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POST-CIAM 1960-1990 In 1953, a new architectural group named Team X began to emerge in Europe, in response to CIAM’s failure to address real urban problems. Led by Aldo van Eyck, this group began identifying the gaps in the increasingly industrial, automobile-based city of modern planning, which overlooked the urban fabric and was formalized into high rise multi-blocks. As it gave way to a new movement of architecture, influencing Jane Jacobs and Robert Venturi in North America, it addressed the problems caused by CIAM’s urban renewal policies and advocated for a more interactive and social structure by responding to the vernacular architecture and attempting to involve its users through the life cycle of the planning process. Rather than urban renewal, which looked to wipe out the existing context to implement a new solution, the ideas that flourished in the post-CIAM era identified with features of the existing context that could be further improved for adaptation. This slowly led the architectural trend away from the fascination with skyscrapers, into a more human scale, pedestrian-friendly form. Through progression of time, the Modernist ideals and aesthetics were reconfigured with consideration for a more organic form and function that arose from a pre-existing context. Post-CIAM projects deal with urbanism with a focus on the human aspect, creating a more livable and relatable urban experience.

POST-CIAM 1960-1990





THE CITY UNDERGROUND Matthew Gelowitz Architecture is not only about the aesthetics and structure of a building; it also deals with how the building connects to its surrounding context. Designed by I. M. Pei, in association with Henry Cobb and planner Vincent Ponte, Place Ville Marie is an appropriate representation of this a design that encompasses its surrounding context at a macro and micro scale. Construction was initiated in response to connecting a three-block void, which included rail line and terminals linking the suburbs to the downtown core. In reference to bringing Montreal to the “forefront of urban designâ€?, the partners decided to conceive an underground infrastructure that contained Central Station, along with a retail concourse, a railway network, and an underground parking lot. This infrastructure, along with rejuvenating the urban fabric of MontrĂŠal, created a sub-city in the city. The movement of the city to the underground was inspired by futurist movements that challenged CIAM views. The building is situated on half the site, above grade, with a plaza for informal gatherings and social events encompassing the remainder of the site. The central plaza connected to the existing streetscape. These architectural and planning movements gave residents of nearby areas great and easy access to the downtown core, which in turn created the cultural shift of living in the suburbs and working in the city being a realistic and desirable lifestyle. These moves, architectural and planning, initiated the cultural shift of living of living in the suburbs and working in the city. At Place Ville-Marie, the ground plane acts as a mirror; the activity in the bustling downtown core is reflected in the extensive underground system, and the light of the sun filters down to the atrium, but the cities both come together as one.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN In Montreal, what exists on street level is only a portion of the city. Below grade exists an underground metropolis: 32-kilometre network of underground passageways which connect transportation stations, universities, offices, and apartments. The interior path is an escape from Montreal above which very often has very extreme weather conditions, especially in the winter. The development of this pathway started with Place Ville-Marie, a 47-storey office building in the heart of downtown Montreal.1 William Zeckendorf, a real estate developer based in New York was an innovator, often choosing projects in derelict cities or on neglected sites for investment opportunities, his greatest achievement being the site of the United Nations Headquarters in New York.2 Zeckendorf’s projects were known by their demonstration of great planning, taking into account existing and potential land uses, and designing for economic and demographic changes in cities. He chose a twenty two acre downtown site in Montreal for a future development, which later became known as Place Ville-Marie. The site was a scar in the city landscape, a large trench dug fifteen metres deep that brought commuter and inter-city rail lines to Central Station.3 Architects I. M. Pei, Henry Cobb, and urban planner Vincent Ponte were hired to work on the project, and even though the site was only a three block area they concerned themselves with a much larger area. It was the starting point for the underground city of Montreal, and it was the reason why this project was such a success for the city of Montreal, and one of the greatest projects of large urban scale in the world. 268

The aim of Place Ville-Marie was not only to create an outstanding office tower, but to design a downtown network for the city of Montreal. The location of Place Ville-Marie is on a previously developed site in the downtown district of Montreal, adjacent and linked to the north-south McGill College Avenue. The project was part of a larger Canadian National Railway master plan, which included a connection Central Station, among with many other important buildings in Montreal. The topography of the site presented interesting opportunities for architectural and urban design solutions, one of them including the creation of both an above-ground and subsurface plaza. Zeckendorf explains the project’s goals quite simply: “ transform these three blocks into a city within the city. It calls for a complex of modern buildings related to each other within their own spacious setting, organically wed to the rest of Montreal.”4 Place Ville-Marie became a node in the underground city, which contained links to other important buildings and areas in the city. The network held a daytime population of thousands of workers, bringing them from building to building in the downtown of Montreal. It was an important part in the creation of an appropriate architectural project at an urban scale. The entire development of Place VilleMarie created a strong sense of place, in the plaza on grade in the middle of the city that linked itself to McGill College Avenue, seamlessly blending into the urban fabric as though it was always there. The strong sense of place was also evident in the underground plaza that

Figure 1 - Site prior to construction, showing trench created by railways


Figure 2 - Plaza adjacent to tower with access to underground network highlighted

connected the city of Montreal, and the fortyseven storey tall cruciform tower, which, at the time of its construction, was the tallest building in Montreal. Vincente Ponte, the urban designer on the project, was inspired by futurist movements Francesco de Giorgio’s Citta Ideale and Antonio Sant’Elia’s Citta Nuova, a movement away from the CIAM principles in use just years earlier.5, 6 Citta Nuova was very much about creating a symbol of the new technological age. At Ville Place-Marie, creating this underground network set Montreal apart from other cities around the world. It was an obvious change, as buildings in Montreal now wanted to connect with the major transportation routes, including the underground path. There was no need for large distances of building separation and developers wanted to build dense and build high. With the forms - all the built components of the project - came the clarity of design intention. It was clear the underground network was to become a city within a city, with a generous amount of light being brought into the underground. The extensiveness of the network and connections to functional methods of transportation helped as well, as the system leads to Central Station along with ten others that contain links to subways, buses and commuter rail. The conditions of the site also led to the promotion and facilitation of social interaction. The outdoor plaza above ground is connected to McGill College Avenue, and below ground, the underground network facilitates 2.5 kilometres of shop-lined promenades, which include numerous cafes and restaurants. There are other reasons of why Place Ville-Marie is

an appropriate architectural project in the city, but the five key principles and many others are directly related to the connection between the building, the ground, and the underground network. Place Ville-Marie was built for the intent of becoming a project of grandeur in Montreal. This was likely the reason for the forty-seven storey height for the building, after three storeys were added later on in order to ensure Place Ville-Marie was the tallest building in Montreal.7 But, what made this project stand apart from other towers in terms of its importance was the construction of the underground city, which linked Place Ville-Marie to Central Station, a major commuter rail and metro station. The network was lit from above, humanizing the underground in order to bring many users into the space more comfortably. As a result of the volume and density of the project, development started to accelerate near the pathways. Tall buildings went up in the Ville Marie district, signalling a shift of the financial district from Old Montreal to downtown Montreal.8 These new buildings all wanted to connect with the network, and with the tax revenue gained from the new office space, the city could afford to extravagantly expand the subway system in Montreal. It was because of Place Ville-Marie that Montreal could construct an expanded subway system, and the extension and creation of new motorways, many of which were elevated or sunken underground. The timeframe for completion of these projects was encouraged by the enormous amount of tax income, and also the fact that Montreal was to host Expo 269

URBAN SCALE DESIGN 67. It was because of Place Ville-Marie and it’s infrastructural aspect that Montreal’s city under a city was fully realized. The full scale of the Place VilleMarie was never seen before. At the time of construction and opening, it was the largest, most complex office development in the world. The 60’s were very formative years for Montreal, as it was the end of the corrupt rule of Maurice Duplessis, Quebec Premier, and was the decade of the World’s Fair in Montreal. Place Ville-Marie was a huge step forward for Montreal in the 1960’s, as Mayor at the time Jean Deapeau explains, “when the history of Montreal is written later, certain dates will necessarily mark it’s progress, and 1962 will be considered as one of the most important among them.” Permier Jean Lesage also spoke on the importance of the development, “Montreal has not just gained a building, it has beautified itself with a work of art and bold design, a reflection of its dynamism...When I see this immense structure, I cannot help but tell myself what Quebec’s heritage as a whole has been enhanced.”5 The construction cost of the project was valued at 45 million dollars; adjusted to inflation it would be approximately 300 million dollars. But, at it’s current evaluation by the city, it is worth 616 million dollars.9 The value of Ville Place-Marie informs how important this property is to the city of Montreal, not only in terms of the office building but because it is the node and the beginning of the underground city. The indoor pedestrian network started to take shape in 1962, when the corridor ran from the Place Ville-Marie’s retail concourse 270

towards Central Station.10 By 1971, the system had expanded south towards Place Bonaventure, and now, has rapidly grown to a size of thirty two kilometres of pathway. The network is connected to a total of ten metro stations, allowing pedestrians to move around the city without venturing into the outdoors, a very good commodity considering the harsh and extreme winter Montreal often has. But, with a great system like this, there comes its downfalls. Alike to a real city, the low traffic during some periods, generally off peak hours, can create a feeling of insecurity. Also, because the development of the underground section was constructed in segments over time, many of the pathways clash and do not integrate into a distinctly defined whole. Montreal is trying to combat this by putting on tighter regulations for the construction of additions to the pathway, which control aspects of the design like materiality, variation in levels, all in order to make orientation easier for the pedestrian. The completion of a signage system, named RÉSO, helps with navigation through the network.11 However, the planning must consider both public and private stakeholder concerns, and should fall under the current detailed plan of the central business district. The main goals for Montreal’s CBD are currently to “develop vacant lots, increase residential development, and improve the design quality of public spaces and main throughfares”.12 Future development connected to the underground city could most definitely facilitate these aspects of the central business district. Currently, the city of Montreal offers some zoning incentives for creating connections to the



Figure 3 - Network in 1971 in black, expansion in red, Place Ville Marie in green

POST-CIAM indoor city in new developments. By facilitating a connection to the underground network and creating a desired amenity, developers could increase their floor area ratio of the building above grade. Additionally, the city also offers an incentive for creating open outdoor plaza space. For each square foot of plaza provided, the floor area ratio of the building inside can increase anywhere from four to six square feet. These incentives ensure the growth of the urban fabric in Montreal is quintessential, not only above ground, but below ground as well.13 Ville Place-Marie is a great example of creating outstanding public spaces. There are many underground pathways around the world, in Toronto, Geneva, and Beijing, but none match the immensity of the underground city in Montreal. The infrastructure that was created is appropriate for the urban scale of Montreal and responds to the conditions of the city on grade. The underground makes sense for a city of Montreal’s climate, and pedestrians can navigate the city without venturing to the outdoors. It is a tourist attraction, it is a means for transportation, it is an income generator, and it is a gathering place. It is everything the city above is, and more.

NOTES 1. DeWolf, Christopher. Maisonneuve, “Montreal’s Underground City.” Last modified July 14, 2012. Accessed October 28, 2012. http:// 2. Vanlathem, France, and Isabelle Gournay. “A Long-Term Perspective on Place-Ville Marie.” Journal of the Society for the Study of Archi tecture in Canada. 24. no. 1 (1999): 6-13. OCR_150dpi_PDFA1b.pdf (accessed October 17, 2012). 3. Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, “Place Ville Marie.” Accessed October 22, 2012. 4. Pimlott, Mark. artdesigncafecentral, “Place Ville Marie, Montreal.” Last modi fied March 24, 2011. Accessed October 28, 2012. 5. DeWolf, op. cit. 6. Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, op. cit. 7. Marie, Caron, and Gonzalo Valérie. Ivanhoe Cambridge, “Jubilee Bells Ring Out For Montreal’s “Grande Dame”.” Last modified September 13, 2012. Accessed October 22, 2012. http://www. 8. Pimlott, op. cit. 9. Images Montreal, “Place Ville-Marie, Montreal.” Last modified 2012. Accessed October 22, 2012. building/Place-Ville-Marie.php. 10. Ville de Montreal, “4.23: Indoor pedestrian network.” Last modified 2012. Accessed October 21, 2012. portal/page?_pageid=2762,3101053&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL. 11. Ibid. 12. Ville de Montreal, “4.10 Central Business District.” Last modified 2012. Accessed October 20, 2012. page?_pageid=2762,3100955&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL. 13. El-Geneidy, Ahmed, Lisa Kastelberger, and Hatem T. Abdelhamid. “Montreal’s roots: Exploring the growth of Montreal’s Indoor City.” The Journal of Transport and Land Use. 4. no. 2 (2011): 33-46. http:// (accessed November 3, 2012). FIGURES 1. Aerial view appropriated from: Pimlott, Mark. artdesigncafecentral, “Place Ville Marie, Montreal.” Last modified March 24, 2011. Accessed October 28, 2012. Marie-Montreal-2007. 2. Aerial view appropriated from: Pimlott, op.cit. 3. Underground map appropriated from: Pimlott, op.cit. 4. Section appropriated from: Vanlathem, France, and Isabelle Gournay. “A Long-Term Perspective on Place-Ville Marie.” Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada. 24. no. 1 (1999): 6-13. OCR_150dpi_PDFA1b.pdf (accessed October 17, 2012).

Figure 4 - Section through Place Ville Marie 271




PLACE VILLE MARIE SAHEL TAHVILDARI Until the late 1950’s, Montréal’s urban fabric was separated by a deep void. This threeblock area contained the rail lines and terminus of the Canadian National Railroad Company. After considerable analysis of the surrounding area, the solution to the topography of the site was to develop a connective, above and below grade, multi-level urban sector. The real estate development firm, Webb & Knapp, under the direction of William Zeckendorf, analyzed and planned the 1962 Place Ville Marie. Also in collaboration were architects Henry N. Cobb, I. M. Pei, and urban planner Vincent Ponte. The partners implemented the concept of a city within a city through the embedding of an extensive underground infrastructure. The complex systems below grade included a retail concourse that connected to Central Station, a 1,200 car parking lot and a railway network. The building, covering half the site, formed a fundamental gathering plaza for public events and social interactions. The plaza linked both physically and visually to the existing streetscape, McGill College Avenue, the Roddick Gates of McGill and Mount Royal. This successfully stitched the urban fabric, creating a new cultural entity of the commuter, as they became more connected to downtown Montréal and the surrounding amenities. Place Ville Marie’s extensive underground pathways effectively created a new form of urban scale, one of which is reminiscent of a city within a city. Through seamless stitching Place Ville Marie was integrated into the urban fabric of Montréal as if it had always been there.



The functionality of cities relies on the workability of transportation. Whether it is pedestrian or vehicular, the way people move through cities establishes an understanding of the planning of their urban fabric. The planning of Montréal is in direct correlation with the alteration of their transportation sector. The financial district of Ville Marie establishes the beginning of the changing transportation sector of Montréal with the infrastructure, above and below grade, of the Place Ville Marie. Through the seamless stitching of the urban fabric, Place Ville Marie was able to establish a pedestrian oriented core in the heart of Montréal. The construction of the infrastructure of Place Ville Marie establishes a change in the physical, cultural and social characteristics of Montréal. The physical alterations made to Montréal’s financial district correlates with the construction of Place Ville Marie. Prior to construction, the urban fabric of the Ville Marie district was separated by a deep three-block void containing the rail lines and terminus of the Canadian National Railroad. At the time the 274

railroad was established, there was a need for the connection between downtown Montréal and the district North of the mountains.1 Although the connection became successful North, it left a deep scar in the downtown core. As the scar was left unmodified for years and the pollution from the railway increased, people began to escape downtown Montréal.2 In the late 1950’s, the real estate development firm Webb & Knapp, under the direction of William Zeckendorf, took the revitalization of Ville Marie in their hands. In collaboration with Zeckendorf, architects Henry N. Cobb, I.M. Pei and urban planner Vincent Ponte began to establish the master plan for downtown Montréal. The concept behind the infrastructure came from Ponte, who envisioned a futuristic “multi-level interconnected city” for pedestrians.3 This approach was influenced by Antonio Sant’Ella’s 1914 plans of the Città Nuova in Rome.4 Although the concept was hard to sell, the idea for the connection between the void and the existing urban fabric appeared appropriate. In essence, both master plans envisioned the future city as one for the people in correlation

Figure 1 - Section through the infrastructure, above and below grade, of the Place Ville Marie


Figure 2 - Void from the railway in downtown Montréal prior to construction

with social interaction. These ideals of social interaction and exchange in cities reflected the essence of post CIAM principles.5 Evidently, the loss of interest in downtown Montréal made revitalization of its accommodation for interaction incredibly important. Through the stitching of the void and the establishment of the multi-level infrastructure the city’s lack of social interaction vanished. The stitching did not disrupt the existing interaction and streetscape; rather it furthered the interaction above grade and established a new form of exchange below grade. Physically, below grade the multiple levels for shopping, parking, and public transportation resulted in a newfound linkage to the city.6 This multi-level infrastructure, developed from the CIAM principles of layered segregation, made reference to Le Corbusier’s Contemporary City. However, unlike Corbusier, Ponte established one main sector for all pedestrian oriented transport, including subways and public transit. Furthermore, the stitching began a pedestrian oriented multilevel urban sector, which continued to expand after completion of the Place Ville Marie. With the expansion of the underground city came an abundance of new offices, which increased the revenue of Montréal. By the late 1970’s, the Métro had opened and the underground city had made it approximately three blocks North-West of the initial site.7 Notably, Ponte continued to advance his master plan of Montréal; in turn establishing one of the largest pedestrian oriented below grade developments. Overall, with the construction of Place Ville Marie came physical and economical changes to Montréal.

The cultural alterations made to Montréal were in accordance to the construction of Place Ville Marie. Prior to construction, a corrupt local government, causing a decrease in the success of many districts in Montréal, led Quebec. However, by the late 1950’s Montréal was lead by Mayor Jean Drapeau and Premier Jean Lesage who began a vigorous campaign to urbanize Montréal.8 The campaign included the urbanization of the deep void in downtown Montréal, which would shortly become the transportation core of the city. The campaign’s master plan, produced by Ponte, established the multi-level transportation infrastructure for Montréal. Although change was necessary, the nature of the design made people skeptical about investing money in Place Ville Marie. As time passed, Ponte, architects Pei and Cobb and Zeckendorf found it increasingly difficult to create interest in investors and the general public. Therefore without interest, Zeckendorf found it difficult to fill the project with tenants.9 Nevertheless, the persistence of Zeckendorf and the investors from the Royal Bank brought the project to its completion in 1962. After completion, the necessity for the multi-level infrastructure was made evident. During the opening ceremonies Mayor Jean Drapeau stated, “When the history of Montreal is written later, certain dates will necessarily mark it’s progress, and 1962 will be considered as one of the most important among them.”10 Evidently after construction, the stitching of the urban fabric established an important change in downtown Montréal. Although the cultural context prior to construction expressed no need 275

URBAN SCALE DESIGN for change; after the transportation sector was completed a cultural shift arose. The stitching of the urban fabric created a new cultural entity in the transportation system users, also referred to as commuters. The concept of segregating work and home life was made possible by the new pedestrian oriented transportation sector in Montréal. The commuters became more connected to downtown Montréal and the surrounding amenities with the increasing ease of transportation. The walkability above and below grade made reference to the post CIAM ideals established by the new urbanism movement that was not yet defined as new urbanism. As walkability and connectivity became the essence of the future new urbanism principles, they became the heart of the underground city of Montréal established by Place Ville Marie. Nevertheless, the seamless stitching of the urban fabric established the cultural shift in the way people interacted with the downtown core of Montréal. In reference to the pedestrian oriented transportation core, Montréal became a place for tourists, shoppers, walkers, and business people. Place Ville Marie changed the concept of shopping and walking as these activities were made available even in the harsh winter months. Overall, with the construction of the transportation sector Place Ville Marie altered the cultural context in which people behaved. The social alterations made to Montréal were in association with the construction of Place Ville Marie. Prior to construction, there was no capability for social interaction in the heart of downtown Montréal since a fifteen metre deep 276

void split the landscape. However, Place Ville Marie’s multi-level infrastructure below grade stitched together the landscape and made a shift in the city’s financial district. As Place Ville Marie became the pre-eminent address for offices and retailers, the financial district moved from Old Montréal to McGill College Avenue.11 This move brought the financial district closer to the underground city, which allowed for the cultural shift of the business commuter. Place Ville Marie began to alter the way people interacted. Below grade, the multi-level infrastructure was linked to a retail concourse that connected to Central Station, a 1,200 car parking lot, a railway network, entertainment, buildings, universities and many other services that increased the ease of transporting throughout the city.12 Above grade, the building covered half of the given site, forming a fundamental gathering plaza for public events and social interactions. The multi-level infrastructure made social interaction capable even in the winter months; therefore, allowing for the representation of the post CIAM principles of social exchange. Evidently,

Figure 3 - (Above) Section of the growing underground city in Montreal Figure 4 - (Right) Plaza, above grade, Place Ville Marie


this link to another level of living, leisure and work created a new form of social patterns, below grade. The number of people using the multi-level infrastructure increased daily. The addition of the underground city is one of the most important changes made to Montréal in the 1960’s as it accommodated approximately 1.7 million passengers a month.13 Evidently, by creating a seamless stitching of the urban fabric, Place Ville Marie was able to establish a pedestrian oriented transportation sector. Through this, the partners created one main fabric that connected downtown Montréal in multiple levels. In essence, through creating an extensive underground pathway system Ponte and his team formed a new type of urban scale, one of which is reminiscent of a city within a city.14 This new type of urban scale would be made known throughout the world as Montréal was chosen for the site of the International Exposition, Expo 67.15 This increased the pressure for perfection as the Métro and multilevel transportation core construction increased in order for completion by 1967. Montréal

stepped into the modern world with its new urban fabric as it established the first precedent for a city within a city. In turn, Montréal was able to create a new form of social interaction with the establishment of the multi-level infrastructure. Evidently, the success from the infrastructure lead to the expanding of the underground city. Overall, as Montréal established a new form of social interaction, it altered the way people addressed the downtown core. Through the seamless stitching of the urban fabric, Place Ville Marie was able to establish a pedestrian oriented transportation core in downtown Montréal. The construction of the infrastructure of Place Ville Marie establishes a change in the physical, cultural and social characteristics of Montréal. The financial district, located in Ville Marie, began the city in a city concept, above and below grade, through the construction of Place Ville Marie. The planning of Montréal is in accordance to the alterations made for the transportation sector. Therefore, pedestrian and vehicular transportation, establishes reasoning for planning ideas through the understanding of how people move in cities. The workability of transportation addresses the functionality of cities.

NOTES 1. Peter Stjpkes, “U2 Studio Arch 304,” Accessed September 24, 2012, 2. Taylor Noakes, “The Pit Before Place Ville Marie,” last modified August 29, 2011, 3. Christopher DeWolf, “Maisonneuve ‘Montreal’s Underground City,’” last modified Jule 14, 2012, montreals-underground-city/. 4. “Vincent Ponte 1919 - 2005,” last modified March 3, 2006, 5. “Team 10 Online,” last modified March 10, 2011, http://www. 6. “Pei Cobb Freed & Partners – Place Ville Marie,” Accessed September 24 2012, 7. “Montréal’s Underground City” 8. “The Best of Montréal - History of Montréal,” last modified 2004. 9. James Lorimer. After the Developers (Toronto: J. Lorimer, 1981), 165-170 10. Marie Caron and Valérie Gonzalo, Ivanhoe Cambridge, “Jubilee Bells Ring Out For Montreal’s Grande Dame,” last modified September 13, 2012, 11. Mark Pimlott, “Place Ville Marie, Montréal (2007),” last modified March 24, 2011, 12. “Place Ville Marie, Montréal (2007).” 13. “Jubilee Bells Ring Out For Montreal’s Grande Dame.” 14. “Place Ville Marie, Montréal (2007).” 15. Ibid. FIGURES 1. France Vanlathem and Isabelle Gournay, “A Long-Term Perspective on Place-Ville Marie,” Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada 24, no. 1 (1999): 6-13, Accessed October 10, 2012, Vol_24/vol24_no1_OCR_150dpi_PDFA1b.pdf. 2. “U2 Studio Arch 304” 3. Ibid. 4. “A Long-Term Perspective on Place-Ville Marie.”





TORONTO CITY HALL Timothy Melnichuk The construction of Toronto’s New City Hall was started in November of 1961 and opened to the public in 1965. The city hall is located at 100 Queen St. west Toronto, Ontario directly across the street from the previous city hall in the middle of the downtown core of Toronto. The design is a result of a design competition held internationally won by Finnish architect Viljo Revell. The massing of the building proposed were two rounded towers towering over a white disc, or ‘saucer’ like shape which holds the council chambers. This massing sits elevated on a podium with a ramp leading up to the top where public access to council chamber is found as well as a green roof. The city hall sits on a large site where the south end is a public space that holds temporary events such as concerts and festivals and features a fountain and pond on the southern edge of the site. The building received an Ontario Association of Architects 25 Year Award in 1998. Regarding CIAM and the Charter of Athens, it seems that some areas of the building design may be in conflict with these Urban Design Principals, while others strongly concur with them. For example, the general aesthetics of Toronto’s City hall conflicts with its social and physical context where its aesthetics make it remarkable giving the building its historical and cultural value. However, it was considered too modern and futuristic by the general public when it was first conceived.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Toronto City Hall is located on 100 Queen St. West and is the central civil building in the city of Toronto, and is the location for both the Toronto Administration and the Metropolitan Toronto Municipal Administration. In the 1940’s, the city of Toronto needed a new administration building because their existing city hall was becoming inadequate. The then city approved funding for the design and construction of a new civic building.1 The original proposal for the new city hall was rejected by voters for that it was denounced as being “dull and uninteresting and indistinguishable from…insurance buildings …”.2 This allowed the mayor at the time: Nathan Phillips, to call for an international competition which drew 520 entries from 42 different countries.3 The competition took place in two stages: the initial entries were to be considered, then narrowed down to eight finalists; and finally one design would be chosen for the construction of Toronto’s New City Hall.4 Over the course of its lifespan, the winning design of Toronto’s city hall has proven to be a successful city hall both in functionally and in its contexts socially, culturally politcally and physically. Out of the 520 competition entries considered for the design of the Toronto City Hall, the eight entries that made it to the second phase of the competition.5 These proposals came from Denmark, Finland, Canada, and the United States.6 The requirements or design guidelines outlined in the competition brief called for a design that could be absorbed into the landscape of downtown but could be distinguished from the office buildings found nearby.7 Modern planning was also a 280

requirement where flexibility and change could be achieved efficiently if necessary. The most important goal for this competition is summarized in this statement: “One of the reasons for this competition is to find a building that will proudly express it function as the centre of civil government. How to achieve an atmosphere about a building that suggests government, continuity of certain democratic traditions and service to the community are problems for the designer of the modern city hall”.8 Since the building was a government run competition, the competition allowed for any type building forms and heights to be proposed because the city was looking for new and original design for the New City Hall. They had reserved the right to permit any design of any size or shape that the council felt was appropriate and therefore the site plan, zoning, by laws, height issues were non-existent.9 Out of the submitted entries. the vast majority of the competition entries fell under the same category: a fairly low to mid rise rectilinear building on a raised podium with a central courtyard in the middle; the council chamber found inside the courtyard; the government offices located on the second level with the municipal offices found in the levels above.10 This was typical in the design of seven out of eight designs in the second phase of the competition (See Image 1). The winning design however did not fall under this category but instead went to Viljo Revell from Finland for his distinguishable design. The jury felt Revell’s proposal was the most original and creative with strong monumental and compositional


12 Acres

Figure 1 - (Left) Other finalists in the entry for the Toronto City Hall competition showing their similar rectilinear forms and Revell’s modern form at the top Figure 2 - (Above) Site for Competition Prior to Construction (1955)

qualities.11 The jury also felt that the design was rightfully distinctive and different from the office and administrative buildings in the surrounding area; a requirement in the competition. The curved towers around it are arranged in a way to put focus on the council chamber. In plan, the council chamber can be considered the eye with the towers as eyelids dubbing the project as the “the eye of the government”.12 This massing sits on a podium which defines the edge of the civic square on the ground level. There is a green roof on top of the podium with a swooping ramp connecting the ground plane with the podium top and visually connecting the new city hall with the old one across the street (See image 3). The changes made to the designs from preliminary massing models to final designs were minor and done only for the intention of reducing construction costs. These changes included reducing the sharpness of the council chamber to make room for a stiffer and more efficient structure; the method of supporting the council chamber was changed to it sitting on one column 20 ft. in diameter; just one stair leading up to the chamber and lastly the cantilever of the office floors was reduced.13 Revell’s design proposal for Toronto’s New City Hall was considered appropriate for the city because of the building’s expression departure from the conventional office building found in Toronto at the time and challenged the traditional designs of the area.14 In comparison to the Old City Hall, the aesthetics of this project were considered more appealing and inviting rather than the dull and inviting presence of the

Old City Hall.15 The site of the competition is found at Queen St. and Bay St. and stretches over twelve acres of land. The competition called for the accommodation of an underground parking garage that could house up to 2400 cars under the site; the building would take up one-third of the site to the north and a civil square would take up the remaining two-thirds of the site.16 The site was originally chosen in this location for its proximity to the downtown business centre, the shopping centre as well as the Old City Hall. To the east of the site is the location of the now Old City Hall, and the Eaton’s Centre. To the west is University Avenue, which is the location of major office buildings as well as the Osgood Hall which is a provincial building and to the north and south of the site, were parking lots and small low rise residential buildings. (See Image 2) The lands proposed for the new city hall however, called for the demolition of two historic city landmarks: Shea’s Hippodrome; a theatre, and Beaux Arts Provincial Registry building.17 These buildings featured some of Toronto’s original classical architectural features such as Corinthian columns and other classical details.18The project also called for the demolition of a part of Toronto’s thriving Chinatown and existing residential dwellings in the location of the site.19 As justification, the project was intentioned to becoming a catalyst for urban development as well as engaging pedestrians in the square as a way to give back for the demolition of these areas.20 In response to the demolition of these classical features, 281


Revell used cladding material as a texture incorporating a column fluting type texture on the back of his arched towers respecting the historical context of the site. Since the construction of this project, the areas around the site have seen great development as it was initially intended. This includes the hotel complex south of the square connected to city hall through an underground pathway. The north side of the site is home to a new Holiday Inn and Chinatown has since recovered.21 Culturally this project was difficult to accept in its time for that it was the first modern design in its context.22 The project’s futuristic concrete attributes highly contrasted with its original downtown Victorian location.23 This also displeased the traditionalists who believed that civic structures should have a certain traditional and classical aesthetic to them, while others believed that the architect chosen should have been Canadian.24 However, Toronto’s New City Hall was the start of a new era; the start of a modern Toronto; out with the old Victoria skyline 282

in with the new modern skyline.25 Revell’s bold statement gave Toronto international recognition by stating Toronto’s intentions to the world. That being that Toronto is changing and making a shift in the direction of the modern times with Revell’s building a symbol of Toronto’s new progressive and dynamic municipality.26 Through taking the risk of accepting Revell’s controversial design rather than the much deserved, non-offensive, originally approved, government building to be located in the no-risk city of Toronto, had helped put Toronto on the international map.27 This also helped develop and change Toronto’s political outlook as a new global contender.28 Additionally, the result of this modern design from Revell contributed in catching the attention of international architects such as Mies Van De Rohe, and I.M Pei which brought new developments of modern planning and buildings such as the Dominion Centre buildings.29 The Dominion Centre even followed the same design considerations as Revell’s City Hall: a plaza and an underground connection.

This in turn throughout the years has attracted international architects such as Frank Gehry (AGO), Daniel Libeskind (The ROM, L-Tower), Alsop (OCAD), and Norman Foster (Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy Building) to Toronto. Revell’s innovative use of concrete in a sculptural, way had opened the opportunity for the design of Toronto’s most famous and iconic structure: The CN Tower. It is therefore safe to give Revell credit for the start of Toronto’s modern outlook in physical, political and cultural contexts. The building itself was designed to be user friendly by considering the users and how they use the spaces. The podium level, appropriately addresses public activities and concerns because of its connectivity and access to the ground level. So the public can pay their property tax bill, or use the ice skating rink just as easily for example. The council chamber is the focus of the project and symbolically it is the most important space in the government; the towers are behind the council chamber emphasis this concept and vertically house the employees. The ramp and podium are used for processional purposes and celebrations along with the civic square space. The square named after Nathan Phillip, the mayor of Toronto at the time, features a large civic space with a large reflecting pond at the south end of the site. 3 The square is used for temporary festivals, and events such as concerts effectively engaging pedestrians year round. This civic square has benefited the city in ways such as providing an open area in middle of the dense Toronto giving people space, as well as attracting tourists and giving cultural opportunities to occur in the



Council Chamber

Green Roof


Reflecting Pond

Figure 3 - (Left) Swooping Ramp visually connecting New & Old City Halls Figure 4- (Above) Site Plan for Revell’s winning Entry

space such as farmers markets. The civic space has improved the local economy by attracting the developments around the square. The Toronto City Hall project is considered as a Post-CIAM building for that it was built after CIAM was disbanded. However there are some similarities to the principals established by CIAM and the ones used for this project. For example, the existing historical context was paved over for the makings of this project. However in return the building gives back to the city in numerous ways and has established its own historical value. The building itself has highly monumental and iconic qualities which in the time of construction, it disregarding its immediate surrounding context. However this only benefitted the city by sparking the developments of modern architecture and planning and raised the city to an international level. Additionally, each user is addressed appropriately throughout the project from the public to the municipal worker to the major which proves to be a great aspect of the project. It is safe to say that because of these factors and without the designs of Revell’s City Hall, Toronto would not have became the modern international city it is today, making Revell’s City Hall a successful and influential project both as a building and as a symbol for the city of Toronto.

NOTES 1. “City of Toronto Archives: Toronto’s New City Hall and its architect, Viljo 2. Toronto’s New City Hall, Viljo 3. Revell.” | Official website for the City of Toronto. (accessed October 28,2012). 4. City Hall and Square - Conditions of competitions. Toronto: Toronto City Council, 1965. 5. Conditions of competitions. 6. Ibid. 7. Ibid. 8. Ibid. 9. Ibid. 10.Synopsis of City Hall & Square. Toronto: Toronto City Council, 1965. 11.Synopsis of City Hall & Square. 12.Ibid. 13.Ibid. 14.Ibid. 15. Conditions of competitions. 16. “Toronto New City Hall .” Lost River Walks Urban Ecology. (accessed October 28, 2012). 17. Urban Ecology 18. “Toronto’s First Chinatown | Heritage Toronto - Telling Toronto’s Stories.” Heritage Toronto - Telling Toronto’s Stories. http://www. heritage (accessed October 28, 2012). 19.Synopsis of City Hall & Square. 20. Redevelopment Around City Hall. Toronto: City of Toronto,1980. Print. 21. Urban Ecology 22. Ibid. 23. Ibid. 24. LeBlanc, D. (2005, Sep 09). The icon that changed a city turns 40: Sonja stewart reflects on a childhood affected by a great building [new city hall]. The Globe and Mail (Index-Only). Retrieved from http://ezproxy. ntid=13631 25. The icon that changed a city turns 26. Ibid. 27. Ibid. 28. Ibid. 29. City Hall Nathan Phillips Square. Toronto: Toronto City Council, 1965. 30. “Toronto CIty Hall Revell.” Journal RAIC, November 1, 1965. 31. “Toronto City Hall.” Architectural Record, October 1, 1965. 32. “Toronto City Hall.” Metropolitian, November 1, 1965. 33. “Toronto City Hall.” The Architectural Forum, November 1, 1965. 34. 1966 was the year that big and contrary ideas hit the city. (1996, Toronto Life, 30, 116-121. Retrieved from login?url= FIGURES 1.,,,,,,, 2. 3. Own Image 4. Synopsis of City Hall & Square. Toronto: Toronto City Council, 1965.





TORONTO DOMINION CENTRE SEHAR NUSRAT One of Toronto’s most iconic pieces of architecture, The Toronto Dominion centre, was designed by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe in 1969. The complex was expanded further after his death with an additional three towers; erected by Bregman and Hamann and John B. Parkin Associates. The original structures created by Mies consisted of two glass and steel towers, and a central pavilion; the structures are setback from the sidewalk to create public spaces. Mies’ design methodology dictated a very strict equivalence in proportions of width, depth and height of structures.1 The six structures located in the heart of downtown Toronto hosts TD Bank’s global headquarters, as well as many other major businesses.Toronto Dominion Centre became the inspiration to Toronto and the construction of other buildings; as well it rejuvenated the entire City of Toronto in the post-war era.2 Modernism came into place as the influence of CIAM and post-war period were emerging as well Toronto needed a modern change in its downtown core. Mies Van Der Rohe was highly skilled in creating modern structures and interesting interactions between these structures and their context. TD Centre shows the balanced approach that guides the creative process of architectural design and it goes perfect with Mies’s saying “less is more”.3 When the three buildings of TD Centre opened up, they became the dominant figures for Toronto’s skyline, permanently changing the city. This influential landmark, furthered the acceptance of Modernism in Toronto, and became the driving force in revitalizing Toronto in the 1960’s.



At one point considered the tallest building in Canada and by far the greatest architectural expressions of modernism, the Toronto-Dominion Centre. Designed by one of the pioneers of modern architecture, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1969. Mies created the original structures that consist of two glass and steel towers, and a pavilion. The additional three towers were erected by Bregman and Hamann and John B. Parkin Associates. The six structures located in the heart of Downtown Toronto illustrate the future of the still emerging TD Bank, as well as many other major businesses. One can easily say that the Toronto Dominion Centre was the main factor to revitalize the City of Toronto in the 1960s and became a huge inspirational and successful architectural project.4 With the help of the following factors: the necessity of the building, the zoning and political context, the social and cultural context, and economic context with the use of architectural future traits, Toronto Dominion Centre not only rejuvenated the Toronto downtown business core, it also 286

elevated the standards of design throughout Canada and influenced every project that followed. The need for the Toronto Dominion Center was highly based on revitalizing the Toronto downtown business core during the emergence of the modern era in Toronto. The world was entering the beginning of a new, modern age; cities like New York and Chicago were rebuilding their downtowns with big, modern buildings. At this time, Toronto was a conservative city that consisted of small old buildings reflecting on the past. The City’s downtown core needed change, not only to attract like-minded enterprises, but also to create an inspirational landmark that would revitalize the entire City of Toronto. TD Centre became the answer to the demand of the financial increase in Toronto, with a great determination by Allen Lambert, Chairman of TD Bank. The building reflects on the new modern movement at that time and helps make Toronto downtown a better place. The architectural modern movement

Figure 1 - (Left) Light and Space Diagram Figure 2 - (Middle) Grid and Linearity Figure 3 - (Above) Social Gathering Place


Figure 4 - Open & Green Spaces

characterizes an intense change in the design of buildings, away from the usual traditional forms and techniques of the past and towards a new design era. Modernism reached Canada in the 1930s, however it did not become firmly entrenched until the 1950s when, fuelled by the post-war economic boom. This movement changed the appearance and function of Canadian Cities. In 1950s Toronto was becoming a place for immigrants, who were motivated to come to Toronto for a better working and social life. During the heights of the post-war “baby boom” era, there was a demand for affordable housing; construction began on new suburban developments. Addition to this change, there was a need for business and commercial districts of the downtown in modern times. Toronto Dominion Centre was considered the tallest building at this time in Canada, with this change in height, political and zoning concerns were brought up. Toronto was filled with small scale heritage buildings that were being destroyed to construct high-rise towers. The TD project brought the destruction of the classical bank building which was demolished because it did not fit the architectural vision for the larger TD site. The loss of such great landmarks motivated people to request to preserve the city’s built heritage in the modern construction movement. In 2003, the City of Toronto designated the initial three-buildings of the TD Centre the Ontario Heritage Act as a great example of the International Modern Architectural Style and as a landmark of Modern Movement in Canada, setting the standard for the urban development of Toronto. The height

and zoning concerns for TD Centre did not become a huge fear to citizens due to the leading role in modern movement in revitalizing the City of Toronto and for the increase in business as well creating jobs in downtown Toronto. After the World War II, post-war economic boom in the 1960’s helped shape the Toronto Dominion Centre and it made it clear that economic authority was in control of shaping Toronto. The influence of CIAM and Mies van der Rohe, modern movements improved the appearance and function of Toronto and other Canadian cities drastically. Le Corbusier was the introducer of CIAM with representing the fundamental ideas and principles of modern architecture and urban planning. The modern movement considered the social and cultural context when designing the Toronto Dominion Centre. Mies van der Rohe created a solid connection between his structures and the environment, depicting strong linkage between the buildings and their users, in making the site powerful. The original concept of the TD centre was of an office and business space, but more, it was of a community which would provide for the human aspect as well. Before the construction of the TD Centre, the built form of the downtown core consisted of low-rise historical buildings. Once the TD Centre was built, it became a huge mixed-use high-rise tower, where people primarily came to work, but their needs, their environment were important as well. This was achieved in a variety of ways. Concourse level malls have many shops, services and restaurants, as well a food centre with a variety of exciting 287

URBAN SCALE DESIGN fast food outlets.5 The concept of the centre as a community, as a location which humanizes the downtown core, is affected aesthetically by the large open plaza spaces which permit a feeling of light and space to enter the congested courtyard area and provide a spatial integrity to the Toronto Dominion Centre (Image 1). Mies created a smooth façade and used dark colors to absorb most of the sunlight, leaving the courtyard space cooler in temperature. The exterior design and placement of the towers symbolizes Mies philosophy of structural and functional purity, a purity that leads to harmony to the work life and acts as a respite from the fast and furious pace of downtown business world.6 This idea is further established in the main lobby of the banking pavilion, where Mies specified a double height space featuring large glass panels divided by dark steel beams to create a rigid and organized façade that contrasted the chaotic city life (Image 2). The cluster of buildings uses a very minimalist and organized palette of elements that heavily contrast the ever changing surrounding environment to create a very harmonious urban space for users to experience. As can be seen from the Toronto-Dominion Centre, Mies Van der Rohe was highly skilled in creating interesting interactions between structure and context. “The three original structures are offset to the adjacent by one bay of the governing grid, allowing views to “slide” open or closed as an observer moves across the court” (Image 3).7 The courtyard is the most significant space because it is the area that connects all of the three units of buildings together in the middle, 288

permitting people to come together as a social gathering place (Image 3). The smooth façade of the building balances with the organic rough texture of the grass, trees and statues in the courtyard space, creating a smooth texture throughout that attracts pedestrians (Image 4). Mies van der Rohe connects the structures with social and cultural context in a very unique and functional way, that easily make the building and its environment powerful. The economic context was also an important factor for Mies’s Toronto Dominion Centre, it was hoped that the success of the building would attract like-minded enterprises. In creating such a large scale high-rise banking complex, it influenced Toronto and became an inspiration in the development of other financial towers. This brought the rise in economic change in downtown Toronto and rejuvenated the Toronto downtown business core, a location which is not only the Canadian banking district but one which is a major international financial centre. The repetitiveness in windows on the façade of the building shows the industrialized

Figure 5 - (Top) Distinct Colors Figure 6 - (Bottom) Height Difference Figure 7 - (Right) Grid Pattern


mass production methods that contribute to the Modern architecture and the International style’s design philosophy. This shows the use of machine aesthetic throughout the entire building making it economically feasible. The Toronto Dominion Centre also has many architectural traits that became an influence for future building construction around Canada. The use of a dominant color – black, allows the building units to be recognized as a whole within a mix of concrete buildings (Image 5). One can easily see the beautiful, clear, crisp, linearity and abstract formalism in the Toronto Dominion centre; which was being adapted in many other buildings. Mies’ design methodology dictated a very strict equivalence in proportions of width, depth and height of structures. The height of each of Mies’ two towers is balanced to its width and depth, even though the rest being created in the same style, are of different heights (Image 6). With the Toronto-Dominion Centre, Mies realized an architecture that incorporates movement and he related the proportions of the parts to its whole. The planning of all elements,

large and small, and the proportions of the external grid, creates a mathematical order that covers the entire structure of the TorontoDominion Centre. The grid pattern shown on the facades of each tower is repeated on the interior of the banking pavilion on its granite floors and in the lighting on the ceiling (Image 7). This pattern repeats throughout each of the façade of the buildings, making the courtyard space in the middle unique. The formation of grid pattern and the materiality including glass, steel, English oak and green marble, provide a simple richness that relieves the blackness of the enclosing box, overall creating a modern unique structure. The economic context and architectural future traits help in the making of the site unique and became an inspiration to the rest of Toronto. The Toronto dominion centre became a major impact in architecture and in the works of Mies, becoming an example of urban form and an evolved expression. The six structures located in downtown Toronto prove the future of the TD Banks and other major businesses. Mies van der Rohe’s Toronto Dominion Centre was the main factor in rejuvenating Toronto in the 1960’s post-war time and becoming an inspiration to Toronto. With the help of the following elements: the necessity of the building, the zoning and political context, the social and cultural context, and economic context with the use of architectural traits, one can easily understand how Toronto Dominion Centre became the main contribution to revitalizing the City of Toronto in the 1960s.

NOTES 1. Kalmon, Harold. “Toronto Dominion Centre,” Heritage Trust, accessed October 24, 2012, 2. Herbert, Walter. Toronto-Dominion Centre. Toronto: TorontoDominion Centre, 1965. 3. “Architecture of Canada,” accessed October 24, 2012, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Canada 4. Herbert, Walter. 5. Rohe, Ludwig, Detlef Mertins, and George Baird. The presence of Mies. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1994. 6. Ibid. 7. “Architecture of Canada” FIGURES 1. Light and Space Diagram: Creation of Sehar N. 2. Grid and Linearity: appropriated from toronto/lists/the_top_10_buildings_in_toronto/ 3. Social Gathering Place Diagram: Creation of Sehar N. 4. Open and Green Spaces: appropriated from http://www. A1&MediaId=1022 5. Distinct Colors: appropriated from http://www.whatsontheare. com/2011/11/16/toronto-dominion-centre-designed-by-mies-van-der-rohe-postinspired-by-cammilicious/building-design-and-construction-systems-torontodominion-centre-mies-van-der-rohe-exterior-8/ 6. Height Difference: appropriated from city/2011/12/when_the_toronto_skyline_got_its_jolt_of_modernism/ 7. Grid Pattern: appropriated from http://www.currentprotocols. com/WileyCDA/CPUnit/refId-hg0506.html





TORONTO DOMINION CENTER LOK SEE (WINNY) KO The Toronto Dominion Center finished constructing in 1967 by Mies Van de Rohe and the local architects, John B. Parkin and Associates, Bregman + Hamann Architects. They were in control of designing a block that is located in the financial district of the crowded downtown area in Toronto, Canada. The image of the financial district is full of tall office buildings that client would most likely want the architect to utilize the site to its maximum by getting the most out of the use of footprint, but not with the idea of Mies. He did keep the original street line of King Street and Bay Street and used it in a very smart way, there were steps that were align with the street line and lead to the pavilion at the corner, but actually set back the pavilion to open the visual context to the site more. Mies altered the zoning especially for the height restriction. He created a one storey, 10 meters tall pavilion with two TD Towers that are over the height limit at the busy interaction of the financial district and an open urban area next to the pavilion and between the two TD Center Towers. The open urban area has created as a separator to this overwhelming financial district sector, to let the labour force to slow down their pace and to relax the moment with respect to the mind, spiritually and physical to the culture in the business world.



