people. Tange notices the importance of natural environments and the creation of jobs with what fuelled the beginning of the economic boom, and does so through an unconventional manner. Furthermore, the ultimate development of present day Japan in a rational grid leaves the park untouched, and with the site, the park remains as an autonomous entity apart from other uses and formal legislation imposing such rigidity. It is a symbol of the persistence of people, of the continual change, and ultimately is a recreation of identity within the political separation, as a symbol not for one but for all.



Scale 1:7500

Noboru Kawazoe stated that “we have to affirm both existence and change…every piece of matter is a dynamic body ever changing and developing…extinction is at the same time creation.” Post World War II brought with it the opportunity to rebuild as a communication against the destruction that occurred begining in March 1952 with the decision to construct the Peace Memorial Park under the Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law, the Peace Memorial Hall, Peace Memorial Museum, City Auditorium, and the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims.1 Aesthetic principles established with the influence of the Congres Internationaux d`Architecture Moderne found a foothold in this redevelopment of post-war urban spaces through their previous emergence as the means to healthier and more efficient living.2 The principles of CIAM were revolutionary in their introduction and brought a complete rethinking of architecture and urbanism. Centered around the fundamental necessity to address biological, psychological and social needs of the working masses, it was a socialist idea that addressed 224

the poor living conditions of the time through the establishment of an organizational structure.3 Although CIAM was primarily centered in Europe, the extent of its influence was found globally as architects and planners utilized the fundamental ideals through their own perspective; and in the Hiroshima Peace Park the integration of CIAM principles along with the emergence of a new movement reflects a beginning transition. With the end of World War II, the destruction of Hiroshima brought about a design competition for Ground Zero that Kenzo Tange won with his reflective design of the site focused around what he referred to as social human scale.4 With the completion in 1955, these ideals linked to the social, cultural and political context of the site and its history speak to the destruction of the city, but ultimately to this time of transition. Hiroshima Peace Park was a response to post-war political implications, as a symbol of the shift in cultural and social values, that saw a new aesthetic formed in response to functionalist principles bring about a new identity for the city and its people.

Figure 1 - (Top) The site pre-war, post-war and present day as a reflection on the organic nature of the park compared to the imposition of the functionalist grid.


Functionalist focus on individual housing, and shift to communal space

Congregation and reflection of the Japanese people

Formation of the axis through the park

Figure 2 - (Top) The conception of the buildings based upon social human scale and in reflection of the axis.

With the formation of CIAM in 1928, the complete rethinking of architecture and urbanism brought about new ideals focused on rationalization and standardization from a socialist perspective. It was a new approach rooted in Garden City movements and focused around improved living conditions, an increased economic efficiency through transportation and the protection of natural environment as a place for mass recreation.5 Kenzo Tange, with his winning submission for the Hiroshima Peace Park recognized the values of the functional city and the objectives laid out by CIAM, seeing the value of the integration of nature as well as the recognition of zones. With Hiroshima Peace Park the physical context has changed over time such that before the bombing there is something very different than what is there now. Historically, the site and surrounding city was organized in a more organic way with primarily housing and temples. Post-war saw the shift though with zoning and the emergence of the block unit began to appear, and is now the means to organize the city in a higher density (figure 1).6 When it comes to Hiroshima Peace Park though, the 100-mile boulevard runs alongside the southern border and across the river, and with the rivers surrounding the park itself, the park does not have a block number and is completely unto its own. With the postwar period the Athens Charter formulated the values of the functionalist movement that established an organizational structure for the city based on the four functions of dwelling, working, recreation and circulation.7 With respect to zoning, context and the park,

Hiroshima Peace Park can almost be seen as a sanctuary then from the city both in its use as well as its formal regulations. Breaking from the imposition of the typical grid, the park brings the more organic network back into the city. With the reconstruction necessary from post-war disaster the emergence of the Building Standard Law, after its establishment in 1949 from the first referendum, this document emerged as a means to guide construction that influenced CIAM 4 typologies surrounding the site.8 entitled the Functional City was focused on the post-war period and how the response was one of rational organization, such that simple and clear property divisions should be established, where axial city plans are disregarded as they cannot be extended to the development of the entirety.9 Hiroshima Peace Park then only considers the organizational aspect of the site, not even from a rational perspective, but of a more organic order where axis and connections are not in a rigid manner (figure 3). The organic nature then of the park reveals Kenzo Tangeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s questioning of functionalist perspectives and begins the transition of Japanese urbanism. This transitional movement also addressed city-planning methods of Japan, where urban sprawl and growth were seen as creating improved conditions; the metabolist movement saw the advantages instead of proper density along with the importance of urban recreation space.10 Planning too can be looked at from the influence of the Athens Charter where each four function was seen to have its place as autonomy based on particular circumstances. Hiroshima Peace Park politically was a re-envisioning and 225

URBAN SCALE DESIGN statement, as what would typically became housing in a time of housing shortage, instead became an expanse of public green space. Though the park functions in relation to CIAM proponents of connection and recreational zones, the park is an autonomous symbol of something greater for the city and its people. The park also embodies a rethinking based upon the biological, psychological and social needs as the creation of a site based upon precision not rigidity, where the natural environment should be preserved as a reflection of sky, trees and light.11 The building being raised up such that the ground plain is maintained forms the axis to the A-bomb dome as an essential link through the entire site (figure 2 and 3-3). Furthermore, the buildings themselves are constructed in reinforced concrete as an expression of the solidarity of human kind and commitment to peace.12 These masses begin to show Tangeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s transition stating that large architecture must be built in social human scale, rather than building for CIAMâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s focus on human scale.13 Social human scale embodies an aspect of congregation such that the space departs from the individual and rather is focused on a greater whole. Social human scale then is contrary to the Athens Charterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s notions of autonomous design, with consideration for the vital needs of the individual, not the interest of the whole. With respect to the Hiroshima Peace Park, the importance of this social human scale finds itself with the tying together of the destroyed city, and stands as a symbol of starting anew. From an economic context, the park during post-war Japan created jobs for 226

Scale 1:10 000

those who were out of work, and was part of what began an economic boom during these post-war times.14 The notion of social human scale also encompasses the idea of the process of a city from the viewpoint of urban and social development where patterns and technological means were often coupled with urban and political ideals as a symbolic representation.15 Recognizing the city as a dynamic entity and a living organism, the metabolist movement and Kenzo Tange saw an opportunity for a new approach to urbanism. In the Hiroshima Peace Park this new form of urbanism, in its opportunity to rebuild, is reflected in the creation of an expansive green space. As an organic process, the aspects of site development and connections were similar to those of CIAM ideals where geographical and topological considerations were the means to shape the overall. This organic process of transition also has an underlying characteristic of functionalist methodologies. More than just the axis, the external connections back into the city scape were in reflection to historical precedent as well

Light rail stop Harbour port Vehicular Traffic Pedestrian traffic Light rail line


Figure 3 - (Top) The phasing of the park and the organic network from the axis to external connections. Figure 4 - (Right) Typology of traffic flow in and around the site as a means of arrival.

CIAM that forms an identity for post-war Japan. An identity that despite being unconventional in its use, is formulated from functionalist principles with a re-envisioning of principles, that look to improve the conditions of mankind.18 Extinction is at the same time creation, and the Hiroshima Peace Park was at the forefront of this creation. Where war brought destruction, the park gave the space back to the people, as a statement, as a symbol, as an identity. Scale 1:10 000

as ease of traffic flow and typology of that flow, whether it is pedestrian, vehicular or transit (figure 4). These considerations, though in a more organic pattern, are similar to functionalist thoughts and reflect the nature of creating a precise not rigid order.16 This transition to a new aesthetic is where the Hiroshima Peace Park finds meaning: as a begining for a new culture of building, as a space of social human scale, it becomes a symbol to its people. This notion then of social human scale is fundamental to the Hiroshima Peace Park, in that the creation of urban space for the larger community speaks to the reasoning behind the project as a whole. With post-war reconstruction the typical referral to housing created individual spaces, and with the “tabula rasa” of the destruction of Hiroshima, Kenzo Tange saw the opportunity for a coming together of the city and its people.17 A creation of the human spirit and culture that stands as a symbol of peace and unity through the congregation of the Japanese people. More importantly, it is this congregation and new aesthetic of this period of transition

NOTES 1 Peace Memorial Park and Museum. “Museum History”. http:// 2 Eric Mumford, “Defining Urban Design: CIAM Architects and the Formation of a Discipline, 1937-1969” Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, 2009. Page 25 3 Anthony Eardley, “The Athens Charter” Grossman, 1973. http:// 4 Makoto, “Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Park” archhiroshima, September 25, 2009, html 5 Eric Mumford, “Defining Urban Design: CIAM Architects and the Formation of a Discipline, 1937-1969” Page 7 6 Raffaele Pernice, “Urban Sprawl in Postwar Japan and the Vision of the City based on the Urban Theories of the Metabolist Projects” Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering, November 2007. Page 237 7 Anthony Eardley, “The Athens Charter” 8 Peace Memorial Park and Museum. “Museum History”. 9 Eric Mumford, “The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960” MIT Press, September 2009. Page 59 10 Raffaele Pernice, “Urban Sprawl in Postwar Japan and the Vision of the City based on the Urban Theories of the Metabolist Projects” Page 239 11 Eric Mumford, “Defining Urban Design: CIAM Architects and the Formation of a Discipline, 1937-1969” Page 12-14 12 Brian Pagnotta, “AD Classics: Hiroshima Peace Center and Memorial Park” Archdaily, August 29, 2011, ad-classics-hiroshima-peace-center-and-memorial-park-kenzo-tange/ 13 Makoto, “Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Park” 14 Makoto, “Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Park” 15 Zhongjie Lin, “City as process: Kenzo Tange and the Japanese urban utopias, 1959-1970” University of Pennsylvania, 2006. Page 1 16 Michael Wang, “Metabolism, the city of the Future: Dreams and Visions of Reconstruction in Post-war and Present-day Japan” Artforum 50, September 2011. Page 1 17 Marco Pompili, “Reflections on Form and Symbol in the Architecture of Metabolism” Fabrications, September 2011. Page 70 18 Raffaele Pernice, “Urban Sprawl in Postwar Japan and the Vision of the City based on the Urban Theories of the Metabolist Projects” Page 238 FIGURES 1-4. Chris Chown. 2012.