The construction of the iconic buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe gave an identity to the financial district in Toronto in the mid20th century.1 Not only had the buildings created the financial district’s working and social culture, but also, with respect to urban design with the surroundings. The Toronto Dominion Center was first discussed right after CIAM (International Congress of Modern Architecture) has influenced or changed the architect’s thoughts on urban modernism and standard manufacturing. It is a challenge for the city and for the architect to design nearly a size of a full lot in downtown Toronto, and any coordinations have to be made. TD Center is beyond architecture, and more than just office towers, and indeed, it is a balance of between the physical, political, social and cultural context that makes the place the way it is. The Toronto Dominion Centre includes Toronto Dominion Bank Tower, Royal Trust Tower, Commercial Union Tower (now called Canadian Pacific Tower), TD Banking Pavilion, IBM Tower (now called TD Waterhouse Tower) 292

and the Ernst & Young Tower completed in the year of 1967.2 When dealing with a lot size around 6 acres which equals to 62 soccer field, a Joint Venture had been done to coordinate with several architects locally and internationally.3 The main architect and designer was Mies van der Rohe since the style and the idea came from him first and working with the major local architects, Bregman + Hamann Architects and John B. Parkin Associates.4 The architects have made this site a very successful business community. They understood that it had to have the basic function of an office, the dimension of the comfort of the tenants and visitors, the urban connection to tie all the buildings together, a profitable way to maintain the office running and a sustainable architecture that pushed into the future. Being to design this project in 1962, Toronto was still very conservative, not willing to take risk city.5 The city was full of aging architecture majority in the downtown area, and the city was seeking a chance for new and modern architecture with sustainability.6 This project has brought Toronto to the next

Figure 1 - (Top) TD Towers Relation to Toronto Skyline Figure 2 - (Bottom) TD Towers After Construction Figure 3 - (Right) Relationship of TD Towers & Banking Pavilion

POST-CIAM step and many companies started to have their own headquarters to be located in the financial district. After the whole notion of the failure in CIAM and how it tried to set up a standard in architecture stated in the Athens Charter.7 It affected designers to think about the isolation of the community and criticized the thoughts of CIAM on modernism.8 Being the father of Modernism, Mies van der Rohe had a simple but functional approach to a whole new urban design. The chair of TD Bank at that time, Allen Lambert was also on the same track as Mies.9 He did not play safe and understood the importance of need for his business and modern architecture and partner with the developer – Fairview Corporation (now called Cadillac Fairview).10 At the initial design phase, the developers wanted to design a modern office tower at the intersection of King St. and Bay St. Then, the developers took a big step forward since they see the opportunity of the emerging financial offices at that time.11 The city of Toronto also sees this opportunity as a revenue generator from the rental of offices to large development of financial towers is emerging within Toronto. They have decided to let the architects to design nearly a full lot and have chose Mies van der Rohe as the main architect and designer.12 This is considered at a huge risk or profit for the city and the developers because the TD Bank only needed seven floors of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower, and all other offices are for renting.13 At Mies’s first design, he originally had two bold tower designs including the banking pavilion. Now, it expanded into five

towers with the addition of 95 Wellington St. in 1996, which came to 6 towers plus one pavilion in total.14 With respect to the physical context of the site, Mies decided not to simply extrude from the property line and use up all the spaces for office to make it profitable. He decided to have an interconnecting system that works for all the buildings on the street level, and the PATH, an underground retail mall which connected to the Toronto Dominion Center buildings and now connecting to buildings in the financial district. 15 He had created his notion of city planning in Toronto by having interconnecting paths above and underground. Mies see the future of Toronto’s financial district, and how it will become the high density office towers. He designed the Banking Pavilion at the conjunction of two towers to separate the tenants’ visual context.16 The green area between the towers and the banking pavilion acted as public space that could be used by the workers and the residents. This created a sense of community within the neighborhood in the financial district. Mies have designed a place where tenants would want to be working in to accommodate their comfort level. “Less is more”.17 This quote by Mies explained it all of his buildings, including the TD buildings. The towers are designed in bronze tinted-glass curtain wall in black steel frames for the exterior, and the idea of minimum have also been brought out with structural columns in the interior.18 At the time of designing, Pruitt-Igoe had not yet demolish and the notion of general building is still in the heart of the designers.19 Father of Modernism dropped the office building 293

URBAN SCALE DESIGN with his well-known façade onto the site. One can comment on how he has not respect the site when designing, but at that time, Toronto was looking for a new type of architecture, therefore, Mies design worked well with the site. As time evolves, the Toronto Dominion Centre had their identity in the financial and architectural world, other skyscrapers and office towers started to appear within the financial district and making Toronto’s skyline more fascinating. An urban context has taken into account in Mies’s design. The spaces between the office towers are being used by visitors and tenants in that area for a place to socialize and to relax from the busy, demanding work place. And these spaces are simply nature. Nature has been incorporated to the lot and had made this a community. People interact in public spaces, and what the architects have provided are spaces that public activities would take place. This idea is also executed in the PATH system, where the workers can shop as to their needs. And because of the connection to the PATH, commuters have a better access from other areas to the city. The Toronto Dominion Bank Tower is the 6th tallest building in Toronto with a height of 223m, 56 floors.20 With such a tall building height, there must be an exception made to the zoning through political development. The zoning for the site is currently CommercialResidential with the allowable build height of 137m.21 The Toronto Dominion Bank Tower is over the limit and it has applied to the Section 37 of the Planning Act of Toronto.22 This act can be applied to building that wanted the extra 294



height with the application of the benefits to the community.23 It also requires the demolition of the existing buildings, the Rossin House Hotel, and the Bank of Toronto Head Office.24 The design would have to address the site context, site and building organization, building massing, pedestrian realm and sustainable design. The city of Toronto actually cares about the building heights because a poorly tall building design can overwhelm or destroy the surrounding neighborhood by creating large amount of shadow and impacts physically and visually.25 At that time, many workers will come into the city to work at the Toronto Dominion Center. Therefore, parking and transportation must be addressed to accommodate a large amount of workers coming in. The PATH system with connected to the subway system, streetcars, buses, and an underground parking was set up to provide service. Nowadays, this site is used through day and night, always have pedestrians walking through and going into the buildings. Toronto Dominion Center had created a vibrant and modern urban space.


Figure 4 - Evolving Streetscape (Bay St. to Yonge St.)


POST-CIAM At 1960, Toronto was full of Beaux-Arts and aged buildings.26 Mies was asked to develop a whole new block of office context. Instead of restricting the design with respect to the history and the culture, Mies brought his international architectural style into Toronto and started a new revolution of modernism. He has planned his ideal office towers within the city. After the competition of the Toronto Dominion Center, the whole culture of the financial district has formed. Many more buildings were being developed and built to response to the idea of skyscrapers in the financial district even until now, for example, the First Canadian Place in 1975 and the Trump International Tower in 2012.27 How to create architecture that is sustainable? There is no standard guideline to follow when it comes to designing. This is also a reason of the failure of CIAM. A project needs to respect to the context in order to be successful, but the way that the architect approaches is something that the city and the designer need to coordinate together to address what is appropriate for the users. The Toronto Dominion Center is still expanding and working is because the designers and architects have respected to the urban context. It is a project of sum of parts, the parts of the physical, social, political and cultural context that brings into one to make the Toronto Dominion Center works until today.

NOTES 1. Peter Carter, Mies van der Rohe at work (London: Phaidon, 1999), 97-102. 2. ”More TDC History,” Toronto Dominion Center, accessed October 23, 2012, 3. Ibid. 4. “B+H Architects – Toronto Dominion Center,” B+H Architects, accessed October 28, 2012, 5. Cater, Mies van der Rohe, 98. 6. Ibid. 7. Eric Mumford, The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000), 267-274. 8. Ibid. 9. “More TDC History.” 10. Ibid. 11. “Ludwig Mies van der Rohe,” Toronto Dominion Center, accessed October 28, 2012, 12. Ibid. 13. “More TDC History.” 14. “Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.” 15. “RULArch - Toronto Dominion (TD) Centre,” Ryerson University Library & Archives, accessed October 24, 2012, http://news.library.ryerson. ca/datamob/map_info/146. 16. Cater, Mies van der Rohe, 98. 17. “Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe,” Distance Learning Courses and Adult Education - The Open University, accessed October 28, 2012, http:// 18. “RULArch.” 19. Alexander von Hoffman, “Why They Built the Pruitt-Igoe Project,” Harvard University, accessed October 22, 2012, http://www.soc.iastate. edu/sapp/PruittIgoe.html. 20. “RULArch.” 21. “Maps,” TOMaps, accessed October 10, 2012, http://map. 22. “City of Toronto: Section 37,” Official website for the City of Toronto, accessed October 26, 2012, 23. Ibid. 24. “More TDC History.” 25. “City of Toronto: Section 37.” 26. “More TDC History.” 27. “Toronto Skyscraper Diagram,” Skyscraper Source Media, accessed October 28, 2012, FIGURES 1. TD Towers Relation to Toronto Skyline: appropriated from 2. TD Towers After Construction: appropriated from 3. Relationship of TD Towers & Banking Pavilion: appropriated from 4. Evolving Streetscape (Bay St. to Yonge St.): appropriated from 5. The Urban Common Ground with Respect to TD Center: appropriated from

Figure 5 - The Urban Common Ground with Respect to TD Center 295




HABITAT ‘67 Michael Yantzi Throughout history there have been a multitude of theories that use architecture in attempts to fashion a utopian society, Habitat ’67 is a modern illustration of this goal. By analyzing social, economic and political factors, Moshe Safdie fashioned a proposal that could change urban living by combining the desirable attributes of suburban living with the experience of urban living. Stemming from Safdie’s graduate thesis at McGill University, the project achieves the benefits of suburban life, gardens, fresh air and privacy, within the urban environment. Situated on a peninsula in front of the old port of Montreal, the twelve-storey, 158 unit, residential co-op became internationally recognized in its attempt to re-imagine high density urban living. Habitat ‘67 is constructed out of 354 pre-fabricated concrete boxes stacked in different configurations to form individual apartments. These apartments range from single bedrooms to multi-level houses to further address the appeal of suburban life. The careful arrangement of the cubes allow for one apartment’s roof to become another’s terrace, which replaces a typical suburban yard. Safdie uses the public realm, multilevel pedestrian streets and plazas, not only to connect the apartments, but also in an attempt to improve social interaction. The original proposal for Habitat ’67 consisted of a larger, higher, more densely populated structure. However, political struggles and lack of government funding meant that the project size had to be cut down multiple times. Despite the smaller scale of the project, Habitat was completed in 1967 and was considered to be “the breakthrough of twentieth century architecture” during Expo ’67 and presently is a successful, dynamic community.



Moshe Safdie opens his book, Beyond Habitat, with a simple phase, “You say the word ‘house’ and it means so many different things to different people.”1 This phrase is the primary focus of how Safdie began to address architecture, beginning with his graduate thesis through to multiple projects throughout his career. Habitat ’67, designed for Montreal’s 1967 International and Universal Exposition, is an architectural experiment attempting to redefine urban living. Safdie sought to combine the appeals and spatial qualities of suburban life without forfeiting the social advantages of urban living. To accomplish his goal, Safdie had to overcome political barriers that would have stopped the project from being actualized; identify key aspects that would reflect his vision of housing that aided in molding the form of the building; finally, trying to promote a more economical and efficient way of constructing said housing. Habitat ’67 uses these elements to fashion a building that would become worldrenowned, highlighting Canada’s architectural community, while still allowing for a successful 298

vibrant community to thrive into the future. Expo ’67 provided Safdie with the perfect opportunity to apply his thesis in a practical and built form, however the project struggled to overcome multiple external obstacles in order to be achieved. The site was fully dictated by the committee in charge of the Expo and the government and other third parties created issues with funding and zoning. The master plan of the Expo was determined by a council, which Safdie was a member of for the beginning of the planning phase. The council placed major concerns on where the exhibition was to be located in relation to the other parts and the transportation system between the site and city.2 The site of the exhibition was eventually chosen, Ile Ste. Hélène and Ile Notre Dame with a train and shuttle service running between the sites and the city. Habitat ’67 was placed on the peninsula of Cité du Havre, which was located at the end of the circulation path for the Expo in order to place emphasis on the host country’s pavilion and the significance of the building.3 The permanent buildings of the Exposition were

Figure 1 - The view from the harbor looking towards Habitat ‘67 and Cité du Havre.


Figure 2 - The individual house is clearly articulated and emphasised along with its strong relationships to rooftop gardens and the pedestrian street.

located in this area to allow the development of a future community after the Expo ended.4 In December 1964, the Parliament of Canada approved the master plan, which also meant that Habitat was approved.5 The original proposal of Habitat was composed of open-ended half pyramids and was at a much larger scale then the building that was built. The proposal suggested a mixed-use building, composed of a 22 section that contained the commercial and cultural facilities along with housing and a 10-storey section that was purely housing.6 In this complex there would have been 950 housing units at approximately $44,000 a piece, which would bring the total cost of the project to $42 million.7 The Cabinet committee in Ottawa refused to give that much money to the project, so Safdie redrafted a new proposal that would cost approximately $20 million. Once again, Safdie was told that it was $11.5 million or nothing.8 The breakdown contributed $10 million to the construction of the building and $1.5 million to the design phase of the project.9 Safdie sought out more money from National Research Council, however they believed that the building did not classify as research. Later, in the construction of the project, the Council would recognize that the project was indeed a research project.10 In October 1964, the Central Mortgage and the Treasury Board gave the go ahead for a 158 unit residential building. Although Habitat experienced the negative effects of government-sponsored projects, the building still achieved Safdie’s vision for a new urban living. During the planning phase of the

building, Safdie was told by the chief architect of the Expo, Edouard Fiset, that housing on the pier would not make sense because of the building’s isolation from the city. However, after Safdie showed him the plans, sketches and model, the chief architect was convinced that the project would be successful even after the Expo.11 When Habitat came under criticism, Ian Maclennan defended the project by stating that, “If this is built it will set housing in Canada fifteen to twenty years ahead.”12 Although the project was approved to be on the pier, the Montreal port manager did not want a permanent building on the pier in case it later interfered with the expansion of the port.13 Safdie demanded that the pier be zoned as residential and commercial in order to allow the community to be completed after the Expo when more funds were generated.14 The rezoning was also done to protect the residents from becoming trapped after the Expo and to stop the harbor from destroying the quality of life in the neighbourhood by building warehouses beside Habitat. During the construction, the National Research Council changed the National Building Code where Habitat was able to overcome and defend the altering of laws.15 Habitat not only aided in altering zoning conditions of Montreal, but the experience of urban living. Safdie believed that the highrise did not work for the family, but at the same time he saw suburbia as a wasteful means of housing families and that low density was choking the city.16 These dilemmas are main questions that Safdie responded to in the thesis and later, Habitat. Moshe Safdie completed his thesis 299

URBAN SCALE DESIGN at McGill University where he investigated “three-dimensional modular building systems.” The three dimensional aspect comes from Safdie’s desire to have a building that is three dimensional in its organization of a continuous urban structure. The modular speaks on a construction method that would use repetitive shapes to improve economy and efficiency. Finally, the system stands for a building that is capable of being applied to various sites and conditions.17 These three aspects are the roots that allowed Habitat to expand on and flourish. Furthermore, the form of Habitat was influenced by the relationship of houses (privacy), gardens, sunlight and most importantly, the identity of the individual house.18 These conditions are what Safdie considers to be the appeals of the suburbia and must be considered in order to form a successful building in the urban environment. Habitat is constructed out of 354 pre fabricated concrete boxes that are arranged in different positions to fashion 15 variations of homes that range from a single bedroom to four bedrooms.19 The use of individual modules allowed Habitat to capture all of the previously mentioned aspects. The modules are composed in a way that allow each individual unit to become a self-contained home that has complete visual and acoustical privacy.20 Not only does the composition allow for complete privacy, but also one module’s roof services as a rooftop garden for another home. These gardens are rather large and allow individual units to have a green space directly outside their door, which is often unavailable to people living in higher density. The stacking of the modules 300

aids in providing natural lighting to all the spaces whether they are the home or the street. Together the aforementioned aspects help create the identity of an individual home. The quotation at the beginning of the paper shows that Safdie indentifies that people need to have this image of an individual home, no matter how different those images may be. Habitat further enforces this image of the home by creating a vertical pedestrian street that connects each home. The vertical street becomes a vital piece of Habitat. It allows for each home to have an individual entrance that abuts a larger public space. In Beyond Habitat, Safdie paints a vivid picture of the intended life that is proposed for Habitat, along with the use of the street, “Our children would open the front door. Get on their tricycles and ride down the pedestrian street to the playground…”21 The Street becomes a social place and a point of contact between individuals without the disturbances of vehicles. This street becomes a place of interaction, growth and safety even though each individual house is not

Figure 3 - Habitat ‘67 uses a ziggurat motif in order to allow one to indentify the individual house and for the creation of rooftop gardens and public space.


Figure 4 - The modules’ funishings occured while more modules were being postioned. The prefabrication construction method allowed for Habitat ‘67 to be assembled in 10 months and 21 days.

directly connected to the ground plane. The final condition that Safdie addresses in his vision for urban living is the construction method, which is based purely on efficiency. One of the reasons Habitat is considered successful is the building’s use of repetitive components assembled to build different configurations of houses and spaces.22 These aspects are often associated with nonindustrialized and vernacular villages, but prefabrication increases efficiency and lowers costs. Safdie took precedents from Europe’s use of factory produced panel construction that assembled walls, floors and ceiling, but expanded the processes one step further to build volumes rather than panels.23 The building is able to overcome the complex physical, social and psychological problems of housing that people did not believe could be accomplished through prefabrication.24 In a time of urban renewal, Moshe Safdie redefined the urban environment by considering the social and environment aspects of suburban living and economical aspects of efficiency while overcoming political setbacks. Michael Sorkin states that the greatest tragedy of Habitat is that it remained singular and iconic.25 Although Habitat did not completely alter the urban fabric or produce a cheap, efficient housing solution, it took a drastic leap forward in the possibilities and way that people viewed living in an urban center. When Habitat ’67 opened April 27th 1967, newspapers raved about its success and after over 40 years the building is still a dynamic community and a Canadian cultural icon.


1970, 47

Moshe Safdie, Beyond Habitat. Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press,


Safdie, Beyond Habitat, 65 Ibid Ibid, 66 5 Ibid, 76 6 Moshe Safdie, and Irena Zantovská Murray. Moshe Safdie: buildings and projects 1967-1992. Montreal [etc.: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1996. 48 7 Safdie, Beyond Habitat, 79 8 Ibid, 91 9 Ibid 10 Ibid, 83 11 Ibid, 75 12 Ibid 13 Ibid, 76 14 Ibid, 90 15 Ibid, 83 16 Ibid, 52 17 Ibid, 53 18 Ibid, 104 19 Murray, Moshe Safdie: buildings and projects 1967-1992, 49 20 Ibid 21 Safdie, Beyond Habitat, 11 22 Ibid, 118 23 Ibid, 112 24 Ibid, 114 25 Moshe Safdie and Wendy Kohn. Moshe Safdie. London: Academy Editions, 1996, 41 FIGURES 1. Exterior view: appropriated from: http://fruitsandvotes. com/?p=805 2. Perspective Section: appropriated from: Moshe Safdie and Wendy Kohn. Moshe Safdie. London: Academy Editions, 1996. 3. Exterior view: appropriated from: origine_en_.html 4. Construction process: appropriated from:








Habitat ‘67 Dami Lee Planners and architects have long debated on what the ideal plan of a human environment will be. However, it is generally accepted that cities are healthier and more functional with less congestion and ample open space. In a fast overpopulating world, where urban density is becoming a major issue, studies of successful urban projects become increasingly imperative. Moshe Safdie’s Habitat, located on the peninsula of MacKay Pier, Montreal, encompasses both the sense of excitement and accessibility of an urban setting as well as the quiet repose and privacy of the suburb; making it a successful urban project at face value. Safdie’s understanding of city planning derived not directly from the influential and modernistic CIAM movement, but from the teachings of Louis Kahn, whose theories met with the later, Team X division of CIAM, which advocated for the use of vernacular architecture and dynamic use of space as one of the guiding principles of city design. While Habitat captures the wholesome qualities of a garden-city home dreamt by his predecessors, it lacks the social inclusion of the large diversity of the urban population due to its high prices. In order to understand why a project designed with intensions of affordable housing has secluded itself from the low-to-middle class citizens, this paper examines the political and economic factors that delineated the project’s construction. The results indicate that it was not the design, but the exterior forces that made the housing system expensive.



Theories were born overtime that addressed issues in living conditions, with different movements arising in efforts to satisfy these conditions through planning. The 60’s were greatly impacted by the post-CIAM movement, which were a direct reaction to CIAM’s urban renewal policies and its high-rise building solution to density. Although CIAM sought to address problems of density by implementing the efficiently manufactured skyscrapers, its lack of consideration for the existing urban fabric created environments that failed to satisfy human conditions in a safe and appealing way. As a result, the post-CIAM movement looked to create lively human environments by prioritizing the experience of users before aesthetics or efficiency, carefully considering the existing site and creating walkable streetscapes. The movement had a strong influence on Moshe Safdie’s thoughts on architecture, most notably during time that he worked for Louis Kahn, whose theories met with Team X, an experimental division of CIAM advocating for integration with vernacular architecture and a more flexible approach towards city planning. As a result, Safdie’s architecture integrated itself into the city as 304

a part of a system, his works being commended by the Dutch Magazine, Forum, a mouthpiece of the Team X group. Although the methods for bettering city conditions changed overtime, what remained was the need to build efficiently to accommodate the growth of cities, and Moshe Safdie addresses the issues of livability, affordability and density in his experimental housing project, Habitat. Moshe Safdie’s interest in housing systems arose from his travels across North America, where he encountered overpopulated slums in need of better living conditions. He believed that high rises were not the solution as it was not appropriate for families with children, and that single-family housing could not accommodate the sheer population of cities. Combined with the conviction that there should be no difference in construction cost for low income and high income buildings - the difference in cost being the land value- he sought to offer the attractive amenities such as views and privacy to all levels of housing. Although he believed that suburbs were a waste of land, he found that the personal gardens and breathability that they offered were critical to satisfying integral human needs. These ideas

Figure 1 - Habitat’s stacked form is distinct from the physical form and skyline of downtown Montreal


Figure 2 - Suburban aspects of privacy, garden and open space are provided in an urban context

allowed him to produce the “Three Dimensional Modular Building System”, a thesis focused on the “three dimensional organization of a continuous urban structure, construction system based on the use of repetitive three dimensional modules, and a system capable of application to various sites and conditions” 1; later becoming Safdie’s initiating design for Habitat. In attempts to emerge the suburban lifestyle in an urban context, the stacking of the individual units is arranged to allow each dwelling a private garden, maximum privacy and exposure to light on all three sides of the unit, while making efficient use of space. There is emphasis on safe pedestrian use, with plastic covered walkways provided on the second, sixth and tenth floors and the higher walkways leading to open play areas, creating an enjoyable environment for users, families in particular2. All the while, his modular prefabrication system would allow for lower construction costs, making the housing complex available for all income levels. His innovative vision responded to the issues current at the time: scarcity of good housing, need to build efficiently, growing density, and the reflective questions that arose in response to CIAM’s failures to address these problems properly. This made Habitat an appropriate exhibit and an overarching symbol for Montreal’s Universal Exposition in 1967. Montreal has historically been the economic and cultural center of Canada but the 60’s was the highlight of its growth, claiming international fame by hosting the Universal Exposition of 1967. Although Safdie had envisioned the project to be an urban project offering affordable housing for Montreal’s population, its limitations and planning process were directly impacted by the political and economic context of the Exposition. The theme of the Universal Exposition

in ’67 was Man and his World, expressing the relationship humans have with their surroundings3, with the formal vision to eliminate the use of towers and create low-rise structures that are more relatable on a human scale. Furthermore, as the Expo would house various types of buildings, it was envisioned that water would be its uniting element, locating the exhibitions on the islands of Ile St. Hélène and Ile Notre Dame. It was initially proposed that Habitat would be sited on one of the islands, but Safdie had visions for Habitat as a continuously growing urban project and insisted that it be located on Cité du Havre, two minutes from downtown to assure the benefits of the exhibition to the city as a whole. Habitat was connected with the other exhibitions with a train and shuttle service running between the sites and the city4, allowing for convenient access for its users. The process of approval followed the scope of the Universal Exposition. Habitat had to first undergo approval from the Planning Committee of the Exposition to make sure of its accordance with the overall Masterplan5. As the exhibition would represent Canada to the world, the Masterplan underwent review from the Parliament for national approval. Prior to the Parliament’s approval, there was much opposition to Habitat from private companies who wished different usage for the lucrative waterfront site. However, after national recognition, the conflicting interests died down. Funding the project was tightly related to its politics. The experimental nature of the project led to the exceeding of the budget by $30 million, and Safdie had a difficult time finding a financier for the project. This led to his decision to make a presentation to the Cabinet, who offered $10 305

URBAN SCALE DESIGN million for the overall project, which was short $30 million for what was needed. If the project had been a monument or a symbolic tower, the government would have gladly agreed on $50 million, but its being a housing project hindered this due to its appearance of favoring Montreal over numerous other cities. This suggests tremendous controversiality in the visions and influence of the national government, as their role as a national, mediating body delineates involvement with critical projects such as housing. Another reason for the government’s reluctance to funding the project further was Montreal Mayor Drapeau’s proposal for a thousand foot tower that cost an exact same amount of $42 million. They were both major symbols of the Expo, and the government was not willing to enter into a joint venture with a private enterprise to provide appropriate funding for both projects6. The Canadian government holds itself responsible for providing its citizens affordable shelter and seeks to better the conditions of its residents. Habitat was an innovation that would have been, or at least led the way for an affordable and livable housing environment. Had the government placed value of an experimental model and guideline for Canadian housing projects to follow instead of a national symbol; they may have been more willing to fund the project its worth. In fact, Moshe Safdie had submitted for the project to be a “research” in order to receive the 150% tax refund, but once again, its being a housing project delineated this grant. The initial vision for Habitat was that it would be a community that would include schools, shopping malls and other public amenities. However, working within the budget restraints, it limited the project by half, and its reduced number 306

of residents of 160 would not allow for the future provision of these public amenities, disabling the formation of a community.7 The reduced number of residents would also significantly increase the rental cost per unit. However, there was no other option and after much deliberation, Safdie agreed to receive the budget in condition that the site be rezoned with a balance of commercial and residential to accommodate for future growth.9 This entire process outlines the controversy in our government regarding housing and perhaps influenced Safdie’s later thinking on a federal housing committee and his advocacy for federal ownership of property. The experimental nature and the short timeframe of Habitat also had an impact on costs. Habitat was the first of its kind to use concrete modules in such an advanced structural system. As the project had to be completed before the beginning of the Exposition, there was no time for research or experimentation, resorting to a method of trial and error. After gaining experience with Habitat, Safdie claims that if the project were to be rebuilt, it would only cost 20% of Habitat, especially with the new production methods available today10.

Figure 2 - (Above Left) The stacking of individual units allows for personal green space and privacy Figure 3 - (Above) Habitat in relation to downtown and two Islands of the Exposition Figure 3 - (Right) Its location on the peninsula, unconventional form and separation by highway, alienate Habitat and distance it from the general public of Montreal


This serious financial stipulation later led to a phase of vacancy in Habitat but it was nonetheless an incredible success at the Exposition, with numerous residents moving in. The problems arose after the Exposition. Habitat did not have an owner, and tenants wishing to renew their lease had to move out11. In 1968, it was decided that Central Mortgage would take over Cité du Havre along with Habitat. The project was funded by the government and they had the ability to offer competitive rental rates, but they settled on $600, which was $200 more than the nearby housing in Nun’s Island a mile upstream from the Expo12. This was largely due to Central Mortgage’s view towards Habitat as housing that is not appropriate for families, and looked to attract rich singles and corporations to use as entertainment offices. On top of its high prices and vacancy, its physical form and location become an added aspect of Habitat’s alienation. Despite its close location to downtown, its siting on the peninsula and its lack of public amenities and residents made Habitat seem much more distant to the general public of Montreal. The unconventional form of the concrete boxes facing the water further alienate

Habitat from the public, while also affecting the negative consumer response as unconventional structural form of concrete boxes were believed to be too expensive to construct. Although this is true, the high rental rates were dependent on the private corporation, as Habitat was a government-funded project. Safdie later criticized Central Mortgage for offering rates that were unreasonably high, which influenced them into lowering the costs. Few rent reductions later, residents began moving in and became popular among a wide variety of intellectuals and professionals, although only a small percentage were rented out13. Although Habitat was not able to become the affordable housing that Safdie had envisioned, this was not due to the design, rather, its economic constraints, experimental nature, and the ownership post-Expo. Through his modular prefabricated system, Moshe Safdie was able to lower material costs while capturing the virtuous qualities of a garden-city home dreamt by his predecessors, offering a densely populated yet breathable and attractive housing system. His modular designs were implemented in various areas around the world, and with the right economic and political support, its forward thinking construction method will grant its affordability, creating a livable community.

NOTES Safdie, Moshe. Beyond Habitat. (1970) Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press Mitre Corporation. An analysis of twelve experimental housing projects. (1969) Washington: U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development 1 .Safdie. Beyond Habitat. Pg.53 2 .Mitre Corporation. An analysis of twelve experimental housing projects. Pg.29 3 . 4 .Safdie. Beyond Habitat. Pg.66 5 .Safdie. Beyond Habitat. Pg.76 6 .Safdie. Beyond Habitat. Pg.88 7 .Safdie. Beyond Habitat. Pg.90 8 .Mitre Corporation. An analysis of twelve experimental housing projects. Pg.29 9 . Safdie. Beyond Habitat. Pg.90 10 .Mitre Corporation. An analysis of twelve experimental housing projects. Pg.30 11 .Safdie. Beyond Habitat. Pg.179 12 .Safdie. Beyond Habitat. Pg.178 13 .Mitre Corporation. An analysis of twelve experimental housing projects. Pg.31 FIGURES 1. Diagram: Appropriated from Vass, Nora. “Montreal” http:// 2: Sketch: Appropriated from Safdie, Moshe. Beyond Habitat. (1970) Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press 3: Diagram: Appropriated from Polis. “Habitat 67: Cube Housing in Montreal”. Polis: a collaborative blog about cities across the globe. http:// 4. Diagram: Appropriated from Safdie, Moshe. “Sketch for the Expo Masterplan”. Beyond Habitat. (1970) Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press 5. Aerial View: Appropriated from Google Earth





AUSTRALIA SQUARE JESSICA WALKER Towering 50-storeys above the public realm, Harry Seidler was one of the first architects to introduce a true skyscraper to Sydney’s Central Business District in 1967. Crowned with the title of Australia Square, the offices replaced 30 blocks of old city buildings. The towers were designed with the intention of creating two buildings that would be among the first to purposely create public outdoor space on private land as the major developing feature of the site. Through intelligent use of a podium level, the vast public realm is spread to two levels on the site; this realm includes a series of outdoor cafes, fountains, trees, and artwork. All of this made possible by the thrifty lot coverage ratio of the towers, accounting for only 25% of the site and allowing the rest for public use. Seidler, also being an advocate of high technology, aesthetic expression and constantly reintegrating these factors on the impression it had on the building. Seidler’s vision for Australia Square set new trends and ideals for structures in an urban setting. As part of his project intention, Seidler, along with Pier Luigi Nervi, the project’s working engineer, designed the structure to be extremely efficient. This set a new standard for the expanding surrounding downtown area, creating a new language for the urban context. Australia Square has set the bar and has inspired many local Australian designs by changing the way users and designers view public space. Seidler’s holistic approach has reinvented the traditional office tower and has effectively integrated public spaces to become crucial elements of its surrounding architecture.



Australian urban planning has historically focused on land use and urban form, omitting many social and economic aspects of urban growth.1 Ideals of industrial development, centralization and tall buildings lead to the discourse between the urban environment and that which it encompasses. Amoung one of the first projects in Sydney to react to urban problems created by the modernist movements, Harry Seidler developed Australia Square, in hopes of creating links in the missing aspects of city planning within the Central Business District. Australia Square reacted to the omission of the public realm within the urban fabric with the creation of public space within the highly developed Central Business District of Sydney, and has been a leading an example for the importance of the public realm within planning and architecture. Harry Seidler has been most commonly linked to progressive architecture within the Australian landscape. He saw the modern movement as one that had good intentions, yet ended up being harmful and ignorant with 310

regards to the architecture of Australia.2 Seidler had very opinionated views on the way which architecture should be developed; planning and architecture are integral, and can therefore not be separated. Seidler stated that “any physical planning that does not simultaneously respond to architectural considerations is not worth the paper it is drawn on and vice versa.”3 To avoid physical or aesthetic rejection, Seidler also stated that “architectural solutions must become environmental entities, organically part of the totality of which they are a component.”4 Seidler largely carried his ideals of planning and architecture into each project he worked on. Australia Square was his attempt at correcting the lacking integration of architectural consideration of the public realm within the development plans of the heart of Sydney. The project underwent two separate design schemes with visionary architects for the site in the Central Business District (CBD) of Sydney, Australia. The first scheme was designed in conjunction with I. M. Pei, an architect from New York, in 1960. Within this

Figure 1 - (Above) Aerial image before development (left) and after redevelopment (right)1


Figure 2 - (Above) Areas of public plaza. Green areas are upper plaza. Blue areas are lower plaza2

design, Australia Square was to overtake an entire city block, replacing a very congested surrounding area. It consisted of two buildings, taking up very little of the site, leaving space for a large open plaza. However, this scheme could not become a reality as it would be impossible for the developers to acquire the large amount of land.5 The second scheme is in many ways similar to the first scheme, as it still encompassed two towers separated by a public plaza, but was reduced in size, approximately 25 percent of the total site. The project began in 1961 and was completed in 1967.6 The plaza is a duel level area, one portion sunken into the ground, offering amenities such as restaurants and retail. The plaza is rendered entirely open to the public, with access areas from all sides, becoming an area of repose for the busy pedestrian. The mass of the first tower was determined through the climate, use and structure. Through the dismissal of other regular building shapes, in combination with the aforementioned aspects, a circular form was developed. The circular tower was able to create better open spaces for the public realm as well as allowing the maximum amount of natural light into the site.7 All physical forms of the building were made in relation to how they would affect the nature of free pedestrian movement.8 The impact on the social realm in terms of circulation and how people would congregate in the site as well as in the surrounding CBD area was considered thoroughly in designing the space as an integrated public space. The intentional display of artwork was an integral part to the

social conditions of these areas.9 The site, located in the CBD of Sydney, is set within a high density area of highly powerful buildings. This area went through a period of time where it was known to have the “Manhattan Syndrome”, in which development was happening at a rapid pace, creating buildings that were giving rise to a new skyline for the CBD of Sydney.10 In the 1950’s there was a large increase in the redevelopment of properties within Sydney, and for the first twenty years, sites were being developed without any guidance. This gave developers the freedom to develop the sites however they pleased. They didn’t have to take into consideration any direct or indirect implications they may have on the surrounding context. Moving towards the early 1960’s, Australia was in a recession.11 This in turn directly impacted the way developers were looking at their land; not only did they want as much money out of their investments, but they needed the money from these investments more than ever. Buildings in these areas started building to get the maximum gross floor area in order to get the most amount of rentable space possible. In addition to these newly formed views of developing, the location and size of buildings being redeveloped were not being controlled. This led to a huge problem with congestion and deficiencies in the area: the efficiency of this busy core was deteriorating.12 In 1951, Sydney’s City Council started preparing plans for zoning as well as floor space index’s to limit the density of newly developed buildings. Yet, many areas in the CBD were excluded from this, as they had 311

URBAN SCALE DESIGN protested and challenged the Council regarding their personal interest in the site. This left many areas of the CBD without height restrictions or density limitations. Restrictions had not come into effect until years later.13 Australia Square was one project that was included within this period of redevelopment. However, Seidler thought of what most architects had not; he thought in terms of not only his site, but the included surrounding as a whole in creating a more livable and suitable urban environment. Thinking beyond simply architecture, and more into planning with architecture, Seidler was able to begin to create an environment that worked organically as a part of the total environment which it was component of. During this time, Sydney’s population had expanded massively through post-war immigration where higher concentrations of citizens were seen in urban rather than rural areas.14 The concentration of both population increase and economic increase was focused on the CBD. The area within the CBD had undergone huge economic changes, leading to the need for massive reconstruction of the inner city. This reconstruction involved redeveloping many industrial buildings into office towers in the CBD.15 Many important social movements took place including women’s rights, indigenous Australians rights, as well as many changes in policies to health, education, industrial relations and others.16 This time period was closely tied with the political happenings which were occurring. The Liberal state selected new city commissioners, 312

who within the twenty-two months of leading, approved over $300 million worth of redevelopment applications. The applications for development all went over the planned floorspace index, introducing more high density buildings into the already overcrowded area.17 This brings up the conflict between private and public interests. The purpose of the planning scheme implemented by the government was for the interest of the public. It was an attempt to begin to create environments where people wanted to live; efficient, convenient, healthy and pleasant conditions that were flourishing urban environments. Instead, property owners in the CBD were looking to gain every dollar that they possibly could through their land.18 In July, 1971, The City of Sydney Strategic Plan was released, which outlined development controls as well as floor space ratios. It also outlined certain exceptions for land use, which still exist in some zoning today: bonuses of floor area may be allotted to developers who provide certain public amenities. This plan was created in an attempt

Figure 3 - (Above Left) Public gathering areas on site (green) verse circulation on site (blue)3 Figure 4 - (Above Right) Upper plaza (blue) and lower plaza (green)4 Figure 5 - (Right) Ratio of open to closed space on site5

POST-CIAM project with the hopes of improving the vivid area of Sydney. However, many later buildings in the CBD have not come close to the level of integration of the urban fabric with the project, rendering Australia Square an exemplary building in this area.21 Seidler’s ideals were carried through into planning policies for future developments to follow in creating a city which was no longer lacking an ever essential urban fabric.

“to improve the quality of life for the people who use the city.”19 This is a developing feature that Australia Square used over 10 years before the plans were released. Seidler recognized the need for public space within these heavily dense areas, and designed keeping the public realm in mind; building his tower higher in order to save approximately 75% of the site for the public realm. When redeveloping, the remainder of the CBD had set regulations and a good example to follow by in order to revive the urban fabric. The combinations of all sorts of context, whether it is political, social, physical or cultural, need to work together with planning and architecture in “directing the conversation and redevelopment of the City as a whole.”20 This is inclusive of the urban fabric, as well as the public realm. Seidler was the first amoung many to recognize the importance of the public realm in the planning process. He also recognized that form and function must be derived from a preexisting context in which it exists. All of his most important principles of architecture and planning were portrayed within the Australia Square

NOTES 1. J. Halligan and Chris Paris and Jan Wells. Australian urban politics: critical perspectives. (Melbourne: Longman Cheshire, 1984), 31. 2. Seidler, Harry. Planning and building down under : new settlement strategy and current architectural practice in Australia.(Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1978), ix. 3. Ibid., 25. 4. Ibid. 5. Seidler, Harry. Houses, buildings and projects, 1955/63. (Sydney: Horwitz Publications, 1963), 200. 6. Kenneth Frampton and Philip Drew. Harry Seidler: Four Decades of Architecture. (London: Thames and Hudson, 1992), 112. 7. Seidler, Harry. Houses, buildings and projects, 1955/63., 204. 8. Ibid., 207. 9. Martin, Eric. “Architectural Heritage: RAIA Report Format – Australia Square.” Australian Institute of Architects, (2000). http://www. 10. Sandercock, Leonie. Cities for Sale: property, politics, and urban planning in Australia. (Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 1975), 195. 11. Allan Layton, Tim Robinson and Irvin B. Tucker. Economics for Today: Asia Pacific Edition. (Melbourne: Cengage Learning, 2011), 287. 12. Sandercock, Leonie. Cities for Sale: property, politics, and urban planning in Australia. (Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 1975), 195. 13. Ibid., 196. 14. Raymond Bunker and Stephen Hamnett. Urban Australia: planning issues and policies. (London; Bronx: Mansell Publishing, 1987), 15. 15. Ibid., 27. 16. “Australia History,” About Australia, October 7, 2012, http:// 17. Sandercock, Cities for Sale: property, politics, and urban planning in Australia. 197. 18. Urban Redevelopment in inner city areas; ways and means of achievement. (Sydney: Bennett for the Planning Research Center, 1966), 18. 19. Sandercock, Cities for Sale: property, politics, and urban planning in Australia. 198. 20. Ibid., 200. 21. Martin, Eric. “Architectural Heritage: RAIA Report Format – Australia Square.” Australian Institute of Architects, (2000). http://www. Figures 1.Perspective of site appropriated from: Kenneth Frampton and Philip Drew. Harry Seidler: Four Decades of Architecture, 112. 2. Section and plan appropriated from: Ibid., 116 3. Perspective of plazas appropriated from: 4. Ibid. 26 Plan appropriated from: Kenneth Frampton and Philip Drew, Four Decades of Architecture, 116.





ROOSEVELT ISLAND AND THE NEW URBAN DEVELOPMENT KRISEV STOJA Roosevelt Island is a 2 miles long and about 800 feet narrow island in the middle of the East River located in New York City between Manhattan and Queens. In 1969 the New York State’s Urban Development Corporation (UDC) approved a master plan developed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee. Through The study of the Master Plan and the new urban development for Roosevelt Island, this essay will highlight how Johnson and Burgee’s planning reflect the CIAM primary principals. It will also examine several Roosevelt Island proposals in the early 1960’s which were not approved and the reasons of their rejections. It will also discuss what made Johnson and Burgee’s proposal different from the other proposals in order for them to gain the public and city official’s support. Furthermore this essay will analyze the transportation system inside and outside the island, how habitants of the island access and exit the island, links over the water, subway and bus routes etc. and how accessibility affected the new urbanism. In addition, this paper will address the infrastructure within the island. Moreover, it will look at planning and zoning issues, how heightening influenced and shaped the buildings and how density affects traffic and pedestrian flows. Also, the essay will look at the physical, social, political, and cultural context in which the project was built. The new Master Plan transformed Roosevelt Island from an “undesirable” 19th century island to a “desirable” new urban community completed with extensive housing, parks, schools, and stores etc.



Roosevelt Island, once known as Welfare Island and before that Blackwell’s Island, is a narrow island in the East River of New York City. The two mile long and eight hundred feet wide island, at its widest point, lies between Manhattan and Queens. In the 19th century the island was home of undesirable institutions: a prison, mental institutions and hospitals, which in the 20th century they were abandoned. In 1969 the island was given to the New York’s Urban Development Corporation for a new urban development to design and create a new community in midtown Manhattan, where Philip Johnson and John Burgee were commissioned to design the new Master Plan of Roosevelt Island. Early Planning and Proposals Prior to 1969 event of the redevelopment of Roosevelt Island, more plans and urban scale development were proposed for the revitalization of the island. In 1961 a Master Plan was released for the transformation of the island, turning it into a community of 70,000 people. The plan was put together by architect 316

Victor Gruen. But when the plan was released to the public, they showed concerns of the island’s inaccessibility. Also the plan failed to gain support from city official who were under pressure considering the option of turning the island into a park, strongly supported by the New York Times.1 In 1963, with the construction of a new subway tunnel crossing the island and connecting Manhattan with Queens, a new interest was born to construct a building development by Harrison and Abramovitz to house the United Nations International School. But yet again the plan was terminated by the guardians of the students because they saw the island not accessible enough and also the afflicting population and surroundings was not an appropriate environment for children.2 In 1968 a proposal was put together by Robert Zion to turn the island into a park and place Gruen’s superblocks on the Queens shore. Rejections of these proposals came as a result of the island not being sufficiently accessible for the high density that was proposed at the time where there was no subway connection with the

Proposed Buildings for Master Plan Existing Buildings

Figure 1 - Master Plan proposed by Johnson and Burgee


Figure 2 - (Above) Aerial photo of Roosevelt Island Figure 3 - (Below) Building Heights

rest of the city, as well not beneficial to turn a large land in an entire park. Design Ideas and Principles On October 1969 after the construction for the new subway line started on the island, Philip Johnson and John Burgee released to the public their new Master Plan for a mix-use development that would integrate the existing hospitals and provide new housing for different income level families. In order to preserve the natural environment of the island and to avoid the long strips of buildings, Johnson and Burgee divided the island into nine zones: five parks and four building groups.3 Their planning ideas share the same modernist design principles of CIAM, constructive ideas formed by Le Corbusier during his conceptual design principles of “A Contemporary City”.4 One of the principles was to build vertically for high density in order to create more open space for parks and amenities. Also another principle was the traffic restriction on Main Street for emergency vehicles, minibuses and bicycles. This way they would create a carfree environment allowing for more open spaces and creating tree-lined pedestrian walks. When entering the island, residents and guests would park their cars in public facilities and then they could take mini-buses for their final destination. Another design feature employed on the Eastwood Apartments was the skip-stop system an innovative design principle invented by Le Corbusier.5 The Master Plan proposed by Johnson and Burgee had the full support of city officials and they had the advantage of the new subway tunnel that was being constructed at the time which would allow the accessibility into the

island. Also they proposed a medium-density community surrounded by parks. The time and the strategy of the urban plan for the island was what made Johnson and Burgee’s master plan to be approved. Transportation and Accessibility Accessibility to the island was key factor for urban development in Roosevelt Island. Even though Queensboro Bridge was located directly above the island, it did not provide access direct from the bridge to the island.6 The only access possible was through an elevator system for passengers only in order to get down to the island. Clearly the island was not sufficiently accessible and when proposals were made for the development of the island, accessibility was the main reason of the proposal’s failure. The island had a great potential for development hence in 1952 construction of Welfare Island Bridge began and it was opened in 1955.7 The bridge was the first and the only route for vehicular and foot traffic that connects the island with Queens. In 1969 constructions began for the new subway tunnel that would connect the island with Manhattan. Even though the constructions lasted for a long time, it was a strong event that influenced the approval of Johnson and Burgee’s Master Plan. Later on in 1976 the island became even more accessible with the new tramway services.8 Transportation and accessibility were the major factors that influenced on the island’s development. Connecting the island with other parts of the city made it possible for Johnson and Burgee’s Master Plan to be a successful urban development. 317

URBAN SCALE DESIGN Physical and Social Context Roosevelt Island lies in the middle of East River in New York City on 417 acre land. The Master Plan divided the island into three lateral residential communities each of high- density housing groups with large open areas for parks and amenities. The island was planned for 5,000 dwelling units for people with different range of incomes and social needs. Mini-schools, daycare and community centres were incorporated within the buildings. Eastwood and Westview are the two largest building complexes running north-south in the middle of Roosevelt Island consisting of low/moderate income. On one end of the island are four buildings running east-west allowing many apartments to have expensive views which consists of higher income.9 The Master plan influenced and changed the social context of the island altering it from institutional to residential and mix-use. Political and Economical Context By 1973 the project was going through political and economic issues, and majority of original architects had withdrawn their involvement with the project. The construction delays of the subway line were affecting the island and its upcoming communities. Also UDC’s financial difficulties prevented the continuation of the project, and when the construction was resumed, the UDC was a different organization and the original Master Plan was not followed. Only the first phase of the construction was built by 1975 which followed the Master Plan.10 Zoning and Height Influences The Master Plan was not just an urban development for Roosevelt Island, it also created 318

zoning and height restrictions. Since it was an island, river views were the main features of the island. By heightening the buildings like stair steps, the architect has permitted more residents to enjoy the river vista.11 Also a few building are positioned at a 90 degree angle allowing adjacent buildings river views. The maximum building height is twelve stories which are located in the middle of the island where they do not block the views of adjacent buildings. As showed in figures 2 and 3, the tallest buildings are placed in the middle of the island and they get shorter as they get closer to the river. This design approach has indirectly created a height restriction for buildings to allow better views. In this case the height restrictions have influenced the building’s shape, whereas closer to the river shore the building are less tall. Figure 5 shows Eastwood and Westview Apartments how heightening the buildings in step alike shapes creates more views. Conclusion The Master Plan put together by Johnson and Burgee has created a new urban

Figure 4 - (Above) Original Plan of Roosevelt Island Figure 5 - (Right) Physical Model of the Master Plan


Building Elevation Views

community in Roosevelt Island. This urban development is a successful addition to New York City which connects Manhattan and Queens. Because of its geographical location, in the middle of East River, the island was very isolated and inaccessible. The Master Plan designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee was successful once accessibility was improved to the island. The connection through Queensboro and Roosevelt Bridge, subway and tramway between the island and its surroundings made it possible for the urban development planned by Johnson and Burgee to be approved. Transportation was the key factor that influenced negatively on previous urban development proposals for the island. The Master Plan had a great combination of high-density and open space for parks and amenities at the same time. These design principals were a reflection of the modernist design concepts of Le Corbusier and the constructivist ideas of CIAM. The 1970’s urban development transformed Roosevelt Island from a 19th century institutional landuse to a 20th century new urban community with high-density housing, parks, amenities and mini-schools. The Master Plan is an appropriate urban design which created a residential landuse with walkable streets, human-scaled buildings and active public spaces.