PEACE CENTRE AMALITA MIRANDA The Hiroshima Peace Centre was designed in 1950 by architect Kenzo Tange in expressed solidarity after the first atomic bomb dropped on August 6th, 1945 over the bridges of Honkawa and Motoyasu rivers in Hiroshima, Japan. The atomic bomb destroyed many homes and buildings within a 5m radius and killed over 140000 people on site. Through the efforts of the city of Hiroshima to restore the area, some buildings have been preserved in the same state as immediately after the bombing. It was Kenzo Tangeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s design of the Peace Centre and Memorial Park that addressed social, economic and political issues that needed to be dealt with in Hiroshima. His design came by adjoining the surrounding buildings which were linked by paths and walkways, therefore he placed the Peace Centre in the middle where the sight lines would meet (like a peace sign). This way the centre would be surrounded by buildings that informed the public about the attack. He raised the centre on a pilotis in tribute to those who fell victim to the tragedy. Tange used reinforced concrete to keep the exterior surface simple and plain so visitors would focus on the content inside the centre. This minimal use of materials was not only effective but economical. Not only is his design a stark and powerful symbol of the most destructive force ever created by humankind, it also expresses the hope for world peace and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons. It was this design that got Tange recognized internationally and invited to attend CIAM meetings, as it proved to be an important urban design scale project that respected its context and was carefully planned out in terms of scale and placement on site.



On August 6th, 1945 the first atomic bomb exploded at 8:15AM over the bridges of Honkawa and Motoyasu rivers in Hiroshima, Japan.2 The atomic bomb destroyed many homes and buildings within a 5m radius and killed over 140000 people on site, one of which happened to be Kenzo Tange’s mother.6 It was this personal experience that made Tange passionate and attached to Hiroshima. As a graduate of Hiroshima High School, Tange felt obligated to help out with the reconstruction plans, and decided to get involved in design competitions for the Memorial Cathedral for World Peace and Peace Memorial Museum.3 Post-war Japan was a time to pick up on growth after the 1930s and also get in touch with international development and architecture. In 1946, a competition was set up for architects to design a Peace Centre to be connected on the spot where the first atomic bomb had fallen.4 The design had to be built within fifteen years, which was the estimated time it would take to rebuild/reconstruct a new city of Hiroshima. It was Kenzo Tange who won this competition 230

and appealed the council with his drawings and initial model of a Peace Centre and Memorial Park, learning from Le Corbusier and traditional Japanese styles.1 There was a necessity of a union of culture and restoration of community life in Hiroshima, and Tange’s design posed a solution on this basis. This was Tange’s first large-scale building and little did he know it would be this design that got him recognized internationally, and would thus lead him to become a member of CIAM. Kenzo Tange’s design of the Peace Centre and Memorial Park proves to be an important urban design scale project that was carefully planned out in terms of addressing context, placement on site, scale and symbolism. A plan was created in 1949 by Kenzo Tange i collaboration with Takashi Asada and Sachio Otani for the proposed Peace Centre.2 However, the original drawing and model submitted to the competition held by the city of Hiroshima looked relatively different, though the overall concept and framework stayed the same. This was so because Tange’s design had to be

Figure 1-2 - Creation of Major Paths Figure 2-4 - Axis and Layout of Buildings

CIAM 17 1 4


2 3 8


Ho nka wa

Riv er



14 15

r Rive








Hiroshima Memorial Park Map

1. A-Bomb Dome 2. Hypocentre 3. Children’s Peace Monument 4. Memorial Tower 5. Monument in Memorary of Korean Victims 6. Peace Bell 7. Atomic Bomb Memorial 8. Rest House 9. Cenograph 10. Flame of Peace 11. Peace Memorial Hall 12. Peace Memorial Museum 13. International Conference Centre 14. Fountain of Prayer 15. Statue of Mother and Child in the Storm 16. Gates of Peace 17. Honkawa Elementary School Peace Museum

Figure 5 - (Top) Layout of Peace Center and Memorial Park

modified to deal with financial shortages.4 The economy of Japan was low after the war, and it would take a great deal of effort and money to help rebuild a whole city. The new design had to be economical and sustainable for the future. Kenzo Tange’s design came by adjoining the surrounding buildings, which were linked by elevated paths and walkways. Tange placed the Peace Centre in the middle core where the sight lines would meet (similar to a peace sign).5 This way the centre would be surrounded by buildings that informed the public about the attack. He raised the centre 122,100 square meters on a pilotis in tribute to those who fell victim to the tragedy, enabling you to see the A-bomb Dome through it (see image 8). Tange’s design of the piloti is not only for aesthetic design but plays a practical role as well; the axis on the ground runs straight without obstruction.1 According to Tange it was difficult to link paths from an urban design and planning point of view. He stated, “The street which crosses at 45-degree angle with the delta used to be a busy street and I wanted to leave it as a traffic route. Besides the two bridges leading to either end of Peace Boulevard, there are still three bridges creating important traffic routes. How to link them together was difficult. I didn’t figure out how to deal with the A-bomb Dome quickly. But finally, I thought of the axis perpendicular to the 100-meter Boulevard. It took a lot of time. Not an idea I had had from the beginning.”3 Therefore Tange took on a city planner’s approach to design traffic routes first and then place the buildings in accordance to those routes (see images 4-5). He created an axis at right angle

with Peace Boulevard (100-meter Boulevard on the south) leading north to the A-bomb Dome (see image 3-4).1 He planned the cenotaph monument on the centre of the axis and the museum/ gate to the park on the south of the axis (see images 4-5). Tange used reinforced concrete to keep the exterior surface simple and plain so visitors would focus on the content inside the centre. Similarly the interior is finely finished with the same colour/pigment of concrete, this would also save money on materials. The influence of Le Corbusier’s style on Tange is shown with the use of grid windows, layout of the structural framework of exposed concrete, and division of the glass facade by horizontal and vertical layers of cement, highlighting the dominant characteristics in construction (see image 6). According to Udo Kultermann, “The complex as a whole has a monumental quality.”1 The museum’s main building is flanked by two smaller buildings; a library, auditorium, hotel, an exhibition gallery, offices and a conference centre to the west and an assembly hall with capacity for 2,500 people to the east (see image 5).2 The main museum building informs the public about nuclear war affects through several exhibit spaces and small theatres that take visitors on a journey through Hiroshima’s past (see images 6-7). In 1994, Tange designed the Hiroshima Peace Center Memorial Hall inside the Park, where the interior exhibits images of the disaster after the explosion to the public.4 It is a cylindrical space, whereby you reach your center by traveling up a circular ramp. In the middle of this space is a source of water and 231

URBAN SCALE DESIGN a glass skylight, representing a clock whose time is fixed at 8:15AM, the time of the air raid.4 In 1995 the library, museum and conference centre were connected by a bridge to link the past, present, and future for Hiroshima together. The site sits on where the original Commercial Exhibition Center of Hiroshima building, designed by Jan Letzel, was located and built in 1910. Work started on the site in 1914 on the east side of the Motoyasu River, and was completed in 1911.1 In 1933, its name was changed to the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, built to promote industrial production.1 It was a three storey brick building with a five storey central core, and a steel framed dome clad in copper. It covered 1 023 m2 and reached a height of 25m.1 The main building, which was 150m away from of the explosion, was almost completely shattered; the roof and floor collapsed, along with most of the interior walls from the second floor upwards.1 However, the foundations of the core of the building under the dome remain standing because the force of the blast came from above. The authenticity of the Genbaku Dome still stands as Kenzo Tange preserved it in the park. The remains of the fountain that stood in the garden on the south side of the hall also survive. In its present form, the building preserves in every detail its exact state after the blast. The only interventions since that time have been minimal, designed to ensure the continuing stability of the ruins. In 1966 Hiroshima City Council declared that any surviving buildings should be preserved in reminder of the bombing and the prior history of Hiroshima, so therefore the A-Bomb dome and 232

Videos To 2nd Floor

War, the A-bomb, and the People of Hiroshima To 3rd Floor

Model of A-bomb dome


The Destruction of Hiroshima Model of City after bombing Model of City before bombing


Museum Shop

Model of A-bomb dome

Path of Peace

Nuclear Age

Hiroshima before A-bomb Information Entrance Video Theatre

Rest House were kept untouched (see image 5).6 Before World War II, Hiroshima still retained the townscape from the pre-modern times as the buildings were low-rise and built in human scale. The war, however, made Hiroshima like a vast desert with everything erased from the surface. Tange learned from Le Corbusier and was convinced that his architectural design would become enormous in scale. He passionately stated, “Large architecture built in social human scale was in demand instead of those in human scale.”2 The social human scale can be said to be the ‘contemporary urban scale’ with the idea of skyscrapers and automobile traffic, where humans are tiny in size. Meanwhile, the ‘human scale’ is within the range of what people actually lay a hand on. Tange debated the museum and pilotis are in social human scale whereas the landing, stairs, louvers are in human scale (see image 8). A challenge he faced was convincing the members of CIAM of this logic for the combination of the two scales, especially

Museum Tours

Figure 6-7 - (Top) Circulation of Peace Centre Figure 8 - (Right) Elevation of the Peace Centre


as some were opposed such a large scale construction when many didn’t have a place to live and were in the depth of extreme poverty. The Peace Memorial Park was laid out between 1950 and 1964 behind the museum allowing 50 thousand people to gather around the square.4 Since 1952, the park has been the scene of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, held annually on 6 August as well as a Lantern Ceremony in the evening.4 The Center’s purpose is reinforced by several monuments of reinforced concrete, like the Peace Bell in honor of Sadako Sasaki, a girl victim of atomic radiation in the form of a hyperbolic parabola also known as the Children’s Peace Monument (see image 5). Tange placed another monument to honor those killed in Hiroshima by the bomb, in shape of a saddle with its parabolic shape, incorporating elements of Japanese tradition (since that form is symbolic architecture based on traditional Japanese ceremonial tombs from the Kofun Period in memory of Haniwa, tombs former leaders of Japan).5 This site was declared a world heritage

site by UNESCO and after the centre and park opened in 1955 as it remains a powerful symbol of world peace.6 It reminds us of the most destructive force ever created by humankind, yet it also expresses the hope for a better world and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons. Hiroshima City mayors have independently been active in diplomacy and often advocated opinions different from those of the Japanese government as an eternal peace principle of no more wars, relies on internationalism cooperation among nations. Kenzo Tange picked up on this and kept his design neutral with an international style and not directly related to Japanese architecture, to be universally symbolic for all human beings. Kenzo Tange’s design of the Peace Centre and Memorial Park proves to be an important urban design scale project that was carefully planned out in terms of addressing context, placement on site, scale and symbolism. Tange addressed social, political, and economical issues of Hiroshima within his design which entails a factory where peace should be created and strengthened, and the park should be a place where messages pertaining to world peace are heard and spread. With this project Tange led architecture out of the realm of the private and the occasional, as he saw it as an ‘expression of a new social responsibility toward masses of people.

NOTES 1.Arch-Hiroshima. “arch-hiroshima Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.” Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum & Park. Last modified September 25, 2009. Accessed October 15, 2012. http://www.arch-hiroshima. net/arch-hiroshima/arch/delta_center/p-museum_e.html. 2. Boyd, Robin, and Kenzo Tange. Kenzo Tange, 15. New York: Braziller Publishing, 1962. 3. Rosemary, Jasmine. “ TANGE’s original plan for Peace Park.” Life is journey. Last modified July 11, 2012. Accessed October 20, 2012. http:// html#!/2012/07/photo-courtesy-of-arch-hiroshima-this.html. 4. Tange, Kenzo, and Udo Kultermann. Kenzo Tange, 1946-1969; Architecture and Urban Design. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970. 5. Tange, Kenzo. Peace Centre, Hiroshima. London: World Microfilms Publica tions, 1900. 6. UNESCO. “Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome).” UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Last modified April 4, 2008. Accessed October 27, 2012. FIGURES 1-4. Process of Design: appropriated from 5. Arial Site Map: appropriated from http://www.arch-hiroshima. net/arch-hiroshima/arch/delta_center/delta_peace_e.html 6-7. Circulation Diagrams: appropriated from 8. South Elevation of Museum: diagram done by Amalita Miranda





THE PRUITT-IGOE COMPLEX AUBREY DELUCA The Pruitt-Igoe public housing development in St. Louis, Missouri is cited as one of the largest architectural failures in history; it did not however, start out that way when it was finished in 1956. Pruitt-Igoe came to St. Louis and its impoverished residents at a time when they needed it the most. It saved the city from being overrun by slums and gave the poor a real home with basic amenities that some had never experienced before. The high density, high-rise complex for low income families was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, partner of Leinweber, Yamasaki, and Hellmuth. The well-recognised architect used planning principles laid out in the Athen’s Charter by Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne. The large urban scale of the project created a need for the implementation of such urban planning methods to work co-operatively with the architecture of the buildings to create a sustainable neighbourhood. Was it the design and its accordance to the rationalist CIAM principles; design constraints set by the St. Louis Housing Authority; or the social, political, and economic influences of the time that caused Pruitt-Igoe to fail? This essay will explore the rise of the project and the difficulties it had to get off the ground and the fall of Pruitt-Igoe and what factors lead to its destruction. The response will answer the question of what made Pruitt-Igoe the infamous failure it is known as today.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN In 1956, St. Louis, Missouri completed a high-rise, high-density public housing project. This project, known as Pruitt-Igoe, consisted of 33 buildings sitting at 11 storeys tall. Pruitt-Igoe was considered an extraordinary resolution at the time of its completion, but today is known as one of the largest failures in planning and architectural history. This complex began as a redevelopment of the DeSoto-Carr neighbourhood, an impoverished, overcrowded, low-rise residential slum. Conceived out of desperation by the City of St. Louis, Mayor Joseph Darst, and implemented by the St. Louis Housing Authority; Pruitt-Igoe was designed by Minoru Yamasaki of Leinweber, Yamasaki, and Hellmuth, who also designed the World Trade Centers in New York City. Pruitt-Igoe’s earliest designs met the qualifications of appropriate design in the city, it attempted to create diversity in race and class, it sought to maximize green spaces, it created high-density, it provided public amenities like a park and schools, and as well as basic living amenities that some tenants had never experienced before1. Despite all of the previous, Pruitt-Igoe could not and did not flourish or survive and in the early 1970’s, only 20 years after Pruitt-Igoe began, it was demolished. This essay considers the combination of factors affecting the development of Pruitt-Igoe and searches for the reason for its failure. St. Louis was perceived as the most appropriate and needing city for redevelopment after the Second World War and the decline of its population.2 The well-known planner, Harland Bartholomew found that 35% of St. Louis was slums and if the growth continued, the city’s 236

core would fail. 3 The United States began to “sponsor” the demolition and rebuilding of impoverished neighbourhoods4 and the US Housing Act of 1949 provided cities like St. Louis with the funds to redevelop the slums and stop them from spreading.5 The original plan for the DeSoto-Carr neighbourhood, unlike the final product pictured above, was a Garden City approach that “combined the cultures and economic opportunity of the city with the natural landscape and healthy life of the country.”

Figure 1 - (Top) Plan View of Pruitt-Igoe Site: 33 Buildings in Red





Figure 2 - (Top) Pruitt-Igoe Plan Height and Density Differences


Where large open green spaces reigned and car traffic was removed from the interior garden spaces. The density was to be fixed by the implementation of the ‘garden apartment building’ that would maintain a human scale at “two- or three- story row type apartment buildings” with a large public park7 but was soon altered to four to six storey buildings 8. The above illustration shows the development from these original plans to what was built. Pruitt-Igoe’s legacy was born the moment Joseph Darst was elected into the Mayoral office in 1949. Darst looked at city redevelopment as the only answer to saving the city, and he also believed “large-scale physical building programs” were the only means to achieving success. 9 Darst was influenced by his trip to New York City and its high-rise approach to fixing its own slums. He saw his own city’s redevelopment as a means to have his own little Manhatten in Missouri.10 The success of the John J. Cochran Gardens, another redevelopment in St. Louis aimed at relieving the congestion of the impoverished areas, furthered the desire to redevelop the

DeSoto-Carr neighbourhood with high-rise structures. Pruitt-Igoe’s starting success was not only perceived by politicians, planners, architects and the public, but also by those who dwelled within them; one resident described the complex as “an oasis in the desert.”11 Pruitt-Igoe began with the right ideas, but “[it] was the product of a larger vision of St. Louis government and business leaders who wanted to rebuild their city into a Manhattan on the Mississippi.”12 The revisions of the redevelopment by the St. Louis Housing Authority “proposed carving the DeSoto-Carr neighbourhood into four black housing districts, two schools, and a large park in the center of the neighbourhood.”13 “The planners assumed that [the low-income blacks’] new homes, a vast improvement on the decrepit slum dwellings, would somehow raise them out of poverty”14 Approximately 2, 870 units in 33 eleven storey buildings on 33 acres, and Pruitt-Igoe never reached capacity. Architecturally, the two most critically acclaimed attributes at the time of development soon 237

URBAN SCALE DESIGN became the most dangerous features in the buildings: the skip stop elevator and gallery spaces. The large gallery spaces, as Yamasaki referred to them as, were meant to act as the front yard of the apartments, creating a space for children to play where mothers can hear from both their own apartment and the laundry room down the hall; it was a space for community.15 The skip stop elevators, which would stop at every third floor, rather than each floor which cut costs by a third and connecting the other floors by stairs.16 Galleries became spaces of fear rather than comfort, garnering the name “gauntlets” from the fighting and gangs that overran them.17 During design, Yamasaki had to implement more density and remove amenities to account for the rising cost and stagnant funds.17 It was thought that all of St. Louis’ problems would be resolved through the introduction of public housing, and thus gave the city more incentive to demolish the slums and enforce Pruitt-Igoe habitations on the poor and the blacks.19 The City Plan Commission thought that this would help “revive and bring people back to St. Louis [but] this strategy ignored the issue of race, the increasing numbers of lowincome black residents in Saint Louis, or for that matter and social issue.”20 The design was heavily influenced by city planners that ignored social issues and allowed economics to cloud decisions. How is a development that is held up in such prestige decidedly a lost cause and demolished 20 years afterwards? The St. Louis Housing Authority under the pressure of angry residents, finally approached the government 238

in 1958 to ask for restoration funding, but the federal government did nothing until 1965.21 The government spent millions of dollars renovating Pruitt-Igoe to bring it back to its original state, but the plan failed. While the number of residents fell, the crime rates rose exponentially and quickly no one wanted to be near PruittIgoe.22 Very quickly, “disrepair, vandalism, and crime plagued Pruitt-Igoe”23 and the large lot of land it stood on, as shown in figure 3 on the next page, soon became a place no one wanted to go. In 1969, St. Louis was caught up in a rent strike between Public Housing projects and the St. Louis Housing Authority, which residents of Pruitt-Igoe participated in.24 With no money left and little left to do, the Housing Authority began the eventual demotion of the neighbourhood.25 “The reduction of Pruitt-Igoe to a matter of architectural quality did not acknowledge the widespread social indifference to the poverty of inner city blacks and, further, the myth proffered Pruitt-Igoe a retroactive symbolic stature in modernism that it had never truly attained when built. Lacking historical context, ignoring racial discrimination and economic crisis, down-playing the roles of the local and federal housing agencies and inflating the architect’s role to that of social engineer, this myth effectively encapsulated the empty site, freezing it in time and making it unlikely that any architect would approach and resolve it. Missing in this narrative are the lives of the residents themselves, many of whom had never lived – and would never again

live – in housing as decent as they did at Pruitt-Igoe. The truth is that Pruitt-Igoe is as beloved as it is hated among as many former residents.”26 Pruitt-Igoe was the unfortunate product of bad circumstance. There was no one factor that led to its ultimate downfall but instead a number of factors, which combined, piloted the demolition of the complex. The political ambitions in St. Louis, the economic contingencies of the government and St. Louis Housing Authority, and the social pressures and segregation all intertwined into a bad situation that could not be redeemed and the redeveloped DeSoto-Carr neighbourhood fell from glory. The Pruitt-Igoe Complex was not the result of bad architecture; it was the combination of political, economic and social factors that led to its demolition. PruittIgoe has provided planners today with many insights into how to better plan and develop a public housing project. The Pruitt-Igoe Complex is a memory that will haunt planners, politicians and architects forever.