NOTES 1. “A Welfare Island Park” editorial, New York Times. New York, 1961. 20 2. Teltsch, Kathleen. “Southern Tip of Welfare Island Proposed as Site of U.N. School” New York Times. New York, 1965. 23 3. Stern, Robert A.M. “Roosevelt Island” New York 1960. New York: Monacelli Press, 1997. 645 4. Larice, Michael and Macdonald, Elizabeth eds. “A Contemporary City 1929 Le Corbusier” The Urban Design Reader. London and New York: Routledge, 2007. 5. Curtis, William J.R. ed. Modern Architecture Since 1900. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1996 6. McCandlish, Philips. “City’s Last Trolley at End of Line” New York Times. New York, 1957. 1 7. “Roosevelt Island Bridge” New York City Department of Transportation 8. Cohen, Billie. “Roosevelt Island Tram” New York Times. New York, 2008. 12 9. Stern, Robert A.M. “Roosevelt Island” New York 1960. New York: Monacelli Press, 1997. 648-652 10. Ibid. 646 11. Ibid 646 FIGURES 1. UDCHousing. “Policy and design for housing Part 2” Accessed Oct. 25, 2012. PolicyandDesignforHousing.pdf 2. AerialArchives. “Roosevelt Island” http://aerialarchives. 3. “Map and Historic Island Aerial” committees/emerging/competition/Southpoint/documentation.html 4. UDCHousing. “Policy and design for housing Part 2” Accessed Oct. 25, 2012. PolicyandDesignforHousing.pdf





SEASIDE NICHOLAS BOYCHUK In Walton County Florida there exists a romantic master planned community known as Seaside. Before the town existed the site was simply a tract of land on the gulf coast. A developer named Robert Davis inherited this land from his grandfather, and had the notion to turn it into an ambitious resort community. He hired the husband-wife team of Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk to masterplan the town. The two architects, mentored by Leon Krier, were disenchanted by the Planned Unit Development communities of the time like so many others. Unlike others, they understood the intricacies of how these conventional suburban developments came to be. With this knowledge, they planned Seaside with the romantic qualities of America’s eighteenth and nineteenth century towns as an answer to the planning orthodoxy that had gone unchecked for a generation. This was achieved by planning around shared open spaces, for streets to be used as public thoroughfares, for a variety of uses and building types to exist within the residential fabric. Civic spaces and amenities were planned for the pedestrian, being within a maximum five minute walk from any resident. This idea would not have had the impression it did, and does today, if Andres and Elizabeth had not proven that it was also economically feasible. With the planners ambitious and thorough work, and Robert Davis’ wisdom in development the town attracted projects from influential architects and ambitious amateurs alike. Seaside truly thrived, and proved that the urban coherence of the past was not obsolete.



The town of Seaside is famous for being the first built incarnation of new urbanism’s values1. Its planners, husband-wife team Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, designed the town at Robert Davis’ commission before that movement had even begun. The social and cultural conditions for Seaside’s eventual success as a new urbanist town owe much to influence of Jane Jacobs and Robert Venturi. Jacobs paved the way in arguing for a return to dense vitality in the urban context and Venturi made vernacular forms respectable allowing classicism to be promoted seriously2. Seaside is an ambitious idea taking advantage of those two shifts. The town was planned with a focus on creating a community, a place that could echo the character of American towns of the eighteenth and nineteenth century3. It flew in the face of modern town planning and suburban sprawl of the day4. Seaside is the example that proved to the world that thoughtfully planned, walkable, evolving, mixed use communities could not only thrive but could be economically viable. 322

The town is sited in Walton County, Florida, on an eighty acre tract of gulf coast land with a half mile of beachfront on its south side5. A two lane coastal highway runs east west through the site which connects all the oceanfront communities in the area. The road is now integrated with the town as it serves as a public thoroughfare and meeting ground as well as meets the central town square6. The site has beautiful natural features which the design of the town is very sensitive to. Of course the town engages the ocean front, but even further it retains the natural system of sand dunes along its edge which are used as shared pedestrian paths. To the north of the site a stream flows surrounded by a green belt. In addition, the natural vegetation of the site is retained instead of implementing new grass7. This means that no pesticides, irrigation, or lawnmowers are required to be used. This sensitivity to the site goes a long way in creating an authentic organic town. Originally Andres and Elizabeth were only commissioned to design the central town

Figure 1 - (Left) Location map of Seaside. Figure 2 - (Above) Site plan showing original site conditions.


Figure 3 - Street sections generated by Seaside’s urban code.

square of Seaside. In their initial research they travelled to, studied, and measured many precedent towns in Florida and other states. Robert Davis and his wife Daryl did the same. During this process both parties became convinced that the town would need to be planned in its entirety if it were to be successful in capturing all of the desirable qualities of their precedents. Davis agreed to give them the full commission, and the master plan began8. Initially the coastal highway was routed north and around the site with private access provided, and the street system was radial emanating from the town centre square. The analysis of precedents radically changed these design choices. The coastal highway was engaged by every oceanfront community to strengthen the public realm and provide commercial space, and the vernacular white picket fence common to the area required a polygonal layout due to its materiality. So, the master plan became informed by these qualities, embracing the highway and adopting a polygonal layout9. Through discussion with Leon Krier and several design charettes, the master plan was finalized10. The original intent still shines through in the finished product, having been informed greatly by precedent but not ever losing its essence. The central square is the focus, surrounded by the tallest buildings in Seaside; five storey commercial residential. Emanating from the square is a concentric street pattern intersected by a traditional grid which runs perpendicular to the shoreline. An intricate pedestrian path system is overlaid on this. All along the beachfront at each north-south street

sits a pavilion which serves as a gathering the residents of that street. A central pavilion below the town square serves residents of east-west streets. The private lots filling out the street grid vary in size according to their position and what housing type is intended by the urban code of the town11. This urban code is one of the key reasons for Seaside’s success. Robert, Andres, and Elizabeth all shared a vision that the so called perfection of the planned development unit suburbs of the day was not desirable. Instead, a growing community that took pride in its imperfections and could change to meet them was what would fulfill their dream for Seaside12. They realized this in the way that the town would be developed. Instead of designing every building themselves, and instead of building everything at once, they refrained from doing so at all. Instead they created an “urban code” and an “architectural code” – essentially zoning and design by-laws – that in tandem with the master plan would guide the growth of the town in a cohesive yet organic way13. From its conception Seaside was planned to thrive, to grow with its own genuine character. This would not have been possible had the urban and architectural codes not been written with the community in mind. Andres and Elizabeth created them in such a way that they each fit on a single sheet of paper and communicated themselves through easily understood diagrams14. This worked as an incentive for many people who were not designers to build at Seaside, quickening the growth of the community. That being said, many architects 323

URBAN SCALE DESIGN did build in the town as well. Taking advantage of this, the codes allowed for the consideration for deviation of architectural merit15. All of this results in a varied and interesting urban fabric powered by the community. Even though the desired character of Seaside is quite romantic, the implementation of its driving ideas is quite practical. The town is recognizable as having adopted many City Beautiful concepts about town layout - axis, tree-lined avenues, and vistas with landmarks as terminating markers – yet the way that they are implemented is far from romantic16. All of these things in Seaside are there to engage the public realm, to foster a sense of community in its residents. For example, the streets running towards the beach terminate at a pavilion which opens up towards the ocean. The vista created is quite powerful, but it is made even more so by the fact that this area provides commercial and public space for residents to enjoy17. Here one sees the consistency from idea to execution in that even its most romantic concepts are grounded in their practical use to the town. All of this provision of public space would be for not if the town were not planned so carefully for the pedestrian. The boundaries of Seaside are defined by the average distance travelled in a five minute walk from the town centre square18. In addition, a network of pedestrian paths is overlaid on the street grid, providing residents with dedicated ways of traversing the city. These qualities of Seaside addressed the well-being of its inhabitants in many ways; encouraging exercise, socializing, and connection with the natural context. In 324

addition, the compactness and ease with which the town could be travelled on foot enabled young children to safely use public areas and made it much easier for elderly individuals to be self-sufficient. The thoughtful planning and execution of Seaside goes one step further in its provision of residential buildings. Andres and Elizabeth included in their master plan, urban code, and architectural code, various types of spatial guidelines for building in the town. Street widths, landscaping, lot sizes, and housing type were all defined and interrelated in the codes to the end of creating specific spatial qualities in different areas19. Lots and streets varied in size to accommodate the building of these various types of housing, and so the price to live in Seaside was not restricted to one value20. Types of housing included detached units, guest cottages, attached units, condos, beachfront cottages, and beachside cottages21. All of these intricately considered in the codes and simplified to allow to community to engage them and grow without direct intervention from

Figure 4 - (Above) View towards the ocean down a typical street. A centred public pavillion emphasizes the vista. Figure 5 - (Right) Provision of public space in the original master plan.

POST-CIAM the developer. Seaside is a radical departure from planning practices of its day. From 1984 to 2001 the town was still considered a work in progress22. It is a planned generator of true community, it is something that grew to exude genuine character and create its own rich history. Before Seaside the notion of this sort of planning working in a contemporary setting was considered idealistically and economically impossible. Robert Davis, Andres Duany,and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk took a great risk to pursue such a project, but because their grand ideals for Seaside were always tempered with a practical and rational execution they were able to make them a reality.

NOTES 1. David Takesuye, “The Town of Seaside: A Working Template,” Urban Land (October 2004): 178. 2. David Mohney and Keller Easterling, Seaside: Making a Town in America (New York: Princeton Architectural Press 1991), 44. 3. Mohney Easterling, Seaside, 43. 4. Mohney Easterling, Seaside, 43. 5. Takesuye, “The Town of Seaside,” 178. 6. Mohney Easterling, Seaside, 55. 7. Takesuye, “The Town of Seaside,” 179. 8. Mohney Easterling, Seaside, 62. 9. Mohney Easterling, Seaside, 64. 10. Mohney Easterling, Seaside, 94. 11. Takesuye, “The Town of Seaside,” 178-179. 12. Leon Krier, The Architecture of Community (Washington, DC: Island Press 2009): 347. 13. Mohney Easterling, Seaside, 53. 14. Takesuye, “The Town of Seaside,” 178. 15. Mohney Easterling, Seaside, 55-56. 16. Emily Talen, New Urbanism & American Planning: The Conflict of Cultures (New York: Routledge 2005) 140 17. Mohney Easterling, Seaside, 102. 18. Takesuye, “The Town of Seaside”, 179. 19. Mohney Easterling, Seaside, 55. 20. Takesuye, “The Town of Seaside,” 179. 21. Takesuye, “The Town of Seaside,” 179. 22. Takesuye, “The Town of Seaside,” 179. FIGURES 1. Aerial Map: appropriated from 2. Site Plan: appropriated from 4. Perspective: appropriated from 5. Site Plan: appropriated from





Seaside, Fl - The Foundation of The New Urbanism AMANDA MOHAMED By the 1970s an innovative urban design approach called New Urbanism began to surface. The movement challenged the planning traditions of the modernist city that lacked a focus on the idea of community and walkablility. Seaside in Walton County, Florida was one of the first cities designed and developed by the movement’s principles. It established a significant precedent in understanding its successes and the changes to be incorporated in the succeeding New Urbanism developments. This essay aims to illustrate and analyze the planning methods and approach Duany Plater-Zyberk Architects took to determine the structure of this community. The town’s planning principles are centered on the idea of locality and pedestrian access to the necessary means of living. The essay will discuss what kind of quality of living and lifestyle these particular planning principles have introduced. It will also examine the effect and importance of political and cultural context in how it shaped the planning decisions of the town. The essay will also reveal the planning complications the architects and urban planners came across while trying to bring the vision of their community to reality. Furthermore, it will explore how these barriers were crossed. The team of designers and city planners looked at many existing cities in America at the time to understand and create the guidelines of the community they were striving for. Taking different successful elements and analyzing the negative aspects of various cities across the country they created the framework for a prosperous community, Seaside.



Modernism in architecture and urban planning transformed and influenced cities all over the world with the establishment of CIAM (The International Congresses of Modern Architecture). The organization was formed in an attempt to revitalize the quality of life and housing in industrial cities whose homes were deteriorating, overcrowded and completely unsanitary. The movement established itself with the vision that architecture was a powerful economic and political tool that could revolutionize the lives of modern city dwellers. CIAM produced The 1933 Athens Charter, which proposed a functional plan that separated the city into zones of business, civic, residential, park, and industrial areas.1 The concept praised the invention of the automobile using it as the main means of transportation and the solution to urban sprawl. With the disbanding of CIAM in 1959 and the social, political and technological advancements of the post-industrial age, a new planning revolution was in the making.2 The idea that the modern city, though prosperous in many ways, has segregated society and broken down 328

the connections, relationships and security that exist in a community began to surface. The need to reintroduce the early successes and ties of a close-knit community that offers everything necessary within close proximity was the vision that fueled the New Urbanism movement. The movement arose in North America in the early 1980s with its first master planned community, Seaside in Walton County located on Florida’s northwestern panhandle coastline.3 Seaside challenged the planning traditions of the modernist city and proved to be a successful precedent in the return to small-town urban forms. Seaside began as an eighty-acre summer family retreat by the shoreline when J.S. Smolian bought the land in 1946.4 In 1978 he deeded the land to his grandson Robert S. Davis who had a particular vision for the creation of a new kind of town.5 Together he and his wife Daryl along with architectural partners Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk of Duany Plater-Zyberk Architects (DZP) studied the framework of many established American

Figure 1 - Development of Seaside from its existing condition in 1979 to the working plans and finally its aerial view in 1994.


Figure 2 - (Above) Seaside’s central square.

towns in the south. Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; Grayton Beach and Key West, Florida were among the communities they toured.6 In particular they searched for the characteristics that made these towns successful and where they fell short. Their studies became the foundation for the Seaside Code, creating a model and outlining the strict parameters of the New Urbanist community. In 1981 development on the Seaside project began.7 The town’s five key design principles were walkability, connectivity, mix-use and diversity, increased density and the foundation of a traditional neighborhood structure. Walkability essentially dealt with the quarter-mile walk, where most everything necessary was to be within no further than a five-minute walk. It also addressed the importance of designing pedestrian friendly streets, free of cars and maximizing on street parking where necessary. Connectivity suggested a hierarchy of alleys to boulevards to narrow streets. It dealt with the design of a high quality interconnected network that paid special attention to the pedestrian and the ease of walking. Mixed-use and diversity ensured that there was a combination of retail, homes and offices of different types, prices and sizes. It advocated the importance of diversity in class, race and age in the community. The focus of increased density encouraged that all services be in close proximity with the homes and offices. It stressed the need to compact buildings to ensure a comfortable walking network. Finally designing with the foundation of a traditional neighborhood structure meant centralizing public spaces and having a recognizable town

center and edge being denser toward the center. This structure emphasized the importance of having quality public spaces that addressed civic purposes. Each characteristic of the Seaside Code collectively created a quality of living that reflected an all inclusive, walkable and diverse community. New Urbanism was a reaction against the principles of urban growth in the modern city. In 1993 the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) was founded and produced the Charter of the New Urbanism, a document that formalized the movement’s planning philosophies.8 It directly opposed CIAM’s Athens Charter. In comparison, cities according with The Athens Charter primarily relied on the automobile for transportation making it feasible to separate large land uses.9 New Urbanist cities were centered on creating intimate pedestrian networks and using the simplicity of walking as the main mode of travel.10 Furthermore, The Athens Charter’s principles focused on separation, the separation of city zones, the segregation of class, and the isolation of routes, streets and paths. It proposed an efficient city of towers designated mainly for offices that represented the head of the city. New Urbanism concerned the idea of complete integration and diversity. Towns were designed with all low-story buildings, built closely together of varied size and use. Homes were to accommodate mixed income residents within the same vicinity. A significant result of the modern city was suburban sprawl. People seeking a different quality of life separate from the fast-paced, congested and polluted condition of the city. However this way of living essentially 329

URBAN SCALE DESIGN shaped areas segregated from each other and a big reliance of course on the necessity for a vehicle. New Urbanism was an attempt to stop the spread of placeless sprawl and create sensible growth management systems by creating all-inclusive neighborhoods within five minutes of each other. The new movement presented a complete reevaluation of structuring land uses and developed a comprehensive reinterpretation of urbanism. It took about ten years for Seaside to really develop into an exemplary town of New Urbanism values.11 By this time, the Charter of the New Urbanism had been written and the new congress had solidified itself as a new planning movement. Seaside became a haven for structures by renowned architects and began to develop into more of a resort town. Buildings all followed the strict zoning laws of the Seaside Code. The community had a distinct expression of a picture perfect town by a beautiful seashore. Some of the code’s particularities were for example; the requirement that every fence be of a different style than the rest of the block; or garages to be located at the back with every home to have a front porch set back 16 feet; and the use of gabled roofs, fabric canopies with wooden columns in particular.12 The code’s stringent parameters were part of an attempt to create diversity while maintaining a recognizable coherence within the neighborhood. Seaside’s largest amenity is the coastline and was designed specifically to take full advantage of it. The town plan was devised to best allow for waterfront access and views for every home and storefront. Sand pathways were incorporated 330

into the town’s pedestrian network, connecting it fully to the beach. Streets were designed to run perpendicular to the coastline directing the shore’s breezes into the site for increased ventilation. In terms of economic development, Seaside thrived however its popularity did not allow for it to maintain its New Urbanist mixedincome resident vision. The cheapest lot sale price, having no view, was approximately $31,000 in the 1980s and increased to $130,000 a decade later with an annual escalation of 17.3%.13 Seaside had quickly become a flourishing community beloved by all those who resided in it and even more so by those who visited. Cities evolve along with society and constantly demand regeneration to serve as up-to-date prosperous systems of growth. Both The Athens Charter and The Charter of the New Urbanism had a common goal of bettering the urban civilization. They influenced and changed the dynamics of many cities and proved to be prosperous in different ways. The modern city embraced its technological developments while

Figure 3 - (Above) Seaside Expansion: 1996 - 2007 Figure 4 - (Right) Typical walkable network on a residential avenue.

POST-CIAM the New Urbanist city brought the common sense values of the traditional neighborhood structure back. Seaside served as a successful precedent to the North American movement and became an icon for prosperous coastline towns. It effectively managed urban sprawl and presented a high quality of life many dreamed of having. It continues to grow and evolve with the Seaside Code and maintains its unique sense of security, community and diversity.


1. The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 2. Larice, Michael, and Elizabeth Macdonald. The urban design reader. London: Routledge, 2007. 3. Bressi, Todd W.. The Seaside debates: a critique of the new urbanism. New York: Rizzoli ;, 2002. 4. ”Official Site for Seaside, Florida News, Events, Real Estate, Vacation Rentals.” Official Site for Seaside, Florida News, Events, Real Estate, Vacation Rentals. (accessed October 26, 2012). 5. ”Official Site for Seaside, Florida News, Events, Real Estate, Vacation Rentals.” Official Site for Seaside, Florida News, Events, Real Estate, Vacation Rentals. (accessed October 26, 2012). 6. Mohney, David, and Keller Easterling. Seaside: making a town in America. New York, N.Y.: Princeton Architectural Press, 1991. 7. Duany, Andres. Views of Seaside: commentaries and observations on a city of ideas. New York: Rizzoli :, 2008. 8. Katz, Peter, Vincent Joseph Scully, and Todd W. Bressi. The new urbanism: toward an architecture of community. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994. 9. The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 10. Steuteville, Robert. New urbanism: best practices guide. 4th ed. Ithaca, NY: New Urban News Publications, 2009. 11. Bressi, Todd W.. The Seaside debates: a critique of the new urbanism. New York: Rizzoli ;, 2002. 12. Bressi, Todd W.. The Seaside debates: a critique of the new urbanism. New York: Rizzoli ;, 2002. 13. Duany, Andres. Views of Seaside: commentaries and observations on a city of ideas. New York: Rizzoli :, 2008. 14. Haas, Tigran. New urbanism and beyond: designing cities for the future. New York: Rizzoli International Publications :, 2008. FIGURES 1. Duany, Andres. Views of Seaside: commentaries and observations on a city of ideas. New York: Rizzoli :, 2008. 2. The Seaside Code. “The Code — The Seaside Research Portal.” The Seaside Research Portal. (accessed October 26, 2012). 3. Mohney, David, and Keller Easterling. Seaside: making a town in America. New York, N.Y.: Princeton Architectural Press, 1991. 4. ”Official Site for Seaside, Florida News, Events, Real Estate, Vacation Rentals.” Official Site for Seaside, Florida News, Events, Real Estate, Vacation Rentals. (accessed October 26, 2012).

Figure 4 - Typical walkable network on a residential avenue. 331




Reinventing the St. Lawrence Anastasija Dudnykova Every neighbourhood has its own past that throughout the course of time develops it in a significant mark on the city’s timeline. The past gives us an in depth comprehension of the neighbourhood’s spirit, where for many generations people were born, lived and died, successes were achieved, and spiritus loci emerged and shined. One would not realize without exploring St Lawrence Neighbourhood its graeatest achievements in city planning. Walking through it, we gain an impression of peaceful, green area with vast public spaces, human scale structures and a pleasant buzz on the streets during afternoon walks. In the span of its rich history, this neighbourhood started off as the first industrial area of the town of York. Until the 1970s, the neighbourhood was balancing on the verge of decline and stagnation. Fortunately, the city decided to take an initiative to redevelop the neighbourhood. The post 1970s redeveloped new part of the city that was located around the Esplanade area. During the 1970’s the City of Toronto launched a project of revitalizing old ‘brownfield’ areas which St. Lawrence neighbourhood was a part of. Originally, the land on which the St. Lawrence neighbourhood is now standing, was below the sea level and was part of the shoreline of the Lake Ontario. At the beginning of the 19th century, the city had to create a landfill, in order to develop the neighbourhood. The city gave land to the Railways Toronto, thus attracting industry in the St. Lawrence area. Throughout the course of time from 1900 to 1940s it was the industrial ‘hub’ of the city, which after the 40s started to move on the periphery of Toronto.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN When the project was in the process of developing, the city of Toronto estimated the objective of the plan. The proposal was to create better housing in the city for all income groups, to provide housing in the central city, to make sure the development follows the proposals and not the current market trends, and revitalize the historic Town of York. 1 The redevelopment of this neighbourhood, with its focal point located in the St. Lawrence Market, was on the very popular mayor’s - David Crombie - agenda.2 At those times, it was in the interest of the new, reform-liking council of the 1970s in Toronto. Established in late 70’s the neighbourhood was quick on gaining its jovially entertaining spirit of a walkable and romantic public realm. It is bounded by three streets, Young, Front and Parliament, thus locating it in a former industrial area. At that time the St. Lawrence historic district was called the East Downtown. 3 St. Lawrence became an exemplary neighbourhood, where the post-CIAM principles were applied and executed in such a brilliancy that many American neighbourhoods were erected on its principles. The significance of this site, revolves around it being one of the most significant heritage districts in the city - the Town of York. By the early 1970s, the area or the St. Lawrence lacked density particularly in its commercial element. Many small stores and offices were demolished due to the several development projects that were about to take place. However, these development projects by private sectors did not occur at the end. The elements like 334

the Old City Hall building, the St. Lawrence Market and the Gooderham Flatiron Building were the primary anchor points of the upcoming redevelopment. The emphasis was on the Esplanade area, where the aim was to create a largely pedestrian area with vast space to serve as large urban park, and the heart of the site. The objective was to plan the area with a purpose of tying all the arteries and various neighbourhoods of this site together. The aimed to design this place for people, not cars. The St. Lawrence site borders with the Gardiner Expressway and the railroad tracks on the south, by Front Street on the north, on the east there were industrial building, and it had Sherbourne and Jarvis St. running through its core. It was not viewed to be the greatest site at that time. However, it did posess potential of the greatness it reached today.4 The major disadvantage of the site was the toxic contamination of the soil.5 Fortunatelly, it was an easy problem to solve, since the existing soil had to be covered with the top soil due to

Figure 1 - (Above) St. Lawrence Historical Houses


Figure 2 - (Above) St. Lawrence Historical Heritage Buildings

the poor supporting conditions for the growth of vegetation anyways. There was also a smaller air pollution impact due to the close proximity of the Gardiner Expressway.6 The site was not fully suitable, thus the city created a landfill in the area of the old Esplanade district. It produced a significantly bigger site with more land to build on that was located within a walking distance from the lake. Site zoning was a sensetive metter to discuss due to the preservation of historic district and landfil issues. Fortunatelly, planners found a well working solution for this isssue. The Front street edge was to be of a commertial use with the mixed old and new building that respected the scale and height of the front street. Residential buildings were to be between 4 - 6 stories high.7 The St. Lawrence Market area was so unique that it needed special commercial and housing types. “Housing on the roof” with retail and offices was established to be particularly fitting.8 The Esplanade was to be established a special space ment for pedestrian circulation, public transit and recreation. This was to be the place where all activities of the neighbourhood come together. The Young street frontage was ment to be the place where the gateway to St. Lawrence civic area begins.9 And finally the Promenade area was to be a noise buffer place with views and pedestrian links to the waterfront.10 The Toronto of the 1970s was a city that works. Toronto’s downtown core was not rendered a ghost town by suburban emigration, unlike what was happening in a number of major urban areas in the U.S. With the slow but steady rise of the Parti Québécois in Quebec,

the city experienced a rapid influx of Englishspeaking Montrealers that it became the fastest growing metropolis in North America. During the turbulent period of Western nations focusing all of their energies on Cold War with the Soviet Union, Toronto was following its own path and was experienced a major building boom. There was a rapid rise of concrete apartment structures, downtown office towers, and the construction of the CN Tower. It was not a very succesful period for the historic structures of the city . Unfortunately urban planners were going through a trend of knocking down great iconic buildings like the Temple Building, the original Toronto Star Building, and the Mercer Reformatory and many more. In spite of this, it’s worth noting, Toronto was yet to become the cultural and gourmet destination it is today. During the time of political and economic restrain and recession, the city of Toronto spent almost 18 million dollars in land assembly loans from the federal government on buying the property in St. Lawrence.11 During these unstable times it was highly unlikely for the city to find funds on any other neighbourhood redevelopment project, thus all the hopes and big aspirations were focused on the St. Lawrence. The St. Lawrence project was considered to be a symbol, where the housing department and the city’s council housing policy had their ideals projected in. This project served to convey the message to the citizens of Toronto that the their city is trying hard to resolve its housing issues. The municipal forces of the city wanted everybody to see that the justice is being done in the right direction. Of course the project gave 335

URBAN SCALE DESIGN a great opportunity to the commercial side of planning. It gave a unique opportunity to many planners and architects to create a reputation for themselves. There were arguments that the project was treated more as a monument than a housing project for mixed income. Their view was correct. Only a project of such a scale can attract the attention of dealing with the site problems of and infill, thus becoming a symbol of its own kind. It was decided for the neighbourhood to constitute of mixed use and what is particularly important, a mixed income houses, condominiums and co-ops. This has distinguished this neighbourhood as mixed neighbourhood, free of any form of zoning or living segregation. It was a response to the CIAM ideas, where the idea segregation of different neighbourhoods was greatly amplified. After the CIAM ideals in planning showed its shortcomings, the planning points of view have shifted dramatically. The most important shift occurred in recognizing segregated neighbourhoods as wrong and poorly working experiment, that was performed from perspective of planning from above and looking from top down on the neighbourhood. This was where planners did not take a deep look inside the communities and analyzed what the actual needs of the neighbourhood are as opposed to enforcing on the neighbourhoods what they needs should be, and what these areas should look like. No one desired to create any other neighbourhood like Regent Park. Fortunately, in case of St. Lawrence the planners understood these key principles by combining public and 336

private investments in the redevelopment will result into combining forces of creating a great place that was an interest of both.12 In the Official Plan Proposals the aim was to create a new neighbourhood which takes all the possible benefits of its historical site of the old Town of York, and fuses them into a new, healthy and revitalized development. This was followed by creating more housing for low and moderate housing in Toronto as well as providing more housing in the core of the city.13 This neighbourhood was to be socially and physically integrated into its surrounding. The planners came up with two strategies that transformed this redevelopment into a grand public project realm. It was emphasized on including all social groups into the area, as well as to design the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood as a typical Toronto neighbourhood. Density in the neighbourhood is significantly higher than in the rest of Toronto neighbourhoods. Higher density than in the average north American cities us indicates a much better functioning neighbourhood.

Figure 3 - (Above) David Crombie Park in St. Lawrence Figure 4 - (Above Right) Plan of Major Streets Nodes and the Gardiner


One of the necessities of achieving goals of well-functioning neighbourhood was considered to be the mix of incomes. “In order to avoid creating a “public project” atmosphere ... the city should ensure that St. Lawrence itself will set the standard for redevelopment by a broad mix of people and uses.”14 The idea was that St. Lawrence was not to compare or even become Regent Park. There was to be a mix in land uses, mixes of building forms, mixes of type of tenure, mix of age groups, and most importantly the one that sparked the most heated conversations - the mix of income. It was determined that heterogeneity of incomes was encouraged regardless several public disagreements on the subject. The reason for designing St. Lawrence neighbourhood as a typical Toronto neighbourhood was for the reason that a typical Toronto neighbourhood blends with its surrounding.15 The planners decided to use the historical context of the neighbourhood as a marketing strategy, because the history is marketable.16 There were three main principles

alongside which the planners needed to work around. The existing Toronto street grid had to be extended into the neighbourhood, the streets had to form the basic infrastructure of the neighbourhood, and the public realm had to be street - or grade- related. The principles that the planners based their St. Lawrence neighbourhood decisions on, were a reaction to the Regent Park mistake. Unfortunately, Regent Park was designed in a modernist style, according to Le Corbusier ideas and principles, particularly drawing the inspiration from his Villa Radieuse.17 As seen in this example, Modernism favours large open spaces that are neither public nor private. It was in everyone’s best interest to avoid the same shortcomig in St. Lawrence neighborhood like in the Regent Park. The public reaction to this project was the greatest reward the city received for it. The citizens loved, and still love, St. Lawrence area. They are thankful to the city for the neighbourhood at actually works. When walking down the Front street, one experiences feelings of nostalgic happiness like on a European street. St. Lawrence became the high standard example of what great neighbourhood should be like.

NOTES 1. Hulchanski, David J. Planning New Urban Neighbourhoods: Lessons from Toronto’s St. Lawrence Neighbourhood. UBC Planning Papers. Canadian Planning Issue # 28. 1990, pg. 1 2. Greenberg, Ken. Walking Home; Life and Lessons of a City Builder. Random House Canada. 2011., pg.124 3. Ibid, pg. 118 4. Jones, Phillip H. Environmental Study of the Proposed St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Site. Toronto, 1975., pg. 2 5. Ibid, pg. 4 6. Ibid, pg. 5 7. Zeidler Partnership Architects. Design Guidelines for the Proposed St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Sites. Zeidler Partnership Architects. Toronto, 1975., pg. 32 8. Ibid 9. Ibid 10. Ibid 11. Gray, Cameron. St. Lawrence Neighbourhood in Toronto: An Analysis of Municipal Housing Policy. Papers on Planning and Design. Canada 1979., pg. 4 12. Greenberg, pg. 123 13. Gray, pg. 29 14. Ibid, pg. 29 15. Ibid, pg. 31 16. Ibid, pg. 23 17. Ibid, pg. 32 FIGURES 1. Panoramic View appropriated from: http://www. st-lawrence-market.html 2. Perspective appropriated from: stlawrencemarket. phb.php 3. Plan appropriated from: rogerkemble/ 4. Plan appropriated from: Design Guidelines, pg. 37





THE IDS CENTER: SHAPING MINNEAPOLIS LAUREL DAYAN The IDS Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota is a centerpiece of the city’s skyline; the tower is the tallest in Minnesota. The center, constructed beginning 1968 and completed 1972, was designed by Johnson/Burgee Architects. It consists of a hotel and an office tower connected at the base by the Crystal Court. The Crystal Court is an important part of downtown Minneapolis’s public spaces. The development was designed at a significant turn for the city of Minneapolis, Phillip Johnson’s personal architectural ambitions, and for architectural style as a whole. Its design responds to Minneapolis’s contextual needs for urban attraction, higher density and pedestrian friendly environments. The IDS Center encompasses an entire block, which allowed Johnson full control of its immediate surroundings and the reception of the pedestrian from all sides. Johnson’s personal relationship with the modern and post-modern architectural style is exemplified in this turning-point project. Johnson refigured conceptual pillars he had learnt from Mies van der Rohe to apply to the specifics of the IDS Center project. Johnson formally displays a response to the change of his architectural expression, an iteration of the glass-box office tower developed by Mies. Moves such as the Crystal Court used by thousands of people in one day portray how urban design can affect the shaping of a city in a remarkable magnitude. The project gave the downtown Minneapolis a focal point and re-ignited passion for the city.



The IDS Center designed by Johnson/ Burgee Architects is an emphatic skyscraper, the tallest in Minnesota. Taking up an entire block in the Minneapolis downtown core, the complex contains the tower, a smaller 8-storey office building, a 2-storey Woolsworth’s store, and a 19-storey hotel. Each are clad similarly but vary in set-backs. At the center of the four buildings is the Crystal Court. Its name is derived from the 121 ft. high glass ceiling, “a pyramid of metal framed glass and plastic cubes”1. The tower and the court had a significant impact on the city, and the region. The building’s design references the cultural, architectural, and urban context changes occurring in the world and Minneapolis. Determining the appropriateness of Phillip Johnson’s intervention will require an analysis of the contexts involved and the outcomes perceived of the project in its final design. Minneapolis was in the process of facing some difficulties with the increased use of cars beginning in the 1920s that escalated until the 1960s. Traffic was a serious concern for the area 340

and in 1924 was addressed in the City Planning Commission’s report on the problems in the city2. In 1960 General Mills moved their headquarters out of the city3 bringing the suburban flight issue to light. Other businesses followed suit, stating concern over land prices and traffic congestion. In 1970 Metro Center ’85, a report issued by the Minneapolis Planning and Development commission further outlined the concerns and potential solutions for relieving the problems of the city4. Concerns included lack of protection for pedestrians from vehicular pollution, no urban “plazas designed for human comfort and leisure, nor even safe streets at night”5. The lack of regard for the pedestrians stemmed from the nature of downtown and its role just for working vehicular commuters. A network of highways and the Mississippi River essentially cuts off downtown from the residential areas (Figure 1). This tends to prohibit pedestrians from making informal use of the area especially during the night. Metro Center ’85 proposed a pedestrian oriented downtown core by implementing skyways that connect the city buildings and

Figure 1 - (Above) The site’s relationship to its surroundings Figure 2 - (Right Top) The effect of the IDS Center reflective cladding Figure 3 - (Right Bottom) The division on the 9th and 10th levels with the mechanical floor

POST-CIAM having more parking lots on the perimeter of the core. A car free core was inspired by the Nicollet Mall, a road located directly to the north-west of the IDS Center, which has equal vehicular and pedestrian space. The proposal was supported by a group of businessmen that created the Downtown Council because they understood the implications and benefits of such a plan. “The cooperation between private and public sectors”6 led to parts of the Metro Center ’85 proposal actually getting implemented. The IDS Center project was conceived on the cusp of Minneapolis’ heightened awareness of its problems and needs. Construction began in 1968 and the complex was finished in 1972. Johnson’s design reflects the intended changes of the city and carefully considers the experience as a whole from inside the Crystal Court, to the feel of the surrounding streets, to how it would be seen from miles away. While the project in any sense was going to be a big intervention Johnson did what he could to avoid making it a harsh intervention, while still attending to the needs of the city. The building is fully clad in reflective glass, so although the 57 floors rise high above the other buildings, its highly reflective qualities allow it to blend into the horizon and “[carry] on a marvelous conversation with the sky”7 (see Figure 2). Weiming Lu, the downtown planner in Minneapolis when IDS Center was designed, feels the tower can be oppressive. He “cannot escape from the tower”8 because the building can be seen from almost anywhere in the Twin Cities. This is difficult to avoid with any tall development in a flat landscape. The project was

originally conceived as one 51 storey building on the city block in 1963. In 1967 Dayton Hudson Corporation joined the project expanded it to encompass the whole block and the next year brought Johnson/Burgee Architects on the job9. Working with the whole block allowed Johnson the control of the perception of the pedestrian. Vertically Johnson divided the tall tower with 2 mechanical floors after the 8th floor so from the street it does not feel massive (Figure 3). The implementation of the Crystal Court led to a separation of each of the buildings for the entrances to the court, which broke up the 300ft street fronts10. At each of these entrances there are two access points, one above and one below. The bridges above connect to the skyway system, the project provides a Grand Central Station for the skyways in that it “give[s] them a point of convergence”11. The court and the skyways made leaps and bounds to help revitalize business life in the downtown core by solving the problems of pedestrian comfort and use, during the day. Edward Carpenter, a journalist for the AIA Journal, remarks that he felt the lack of entertainment, culture and interesting food choices during his stay at the hotel in the IDS Center. He described the court and skyways as “full of life so long as the stores are open… Unfortunately when they close [the court] does too, for all intents and purposes”12. This solved the concern of the public at the time, though thinking for long-term improvement it could have done more for the city. With more programmatic elements that give life to the city at night it could have influenced further public use of the core at all times of the day, making it safer and exciting 341

URBAN SCALE DESIGN for the public. Johnson described his intent for the court to “have a sense of activity in the architecture itself”13 and give a feeling of being “surrounded with active people”14. Offsetting the entrances allowed Johnson to achieve this goal, he felt that if people did not have direct access through the court they might mingle (Figure 4). “The walls glitter with mirrored sawtoothed zigs and zags reflecting one another at a furious pace”15 to bring this sense of activity in the court’s architecture. This response to a public court was receptive to public desires. In 1994 Bill Clinton held a rally in the Crystal Court for his health care campaign and it was used as the backdrop in the Mary Tyler Moore Show and Prince’s Purple Rain music video16. Johnson provoked a more active engaging downtown during the day, which responded to Minneaopolis’ needs at the time. Phillip Johnson described his opportunity to work on the IDS Center “an architect’s dream”17. Johnson began his exposure to architecture as an observer. He was asked to head the architecture department of the Museum of Modern Art18. In an interview for the AIA Journal Johnson describes his views on architecture and himself. He has a fascination with the ‘heroes’ of history. This perhaps emanates from his experience with history at MOMA, perceiving the heroes of architecture that have made a difference. This passion for styles led him to make an exhibition presenting modern architecture at MOMA in 1932. He was excited about how different it was. He saw modern architecture as “the first real style since the Gothic”19. Johnson involved himself 342

in modernism, before coming an architect, and was highly inspired by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe and Jacobus Oud, he calls them his heroes at that time. He recalls though that he did not agree with everyone in the movement. Johnson discusses how the functionalists were afraid of history, while Mies was not. This unique perspective on architecture, that “form follows form, not function (always has and always will)”21 caused Johnson to stand out, for better or for worse. Many critics have described Johnson as a “self-seeking publicist…[his] pre-occupation with originality is obsessive”20. His firm’s early work he felt was “terribly scattered”22. Johnson wanted to be involved in the new style yet wanted to find a way to use history. He was excited about being brought onto the IDS Center project. Johnson explains, “We could get into the heart of a city-unlike museums-and affect the lives of millions”23. Johnson’s experience at the “eye of storms that have transformed architecture”24 and captivation with history has enlightened his design for the IDS Center. Johnson had the

Figure 4 - (Above) Plan of Crystal Court showing access points and their relationship FIgure 5 - (Opposite Top) The ‘zogs’


opportunity to work directly with Mies on the design of the Seagram Building in New York. The IDS Center design references many elements of the Seagram building and the ideals of the modern movement, with alterations reflective of Johnson’s personal beliefs and the context of the project. Johnson designs a building that challenges “Mies’s glass boxes”25. To break the volume of the tallest building in Minneapolis Johnson created what he calls ‘zogs’. The zogs are seven setbacks at each corner of the tower (Figure 5). Johnson uses the mechanical floors as the capital of the tower, as does Mies in the Seagram Building, and as levels in the center to break the vertical massiveness, similar to Mies’s TD Center in Toronto. Johnson additionally references some of the pillars of the modern movement that can be found in the Athens Charter, a manifesto written by the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne. The charter advises large open parks and high density towers that appear as objects in a landscape. It speaks of a segregated system where pedestrians and vehicles are separate26.

Johnson deems this appropriate for downtown Minneapolis, though he creates a covered plaza instead of open green space to provide protection from the cold Minnesota winters. This application of the CIAM ideals was reflective of changes in architecture at the time. The postmodern movement was beginning to emerge that did not support singular application of the modern programmatic systems to every site. This attention to the specific needs of Minneapolis made this project the missing piece of “a tightly knit and fully integrated core”27. Johnson’s approach to the IDS Center was a response to the various contexts occurring in Minneapolis, his personal style, and the world. The project was “Johnson building upon, rather than rejecting, his personal architectural past, to a wonderful effect”28. His connection and deep personal understanding of the response to concerns relating to cities, brought to light by CIAM, allowed Johnson to apply a relevant response for this project. He separated the pedestrians through the bridges that integrated the current skyway system and gave it a focus. This refocused the public’s attention from the traffic problems of the city to the pedestrian experience of the city. One may park somewhere further from the center and still comfortably reach their destination. The focus on the Crystal Court gave the residents “an anchor [that] made a statement that downtown was worth saving”29. The IDS Center gave Johnson a platform to express his architectural style. “It would seem that just as Johnson got to Minneapolis at just the right time, Minneapolis got to Johnson at just the right time”30.

NOTES 1. Donald Canty, “Evaluation: Single Complex City Core,” AIA Journal 68, no. 1 (1979): 57 2. Edward K. Carpenter, “Making Minneapolis Work” Design and Environment 6, no.2 (1975): 33 3. ibid., 35 4. ibid. 5. ibid. 6. ibid. 7. Canty, op.cit., 53 8. ibid. 9. “The IDS Tower and Crystal Court, 80 South 8th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota,” Placeography, Accessed October 25, 2012 http://,_80_ South_8th_Street,_Minneapolis,_Minnesota 10. ibid. 11. Canty, op.cit., 57 12. ibid. 13. Larry Millett, “IDS Center,” in AIA Guide to Downtown Minneapolis, (St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Press, 2010), 17 14. Andrea O. Dean, “Conversations: Phillip Johnson,” AIA Journal 68, no. 1 (1979): 49 15. Nory Miller, “I.D.S. Center Minneapolis, Minnesota” Johnson / Burgee: Architecture, (New York: Random House, 1979), 31 16. “The IDS Tower and Crystal Court, 80 South 8th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota,” 17. Canty, op.cit., 54 18. Dean, op.cit., 47 19. ibid., 45 20. ibid. 21. ibid., 48 22. ibid. 23. ibid. 24. ibid., 45 25. Miller op.cit., 31 26. Lewis Mumford, “The CIAM discourse on urbanism”, 19281960, (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000), 99 27. Canty, op.cit., 53 28. ibid., 58 29. ibid. 30. ibid. FIGURES 1. Aerial Map: appropriated from Google 2012, Accessed Oct. 27,2012 2,3,5. Images: appropriated from “I.D.S. Center Minneapolis, Minnesota” Johnson / Burgee: Architecture, (New York: Random House, 1979) 36 4. Plan: appropriated from “Evaluation: Single Complex City Core,” AIA Journal 68, no. 1 (1979): 56





ROBIN HOOD GARDENS ALEXANDRE BEZNOGOV The Robin Hood Gardens social housing complex, designed by Alison and Peter Smithson, was completed in 1972. Their vision to clean up a decaying social condition in Poplar, East London, would also test the theories they developed as part of a post-CIAM group called Team X. Drawing on the vocabulary and principles of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation the building was constructed out of pre-cast concrete and feature’s one and two story apartments within two towers that surround a communal green space in between. Following strict planning principles and the idea of separating functional aspects of the city, the building includes the Streets in the air concept of separating pedestrian traffic from vehicles by providing large communal balconies every three floors. The physical form of the project created a stationary condition rather than enable change. The planning principles employed in this project were insufficient to improve social conditions of the neighbourhood and the project deteriorated into a slum. Poor maintenance combined with the presence of criminal activity degrades the quality of life in these buildings that are now an example of CIAM failure to structure social change. The static built form of Robin Hood Gardens was an ineffective response to the social problems faced by a changing society.



Robin Hood Gardens was a social housing project designed by Alison and Peter Smithson in Poplar, East London. It aimed to remedy a torn urban fabric and repair the physical form of the site with the goal of providing a structured process for improving a social condition. However, the changing public realm of administrative bureaucracy and cultural context provides the challenge of adaptability to the physical form. The static built form of Robin Hood Gardens was an ineffective response to the social problems faced by a changing society. In a city that is rapidly changing, a built form based on temporally static ideals lacks the foresight to adapt. Robin Hood Gardens consists of two long apartment blocks on the east and west sides of the site. They surround a landscaped green space in the middle that the architects call a “stress free zone”1 because the blocks provide shelter from the noise and agitation caused by the dense traffic of the roads which isolate the site. The 8-lane corridors of the East India Dock Road running E-W and the N-S Blackwall Tunnel Approach meet to form 346

a massive intersection at the NW corner of the block which effectively cuts the site off from the rest of the urban fabric along the North and East edges. While the South edge of the site sits on a manageable 2-lane Poplar High Street, there is nothing there for local residents but another barrier created by the backs of warehouses and a continuous fence. This leaves Cotton Street to the West, a busy 4-lane connection from the East India Road to the Aspin Way Expressway. While Cotton St. may be considered as an obstacle to the only real public amenity in the area, the All Saints Church and its grounds, it is rendered completely inaccessible anyway by the daunting concrete acoustic wall which surrounds the entire project. Access to the site is provided by two small streets within this larger block and a few breaks along the acoustic wall. Robin Hood lane which provides the main access to the site runs parallel to the Blackwall Tunnel Approach, but it’s merely an extended driveway for street parking along the East edge. This is a fine example of a failed attempt to apply CIAMs idea of separate city function, creating

Figure 1 - Aerial view




ST Figure 2 - Site plan



an isolated and nearly inaccessible island. The site was sold off by the East India Docks Company in 1802 for the creation of cheap housing and by the 1870s it was considered a slum. The area became notorious for crime and in the 1960s it was bought by the London County Council (LCC) for redevelopment into mass social housing2. Robin Hood Gardens was completed in 1972, with the corpses of the previous buildings comprising the landscaped hill of the Garden. Today, high-rises and skyscrapers with their construction cranes can be seen from inside the Garden. The surrounding development of luxury lofts are pushing away the industrial heritage of the site and in the distance lays the symbolic Millennium Dome3 while Robin Hood Gardens has been standing still for 40 years. It is now out of context with the changing physical forms around it, its static position excludes it from the movement of the area. Its quality as a housing solution is sharply contrasted by its surroundings as it continues to decay while the urban fabric improves right on the other side of its barriers. The Smithsons theoretical work overstated Architecture’s ability to structure social change. At the 1953 CIAM 9 meeting, the Smithsons presented their “Urban ReIdentication Grid” which showed their new Doorstep philosophy. They challenged some of the Athens Charters tenants and claimed that human interaction was not properly addressed by the ‘four functions’ (Dwellings, Recreation, Work, and Transportation).” They chose to use the terms: House, Street, District, and

City, claiming that they were more physically concrete.4 As Ben Highmore wrote, In their view the doorstep philosophy means that the “crucial element of social architecture is the relationship between the unit of dwelling and its immediate social environment. The key is the vitality of belonging. The street itself is simply the medium in which those vital relationships are practiced.”5 This theory that the connection between home and street life was essential to creating human interaction led them to develop their infamous ‘Streets in the air’ design principle. Following CIAM’s idea to separate vehicle traffic from pedestrians they applied their streets in the air as large open air decks that would provide access to each unit while maintaining a street presence. Their doorstep philosophy took the form of recesses along these decks where the entrance doors would be. The intention was to create a sense of identity among residents by allowing them to put up planters and door mats while remaining out of the way of circulatory traffic. These theoretical notions failed to foster the social interaction that they claimed it would. A deck is simply not a street and the aforementioned condition of the physical streets around the site could never facilitate any real level human interaction being so vehicle oriented. Combined with an unfavourable social condition of a marginalized demographic group, these places created havens to facilitate illicit activities such as vandalism and drug trafficking. The decades following the construction 347

URBAN SCALE DESIGN of Robin Hood Gardens saw a multitude of changes in the social imaginary and political reality of housing in Britain: publicly funded council housing was no longer seen a normal way of life and become a sign of social failure. “She [Alison Smithson] even wondered whether it was wise to base socialist ideals on the standards and values of the English middle class.”6 The requirement for social housing remains a political issue today as the response that was considered appropriate in the ‘60s quickly became inappropriate with changes in public values and political opinions. In 1961, London County Council still had 51,000 people on its waiting list. To assist their architects at County Hall, the LCC changed its policy to allow the commissioning of private architectural firms. In 1963, Alison + Peter Smithson were commissioned to work on three small sites in the area. After 1965, the LCC was succeeded by the Greater London Council (GLC) with an agenda of slum clearance even though inner London’s population was declining since the war7. The GLC expanded the site by removing Manisty St and demolishing the Grosvenor Buildings of 1892 to create a coherent site between Cotton St and the Blackwall Tunnel approach8. The site zoning required a density of 136 people/acre, identified a deficiency of open space, and required that living rooms and bedrooms be protected from the noise of the traffic. The project was finished with a density of 142 people/acre and the spaces were designed to the Parker Morris space standard (1961), 348

which set guidelines for minimum room sizes. The buildings were occupied by 1971 and the project was finished in 19729. Robin Hood Gardens was a complete failure of social housing reform which brought about the end of the Smithsons international status from their involvement with Team X and CIAM. Upon occupancy, the residents horrendously vandalized the property and within decades it deteriorated back into a slum10. The failure to amend the social condition of the area is seen as a deficiency of architectures influence outside of built form and led to the scrutiny of the architects’ theoretical work for being based on incorrect temporal assumptions. Today, the project is set for demolition with plans for redevelopment yet again. The London Borough of Tower Hamlets (current owners) conducted a survey in which most residents wanted demolition and re-housing instead of renovations and refurbishment even though the amount of space they will have would be reduced. Tower Hamlets estimates that it would cost £77,000 per unit for refurbishment

Figure 3 - (Above) An unforgiving acoustic wall resembles a concrete barbwire fence seperates Robin Hood Gardens from Cotton St Figure 4 - (Right) A street in the air: precast concrete social environment


which it considered to be excessive and economically unfeasible11. However, demolition represents a failure of sustainable practices due to the embodied energy of concrete and the subsequent reconstruction processes. But as Charles Jencks explains in his book The Language of Post-Modern Architecture: The Smithsons claim they have provided a sense of place. Indeed the space isn’t homogeneous, it has kinks and an artificial mound near the centre. But these deviations from the norm and the subtle cues of visual separation are hardly enough to override the repetitive pattern and homogeneous material. These signify more strongly ‘council housing’, ‘anonymity’, ‘the authorities didn’t have enough money to use wood, stucco, ect.’ – in short, they signify ‘social deprivation’.12 Perhaps the social costs, on those have no choice but live there, out weight the economic and environmental costs of redeveloping it. What

was originally seen as an appropriate response to social housing, through systematic and functional urban planning and design became symbolic of the short comings of rational theory to deal with social change. Robin Hood Gardens has gone down in history as a warning to those who seek to bring social change through architecture. It is a response to short lived temporal condition which fell out of context quickly and one that was unable to adapt. While the need for such a project rises from the symptoms of social and political context of modern cities, such an approach to design creates buildings with an expiration date rather than architecture which stands for something more.

NOTES 1. Smithson, Alison, and Peter Smithson. “The Smithsons on Housing.” In Robin Hood Gardens Re-Visions. Edited by Alan Powers. London: Twentieth Century Society, 1970, 63. 2. Powers, Alan. “A Critical Narrative.” In Robin Hood Gardens Re-Visions. Edited by Alan Powers. London: Twentieth Century Society, 2010, 25. 3. van den Heuvel, Dirk. “Robin Hood Gardens Today.” In Architecture is Not made with the Brain. Edited by Mohsen Mostafavi. London: Architectural Association, 2005, 32. 4. Highmore, Ben. “Streets in the Air: Alison and Peter Smithson’s Doorstep Philosophy.” In Neo-Avant-Garde and Postmodern. Edited by Mark Crinson and Claire Zimmerman. New Haven, CT: Yale Center for British Art, 2010, 91 – 92. 5. Ibid., 93 6. van den Heuvel, op. cit., 33. 7. Powers, op. cit., 25 – 26. 8. Ibid., 27. 9. Ibid., 28 - 30. 10.van den Heuvel, op. cit., 32. 11. Powers, op. cit.,19. 12. Jencks, Charles. The Language of Post-Modern Architecture. Fourth ed. New York: Rozzoli, 1984, 24. FIGURES 1. Aerial view: appropriated from: Smithson, Alison, and Peter Smithson. “The Smithsons on Housing.” In Robin Hood Gardens Re-Visions. Edited by Alan Powers. London: Twentieth Century Society, 1970, 89. 2. Satellite map: appropriated from 3. Street view: appropriated from 4. Street in the air: appropriated from: Smithson, op. cit., 16.





ROBIN HOOD GARDENS NIKITA YAKUSHEV Completed in 1972, the Robin Hood Garden was initially constructed as a form of social housing, and is to this day located in Poplar, East London. The architects Alison & Peter Smithson were members of the CIAM Team X, and the design of this complex bears both strong similarities in the philosophy of the movement, and fundamental variations. Working within the context of the rebuilding post-war London environment, the architects were driven by the idea that a careful application of design could birth better housing, which would then better the lives of it’s inhabitants, and ultimately contribute towards a better society as a whole. Once completed, however, the project found itself in the midst of a changing values. Two decades past it’s inception, the project fell into disrepair, but no single element of the context can be credited with the project’s failure as a publicfound found dwelling of utopian aspiration. Instead, a wide spectrum of contextual shifts, from political to social and economic values, contributed to the present state of the complex. The street, both an integral part of the concept, and a significant contextual issue, was the means through which the Smithsons attempted to facilitate communal way of living, and yet it remains, that the project is now in the state of seclusion and separation. Many argue that the Robin Hood Gardens is a heritage of modern architecture, while others point out to the social impact of the project, but as of recently, the decision was made that will change the region once more.



To architects Alison and Peter Smithsons, the street is much more that transportation artery. They recognize a strong relationship between the place of dwelling, and the direct social environment around it. In the vernacular environment “...children run about, people stop and talk, vehicles are parked and tinkered with: in the back gardens are pigeons and pets and the shops around the corner: you know the milkman, you are outside your house in your street.”1 A strong sense of identity is present in this interaction, and it is precisely this condition that the Smithsons identify as the “Doorstep Culture”. This concern with the ‘Ordinary and Banal’, first presented through the “Urban Re-Identification Grid” at CIAM 9, gained a large popularity amongst the young and ambitious members of the team. For architects, however, the recognition of the impoverished neighborhoods’ ability to autonomously create sociable living conditions required2 questioned the adequacy of defined architectural doctrines within the Charter of Athens. 352

“The planning technique of the Charte d’Athene was analysis of functions. Although it made it possible to think clearly about the mechanical disorders of towns it proved inadequate in practice because it was too diagrammatic a concept. Urbanism considered in terms of the Chane d’Athene tends to produce communities in which the vital human associations are inadequately expressed. It became obvious that town building was beyond the scope of purely analytic thinking-the problem of human relations through the net of the “four functions.”3 Such shift in architectural values marked the beginning of the end for CIAM, but its influence on Smithsons’ was evident. The concern for public housing, and the well-being of the inhabitants has remained the primary focus. What has changed, however, is the scale at which these issues were addressed. Recognizing the connectivity of the street to the dwelling meant that change of the house had to also address the conditions and values of the street. Working in the context of post-

Figure 1 - (Above) Section - Landcaste


Figure 2 - (Above) Street in the Sky

war London, partially rebuilding and in part amongst the ruins, they began their exploration for the new vision of the street – one that removed its inhabitants form the destruction and dangers of the ground level, but maintained the vitality and the integral connection to the place.4 The formulated solution was presented in the proposal of the Golden Lane Housing and although it was not the project chosen for realization, the concept of the Street in the Sky (Fig. 2) was first manifested by Smithsons’ in the Robin Hood Gardens public housing project in the 1960’s. The context of local urban renewal, in which the project took part, was the outcome of a century-and-half worth of the site’s evolution. From it’s first sale and development of the dense low-value housing in 1802, to the demolition of the slums that became of those housing in 1870’s, and the construction of the model dwellings - Grosvenor Buildings in 1892 in its place. That also fell victim to ill repair and the foster of crime, consequently being demolished and combined by the London County Council with adjacent lots to be redeveloped into for a mass-housing project of yet another scale.5 It seems that the history of the site not only influenced, but almost dictated the type of urban renewal that took place there, and while the reasons for the failure of each project differs, the current inhabitant of the site - Robin Hood Gardens - faces the fear of a similar conclusion. The design of the complex was within the 60’s period of system’s building. Being a composite of both pre-cast and on-site concrete contributed to the durable esthetic of the complex, while the increased government

subsidy for 5-9 storey high-density housing during the 60’s dictated the height of the development.6 Completed in 1972, the two concrete structures vividly depicted the doorstep philosophy that was to be embodied into it. With every third storey being a street in the air, the adjacent units provided for the density that was to fuel the street’s vitality. By placing the entrances off the housing at the right angle to the street-deck allowed for people to contribute personal identity in the form of detail, while simultaneously being out of way for traffic (Fig. 4). This strategy of fostering social life above the level of the ground has already been proven to be effective in other projects of the type, and documented as an effective in facilitating and encouraging communal use.6 This was also a logical move in the pragmatic sense, as it avoided the use of dark corridors for open-air passages, although the context of the London climate raises questions of comfort for leisure use. Where the philosophy differs from the vernacular, however is in the materials used. Concrete, not ageing gracefully, created heavy and even depressing tectonic environment around and above the heads of the inhabitants. Aside from the aspiration of the doorstep philosophy, however, the complex in a large part has been formed by the zoning requirements of the time. The first – responding to the housing needs of the time called for density of 136 people/acre - the project achieved a ratio of 142 by extending vertically and linearly along the site. The industrial context of the time also required for two other issues to be addressed. With three large high-traffic arteries around the 353

URBAN SCALE DESIGN site, to the east – Blackwall Tunnel; north – East India Dock Road; west – Cotton Street, the issue of sound was prevalent.8 The second was the lack of green-space within the industrial fabric. The solution developed through implementing the ‘Land-castle’ strategy.(Fig. 1) Hard on the perimeter, an ‘acoustic’ concrete wall served as a primary barrier for the sound.9 The foliage on top of the green roof above the parking moat provided protection during the summer days. The vertical repetition of elements broke up the sound as it collided with the buildings, and acoustic panels were installed on the ceiling by the windows prevented the resonance within the apartment. On the inside of the Land-castle, two grass hills made from the debris of the previous demolition and visibly inspired by the Silbury Hill created an internal garden - a “stress free zone” as described by the architect. The hills in themselves, tallest being almost 2 storeys, also acted as the sound barrier, and prevented the children from playing ball sports, thus making excessive noise. (Fig. 3) This design, however, created a sharp condition of separation of the interior to that of outside and in the context of changing social values and continual development this separation created a condition of alienation of the complex and it’s inhabitants from it’s surrounding context. Envisioned within the industrial, the Smithsons identified the East India Dock 1806 and 1844 Railway as two historical ‘fixes’ to work with, but the emptying out of the port in 1972, caused by larger ships, containerization, and old fashioned working practices, dramatically changed the economic 354

drives of the area soon after the project’s completion.10 While the Smithsons’ envisioned great leisure opportunity for the docklands, the change in social values have dictated a different approach. The social opinion began to see the Britain’s publicly founded housing program as more of a social flaw rather than a norm of life,11 and with less people renting and more focus on ownership and individual gratification Robin Hood Gardens soon saw a decline in maintenance and with it increased instances of vandalism. In pointing out the contrast of those things private and those owned in common12 Smithsons highlighted a very prevalent factor, as by 1981 being already in private hands, the development of dock-lands, was raging full steam forward with profit main driver. Two decades past it’s inception, the project now stood isolated and in disrepair amongst the luxurious developments and the booming business centre of Canary Wharf. The housing were no longer fit for the kings and stars, as illustrated by the pop-art collages of the Smithsons, but was somewhat of a Little

Figure 3 - (Above) Sound Protection Figure 4 - (Right) Space of Identity


India instead.13 What happened? After all, the project aimed to provide the best living conditions for the working class of the time. It appears that it did not fail due to poor deign, nor due to a single change of context - be it political, social, or economic domains. Instead, the continual success of the project relied on the stability of all the external factors - stability that was not compatible with the change of values, political aspirations and economic drives at work in London of the time. Before recently, there were two stable domains under which the project stood upon. It was the stability of the monumental concrete - able to withstand aggressive abuse and renovations, and the immunity of being listed as a site of Historical significance. The latter provides stability not to the current tenants, but rather to the developers of the Blackwell Regeneration Project. The two attempts at listing the project as a such failed in part due to the increasingly ad-hoc political structure, with its lack of transparency and questionable quality of advice and motivations, and in part due to the general treatment post-

war architecture revives when considered for historical preservation.14 In March 2012, Horden Gerry Lee and Aedas’ controversial £500 million proposal for development on and around the Robing Hood Gardens complex received the go-ahead and is currently in the first phase of the development.15 The plan calls for nearly 1600 new homes on the 7.7 hectares, out of which the Robin Hood Gardens occupies only 0.9. It is to be demolished and rebuild anew, and the motivations are visibly economic. At the controversial renovation cost of £70 000 per unit for the existing complex, the embodied energy of the materials used and any other environmental concern takes a secondary role with profit again leading the way. Unlike with Prutte Igoe, however, the grand aspirations of the Smithsons’ are recognized, but only on paper, as development continues - fueled by new values, believes and strategies of the 21st century London.

NOTES 1. Highmore, Ben. 2010. Streets in the Air: Alison and Peter Smithson’s Doorstep Philosophy. In Neo-avant-garde and Postmodern, edited by Mark Crinson and Claire Zimmerman. New Haven: Yale Center for British Art., 87 2. imbd., 91 3. imbd., 83 4. imbd., 81 5. Powers, Alan. 2010. A Critical Narrative. In Robin Hood Gardens Re-Visions, edited by Alan Powers. London: Twentieth Century Society., 25 6. imbd., 26 7. imbd., 34 8. Smithson, Alison, and Smithson, Peter. 1970. The Smithsons On Housing. In Robin Hood Gardens Re-Visions, edited by Alan Powers. London: Twentieth Century Society., 60 9. imbd., 61 10. Powers, Alan. 2010. A Critical Narrative. In Robin Hood Gardens Re-Visions, edited by Alan Powers. London: Twentieth Century Society., 27 11. van den Heuvel, Dirk. 2005. Robin Hood Gardens Today. In Architecture is not made with the brain, edited by Mohsen Mostafavi. London: Architectural Associatio., 34 12. Smithson, Alison, and Smithson, Peter. 1970. The Smithsons On Housing. In Robin Hood Gardens Re-Visions, edited by Alan Powers. London: Twentieth Century Society., 69 13. van den Heuvel, Dirk. 2005. Robin Hood Gardens Today. In Architecture is not made with the brain, edited by Mohsen Mostafavi. London: Architectural Association., 32 14. Powers, Alan. 2010. A Critical Narrative. In Robin Hood Gardens Re-Visions, edited by Alan Powers. London: Twentieth Century Society., 44 15. Waite, Richard. 2012. Game over for Robin Hood Gardens. In The Architectural Journal, London FIGURES 1. Greenspace: by Nikita Yakushev 2. Street in the Sky: appropriated from Powers, Alan. 2010. A Critical Narrative. In Robin Hood Gardens Re-Visions, edited by Alan Powers. London: Twentieth Century Society. 3. Sound Protection: by Nikita Yakushev 4. Place of Identity: appropriated from http://en.wikiarquitectura. com/index.php/Robin_Hood_Gardens





Revolution of Manhattan BRAJONA BREMACHANDRAN The World Trade Center also known as the “Twin Towers” were the tallest buildings in the world from 1972-1974, before it got destroyed on September 11, 2001 tragedy. The skyscrapers were built to draw attention to Lower Manhattan and to stand as a symbol of New York in the financial district in the global community. Before the Twin Towers were built, in 1970s the city gained a reputation as a graffiti-covered, crime-ridden city and the government was also facing imminent bankruptcy. The city eventually picked itself up by creating a commercial, financial and culture district. The 110 story towers were opened on April 4th, 1973, in the heart of New York City, lower west side of Manhattan. It was designed in the early 1960’s by a well-known architect at the time, Minoru Yamasaki, and assistance from Associates of Troy, Michigan and Emery Roth and Sons of New York. Although, Yamasaki was the architect responsible for designing the Twin Tower he had certain requirements that had to be met by the government, which limited his creativity of the buildings. These certain requirements are associated with the social, physical, economical and political context. While Yamasaki and the other architects were designing this building they had to be aware of certain aspects of the building; the space surrounding the building and city planning regulations (physical context), the community’s opinion on whether the building should be built (social context), the estimated cost and whether the skyscraper will be a benefit for the city (political/ economical context).


In the late 1950’s to the late 1960’s, Lower Manhattan, especially midtown, was going through an economical depression compared to the other boroughs of New York. It was said by many famous analysts at the time, that Lower Manhattan would not be nearly as successful as midtown Manhattan and that the government was wasting both time and money1. Homer Bigart, and the other analysts were indeed accurate, these buildings did not project as much gross as the buildings should have. Little did they know that their predictions were absolutely incorrect. Today, Lower Manhattan has a population of more than 900,000 citizens, and is said to be the city of America’s wealth (refer to figure 2). There are currently 5818 high-rise buildings, (refer to in figure 1)2 and the driving force behind these constructions of buildings was a unique tower designed by Minoru Yamasaki. The World Trade Centre was suggested by David Rockefeller in the late 1940s to help stimulate urban renewal. Finally was designed in the late 1960s by Minoru Yamasaki as lead architect and Emery Roth & 358

Sons as associate architect. Yamasaki wanted to incorporate many ideas into this sophisticated building, however, there are certain factors to consider when designing a building. The factors that affected the design of the World Trade Centre were; the space surrounding the building, city planning regulations (physical context), the community’s opinion on whether the building should be built (social context), the estimated cost and whether the skyscraper will be a benefit for the city (political/ economical context). New York City is the most populous city in the United States, consisting of 8, 244,10 people distributed over a land of area of 305 square miles, and also one of the most populated higher-developed cities in the world. New York City consists of five boroughs which are: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most diverse city in the world.3 The reason for this was due to the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, which was the original design of Manhattan, which used the

Hudso n River


Financial District

Figure 1 - (Above) Manhattan Skyline Figure 2 - (Below) Lower Manhattan City


Hu nR dso r ive

Figure 3 - (Above) Site Plan of the WTC

grid plan system. The commissioners published the plan in March 1811, with 12 main northsouth avenues and numerous cross streets with Broadway running at an angle through it.4 The reason for this was to keep the circulation of air abundant to limit the spreading of diseases. The grid plan was used due to the fact that it was cheaper to build these types of houses because straight-sided and right-angled houses are the cheapest. Moreover, using a grid system is an easier method of surveying land especially for real-estate purposes. Yamasaki wanted to incorporate the grid system to the design of the World Trade Centre also known as the Twin Towers, because he felt that this is what makes Manhattan so unique from the other cities in the world (refer to figure 3) His initial idea was to have each building correspond with the grid plan and to use this idea so streets would not have to be blocked permanently. Although his idea was rejected by the Port Authorities due to the amount of traffic this would cause. He then thought of making the Twin Towers a cube, all equal sides, to relate this to the grid plan. Most of the streets and the avenues of the plan were perpendicular to each other; thus giving the building a square base or a rectangular base. Yamasaki chose the square base (all sides are equal) because he was designing two identical buildings and so this concept would relate to each of the buildings and Manhattan’s grid pattern. Also the Zoning resolution which was created in 1961 used the Floor Area Ratio regulation instead of the 1916 Zoning by law which focused more on the setback rules.4 With this new regulation intact, Yamasaki had

to incorporate this new regulation which was “[a] building’s maximum floor area is regulated according to the ratio that was imposed to the site where the building is located.”5 Another feature of the zoning resolution was that if the developers or architects included public space to their buildings, they would get additional area for their buildings as a bonus. Yamasaki had to follow these regulations for his design to work. The Twin Towers are located in the heart of Manhattan, known as Lower Manhattan which is known for their financial district and government buildings for the city of New York. The World Trade Centre consisted of four other low-rise towers, taking up a total of 16-acres (65,000 m2) superblock, which also consisted of a PATH station underground, New York’s subway line.6 When the project was given to Yamasaki and Associates the Port Authority had certain criteria that had to be considered in the design of the Twin Towers. The Port Authority required a project with a total of 10 million square feet of office space. After many attempts of trying to construct the buildings, Yamasaki chose the concept of the twin towers and the three-low rise structures. The reason for the tall design was to maximize the space of the plaza (refer to figure 4), which would follow the zoning resolution, and after discussing with the Port Authorities it was decided to construct the world’s tallest buildings. During a press conference in 1973, Yamasaki was asked, “Why two 110-story buildings? Why not one 220-story building?” His response was: “I didn’t want to lose the human scale.” Although Yamasaki had other plans for the Twin Tower he was limited to the amount of 359

URBAN SCALE DESIGN creativity due to the Port Authority’s envisions. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey began plans to build the World Trade Center. Minoru Yamasaki and Associates were hired to design the two towers and as soon as they thought their design was worthy to show the Port Authority and the public. That is when they were criticised for the design. Some of the critics went as far as calling the building “monolith”, and this would ruin the skyline, others said that this would disrupt television reception, and strain the city services.7 Even with these negative critiques the project was approved, because it followed the 1960s resolution and the Port Authorities were convinced that this would be the driving force to help Lower Manhattan economically, and construction began in 1966. One major problem that these architects encountered was the site of the World Trade Center because the location was Radio Row, which was homes to hundreds of commercial, industrial tenants, property owners, small businesses and 100 residents, many whom resisted forced relocation. Many people and businesses in that area filed an injunction challenging the Port Authority’s power of eminent domain, but the court refused to accept the case. Members of the Real Estate Board of New York, led by Empire State Building owner Lawrence A. Wien, expressed concerns about this multiple million dollar office space going on the open market, competing with private sectors that were mostly vacant in that area. This idea got many New York councillors’ worried due to the fact that this costly building could be unsuccessful, but after many decisions the Port Authorities were able 360

to re-convince the councillors. The World Trade Centre design brought criticism of its aesthetics from the American Institute of Architects and other groups; they described the new skyscraper as “just glass-and-metal filing cabinets”. The twin towers small office windows, 18 inches wide framed by pillars that restricted views on each side were criticized by many people. The Austin J. Tobin Plaza was often invaded by large winds at ground level causing a lot of people to complain and not bringing many sales to the plaza. This impacted the companies that were in the Twin Towers because they had no area in the building that was suitable for social gathering with clients. In 1999, the outdoor plaza was renovated which involved adding new benches, planters, new restaurants, food kiosks and outdoor dining areas.8 This addition helped many businesses and brought a lot of sales to the plaza. The World Trade Center was initially planned to be on the east side of Lower Manhattan. This would bring the financial district near the scenic views of the Manhattan Bridge; thus increasing the volume of international commerce coming. But after realizing that this would interfere with the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad the Port Authorities knew that New Jersey would not allow the design to be passed. After new automobile tunnels and bridges had opened across the Hudson River the Port Authority director, Austin J Tobin, and the Governor of New Jersey, Richard J. Hughes, discussed about the problem and were not able to reach an agreement.9 New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, pushed hard for


Figure 4 - (Above) WTC’s Plaza Figure 5 - (Right) Railway Connection (PATH



New Jersey


Hudson River


the project, insisting it would benefit the entire city. After many meetings on multiple occasions an agreement was made informing that the Port Authority offered to take over the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad to have it become the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) (refer to figure 5). The Port Authority also decided to move the World Trade Center project to the Hudson Terminal building site on the west side of Lower Manhattan, a more suitable location for New Jersey commuters arriving from the PATH. With this agreement, New Jersey agreed to support the World Trade Centre project. The Port Authority required approval from the governor of New York and New Jersey receiving $335 million. Having the location changed of such an important building could decrease the financial and residential cost of the east side by having all the attraction near the west-side. The reason the Port Authority’s wanted the skyscrapers to be the tallest in the world was because this would attract more people to Lower Manhattan. Although, the building had to reposition itself from its initial site which affected the original

plan it still symbolized the financial district. In conclusion, it is evident that many factors contributed to these well known sky scrapers. Certain factors such as the ten million rooms, relocation of businesses and homes, and the initial grid plan which was rejected were some of the various factors In the end, each floor comprised of 3700 m2 for occupancy, and 350 000 m2 of office space. In total, the seven buildings had a total of 1 040 000 m2 of space.10 Also, an essential member of CIAM, Le Corbusier had an impact on these skyscrapers through the form of the five points of architecture because Yamasaki attempted to incorporate them into the design. Even though the Twin Towers had altered the status of New York and the American culture, many still had criticized the making of these towers because of its height. Despite the negative misconceptions, the construction began in 1966 and changed the lives of people of Lower Manhattan. It also ended up to becoming the sign of the United States capital. In the end, The World Trade Centre was finally opened on April 4th, 1973 and was unfortunately destroyed on September 11, 2001.

NOTES 1. Fitzgerald, Alison. “Financial Capital of the World: NYC.” Wired New York. Last modified October 29, 2009. Accessed October 28, 2012. http:// 2. “The World’s Most Expensive Real Estate Markets - CNBC.” Stock Market News, Business News, Financial, Earnings, World Market News and Information - CNBC. Last modified 2012. Accessed October 28, 2012. Real_Estate_Markets?slide=9. 3. Debbie, Levy. The World Trade Center, 48. New York: Detroit : KidHaven Press, 2005. 4. Johnson, David. “World Trade Center History — Infoplease. com.” Infoplease — Free Online Encyclopedia, Almanac, Atlas, and more — Last modified 2007. Accessed October 28, 2012. http://www. 5. Ibid. 6. Debbie, Levy. The World Trade Center, 48. New York: Detroit : KidHaven Press, 2005. 7. Ibid. 8. Ibid. 9. Jameson , Doig. “Construction of the World Trade Center.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Last modified 2001. Accessed October 28, 2012. 10. Johnson, David. “World Trade Center History — Infoplease. com.” Infoplease — Free Online Encyclopedia, Almanac, Atlas, and more — Last modified 2007. Accessed October 28, 2012. http://www. FIGURES 1. Manhattan Skyline appropriated from page/page1 2. Lower Manhattan City and Railway connection appropriated from Map of Manhattan 3. Site Plan of WTC appropriated from http://aedesign. 4. WTC’s Plaza appropriated from\





The World Trade Center Yi Fan (Helen) Xie The World Trade Center is an example of an economically driven development, designed by Architect Minoru Yamasaki and structural engineering firm Worthington, Skilling, Helle & Jackson, and it was opened in 1973. The final design consisted of a complex of 7 buildings and a 5 acre elevated plaza. The center replaced an existing site of small businesses and residences, forced an estimated 1400 commercial businesses and 30,000 workers to relocate. The site was chosen for its close proximity to where high real estate values were in the city. The approval of building the World Trade Center struggled through 7 years of debate and negotiation. During the process there were many disputes but eventually the court overlooked those disputes and construction went forward. There were many issues the design team neglected and these decisions ultimately led the development to be criticized on many levels. The World Trade Center initiated other major office building constructions in its immediate surroundings, which magnified traffic, and transportation problems already created by the building itself. The World Trade center stimulated local economy but it had also invited more traffic than it could handle, creating both traffic and pedestrian jams. Public safety was also an issue in the building as the plazas were rarely occupied due to the wind effects as well as the introduction of underground pedestrian network in its concourse level. Other problems included sewage, solid waste disposals, and massive energy consumptions, which physically polluted the city. Although the project was criticized on many levels, World Trade Center was eventually recognized as a worldwide monument.



The Construction of The World Trade Center started when America was becoming globally involved with big dreams and a bright outlook. The center was completed in 1973 when America was economically exhausted with the ongoing Vietnam War and the Watergate Scandal. The World Trade Center, with its real estate targeted planning through fluctuating periods of American economy, overcame critics and stood as one of the famous landmarks today.1 The development of the World Trade Center could not have happened without its political manipulation. New York City’s main business had always been real estate development. The World Trade Center attempts to encourage businesses to return to the Lower Manhattan from suburban residential districts. Banks and law firms situated close to the New York Stock Exchange dreaded at the thought that lower Manhattan would slowly fade away from its formal identity of New York City’s financial center. In the 1940s, David Rockefeller, an influential figure and vice president of 364

Chase Manhattan bank, initiated the concept of erecting a World Trade Center to save his private investments and boost his businesses.2 Port Authority is a dual effort by Governors of New York and of New Jersey, with qualities of both public and private developer.3 The World Trade Center is an urban project built entirely for private interests. The political context and planning procedures were corrupted and associated with the love for prizes. Political and economical factors completely overruled the other contextual considerations. Port authority took financial risks that private developers were supposed to take, while gaining few of the profits.4 The site to construct the World Trade Center was moved from the initial suggestion of East Manhattan to the West. The final decision was not in reference to a master plan or recommendations from city planners. However, it was a mutual agreement between the two governors to save a small commuter railroad from shutting down.5 The reason for demolishing the site was that the existing buildings on site

Figure 1 - (Above) Timeline of Events Figure 2 - (Below) Radio Row


Figure 3 - (Above) WTC Site Before Demolition Figure 4 - (Below) WTC Site After Demolition

were too expensive to restore. The demolished site was named “Radio Row”, where 13 blocks of electronic shops, flower shops, restaurants, book stalls made up one of the more animated small commercial districts in Manhattan.6 The developers demolished the smaller streets and left Greenwich Street and Dey Street as the main streets that divided the World Trade Center site into four monumental building blocks. Still not satisfied, the East West Street was eliminated to provide a superblock, purposely carved out of the streets to be completely out of scale among the small building blocks in the area.7 Without considering the existing context of 1400 small businesses that perform nearly 300 million businesses annually, around 30,000 workers wereforced to leave the area. The businessmen from Radio Row protested for their district, however was turned down by the court under the influence of Port Authority. Construction continued to proceed. Architect Yamasaki was hired in 1962 by Port Authority to design an office building for the program of 10 million square feet of office space. The agency appeared uninterested to include any programs except office spaces; features lower Manhattan needed to transform itself: housing, cultural facilities, lively restaurants, retail establishments. Port Authority thought that office spaces alone could cure the lifeless neighbourhood. Office spaces would not relief the situation, but make matters worse. Yamasaki did not challenge the program but instead introduced a pair of twin towers to fit the programs into. The World Trade Center was completed

in the 1960s. The design disregarded the existing context of the city, and replaced it with new abstract objects that followed many criticisms on its architectural, political, and economical impact. The World Trade Center project is a super block complex comprised of 7 buildings. Two massive towers arose from an open elevated plaza that was completely disconnected with its surrounding context. The World Trade Center design was the polar opposite of Jane Jacob’s View on urban Design. In Jane Jacob’s book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” published in 1961, Jane’s argument was that the life of the city was in the streets. By destroying the traditional planning of streets and buildings, the neighbourhood is no longer pedestrian friendly. World Trade Center’s demolition of the existing city fabric of streets and buildings was an act of urban renewal that formed an anti-urban environment. The lower Manhattan became a dull and isolated environment instead of a lively one apparent in traditional cities. Retail spaces provided in the World Trade Center were not in storefronts but underground and that made the plaza even less occupied. Overall design is not a functioning piece of the city. Ultimately, due to Jane Jacob’s influence, architectural critics had made remarks about the twin towers being very large and dead, which made other great buildings around it insignificant.8 Architecturally, The Twin Towers were also criticized for its inefficient energy systems that it had lights on all night long. There was no way for tenants to turn off the lights because light switches were not part of the design, 365

URBAN SCALE DESIGN an example of negligence during the design phase. The development brought an additional 50,000 office workers into the financial district and that congestion was a major issue in that area where pedestrians had to face the congestion on a daily basis. The Twin Towers created turbulent wind effect, which affected the neighbouring buildings on upper levels, as well as for pedestrians. Pedestrians preferred to walk underground rather than on the streets due to strong wind being casted onto the sidewalks. Due to the dramatic height of the towers, television reception from the Empire State Building was affected and the broadcasting station had to be relocated. Politically, Port Authority was criticized that it was not serving public interest but supporting the dreams of the private entity. One of the major political critics was Theodore W. Kheel, a labour facilitator that supported New York City’s subway system and tried to stabilize the fare increases. Khell argued that the Port Authority should have focused on the transit development instead of associating with real estate businesses. Economically, The World Trade center was also criticized as a bad economic proposal. Project cost estimates were so uncertain that it was estimated $350 million in January 1964, $525 million in September 1965, and $575 million in January 1967. During the construction periods, the Twin Tower project was also criticized for the lack of nationalism for purchasing 25 % of steel needed for project from Japan. By buying materials from a foreign country, America was losing money to support local manufacturers and jobs for American Workers. Soon after the construction of the 366

towers, most of the office spaces were left empty due to the bad economic situation in America. The Twin Towers only returned about 7 million in its net revenue in a total investment of 700 million dollars. One social problem was that there were many homeless young people at World Trade Center every night. The police handled the problem by playing classical music in bus terminals and directed people who are smoking, drinking alcohol to leave.9 Environmentally, it was reported in 1971 by New Jersey Newspapers that World Trade Center was dumping 170,000 gallons of raw sewage on a daily basis into the Hudson river, which threatened many residences living on the shore.10 When discussing the World Trade Center, the public and private entities carried different opinions. Eventually, the public has came to accept the project entirely. The Word Trade Center became the orienting landmark and the image of New York City, visible from almost everywhere in and around the city. Tourists find it easier to manage the city with the Twin Towers

Figure 5- (Above) NYC Sky Line (Before 911) Figure 6 - (Below) WTC Underground Mall Figure 7 - (Right) Tobin Plaza


standing tall among the other buildings. The surrounding construction of Battery Park City and World Financial Center contributed greatly to the acceptance of World Trade Center by bringing it into some kind of urban context, at least from the riverfront and the west. The World Trade Center became more approachable and visually united among buildings in similar scales. Although the office spaces in the World Trade Center was left empty in the 1970s. In the mid 1990s The World Trade Center filled almost entirely with tenants due to the slow and steady increase in America’s Economy. 11 Before the 911 events, among the 3 million-population travelled daily to Manhattan, 40 thousand of the commuters headed for the World Center Complex. Congestion was less of a problem that the commuters came via 3 New York subway systems (IRT, BMT, and IND) as well as PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) transit systems. Others came through bridges and tunnels in their automobiles or arrive by ferry. Twin tower had an open office layout, which accommodates and attracts a variety of

different businesses. The elevated plaza (Tobin Plaza) became a popular spot for workers during lunch times, although it was still affected by the large wind effect created by the towers. Indoors concourse mall consist of a group of retail stores became very successful for adults, especially during the winter. 12 The standards of what is appropriate change over time. The World Trade Center project was deemed not appropriate when it was constructed. It completely replaced the existing context with something completely new and abstract. It was not successful in that many workers were affected by the development and the project had destroyed part of a very lively commercial district. The project was built during an economic crisis, which did not assist in the nation’s economy. Over time, however the surrounding developments, the increasing national wealth lessened some of the negative impacts introduced by the development. The population became adapted to the building and slowly came to acceptance. The project was not appropriate; however, as a monument of historical importance, World Trade Center should be a lesson for the future developers.

NOTES 1. Gillespie, Angus. “Twin Towers: The Life of New York City’s World Trade Center.” (New York: Rutgers University Press, 1999), 7-10. 2. Ibid., 13. 3. Ibid., 12. 4. Sorkin, Michael., and Sharon Zukin, trans. “After the World Trade Center: Rethinking New York City.” (New York: Routledge, 2002), 2-19. 5. Ruchelman, Leonard. “The World Trade Center: Politics and Policies of Skyscraper Development.” (New York: Syracuse University Press, 1977), 24. 6. Ibid., 20-25 7. Ibid., 46-47 8. Goldberger, Paul. “Up From Zero: Politics, Architecture, and the rebuilding of New York.” (New York: RANDOM HOUSE, 2004), 20-48. 9. Angus, 230. 10. Angus, 129-138. 11. Paul, 29-34. 12. Reynolds, Donald. “The Architecture of New York City: Histories and views of important structure, sites, and symbols.” (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company), 159. FIGURES 1. Time line: information from 2. Radio Row: appropriated from Radio_Row 3. WTC Site Before Demolition appropriated from http://www. 4. WTC Site After Demolition appropriated from 5. NYC Sky Line appropriated from http://www.lbdassociates. com/salphotos/SAL%20Photos/NYC/nyc%20skyline.jpg 6. World Trade Center Underground Mall appropriated from http:// 7. Tobin Plaza appropriated from villager_437/plaza.jpg





Dundas-Sherbourne Lanes and Infill Development


Dundas-Sherbourne Lanes and Infill Development in Toronto is an award winning project by Barton Myers and Jack Diamond. This project was the first urban renewal arrangement in Toronto incorporated with infill housing instead of destroying the remaining houses. It was done in order to construct an affordable non-profit housing project and also to protect the character of the neighborhood. A lot of thoughts were taken from the Regent Park North urban revitalization in 1940s and South during late 1950s to early 1960s, as well as Moss Park and block developments in St. Jamestown by private developers (both finished in early 1960s) were implemented into the design procedure. Looking at CIAM Principles explored in planning and issues that were confronted during the project development and the ways these challenges were solved. This consists of re-zoning of land and neighborhood issues. It will also look at how the planning of the project affected the way it is being used today by the residents and why it has become successful. Also, examination of the political, social, physical and cultural context of the project, starting with the site itself after that moving out to the bigger scale of the City. These factors will also be compared with the substantial urban interferences inside the city of Toronto in the period of the project’s completion. Furthermore, CIAM principles about matters on public land and housing, traffic and pedestrian flows around the building and the strategies that the architect chose to avoid on any matters will be discussed.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Extent of Proposed 6 Storey Building Height Limit

Extent of Proposed 7 storey Building Height limit

26.00’ MAX 13.00’ MAX

Extent of Proposed 7 Storey Building height Limit 26.00’ MAX

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Area for 7 Storey Building Max 50.00’ max

41.00’ min 21.00’ min 26.00’ min 23.00’ min 23.00’ min

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263 261 285

281 10.00’ min 5.5’ 5.5’ No Building to Project Beyond this Line


277 275 273 271





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Urban planning and architecture often seek to make a number of changes to the physical, social, political and economic aspects of urban areas. One of the most important groups is the Congress Internationaux d’architecture Moderne (CIAM). They pushed a more scientific way of urban planning based on the collection of physical and social data. Its ultimate purpose was to create a functional city.1 The CIAM suggested that four functional elements needed to be considered in urban planning. These functional elements are: dwelling, work, leisure and transportation.2 CIAM principles were designed to make cities for the people that lived in them. As a result they were more concerned with social, political, economic and use factors. In some cases CIAM principles called for greater population densities. Barton Myers


34.00’ min

6.00’ min 259 19.00’ min


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Sherbourne Street

7.00’ Recommended Location for Vehicular Access


in Three Steel Houses explains how the City of Toronto instituted a policy of infilling to increase population density in many urban and inner suburb neighbourhoods in the 1970s.3 This essay will explore one of the most important projects that was a part of the infill policy. The project that will be examined is the Dundas-Sherbourne Lanes and Infill Development. This project was important because it involved a very complex planning and approval process. This process involved dealing with incorporating a number of social and political elements in order to create a project that met residents’ needs and increased the population density of this neighbourhood. In this sense the project used CIAM principles to meet the needs and desires of a range of stakeholders. The Dundas-Sherbourne Lanes and Infill Develop


O.P Designation: High Density Residential Area


1: Dandas-Sherbourne City/ province Acquisition


2: Subject to Private Development


Figure 1- (Above left) Recommended Site Plan Figure 2- (Above Right) Site location Plan included in the interim report by Dimond and Myers.