1 The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, Documentary, directed by Chad Freidrichs (2011; St. Louis: Unicorn Stencil/ 2011.), Digital Download. 2 Alexander von Hoffman, “Why They Built Pruitt-Igoe” in From Tenements to the Taylor Homes: In Search of an Urban Housing Policy in Twentieth-Century America, ed. John F. Bauman, Roger Biles, and Kristin M. Szylvian, (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000), 185. 3 Alexander von Hoffman, “Why They Built Pruitt-Igoe,” 185. 4 Eric Mumford. Defining Urban Design: CIAM Architects and the Formation of a Discipline, 1937-69. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 12. 5 Katherine G. Bristol, “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth,” American Architectural History: A Contemporary Reader, ed. Keith L. Eggener (Florence: Routledge, 2004), 352. 6 Alexander von Hoffman, “Why They Built Pruitt-Igoe,” 186. 7 “The Unmentioned Modern Landscape,” Pruitt Igoe Now, last modified 2012, 8 Alexander von Hoffman, “Why They Built Pruitt-Igoe,” 186-188. 9 ibid, 188. 10 ibid, 190-191. 11 The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, Documentary. 12 “The Unmentioned Modern Landscape.” 13 Alexander von Hoffman, “Why They Built Pruitt-Igoe,” 194. 14 ibid, 197. 15 ibid, 196. 16 ibid, 195. 17 ibid, 183. 18 ibid, 183. 19 ibid, 185. 20 ibid, 201. 21 “The Unmentioned Modern Landscape.” 22 ibid. 23 ibid. 24 ibid. 25 ibid. FIGURES 1. - Pruitt-Igoe, “Pruitt-Igoe’s Photostream,” Flickr, last modified February 23, 2011, photostream/. 2. - Aubrey Deluca. “Pruitt-Igoe Plan Height and Density Changes,” 2012. 3. - “The Unmentioned Modern Landscape,” Pruitt Igoe Now, last modified 2012,

Figure 3 - Pruitt-Igoe in the St. Louis Context 239




PRUITT-IGOE: MISUNDERSTOOD ALEX MANOJLOVICH The Pruit-Igoe housing project is considered to be one of North America’s worst urban development projects to have ever been constructed. Built in 1956 and located in St. Louis, Missouri, the Pruitt-Igoe project was conceived from anxious politicians, as the city was only one of four in the United States to have witnessed a decline in population in the 1930’s. Constructed during a time of post World War II, the demand for housing globally, especially in the slowly dying metropolis of St. Louis, was at a high. St. Louis’s civic leaders hired architects George Hellmuth and Minoru Yamasaki to design the solution to their desperate problem. Yamasaki and Hellmuth conjured a modern design, which can be argued was heavily influenced by Le Corbusier’s style of monolithic high rise buildings. The plan called for the demolition of an inner city slum that was deemed obsolete and then to begin fresh with thirty-three massive eleven storey complexes that would be anchored by communal spaces and divided by rows of trees. This low income, high-density project was considered to not only alleviate the city’s problems, but was heralded to be an innovative concept that would have risen St. Louis to a status that would rival other U.S. metropolises, such as New York. This essay will investigate why the Pruitt-Igoe housing project stands unfairly as a symbol for a massive architecture failure, through a variety of factors, such as political, social and economic, which actually deserve blame.



Obsolete Districts Bligheted Districts Pruitt-Igoe Site Pruitt-Igoe was sought to be a solution to an urban problem. By vying for a physical approach to solve a complicated and multifaceted social problem, with economic and political barriers, the project was doomed from the outset. The neighbourhood that PruittIgoe was set to replace, DeSoto-Carr, was a low-rise, mid-density area. By replacing the “obsolete” district with new, physical, modernist approaches of high-rise, high-density buildings, it was hailed as a prideful civic answer for St. Louis. Humble planning intentions tried to better the city, but political and economic strife deeply affected the outcome. Without taking in consideration of other noticeably prevalent social factors, Pruitt-Igoe sadly, manifested into the very opposite of what was dreamed: a dark blemish on the city’s and nation’s image. A post World War II St. Louis was not a place to start a family and enjoy the beginnings of a new life; it was the haunting nightmare of urban living, which literally drove the public to the suburbs. This mass exodus of middleincome, predominantly white, families led to 242

an increase of slums and poor housing, which started to expand closer to the business core of St. Louis.1 This disheartening trend of a diminishing population and fear of diminishing property values, prompted city officials and business leaders to create a document known as the 1947 Comprehensive Plan. The 1947 Comprehensive Plan notes, “Many people prefer single-family detached dwellings even in the large modern city. Without careful planning and zoning for large single-family dwelling areas as well as for good parks, streets, transportation and other improvements for all types of dwelling areas, we will repel rather than attract people who may wish to live here.”1 The 1947 Comprehensive Plan outlines values, which are tangible to the early development processes of Pruitt-Igoe, to provide the critical demand for thousands of new family dwellings by clearing and demolishing areas that were blighted, and slums that were too costly to maintain. The plan also consisted of improving the central downtown core, expanding major street developments and providing neighbourhoods

Figure 1 - (Top) St.Louis - 1947 Figure 2- (Bottom) DeSoto-Carr Neighbourhood


Figure 3 - Plate 16

with necessary recreational facilities like parks and playgrounds.3 The 1947 Comprehensive Plan, conceived by the City Plan Commission, aimed at bringing the people of St. Louis back by scrapping away the DeSoto-Carr neighbourhood (See Fig.2) and replacing the extremely “obsolete” area with a housing project.4 The DeSoto-Carr neighbourhood, also known as Plate 16 in the 1947 Comprehensive Plan (See Fig. 3) , was slated to be the future home of a housing project to hopefully carry St. Louis out of the dredges and into the light: Pruitt-Igoe. Not until 1949 did a housing project of this magnitude begin to come to fruition, as the United States Housing Act of 1949 enabled funds to be delivered for public housing, slum clearance and overall urban renewal.5 Everything St. Louis had wished for. St. Louis’s Land Clearance and Redevelopment Authority planned on clearing extensive areas of slums and selling them to private developers at an attractively reduced cost.6 City Officials in turn had hoped that this would spur development (middle-income housing and commercial development) that would attract middle-income families back to the diminishing urban core.7 While the slums were to be demolished, St. Louis’s Public Housing Authority would instill may cheap rental units for the poor displaced by redevelopment in order to control the rapid slum expansion.8 This plan of widespread urban renewal was supposed eradicate the problem of slums and blighted areas harbouring 82,000 dwellings built before 1900.9 By eliminating these spaces, the city also hoped to eliminate a 4,000,000 dollar annual deficit and “a long-

term increment in taxable revenues on private housing projects” with the support of federal subsidiaries.10 Though this plan had obvious humble intentions, it was attempting to repair a social and economic problem with a tunnelvisioned physical solution: the physical clearance of vast areas and the initiation of public housing. A changing of the guard and philosophy was also a detriment to the vision of a better St. Louis. The public housing project situated for the DeSoto-Carr neighbourhood was awarded to architects Minoru Yamasaki and George Hellmuth of the Leinweber, Yamasaki & Hellmuth firm, by the Public Housing Authority, from the recommendation of mayor Joseph Darst.11 The original commission was slated for two three story complexes and a large park, but the new elected mayor, Joseph Darst, had visions of grandeur. Elected in 1949, Darst detached himself from previous city leaders and crusaded for the resurgence of his city through business clients and large scale projects, such as airports, highways and large downtown developments.12 The previously conceived designs of low-rise public housing were deemed ugly and outdated by Darst and were cast aside for a more ‘Manhattan’ approach of high-rise public housing.13 Yamasaki and Hellmuth’s original plan consisted of high-rise buildings that were also mixed with mid-rise buildings and walk-up buildings. Under pressure from Darst, the Public Housing Authority tightened and enforced restrictions to achieve the newly elected mayor’s grandiose plan.14 This led the Public Housing Authority to insist on a new 243

URBAN SCALE DESIGN modernist scheme using 33, 11 story buildings (See Fig.4) as the original proposal now exceeded the federal government’s maximum allowable cost per unit.15 This new highly encouraged design proceeded to conform to CIAM aesthetics; massive, monolithic, highdensity structures (See Fig. 5). Even more so, the outbreak of the Korean War led to inflation and material shortages, which influenced a more cost effective design.16 Building contractors did not aid the formation of the design by inflating their bids to over 60% the national average.17 Despite the constraints in place, Yamasaki was still doubtful of the value of high-rise buildings as an answer for high-density housing; “the low building with low density is unquestionably more satisfactory than multi-story living. ...If I had no economic or social limitations, I’d solve all my problems with one-story buildings.”18 Yamasaki only defended the Pruitt-Igoe design because it was a valid and logical response to very tight economic and policy conditions that were out of his control. Regardless of political demands and tight economic stringencies, Yamasaki and Hellmuth strove to make improved living conditions possible. The incorporation of galleries, spaces that opened horizontally every third floor (See Fig.6), were dreamed of housing white women pushing baby carriages and children playing with toys; a communal gathering area to build a community or neighbourhood within the building.19 These spaces were meant to encourage interaction within the complex, but without solving the social issue properly, the interaction that was produced, inevitably, was crime. 244

Pruitt-Igoe was racially segregated from the beginning. Whites were intended to reside in the Igoe complexes, whereas blacks were intended for the Pruitt complexes.20 Originally created to be two segregated sections, the Supreme Court’s decision in the 1954 Brown vs Board of Education case, ended segregated living. 21 The Supreme Court’s decision now produced a black only Pruitt-Igoe, as whites could not be persuaded to house with blacks. The result was a public housing project that comprised of 98% blacks, many of which lived in the “obsolete areas” prior to demolition.22 From the outset, the DeSoto-Carr neighbourhood, in 1947, had severe social problems. 33,000 dwellings relied on exterior toilets and an additional 25,000 dwellings had several families share toilets. 23 By 1956 the Pruitt-Igoe project had been completed and at its peak had a 91% occupancy rate, but due to an over abundance of low-income private dwellings, many instead chose to live there. 24 A steady decline of the population of Pruitt-Igoe directly affected the ability of the Public Housing Authority to repair

Figure 4 - (Top) Pruitt-Igoe layout Figure 5 - (Bottom) Pruitt-Igoe - 1960 Figure 6 - (Right) Pruitt-Igoe cross-section with gallery space


and maintain the housing project, as funds were linked to rent. 25 As occupancy drained, so did average incomes of the occupants; mainly the poorest of the poor stayed as they had no other options. Problems of violence in the gallery areas, vandalism and an inability to maintain the building, led to its eventual destruction and demolition in 1972.26 Improved physical public housing conditions could not cure social problems. A plan that strived to raise income levels of the poor black citizens was the necessary; a social plan to solve a social problem. Initial urban renewal ideas that were conceived with good intentions could not provide for an adequate remedy as well. The constraints of fiscal economics and political pigheadedness were too great as it conjured a design that prolonged the inevitable destruction of a deteriorating public housing project. No matter which architectural design was implemented, the Pruitt-Igoe project would still be demolished today, due to a neglected social solution and an emphasis on aesthetic renewal.