Pedestarian Walkway Private Landscaping Communal Landscaping


Figure 3 - Site plan proposed by consultants

ment was designed by architects Jack Diamond and Barton Myers. Its construction began in 1971 and was completed in 1974. The project was innovative in a number of important ways. It tried to maintain the structure of the neighbourhood while increasing population density at the same time. This involved taking a block of Victorian houses and remodeling them. The result was remodeled buildings, that could house as many people as 2 high-rises that were 28 stories high. It represented a major success since it allowed for a substantial increase in population densities without disrupting the scale of the neighbourhood.4 The development of the project was driven by a range of political needs. The city of Toronto was dealing with a number of problems when this project was initiated. Barton Myers explains that in the early 1970s Toronto was experiencing a high level of immigration. The influx of population resulted in a housing crises. To try and deal with this housing crisis the City of Toronto began a number of housing projects based on infill to house the growing number of immigrants. In most cases these infill projects resulted in high-rise projects that did not fit into the neighbourhoods they were built in. This type of situation resulted from a poor official plan, which advocated high-density, high rise projects as an infill strategy in the inner suburbs.5 Initially the architects Jack Diamond and Barton Myers were brought in because they had a lot of experience with this type of project development. Barton Myers explains that a lot of architecture firms that were just starting out

started by building housing. When Barton Myers started his firm with Jack Diamond in 1968 they started by building housing. In particular they built a number of infill projects before being hired to design the Dundas-Sherbourne Lanes and Infill Development.6 Even though Barton Myers and Jack Diamond had experience in building infill housing, there were a number of factors that impacted the planning process. The project required the co-operation of 5-levels of government.7 The large numbers of governments involved in the project meant that a number conflicts occurred. It also required various plans to be created and modified. One of the largest problems was that the Official Plan of Toronto in the late1960s and early 1970s strongly advocated the building of multi-story high rise projects as the infill strategy. Barton Myers and Jack Diamond did not believe that this was the best option. They wanted to pursue and infill strategy based on remodeling current buildings to increase population density.8 Jack Diamond has been quoted as saying, “The key is to make the environment of greater significance rather than replacing it.�9 Statements like this suggest that Myers and Diamond did not want to completely replace existing structures with structures that did not fit into the neighbourhood. Instead they wanted to make qualitative improvements to structures in the neighbourhood. In this way the structures do not disrupt the neighbourhood. They enhanced the existing neighbourhood. Since this plan worked against the official plan Myers and Diamond needed to convince the various levels of government to accept their 371

URBAN SCALE DESIGN plan. The people in the Dundas and Sherbourne neighbourhood both aided and hindered the project. In the initial stages of planning the city was trying to build a massive project like the ones favoured by the Official Plan at the time. According to Seno the plan the city favoured in 1971 called for the construction of two 28 story apartment projects. However, residents in the surrounding neighbourhood pressed the city government to cancel this project.10 This can be seen as a clear case of NIMBY syndrome. Curic and Bunting explain the NIMBY syndrome is essentially a form of private property protectionism. It complicates project planning and development. Infill projects in particular seem to experience a lot of problems with NIMBY syndrome.11 With this in mind it is not surprising the 1971 plan for the DundasSherbourne Lanes and Infill Development was defeated by NIMBY syndrome. People in these neighbourhoods did not want massive high-rise projects in their neighbourhoods. The city presented two more plans in 1971 that were both blocked by two different groups. The first plan did not receive approval because a community group had the buildings declared a historical site. The city applied to have the zoning designation changed by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). The OMB denied this application for a zoning change. The second plan was for a single high-rise tower that met all the building by-laws. It was defeated by the same neighbourhood groups that defeated the first plan.12 Due to these problems the project was delayed until 1973. 372

Public Lane

Seno explains that in 1973 Mayor David Crombie put forward a last ditch plan. He hired Diamond and Myers at this point to develop alternative proposals. They consulted with residents to see what they needed and wanted in the area. Their approach involved working with the same buildings and remodeling them in order to provide the same amount of housing as the 2 high-rise towers would have provided.13 This is the plan that finally satisfied all the stakeholders. It is also the plan that is seen in the final project. The plan involved using some very innovative remodeling approaches that used the existing spaces on these properties. John Peck explains how the original properties were renovated. Five and Six story apartment buildings were built in the spaces at the back of the properties and in a lane.14 This approach had a number of advantages. The first was that the development fit into the scale of the neighbourhood so the residents did not have to worry about the development disrupting the neighbourhood. The second advantage is that it met the City’s desire to increase population

Public Lane

Figure 4 - (Top) Sherbourne ST. Height Profile. Figure 5 - (Top Left) Section A-A (Looking North). Figure 6 - (Top Right) Section B-B (Looking North). Figure 7 - (Top drawing) SITE SECTION AT 283. Figure 8 - (Second drawing) SITE SECTION AT 261.


HT 38’

densities in this area. The third advantage is that by keeping the original buildings intact they maintained these historical buildings. This met all the needs of the all the stakeholders and created a new way to look at infill develop within urban environments. In conclusion, Dundas-Sherbourne Lanes and infill development is one of the best examples of the challenges involved in infill project development. The traditional model of infill project development was based on building large high-rise projects that disrupted neighbourhoods. This resulted in significant opposition to these projects in these neighbourhoods that often delayed these projects for years. The large number of governments involved can also result in conflicts that can stall these projects. When Myers and Diamond were brought into the Dundas-Sherbourne Lanes and infill development project they took at different approach. They renovated and remodeled the existing buildings and then used the empty spaces on the property to create additional

housing units that were the same scale as the original buildings. In the end this demonstrated how it was possible to create infill projects that allowed for higher levels of population density without disrupting the already established neighbourhood. In this way all the stakeholders were satisfied. This provides a new perspective on infill project design that is valuable for urban planners. When Myers and Diamond were brought into the Dundas-Sherbourne Lanes and infill development project they took at different approach. They renovated and remodeled the existing buildings and then used the empty spaces on the property to create additional housing units that were the same scale as the original buildings. In the end this demonstrated how it was possible to create infill projects that allowed for higher levels of population density without disrupting the already established neighbourhood. In this way all the stakeholders were satisfied. This provides a new perspective on infill project design that is valuable for urban planners.

NOTES 1. Sharron Harr, The City as Campus: Urbanism and Higher Education in Chicago, University of Minnesota Press, 2011, 105. 2. Thomas Deckker, The Modern City Revisited, Taylor and Francis, 2000, 82. 3. Barton Myers, Three Steel Houses, Images Publishing, 2005 ,17 4. Anonymous, “Massy Hall,” Canadian Architect, Vol. 45, No. 1, Jan. 2000, 32. 5. Barton Myers, Three Steel Houses, Images Publishing, 2005 ,17. 6. Barton Myers, Three Steel Houses, Images Publishing, 2005 ,17. 7. Walker Art Center, “Case Study 1,” Design Quarterly Volumes 103-105, Walker Art Center, 1979, 36. 8. Barton Myers, Three Steel Houses, Images Publishing, 2005 ,17. 9. Shireen Seno, “The People Make the Place”, ARCS, March 2003, 23. 10. Shireen Seno, “The People Make the Place,” ARCS, March 2003, 22. 11. Tatjana Curic and Trudi E. Bunting, “Does Compatible Mean Same As?: Lessons Learned from the Residential Intensification of |Surplus Hydro Lands in Four Older Suburban Neighbourhoods in the City,” Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 15, 2, Winter 2006, 204. 12. Shireen Seno, “The People Make the Place,” ARCS, March 2003, 22-23. 13. Seno, “The People Make the Place,” ARCS, March 2003, 23. 14. John Peck, “Infill Housing Rises in City Backyards,” The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Sept. 4, 1981, B.1.





OFFICE OF THE FUTURE ARIAN HUSSAINZADA New urbanism began in England as a response to the congestion of the London city core. It became difficult for office expansion in London due to high property costs and a lack of space in the city, which caused companies to look passed the urban boundaries, and towards the suburbs of England. Ipswich was seen as a suitable locale for large firms looking to decentralize from London, including the insurance brokers Willis Faber & Dumas who commissioned Norman Foster to build their office, which was completed in 1975. The guidelines set by the Athens Charter of living, working and recreation contrast with ideas put forth by concepts such as smart growth, which promote the development of integrated city centres, rather than segregated zones. Foster’s building brought new offices to the city, established shops, and developed city culture, making Ipswich one of the largest urban areas in England. More specifically, the Willis building shaped the development of the office building by placing emphasis on worker needs and the creation of a community. Foster implemented the idea of a social environment in the workplace, before it became the norm. The roof garden complements Foster’s energy conscious design by providing good thermal performance, which has garnered the building several awards. The Athens Charter laid the foundation for the planning of future cities, particularly the tenets of Corbusier’s Functional City, providing the needs of the citizens through segregated zones. Norman Foster rejected the segregation of uses, choosing to focus on integration, which positively affected the development of Ipswich.



The fourth conference of the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) in 1933 was influential in the development of the Athens Charter, an urban planning document that was significant to post World War II development. The Charter placed emphasis under four major criteria: living, working, recreation, and transportation. It reflected the ideals of Corbusian self-sustained communities that provide the needs of the inhabitants through segregated zoning for residences, employment and leisure. After the disbandment of the CIAM in 1959, architects and planners had a backlash to the alienating aspects of modern architecture such as the disregard to human needs, the lack of respect for its context, and the general oppressive nature.1 In 1975, Foster Associates completed an office building for the insurance company Willis Faber & Dumas located in the town of Ipswich, England. The company decided to move its head office out of London because of high land costs, congestion within the city, and the lack of space for expansion.2 Ipswich provided everything the company was looking for: cheap land, a suburban lifestyle, and a rail 376

system that provided a connection to London.3 Norman Foster approached the design of the building by challenging the characteristics of the typical office building. Foster was designing with the office worker in mind, with a desire to improve working conditions for people.4 He began surveying workers in neighbouring towns to see what their conditions were like and how they could be improved. Post-CIAM planning and architecture adopted a more humanistic approach; putting the user first. From his metrics, Foster was able to theorize what would be beneficial in an office environment by placing emphasis on green spaces, employee interactions, and amenities;5 all ideas that constitute the office of the future. Foster challenged the status quo, creating a building that was ahead of its time because he took the template of the typical 1970s office building and developed it to create a future proof building. He did this by developing three core concepts: the building’s relation to the urban fabric, a pioneering social program for the worker, and the rejection of aesthetic design in favour of technological development.

Figure 1 - This above diagram shows the way the building is viewed during the day and at night.


Figure 2 -The existing site before rezoning and the final site and building design.

The move to Ipswich echoes the sentiment shared by current corporations who are moving their offices to suburban locales. These companies are looking for places that follow urban planning concepts such as Smart Growth, which focus on creating urban centres that are self-sustained walkable cities.6 In the early 1900s, Ipswich was developed as a satellite town to London mainly for its geographic identity; its close proximity to London made the town appealing for companies looking to expand their operations. London was no longer a viable option since the city was largely congested, there was very little space for expansion, and land costs were very high.7 Willis Faber & Dumas chose Ipswich to consolidate their offices because the town had a site near the town centre, there was transportation to London, the availability of staff and housing, and most importantly it was a pleasant environment.8 When Foster was given the project, Willis Faber & Dumas were still unsure of how much land could be built upon because there were two roads cutting through the site. This informed Foster’s basic concept of a 14 metre square grid surrounded by an edge of columns that would allow the building to bleed over to the potential extents of the site. Once the roads were removed, Foster kept the grid in the centre and built to the extents of the site by creating an edge ‘necklace’ of columns.9 The design of the building both contrasted and complemented its surroundings. The fundamental aspects of the CIAM were of futuristic cities, and as a result there was a complete lack of respect for older towns since they believed they were inefficient and obsolete.10 Foster again rejected the tenets put forth by the CIAM and saw the potential

in the historicism of the town. Foster forwent building a high-rise since he understood the key spaces in Ipswich are the streets, allowing for a more pedestrian friendly town.11 The Willis Faber building kept the height inline with its neighbouring buildings but differentiated itself through materials, particularly the glass façade. The building may seem as if it rejects the character of town, and it does on a superficial level, but the glass façade enhances the street presence of the surrounding buildings. The coating on the glass hides the interior of the building and mirrors the surrounding buildings.12 However during the evening, the interior is illuminated allowing it to be viewed from the outside. Foster compared the ground floor of the building to a retail store, and asked what would you see in the shop window of an insurance company? He responded by revealing the mechanical room, essentially sculpturising the space.13 The office of the future studies the context of the site and is respectful of it, while trying to create an identity for itself. Norman Foster saw the importance of democratizing the workplace by creating an environment with good working conditions for people that will spend most of their lives in the building. Again he studied and based his philosophy on the metrics; when people are happier they are more productive.14 The incorporation of recreation is not only part of the Athens Charter document, but it is also related to the development of the future office environment. People are no longer asking, but demanding for work-life balance spaces within the office. These amenities can include media rooms, restaurants, gyms, et cetera. The fact 377

URBAN SCALE DESIGN of the matter is that Foster understood that his architectural expression must come second to the needs of the workers. In response, he provided a restaurant in the building that connected to a roof garden. He gave back green space to the town, after taking up the entire site with the building. By placing the mechanical room on the ground floor, Foster was able to create a garden that covered the entirety of the roof. It proved to be a very effective space, with workers taking breaks and eating their lunches on the garden. He went beyond the norm and opened the office space to the employees’ families, who would spend time together after work hours in indoor swimming pool. Again it was constantly about maintaining a work-life balance. Foster’s vision of a social office space translated to the openness of the plan. The two office floors were rooted in the concept of flexible spaces, with demountable partitions to change the construct of the space if need be. There were not any barriers in the office floors, even for executives, because the client wanted to engender a sense of community and interaction amongst one another.15 Foster went one step further and connected all the floors via escalators, which he felt created a journey through the building while allowing for open communication amongst colleagues as well being a more efficient way of moving people throughout the building.16 This building changed the preconceived notions of what office life is and set standards that should be met. Foster realized the positive effects that a stimulating and uplifting working environment can have on worker behaviour, which is why companies such as Google and Facebook have these types of amenity spaces in their offices. 378

Foster took a back-to-basics approach in designing the building by rejecting the aesthetics as good architecture and opting for a strong implementation of technology, which he felt when pushed to its limits could transcend into architecture.17 Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace was influential in the façade of the building because Foster wanted to develop transparency within the building; between the offices, with the streets, and even transparency into the mechanisms of the escalators.18 The wall was a technological innovation because the glass panels were held up by the building like a curtain and the use of silicon as a structural element. The continuous façade omitted the use of vertical mullions, which proved to be cost effective in the end. The silicon joints transferred loads sideways, so if a panel were to shatter, only one would shatter within the vertical strip.19 The building is an example of energyconscious design, almost in response to the oil crises of the mid-1970s. The price of oil increased, causing price hikes and fuel shortages. This resulted in people the world over being more aware of their impact on the

Figure 3 - (Above) The image shows the office environment juxtaposed with the rooftop garden and restaurant. Figure 4 - (Right) The demonstrates how the glass absorbs winter solar energy (blue) while reflecting some summer solar energy (red).

POST-CIAM environment, allowing countries to reassess their dependency on fossil fuels and other forms of energy. This drove research into alternative methods in which people could sustain themselves, such as solar and wind energy.20 The Willis Faber building uses the coating applied on the glass façade to reduce heat gain in the summer and absorb solar energy in the winter. The heating and cooling loads of the building are lessened because the deep plan decreases the window to floor ratio, meaning the means through which the heat/cold can leave the building is reduced. The main energy saving portion is the green roof of the building, decreasing the heating and cooling loads of the building because of the extra insulation the growing turf provides. The initial cost of the roof proved to be inconsequential because Willis Faber & Dumas made the money back through energy savings.21 While these are mainstays of the present, Foster’s determination in providing technological innovations are part of the characteristics of an office of the future. The Willis Faber & Dumas building is an underappreciated building, constructed as a building to be future proof. From the way the building addresses the site, to the democratizing the workplace and engendering a sense of community, to the technological innovations that made the building extremely cost efficient. The Will Faber building was so effective in all aspects from its flexible floor plan to developing a family friendly work environment, it has been given Grade 1 status, meaning that it cannot be changed without permission from the planning committee. Few realized how forward thinking this building was and even fewer realized that the office of the future was built in 1975.

NOTES 1. William J. R. Curtis, Modern architecture since 1900 (3rd ed. London: Phaidon1996), 590. 2. John McKean and Kenneth Powell, Pioneering British “HighTech” (London: Phaidon, 1999), 70-71 3. Arthur E. Smailes, “The Urban Mesh of England and Wales.” Transactions and Papers (Institute of British Geographers), no. 11 (1946): 8789, accessed October 26, 2012, 4. McKean, Pioneering British “High-Tech”, 67-68 5. Norman Foster, Norman Foster Foster Associates: buildings and projects, ed. Ian Lambot (London: Watermark, 1989), 22. 6. “Why Smart Growth?,” Smart Growth Online, Accessed October 27, 2012. 7. Chauney D. Harris, “Ipswich, England.” Economic Geography 18, no. 1 (1942): 2-4, accessed October 26, 2012, stable/141403. 8. Foster, Buildings and Projects, 20. 9. Ibid., 23. 10. Gerald Hodge, Planning Canadian communities: an introduction to the principles, practice, and participants (Toronto: Methuen, 1986) 78. 11. Foster, Buildings and Projects, 26-27. 12. Ibid., 24-25 13. McKean, Pioneering British “High-Tech”, 85. 14. Ibid., 67-68. 15. Ibid. 16. Ibid., 70-71. 17. Ibid., 76. 18. bid., 67. 19. Ibid., 76. 20. A&E Television Network, “Energy Crisis (1970s).” History, Accessed November 2, 2012. 21. McKean, Pioneering British “High-Tech”, 79-86. FIGURES 1. Appropriated from: McKean, Pioneering British “High-Tech”, 89. 2. Appropriated from: Ibid., 71. 3. Appropriated from: Foster, Buildings and Projects, 48. 4. Image made by Arian Hussainzada.





Leading By Example: Eaton Centre Development GERALD KARAGUNI Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Eaton Centre was ultimately conceived through the design of Zeidler Architects with Bregam & Hamann Architects playing a supporting role. They were commissioned to design a three-level retail mall, the Cadillac Fairview Tower and One Dundas Street West Tower, for the intentions of revolutionizing the Canadian retail industry. The site of the present shopping complex has been a witness to the changing vision and expansion of Eaton’s Dry Goods Department Store, Cadillac Fairview and its context around it; most notably the development of the subway system, growing financial domain and the relocation of City Hall within the area. Completed in 1977, the galleria included the construction of three hundred stores, along with Eaton’s flagship store; the office towers finished two years later. Being initially modeled after the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy, the Eaton Center embodies similar key features, such as the elevated arching skylight and an elongated shopping arcade. It continues to be one of the most iconic and popular tourist attractions within Toronto’s downtown core; significantly integral to the burgeoning cultural and social context at the time and present day.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN The growth of the modern city and the advent of the automobile have led to a mixture of modern town planning that in the name of efficiency separated living from working and play. Such was the glaring instance of the Spadina expressway plan during 1960s, which would have seen the destruction of parklands and some of Toronto’s most prominent neighborhoods. Public opposition at the time was immediate, with Jane Jacobs strongly against the building of the highway, eventually stopping the construction of it. Town planners, contrary to their own intentions, had almost managed to kill every item that reminded one of the traditional ideas of urbanity, severely damaging the urban life of a city. A spawn of new concepts to revitalize the downtown area of Toronto became more commonplace since the early seventies such as shopping malls. However, mega structure downtown shopping centers brought the new danger of destroying the older city fabric and integration in conjunction with the growing importance of the public, social and economic realm. Located in downtown Toronto, the Eaton Centre was ultimately commissioned through a design that included a three-level retail mall, the Cadillac Fairview Tower and One Dundas Street West Tower. Its purpose was to revolutionize the Canadian retail industry1. For many years, the City of Toronto had been encouraging the redevelopment of the Eaton lands between Bay and Yonge streets and south of Dundas to Queen Street. At the time in the 1960s, Eaton’s department store had gradually purchased the land in all the city blocks between Queen and 382

Dundas in order to issue an expansion and confronted City hall with a proposal to build a large development in this area2. However, after their disapproved proposal, Eaton’s representatives decided to form a partnership with developers, Cadillac Fairview in order to generate a strong design statement through their experience and expertise within the field. Cadillac Fairview established architect Eberhard Zeidler as their project lead after preliminary designs from Bregman & Hamman Architects had not found their approval; fearing that their proposal would not respond to the intents written for the development agreement with the City of Toronto council. Similar to all major urban projects, the creation of Eaton Centre was a long strenuous struggle. The existing buildings on the site posed major issues. In earlier attempts to achieve a redevelopment plan, Eaton’s had come up with a scheme to demolish not only the Old City Hall, but also the Salvation Army headquarters and the Church of the Holy Trinity. That plan met stiff resistance at City hall, and Eaton’s was nowhere having a workable proposal3. Nevertheless, through the partnership, Neil Wood, an executive at Cadillac Fairview, found himself spending countless hours at Toronto City Hall, attending dozens of committee meetings trying to get Zeidler’s shopping center vision approved and hopes of removing the old church. The Toronto City Council had several members who were deeply suspicious of large projects that they saw as destabilizing for existing neighborhoods4. Negotiations with the church were also difficult because there

Figure 1 - Original Cadillac Fairview/Eaton Proposal Development(blue) showing the extent of the development, which drew harsh criticism from the politcal and public bodies within the city. City Lands (red), Trinity Church Lands (yellow), Salvation Army and other Stores (green)


Figure 2 - Current Eaton Centre(red) with the existing paths (blue);Albert Street, Trinity Square & James Street being utilized as part of the main circulatory system within and around the complex

was the heritage preservation aspect and the fact that the Anglican Church was still serving downtown residents. The project could not go ahead without closing a small street leading from Yonge Street to Trinity Square, where the church was located. But the city would not close the street without the approval of the church5. Other properties that included the Salvation Army headquarters, and a leased building by Woolworth, were decided to be left untouched also. Although it would have been easier to start with empty land and build a rectangular shopping center, accepting the conditions presented by the old buildings, especially the Holy Trinity Church have made Eaton Centre more interesting by forcing it to integrate with the existing urban fabric. It this incorporation into the context that draws similarities with CIAM 3’s Rational Site Development. Zeidler has created a total form, a work of fulfillment from which that object, Eaton’s Centre belongs to and serves a higher culture within its environment, It takes into consideration the entire context to produce a rational well thought out solution for the project intent. Torontonians had developed an interest in their city’s past and long and bitter battles were fought for the preservation of the old City Hall, which was finally saved along with the prominent old Trinity Church and the Salvation Army HQ6. Finally, after countless talks, the design process of the 200$ million project began in 1973, with Phase 1 opening on February 10, 1977 and Phase 2 on August 7th, 19797. Also, as late as 1990, a mixed-use third tower was added, employing a residential and a hotel

aspect within its built form. In the creation of the Eaton Centre, Zeidler developed a number of new concepts. First, if a shopping center was relocated from the suburbs into the downtown area, it should not represent an isolated event surrounded by parking lots, but should be part of the vibrant fabric of the city, addressing exterior issues with the adjacent buildings and street8. Second, an interior mall in the middle of the city should be part of the urban network, thus connecting it with the transit system and streets on the site. The mall should be experienced as part of the city grid and interconnected with it. Thus the streets that would cross Eaton center, such as Trinity Way and Albert Street should not become interrupted but vital elements of it within the existing street system9, ultimately becoming enclosed thoroughfares within the mall. In his exploration of the eventual expression of the mall was to create a grand space in the form of Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele through features such the elevated arching skylight sitting 130 feet above with an elongated 900 foot shopping arcade below in the case of Eatons10. Yet the Eaton mall is by no means a mere imitation of Milan’s galleria and the European city street in terms of its façade and detailing elements. At the time, the zoning for the site area allowed for 12 times the coverage of the entire site intended for commercial development density11. In order to maximize the economic potential, there was a need to reach the max density for retail in this location. It was seen as necessary to activate all three levels in the mall and feed each one equally with pedestrians. This was addressed 383

URBAN SCALE DESIGN to avoid a problem of previous malls in which the upper or lower level did not receive the required pedestrian traffic12. The levels in turn ease congestion within the mall and promote a dynamic traffic flow between its multi-tiered environments. The next issue was to visually interconnect these three levels. Plants, trees and fountains were used in significant ways and carefully integrated into the design in order bring a sense of place and nature into the interior. Moreover, the galleria was designed to achieve a street character. The upper level walls act like building facades in a street enclosing it13. Zeidler felt that it was essential to maintain a shopping street atmosphere on Yonge Street. This belief was faced with several complications during the 1970s, which included the insistence of the regional civic government, Metro Toronto, asking for the stores fronting the street to be set back 10 feet to allow for eventual widening of the roadway14. Another major issue was that the land sits on a hill; Yonge Street drops 18 feet from Dundas to Queen Street. This problem was solved by stepping the mall in the opposite direction. Lastly, there was large disapproval of Zeidler’s approach mainly because of the deteriorating condition of Yonge Street at the time15. The popular retail stores had given way to a drug scene and a propagation of body rub parlors and strip clubs. There was a series of temporary pedestrian malls, which closed portions of the street to traffic for several weeks at a time during the summer months and having mixed success in bringing back visitors. However, in the end, they only amplified the 384

problems of prostitution, panhandling and drugs only further, festering an uneasy atmosphere16. Yonge Street’s declining condition reached its peak with a tragic event in 1977. A twelve-yearold shoeshine boy named Emanuel Jacques, was lured into an apartment above a body rub parlor with the promise of work, only to be assaulted and murdered, rousing the attention of the public. At the time a crime of this nature was considered unthinkable in city of Toronto. This event was met with numerous protests and marches demanding that the city clean up Yonge strip, which provided the catalyst for shutting down the numerous adult stores and body rub parlors in the area17. This social and cultural stigma that had transpired along Yonge was in a way resolved through the opening of the Eaton Centre, which diverted the attention of the public inside through its galleria of retail shops. This illustrates CIAM 1’s principle of architecture and the importance of public opinion on the design decisions undertaken. The clients, Eaton’s and Cadillac Fairview’s demands were motivated by public’s views on Yonge’s declining condition and the significance of opening the interior mall to deviate from the street’s run-down persona. Furthermore, Eaton’s divergence away from Yonge Street only lasted about two decades because of the authorities’ withdrawal of their assertion on the 10-foot setback. This allowed Cadillac Fairview to buy the strip of land and create a new façade, bringing the stores out onto the more revitalized street18. Ultimately, this was a bold investment that opened in two stages, in order to keep

Main Level

Second Level

Third Level

Figure 3 - Sectional Massing of Eaton Centre with 3 interior pedestrian levels, illustrating the building facade character of the upper level walls

POST-CIAM the Eaton’s department store in operation. After the end of Phase 1 in 1977, around 300 hundred stores wanted to move in; each of them encouraged playing its own individual creative conception within the complex19. Once Eaton’s established their new spot on the northern end of the site, the old store was demolished and the southern portion of the mall was completed in 1979. Eaton’s fears about moving away from Queen Street and its subway station proved unfounded. Passengers using the Dundas station, adjacent to the new store, increased from 30,000 to 75,000 a day20. Furthermore, the Dundas subway station was remodeled to provide a direct connection between the northbound and southbound platforms and allow a wide and open entrance from the subway station to the lower level of the new Eaton’s Store21, improving accessibility and promoting a connected infrastructure within the vibrant city block. The quality of work presented forth by Zeidler and his team ultimately involved an intimate understanding of the site conditions – its historic and cultural heritage, the architectural surroundings and the inner needs of the project itself. It fulfilled the functional and economic requirements the owner intended to serve, but at the same time, evoking a positive emotional response from its users and from the public at large. Relative to CIAM’s principles, through the process of rational site development and the influence of public and political opinion, Eaton Centre continues to remain the focal point of downtown Toronto, whilst adapting to meeting the changing contemporary setting of the city.

It brings together a sense of live, work and play together to create a diverse interactive environment. Some 50 million people a year pay it a visit, about 25 per cent of whom are from out of town, making Eaton center the most popular tourist attraction in the city22.

NOTES 1. “Our History.” Toronto Eaton Centre. Accessed October 28, 2012. 2. Christian W. Thomsen. “Chapter 4: Multi-Use Buildings.” In Eberhard Zeidler: in search of human space. (Berlin: Ernst & Sohn, 1992.) 96106. 3. Stoffman, Daniel. “Reinventing Urban Canada.” In The Cadillac Fairview story. (Toronto: Cadillac Fairview Corp, 2004), 61-74. 4. Ibid., 62 5. Barc, Agatha. “The origins of the Eaton Centre.” blogTO. Last modified December 23, 2010, Accessed October 28, 2012. http://www.blogto. com/city/2010/12/the_origins_of_the_eaton_centre/ 6. Stoffman, Daniel. “Reinventing Urban Canada.” In The Cadillac Fairview story. (Toronto: Cadillac Fairview Corp, 2004), 62. 7. Christian W. Thomsen. “Chapter 4: Multi-Use Buildings.” In Eberhard Zeidler: in search of human space. (Berlin: Ernst & Sohn, 1992.) 101. 8. Ibid.,102 9. Ibid. 10. Ibid. 11. “General Development Proposals.” In Proposed FairviewEaton’s, Trinity Church development. (Toronto: City of Toronto Development Department, 1972.) 3-10. 12. Maitland, Barry. “Chapter 3: Design Elements.” In The new architecture of the retail mall. (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1990.) 40-41. 13. Christian W. Thomsen. “Chapter 4: Multi-Use Buildings.” In Eberhard Zeidler: in search of human space. (Berlin: Ernst & Sohn, 1992.) 104. 14. Stoffman, Daniel. “Reinventing Urban Canada.” In The Cadillac Fairview story. (Toronto: Cadillac Fairview Corp, 2004), 67. 15. Ibid. 16. Greenberg, Ken. “Chapter 5: New Tools and Teams.” In Walking Home: the life and lessons of a city builder. (Toronto: Random House Canada, 2011.) 125-126. 17. Ibid., 126. 18. Stoffman, Daniel. “Reinventing Urban Canada.” In The Cadillac Fairview story. (Toronto: Cadillac Fairview Corp, 2004), 71. 19. Ibid. 20. Ibid. 21. “General Development Proposals.” In Proposed FairviewEaton’s, Trinity Church development. (Toronto: City of Toronto Development Department, 1972.) 7. 22. “Toronto Eaton Centre.” Zeidler Partnership Architects. Accessed October 28, 2012. FIGURES 1. Aerial Map appropriated from: “General Development Proposals.” In Proposed Fairview-Eaton’s, Trinity Church development. (Toronto: City of Toronto Development Department, 1972.) 2. 2. Aerial Map appropriated from: 3. Section appropriated from: Maitland, Barry. “Chapter 3: Design Elements.” In The new architecture of the retail mall. (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1990.) 41.





CENTRE POMPIDOU: Information Vestibule ANNA PAVIA The Centre Pompidou was a reaction to the economic and industrial decline of France during the May Protests of 1968. Serving as a cultural haven in Paris’ urban context, it has restored Paris as the centre of European visual art. Originating from public desires of a modern art museum and library, the consecutive addition of other services to its program constituted it to be the Live Information Centre of Paris after its completion in 1977. The project was the winner of the 1971 international design competition set by the cultural federalist and French President, Georges Pompidou. Through the collaboration of the architects Renzo Piano, Gianni Franchini, Pritzker Prize winner Richard Rogers and Ove Arup and Partners, a mixed-use, cultural centre was created. As a focal point of the city, each level and side is accessible to the public; the building provides its users with a variety of resources for information, pleasure and exhibition. Subject to political criticism and admiration, the Centre Pompidou’s exposed skeleton of brightly colored tectonics has revolutionized museums into popular places of social and cultural exchange. The exposed mechanical structure visually serves as a continuation of main street’s traffic and movement. The interior functions of the centre are extended into the open piazza area; establishing the building’s connection to the site and cultural context of artisans and pedestrians. The design is a rendition of flexible spaces that effectively communicates with surrounding buildings and areas. The ambiance of the transparent structure invites users to explore the movement of the artistic sanctum of spaces. The 1960’s era of social change revitalized machinery, technology and culture; the boldness of the advanced industrial component of the Centre Pompidou, restored the cultural attraction to the city’s core.



Radiating from Paris’ core, the Centre Nationale d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou was built as a museum and cultural centre of information. Stationed near Hotel de Ville and Les Halles, at the edge of the Marais district, architects of the project attempted to change the physical mood of the environment by combining aesthetics with ethical dimensions. Programmed to include the Museum of Modern Art, reference library, centre for industrial design, music and acoustic research and a car park and restaurant, the total area is 100 000 square meters. Its lithe envelope and simple, structural, geometric forms were developed from technological advances of the age. The open piazza and exterior mechanical facade reinforce integration within the city; following the underlying theme of change. The construction of the building serves as Paris’ vestibule of information; the Centre Pompidou is a reflection of the available technology and resources in the context of an urban environment. An international design competition set by the age’s French President; Georges 388

Pompidou was awarded to partners Ove and Arup & Associates and Piano & Rogers in July of 1971. Based upon a reputation of concomitant, the Centre Pompidou was a project of engineering in an artistic generation; it aimed at the synthesis and use of scientific analysis as tools in project development. Its simplicity of design and construction were interdependent of one another in order to make aesthetic and economic sense. The centre’s design became more powerful because it is the creation of architects from both Britain and Italy.1 The Centre Pompidou readily became more expressive, as it is a representation of Paris from a foreign vision and interpretation. Built in the after burn of the May Protests of 1968, Centre Pompidou was commissioned by a reactionary President reasserting conservative order to the country. The building has been interpreted as a sedative to the country’s rebellion. The anti-war revolution attempted to bring a spirit and hope for change and began the collapse of capitalism. The chaos calmed in the 1970’s as the revolution failed.

Figure 1 - (Above Left) Site of Centre Pompidou at Marais Figure 2 - (Above Right) May Protests of 1968, Propaganda: ‘We Are the Power’ from Beauty Is in the Street


Figure 3 - (Above) Prefabricated Gerbettes, hightech buildings Figure 4 - (Bottom) Conceptual elevation: “Live Centre of Information”

The building was the reaction to a student and intellectual revolution. The Centre Pompidou symbolizes the compromise between idealism and creativity, it demonstrates the structure of its commission through power and money.2 The jurors of the competition were especially appreciative of the potential communicative relationships, that the original schematic designs of Centre Pompidou, offered to its surroundings.3 The title of the competition brief was “A Live Centre of Information and Entertainment”. During the design process the building deterred from its original design and lost its ground floor to accommodate the height restrictions of the site. All accommodations of the cultural centre are stacked in a block along the busy Rue du Reynard town street. All walls and floors were to be movable while the long facade acts portal to global information through a series of screens, realising the original plan and intention of the design brief. The western facade would publically display information to patrons of the building’s exterior, as a global network, linking town halls, museums and universities. The people serve as a communication system between the activity of the building and the street life. By creating an energetic, public environment, it positively changed the nature of public institutions. Regrettably, after a few years, graphic scales were not used properly and new signs were not being made regularly. The collapse of the informative elements of design was a small but effective perfidy.4 Upon entering the competition, it was difficult to plan a cultural centre in a period when the zeitgeist revolved around decentralizing

culture. It endured a long period of incompetent internal planning and poor management.5 General economic efficiency and public opinion were prevalent components that were adapted from the earliest CIAM legislation. The rationalization and standardization of technological elements is accurately applied to the Centre Pompidou. Efficiency was integrated through prefabrication of major components of the project; a seemingly feasible reaction to the city and time’s economic state (Figuere 5, Gerbettes). Though public requests were what initiated the project, the physicality of the design was openly opposed by the same public. The design that went forward, economically and socially benefitted the city, despite the aesthetic taste of the Paris’s citizens. The building had been mired in a fierce local and national debate about urban and cultural resources, as well as political rivalries. During the complex’s construction, the oil crisis occurred and the project was accused of being a gas gobbler. Renzo Piano and his team quickly had become a part of the French political life.6 There were laws against foreign architects working as heads of companies in France; it was a fascist, nationalist approach. The French needed to change their legal framework on this point, as Piano, Richards and Arup refused to partner up with a French company. Typically, French architects were expected to provide a design that was developed only in the broad function and form to Bureau d’etudes Techniques; where the detailed scheme of the project, would be assessed. A general contract would be developed based on efficient construction methods without 389

URBAN SCALE DESIGN reference to the architect’s original design.7 President Pompidou appointed Robert Bordaz, an experienced diplomat to negotiate the completion of Centre Pompidou without the assistance or protocol of any common French design practices.8 Arup had been worrying about their own involvement; their design was important as it enriched parts of the architect’s own responsibilities, particularly the planning of traffic and pedestrian circulation systems.9 Bordaz initiated fast tracked construction to avoid further eruption of problems. The site upon which the Centre Pompidou was built was originally dense. Les Halles, an old, working market district was flooded with sheds, stores and minimal public spaces. In the 1930’s, the area was a hub of prostitution and black market trading. With the intent to tear down buildings, more open space for people to converge in was created. The idea of the piazza in the Centre Pompidou developed from a deductive study of the surrounding area, an appreciation of the scale of buildings and the integration between towers and the juncture of streets. The building was constructed to be parallel to the main road, to protect the public from noise and pollution, while the exposed mechanical equipment on the building’s exterior facade was a continuation of the movement of traffic.10 As street theatre had a potent presence in France, half the site allocated for Centre Pompidou was left vacant for the piazza; vast open space serving numerous, lively activities.11 While the structural and mechanical elements were pushed to the building’s exterior, so was 390

all circulation. The external escalators added to the visual effect of the building and offer minimal internal constraints.12 Accessibility and flexibility remain compelling aspects of the design. Made with multiple access points, the building encourages visitors to explore each of its parts, creating an inviting extension of the surrounding urban space. Advanced technology, prefabrication and lightweight materials were used to define the construction process. The industrial materials used in its construction were influenced by 1960’s theories of social change; custom forms within a serenely ruling rectilinear space were inherent to the design13. The practical requirements of the machinery were for weather resistant purposes while joints and nodes were constructed of cast steel to a scale and quality not experienced in contemporary building technology14. There was a technical consideration about the diminishing of finishes, the idea that each system was to have a bright colour scheme. After much deliberation, Rogers decided that the bright primary and



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Figure 5 - (Above Top) Les Halles Figure 6 - (Above Bottom) Site Context, forefront of public piazza Figure 7 - (Opposite Top) Price’s Fun Palace, circulation inspiration





randm pedestrian access

river hovercraft helicopter monorail

secondary colours of the structure as a way to humanize the hard technological components. With an obvious relationship to Cedric Price’s Fun Palace, engineering was used as a solution within the most radical projects of the century. The design of the Pompidou is based upon Russian Constructivism and Futurism. Seemingly relative to the designs of the Eiffel Tower and Gare Lyon, high- tech buildings were supposed to be the most ecologically, innovative branch of architecture. The building epitomises a pro-city era of architectural thought. While it offers axial Paris an uncharacteristic urban space, both indoors and out, it becomes recognizable as a tool catering to the dynamic role of modern art in the city. The ideal of the role of politics and of social conscience inherently drove the project15. With the intent was to make a simply functional building, as both aesthetic and social, the most popular building in Europe at the time had 7 million people visiting it per year, dubbing it a cultural icon16. Furthermore, industrial buildings had a sculptural power that allowed for its simple framing to allow light to

shine through, it holds a long standing influence on modern industrial buildings. Centre Prompidou reflects on the supreme moment of technological innovation in Western Society. The freedom of the time is reflected in its accessibility and fluid flexibility of circulation. The linear purity expresses the creative placement and animation of both the event and public areas of the centre. The permanent gallery of design allows for a constant exchange within the neighbourhood, partly made through the connection of pedestrian circulation. The public accent of escalators on the western facade of the complex enforce movement and symbolize the passage of days, providing both an indication of history and future anticipation of the city. The image of culture is static and elitist, both to entertain and inform, not only for tourists or specialists, but for those who live in the neighbourhood. It is full of technical resources, freeing it from the limitations of architectural forms. Initiating a paradox in the cultural context of French life, the design of the national building deliberately resists monumentality or institutionalization. The building is a project of ideas carried by a series of technologically advanced expressions.

NOTES 1. Kester Rattenbury and Samantha Hardingham. Superscript #3: Richard Rogers: The Pompidou Centre. New York, New York : Routledge, 2012. pp. 57 2. Ibid.,15 3. Nathan Silver. The Making of the Beaubourg: A Building Biography of the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press , 1994. pp. 39 4. Ibid., 288 5. Ibid., 60 6. Ibid., 50 7. Ibid., 70 8. Ibid., 65 9. Ibid., 60 10. Ibid., 27 11. Ibid., 42 12. Rattenbury, The Pompidou Centre, 42 13. Silver, Making of the Beaubourg, 21 14. Peter Jones. Ove Arup: Masterbuilder of the Twentieth Century . China: Yale University Press, 2006. pp. 299 15. Ibid., 301 16. Rattenbury, The Pompidou Centre , 61 FIGURES 1. Aerial South Facing view of Paris. Boulevard Sebastopol runs down the centre. Site of New Building at Marais Quarter to the Right appropriated from Rattenbury, The Pompidou Centre, 56. 2. May Protests of 1968, Propaganda: ‘We Are the Power’ from Beauty Is in the Street. appropriated from “ Beauty Is in the Street: the power of protest posters | Art and design | .” Latest US news, world news, sport and comment from the Guardian | | The Guardian . 3. Radial Communication Diagram appropriated from Rattenbury, The Pompidou Centre, 26 4. Elevation Communication Diagram appropriated from Ibid., 26 5. Prefabricated Gerbettes, high- tech buildings appropriated from Ibid., 31 6. Conceptual Elevation of “Live Centre of Information” appropriated from Ibid., 5 7. Les Halles appropriated from Ibid., 110 8. Site Context, forefront of public piazza appropriated from Ibid., 33 9. Street life on the Centre Pompidou’s Piazza in 1980 appropriated from Ibid.,110 10. Price’s Fun Palace, circulation inspiration appropriated from Kester Rattenbury and Samantha Hardingham. Ibid., 94





THE CENTRE POMPIDOU COURTNEY NICHOLSON Located in the center of Paris, The Centre Pompidou was planned as a key connection in the renewal of the historic heart of the capital. In 1970, an international competition was won by the Piano + Rogers team, for the design of an arts centre including: a library, modern art museum, a centre for industrial design, and a music research centre. The design created an architectural experience based around the physical, social, and cultural context of the city described as ‘a live centre for information, entertainment and culture.’ The decision to place structure and services on the outside was driven by the need for internal flexibility. The result is a highly expressive, strongly articulated building that has come to be seen as a Parisian landmark and recognized by The International Union of Architects August Perret Prize for most outstanding international work 1975-1978. The design created a flexible and a dynamic communications centre as well as a large piazza for public activities and glazed street animate the façade of one of the most visited cultural centres in the world. The building and great public square was intended to revitalize an area of Paris that had been in decline. The neighbouring Marias district, now vibrant and multicultural, underlines the success of the Pompidou’s role as a catalyst for urban regeneration. The Centre Pompidou was to be a ‘peoples’ centre, reflecting the constantly changing needs of the users, and the city. The arts centre is a model of the ways cities constantly grow and change and illustrates the idea of the functional city and the importance of planning in urban development. The Centre Pompidou, by Piano + Rogers is a modern day example of urban planning because of its correspondence to CIAM principals, and the Athens Charter.



In the 1970′s architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, both unknown at the time, collaborated and erected one of the most famous and radical buildings of our time, Centre Georges Pompidou. The building was awarded the International Union of Architects’ August Perret Prize for Most Outstanding International Work, 1975 – 1978.1 The Centre Georges Pompidou, named after the recently deceased president, was inaugurated on January 31, 1977 and opened its doors to the public on February 2 1977. An average of 25,000 people visit the Centre Pompidou every day, which is five times more than was anticipated.2 The iconic Structuralism design evokes ingenuity in terms of architectural design and also urban planning. Structuralism as a movement in architecture and urban planning was a reaction to CIAM-Functionalism; built structures were corresponding in form to social structures. The Centre Pompidou, by Piano + Rogers is an example of successful CIAM urban planning because of its sensitivity to the social context of Paris. 394

The idea for a multicultural complex sprouted from political power André Malraux, the first minister of cultural affairs, who was the western prophet of art and culture. In 1969 the greatly prized historical structures of Les Halles market moved to Rungis as a result of a political shift.3 The city planners proposed that some of the cultural institutes would be more appropriate occupants to revitalize the poor economic conditions. Paris as a city of culture and art needed a boost and voices were raised to move the Musée d’Art Moderne to this more appropriate location. Another demand existed in Paris at the time, that for a decent public library, Paris at the time lacked any large, free, generalpurpose library. At first the debate concerned Les Halles, but as the controversy settled, in 1968, President Charles de Gaulle announced the Plateau Beaubourg as the new site for the library.4 A year later in 1969, the new president adopted the Beaubourg project. Georges Pompidou, President of France from 1969 to 1974, wanted to embrace the opportunity to construct a cultural center in Paris that would

Figure 1 - (Above) Centre Pompidou’s interactive facade stages a background to a lively scquare, which houses social and cultural events. Figure 2 - (Above Right) A diagramatic plan of present day Paris, showing the resulting configuration of the city after the construction of the Centre Pompidou.




attract visitors and be a monumental aspect of the city.5 In order to choose the architects for the project, the president held a competition. Contrary to the usual practice in competitions, this was carefully structured, with senior representatives from the ministries of culture, education and finance, under the control of an experienced senior civil servant. One entry exemplified constructivism and was a hightech modern cultural center structured with a system gerberettes and trusses unlike anything seen in the architectural world before. Piano and Rogers won the competition in 1971, out of a total of 681 entries.6 Throughout his career, Piano has aimed for an architecture defined by humanistic concerns and technical sophistication. His projects are united by a Genius Loci, a sensitivity to the particularity and culture of the site, coupled with functional analysis and constructional daring. Though each project pushes the envelope of technology, it is always done with great consideration for local conditions. Renzo Piano’s appreciation for urban context catalyzed the regeneration of


Centre Pompidou

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Les Halles

Beaubourg. The Centre Pompidou’s architecture style is a drastic contrast from the surrounding Parisian buildings, especially the Notre Dame and Louvre which are located within one kilometer from the Centre Pompidou. It has been described as looking like an oil refinery midst the classical gothic buildings of downtown Paris.7 The ultra modern design was an initial shock to may people, which caused it to be viewed generally as a very ugly building. However the design now seems fitting, its construction initiated a drastic revitilization of the area. The Centre Pompidou strengthens the Culture of Paris. The Centre exhibits: the Musee National d’art Moderne (MNAM), Departement du Developpement Culturel (DDC), Bibliotheque Publique d’Information (BPI), and the Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Acoustique/ Musique (IRCAM).8 The many functions the Centre Pompidou serves, derived its complex structure and unique mechanical systems. The iconic structure serves as a backdrop to the immense cultural growth of Paris. Richard

Rogers notes that “Pompidou proves that modernity and tradition can profitably interact and enhance historic cities.9 ” The planning of the site called for rezoning of circulation paths. Currently, the Rue du Renard is the only major road bordering the site. The original roads have been closed over a large area, so that shops can spill out over the pedestrian area. Purely local and operational considerations have driven the location of the building to the extreme eastern edge of the site, hard against the Ruedu Renard, and to put most of its public and ceremonial entrances on the side facing the piazza to the west. Pompidou’s blind side is a wall of services; a 200 metre rack of coloured vertical pipes, and ducts. The different systems on the exterior of the building are painted different colors to distinguish their different roles.10 The structure and largest ventilation components were painted white, stairs and elevator structures were painted a silver gray, ventilation was painted blue, plumbing and fire control piping painted green, the electrical elements are yellow and orange, and the elevator motor rooms and shafts, or the elements that allow for movement throughout the building, are painted red. Not only does this design decision maximize internal space, but it also creates an interactive façade with the surrounding context of the city. The effect is sensational as one sees it from the Rue du Renard. Half the building is below ground; the rest is sited on a north-south axis along the heavily congested Rue du Renard, both retaining its street quality and shielding the square on the west side of the building from 395

URBAN SCALE DESIGN noise and fumes.11 Construction of the Centre began at sketch design stage, continued at an average of some £1.5 million per month and was subjected throughout to a continuously changing brief.12 There were two types of change: due to technical needs which happen mainly during construction, such as unforeseen fire, security, loading, cost, delivery, quality and political problems; and due to the development of the brief. In order to integrate the Centre Pompidou into its surrounding context, the design strategy focused on creating flexibility of spaces.13 The building contains a series of uniform spaces supported externally by a freestanding structural frame, the whole capable of change in plan, section and elevation, able to absorb the unforeseen requirements of the future. The centre was to act as ‘an everchanging framework, a meccano kit, a climbing frame for the old and the young’.14 The lower level of the building contains large public areas such as the theatre, shops, reception and café at street level to engage with the building’s surroundings. The top floor accommodates a restaurant, experimental cinema and temporary exhibitions, all of which would be open late into the night, bringing life and activity to the square during the evening.
 Half the site was left unbuilt-upon, making way for a square of civic proportions. The large slightly sloped paved piazza in front of the building is used for a wide variety of public uses including markets, exhibitions, visual happenings, circuses, games, and buskers.15 The intent was a modern revitalization of the previous market, Les Halles. 396

The design of the piazza successfully integrates the high-tech structure of the building into its traditional surroundings, engages Paris’ street life and introduces a new pedestrian flow into the area. The transparency of the facade, the galleries and especially the escalators snaking their way up the side of the building combine to reveal two captivating sights – the tiled roofs and medieval grain of Paris in one direction, and the revelation of the building – a flexible, functional, transparent, inside-out mechanism in the other.16 Facing the square, the west façade is given over to vertical and horizontal movement, taking advantage of spectacular views over Paris. Circulation devices are clipped onto the facade in a vertical continuation of the activities in the square below. The façade links the social and cultural events occurring both inside and outside of the building creating a continuity. An important element was the architect’s intention to create a meeting space not only for the art lover, but also for the local residents. The design expresses the belief that

Figure 3 - (Above) The transparency of the facade links the social and cultural events occuring both inside and outside of the building creating a continuity. Figure 5 - (Above Middle) The east facade is a 200m wall of services. The different systems are painted different colours to distinguish their roles. Figure 4 - (Above Bottom) The west facade is given to vertical and horizontal movement facing the square, continuing the activities in the square.