NOTES 1.”Part I: The Relationship Between People and Government.” City of St. Louis, MO: Official Website. departments/planning/cultural-resources/preservation-plan/Part-I-People-andGovernment.cfm (accessed October 20, 2012). 2. “Comprehensive City Plan 1947.” City of St. Louis, MO: Official Website. shtml (accessed October 20, 2012) 3. Ibid 4. Ibid 5. ”Comprehensive City Plan 1947.” City of St. Louis, MO: Official Website. (accessed October 20, 2012). 6. Ibid 7. “The Unmentioned Modern Landscape.” Pruitt-Igoe Now. http:// (accessed October 20, 2012). 8. Op. cit “Comprehensive City Plan 1947” 9.Ibid 10.Ibid 11. “Birmingham.” Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus: BTU. (accessed September 11, 2012). 12. ”Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project.” Iowa State University, Department of Sociology, Rural Sociology, Social Inequality, Criminal Justice. (accessed October 20, 2012) 13. Ibid 14. Op. cit “The Unmenioned Modern Landscape” 15. Bristol, Katherine. “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth.” The Pruitt-Igoe Myth. (accessed September 11, 2012). 16. Op cit. “The Unmentioned Modern Landscape) 17. Op cit. “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth.” 18. Ibid 19. Op cit. “Birmingham” 20. Op. cit “The Unmenioned Modern Landscape” 21. Op. cit “Part I: The Relationship Between People and Government.” 22. Op. cit “The Unmenioned Modern Landscape” 23.Op. cit “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth” 24.Ibid 25. Op cit “Birmingham 26. Ibid FIGURES 1. Pruitt-Igoe Site in 1947, JPG, 2. DeSoto-Carr Neighbourhood, JPG, 3. Plate 16, JPG, 4. Pruitt-Igoe Comples, Plan View, JPG, 5.Pruit Igoe, 1960, JPG, 6.Pruitt-Igoe Cross Section, with Gallery, JPG, www.pruitt-igoe. com





COPAN APARTMENT BUILDING STUDY ZIJU XIAN In the mid-twentieth century, Brazilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sao Paulo was the fastest growing city in the world. In order to solve the surging need of housing, the Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer designed the Copan Apartment Building. It is still the largest residential building in the world, accommodating 5000 residents in 1160 apartments. In this project, Niemeyer reinterpreted his understanding of Athens Charter into the design of Copan. While he agreed that towers with high capacity could solve the issues of the intensifying city, he also believed that the integration of recreation and housing could create a strong sense of community. Various apartment types for various income groups aimed to provide housing for the all class range. Large pilotis elevate the ground floor, providing space for commercial, recreation and public activities and minimizing peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s transportation distance. Horizontal brise soleils are densely placed, which not only shade the building from the northern sun but also provide human scale to the thirty-eight stories tall tower. All these social and physical elements make Copan a typical apartment building under the CIAM principles. The vision was very ideal and ambitious. However, the lack of planning in the city gradually corroded the vision of Copan as a city centre. Towers were built without careful planning; the elegant curve of Copan Apartment Building has been submerged into thousands of concrete structures. Similar to many post-war apartment complexes, Copan gradually degraded into a poor living environment since the late seventies. It is important to ask the question whether the project was as appropriate at that time as today.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Located in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Copan Apartment Building is the largest apartment building built to date. Sao Paulo was undergoing a rapid urbanization process. Copan was a natural response to this situation at that time. Yet it is different from many other CIAM inspired projects due to the involvement of real estate speculation. Oscar Niemeyer’s perception of the ideal city greatly influenced the planning built form and the functions of the apartment, preventing the project from ending up with the same destiny as Pruitt Igoe or Regent Park. Nonetheless, it still went through a period of decadence, and was abandoned by the society. Copan Apartment Building is the project of its time; it represented the time when high density was the true solution to all urbanization problems. Yet, the built project failed to recognise the social need of the future and remained only appropriate in the 1950s. In the mid-twentieth-century, Brazilian cities were experiencing an explosive urban growth, especially Sao Paulo. Between 1905 and 1930, the population of the city tripled to 822,400; by 1953, these digits grew to 2.7 million and continued to increase in the 1950s. It “boasted 47% of national industry, rising to 54% by 1960”; half of Brazil’s factory workers were employed in Sao Paulo according to Philippou.1 Meanwhile, the land price in the city centre was surging rapidly, resulting in the boost of highrise constructions in the centre of Sao Paulo. It was counted that there were 21,600 new constructions during the 1950s.2 However, Sao Paulo did not have its official plan and zoning bylaws until late 1960s and early 1970s.3 Hence, 248

Chaotic City Development Copan Apartment Building

Banking Headquarters (Proposed to be a Hotel)


Internal Pedestrian Street (Proposed to be enclosed)

when Copan Apartment Building was planned constructions in the city were not regulated; and towers were scattered around the city disorganizedly. People who could afford to live in the suburbia fled away from the city centre. The ones who stayed in the city centre were those of the middle and lower classes. Large numbers of the lower class workers were living in the slums; the need of low-income housing was enormous. At the same time, there were shortages of apartments buildings, which, for

Figure 1 - (Top) North facade of the complex--showing the banking headquarters near its completion. The giant S-plan makes the Copan Apartment Building stand out from the crowded city. Figure 2 - (Right) Plan of the apartment block--showing the arrangement of different apartment types. The red square outlines the location of the 350m2 apartments in the original design.







then, were perceived as unsanitary collective housing for the poor. 4 The gap between the rich and the poor was getting wider and wider. An apartment complex catering both end of the social class could unify the society and balance city’s development. One of the key players in the Copan Project is the Banco Nacional Imobiliario (BNI). It was founded in the early 1940s and grew rapidly due to its focus on middle and lower portions of the population.5 Oscar Niemeyer, as a starchitect of the time, was hired to challenge the deprived image of residential apartment building. In Niemeyer’s original design, the development complex consisted of an apartment and a hotel structure. The S-plan was used to give the apartment an iconic impression in the city that filled with concrete cortiços boxes. Inside the structure, there were varieties of apartments, ranging from one-room studios to 350-square-metre three-bedroom apartments.6 This arrangement was intended for a wide range of income groups, which was apparently quite popular at that time. As Pisani describes,

“the 869 apartments sold like hotcakes”, even the developer was surprised.7 It was a legend that Niemeyer had successfully bridged the gap between the rich and the poor and made the poor becomes the neighbours of the rich. Copan Apartment Building met the need of the intensifying and diversifying city at that time; therefore, it was a project that was morally justified. The original scheme was a response to the social and economic need of the city. Even today, many authorities encourage putting social housing within commercial housing. However, the political environment changed; according to Pisani, the government of Café Filho had taken steps to stabilize the economy by imposing a minimum cash balance held by banks for liquidity.8 BNI was placed under the supervision of another bank, and the Copan Project was suspended and transferred to a new private owner. The new owner saw an economical opportunity to increase the amount of small studio apartments by removing the three-bedroom suites. As the result, the targeted tenants were narrowed down to the lower and middle classes. This situation was similar to the projects in North America, such as Pruitt Igoe. It is not a surprise in today’s point of view that Copan started its decadence in the 1970s when the Avenue Sao Luiz fell farther away from its previous elitism.9 The actual built Copan is a mere response to the economic needs of city at that time. The involvement of private interest with very little concern for the future led to problems at a later time. Furthermore, the original scheme of Copan Apartment Building was Niemeyer’s

response to the CIAM movement. First of all, Niemeyer and CIAM both believe that the private involvement was the root to the disorder in cities. This can be seen in the Athens Charter, as it describes private interest as “ruthless violence”. After the private involvement, Pisani pointed out in his article “Niemeyer is taking his distance from a work like Copan… as for having ‘sold out’ to the games of speculation”.10 Niemeyer was not involved in the design since the developer changed from BNI to a private company. Instead, Carlos Lemos, head of Niemeyer’s Sao Paulo studio, was fighting to preserve every bit of the original design, but the force of private interest was tremendous. Consequently, the plan of the project was changed, resulting in the reduction of demographic variation in the neighbourhood. Moreover, Niemeyer brought the four keys to town planning from the Athens Charter into his residential apartment projects creating a small town of its own. Housing, work, recreation and traffic were all considered in projects like Conjunto Juscelino Kubitschek at Belo Horizonte, the Triandulo, the Eiffel, the Montreal as well as Copan Apartment Building.11 These buildings are of remarkable scale and somehow incorporate the principles of CIAM. For example, the ground level of the Copan complex was designed for commercial activities with two internal pedestrian shopping streets separated from vehicular traffic; other recreational facilities include a five-hundredseat theatre. A six-hundred-room hotel was included within the complex; it was designed to serve the growing tourism industry of the city. The hotel also became a potential workplace 249

URBAN SCALE DESIGN for the tenants in the S-plan apartment. The two towers were joined together at the base through a continuous terrace platform, which was connected to the ground floor retail and recreation. The terrace provides extra open green spaces for recreation and public activities. One cannot deny that Niemeyer was trying to comply Copan’s design with the Athens Charter, which encouraged recreation and green open space within or around residential areas, minimizing distance between work to dwelling places as well as separating human and vehicular traffic flow. These were cityplanning criteria; however, Niemeyer utilized these guidelines in the planning of this relatively small-scale community. At that time, people often compare Copan to Rockefeller Centre in New York, as it aimed to ‘expand the possibilities of social life and commerce of fine products’.12 Making residential complex a city centre, contradicts the Charter, therefore it seems Niemeyer’s intention contradicts the Charter. In fact, it is not true. Rather than directly borrowing architecture from those principles, Niemeyer realized the importance of the location to the city and used the Charter as a theoretical starting point to construct his vision for Copan, making it different from many North American social housing projects that neglected the context in greater scale. His proposal is what people are looking for today—a mixed-use complex! Although Niemeyer’s original plan was ideal and perfect, the actual built project almost entirely changed due to the involvement of real estate speculation. A banking headquarters replaced 250

Niemeyer’s Vision of Block E & F

Built Layout of Block E & F

Maid’s Room & Bath, Porch, Lobby Living Room Bedroom Bath Kitchen Public Circulation

the hotel; the platform of the two towers was disconnected and the original planned terrace was disappeared; the majority of the owners leased their apartments to the lowincome group. Tenants no longer cared about the condition of Copan. Due to the significant modifications made to the complex, it is hard to determine if the original scheme would have been a great success. In today’s point of view, it is an excellent design. Yet, it was too avantgarde that it did not match the economical


Figure 3 - Block E & F proposed plan and the actual plan--showing the each proposed large unit was subdevided into 5 or 6 small apartments.Hence, the targeted group significantly downgraded from affluent to lower class.

CIAM value in the 1950s, because at that moment, people believed that low-income housing should be the focus of the development. The modified design was a preferred design since it concentrated on solving the housing issue of the lower class. The developers believed that this could bring the benefits to the society as well as themselves. In brief, the developer did not appreciate Niemeyer’s own interpretation of Athens Charter. This was due to the fact that the developer valued profit and housing for lower class above the potential problems of the future. In addition to value influence in the programming of Copan Apartment Building, it also influences the architecture form of the project. As a typical apartment built in the mid-twentieth century, Copan features a lot of modernist identities and Corbusian influences. This, for example, includes raising the building above on pilotis, creating spaces for commercial and recreational activities. It also creates a sense of floating. Moreover, Niemeyer borrows Le Corbusier’s irregular vertical circulation core from Villa Savoye and the Brazilian Ministry of Education and Public Health Building and bring it further by pulling it out of the building, making it as a sculpture attached to the building and adding a point of interest to its southern façade. The most iconic gesture of the building is its giant S-plan that snakes across the site; this is further emphasized by the brise soleils on the northern facade. On the contrary, Le Corbusier had proposed “the right angle and ‘the straight line; it is the proper thing for the heart of the city. The curve is ruinous, difficult and dangerous; it is a paralyzing thing’”.13 In

his point of view, Copan ruins the city. While Philippou argues that Niemeyer’s feminine curve was to challenge “the virile city of male business and stifling skyscrapers”14; it gives the city softness. Meanwhile, the city was asking for setback for the upper portion of the building, which was rejected by Niemeyer, as it would destroy the unity of the building.15 The authority at that time was not as strong as today’s, resulting the disordered filled up of the city core. It gradually corroded Copan’s pure silhouette from Sao Paulo’s skyline. Nevertheless, Pisani believes that the chaotic edification of the city, in contrast, makes Copan stand out from the city even more.16 The architectural form of Copan Apartment Building challenges the Corbusian modernism with its gentle curvature. The curves give the building an iconic appearance in the city, which allowed it to play the role as the city centre. At the end, it becomes a symbol of Brazilian modernism and classic of today. It was through those challenges of aesthetic value, Niemeyer successfully created a masterpiece of architecture. On the other hand, Copan failed on its social form, since its developer only saw the social value of the 1950s. As the result, the social structure within Copan so weak that it collapsed as poverty and crime gathered in this community. All things considered, Copan Apartment Building was a natural response to the rapid urbanization of Sao Paulo and a direct solution to the overcrowding problem of the city, but it did not survive through time. Niemeyer designed the building with Athens Charter as theoretical base and Rockefeller Centre as a reference,

intending to create a diverse and multifunctional community, but this concept was turned down by the real estate speculation. The resulting product was an excellent solution to lower class housing in the 1950s. The built Copan only challenges the architectural aesthetic but not the through social aspects. Thus, Copan was only for the 1950s and it could not survive in its future. Nonetheless, the original design of Copan Apartment Building established the foundation to solve contemporary housing problems. NOTES 1, 2, 3 Styliane Philippou, “Challenging the Hierarchies of the City: Oscar Niemeyer’s Mid-Twentieth-Century Residential Buildings” (paper presented at the conference ‘Doing, thinking, feeling home: the mental geography of residential environments’, Delft, The Netherlands, October 14-15 2005). 4 Daniele Pisani, “Edificio Residenziale Copan - San Paolo, Brasile,” Casabella 810 (2012): 10. 5 Styliance Philippou, “Challenging Established Hierarchies in the Post-War Brazilian Metropolis.” In Oscar Niemeyer: Curves of Irreverence (New Haven: Yale University Press 2008), 145. 6Pisani, “Edificio Residenziale Copan - San Paolo, Brasile,” Casabella 810 (2012): 11. 7 Carlos M Teixeira, “ Le Copan Sauve Sa Peau,” Architecture d’aujourd’hui 373 (2007): 102. 8 Pisani, “Edificio Residenziale Copan - San Paolo, Brasile,” Casabella 810 (2012): 11. 9 Teixeira, “ Le Copan Sauve Sa Peau,” Architecture d’aujourd’hui 373 (2007): 101. 10, 11 Pisani, “Edificio Residenziale Copan - San Paolo, Brasile,” Casabella 810 (2012): 15. 12 Philippou, “Challenging Established Hierarchies in the PostWar Brazilian Metropolis,” 146. 13 Philippou, “Challenging Established Hierarchies in the PostWar Brazilian Metropolis,” 147-148. 14 Philippou, “Challenging the Hierarchies of the City: Oscar Niemeyer’s Mid-Twentieth-Century Residential Buildings” 15 Pisani, “Edificio Residenziale Copan - San Paolo, Brasile,” Casabella 810 (2012): 20. 16 Pisani, “Edificio Residenziale Copan - San Paolo, Brasile,” Casabella 810 (2012): 29. FIGURES Daniele Pisani, “Edificio Residenziale Copan - San Paolo, Brasile,” Casabella 810 (2012)





THE SEAGRAM BUILDING CATHERINE COHEN The years after WWII encountered an architectural revolution where there was an increasing demand for contemporary ideas. One of the most influential projects of the 1950’s in the city of New York was the Seagram Building; designed by Mies van der Rohe. Similar to his previous projects, and influenced by the international Style, he created a classic modern structure. The essence of functionalism, simplicity, symmetry and framed views together with the use of new material technologies as glass and steel were considered to be Mies’ favorable design features. The main structure of the Seagram building provide thirty-eight floors of office space, with additional lease areas in two other structures on the east end of the site. Unlike traditional architecture of that time in New York City, the Seagram Building broke apart from the tier-shaped design and presented an innovative solution to the city’s bylaws. By opening the site and forming a plaza, Mies created an outdoor social hub. This ground breaking move greatly influenced future city Bylaws and projects within its urban setting. Even though some of Mies’ designs were criticized for not considering urban planning, the Seagram Building came to be very appropriate in its environment. Following ideas of urban designers as Jane Jacobs and Ken Greenberg, the Seagram Building offers public interactions at various times of the day. Finally, the Seagram Building was not just an architectural symbol but a national one. It played a major part in the Figure and statues of life in the city of New York and on a larger scale in North America. All of these factors, along with the public’s interpretation of space, made the Seagram Building one of New York’s landmarks, and a well-recognized international project.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN The construction and architectural practice of the mid-20th century in New York City underwent a dramatic transformation. Following the great depression and during the rise of Nazism, major architectural figures immigrated to the US. With the influence of European architects, the beaux art style declined as it gave way to the international style. Overcoming a difficult era, a construction boom emerged and opened a wide range of opportunities. Architecture became a tool of representing the power and innovation of the nation. Accordingly, the Seagram Building was used as an icon during the years of the cold war1. It evolved to be an international symbol for the powerful, technological advancement, and social life of New York City, and the US as a whole. In the 1950s the city of New York underwent a significant development becoming a mecca for discovery and financial investment. One of the major companies that exploited this environment was the Seagram Company, a large distiller of alcohol. The owner, Samuel Bronfman was looking to build a new headquarters for their celebration of 100 years in business2. During the early stages of development the project was awarded to the firm of Pereira & Luckman where two designs were proposed; one was a structure similar to the Lever House, and the second included a set back from Park Avenue to create advertising space. However Bronfman daughter, Phyllis, rejected the initial plan and suggested to differentiate the company with an architectural compelling proposal to improve the social Figure of the Seagram Company3. Phyllis recommended Mies van der Rohe and 254

Phillip Johnson as his associate based on their technical knowledge and experience4. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was one of the more experienced architects of that era. He had many memorable and personal features in his style. The importance of proportions and functionality in his design together with the use of symmetry only when it provides functional solutions were some of his main design drives. Mies created a way to simplify structure and led to the innovation of modularity in high rise5. His grid system allowed for fixed span between structural member to allow for easy installation of cladding, mechanical, electrical and even furniture systems6. In addition, the large spans and simplified structure allowed for the transparency of the building and the framed views Mies intended to emphasis (Figure 1). The Seagram Building was the first high rise office building to implement all of these strategies, making it a key project in his career and influencing future construction methods7. The client gave Mies ample freedom with the design and material choice as long as

Figure 1 - Framed Views in the Lobby of Seagram Bldg. Figure 2 - Tier shaped building of NY prior to the Sea-

gram Building, 1956











1. First National City Bank (399 Park Ave.) 2. Seagram Building, 1958 (375 Park Ave.) 3. 345 Park Ave. 4. Lever House, 1950-52 (390 Park Ave.) 5. Racquet and Tennis Club 1918 (370 Park Ave.) 6. Manufacturers Hanover Bank Building (350 Park Ave.)