POST-CIAM buildings should be able to change to allow people the freedom to adjust their environment as they need. In addition, the order, grain and scale should be derived from the process of making the building so that each individual element is expressed within the whole. As a result, the building becomes a true expression of its purpose. The result
is a highly expressive, strongly articulated 
building that has come to be seen as a 
Parisian landmark.17
 The achievement at Beaubourg is 
urbanistic as much as architectural. The
 building and great public square were 
intended to revitalize an area of Paris that 
had been in decline. The neighbouring 
Marais district, now vibrant and multicultural,
 underlines the success of the
 Pompidou’s role as a catalyst for urban
 The Pompidou’s radicalism is still striking
 and has proved attractive to a vast public:
 more than seven million people visit the 
building every year.18 The building and its
 extraordinary contents remain as popular as
 ever – inside and out – remains as 
magnetic as ever.

NOTES 1. Bachman, Leonard R. (2002) Integrated Buildings: The Systems Basis of Architecture. John Wiley & Sons. 2. Centre Pompidou. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2012, from 3. Centre Pompidou. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2012, from 4. Centre Pompidou, (2003). Retrieved October 12, 2012, from Architecture of the Building Web site: Communication.nsf/0/B90DF3E7C7F18CAEC1256D970053FA6D?OpenDocu ment&sessionM=3.1.12&L=2 5. Centre Pompidou, (2003). Retrieved October 12, 2012, from Organization of the Center Web site: Communication.nsf/0/8CAC3CF20BD51A48C1256D970053FA73?OpenDocu ment&sessionM=9.3.3&L=2. 6. Centre Pompidou, (2003). Retrieved October 12, 2012, from Tourist Trade Web site: B594A206EA1F02D1C1256DA300512369?OpenDocument&sessionM=8.1 &L=2. 7. Happold, E., Rice, P., Bolingbroke, P., Sargent, M., Stroud, M., Morrison, J., et al. (1973). Centre Beaubourg. The Arup Journal, 8(2), 2-10. 8. Mills, I. (1999). Retrieved October 12, 2012, from Pompidou Centre, Paris Web site: 9. Centre Pompidou, (2003). Retrieved October 12, 2012, from Architecture of the Building Web site: Communication.nsf/0/B90DF3E7C7F18CAEC1256D970053FA6D?OpenDocu ment&sessionM=3.1.12&L=2 10. Poderos, J. (2002). Centre Georges Pompidou Paris. New York: Prestel. 11. Renzo Piano: the architect’s studio. (2003). Retrieved October 12, 2012, from html 12. Systemic Centre Pompidou. (2003). Retrieved October 12, 2012, from 13. Centre Pompidou. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2012, from 14. Centre Pompidou, (2003). Retrieved October 12, 2012, from Tourist Trade Web site: B594A206EA1F02D1C1256DA300512369?OpenDocument&sessionM=8.1 &L=2. 15. Silver, Nathan. (1994). The making of Beaubourg: a building biography of the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Cambridge: The MIT Press. 10 Poderos, J. (2002). Centre Georges Pompidou Paris. New York: Prestel. 16. Renzo Piano: the architect’s studio. (2003). Retrieved October 12, 2012, from html 17 Systemic Centre Pompidou. (2003). Retrieved October 12, 2012, from FIGURES 1. Aerial View: appropriated from buildings/pompidou/index.htm 2. Aerial Map: appropriated from 3. Aerial View: appropriated from ad-classics-centre-georges-pompidou-renzo-piano-richard-rogers/ 4. Illustrated by Author 5. Illustrated by Author 6. Aerial Map: appropriated from

Figure 6 - (Above) The building and great public square were intended to revitalize an area of Paris that had been in decline. The Pompidou is a catalyst for urban regeneration. 397




BATTERY PARK CITY Hoang Chu Battery Park City started as a vision on how cities could form in the future, a vision that took over 10 years to become reality. Under the original master plan, Battery Park City was to be a “modular assembly of futuristic designs” incorporating two different levels for pedestrian traffic and transportation. Between 1962 and 1975, Battery Park City had gone through multiple proposals and different plans. However each proposal had 3 common goals, they wanted to expand the area of lower Manhattan, as well as attracting people to live downtown again, and create more open spaces for pedestrian with trees and parks in lower Manhattan. It wasn’t until 1979 when Alexander Cooper and Stanton Eckstut came up with their master plan to allow Battery Park City to develop the way it is today. Cooper and Eckstut plan was successful because it touched upon the principles of the Athen’s Charter created by the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne. The master plan was not to be a fixed design; rather Cooper and Eckstut used the principles of the Charter to create a framework for more development in the future. What allowed the new plan to be successful and not the previous ones; did the previous master plans also touch the Athen’s Charter? How did Cooper and Eckstrut develop a plan that was flexible enough to grow and expand over time? This essay will question and analyze the process and planning of Battery Park City in order to understand how the project has developed into what it is today.



Even until this day, Battery Park City is regarded as one of the most successful urban redevelopment examples located on the waterfront. Thirty five years ago Battery Park City was just a riverside landfill looking out to rotting piers waiting for its chance to become a part of the most successful valued real estate in the world.1 This idea however took over 10 years to become a reality, the project was delayed due to design, political, and financial problems. The urban development was guided by the conflicts of interest between politically powered figures. However these events have made a positive impact towards Battery Park City today and influencing the future of urban design. Battery Park City is situated in New York’s predominate sites, the Hudson River waterfront, which is located at the tip of Manhattan. Sharing the same river as the Statute of Liberty where many sea-borne visitors had their first glimpse of Manhattan its site. Whereas today Battery Park City is viewed daily by hundreds of thousands of people, being an essential part in the New York 400

Bay’s urban ensemble.2 Battery Park City’s site was originally abandoned ferry docks and cargo piers; however it was merely created by landfills from 1967 to 1976, some of which came from the excavations for the World Trade Centers. It was a part of Manhattan’s long going idea of using landfills in order to expand and extend lower Manhattan. The idea started since 1650 and has continuously expanded tremendously over the years. Battery Park located south of the site and being the tip of Manhattan was at the time, one of the only public spaces located by the waterfront in the downtown region, this led to the idea of using the water’s edge for homes and offices, rather than for shipping.3 In the early 1960’s, as the abandoned docks and piers began to collapse and decay, they became the sign to which many believed was the declining of Lower Manhattan. During this time many efforts from agencies were pushed towards finding a way in order to create better resourceful uses of New York’s waterfront.4 However, the decisions of how to transform the open land were complex and

Figure 1 - (Left) Battery Park City Empty Landfill Figure 2 - (Above) Battery Park City Today


Figure 3 - The Growth of Lower Manhattan by Landfill, Based on Gordon, op. cit.,

posed many issues that needed to be solved. At the time, the piers and land was owned by the City of New York who also regulated urban development. This allowed for the New York Department of Marine and Aviation to give the first proposal for the site. They proposed for site to have 8 office buildings, 18 high rise apartments that will contain 4500 dwelling units, a 40 storey hotel, as well as 6 commercial pier slips.5 The residential high rises were to be blocked into 3 rows spaced out taking major influences in Le Corbusier’s Modernist “tower in the park” idea that was done in 1925 with Plan Voisin.6 However when the proposal was presented to the public it was not well received in just as Le Corbusier’s idea being poorly received by the public. The Battery Park City proposal was denied because the idea of combining cargo with offices and housings did not seem appropriate for the area. As all of this was happening another organization called the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association was carefully revising their vision for the landfill along Hudson River. This organization was founded by David Rockefeller who had previously built a new bank headquarters during the time Manhattan became dominate for redevelopment. They were also the ones to propose to the Port Authority in building the World Trade Center, as well as commissioning a plan for the downtown area.7 Their idea was to take advantage of their office developments adjacent to the landfill and placing in large residential communities that would potentially eliminate future commercial competition. The city was pressured by DLMA for

redevelopment; their pressure was so influential that the city had to take action. Their plan was looking to be completed in early 1966; however after a municipal election the process was interrupted. With the change in administration, multiple other proposals starting to be reviewed and the city and the process stopped.8 Nelson Rockefeller was New York’s Governor from 1959 to 1973; he was generally concerned with issues relating to middle income housing and residential housing, therefore when the official plan struggled to proceed, Rockefeller became interested in developing the site himself.9 Instead of being vocal on this interest, the Governor worked in secrecy because he noticed that there was some difficulty on implementing projects in downtown New York. He worked with his favourite architect, Wallace Harrison, and came up with a plan that would include 2 office buildings, a high density hotel, housing for 13 982 families, public service facilities, light industrial facilities, recreation and shopping centers, as well as parks and parking facilities.10 The theme of this plan was a “city within a city” catered towards mix incomes and a vast variety of community services; consisting of slab buildings on a pedestrian deck over the light industry in rows, another influence of Le Corbusier’s idea. Similar to the DLMA’s proposal this plan was not well received. Simultaneously the City Planning Commission had been planning for this site as well releasing their Lower Manhattan Plan just weeks after the Governor’s. Their plan was more inclusive with the site than the other proposals given. They grounded their plan by reviewing 401

URBAN SCALE DESIGN the transportation and land use around the area and found that there was a need for a residential development as well as an expansion of the financial core.11 Similar to the DLMA’s idea; they wanted use elevated platforms that would separate vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This caused a major conflict of interest in the development of Battery Park City whereas the City of New York not only owned the land but also regulates the urban developments while having a design development themselves. On the other hand, Nelson Rockefeller had the financial support in developing the land while having legislative authority in the State with his own development in mind. Having different urban designs and policy implications the two public authorities had to struggle for their ideas, leaving the site untouched and nothing built. It took over three years for the City and the State to realize that instead of working against one another they would work out their differences and compromise to teaming up and working together, combining their ideas to propose a much better scheme.12 Within a year, the project’s developed plan was finished and satisfied both the City and the State on their needs. The proposal looked to have new housing, new lands, new jobs, and maybe a new way of urban living proposing Battery Park City as the City of the Future. The new master plan was required to build five million square feet of offices, a five hundred thousand square foot mall, civil facilities including a library, fire stations, police station, and two schools. The plan was also required to build a recreational, cultural, and health center, and finally 14 100 402

apartments that were to be split between all incomes.13 As things were looking better for the development, Battery Park City returned to their unfortunate ways. In the mid 1970’s the Master Plan fell towards obstacles that which they were not able to overcome. During this time both the State and the City had fell into a fiscal crisis which in turn affected the market for office spaces making them more and more less desirable which overall paralyzed the entire development causing the development to a halt.14 Although for the initial development this was their all-time low, this may have been one of their critical moments in which it allowed Battery Park City to become successful as it is today. Instead of giving up and waiting for the economy to return to its better state, the master plan was taken and re-examined and certain things were changed such that the infrastructure was to be modified as well as the investor’s approval process in order to attract the private investors. By the late 1970’s New York was under pressure to start movement on the project

Figure 4 - Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s 1966 Plan, Based on Gordon, op. cit,

POST-CIAM again and resorted to new urban design firms for assistance. From this Alexander Cooper and Stanton Eckstut were hired to be a part of the development.15 This young firm was given a difficult task of recreating a new master plan than the previous failed developments; to make things worse they had to finalize their plan within twelve weeks. They started out by re-examining the previous planning then their marketing scheme, they noticed many things were needed to be modified and recommended that the previous development plan was needed to be abandoned.16 Instead Cooper and Eckstut decided to use a simple mapping guideline for the urban design for each block. They simply laid out the areas in which parks, squares, streets, and the riverfront esplanade were to be located. They designed the public areas in more detail looking at the details of the street lamps and benches. However they left the architects to design the actual buildings that were to be in the development, all they did was give guidelines and restrictions on sizes, shapes, placement, and the façade materials of the buildings as though they were creating a zoning by-law.17 The reason for Cooper and Eckstut’s success was that they did not create Battery Park City into a heap of disconnected towers or into a regime of rows as that previous plans have. Instead they created a balanced city having emphasis on the streets, public spaces, and building, giving them all separate identities however keeping a similar coherent whole.18 The master plan was not to be a fixed design; rather Cooper and Eckstut used the principles of the Charter but created a framework for more

development in the future. Compared to the early plan of 1969, the “mega structure plan” was inflexible, it did not allow for compensation from the plan, having an all or nothing concept which required a vast amount of public and private investment. Even if the plan was to be scaled to a smaller size with the same principles it would not be adequate for the site. However Cooper’s and Eckstut’s plan started on a smaller scale allowing for many different types of developments to take place allowing for flexibility and expansion for the future.19 Battery Park City was originally planned in the late 1960’s as a series of vast “superblocks” placing major emphasis on residential development as well as commercial expansion. However those plans deemed failure because they restricted themselves from future developments, they took CIAM as an influence however they did not account for versatility. Unlike other CIAM influenced projects they did not fail due to social context but rather it was the political context that slowed their progress. However, Cooper’s and Eckstut’s design incorporated all the motifs and influences of CIAM to set rather than an official stable plan instead creating a guideline that would adapt to future developments and expansion.

NOTES 1. Krieger, Alex, and William S. Saunders. Urban design. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009. 2. “Battery Park City Authority.” Battery Park City Authority. http:// (accessed October 28, 2012). 3. Gordon, David L. A. Battery Park City: politics and planning on the New York waterfront. Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach, 1997. 4. Moss, Mitchell L., and Matthew P. Drennan. The New York City waterfront: an analysis of municipal ownership and leasing of public land. Albany: New York Sea Grant Institute, 1976. 5. DMA. The port of New York: proposals for development.. New York: City Planning Commission, 1964. 6. Gordon, op. cit., 7. DLMA. Lower Manhattan: recommended land use, redevelopment areas, traffic improvements. New York: Downtown Lower Manhattan Association, 1958. 8. Krieger, op. cit., 9. “Batter Park City Authority.”, op. cit., 10. Harrison, Wallace K. Battery Park City: new living space for New York: a proposal for creating a site for residential and business facilities in Lower Manhattan. New York: s.n., 1966. 11. Gordon, op. cit., 12. Ibid., 13. “Battery Park City Authority.”, op. cit., 14. Harrison, op. cit., 15. “Battery Park City Authority.”, op. cit., 16. Gordon, op. cit., 17. Goldberger, Paul. “Battery Park City Is a Triumph of Urban Design.” New York Times (New York City ), August 31, 1986. 18. Ibid., 19. Gordon, op. cit., FIGURES 1. Aerial View: appropriated from attachments/nyc_daveh/batteryparkfill.jpg 2. Aerial View: appropriate from 00d83452855c69e201774421974e970d-pi 3. Aerial Map: appropriate from images/maps/us/ny/lower_manhattan/lower_manhattan.gif 4. Aerial Map: appropriate from US/battery-park-city-map.jpg





ROBSON SQUARE MARGOT DE MAN Robson Square, situated in the centre of the Downtown business district in Vancouver, BC was built to accommodate the Provincial Law Courts and a public plaza. Prior to the design the site housed the 1912 courthouse and two blocks of parking lot. The design of the three city blocks built from 1978-83 incorporated seven stories of Provincial Law Courts, government offices, a skating rink, part of UBC and the Vancouver Art Gallery. A political change in 1972 and a reaction to the proposed tower development on the site resulted in Arthur Erickson’s proposal to ‘lay it on its side,” thus creating a public landscape over the hard program with landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander. Arthur Erickson’s was an Architect-turned-planner like some of his CIAM predecessors and a lot of his work relates to CIAM ideas in terms of master plans and separation of uses, however concurrently deviates in terms of form and expression. The same key CIAM principles are seen in Robson Square, however the intent is very different in relation to its specific physical and cultural urban context and in response to accumulated criticisms of the Athens Charter. The initial reaction to the square was positive but it became less heavily used until its recent high volumes as a gathering place for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. The project has both a positive and a negative side where the negative aspects grounded in a lack of public connection can be attributed to CIAM influences. The project thus has the potential to heighten the city environment it is situated within but lacks at-grade connections to the downtown context at its perimeters resulting in a great site for gathering but one that does not generate enough traffic on a daily basis.



Robson Square, constructed between 1978 and 1983 in downtown Vancouver incorporates a public plaza, Provincial Law Courts, UBC Robson Square, a skating rink and the Vancouver Art Gallery. The plaza terraces up three stories from the street level over top of several stories of programming. Stretching three-city blocks it reaches over Smithe Street connecting the upper level of plaza to the Law Courts and under Robson Street connecting the skating rink to the Vancouver Art Gallery. The city of Vancouver, one of the youngest cities in Canada, is well known as being the World`s most livable cities as well as Canada’s “Gateway to the Orient”; representing of the city’s ethnic culture and North America’s “Hollywood North”; representative of the social culture. The ethnic majority of the city is commonly ‘oriental’ with 16% Chinese immigrants as early as 1891, 56% Asian by 1961 and 59% by 1981. 1 The social culture is evident in the Theatre and Stage districts in the downtown area south of Robson and Granville Streets as well as a large and lively night club scene. The city also has a popular shopping and 406

tourist destination along Robson Street which developed in the 1970’s along with the site of the Vancouver Art Gallery on the north-most block of Robson Square. 2 Also at this time, the citizens of Vancouver, as described by Macdonald, are very relaxed and social. They, “take the longest coffee breaks,” “watch the least amount of TV” and also exercise less, shop less, read more and spend more on art. 3 Similar to other North American cities in the 60’s, plans for highway expansion through neighbourhoods to the suburbs were stopped by public activism. The stopping of the freeway along with other activist groups depicts Vancouver’s state Post-CIAM, where people like UBC Professor Walter Hardwick were opposed to CIAM principles and believed that “officials have no business making their goals the goals of the public [and] goals of the city [are] far beyond efficiency of moving vehicles.” The city has also succeeded in having a lock of suburban sprawl compared to the rest of North America. 4 The city grew rapidly from its first settlement in the now West Downtown area in the 1860’s to be industrialized with a strong city grid by the








Figure 1 - (Above Left) The Site of Robson Square in the Context of Downtown Vancouver Figure 2 - (Above) Historical Land Use Zoning of the Robson Square Site Figure 3 - (Below) Land Use Zoning in the 1970’s and Notable Buildings Built in the 1970’s in the Vancouver Downtown Center


by 1970’s

Figure 4 - (Above) Roads, Transportation and Transit Around the Site of Robson Square by the 1970’s Figure 5 - (Below) Legend for Figures 2, 3, 4

1880’s and a streetcar line in the 1890’s. 5 There are many reasons why Vancouver is thought of as the most livable city and the best place to live. The City is distinguished by its support for public transit, ferry, and Seabus systems as well as a lack of freeways. It is known to have good air quality, good design in residential development, abundant green spaces and parks and successful neighbourhoods as well as a good balance between street, ocean and forest. 6 As of a study conducted in 1966 Vancouverites deem the natural environment a high priority including hazardous waste disposal as a #1 priority. They also gave high priority to improved road access, a high quality social environment including health care, crime and affordable housing as prominent issues as well as the land supply dilemma with supporting agricultural land. Vancouver was looking towards growth but not at a risk to livability. 7 In contrast to the integration of public opinion into planning, the development at the time of post-industrial Downtown Vancouver was divided into a Central Downtown district with commercial and some institutional use, a North Downtown district with mainly residential apartments, and a band of industrial use along the water’s edge. Many large office towers were built as well as two underground shopping centers depicting suburban-like qualities of blank walls on city streets. 8 In 1972 a political shift from the Social Credit to New Democrat government gave Dave Barrett political power and stopped Premier Bennett of the Social Credit Union from creating a 55 storey office tower (which would have been the highest in the city) and potentially demolishing the 1912 Court House

on the site framed by Georgia, Robson, Hornby, and Howe Streets. 9 These changes eventually led to the development of Robson Square. The issues that stopped the development were public complaints about shadows that would have been cast onto adjacent sites by a tall building as well as the response to the context of the time including changing views on building typology and interest in the public realm leading to a priority on creating public space in the heart of the city. Arthur Erickson was commissioned to redesign three-city blocks including the site of the existing Courthouse as well as the two city blocks to the Southwest of the site currently used as parking lots. As one of the most famous Canadian architects and a Vancouverite himself, Erickson was a suitable candidate for the job. He had recently designed the Master Plan for Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby campus with Geoffrey Massey in the 60`s and the Museum of Anthropology at UBC earlier in the 70`s. In his early works it was already evident that the use of concrete would become a key principle in Erickson`s practice which he called “the marble of our times.” 10 By the time of Robson Square there were AntiCIAM groups and although Arthur Erickson’s schooling and principles were modeled after CIAM ideas, there were clearly other aspects of design and importance at play. For example he utilized ideas of separation between pedestrian and vehicular traffic while at the same time advocating mixed-use on the site. In his time of schooling at McGill University Erickson preceded many Architects of CIAM, like Le Corbusier in becoming an architect-turnplanner who might design from the building to the city as opposed to from the city to the 407

URBAN SCALE DESIGN individual building. As evident with Simon Fraser University and many of his later master plans across the globe, Erickson was designing small cities as opposed to projects within city. “More than mere buildings theses designs are better understood as small-scale cities ... they all reflect Erickson’s humanistic approach to problems of Modern design.”11 Erickson’s practice is also known for extensive and innovative approaches to landscape design mainly created in an undeveloped site. This is done in Robson Square similar to Simon Fraser University. Also evident from his work, Erickson puts importance on modern design in terms of homogeneity of materials and spatial composition. With the heavy use of concrete against what is usually a backdrop of the natural landscape, his designs seem quite futuristic however blending in to the natural landscape with his intricate spatial and formal compositions. Robson Square is thus a product of his practice on a whole, but is expressed differently in relation to its urban context. Erickson’s approach to the site was to propose the “55 storey tower on its side”. On top he proposed a public green roof and converted the old Courthouse building into the Vancouver Art Gallery as a response to Vancouver’s cultural needs. The public plaza designed with landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander has four terraced levels including a below grade level which connects to the Art gallery with an outdoor skating rink. The ground level only gives access to the square in limited areas. The landscaped terraces become more secluded towards the third level which has connections over Smithe St. to the main Courthouse 408

N structure. The square is heavily landscaped, includes a waterfall and pools and has a variety of seating options including stairs between terraces with incorporating ramps across them. Arthur Erickson`s design for Robson Square strongly relates to the design principles of his practice but is situated in an extremely different context. The design can be related to CIAM inspired ideas of Master Plans and seperated uses that Erickson held with him. The Law Courts are situated primarily on the south-most block, and the public plaza hardly leaves the boundaries of the center block. The square was built as its own entity within the city and does not connect well to the public realm for most of the sites perimeter. Similar to other Vancouver projects in the seventies as mentioned above, the built-up portions of the site present for the most part a blank wall. Although the architecture and landscape design of the plaza`s are commended, the problem in relation to this sense of a master plan, is that the program does not promote the use of this space for circulation and serves as more of a destination. The choice of materials was conducive to his other work and


Figure 6 - (Top Left) Landscaping and Vegetation at Robson Square Figure 7 - (Top Right) Terraced Levels and Grade Level Access Points of Robson Square Figure 8 - (Above Bottom) Legend for Figures 6, 7

POST-CIAM CIAM modernism where concrete is practically the sole material. In the case of Robson Square, instead of this concrete mass being placed in a vast landscape, the landscape is placed on his design, incorporating the then rarely seen green roof design. Although the project does display segregated uses it is also a mixeduse site which incorporates multi-functional elements like the step/ramp/seat configurations between terraces. Although the project has many similarities to principles laid out in the Athens Charter it does not resemble the form we associate with those principles. One way streets surrounding the site make it less accessible and reduce pedestrian activity further separating Robson Square from the city. There are many harsh critics of Arthur Erickson and his work on Robson Square. Although he was building this project in a city who had recently battled the highway and was working on a project which was supposed to represent the opposite of freeway development, Erickson himself was actually an advocate of the massive East-West freeway. This is imagined in the three city blocks that are connected overtop of Smithe St. and underneath Robson St resembling the freeway-form separation of uses seen in many CIAM based designs. It was also suggested that Robson Square is not a place for the public but rather “defended by prying eyes of bourgeoisie.”12 Robson Square lacks connection to the city which is crucial for it to function as it also does not act as a destination for the most part. Recently Robson Square has been rejuvenated with its use as a central gathering space for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. As a product of these events there have also been trials and proposals to close the portion

of Robson Street between Hornby Street and Howe Street for pedestrians only. This allows for a better connection between the square and the rest of the public realm. Robson square has many good qualities in terms of architectural and landscape design but is deficient in aspects of universal use and practicality. These negative aspects are attributed to CIAM influences. The project thus has the potential to heighten it’s urban environment but lacks at-grade connections to the downtown context at its perimeters resulting in a great site for gatherings of all sizes but one that does not generate enough necessary traffic through the site on a daily basis in order to function as a well planed public space. In this sense the question may be asked of whether Robson Square denotes the ideas of Vancouver as the most livable city

NOTES 1. Macdonald, Bruce. Vancouver: A Visual History. Vancouver: Talon Books, 1992.

2. Ibid., (Macdonald 1992)

3. Ibid., (Macdonald 1992)

4. Hayes, Derek. Historical Atlas of Vancouver and the Lower Fraser Valley. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2006.

5. (Macdonald 1992)

6. Chadwick, Mike. Vancouver in Focus: The City’s Built Form. Vancouver: Granville Island Pub., 2006. 7. Hardwick, Walter, Raymon Dr. Torchinsky, and Arthur Dr. Fallick. Shaing a livable Vancouver Region: Public Opinion Surveys. B.C. Geographical Series, Vancouver:

8. Ibid., (Macdonald 1992)

9. Ibid.,(Macdonald 1992)

10. Stouck, David. Arthur Erickson: An Architect’s Life. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2013. 11. McGill: University, Canadian Architecture Collection. Arthur Erickson. 2001. (accessed October 27, 2012). 12. Blane, Shawn. Vancouver Secrets of the City. Vancouver: Arsenal pulp press, 2000. FIGURES

1. Margot de Man: Aerial Map appropriated from http://vanmapp.





EURALILLE - THE CROSSROADS OF EUROPE MICHAEL FALOTICO Euralille, France, 1994 The urban community of Lille Metropole in France was founded in 1976. Its goal during its foundation was to build an advanced metropolitan area that synchronized the city through its transportation systems as well as its environmental and social structures. In 1989 a public/private partnership commissioned the OMA Architecture Firm to develop a master plan for the city, this master plan would consist of over 800,000 square meters of urban renewal. This project includes a new TGV (high-speed train station), shopping centers, complexes of offices hotels, housing, congress centers, and public spaces. The vision was to redefine how a metropolitan area in Europe functions. The basis of the project was built on the idea that the tunnel that links Britain to Europe and extension of TGV networks in Europe will change the experience of the country dramatically. The idea was developed to make Lille the dominant cultural, social and economic hub of the triangle that surrounds it (London, Brussels, and Paris)




TGV tracks



The urban community of Lille Metropole in France was founded in 1976 in the city of Lille. The goal during its foundation was to build an advanced metropolitan area that synchronized the city through its transportation systems as well as its environmental and social structures. The city did not develop according to plan, as its economy as well as its industry fell into an economic recession shortly after the community of Lille metropole. In 1989 a public/private partnership commissioned the OMA Architecture Firm to develop a master plan for the city. From this commission, an 80-hectare master plan for the City of Lille took shape, which promised to bring jumpstart urban renewal within Lille. The plans for Euralille included shopping centers, complexes of offices hotels, housing, congress centers, and a multitude of public spaces. The foundation of the project, however, was built on the idea that the tunnel that links Britain to Europe and the extension of train networks in Northern Europe will change the experience of the country dramatically. The idea was 412


developed to make Lille the dominant cultural, social and economic hub of its neighboring countries and to redefine how a metropolitan area in Europe functions. When Dutch architect Lucas “Rem” Koolhaas was appointed master planner and chief architect of the urban planning project known as ‘Euralille’ he faced a planning problem that stretched far beyond the city of Lille’s borders. He, along with the OMA architecture firm were asked to design an urban metropolis based on a set of criteria that, if achieved, would elevate the city of Lille to one of the greatest urban centers in Europe. The main principles that the Euralille project was based on included; economic regeneration and growth, cultural advancement, social expansion (even beyond the borders of the city) and both urban and architectural renewal within the city of Lille. The development of Euralille was not a process that occurred overnight, it took 8 years of planning, however once that plans had been set, the bulk of Lille’s new urban center was built in an astounding 18 months. The

Figure 1 - (Top Left) Figure 2 - (Above) These two photos show the proposed placement of Euralille (left) and the difference that the TGV station and urban expansion made to the city. Figure 3 - (Right) This is a rendering of an original drawing showing part of the planning process behind Euralille.The different textures or patterns show how all of the elements in the site become guidelines for how the project developed. It is easy to see how the forms relate themselves to the existing flows and dynamics of the transportation routes. The train station (solid black), Parks (dotted areas) and all of the other buildings are strategically positioned around the railroad tracks and existing highway systems.



plans for Euralille began with an agreement in 1986 to build a channel tunnel from Britain to France, and developed further as France, Belgium, Holland and Germany discussed joining together to develop the North European TGV network (Train a Grande Vitesse, a European high speed railway network). Initially a TGV line was meant to bypass Lille with a small junction station that would serve the channel tunnel, however, upon consideration by Regional authorities, a TGV station within Lille’s city limits was thought to be a project that would stimulate regeneration of the city’s industry and consequently its economy. Further, within the city of Lille, and ideal site already existed; beside the city’s old railway terminal and close to the core of the ‘old town’ there was a stretch of military-owned land that offered no economic, social or political importance to the city itself. This land spanned over more than 70 hectares and was readily available for use; it became the perfect site for the master plan of Euralille as it offered direct access to the railway network and provided ample land for future urban development. The site is surrounded by existing cityscape, however it is cut off from it by major arterial boulevards, a large peripherique (circular highway system that surrounds a city) and pre-existing railway lines. Rem Koolhaas was the architect in charge of designing a 40-hectare plot of urban development, on the south side of the railway axis, using Lille’s existing terminal and town center flanking one of its sides. Koolhaas describes the new TGV station and its urban surroundings: “the concept of a view to and from

the TGV is fundamental to the legibility of the project as a whole, its raison d’etre” . The design plays on the importance of the sites relation to transport and shows how much consideration was put into its development as a cultural, social, economic and political hub, not just regionally but nationally as well. In May of 1990 the ‘Societe D’economie Mixte’ was founded with a combination of private and public investors to help realize the project . From there plans were drawn up for the construction of the new TGV station in Lille. This Station was to be the catalyst for an architectural master plan that was then drawn up by Rem Koolhaas and OMA. Its strategic location at the junction of TGV lines that run through Northern Europe and connect London, Paris and Brussels make Lille the ‘crossroads of Europe’ . The plan for Euralille took full advantage of the social, economic, political and cultural impact that the TGV station would have on the city. The final plan called for over 80 hectares of urban activities. The Lille Grand Palais is a major component in the urban development of Lille; it is a massive project with a footprint of over 170.000 square feet . Intended to replace overused conference facilities, this massive structure and its surrounding parkland have been called “a virtually instant chunk of the city” as it sits beside the train station at the heart of the city. The Grand Palais offers architectural beauty as sell as cultural, social and economic value as it is a venue for regional and international trade fairs. Its program also features spaces dedicated specifically to performances and shows as well as a multitude of commercial 413

URBAN SCALE DESIGN space, which includes a ‘hypermarket’, as well as 52.000 square feet of restaurants. Beyond the Grande Palais there are 190.000 square feet of educational space, which includes a school, educational buildings as well as highrise residences for both students and faculty. Among all of the structures that lend themselves to the dense, yet permeable urban fabric that has become Euralille, there is still a large emphasis put on recreation. Social accessibility and function were paramount in the master plan; this can be easily seen though the 60.000 square feet of outdoor and indoor recreational spaces. Careful attention was put into creating beautiful and accessible park space where the millions of people that pass through Lille can relax, enjoy nature and attend different events held at the many venues within the new urban setting. The task of designing and developing and Urban center as complex as Euralille is not without its challenges; to successfully build a small city, there must be a lot of coordination and management. Further, this project was not one that a single mega structure couls solve, Lilles program had to be a well planned combination of architecturally significant structures as well as acessible and functional recreationl land. Euralille’s success as an urban center is defined by how well the planners, architects and developers were able to communicate and work to better the City. The consideration of zoning bylaws, traffic flow, pedestrian access and the task of introducing a large new urban center into an already developed city are monumental tasks. OMA and Rem Koolhaas were able to design 414

an area of dense but permeable city that still functions today as oneof Europs greatest social hubs. The Grans Palais is used extensively and for a wide variety of evens, from expositions to show, large competitions and marketplaces, the venue is versatile and adaptable. OMA’s focus on transportation routes, namely the TGV systems as well as existing highways and arterial roads allowed the planners to develop a context that fits very well in its surroundings and has emerged in the modern world as a success in urban design and planning. Ultimately, it was the attention given to the fast TGV links that run into the heart of Euralille that make this project a resounding success. The city plan has provided access to millions of people residing in cities throughout the north of Europe, bringing theses cities closer together and making Lille the center of a new, more urbanized Europe. Further, the Urban fabric created by the architects at OMA in conjunction with Rem Koolhaas have added to the social and cultural structure of Lille, while promoting political stability and an impressive amount of economic growth.

Figure 3 - (Above) Detailed plan of Euaralille as a whole, including TGV lines, station, platforms, residences and surrounding poarks and structures Original image from: Euralille: The Making of a New City Center: Koolhaas, Nouvel, Portzamparc, Vaconi, Duthilleul. - Basel [etc.]: Birkhäuser, 1996. - 192

Figure 4 - (Right) OMA model of Eualille Masterplan. Blue masses are intended architectural additions to the urban fabric of the project. this image makes it apparent how important the TGV tracks ate in the deign, and how much consideration went into the placement of each individual structure. Image: “Nederlands Architectuurinstituut - Euralille and the Grand Palais.” NAI. N.p., 05 May 1998. Web. 09 Nov. 2012. < view_the_collection/item/_rp_kolom2-1_elementId/1_102921>.

POST-CIAM Footnotes 1. Meade, Martin K. “Euralille: the instant city.” The Architectural Review Dec. 1994:. p. 83 2. Meade, Martin K. “Euralille: the instant city.” The Architectural Review Dec. 1994:. 85 3. Meade, Martin K. “Euralille: the instant city.” The Architectural Review Dec. 1994:. p. 84 4. Euralille and The Grand Palaise: Plan for the crossroads of Europe. REM KOOLHAAS. 5. Eura Meade, Martin K. “Euralille: the instant city.” The Architectural Review Dec. 1994. p. 86 6. Meade, Martin K. “Euralille: the instant city.” The Architectural Review Dec. 1994. p.83 Citations Meade, Martin K. “Euralille: the instant city.” The Architectural Review Dec. 1994: 83+. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 9 Nov. 2012. Document URL 4&v=2.1&u=rpu_main&it=r&p=EAIM&sw=w Euralille: The Making of a New City Center: Koolhaas, Nouvel, Portzamparc, Vaconi, Duthilleul. - Basel [etc.]: Birkhäuser, 1996. - 192 Buchanan, Peter. “City center.” Architecture Jan. 1995: 80+. Canadian Periodicals Index Quarterly. Web. 4 Nov. 2012. Document URL 7&v=2.1&u=rpu_main&it=r&p=CPI&sw=w Spring, Martin. 1994. Architecture: Lille’s on the fast track. The Independent, Oct 26, 1994. (accessed November 9, 2012). Coupland, Douglas. 1994. Rem koolhaas, post-nationalist architect. New York Times, Sep 11, 1994. login?url= (accessed November 9, 2012). Newman, Peter. “Urban Planning in Europe:International Competition, National Systems and Planning Projects.”Taylor and Francis Group. 2002. P196 “Nederlands Architectuurinstituut - Euralille and the Grand Palais.” NAI. N.p., 05 May 1998. Web. 09 Nov. 2012. < view_the_collection/item/_rp_kolom2-1_elementId/1_102921>.





LIBRARY SQUARE SARAH IVES Walking down a busy street in an urban setting, the individual is constantly influenced by the built world; even natural features are framed by built context. In 1995, when Library Square was built, The City of Vancouver had goals to create a better Central Business District. The project demonstrates a reaction to the Athens Charter, an opposition to the dense North American city. Library Square dominates an entire city block. Architect Moshe Safdie with Downs/Archambault & Partners create an active language between street and interior space by breaking linear street patterns, embracing views, and creating social exchange between users. The architects respect the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s context while creating a multi-functional library complex. Library Square sits between two main city streets, Robson and W. Georgia Street, the curvaceous form breaks the quick linear movement to allow pedestrians to enjoy flexible spaces on the libraryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ground floor. On site library, federal office tower and retail spaces offer a variety of uses to the community. Supplementing its diversity, Library Square is used for many public and private city events. The block consists of a 7 storey building and federal office tower with a second elliptical wall on the east end of the site showcasing panoramic views into the city. The project does not follow the traditional linear setbacks but creates an elliptical outline resulting in a tiered, open plaza. Located in the center of downtown Vancouver, the inclusive elements of this urban design invite the interaction of its urban citizens. Library Square creates a strong relationship between the pedestrian and the city.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN The City of Vancouver has a reputation for being one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most livable cities. Why has this city proven to be so successful? Many other cities may feel so inclined to mimic Vancouver development plans. To their dismay; this initiative would most likely be unsuccessful. Vancouver has evolved over the years and through this growth, city planners have kept livability at the top of the agenda. There is not one aspect of Vancouver that can be singled out as the catalyst for its success. Physical, political, social, and cultural contexts are small attributes that contribute to the identity of Vancouver as a whole. Context cannot be mimicked and is relative to place and time. The Athens Charter attempted to create a recipe for a successful city. The ingredients of this were centered on efficiency and the mobility of the vehicle; critics stated that these guidelines were of inhuman-scale. After 1956, when a team gathered at Harvard University to discuss the future of cities, the term Urban Design was coined and the Athens Charter proven obsolete. A new discourse encouraged livable cities with an increase of civic buildings that would encourage people to stay in the city outside the hours of 9am-5pm. The City of Vancouver has strict design guidelines presented in planning documents and zoning bylaws which allow for a walkable and livable city. Library Square was designed and built based on a combination of local design traditions and international expertise. Although facing criticism, Library Square has proven to be an example of the successful marriage between urban design and architecture. 418

Library Square was built in 1995, the tail end of the reaction to CIAM. Having evolved through 39 years of moving toward better cities, this project signifies many post-CIAM objectives. In an essay entitled The Emergence of Urban Design in the Breakup of CIAM by architectural/ urban design historian and architect Eric Mumford, he discusses the reactions to CIAM and the beginnings of urban design. Mumford quotes the thoughts of city planner and Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Josep Luis Sert who presents the challenges for the architect: â&#x20AC;&#x153;the carrying out of large civic complexes: the integration of city-planning, architecture, and landscape architecture; the building of a complete environment` in existing urban centres``1. By integrating fields of design, the goal is to bring more people into the city. Prior to the end of CIAM, many American cities were viewed as dangerous and overcrowded. City centres were places where, according to Sert as cited by Mumford (2009), ``the children get run over, the grown-ups get drunk- a place you should leave as soon as you finish your

Figure 1 -(Above) Radiating levels of context. Figure 2 - (Right) Site plan with traffic flow.


Homer St.

Plaza 2 Plaza 1 W Georgia St.

Robson St.

Library “Storehouse”

Hamilton St.

work day``2. Library Square was built within this critical area, at the edge of the Central Business District. Library Square covers up an entire city block, between W Georgia St. and Robson Street as well as Hamilton St. and Homer St. acting as a central node in within the Library District. The physical context changes as you radiate outwards (fig. 1). In an inner ring, the immediate context includes a combination of street framing 8-10 storey office buildings and thin 30 storey mixed-use buildings. The second ring includes taller office buildings and condominiums. Thirdly, towards False Creek, there are recreational facilities and sports stadiums. South-west of Library Square, a series of high-rise and low-rise condominiums interconnected with restaurants and shops define Yaletown. North of the square, buildings become increasingly tall and dense. Finally, beyond the built form, Vancouver has many natural amenities including mountains, dense forests and beaches, which add to the city`s appeal and livability. Culturally, many people who

live in Vancouver share similar ideas towards the city. Prior to the completion of Library Square in 1995, there were many people in Vancouver who felt that cities must be accessible for everyone and streets should be friendly and walkable. The Vancouver municipal government was in charge of urban planning decisions and therefore independent from the province. The government parties that were in favour in the early 1990’s were concerned with business leadership and encouraged public participation3. Therefore, a municipal government with strong values towards improving city life for residents and visitors results in guidelines for architects to design projects that fit within the city’s layers of context. To avoid the risk of a one-dimensional Central Business District, Vancouver planners recommend amenities interwoven within the district that provide services for the pedestrian. Library Square includes a public library with additional spaces for people to take a break from their daily lives. A large plaza opens up to the street. Since Library Square opened, it has received a decline in public funding. In order to remain an economic generator, Library Square has become the location for various events. “The VPL [Vancouver Public Library] has also closed its doors to the public and rented its premises as a movie set to private filmmakers in order to sustain itself”4. This demonstrates how Library Square fits into the urban economic conditions. As rent becomes increasingly high in the downtown area, public buildings must fulfill a social need but must also provide revenue for the city. On-site revenue generators include;

bars, restaurants, ground floor retail and parking. These supplementary programs allow for the Vancouver Public Library to function, and to make a positive impact in the urban public realm. Moshe Safdie was invited to submit a proposal for a competition released by the City of Vancouver to design Library Square. The city wanted the project to be monumental and to become a focal point for the Library District. The competition was a two part process, in the first round a project was selected by the Selection Advisory Committee (library board members, and city councillors) the second was a random vote from the public. Inviting world renowned architects to design projects is a tactic that the city may use to draw people into the central core; opening up the judging to the public also increases public involvement. The city and public made clear what they wanted Library Square to do for the city of Vancouver, Moshe Safdie’s proposal met these requirements and was chosen in 1992. Moshe Safdie collaborated with a local architecture firm; Downs/Archambault & Partners. Both local and international architect brought to the design unique traits: D/A & Partners contributed many of the functional programming aspects while Moshe Safdie brought forth international design experience. The advantage of the local architect is that they are familiar with the inner workings of the city. The international architect is able to identify key elements that make up an appropriate architectural project in a city by appropriating qualities from an array of cities and architectural projects. 419

URBAN SCALE DESIGN Urban designer, Kevin Lynch explains in his essay entitled, “Dimensions of Performance” from Good City Form (1981) that’s there are five basic dimensions that can be used to measure a city. These include; vitality, sense, fit, access, and control. 5 As urban design and architecture are directly related, according to these dimensions, a new architectural project must supplement these ideals. Library Square was designed and built to compliment the city. Both Moshe Safdie and Downs/Archambalt & Partners incorporated design principles that pertain to the making of an appropriate architectural project in the city of Vancouver. Firstly, Safdie wanted Library Square to become a civic landmark and a “major public statement”6. Since the Library sits within a central business district, it is appropriate that the library functions as both a public building and symbol for the city. This relates to the second design principal: place memory. In an article from The Library Quarterly called, The Public Place of Central Libraries: Findings from Toronto and Vancouver, Moshe Safdie is quoted stating that the project’s appropriateness is based on “the sense of memory of a great institution which has to do with the library”7. The building formally takes on many characteristics of the Coliseum in Rome; this relationship further demonstrates the grandeur and timelessness that the library represents. A large atrium fulfills the final three key design principles. The atrium bridges two plazas, brings in natural light and compliments exterior public space (Fig 2). Two plazas connect traffic flow along Robson St. and W. Georgia St. From the south, these main streets carry traffic from public attractions such as BC Place 420

Pedestrians are invited to “spiral” off the grid

Stadium, Rogers Arena and Andy Livingstone Park. North of the site, another public amenity is found: Robson square. The plazas and gallery at Library Square take advantage of the possible circulation patterns through the site. The public realm flows from exterior to interior space passing retail, library, and office space. The preliminary project site plan and massing presented by Safdie included a box framed by an ellipse. The project demonstrates a reaction to the Vancouver city grid (Fig 3). Instead creating a mass by extruding rectilinear lot lines, the project allows for a curvilinear transition from busy street to public library. The resulting mass is similar to what may be seen in ancient Rome. “The design has a connection with history. This is what I wanted to achieve in a design, the memory of what ancient libraries might have been like”8 Planning for the future, Safdie looks to the past. He extrapolates values from history and appropriates them for the present context. The connection to classical architecture instills the importance of a public building in Vancouver. This iconic form symbolizes a dedication towards

Figure 3 - (Above Left) Vancouver`s Street Grid Figure 4 - (Above) Most buildings are around the same height Figure 5 - (Top Right) Library District and Zoning Map

CD-1 (289)

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public amenities by pursuing good design. Since Safdie’s design was a result of a competition. It had to be approved by city councillors, who measure it against city plans. Library Square is located within the Comprehensive Development zoning district. This means that a separate by-law is used for this site, it is “tailor-made to the intended form of development”9 (Fig 5) The Central Area Plan: Goals and Land Use Policy, was created in 1991 and states guidelines for the central business district, where Library Square is located. In this plan, there is a large emphasis on the creating a more walkable downtown where a live/work scenario is encouraged.10 These guidelines were considered by Safdie and A/D & Partners throughout the design process. The plan also states that any project created in this area must be an “economic generator”11. Since the library is used for multiple events and the atrium connects two large plazas, the design caters to both of these goals. The main library that covers the site is a 7-storey low-rise building and 21-

storey office tower which adds to its validity as an economic generator. The immediate context consists of many office buildings; Library Square is courteous to surrounding height patterns (Fig 4). According to section 5.2 of the rezoning policy for the central business district, the area that falls over Library Square, the planning approval process will permit a density that is dependent on its success in urban design terms, generally the larger the site, the more design freedom. Since Library Square covers an entire city block there is a lot of design freedom, Safdie took this opportunity to create a project that was unique to its surroundings while courteous to its surrounding physical context. Library Square is situated in a central downtown location of Vancouver. The project has attracted a lot of attention and is used on a daily basis. The site incorporates a multitude of uses, including: library, bar/lounge and offices. These amenities allow for maximum hours of activity throughout the day and night. As a project commissioned by the City of Vancouver, Moshe Safdie was given freedom to alter traditional zoning by-laws for that district. The selection process for the project included many members of the public and was therefore shaped to meet their needs. Vancouver city plans heavily stress the livability of the city. Many of these ideas are a reaction to CIAM and focus on bringing people into the city. The city must then be designed to meet the needs of the pedestrian while maintaining vehicular transportation routes. In the case for Vancouver, the measure of its success is based on the balance between the built and natural

world, where a variety of urban amenities and recreational activities must be balanced and easily accessible for all. NOTES 1 Eric Mumford, “The Emergence of Urban Design in the Breakup of CIAM,” in Urban Design 2009, ed. William S. Saunders and Alex Krieger (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), 18. 2 Ibid 17 3 John Punter, The Vancouver Achievement: Urban Planning and Design (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2003), 242 4 Jeffery Hopkins and Gloria J. Leckie, “The Public Place of Central Libraies: Findings from Toronto and Vancouver” in The Library Quarterly, (2002), 365. 5 Kevin Lynch, “The Dimensions of Performance from Good City Form (1981)” in The Urban Design Reader, ed. Michael Larice and Elizabeth Macdonald, (New York: Routledge, 2011), 113 6 (Hopkins and Leckie 2002) 370 7 (Hopkins and Leckie 2002)370 8 (Henry n.d.) 9 “Vancouver Zoning Map.” City of Vancouver . September 21, 2010. (accessed October 24, 2012) 10 City of Vancouver. “Downtown Policies & Guidelines.” The City of Vancouver. August 28th, 1991. guidelines/C028.pdf (accessed October 26, 2012). 11 Ibid FIGURES 1. Sarah Ives 2. Sarah Ives 3. Aerial Map: Appropriated from Bing Maps 4. Appropriated from City of Vancouver Website 5. Aerial Map: Appropriated from Google Maps



04 422


PRESENT DAY 1995 -Today The urban environment will continue to adapt to changes in context through the refinement of CIAM principles. As our world continues to evolve, new challenges and planning strategies will impact the physical environment we inhabit. The planning strategies of today are no longer determined by treatises or theories alone, but through the evaluation of the successes and failures of a wide range of planning principles. Unanticipated challenges will force us to respond with new solutions that will come to define the urban condition of future eras. Globalization has enabled the rapid diffusion of resources and ideas, yet has also brought to the forefront issues of third-world calamity and international crisis. Concerns, such as the destruction, and regeneration of inhabited environments in earthquakeravaged Japan have triggered the initiative for tsunami-proof buildings. Attacks on New Yorkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s World Trade Centre not only raised concerns over political context and international security, but presented an equally complex challenge over reconnecting a fragmented urban context. Sustainability and environmentally-sensitive design are now mainstream and are seen as opportunities for developing new solutions. The vertical dimension is progressing from a demonstration of technological innovation, and extruded monocultures, Â to an opportunity for programmatic diversity and mixed use. Cities, and the urban environment, will continue to offer new scales of experience as they respond to emerging challenges. A diverse approach to planning will guarantee that cities remain adaptive, responsive and organic, and continue to provide a healthy environment for people to live.