Figure 3 - 375 Park Ave, Seagram Building’s and adjacent properties.

it follows the goal of the company’s objectives8. Mies had the chance to create the high rise building he illustrated thirty years before9. With the advancement of technology and the large construction opportunities of that time, his design revolutionized projects of New York. In the early 19th century, Park Avenue, then called Fourth Avenue, was used by railways to carry passengers. By the end of the 19th century the city ordered to reduce tracks to minimize issues with noise, pollution, fire and other safety hazardous. As a result, the Avenue started to house low commercial businesses and some residential housing. During the early 20th century this area became a wealthy district with many residential units10. The 1916 zoning resolution designated the area as residential but by 1929 property owners urged the city to rezone it and permit commercial usage. Only during the 1950’s with the construction of lever house did it begin to house some of the more successful international business headquarters making it a leading commercial district11. In 1951 Bronfman acquired two adjacent parcels for 5 million dollars, he chose this site due to its wealthy reputation and emerging developments for international businesses (Figure 3). Prior to construction the site had a residential midrise building which was demolished in place for the new project12. Consequently, The Seagram Building together with other international business transformed Park Avenue into the vibrant district it is today. Prior to the changes in 1961, zoning by-laws in New York allowed construction of buildings to take place on most of the site

footprints, resulting in little setbacks and tier shaped structures (Figure 2)13. Bronfman’s belief in Mies increased the burden to create a masterwork and with the Empire State Building in the back of his mind, Mies was looking to create a design which will thrill rather than break records14. In the early stages of design, Mies looked at two factors which contributed to the final design, the current zoning by-laws and the neighborhood context, especially the view of the buildings from the street. The city’s by-law permitted unlimited height if the building’s footprints were 25% of the site. Also, Mies noted that the buildings are not seen and realized from the street view. So, he proposed a solution where the building will have a setback of 100 feet from the Avenue and 30 feet from its sides15. This is how the design of the plaza was born(Figure 4,5). As a result, Mies had scarified rental space in effect and he was criticized for reducing rental space in order to save in paid taxes. This controversy was so powerful that the city charged extra tax per square foot to compensate for the area which was never built16. The final design for the Seagram Building started in 1954 and construction began in 1956. Mies worked with a steel columns grid of 8.5 with curtain wall covering the structure. The building is 38 floors in height for a total of 160 meters. The tower is sitting on a recessed lobby, pushing the boundaries between interior and exterior17. At the back of the site there are two podiums of different height which includes additional space for tenants and a restaurant. The Seagram Company was looking to include 255

URBAN SCALE DESIGN commercial businesses in the lower levels to integrate the public within the building18. This was part of a strategy to improve the reputation of the company19. The Seagram building was the most expansive of that time with total costs of $36 million. The elements responsible for the high costs include materials as the bronze cladding used for all I beams and spandrels on the building, topaz tinted glass, travertine, marble and the interior furnishing which were all designed by Mies himself. Once the Seagram Building was complete, many people were willing to pay extra in order to be a part of the new masterpiece20. Also, as the building was realized for it elegance, the city of New York revised its 1961 bylaws and offered a bonus on building area if an urban plaza would be constructed21. Many design followed this proposal, yet none were successful as the Seagram Building. The key for the social interactions in the plaza lay within the plazaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s furniture and design22. Overall, the Seagram Building redefined the corporate luxury of the 1950â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. 1950s brought with it a desire to show off the United States as a place of wealth and technological advancement where the Seagram building was one of the main tools used for this showcase. The design included new technologies as the new elevator and the heated granite slab of the plaza23. The US was interested in presenting its power and advancement to the world. The construction of the Seagram building had the largest broadcasting coverage the world has known at that time. Seagram Company provided the public with information regarding the project, everything from design items to 256

construction materials. Media coverage in different languages was available to the general public and every single release of information was covered nationally and internationally24. Eventually, the luxury of the Seagram Building was a key of the rising prosperity of the US nation and the strength of American capitalism and democracy. One of the major events that made the Seagram Building a national symbol occurred in 1962 where a full scale model of a missile was placed in the plaza, suggesting a strong relationship between corporate America and the expending military industrial complex during the years of the cold war. Further, the Seagram Building emerged from an expanding consumer culture among the tension of the cold war25. Essentially,the plaza became a presenting tool for the latest innovations and eventually became an exhibition point of the city. In addition, it became a representation of the rising power of the US rather than a personal project for the admiration of the client. The new architectural style emerging in the US during this period was the main inspiration for the Seagram design. The International Style was influenced by architects as Mies and Koolhaas and stressed features such as functionality and simplicity where one style can be used internationally. This movement was similar to what CIAM was proposing in terms of architectural design, not so much urban design. Constructed in the end of the CIAM era, the Seagram Building did not take it into consideration in its planning proposal. However, there is a close relationship between

Open Plaza Decorative Pool Building Interior Figure 4 - (Above) : Site Plan of Seagram Building Figure 5 - (Right) : 3D View of the plaza. The void with relation to adjacent fills


the two movements with regards to order of construction and the importance of functionality for the comfort of the user. The approach to include commercial usages within the building’s podium is fairly similar to the modern urbanism approach, contradicting the suggestions of CIAM. With no initial intention, Mies created a public hub within a business company. This is closely related to what Jane Jacob had suggested about reviving the streets and providing safe areas for diversity of users. Further, Mies located a Restaurant and a bar in the ground level podium viewing the street, further suggesting “eyes on the street”. Also, the use of glass as the building’s cladding system exposes the circulation and users activity inside. Mies mentions the importance of light and illumination of the plaza at night to secure the area and create a livable area after working schedule26. All of these features play an integral part for the success of the plaza and the icon it plays in NYC. A study in the 1960’s analyzing the different plazas in New York showed the

Seagram Plaza was the only one to function properly with constant flow of users at different times of the day28. As a result, Seagram Building was constructed out of the rising social period of commercialism and it developed to play an integral symbol of the wealthy lifestyle of New York and essentially representation of the American dream. The era following the great depression and prior to WWII brought new opportunities as the architectural style in the US underwent a period of transformation. One of the major projects which change the face of the city of Manhattan was the Seagram Building. During the mid-20th century many building were already designed to fit the standard New York building, however with the ground breaking solution of Mies’ design, this was about to change. Mies approach the zoning with an innovative solution which affected the future urban context of the city. During construction and following completion the Seagram Building represented many social, economic, political and even national issues of that era in the US. The Seagram Building and plaza is constantly used for many social and political events from fashion shoots to warfare representations29. Eventually, even though the Seagram Building was constructed for the respected name of the client and the architect, it became a national and international icon of the power and technological advancements during the years of the cold war. In 1989 the city of New York amended the Seagram Building is protect under the conservation Board30, further increasing its influence on the City’s fabric. Overall, Seagram Building opened the doors

for the modern style in the United States, and provided for the wealthy image US was striving to represent in the 20th century. NOTES 1. Jayne, Merkel. 2012. Skyscraper: The politics and power of building new york city in the twentieth century. Society of Architectural Historians. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 71 (1): 125.,129130 2. Stoller, Ezra, and Franz Schulze. 1999. The seagram building.,1-2 3. Merkel, op. cit., 103-107 4. Breiner, M. David Landmarks Preservation Commission October 3, 1989;Designation List 221 LP-1664” October 25, 2012, http://www.,1-3 5. Cohen, Jean-Louis. Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe. 2nd updated ed. ed. Boston: Birkhäuser ;|aLondon :|bSpringer distributor, 2007.,61-63 6. Ibid.,127-128 7.Ibid 8. Merkel, op. cit., 98 9. Ibid, 87-89 10. Breiner, op. cit., 3-4 11. Ibid 12. Ibid 13. Cohen, op.cit., 127 14. Merkel, op. cit., 103 15. Cohen, op.cit., 127-128 16. Merkel, op. cit., 112 17. Jordy, William H. “Symbolic Essence” and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American Culture, edited by Bacon, Mardges, Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.,231 18. Cohen, op.cit., 127 19. Merkel, op. cit., 109 20. Jordy. op., cit., 228 21. Merkel, op. cit., 113 22. Whyte, H. William. The Social Life of Small Urban Space The Street Corner. Video. Directed by William H. Whyte. New York City. New York 1980. 23. Merkel, op. cit., 136-137 24. Ibid 25. Ibid., 139 27. Cohen, op.cit., 113 28. Whyte, op. cit. 29. Merkel, op. cit., 131 30. Breiner, op. cit., 8 FIGURES 1. Image from Scott, Felicity D. 2011. An army of soldiers or a meadow: The seagram building and the “art of modern architecture”. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 70 (3): 330-53. 2. Aerial view of Lower Manhattan looking southwest from East River. December 1956. From php?t=21249&page=10 3. Site Plans appropriated from:Stoller, Ezra, and Franz Schulze. 1999. The seagram building.,84 4. Sequence of Plans appropriated from: Weston, Richard. Key Buildings of the Twentieth Century: Plans, Sections and Elevations. 1st ed. ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2004., 118-119 5. Aerial 3D Model of the Seagram Plaza from http://www.





LAFAYETTE PARK RON NOBLE Lafayette Park in Detroit, Michigan is located on the edge of the downtown core, just east of the Chrysler Freeway and not far from some of Detroit’s declining neighbourhoods. Lafayette Park is a project that faithfully carried out Modernist principles of CIAM, while providing desirable housing, which survived over the years as the rest of Detroit’s neighbourhoods deteriorated. Lafayette Park was conceived as an urban renewal project through the redevelopment of the old neighbourhood of Black Bottom, a highly populated, dense, and unhygienic slum. It was a result of a collaborative interdisciplinary effort of the planner, Ludwig Hilberseimer, architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, landscaper Alfred Caldwell, and developer Herbert Greenwald. The success of the project can be attributed to the collaborative effort of a cross-disciplinary team. The goal was to create a large selfsufficient superblock whose boundaries did not exceed a walking distance of 15-20 minutes. In this radius, one would have pedestrian pathways separated from traffic to the necessary communal, cultural, and hygienic institutions in and around the site. The plan proposed for Lafayette Park broke down and restructured Detroit’s 19th Century street grid as well as served as a departure from the scale of its single-family pattern of development. Mies’ work at Lafayette Park demonstrates the intent to obscure the economic differences of the inhabitants by creating an integrated living environment, which explores the relationship between domestic and communal spaces. Today, Lafayette Park serves as an example of a successful urban renewal project conceived during the influence of CIAM.



Lafayette Park located in Detroit and built in 1956, is the outcome of a true cross disciplinary collaboration. Drawing together ideas and expertise from a social, architectural, landscape, and economical point of view, to produce an urban project, which is highly successful, resolved and integrated across the fields of planning, design, and urban development. The influence of The Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne was instrumental in formalizing the architectural principles employed in the planning and development of Lafayette Park and other urban renewal projects during the 1950’s. CIAM viewed architecture as an economic and political device, which could be used to improve the world through the design of buildings in relation to the urban context.1 However, the autonomy and isolation of sub disciplinary fields within the design and architecture profession began to limit the imagination of architects, and more importantly their ability to affect change. This realization led to a more integrated design process of cross disciplinary collaboration. Despite the failed 260

urban renewal projects in the United States, at the time, Lafayette Park serves as a rare example of the successful implementation of CIAM principles. Which raises the argument for reconsidering the presumed failures of modern architecture and urbanism laid out by CIAM. The very success of Lafayette Park is rooted in the principle of cross-disciplinary collaboration between developer, architect, urban planner, and landscape architect to create a project that provides desirable and affordable housing, which has survived over the years as the rest of Detroit’s neighbourhoods have deteriorated. Following the end of World War II, a group of Detroit’s boosters, planners, and politicians joined forces in an effort to revitalize, through urban renewal, one of Detroit’s downtown neighbourhoods known as “Black Bottom.”2 The term urban renewal is drastically different than the term we know and use today. Urban renewal in the 1950’s was a form of racial and social class cleansing consisting of the complete demolition of neighbourhoods that were considered to be slums. It removed

Figure 1 - Aerial View of Lafayette Park in context.


Figure 2 - The restructuring of the previously existing street grid of Black Bottom c. 1949 (Black) and the new Lafayette Park street grid c. 1963 (Red) implemented by Mies van der Rohe and Ludwig Hilberseimer.

and displaced thousands of people from their homes with no place to go. Black Bottom had a vibrant cultural and social history as it is often cited as a nationally famous neighbourhood for its music scene. Major blues singers, big bands, and jazz artists such as Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald, regularly performed in the bars and clubs of Paradise Valley Entertainment District.3 It was also home to as many as 7000 lowincome African-American families that worked in the nearby industrial factories.4 Despite Black Bottom’s rich cultural heritage, Detroit’s City Planners believed the residents of Black Bottom had to go, and the slums be cleared, in order to maintain high property values in the Downtown area. As well as to reduce the exodus of the affluent from fleeing the city to the suburbs, which would ultimately diminish the active life of downtown Detroit.5 The site sat idle for a few years as it was waiting to be developed as part of the “Gratiot Redevelopment.” It was only until Herbert Greenwald, a Chicago developer came along with a vision of a mixed-income and mixed-race development supported by a decreased density, extensive landscaping and public parks.6 It was Greenwald who, from a socioeconomic point of view, was responsible in financing and marketing the project. He brought an underlying overall vision for the project, which was to reintegrate the city and country, and to replace the ever-expanding metropolis of America with settlement units of limited size, incorporated into the landscape, joined with highways and railways woven elegantly between hills and along river valleys.7

However, Greenwald’s greatest contribution to the Lafayette Park project, was his successful assemblage of utilizing the creative ideas and services of architect, Mies van der Rohe, Urban Planner, Ludwig Hilberseimer, and landscape architect, Alfred Caldwell. The very success of the project was founded on the basis of this unique collaboration and synthesis of cross disciplines within the architecture and design profession. The large scale development projects created by one person, one mind, and ultimately one thought was viewed as an old process which limited the imagination of architecture and the ability to affect change. Each person brought something unique to the table. Ludwig Hilberseimer, an urban planner schooled in the Bauhaus tradition, and heavily influenced by Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City as well as Henry Wright and Clarence Stein’s plan for Radburn, was responsible for the overall plan and scheme of Lafayette Park.8 In an effort to prepare the site for development, everything was demolished except for the existing street grid.9 Working with Mies, Hilberseimer, worked to restructure the old 19th Century grid of the neighbourhood to create large superblocks with cul-de-sac streets at the periphery of which they located the retail, school, and other community buildings. By doing this, it allowed for the project to create a porous boundary between the park and the surrounding city. Hilberseimer’s plans for the site proposed landscape as its primary material element.10 With financial backing and conceptual support from Greenwald, Hilberseimer was able to pursue his vision 261

URBAN SCALE DESIGN of the modern city. He hoped to create a development whose boundaries did not exceed a walking distance of 15-20 minutes.11 In this radius one would have access to the necessary communal, cultural, and hygienic institutions. The commission offered both sufficient amount of land and an adequate budget for what would have otherwise been an uninspired urban void. The overall architecture of Lafayette Park by Mies van der Rohe, played a role in the harmony for settlement of Lafayette Park. By creating architectural conditions of anonymity and grand communal spaces and then blurring their boundaries, Mies organized the setting where a range of possible social activities could occur. Many critics have noted modernism’s failure to make urban neighbourhoods, but Lafayette Park is a counter argument in favour of the viability of the modern urban renewal project. Mies’ architecture was home to many different people. Their lives took place in a setting clearly conceived around a sense of urbanity and civic life.12 The design of the two-storey townhomes show intent to obscure the economic differences of the inhabitants through the same floor space in each unit and the sameness in appearance. The buildings in Lafayette Park are naturalized in a way that opens up to nature. The continuity between the internal space of architecture and of the external landscape is achieved through the floor to ceiling windows. The architecture, which Lafayette Park is famously known for, benefits from Greenwald’s vision and the setting created by Hilberseimer’s planning. However the projects most prominent feature is its landscape. 262

The landscape was a collaborative effort between Caldwell’s landscape and Hilberseimer’s layout and plan for the development of Lafayette Park. The landscape was the central amenity in the form of a 17-acre park bisecting the site and providing a highly desired social and environmental amenity in the midst of downtown Detroit. Lafayette Park was based on an emerging understanding of urban form being shaped by the landscape. Both Hilberseimer’s and Caldwell took an organic approach based on design principles which seek to achieve a simple lifestyle by avoiding the social and health effects of the industrial city.13 Caldwell’s landscape provides exterior spaces which complement Mies’s rather harsh, industrially tectonic building facades. The now mature landscape over time has developed into a lush oasis in the city, which is subversive to the modernist architecture but by no means dominated by it. The landscape continues to form the primary framework for the spatial organization of the site, with larger communal landscapes giving way to communal yards and private courts. The evolving landscape only further enforces the apparent need for the buildings of Mies van der Rohe to be there, as though they were meant to be there. The promise of the physical and intellectual growth of the families living in Lafayette Park are in synchronicity with the growth of the landscape. This is what Caldwell planted in the design and planning of Lafayette park. In conclusion the high-rise superblocks and identical clusters of row houses set apart from the urban grid have been viewed as

Figure 3 - (Top) The continuity between the internal space and the external landscape achieved through the floor to ceiling windows. Figure 4 - (Right) It’s hard to believe that Lafayette Park is only two blocks from Downtown Detroit. By looking at the top half of the photo, one would think that it was taken in a jungle or tropical forest. The bottom half shows Mies’ pavillion townhouses hidden and camoflauged amongst the landscape design of Alfred Caldwell.


detrimental to some of the major wrongdoings of modernism, but Detroit’s Lafayette Park, the first urban-renewal project in the United States, tells a vastly different story. Within a sprawling, decentralized city that has suffered near-disastrous decline, this racially and economically diverse oasis just northeast of downtown has not only aged gracefully but today flourishes with new life. Its success can be attributed to the holistically integrated design process, which involved the leadership of developer Herbert Greenwald, and the brilliant visions of Architect, Mies van der Rohe, Urban Planner, Ludwig Hilberseimer, and Landscape Architect, Alfred Caldwell. With the creative freedom and financial backing granted to them by Greenwald, they were able to pursue their vision of the modern city rooted in the principles of CIAM.

NOTES 1.Ockman, Joan. “Reaffirmation of the Aims of Ciam,” Architecture Culture 1943-1968, (New York: Rizzoli International Publications Inc., 2007), 102. 2.Debanne, Janine. “Claiming Lafayette Park as Public Housing,” CASE: Hilberseimer/Mies van der Rohe Lafayette Park Detroit,” (Cambridge: Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2004), 67. 3.Woodford, Arthur M. This Is Detroit, 1701-2001 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press., 2001), 170. 4.Debanne, 69. 5.Waldheim, Charles. “Landscape, Urban Order, and Structural Change,” CASE: Hilberseimer/Mies van der Rohe Lafayette Park Detroit (Cambridge: Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2004), 21. 6.Ibid, 19. 7.Ibid, 20. 8.Constant, Caroline. “Hilberseimer and Caldwell: Merging ideologies in the Lafayette Park Landscape,” CASE: Hilberseimer/Mies van der Rohe Lafayette Park Detroit (Cambridge: Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2004), 98. 9.Ibid, 95. 10.Ibid, 99. 11.Ibid, 96. 12.Waldheim, 20. 13.Constant, 25. FIGURES 1. Aerial Map: appropriated from 2. Street Grid appropriated from: Waldheim, op.cit., 128. 3. Interior Perspective appropriated from: http://www.miesdetroit. org/Inside-a-Townhouse 4. Photo appropriated from:


Urban Scale Design | PLX 599 | Part 1  

A collection of illustrated essays featuring works of urban design from Pre-CIAM to Present Day.

Urban Scale Design | PLX 599 | Part 1  

A collection of illustrated essays featuring works of urban design from Pre-CIAM to Present Day.