ROKKO HOUSING GIOVANNA MONACO As our planet continues to change due to globalization and its environmental impacts; our human environment on a global and urban scale does as well. An example of this is the earthquake that struck the Japanese port city of Kobe on January 17, 1995. The earthquake was not only a catastrophe on a human and environmental scale, but it also marked the beginning of a new era. The post- earthquake reconstruction of Kobe was an optimistic effort to repair the city’s damaged urban fabric and expand and enhance the city. Since the opening of its port in 1868, Kobe has been known as the cosmopolitan city. Home to some of the largest container ships the city was linked to the growth of new industries and heavily dependent on steel making. Once the city was left in a detrimental state, housing became a necessity and an integral part of Kobe’s urban regeneration. Tadao Ando’s housing project, Rokko- the first of four phases in 1981- began the first major movement for modular housing. Sitting at the foot of the Rokko Mountains, the houses were designed in regimented ranks, set on stepped platforms. By including community facilities Ando created a new city district unique to Japan as a contrast of the cities modern urbanization. The redevelopment serves as both a memorial to the victims of the earthquake, and as a mark for the redevelopment of the former industrial city. This essay will explore the city of Kobe in its urban reconstruction, starting at the root of the city’s history and culture leading up to its rebirth and expansion of a new community and urban solution.



Figure 1 - Rokko Housing grid system- 20 units on a 5.4 x 4.8 meter grid 426

When a city is hit with natural disaster as a result of urban systems, they usually rebuild in the same place with the same general urban form following the catastrophic event. In the case of the port side town of Kobe, Japan, the earthquake was a chance for the cities rejuvenation and improvement on its urban fabric. We come to see that the earthquake was not only a catastrophe in hum an and environmental terms but also the beginning of a new era; the process involved not simply the repair of the damaged urban fabric, but dramatic moves to enhance and expand the city. At the same time, Ando’s Rokko housing was only the first step in the process of the cities revival, housing was one of the first steps in this process that became and integral part of Kobe`s regeneration. The earthquake disrupted the lives or residents and affected its economy in numerous ways damaging almost all of its economic survival and public facilities. The volume of cargo traffic declined by 30 percent and Kobe permanently lost some of its business to other ports, amongst its other main industries its chemical and steel industries were shut down for months and several Sake breweries were seriously damaged. Thousands of families were displaced and left unemployed, “The widespread destruction required a reconstruction effort more massive than anything experienced in any other post- World War II industrialized city”. Immediately after the earthquake, projects were set in motion by the central government to rebuild and allow local governments to prepare plans,

setting the city of Kobe’s urban redevelopment in motion. The first key recovery tools used were focused on not only urban redevelopment, but land readjustment and building other projects for residential areas as well. Projects were aimed at stabilizing the economy and attracting new businesses. Local governments created land readjustment projects to create communities of a large scale and incorporate roads, parks and public facilities. These projects were deemed “priority restoration districts” in which land readjustments and urban redevelopment were involved, which Japan had used in the past to modernize land ownership patterns and facilitate development. Urban redevelopment projects involved large scale construction and the transfer of existing property rights into the new buildings, the projects as a result were designed to create new urban subcenters. In the end, the private sector built more units than were lost resulting in a housing surplus; housing was over developed in the eastern more affluent side of the city as opposed to the western neighbourhoods where most of the damage occurred. “In all, new public and private units totalled 50 percent more than the 80,000 units that were permanently lost in the city of Kobe”. The redevelopment was not all positive however, the older central neighbourhoods had been convenient places to live especially for elderly residents, and was unfortunately one of the hardest hit places, these residents were elder- lower income residents typical for the area. The housing built to replace the old wooden row houses and small apartments were located far


Figure 2- Perspective Rokko Housing

from the resident’s old neighbourhoods and unaffordable, breaking their social networks and quality of life. Reconstruction for the city of Kobe emphasized the time lapse and construction policies rather than social networks and housing communities. How Ando’s housing development differs in this process is his particular attention to both housing units and the creation of a community within these livable units. Ando’s Kobe housing project began as early as 1981, and with a third phase due for completion in 2003, sitting at the foot of the Rokko Mountains, overlooking Osaka Bay. His project worked with the steeply sloping sixty degree site to create views out onto the ocean and into private terraces, communal gardens and public nature trails. Underlying its design was the idea of a sinking the building in along the slope, projecting it above the ground in order to merge it with the surrounding dense forest. This afforded maximum views of the ocean. This idea is quite similar to ideas in Thira, Greece, where the town and residences are integrated into the landscapes through stepped forms and each have personalized views to the ocean as well as individual terraces. The street is therefore used as a public interaction space. The joint ownership of land is a key factor taken into account with this design, working with a 5.4 by 4.8 meter grid system Ando created a total of twenty units (figure 1) that changed in orientation while ascending the hill this allowed for a feeling of private ownership amongst its residents. Each unit is given a personal terrace and symmetrical in plan, being unique in size, views and

character. By integrating public facilities along a central circulation system (figure 2) within the complexes such as swimming pools, a kindergarten and an elderly day center, a new district was created. Both public and secluded plazas formed points of intersection which in turn create public connections. This is very different in comparison the suburbanization of modern Japan. The central circulation was designed as a community street in which both parts of the complex could meet. Along with central circulation, Ando incorporated neighbourhood courtyards for the residents of the complex, he describes this as being “the wonderful notion of congregation and living together in harmony”. The following Rokko housing projects I and II follow a larger scale, the first uses the same ideas of axial symmetry and central circulation taken from Rokko I however the third project introduces prefabricated elements and an entirely different language. Around the same time Ando was chosen to develop the centerpiece for the waterfront city center, a Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, a zone formerly given to heavy industrial steel industries, this was a sign of the cities rebirth and rezoning. Around the same time Ando was also commissioned by the city to design the new waterfront plaza so that the two projects could be interconnected. A result of these projects illustrates the rise of the city of Kobe, it is hard to focus on one type of building as each building was interconnected and formed a piece of the city’s new urban fabric and redevelopment. Many sites in Japan have 427

URBAN SCALE DESIGN overdeveloped due to their high density, narrow streets, small lots and condominiums posed special challenges, Ando however avoided this by creating his own streets and units within his own project, he created a new city. By taking simple geometric forms and studying where masses and voids interact, Ando was able to create a livable community complete with points of intersection to nature, social interactions and functionality. Together with both Andoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s development and the development of the city Kobe became an example of urban design. In a country with limited land and high density, new housing development integrated with public amenities were created, as well as public parks, and safe sidewalks and nature trails which are unusual for many residential areas in Japan. Andoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s houses were built with strong relationships between public and private spaces through the concept of public traffic and private terraces. Ando created Rokko housing with the intention of creating and strengthening the relationship between nature and human interactions once again in the city of Kobe. Ando`s approach to the project`s design was not only taken from an architectural perspective, but also from the view point of an urban planner. Through his response to the natural disaster, Ando designed with both architectural and on a larger scale for future development. The project forced thought of creating a functioning city, as opposed to a singular structure. Ando`s design principles can relate to earlier ideas of CIAM as the landscape, urbanism and their design through urban planning were used as a tool to improve 428

the world. Through modern design, both CIAM and Ando illustrate these practices as they both provided means of improvement to a city through the process of design and urban planning. In Kobe, the urban landscape and social environment were two main aspects that needed to be taken into consideration after the earthquake. The tools used in the process to redevelop this site started with land readjustment, redevelopment and rebuilding. In terms of residential development, housing policies favoured demolition and full reconstruction rather than repair, this is why Ando was able to re-invent the city of Kobe based on his own observations. Rokko housing was the first phase of three that contributed Kobeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s residential development which became an integral part of the cities regeneration. The developments replaced the smaller, wooden post war structures destroyed by the earthquake and introduced high rise multi-functional and communal developments. These developments, similiar to that of CIAM`s principals included elements of design and urban planning solutions in which a functional city could derive. Ando highlighted the site`s landscape and context in which he focused his views and circulation on. The site was celebrated as a new city, as opposed to a wreckage. Resident conditions were vastly improved especially for the elderly as social spaces and a central circulation was created to advertise social interaction. Rokko housing became a new city within the old.

Figure 3- (Right) Public Central Circulation system

PRESENT DAY NOTES 1.Francesco Dal Co. Tadao Ando 1995- 2010. (London: Phaidon Press, 1997). 2.Kenneth, Powell. City Transformed Urban Architecture at the Begining of the 21st Century. (New York: Teneues Publishing Company, 2005.) 3.Robert B. Olshanksy, Laurie A. Johnson and Kenneth C. Topping. Rebuilding Communities Following Disaster: Lessons from Kobe and Los Angeles. 2012. (accessed 11 26, 2012) nationalcenters/hazards/outreach/pdf/rebuildingcommunities.pdf. 4.Robert Olchansky, Kobayashi Ikuo, Ohnish Kazuyoshi. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Kobe Earthquake, Ten Years Later.â&#x20AC;? Academic Search Premier, October 27, 2005: 71. 5.Dustin, Thorlakson. Rokko Housing Tadao Ando. 07 2010. (accessed 11 27, 2012) uploads/2010/07/Rokko-Housing-Research.pdf. FIGURES 1. Housing Plan: appropriated from http://dustinthorlaksondesign. com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Rokko-Housing-Research.pdf (accessed 11 27, 2012). 2. Perspective Housing: appropriated from http:// 3. Central Circulation System: appropriated from http:// (accessed 11 27, 2012).





BCE PLACE GALLERY AGATHA KWIATKOWSKI Allen Lambert Galleria is a structural addition that was created between existing buildings, which together are referred to as Brookfield Place. The gallery is used as an enclosed courtyard which connects significant places in the city of Toronto. With its location on Bay Street in an important business area, it is a place that adds significant context to the city. This project was originally conceived to help the city of Toronto reach its public art requirements. Santiago Calatrava was the architect to win the design competition and undergo this planning challenge. The program for the gallery incorporates a wide range of functions. It is a sculptural and architectural icon, as well as being a covered pathway which leads to shops, houses restaurant â&#x20AC;&#x153;patiosâ&#x20AC;? and connects to the PATH. During the planning of this project the architect was forced to consider many different aspects of the design, such as how to have the new construction connect smoothly with the style of existing historical buildings. However, the way in which the structure interacted with the city was probably the main challenge as it was to be a public place accessible to everyone from one of the busiest streets downtown. The Allen Lambert Galleria is also one of the many buildings in Toronto which house an entrance to the elaborate underground pathway, PATH. This means that it is a place that will be accessible to many people at different times of the day. It also has a Heritage Square which is an open courtyard used for social interactions, and also a resting place for many to escape from the busy city. Allan Lambert Galleria is an interesting project to explore due to its profound need to have thorough planning within an urban context.



Toronto’s Brookfield Place, is the location of one of a very few designs by “starchitect” Santiago Calatrava in Canada. The irregular block, which is defined by Front, Yonge, Wellington and Bay Streets, is the home to a number of both historical, and more recent buildings, collectively known as Brookfield Place. Calatrava’s design includes a covered gallery and public square, known as Allen Lambert Gallery and Heritage Square, and is interlaced amongst the buildings. This structure was completed between 1987 and 1992. It consists of a grand hall, sandwiched between existing buildings, resulting in the creation of a sculptural glass and steel cover, under which pedestrians go about their daily business1. The design of the gallery and square are sculptural and architectural icons that significantly contribute to the urban fabric of downtown Toronto, in that they are implementations of the Toronto Official Plan, “Percent for Public Art” program. There are many design principles that can be followed in order to design an appropriate architectural project in the city. There are five 432

key principles which Calatrava follows in his design of the Adam Lambert Gallery space. One is to create a place for pedestrians without the interference of things such as cars, noise, traffic and crowds. Another principle is to create a place of public art, which gives the people a reason to be proud of their city. Thirdly, Calatrava creates a system which allows connectivity to the different aspects of city life; in this case, connection to an array of buildings and underground levels of circulation. Fourthly, he creates a place that provides an escape from city life; a garden, which has been described by many urban planners as a very vital aspect of a successful city. Finally, Calatrava creates a preservation of history, maintaining historical aspects of the city instead of an urban renewal form of design. Context The surrounding site is within the financial district of downtown Toronto, a couple blocks up from the lakeshore. Brookfield Place covers over 5 acres of land and includes two 50-storey office buildings, Bay Wellington Tower

Figure 1 - Gallery Section


Figure 2 - Heritage Square

and TD Canada Trust Tower, as well as quite a few historical buildings that have now been restored. The specific site of Calatrava’s design is an important intersection to many pedestrian accessible spaces. It is a 14m-wide space surrounded by the podiums of office buildings that house shops. It leads to a 33m by 33m square surrounded by older restored buildings, one of which houses the current Hockey Hall of Fame2. The site also has access to a public pocket park on Front Street which is often used by the employees working in the towers during lunch breaks. This site was picked for such a project as it had important connections to many different aspects within the surrounding neighborhood, and was a place that many people passed through on a daily basis. As well, it was the perfect location to implement public art, especially because at the time the site was chosen, it was underdeveloped and not used to its full potential in a booming business neighborhood. The location of the site is right atop one of Toronto’s most famous urban design moves, the PATH, an intricate maze of underground pathways which connect to many of the buildings in the city3. This underground corridor is used by thousands of people every day, to get to work, to go shopping and just to enjoy a stroll. The site in Brookfield Place has the opportunity to incorporating an entrance down to the PATH, which gives the employees working within the block, as well the public, a place to easily access it. Therefore, with this high traffic of pedestrians through the site, it will become a very busy and important place for people on a daily basis, and

must in turn accommodate everyone’s needs. Due to the fact that the majority of the people who will be present within the block will be attending work within the towers, the design must incorporate the social needs and wants of the corporate professionals. Different kinds of shops and restaurants exist within the gallery, and are geared towards supplying the demographics of the specific area. Such commercial enterprises include luxurious suit stores, and high-end restaurants, such as Pace Men’s Collection and Marche. Heritage square is surrounded by eleven historical building fronts that have been restored in order to maintain some of the area’s heritage, as these were some of the few buildings which remained after the 1904 fire. The thirty-three by thirty-three metre square serves as the “heart of the block”, creating an old city atmosphere, with restaurant patios and the bustling nature of corporate business passing through at a constant rate throughout the weekdays 4. This space is intended to be used on a daily basis throughout the day, as at night the doors are closed and access to the area is shut off. The gallery portion, however, is open to the public all day long5. Official plan The project was commissioned in order to accommodate the new “Percent for Public Art” program, geared towards improvements of downtown Toronto, which had become a centre for strictly commercial endeavours. This program was implemented by the Publics Art Commission, which was started by the City of Toronto Council 6. This movement stipulated that 433



yonge st.

wellington st.

bay st.

a percentage of the construction costs of the building must go towards public facilities. These requirements were also part of the Official Plan for Toronto, following two of the many points which they aimed to incorporate in order to make the city a better place. These two points were the Public Art Master Plan which was to find places within the city that could benefit from public art installations, and providing public parks where they were most needed7. The design for Allen Lambert Gallery very successfully achieves these desired qualities and also gives an iconic piece of architecture back to the city. The way in which the gallery inspires people to stop on their way to work, or pass through to look up and contemplate the beauty of the space, is in itself evidence of the success of Calatrava’s design. However, the original Brookfield Development Corporation’s design competition expected to receive an array of smaller sculptural projects, which would be spread around the pathway and square as opposed to the single large-move proposal which was submitted by Calatrava 8. “[He] designed a major urban scheme that entirely redefined the character of the urban fabric, environmentally and socially,” 9 which was not something expected, but was greatly appreciated and marvelled once it was accepted. The design of the Allen Lambert Gallery does show some semblance to the CIAM charter through its contribution to separating the different forms of traffic. The gallery is a strictly pedestrian area that leads to another underground level of pedestrian networks. Zoning

front st.

The site is zoned as commercial residential10. The zoning would probably not have been a problem for the construction of the addition of the gallery space, as it is to a much smaller scale than all of the other structures which surround it. As well, it is an addition created specifically to implement some of the elements of the city’s official plan, and would therefore have been encouraged as opposed to fought. If there were problems it would have been to do with the protruding entrance onto Bay Street, which would be a minor easement issue. They would have had to apply, just as any current building or structure would in the City of Toronto, for approval of an amendment to the zoning by-law regulations through the city council. Design The concept of the design was to create the illusion of a tree canopy which let in light. This design alludes to the roots of Western Architecture through the literal use of tree imagery. It also reflects Gothic Architecture11. It provides a climate controlled pedestrian space

Figure 3 - Surrounding Program


Figure 4 - Allen Lambert Galleria

which gives access to many buildings and downtown Toronto facilities. Many aspects of urban planning must have been implemented into the design of this closed-off public art structure. During the planning of this project the architect was forced to consider many different aspects of the design, such as how to have the new construction connect with the existing historical buildings. However, instead of a smooth transition, “both the square and the arcade are deliberately independent of the surrounding acting as an energising foil to the static corporate fabric”12. The way in which the structure interacted with the city was probably the main challenge, as it was to be a public place accessible to everyone from one of the busiest streets downtown. The area it is located in is an important intersection in the downtown core. It connects over 50 businesses and shops, and services two busy office towers. On top of this, it has an entrance to Toronto’s famous PATH system, which joins many blocks of buildings

underground with shops and restaurants, as well as serving as a means of transportation for many people on a daily basis13. The PATH also allows people to easily access Union Station without ever stepping foot outside. Allan Lambert Galleria is an interesting project to explore due to its profound need to have thorough planning within an urban fabric. The Gallery adds a significant amount of context to the city, and provides an iconic element. “Calatrava’s galleria is a purposeful, homogeneous intervention that melds together the disparate fragments of space around the base of the looming blocks, creating an urban microcosm that relates more directly to the street life of the city and its inhabitants.”14 Allen Lambert gallery is a successful use of an otherwise neglected space, and through the implementation of planning and elements of beauty, this space was transformed into one of the great architectural locations in downtown Toronto.


1. Polano, Sergio. Santiago Calatrava: Complete Work. Milan: Electra, 1996. 2. Jodidio, Philip. Santiago Calatrava. Italy: Benedikt Taschen Verlag Gmbit,1998 3. ibid. 4. Polano. Santiago Calatrava: Complete Work. 5. ibid. 6. Tzonis, Alexander. Santiago Calatrava: The Complete Works. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 2004. 7. City of Toronto, “Toronto Official Plan.” Last modified 2010. Accessed October 25, 2012. pdf_chapter1-5/chapters1_5_dec2010.pdf. 8. Slessor, Catherine. “Glorious Galleria.” The Architectural Review, March 1994, 24-30. 9. Tzonis. Santiago Calatrava: The Complete Works. 10. City of Toronto, “Draft Zoning.” Last modified 2012. Accessed October 25, 2012. 11. Jodidio. Santiago Calatrava. 12. Slessor. “Glorious Galleria.” 13. ibid. 14. ibid. FIGURES 1. Agatha Kwiatkowski - referenced from Polano, Sergio. Santiago Calatrava: Complete Work. Milan: Electra, 1996. 2. Agatha Kwiatkowski 3. Agatha Kwiatkowski - base plan from: Jodidio, Philip. Santiago Calatrava. Italy: Benedikt Taschen Verlag Gmbit,1998 4. Agatha Kwiatkowski






BORNEO-SPORENBURG JENNY LEUNG Borneo Sporenburg, located in the Eastern Harbour District of Amsterdam, was drastically transformed into an impressive interpretation of a high-density suburban neighbourhood. Designed by the renowned West 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture firm, the award-winning urban project was financed by the national government of Netherlands to completely rezone and redevelop the land. Plans for the revitalization of the masterplan were developed in 1996 and continued until the completion in 20001.The aim of this article is to gain a thorough understanding of the urban context, such as affordability, density, public to private relationship, and the improvement of the social-economic factor of the region. Similarly, the issues of the project corresponds with the guiding principles influenced by CIAM, such that they believe architecture serves as a tool for economic, social and political change. These issues will be further addressed by examining the landscape voids, individual dwellings, the roofscape, street configuration, infrastructure, and connection to the harbour front. Borneo-Sporenburg has encouraged a new model of development and improved the quality of dense neighbourhood-living. Similar developments in the future will strengthen the growth of suburban planning.



Introduction Borneo-Sporenburg is a result of a project that challenges the conventional and exemplifies a new, and innovative planning strategy. The masterplan of Borneo-Sporenburg is truly an impressive interpretation of a highdensity suburban neighbourhood. The notion of the revitalization, from the once populated dock harbour, is a superior transformation implementing the ideals of contemporary planning and the principles executed by CIAM in order to address the issues of its context and reinterpret the quality of the dwelling. Located in the eastern docklands of Amsterdam and designed by West 8, the development project won the Veronica Rudge Green Prize in 20022. Where steamships and railway transportation were the highlight of 19th century transportation, the previously existing vast dock-lengths allowed for easy accessibility of sea-vessels. After WWII, with the advancement of technology, the usage of the docks became less favourable. The city saw its opportunities of growth, thus, sold the 438

Eastern Harbour District to the city authorities and designated the islands as residential zones in the early 1980s3. The unconventional project approach, in which the civic government sought from planners to generate basic design codes and restrictions, resulted in a new norm of planning. It was a reversal of roles between government and developer4. Such restrictions were regulated to achieve a low-rise high density setting, essential â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;voidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; within each individual dwelling, internalized green spaces, maximal height of three-storeys, and constrained plot dimensions. The application of these principles to the Borneo-Sporenburg influenced the overall environment of the Eastern Harbour District. Process Planning development began in 1992 by the Eastern Harbour District project group, with their decision to construct 2150 dwellings distributed amongst two paralleling peninsulas of the eastern harbour docklands5. In accordance to the Commission for Architecture and Built Environment (CABE) and Spatial Planning Department6 of Netherlands, the development

Figure 1 - Unique housing units of Borneo-Sporenburg along the harbourfront. Designed by various architects, each unit is original yet abides by the same set of principles.

PRESENT DAY height3 stories

4 3 5 2

1 depth35m

1 2 3 4 5


Internal parking Void space Rooftop gardens Flat roof Natural lighting from lightwell

Figure 2 - Sectional perspective of a housing unit; showing the program spaces, usage and design intentions.

had to adhere to basic codes which were presented as follows: 1) houses should have a front door on the street, 2) a flat roof, 3) the same height at the eaves, 4) no construction more than three storeys, 5) the first of which must be 3.5 meters high, 6) houses must have own outdoor space, integrated into dwelling the form of patio, roof terrace or loggia, 7) dwellings must be compact to achieve high density (of 100 units per hectare)7. Studies were made, in relevance to Rudy Uytenhaak’s plans for Java Islands– a neighbouring island – in order to achieve feasibility; a compact construction of 60 freehold parcels was determined to be the best strategy8. Subsequently in 1993, three firms were asked to envision an urban planning design for the two peninsulas based on the basic design principles formulated9. Wytze Patihn, Quadrat and West 8 were the three firms which participated10. The succeeding proposal by Adriaan Geuze, the leading architect of West 8, had addressed all basic codes, in which the dwellings were to be designed in slats – 4m wide by 35 m deep and three storeys high- gaining endorsement to execute his proposal11. Social Involvement One crucial factor had played significantly in the effect of the masterplan development. In the process of the project to be delivered on to the real estate market, there was a forthcoming competition with the neighbouring development on Java Island12. The urban characteristic of Borneo-Sporenburg created by the low-rise dwellings was determined to be more desirable by families. Thus, in order to compete with the market, the

developers decided to incorporate 30% of the lot for subsidized social housing, and the rest of the lot would still fall under the market rate13. This decision played a huge role in the success of the project, as it sought to improve the social quality of life within the neighbourhood. Hence, allowing for affordability for both highand low-income families and originality of the physical context, would then attract the general population. Additional considerations were made to provide for services for other social classes, such as schooling for youths and elderly homes. Initially, West 8 intended for a dozen architects to design the housing complexes to be rows of five to twelve units in order to avoid a continuously long and repetitive façade14. After the construction of the first two hundred and fifty units, developers petitioned against the design to the city officials and changes were made5. Design Strategies The framework, proposed by West 8, for high-density living addressed accessibility, parking, private open-spaces, height limitations, plot dimensions, and materiality. The housing typologies utilized varying designs and material palettes, but carried a recurring style. Designed by various architects, such as Ruimtelab, MVRDV, Christian Rapp, de Architectengroep, Heren 5 Architecten, Faro Architecten, Gunnar Daan, and more, the compacted houses were built along the waterfront; representative of traditional Dutch heritage where houses descend towards the water16. In consideration to the overall development, housing was a priority, thus, it was debatable that it lacked a diverse characteristic with 439

URBAN SCALE DESIGN the absence of nearby shops and amenities. The masterplan integrated for landscaping, through the internalization of voids within each individual housing unit. These voids were distributed as patios, terraces, or parking spaces, taking up almost half of the plot area and served as private open-space and lightwells into the interior17. The plan also ensured that each individual dwelling differed in the orientation and volume of the voids, materiality, interior spaces, and detailing strategies (depending on the architect) in accordance with the established guidelines with the addition that all dwellings had a view to the water. From an aerial view, the roofscape provided for roof gardens defined as “a sea of houses treated as landscape”18. Although the area lacked nearby amenities, the central core of Amsterdam was only a fifteen minute bike-ride. The two paralleling peninsulas are linked by awardwinning pedestrian bridges to promote connectivity between the two lands19. Internalizing vehicular parking inside the unit impacted the street configuration, and reduced street-parking. There was a strong relationship between the dwellings and the street. Eyes were always on the street, making it a safe place. By internally embedding the green spaces within the units, it minimized the use of outdoor public space as there was no need for front or back gardens. Yet it allowed for a front lot setback from the water`s edge where walkways and recreational activities were encouraged. Urban Architecture The Borneo-Sporenburg Project succeeded as an example of urban architecture 440


in the way it approached the context of the built environment, above the basic principles defined. West 8’s masterplan, as described by Aaron Betsky, “belongs neither to the field of landscape architecture nor to that of urban planning, rather can only be characterized as an entity of both disciplines that seamlessly flow into each other”20. The masterplan is, in turn, a single, hybrid morphology21. Multiple disciplines of planning, architecture, infrastructure and landscape design are merged together to form the Borneo-Sporenburg. Referred to as an example of the New Urbanism Movement by James Russell22, an incorporation of compact walkable communities and nearby amenities; it exists as an extensive project that generates a creative solution to the housing typology. The strategy inputted by West 8 challenges traditional planning boundaries, and allows for undefined spaces to be expressed infinitely. Although, Ken Greenberg arguably claimed that the project failed to re-create the active and vibrant neighbourhood that it strives

Commercial Residential Food Services Recreational Institutional

Figure 3 - The masterplan of Borneo-Sporenburg coloured according to programming.


Figure 4 - Perspective of the award-winning pedestrian bridge in the district.

to be - due to the unbalanced ratio of housing to commercial amenities23 - it cannot be denied that this project succeeded to demonstrate the compatibility of family housing in dense areas. The strict separation of land uses put forth by CIAM’s Athens Charter of 1943 put a strong emphasis on the development and zoning of land use today. The Athens Charter sought for monumentally-sized urban blocks of housing, park systems, street configuration and open recreational space, all of which to order and limit social inefficiencies. Although the principles of CIAM have long been discredited by contemporary planning and architecture, it is evident that these principles are still brought forward in the BorneoSporenburg masterplan. One of the most obvious influences is seen in the high-density setting provided for the social norm. The strict regulation to the architectural style designed for the housing units is another influence of

CIAM, in which they believed that, served as a tool for social, economic and political change. Conclusion The Borneo-Sporenburg project aimed to address issues pertaining to the varied social classes - as seen in the theories of CIAM - childless couples, singles, high and low income families, including children and elderly24. Economical change was evident such that it allowed for growth in the real estate property of the whole eastern district through redevelopment. The bold architectural intentions of this project will alter the cultural history of the district dramatically, and perhaps the city. Borneo-Sporenburg represents a shift in urban ambition; the act of altering planning strategies will allow for demanding and detailoriented interventions of urban architecture.

NOTES 1. “Borneo-Sporenburg 1993-1996, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.” West 8. (accessed October 25, 2012). 2. Komez, Esin. “On Urban Architecture: Urban Architectural Strategies In Three Examplary Cases.” A Thesis Submitted to The Graduate School of Natural and Applied Sciences of Middle East Technical University July (2009): 88-104. (accessed October 25, 2012). 3. Hulsman, Bernard, Hans Ibelings, and Allard Jolles. Eastern Harbour District Amsterdam: Urbanism and Architecture. Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 2003. 4. Bosschaert, Tom. “Recapitulating the Suburb.” N/A (0): 35-39. (accessed October 25, 2012). 5. Hulsman, Ibelings, and Jolles. Eastern Harbour District Amsterdam. 6. “[ARCHIVED CONTENT] CABE - the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.” Internet Memory : Collection page: Internet Memory. (accessed October 25, 2012). 7. Komez. “On Urban Architecture: Urban Architectural Strategies In Three Examplary Cases.” 8. Hulsman, Ibelings, and Jolles. Eastern Harbour District Amsterdam. 9. Hulsman, Ibelings, and Jolles. Eastern Harbour District Amsterdam. 10. Ibid. 11. Ibid. 12. Ibid. 13. Kusumawijaya, Sigit . “Borneo Sporenburg | sigit. kusumawijaya.” sigit.kusumawijaya | architecture | planning | creative | design | research | community. http://sigitkusumawijaya. com/2011/02/01/borneo-sporenburg/ (accessed October 25, 2012). 14. “[ARCHIVED CONTENT] CABE.” 15. “[ARCHIVED CONTENT] CABE.” 16. “Amsterdam Docklands | Borneo-Sporenburg.” Amsterdam Docklands ¦ Architecture, History, Art, Music, Museum, Restaurant, Hotel, Walks & Guided Tours. http://www. html (accessed October 25, 2012). 17. Komez. “On Urban Architecture: Urban Architectural Strategies In Three Examplary Cases.” 18. Komez. “On Urban Architecture: Urban Architectural Strategies In Three Examplary Cases.” 19. Hulsman, Ibelings, and Jolles. Eastern Harbour District Amsterdam. 20. Komez. “On Urban Architecture: Urban Architectural Strategies In Three Examplary Cases 21. Komez. “On Urban Architecture: Urban Architectural Strategies In Three Examplary Cases 22. Ibid. 23. Greenberg, Ken. Walking home: the life and lessons of a city builder. Toronto: Random House Canada, 2011, 206. 24. Komez. “On Urban Architecture: Urban Architectural Strategies In Three Examplary Cases FIGURES 1. Housing along Harbourfront, 2012, appropriated from: Bosschaert, Tom. “Recapitulating the Suburb.” N/A (0): 35-39. (accessed October 25, 2012). 2. Section of Housing Unit, 2012, appropriated from: http:// 3. Borneo-Sporenburg Masterplan, 2012, appropriated from: 4. Perspective of Pedestrian Bridge, 2012, appropriated from: http://www.





BORNEO-SPORENBURG ERIC REID Amsterdam is a large, vibrant and active city of high-density occupancy with low rise housing. As the city expanded two peninsulas of the existing shipping docks were developed into a complex of housing from 1993 to 2000. The peninsulas extend from the eastern part of the Amsterdam docks, known as Borneo-Sporenburg. New urban planning perspectives were considered by the urban design firm, West 8. West 8 envisioned an innovative program utilizing two peninsulas as access from both the water and land, to be an interpretation of the existing canals that criss-cross the city. The design utilizes the two peninsulas to satisfy the need for housing in the high density urban area with universal design considerations. The existing peninsulas were docklands zoned for industrial use. The city allowed West 8 to define the strict design codes that defined the two peninsulas under the condition that the development must be consistent with the rest of the city. The vision consisted mainly of three-story housing units in the traditional Dutch canal style. Architectural variations compensate for the consistent height of the residences creating an intriguing and unique development. Although the project did not end up as architecturally diverse as they intended. Connecting the peninsulas are award winning bridges that create a connection between the peninsulas and existing city, while allowing uninhibited boat access to travel underneath. Three large apartment buildings and a park are spread out along the peninsulas providing mixed residential archetypes that meet traditional living standards, reduce commuting times and promote the use of bicycles because of its central location and generous bike lanes. The appropriate urban design by West 8 creates a vibrant and unique landscape for Amsterdamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s waterfront. The design principles used will be defined further in the following essay with careful attention and analysis of the urban plan of Borneo-Sporenburg and the role it plays in the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cultural, social, political and physical context. 443

URBAN SCALE DESIGN Introduction The Netherlands has a long and rich cultural history with Amsterdam as the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s capital city for nearly 200 years.1 Amsterdam is a large, vibrant and active city with easy access throughout the city using almost any mode of transportation. Amsterdam is known to be bike friendly which minimizes the reliance on cars. What is less well known about Amsterdam is the canal network that criss-crosses the city. The series of canals stem from the river that splits Amsterdam into southern and northern sections. The river has been a nationally important trade route in the past, but more recently the main hub of trade has moved out of Amsterdam because of an increase in demand. This shift required less area for shipping along the valuable waterfront property in the eastern docklands.2 This area was revitalized in phases. The most innovative phase, known as BorneoSporenburg, was done by the firm West 8. The development began in 1993 and construction was completed in 2000.3 The proposed design by West 8 was to convert two existing docks and the surrounding area into a high-density residential development. They defined the design restrictions that the architects had to work within to create an appropriate design for Borneo-Sporenburg.4 Zoning Guidelines Political Context The development is located along the southern bank of the river that splits Amsterdam into northern and southern sections. Borneo and Sporenburg are the names of the two large shipping docks that take up about a third of the 444




total area of the Eastern Docklands.5 New urban planning perspectives were considered by combining the docks into one cohesive zoning area in order to create imaginative, yet specific guidelines for parking, private and open spaces, story height, plot width and building materials.6 The existing peninsulas are docklands zoned for industrial use. The city allowed West 8 to set the strict design codes that defined the two peninsulas. The city allowed this under the condition that the development must be consistent with the rest of the city. The design converted the two peninsulas into mainly threestory housing units in the traditional Dutch canal style. Architectural variations compensate for the consistent height of the residences creating a unique development. Before the master plan of BorneoSporenburg there had never been such a large high density, low rise housing experiment in the Netherlands. What initiated this project was the guarantee of a grant by the Dutch government if the City of Amsterdam began redevelopments of the docklands by 1996. In order to ensure

Figure 1 - Site Plan


Figure 2 - Residential Street

the project was realized, Amsterdam formed the Eastern Docklands Area project group.7 Political funding drove the realization of this development by setting time deadlines for the start and completion of the design development. The political requirements of the development strove to achieve new and innovative housing solutions that are contextually appropriate. West 8 hired six architectural firms, and over a hundred architects to help define

design principles and guidelines for the design and composition of each unit and the entire development. They placed walkways along the waterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edge around most of the development to act as the main component of the public realm. Some streets are set back from the water and others were built to the waterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edge. West 8 defined guidelines and requirements for a new type of three story Dutch canal home in order to create livable streets. The variety of forms maximized the architectural variation and created an animated street scape. West 8 set design goals to create a safe, high-density neighbourhood with a sense of individuality and connection with the city at all scales. West 8 is a Dutch Urban and Landscape Design firm with offices in New York, Belgium and head office in Rotterdam.8 The firm was cofounded by Adriaan Geuze who was the lead designer for Borneo-Sporenburg.9 They aim to integrate contemporary culture, urban identity, architecture, public spaces and engineering within one design that embodies an appropriate context at all scales. The firm West 8 became internationally recognized as leaders of their field because of their unique approach to planning principles applied at an urban scale. Physical, Social and Cultural Context Amsterdam has over one hundred kilometers of canal infrastructure which was created during the seventeenth century referred to as the Golden Age.10 The network of canals provide boat access to key areas of the city for work or recreation. The canals are arranged in a gridded network of plots and is referred to as the Venice of the North. What makes Amster-

dam unique is the accessibility by boat and bike around the city, with bikes as the main source of transportation. West 8 was inspired by the small village of Zuiderzee in the north-eastern part of the Netherlands. Of particular interest was the intimate houses that descend toward the water. The connection with the water was a strong, driving principle for creating accessibility, character and the interaction of public and private spaces. The vision for Borneo-Sporenburg was to utilize the two peninsulas as the source of public space in order to create an interpretation of the existing canals and bike paths to create a high density development with access from both the water and land.11 The design of Borneo-Sporenburg utilized traditional Dutch architectural style in conjunction with the General Extension Plan of the Netherlands created in 1934. The General Extension Plan was redefined numerous times describing how urban sprawl should be addressed. West 8 also referred to a study by a local architect, Rudy Uytenhaak. His study for Java island consisted of high-density dwellings through the compact organization of units with narrow streets. Each dwelling had its own entry with street presence and private exterior space which became an important aspect that was incorporated into the zoning requirements for the design of each dwelling unit. Through their research, West 8 determined that in order to create high-density dwellings it is not necessary to build taller, just more compact.12 Borneo-Sporenburg draws upon Dutch architectural heritage which is represented through a variety of low rise unit types, 445

URBAN SCALE DESIGN unique apartment blocks and accessibility to the Amsterdam boating culture. BorneoSporenburg is located a tram ride or fifteen minute bike ride from the centre of Amsterdam and is considered very desirable property. Social housing accounts for thirty percent of the units which are connected by award wining bridges that arch over the canals to allow pedestrians to cross from one peninsula to the other without interrupting boat traffic.13 The majority of the development consists of long streets of low rise residential units surrounded by roads and bike lanes which abut the surrounding water. Within the development is a school and elderly facility but no shops or facilities. The layout of the development is clear that buildings, pedestrians and bikes take priority over parking and roads. The three apartment buildings break up the rows of low-rise buildings to act as landmarks. It also provides larger open spaces for people to gather as well as increase the density of the site without building taller or using potential public and park spaces. The development has very little green space but the intent was that the path along the water provides ample public space and a strong connection to Amsterdamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s boating culture.14 The housing density is one-hundred dwellings per hectare. The three apartment buildings account for six hundred dwellings per hectare. To create high building density, despite the low-rise buildings special types of units were designed.15 It was required that thirty to fifty percent of the plot area be a void which allows light to penetrate deep into the volume, which makes 446

smaller spaces feel larger and creates views to the water.16 The streets are visible from all units which creates a safer street and the architectural variation between streets allows for easy navigation among the rows of units. Along the smaller southern canal, West 8 left an empty row of sixty units that could be bought and developed by the owner of the property. Each owner hired a local or international architect to design their property within the strict urban planning and architectural conditions set by West 8. As a result each unit is very different yet adds harmony and character to the development. This row of houses is unique to the development because each house has direct boat access from their rear entrance. This area has become a tourist attraction because of the unique and cohesive character created through the architectural connection with the canal.17 Not as Diverse as Envisioned The master plan of BorneoSporenburg was an iterative process involving legal, architectural and urban planning complications. In the end the project did not end up as architecturally diverse as West 8 had envisioned. Originally there was five to twelve unit types but after the construction of 250 units the developer requested that there only be six unit types. The city of Amsterdam approved, which limited the variation of units designed by the six architects hired by West 8. The goal was to maximize architectural variation in order to create character among the individual streetscapes instead of long monotonous facades which was the result on some streets.18 Also, the development is mainly an urban

Figure 3-4 - A row of sixty architecturally unique Dutch canal style residences which create a cohesive housing development along the smallest canal in the development.


residential environment with shops and facilities that are widely distributed or non-existent which does not promote a social environment and may lead to an increased car dependency.19 As a result, the large spaces designated as public spaces do not have any people using the space, nor is there any incentive to do so. West 8 was successful in creating an identity of the complex through the character of individual streets and among the complex layout which expressed the society’s lifestyle, yet they did not fully

engage the residents to participate within the public realm because the density requirements of city did not allow enough space to provide a sufficient balance of mixed uses without building taller. Conclusion The successes and failures of BorneoSporenburg were dependent upon the values manipulated by the rules and zoning guidelines defined early in the project by West 8. The zoning promoted architectural variation in order to bring character to the development. BorneoSporenburg complimented the Dutch culture in order to create an appropriate design despite political hurdles, while providing physical and social connections with the existing cultural context of Amsterdam. It is difficult to define a timelessly appropriate way of designing because of the changing design values that occur from generation to generation. Through the analysis of Borneo-Sporenburg, on foot and through research, the term appropriate design does not refer to timeless architectural or urban design values, it is the combination of practically organized spaces of mixed uses that express the society’s identity and lifestyle within the surrounding context.

NOTES 1., “A short history of Amsterdam.” Accessed October 27, 2012. history.html. 2. Ibid. 3. WEST 8, “Borneo_Sporenburg.” Accessed October 27, 2012. 4. UK: National Archives, “Borneo-Sporenburg.” Accessed October 27, 2012. 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid. 7. Ibid. 8. Architonic, “West 8 urban design and landscape architecture.” Accessed October 27, 2012. 9. WEST 8 10. 11. WEST 8 12. UK: National Archives 13. Ibid. 14. Ibid. 15. Amsterdam Docklands, “Borneo-Sporenburg.” Accessed October 27, 2012. Architectuur/BorneoSporenburg_main.html. 16. UK: National Archives 17. Ibid. 18. Ibid. 19. Ibid. FIGURES 1. Site Plan: Appropriated from, “Exhibition/Award: Borneo Sporenburg Residential Waterfront, Amsterdam, by West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture.” Last modified November 25, 2002. Accessed October 27, 2012. 2. Residential Street: Eric, Reid “Personal Phototography” 3. Canal Homes: Eric, Reid “Personal Phototography” 4. Canal HoMes: Eric, Reid “Personal Phototography”





IIT REVITALIZATION: MCCORMICK TRIBUNE CAMPUS CENTER YUE KWOK McCormick Tribune Campus Center, student center of Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) is a profound building that was designed by Rem Koolhaas and OMA to respond to the campus and neighboring contexts through design to revitalize the site. Before 1998, the instituteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campus had appeal of a mausoleum. IIT did not put proper maintenance into the master collection of buildings by Mies van der Rohe as they were beginning to deteriorate. IIT commissioned Rem Koolhaas and OMA to create McCormick Tribune Campus Center to solve the appeal of the campus. A major issue that affected the context of the site was the elevated green line train that runs across the campus which divides the campus into two parts. Underneath the railway, it was a wasteland for cars to park. Rem Koolhaas and OMA used a solution by applying architectural expression to reunite the two separate parts together as a unit by locating the student center beneath the train tracks. The solution promoted better social interaction in the campus. Often the campus had high noise pollution from the train passing by which disturbed the neighborhood. A solution was made by constructing a tube around the train track to minimize the noise pollution created by the trains. The success of the product has brought about high social interaction and economic benefits to the institute and neighboring contexts.



Ed Glancy Field


McCormick Tribune Campus Center

CTA/Green Line

Elevated Railway

The McCormick Tribune Campus Center


Dearborn St.


The collection of Mies’ buildings was becoming unappealing, the stairs were cracking, the walls were rusting, and the landscape did not flow with the architecture form of the buildings. Due to the unappealing campus, it affected the neighborhood appearance as well. In result, there was a decline of the population of residents who lived in the neighborhood. IIT had to make a crucial decision of how they could sustain the campus. The President of IIT Lewis M. Collen consulted a group of planners for advice whether it is appropriate for the institute to move to the suburb.1 The final decision was to stay. The group of planners predicted there would hope in the campus once revitalized. They proposed two critical ideas for IIT that the campus should improve upon. First, place a long building at the center of the campus which in the past was a parking lot that divided the campus in two parts.2 The purpose of the new building is to connect both sides to unite the campus as one. This center area of the campus was once filled with city buildings and was demolished. Second, solve the problem

CTA/Red Line

A decade ago, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) had realized they had a problem with the appearance of the campus that looked like a mausoleum. McCormick Tribune Campus Center, student center of Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) was designed by Rem Koolhaas and OMA to respond to the campus and neighboring contexts through design to revitalize the site. Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) is the home of twenty-two Mies Van Der Rohe’s buildings located in Chicago Illinois. A unique characteristic of IIT is its railway; the railway is elevated above the ground and situated in the middle of the campus which separates the campus into two parts. Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe was the master planner and head of IIT architecture school during 1940’s to 1950’s, he took the initiative to make the railway the central element of the campus. The campus was once an attractive place for students and tourists. However, in 20th Century, IIT campus was deteriorating due to the improper maintenance of the campus.

Figure 1 - (Top) Elliptical Tube Railway Figure 2 - (Bottom) IIT Campus Plan


1.Elliptical Tube 2. Mies’ buildings 3. Piers supporting the Elliptical tube

Figure 3 - (Top) Axonometric Plan of Campus Center Figure 4 - (Bottom) North Elevation of Campus Center

of noise pollution from the railway that runs through the campus.3 Rem Koolhaas a Dutch architect proposed a campus center for IIT which is known as the McCormick Tribune Campus Center in which responded to the architectural natural of the entire campus. Koolhaas’ campus center proposal was to use an elliptical shape which wraps the noisy elevated train in a corrugated metal tube and squeeze the roof of the campus center under it.4 The elevated railway has created an issue of limiting the building into one story tall under the railway. However, the building could only go up to two stories tall as it moved away from the railway because one of Mies’ intentions was to capture the essence of railway running across the campus.5 Koolhaas wanted to fulfil Mies’ idea by creating a low building where it does not cover the visual of the railway that runs across the campus. The elliptical tube is an important element to the campus which minimized the noise pollution that was produced by the commuter trains which runs through the campus every six minutes. However, there were disagreements whether it was an appropriate action for IIT to construct the tube. We might see it is a benefit to the community. However, for the people in commuter train, the elliptical tube intensifies the noise and loss of visual to the natural within the tunnel.6 Koolhaas believed it was more essential to create the tubing around the railway. As a result, Koolhaas sacrificed a small part of the railway rather than the entire neighborhood. The corrugated metal tube stretches as long as 530 feet made from cast-in-place concrete

overlaid with corrugated metal decking that resulted in double formwork.7 The corrugated metal was to express the continuity of steel structure that was used in Mies’ buildings in the campus and the concrete was to dampen the noise produced by the commuter trains. The vibration was an issue to the campus center. Koolhaas’ approach was to add concrete piers attached to the tube creating an independent structure away from the campus center to avoid any vibration to the campus center.8 During the construction of the elliptical tube, the only time the contractors were able to work was between the hours of midnight to 5 a.m. at night because of the noise pollution from the construction that impact the campus and the trains operation.9 The tube was a problem during the construction of student center, because contractors were not able to begin construction on the center once the tube was done. This led to a budget crisis. The project was lead to a $34-million project. The state of Illinois contributed $9-million to help with the construction of the campus which the state sees potential benefits to Chicago in the future.10 Koolhaas new proposed building was integrated with one of Mies’ old building on the north side of the campus center. There were disputes from the locals, as they believed Koolhaas was to demolish the historical buildings designed by Mies.11 However, the dispute was solved by Koolhaas promising that there would not be any architectural change to the building. Koolhaas continued the structural grid of Mie’s style to his new building which then is attached to the ends of the pier. However, on the north 451

URBAN SCALE DESIGN elevation of the building, between Koolhaas and Mies’ building is a gap for loading. Koolhaas extended the roof to cantilever out on to Mies’ building. This was one argument that people believed that post modernism is dominating modernism. Koolhaas represented modernism of current time that was inspiration by Mies’ idea of modernism during his generation. Koolhaas honour the great architect Mies through graphics in the center of the building. In addition, Koolhaas reflected Mies’ materials and interior spatial layout through the center of the building. On the exterior of the building, there was an essential for collaboration. Koolhaas collaborated with a New York graphics firm and a Dutch designer Petra Blaisse, together they designed the façade of the building feature orange panels of a translucent material called Panelite.12 The piece of art was designed collaboratively in two by four which is placed at a two story portrait of Mies near the doorway entrance to the welcome center.13 The portrait is made up of hundreds of smaller pictures of people in the campus engaging with others from; skating, kissing, social interactions, to form one portrait of Mies. Continuity of Mies work was important to Koolhaas during the design of McCormick Tribune Campus Center. The structure of the center interior of the campus building is made with exposed I-beams. The beams were painted black to reflect back on Mies’ style that was used in the buildings that he designed for IIT. The beams were placed in a specific measurement of twenty –four by twenty –four foot grid which 452

Mies applied on the campus place and to each individual building at IIT designed by Mies.14 The interior of the campus center it is placed with visual cultural history of Mies’ work to reflect back on his contribution to the campus. Looking at the McCormick Tribune Campus Center plan, there are series of diagonal paths that intersects each other. These diagonal paths were designed with purpose. Before the campus was built, Koolhaas investigate the paths of how students of IIT would travel from one building to another building. These diagonal paths are derived from the maximum passage students would walk through. It was an important aspect to investigate because people would take the fastest route from one location to another. By creating diagonal paths, Koolhaas encourages students to walk through the building using the diagonal paths to experience and increase the social interaction within the campus instead of walking around the building. The diagonal pathways have divided the campus center into smaller spatial programs. The

Figure 5 - (Top) Mies’ portrait at entrance of campus center Figure 6 - (Bottom Analysis study of student route in IIT Campus

PRESENT DAY to life, but the neighborhood as well. State of Illinois was able to replace old public housing with new middle class income housing which brought the neighbor back to life. The campus has not only increased the population of the neighborhood, it has brought tourist to the campus to view the new landmark, McCormick Tribune Campus Center.

Figure 7 - (Right) Detail window silhouettes

campus center, with its food court, game rooms, shopping mall and internet café.15 Koolhaas has achieved a goal to create a universal place for students to interact between each other in the campus. This exact location where McCormick Tribune Campus Center is situated was once filled with city buildings. Now, the campus is brought back to life by Koolhaas. Koolhaas has taken risk in designing the campus center for IIT. He was challenged with rather replicating every aspect of Mies’ style; Koolhaas took the essence of Mies’ style and combine it with his own style to create a building that earned local and global recognition. Before, the campus center existed, the neighborhood was turning into a dying neighborhood. Koolhaas knew how important it was for a city that survives with Institute requires an attractive campus to attract students to the campus. Koolhaas sees McCormick Tribune Campus Center as the seller and students as the buyers. With the help of the new campus center, it has brought not only the campus back

NOTES 1. Biemiller, Lawrence . “A Minimalist Campus Goes Tubular.” A Minimalist Campus Goes Tubular 50, no. 16 (2003):22. http://search.proquest. (accessed October 26, 2012). 2. Cramer, Ned . “THE AIA JOURNAL.” TUNNEL OF LOVE: THE AIA JOURNAL 92, no. 12 (2003): 7. (accessed October 26, 2012). 3. IBid. 4. IBid. 5. Tierney, Sherry. ReZoning Chicago’s modernisms: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Remment KWoolhaas, the IIT campus and its Bronzeville prehistory (1914-2003). S.I.: s.n.], 2008. 6. Ibid. 7. IBid. 8. IBid. 9.Koolhaas, Rem, Roberto Gargiani, and Stephen Piccolo. Rem Koolhaas, OMA:the construction of merveilles. Oxford: Routledge ;, 2008.Malnar, Joy Monice . “IIT Muffles the L: TheMcCormick-Tribune Campus Center.” The Senses and Society 2, no.1 (2007): 6. http://docserver. v2n1/s7.pdf?expires=1351266625&id=71142648&titleid=75000430&accname= Ryerson+University+Library&checksum=5B9359686491198AED17623C3F11B (accessed October 26, 2012). 10. IBid. 11. IBid. 12. IBid. 13. IBid. 14. IBid. 15. IBid. FIGURES 1. Elliptical Railway tube. Appropriated from: http://www. jpg. 2. IIT Campus Plan. Appropriated from: pdfs/main_campus_bw.pdf 3. Axonometric Plan Of Campus Center.Appropriated from: http:// 4. North Elevation Of Campus Center 5. Mies’ portrait at entrance of campus center. Appropriated from: 6. Analysis Study of Student Route in IIT Campus. 7. Detail window of silhouettes. 2012, PDF. Appropriated from:





SEATTLE CENTRAL LIBRARY Victor Huynh Completed in 2004 and designed by renowned OMA architects, Seattleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Central Library, located in Washington strives to achieve both the public needs and function. The library inspired many later buildings to design in accordance to programming, rather than architecture as a container for program. Seattleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Central Library is one of the most innovated library designs, making it an exciting and functional public place. The Office for Metropolitan Architecture in partnership with LMN architects focused on design aspects such as letting the program function dictate its form, flexibility to allow for change for the future, separation of floor function, shifting of floor plates to take advantage of views of the city, sunlight for space, providing for the public needs and the exploration of new structural systems. OMA has been highly influential to the development of architecture and the urban fabric across the world. They focus on creating intelligent forms through innovative ideas for the programmatic function. The growth of society will require architecture to be more flexible to allow for future changes, to improve the quality of people living in the city. The library respects the urban fabric of the city with a thrilling exterior and at the same time, such that it addresses its function and its social context.



Introduction Seattle’s Central Library in Washington is one of the most innovative libraries created, where it looks to develop the public needs and function through the interior and exterior component of the building. It is is considered as a notable example of urban architecture because of its incorporation of public aspects, the use of structural expression and its response to the future. The way a building connects itself with the street is very important, as it is the welcoming place for the public. The structural expression through the use of new technology allows for the built form to be more creative and showcased for the city. Society is continuously growing and buildings should be adjustable to future conditions. Design principles that the design team focused on included achieving a functional public building, street configuration in relation to the building, sustainable issues, façade modulation, and structural system. By introducing these aspects into the design of the library, the building enhanced the urban fabric in Seattle. 456

The Physical Context Seattle is a city surrounded by water and mountains, which contains stunning views through certain vantage points. It is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of North America due to it being one of the major gateways for trades with Asia.1 A successful design of a public space can be analyzed by the amount of traffic it receives on a daily bases. The striking appearance made Central Library a major tourist attraction for the city; also due to the well-developed interior, the building usage has improved dramatically. The library is a great example of present day urban architecture, where the building connects itself with the city by serving the public in an efficient way. The library is situated in the downtown core where the current zoning area of the site and surrounding is DOC1.2 It allows for the use of office building, which is similar to Le Corbusier’s Radiant City idea of city planning. Seattle’s future planning of its downtown core encourages skyscrapers with mixed use buildings as it balance the function of work and

Figure 1 - Airial view showing the relationship of Seattle’s Central Library with the city


Figure 2 - Perspective of Seattle’s Central Library and how it impacts the city

live. Prior to the development of the library by OMA, the pre-existing building was Old Central Library. It had to be demolished due to the lack of utilities and space as society is progressing through the digital age, where electronics begin to dominate.3 The library is located in close proximity of public transportation to allow the public to have easy access to transportation routes. Smaller branches are located outside the downtown area to serve the smaller population around the city. Social Integration The main reason why the new library was rebuilt was due to the fact that the old library did not provide enough space for future needs. OMA thought logically about this and new that in the future libraries will accommodate more social functions that needs of society. Libraries were first founded as just being a collection of scholarly books, now they contain other social programs to complement the growth of technology and society needs. Seattle’s library is divided into two parts, where one-third of the space is dedicated to books, while two-thirds is dedicated to social function which is dedicated to the public.4 Issues that CIAM addressed that are introduced into the design of the library include city appearance and verticality. The library provides the public with great open space along the more populated streets; at the same time it tries to not overpower the street with its height. The height of the building reflects a comfortable level for pedestrians as it is a public use building, but at the same time achieving the desirable density. OMA designed the library to respond to

what Seattle has to offer. Addressing Zoning Issues Building height and density are correlated as one cannot be achieved without the other. Density is a key issue in downtown area; it allows people to be in close proximity with each other. The library has a gross floor area of 38,300m2 and a height of 56m, contained by 11 floors and 2 underground parking floors.5 This is a reasonable height for a public use building in the area. Seattle has only a few building over the height of 200m, this is due to the fact the city wants the mountains to contribute to the city’s skyline and also the Seattle is recognized by the iconic project, the Space Needle Tower. Building any taller will decrease the Space Needle’s presence in the city. When OMA designed the building, they considered how the project may correlate with other buildings in the city. The library itself creates a unique juxtaposition with Frank Gehry’s EMP Museum along 5th Street. The library contains defined hard edges while the Museum has undefined corners created by the curvature of the building. Both buildings have an unusual form which makes them a public interest for tourist as these two buildings break out of the normal rectangular form. Structural Design The library’s façade consists of a diagrid system which provides reinforced lateral loads due to the seismic load in Seattle. The diagrid system provides the library with a futuristic look, due to the fact that most buildings have horizontal and vertical elements. The unusual shape allows the building to take advantage of certain aspects the city provides for the site, 457

URBAN SCALE DESIGN which include views and sunlight. By allowing the building to be conceived by its program, it creates a unique architectural design for the city. Due to the oddly form, the public believed that the building was taking in more of the idea of the architectural form, rather than creating functional library for the city. OMA’s design proposal was defended by the librarians as they believed it was everything they needed based on the observation of the program.6 Architects are thinking outside the box and try to rationally organize the interior spaces of buildings to improve human interaction. The Urban Connection The library has a dominant presence to its surrounding context as it sits on an entire street block, most blocks contains 2-6 buildings. The site is mainly surrounded by high-rise office building, which the library is able to stand out. Its non rectilinear form provides the city with a sculptural piece. Due to its shifting floor plates and angular walls, it provides a soft street level appearance, but at the same time is creates a dynamic object. The library must address to the urban condition situated on all 4 sides of the building. The main entrance of the building is on 4th St., which contains the most street life out of the others. The building is set back from 4th St. to provide the public with a friendly open path for people to walk by. On the opposite side is 5th St. which contains lots of vehicular traffic street. The building responds to that by fully extending the facade to the ground level. The building is mainly shifted towards Spring Street as it is a one-way road that leads you away the downtown area, which the library wants people 458

Roof Terrace

Headquarters Reading Room

Books Mixing Chamber Assembly Living Room Staff

Kids Public Assembly Parking

to notice it while they leave. On the other side is Madison St. which brings you towards the downtown area. The library is barely present on this end as it allows people to view the different skyscraper in the city. Stated by the city bylaw, a façade modulation required with building heights above 85ft if its structure is located within 15ft of the street property line. No modulation is required for portions of a façade set back 15ft or more from a street property line.7 This by-law was set to allow for buildings to respond to the street level of the city. The building is shifted in various parts of the building and fulfils the bylaw restriction. During the CIAM period, public housing was the major issue that society wanted to improve. In the present day, providing a green and sustainable future is the goal society is looking to develop. Seattle has been focusing on creating environmental friendly buildings and promoting sustainable development. The library received LEED® Silver rating from the US Green Building Council due to its water efficiency, material and resource, energy and atmosphere

Stable Spaces Unstable Spaces

Figure 3 - (Top Left) Sketches of the building blocks Figure 4 - (Top Right) Programatic layout


Figure 5 - Interior perspective showcasing the open work space

and innovation and design process.8 Contemporary architecture takes into account that the building function is more important than the building form at which OMA’s took into account while designing the library. “The architects’ philosophy was to let the building’s required functions dictate what it should look like, rather than imposing a structure and making the functions conform to that.”9 This allows a building to respond to the public needs and provide a more functional building. The building can be broken down into separate components which consist of 5 stationary blocks and 4 flexible blocks interlocking them. The stationary spaces provide functional use for the building and the flexible spaces are of public use.10 These blocks shift accordingly to what the site has to offer from the city. Conclusion The development of architecture has changed accordingly to the public influence and needs. Urban designs tries to improve

the human experience inside and outside of a building. Seattle Central Library is a great example of an urban design project as it is decidedly ambiguous about where the life of the city and the role of architecture should begin or end. Through the sectional layering of many visually connected spaces it formally orchestrates many of the exciting qualities found when traveling through a city — the very qualities of simultaneity, vibrancy and voyeurism.11 This quality allows the building to be connected to the exterior through the interior function. A successful building project aims to connect itself with the city by including features that will complement the street. OMA incorporated this aspect to the design of the library by introducing open green space along the streets and creating a less intimidating street wall through angular facades.

NOTES 1. “Seattle Washington - Go Northwest! A Travel Guide.” Pacific Northwest Travel Guide and Directory. Seattle.htm (accessed October 28, 2012). 2. “ Home Page - The Official Web Site for the City of Seattle, Washington.” Home Page - The Official Web Site for the City of Seattle, Washington. (accessed October 28, 2012). 3. “Seattle Central Library - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Library#cite_ref-8 (accessed October 28, 2012). 4. Kubo, Michael, and Ramon Prat. Seattle Public Library, OMA/ LMN. Barcelona: Actar, 2005, 18. 5. Seattle. Wikipedia, 6. “Joshua Prince-Ramus on Seattle’s library | Video on TED. com.” TED: Ideas worth spreading. ramus_on seattle_s_library.html (accessed October 28, 2012). 7. Official Web Site 8. “Home | The Seattle Public Library.” Home | The Seattle Public Library. (accessed October 28, 2012). 9. Kubo. Seattle, 8. 10. lbid., 26. FIGURES 1. Aerial Map: Appropriated from 2. Aerial View: Appropriated from 3. Building sketch: Appropriated from architects/koolhaas/Seattle/ 4. Building Program: Appropriated from 5. Interior Perspective: Appropriated from http://matadornetwork. com/trips/photo-essay-amazing-libraries-around-the-world/





THE CHEONGGYECHON RESTORATION PROJECT STEPHEN BAIK As a large-scale urban redevelopment project, completed in 2005, the Cheonggyechon Restoration Project is designed by SeoAhn Total Landscape in collaboration with Cheongsuk, Saman and Dongmyung Engineering. Located in the city of Seoul, Republic of Korea, the Cheonggyecheon Stream (literally means clean stream) is an approximately 5.8-km-long stream of running water and it flows from west to east across the heart of the city. The stream was covered by a massive concrete structure to serve as an elevated 4-lane expressway, supporting heavy traffic loads since the 1960’s. The elevated highway caused sanitation, safety, and maintenance cost problem. To solve these issues, Seoul Metropolitan Government needed to progress the largest urban revitalization project in Korean History. The Project is to dismantle the concrete roads and ramps, then to restore as ‘an urban stream in nature’, which is alive environmentally with plants, fish, birds and urban citizens. Moreover, with this urban renewal project, Seoul city aims to bring the cultural and historical heritage back, recover the ecosystem in the city, and provide pleasurable urban park to millions of citizens. With many advantages, the Cheonggyechon Restoration Project was awarded the Tenth Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design by the Harvard Graduate School of Design. This research paper will explore and discuss urban design issues including the social, cultural, economic and political contexts that lead to the development of the Cheonggyechon Restoration Project. Also it will examine research and analysis of the urban renewal project, its effect on the city of Seoul as a whole and the interpretation between humankind and the river.



Cheonggyecheon is one of the most dramatic restoration projects in Seoul, Korea, which successfully increased the value of the city in 2005. The Republic of Korea is a peninsula country geographically, and consists of 70% mountains of the whole area. Because of this geographic feature, cities have been formed and developed from the center of the rivers. Cheonggyecheon in the past, used to be a very clean and alive brook which had flying insects, swimming fishes and covered with grass. The brook, however, was covered with massive concrete structure and the clean water gradually became waste water, due to the emphasis of convenience and efficiency. After all, it drove to the loss of the nature in the city. Since the early 1980s, the Cheonggyecheon had been pointing out various problems. One of the problems was the mass media had indicated the dangers of methane gas explosion generated from sewage flowing inside the culvert. Furthermore, there was actually an explosion. On this issue, Seoul Metropolitan Government drilled holes in the 462 462

road and made ventilation in order to prevent the explosion of methane gas.1 However, the rumor of the explosion was spreading out and citizens, who overpassed Cheonggyecheon, were seized with fear. Expecting the dangerous explosion, nobody thought about removing the concrete structure and recovering Cheonggyecheon to the original appearance. At the time, the CEO of Hyundai Engineering and Construction, Lee Myung-bak; current 10th President of South Korea, thought about the necessity of the regeneration of Cheonggyecheon in Seoul. When he was a visiting researcher at George Washington University in the United States during 1998 and 1999, one fateful encounter was waiting for him.2 It was Bostonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Big Dig project. Lee Myung-bak got inspired through the Big Dig project in Boston. The project planned to divide the city and dismantle a high-level road called the running Green Monster. It was a bold plan to convert road on ground to the underground and remodel a large urban park on the ground instead of the running Green Monster.3 In order to forward with Cheonggyechon

Figure 1 - Cheonggyecheon map


Figure 2 - Cheonggyecheon Perspective view

Restoration Project, CEO Lee thought that he needed to be the mayor of Seoul. He began to go into and investigate the inside of the culvert under the stream with experts. No one knew the truth was the inside of it. A safety issue came out. The concrete columns built by 10 meter intervals were having serious loads, since the structure had supported both of running cars on the road and the elevated massive concrete expressway.4 Even though the eroded reinforcing bars were repaired by mortar, the piers of the culvert were vibrating wildly right after vehicles passed.5 In the survey of the culvert, several experts in the field of mass media and rescue experts were accompanied to research in detail.6 From that day on, Lee Myung Park gave his word that he would remove concrete structures covering the culvert. After all, he succeeded to attract public gaze and became the mayor of Seoul in 2002. He focused on the Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project as his first work for Seoul. And the project was designed by SeoAhn Total Landscape in collaboration with Cheongsuk, Saman and Dongmyung Engineering.7 The Cheonggyecheon Restoration project did not process smoothly. While promoting this project, big problems were appearing. First problem was traffic. During the construction period, traffic is the most affected. Even the Transportation Research Center was against the start of the construction, because of the citizensâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; discomfort. After all, Seoul city operates the free shuttle bus service that connects the parking lot to the stream. The second problem was conflicts with merchants. Their markets were located on both sides of

the streets and they got the biggest impact from the restoration work. Due to the noise, dust and vehicle congestion by demolition, they thought the construction would determine a significant impact on their commercial rights. With these reasons, merchants desperately opposed the restoration work. With dramatic and unprecedented offers, the mayor of Seoul negotiated with them. Finally, he overcame the critical problems and started to process the restoration project after the 1st year of being inaugurated as the mayor of Seoul. The goals and basic concepts of this project are summarized as 4 points of view; safety, environmental, cultural, and industrial. First of all, it is the safety of citizens. The aging concrete expressway had been built in 1958.8 Seoul Metropolitan Government had fixed and refurbished which had big problems based on the result of the performing test. The Seoul city judged that demolishing everything to make a new one would be more economic compared to spending money for maintenance on the massive concrete structure every year. The only solution of the safety issue is restoration. Through the Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project, the fundamental safety problems of aging structures were able to be solved. As the point of urban environment, methane gas from the Cheonggyecheon culvert and polluted air from vehicles already had given rise to a lot of problems to citizens in Seoul. By the restoration of the stream, a giant sewer of the city can be changed to a natural river of the city so that the amount of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s air pollution can be decreased. Creating Cheonggyecheon ecological park 463

URBAN SCALE DESIGN provides a clean environment and a place to rest for citizens. Therefore, the project promotes a good local environment with priority given to the co-existence principle between humans and nature. Next, the long term history and culture of Seoul had disappeared in the darkness and had been covered with concrete. People started to understand the importance of the recovery of the history and culture. As a symbol of Seoul, Cheonggyecheon can revive 600 years history of Seoul through the reproduction of traditional cultural events, heritage and spaces associated with the city.9 Then, the restoration project can develop the Cheonggyecheon area for downtown economic revitalization through changing the structure of the industry. Also, it is able to help balance the development of South and North district in Seoul. In addition, the project has the opportunity to fulfill the role of the local marketing space in the heart of the new economy by international finance, cultural, industrial, fashion and tourism industry. When people go to Cheonggyechoen for a walk, they can take a rest, watch the scenery of nature, as well as enjoy shopping at the nearby mall. As the 5th design principle, restoring the intrinsic functions of the stream such as flood control and water utilization can be mentioned. The stream always had flood problems due to heavy rain. Since the pavement, a small amount of heavy rain penetrating underground increased the risk of flooding. Seoul City planned dimensions of 200, 100 and 50-year levels to estimate flood control as shown in figure 3.11 Therefore, the stream is designed by ensuring the width of the stream and the height of the embankment to 464

withstand the torrential rain coming once every 200 years.12 The restore Cheonggyecheon is beyond a simple restoration project and consists of 3 sections having attractive spaces with different topics as shown in figure 1. Section 1 includes historical and cultural space surrounded by mass media and financial buildings.13Section 2 includes recreation and educational space combined with urban and natural landscape.14 Section 3 includes natural and ecological space with large urban parks.15 Based on the 5 design principles, the Cheonggyechon Restoration Project brings new life to a 5.8-km-long stream flowing from west to east across the heart of the city. Along to the sides of the restored stream, a total of 21 various shaped bridges were built over the stream.16 Approximately 273500m2 of green space and recreation space makes the stream more pleasurable and environmental space for millions of citizens.17 To go down on the riverside of the Cheonggyecheon, people can use 30 entrances of the slopes or the staircases. As many as various types of lamps on the street and illuminators in the stream set up to create more beautiful and enjoyable cityscape at night. In addition, you can enjoy walking and stepping on different designed stones in the aquatic environment. Since Cheonggyecheon is newly born again, the place becomes one of Seoul attractions for citizens and tourists, as well as becomes a beloved place. It is rare to find a comfortable place having enough green and water in downtown Seoul. Around the stream, there are historical heritages or monuments so that people are able to enjoy the place even

Figure 3 - Evolution of the valley section from natural to urban condition

PRESENT DAY more. As the largest urban restoration project in the history of Korea, Cheonggyecheon was reborn to be a symbolic waterfront in Seoul. This drama produced a great impression on the world. Creating urban development based on environment and history in 21th century, the Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project must be the best model.

NOTES 1. Chan Pil P, Cheonggyechoen. Seoul: kimoondang, 2012, 6869 2. Ibid, 69. 3. Wikipedia contributors, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Big Dig,â&#x20AC;? Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http:// (accessed August 10, 2004). 4. Joan Busquets, edt., Deconstruction/ Construction: The Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project in Seoul. MA: Puritan Press, 2011, 27-28 5. Chan Pil P, Cheonggyechoen, 82 6. Ibid, 72 7. Ibid, 76 8. Ibid, 79 9. Ibid, 80 10. Ibid, 82 11. Ibid, 50 12. Ibid, 67 13. Ibid, 143 14. Ibid, 143 15. Ibid, 143 16. Ibid, 140 17. Ibid, 138 FIGURES 1. Chenggyecheon map: appropriated from http://english.seoul. 2. Chenggyechen perspective view: tag/%EC%B2%AD%EA%B3%84%EC%B2%9C 3. Evolution of the valley section from natural to urban condition: appropriated from Joan Busquets, edt., Deconstruction/ Construction: The Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project in Seoul. MA: Puritan Press, 2011, 1





ONE COLE CONDOMINIUMS RECOVERY OF REGENT PARK TAEWOO LEE Regent Park was one of the failed city planning outcome of the city of Toronto. It was built since 1947 with the concept of Ebenezer’s garden city. However, it was inaccessible by traffic vehicles and physically turned away from the city. It caused the isolation of the neighbourhood from Toronto’s downtown. Toronto City Council approved Regent Park Revitalization Project to transform the community through the partnership of public and private corporations. The master plan required major amendments in the City’s Official Plan and Zoning By-laws to transform Regent Park into a vibrant neighbourhood. One Cole Condominiums has set a benchmark to all development in Regent Park. Its consistency in high quality standards of architecture replaced the old houses in order to accommodate more housing, healthier environment and stable local economy to the urban fabrics of the neighbourhood. In this essay, Regent Park serves as a means to examine the failure of an urban planning in the history of the city of Toronto, and further explore the City’s new development, Regent Park Revitalization Project, to examine the recovery plan and its direct impacts in the neighbourhood.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Regent Park was one of the failed city planning outcomes in the city of Toronto. Originally built since 1947 with the concept of Sir Ebenezer Howard’s garden city, its excessive dominance of walkways and park spaces instead of streets caused inaccessibility to the neighbourhood from traffic vehicles. As a result, the neighbourhood was isolated from Toronto’s downtown and furthermore idealized as a land of poverty and crime. Eventually, Toronto City Council approved the Regent Park Revitalization Project in July 2003 and directed the partnership of Social Development, Finance and Administration Division (SDFA), Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) and community stakeholders to execute on a Social Development Plan.1 The inspirational partnership with the public and private corporation has delivered a strong execution of the physical planning along with applicable solutions to the community challenges of Regent Park. This project became Canada’s oldest and largest social housing development and it was divided into six phases to complete in fifteen years. The objective of reintegration of Regent Park with the rest of the city was introduced by connecting the network of streets, creating generous new park spaces, aligning buildings along the streets and providing opportunities for employment, education, culture, and community facilities. Also, it proposed that a mixed income, mixed use neighbourhood with a diversity of built form and activities replace the old Regent Park. In 2006, the Board of TCHC approved the contract with The Daniels Corporation to develop the Revitalization Project.2 Daniels 468

was the only proponent willing to share the risk equally with TCHC, for a lesser share in the profits. TCHC was responsible for zoning and planning aspects of Phase One whereas Daniels was responsible for the development and marketing of One Cole Condominiums. Among the six phases of the mixed use developments is the One Cole Condominiums developed and built by Daniels in partnership with TCHC and designed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects.3 Located at the northwest corner of Dundas and Parliament at the entrance to Regent Park neighbourhood, it has become the benchmark of all mixed use area developments as it is the first market residential condominium complex to be completed in Regent Park. Originally, previous Toronto Official Plan designated Regent Park as neighbourhood made up of residential uses in lower scale buildings.4 However, the proposal of Regent Park Revitalization Project required a modification to the Official Plan to permit a greater range of land uses in a variety of built-forms and its network of traffic. One Cole Condominiums was proposed on a site of 30.0m height restriction with neighbourhood land use (figure 1). TCHC applied to amend Official Plan and Zoning Bylaws for the approval of its design plan. TCHC reasoned that the built form of Regent Park through their numerous analysis is expected to be denser than surrounding neighbourhoods. Therefore, built form needs to accommodate sufficient density for the revitalization project to work out the finance in order to provide development budget which will eventually allow


















Figure 1 - (Top) Original Site Height Restriction Figure 2 - (Bottom)Height Restriction Amended to Tower A

the reconstruction of social housing and the construction of additional market housing. Thus TCHC recommended that tall buildings will be interspersed in limited eight locations according to their plan.5 TCHC ensured that tall buildings will not exert greater influence on the character of the neighbourhood than the predominant low and medium rise developments.6 Therefore, the locations for tall buildings had been carefully chosen on blocks which face large open spaces or wide streets, in order to minimize the impact on adjacent properties and the public realm. In terms of the physical mass of tall buildings, TCHC suggested point towers for their deliverance of small floorplates that result thin buildings which may reduce impact on light, views and sense of building mass. The height limit of tall buildings would vary depending on location so that there are appropriate variations of heights rather than a standardized tower height for the entire neighbourhood.7 On February 2005, By-law No.141-2005 was enacted by Council that allows a greater flexibility in both land uses and building heights in Regent Park.8 Section 2.2 describes diverse land uses such as mixed-use areas, apartment neighbourhoods and parks and open space areas to accommodate a variety of services and economic opportunities for its residents and contribute to the vibrancy of the neighbourhood.9 Also Section 12 describes the height of building that tower may be located within each permitted tower area with three types of height restrictions (figure 2): Type A for 60.0m, Type B for 75.0m and Type C for 88.0m.10 In addition, Section 3.4 describes policies to physically integrate Regent

Park with adjoining neighbourhoods through the introduction of connected, pedestrian-friendly and publicly-owned streets.11 It encourages designs of attractive, safe, grid-like pattern of streets and blocks to connect with the streets in the surrounding neighbourhoods. With Toronto Official Plan and Zoning By-laws amended, TCHC has aimed to increase the density of the residents with mixed-income and mixed use neighbourhood through its developments. According to the research done by TCHC, there were previously about 7,500 tenants living in 2,083 rent-geared-to-income (RGI) units.12 On the completion of the project, TCH reached the goal of increase in the density of Regent Park to about 12,500 residents in newly replaced 2,083 RGI units in addition to 700 new affordable rental units, over 3,000 market condominium units and a mix of townhomes, mid-rise and high-rise buildings (figure 3).13 Furthermore incorporations of pedestrianfriendly streets, new retail and community facilities are harmoniously constructed in order to transform Regent Park into a vibrant and economically stable neighbourhood. When Diamond and Schmitt Architects designed One Cole Condominiums, their design principles of the complex flawlessly satisfied many of the challenging community planning principles of the Regent Park Revitalization Project. Completed in 2009, this complex successfully delivers more residential units than what previous site offered as it consists of 294 residential units, 330 locker units and 286 parking units supplying 1% of the total expected tenants of the project (figure 4). The land use 469

URBAN SCALE DESIGN type of the site is a mixed use with type A height restriction. It meets the demand of creating a diverse neighbourhood with a mix of housing types as there are nine two-storey townhomes and two towers each 9-storey and 19-storey tall offering variety types of housings.14 Also this LEED Gold certified building has a shared Sky Park fulfilling the principle of reintroducing green spaces.15 26,000 square-foot indoor and outdoor community space enriches Regent Park as a clean, healthy and environmentally responsible neighbourhood.16 Moreover, four retails such as Sobeys, Rogers Communication, Royal Bank of Canada and Tim Hortons, located in the complex generously offered to employee the local tenants.17 Furthermore, the developer hired local tenants for the construction of the complex to help fulfil the planning principle of local employment and community economic development.18 One Cole Condominiums was recognized for its excellence in design and service to Regent Park community. The City of Toronto presented its prestigious Urban Design Awards to Daniels for “Private Building in Context - Tall Residential” and “Green Toronto Award” to Daniels and Diamond and Schmitt Architects in 2009.19 Building Industry and Land Development Association awarded both Daniels and TCHC top honours in the “Places to Grow Community of the Year High-Rise.”20 The International Journal of Neighbourhood Renewal awarded “Best International Neighbourhood Renewal Program.”21 Regent Park no longer remains as a failed city plan, yet its road to recovery has been successful. The future of Regent Park through its 470













revitalization project is bright. The partnerships of both TCHC, Daniels, and Diamond and Schmitt Architects have successfully delivered One Core Condominiums to meet the high standards of the community planning principles. It has set a benchmark to all developments in Regent Park and succeeded to support the master plan through its excellent design solutions to increase the density of its residence, reshape the slum like area to a vibrant pedestrian friendly environment and stabilize the local economy. Regent Park Revitalization Project is the true example of inspiring partnership of both the government and private developers working for the good of the people and its city.



Figure 3 - (Top) Increase in the Density of Residents Since the Execution of Regent Park Revitalization Project Figure 4 - (Bottom) One Cole Condominiums’ Share of the Resident Density


1. “City of Toronto: Revitalization of Regent Park,” accessed October 28, 2012, 2. “Report on Regent Park Condominium Purchases by Individuals Involved with Regent Park Development Corporation” accessed October 28, 2012, 3. “OneCole captures Toronto Urban Design Award,” accessed October 28, 2012, 4. “REGENT PARK REVITALIZATION INITIATIVE,” accessed October 28, 2012, 5. “BY-LAW NO. 140-2005.” City of Toronto 140-2005 (2005). (accessed October 28, 2012). 6. “BY-LAW NO. 140-2005.”, op. cit 7. Ibid. 8. Ibid. 9. Ibid. 10. Ibid. 11. Ibid. 12. “Regent Park Toronto Community Housing,” accessed October 28, 2012, revitalization#why 13. “Regent Park Toronto Community Housing”, op. cit 14. “One Cole Captures Toronto Urban Design Award”, op. cit 15. Ibid 16. Ibid 17. Ibid 18. Ibid 19. White, Craig. (2011, May11). Milestone Month for Daniels Corporation: Wins 2 Awards for Regent Park Revitalization Project. Urban Toronto, Retrieved from: 20. White, op. cit 21. Ibid FIGURES 1. “BY-LAW NO. 140-2005.” City of Toronto 140-2005 (2005). (accessed October 28, 2012). 2. “BY-LAW NO. 140-2005.”, op. cit 3. “Regent Park Toronto Community Housing,” accessed October 28, 2012, 4. “Regent Park Toronto Community Housing”, op. cit





BEIJING OLYMPICS: CITY TRANSFORMATION DANQING (LILY) HUANG The 2008 Olympics was a mega-event that allowed the city of Beijing to enlarge and renew its urban scale through planning and development. The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) was formed days following the approval for Beijing to host the event, it was a team responsible for organizing all venues related to the games. The Olympic park is around three times the size of New York City’s Central Park. “22 new stadiums, 15 renovated facilities, two new ring roads, 142 miles of new infrastructure, 8 new subway lines, 252 new star-rated hotels, 40 km of clean river, one million trees, and 83 km of planted greenbelt”1 Essentially, it’s a magnificent city transformation. To the BOCOG, revitalising the city also meant creating a sustainable city; this meant minimizing all pollution within the range of the city and implementing cutting-edge sustainable technologies in the newly built Olympic venues. The well-known “Birds Nest” and “Water Cube” are all part of this master plan. Though the projects may seem almost excessively massive, the methods used to construct the venues were using the most advanced environmentally friendly methods. The ultimate goal is to allow Beijing to be reborn in its social, political and cultural aspects. In order to accomplish the master plan, the city also had to make sacrifices such as removing various heritage areas, residences and factories. The city had full support from the government of China, making it one of the greatest and most complete city transformations.



The 2008 Beijing Olympics were the most anticipated event for the Chinese nation for many years. The city of Beijing was transformed throughout the process in preparing for this massive event that could ideally change the face of Beijing and China in the eyes of the world. Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) was formed days after the announcement for the hostage of the games. The BOCOG was the main planning committee team for the Olympics. They collaborated with the Chinese government and various large architectural firms such Herzog & De Meuron (Birdâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Nest), PTW Architects (National Aquatic Centre), and Arup for the creation of the Olympic venues. The Olympic Green (the Beijing Olympic Park) is located in the centre of the Northern edge of the city also known as the Chong Yang district. The venues are being distributed within 405 hectares of land entitled for the Olympic park; the size of the parks is more than three times of Central Park. The BOCOG planned 474

to take full advantage of the existing sports facilities remaining on the site from the 1990 Asian Games. In a conceptual point of view, as a series of major Olympic buildings sit at the Northern edge of the city, they great a diagonal relationship with the heart of the city in which Tiananmen Square sits. 2 The BOCOG plan in March 2003 determined that the Olympics would acquire a total of 37 venues. 32 would be in the City of Beijing, in which 13 would be renovation of pre-existing structures and 19 would be newly developed. The 14 major facilities would be situated in Northern Beijing, nearby the main Olympic site also known as the Olympic Green, this include the Olympic Village for athletes, the media village, press facilities, and infrastructure for communications.3 Secondary Olympic activity areas would be located nearby the University Area of Northern Beijing. In December 2003, the committee proposed a secondary plan that would use more of the University facilities due to economic concerns. This plan allowed for $180 million US

Figure 1 - Smog within Beijing before and after of the Olympic Games.











Figure 2 - The Olympic Green map featuring displacing 15 thousand residences.

dollars to be cut off from the original budget4. The plan not only considers the Olympic venues, they also include the plan for a city transformation, such as the creation of an enlarged infrastructure and public transportation system. The motivation for China to host the Olympic games was simple, similar to many other nations, China saw this event as a generator that could potentially spur the growth of it capital city of Beijing and its surrounding areas by improving its infrastructures and building potential international architectural landmarks. It would also project a positive international image for China, demonstrating its unity and national strength as a nation. On July 13th, 2001, the International Olympic Committee announced that Beijing had the right to host the 2008 Olympics, the City of Beijing “erupted into flag-waving, hornhonking, music-jamming, firecracker exploding party” 5. The nation was proud to host such an event. The society also sees this as a chance for redemption; many other competing cities worldwide disagreed with this decision for they believe China’s poor execution of human right in the past would result in its incapability to hosting the games in which embodies the concept of freedom and peace. The goal of Beijing city is to promote its international profile in a positive direction and resolve some major environmental issues. In reaction, the BOCOG along with the city’s environmental bureau developed the Green Olympics Project. The team pledged for US $5.6 billion upon environmental cleanup and

sustainable activities. In addition, there was also US $6.6 billion pledged for the environmental assessment in all aspects of the newly developed projects6. The project addresses specific concerns such as deforestation and airborne pollution. It also aims for Beijing’s usage of natural gases on taxi’s and buses to increase by 30% by 2008, also, to replace much of its coal consumption with natural gas as well7. Reforestation and increasing available green space are all a part of the project. The city planted more than 2 million trees and 3 million square meters of grassland in just under a year8. Once the entire project is executed, Beijing should have shown drastic progresses in its environment. Many are aware that the Olympic facilities are situated on top of the ashes of historical neighbourhoods. For a project of such phenomenal scale, it is destined to have its supporters and protestors. Most citizens accepted their fate and thought of the demolition of their neighbourhoods as a worthy sacrifice in accommodating the growth and development of Beijing. But some were extremely negative upon this decision, “groups of angry residents gather to petition the government over the demolition of their homes; and thousands have filed lawsuits against unfair evictions”9. Demolition companies were hired to clear the existing sites in concern to time restrains. The Chinese government resulted in displacing 15 thousand residences10. Much of the city’s historical urban fabric was demolished and unearthed, such as the infamous alley ways known as Hu Tongs. They are to be 475

URBAN SCALE DESIGN replaced by contemporary apartment buildings, modern hotels, parks and offices in which would serve as a backdrop to the Olympic Village. The developers consent to their harsh actions but it was believed it would benefit the future development of the city. They hope to generate revenue from China’s new rich. It was necessary for the city to make room for future improvement for the sake of creating a more efficient and modernized international city. Many who protested against the plan eventually came to realize the benefits involved with the city transformation The official Olympic Action Plan (OAP) was released on March 28, 2002. The plan outlines the strategies and objectives that would lead to the success of the event. In the perspective of facility construction, the OAP focuses on distribution of facilities, new constructions, usage of facilities for post-game, and how all this would affiliate into the cities original long term plan11. Other areas the OAP addresses include improvement of environmental conditions, communications infrastructure and transportation issues. Essentially, the document was comprehensive in its description and it pleased the International Olympic Committee. The ultimate goal is to “Balance private and public development pressures, control sprawl, and upgrade our infrastructure. Integrate the sports venues with other projects such as shopping, hotel, retail, offices, convention facilities, and museums. We want to create urban areas, not just for the duration of the games but for the long term”12 says Yang 476

Huang, one of the key members of BOCOG to accommodate to the Games bid, the Olympic urbanization does not follow Beijing’s original south-east strategy for the city. However city officials viewed this situation as an opportunity for the city to expand its transit system13. A subway line was built designated especially for the Olympic Region. The line contains 4 stations and extends throughout the Olympic district for 5.91 Kilometers14. This became a part of Beijing’s ambiguous plan for the extensive enlargements of the public transportation system throughout the entire city within a period of fifteen years. The planning was done by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), quintessentially, a division of the established by the Chinese government which also include the Chinese Olympic Committee. The BOCOG announced a 3 phase plan for the games. “The first phase, from October 2001 until mid-2003, would include consolidation of supervisory organizations, drafting and initial implementation of a comprehensive Olympic

Figure 3 - (Top) A real render of the Olympic green during the planning process Figure 4 - (Right) The newly developed “Line 8” subway line to accomodate to the games


Action Plan, securing of funds for facility construction, and the drafting of blueprints for major facilities. The second phase, from mid2003 until mid-2006, would encompass the bulk of facility construction. During the final phase, from mid-2006 until the opening of the Games in mid-2008, officials would conduct doublechecks of facilities, execute test runs of the competitions, and make any final adjustments or last-minute preparations for the Games.” 15 The committee worked with multiple levels of government in the deciding the ownership of newly developed facilities and the responsibilities for its construction. The venues were mostly placed under the authority of the Beijing government, only several secondary venues were excluded from the municipality, they were mainly University facilities. These private bodies were given the freedom to construct and govern their own venue in consideration to postgame usages. 16 The solid planning mapped out by the BOCOG had led the success of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The mega city transformation

was more successful than what many other would have predicated. Rational city planning dates back to CIAM in 1928, Le Corbusier saw planning and architecture as tool for improving a city’s economic and social factors. It’s evident that certain similar perspectives applied to the Olympic Green in Beijing. Socially, the Chinese nation is doubtlessly unified in its pride for hosting this global event. The world was able to see the City that Beijing has grown into in its glory. Economically and politically, the perception towards China in the eyes of other cultures significantly improved. The Chinese demonstrated their leadership and organizational skills through the execution of the city transformation. Today, the post-game plans are being reviewed and executed, such as the Bird’s nest is to be transformed into a grand retail facility. The expanded infrastructure and transportation systems are being used to its fullest. The government of Beijing acknowledged the serious tasks that they were facing in hosting the games and used the opportunity to remake Beijing in all physical, political and social aspects.

NOTES 1.Liauw, Laurence (ed.) AD New Urban China, Architectural Design, Vol. 78 No 5, 2008, p. 8 2.Ong, Ryan. “New Beijing, great Olympics: Beijing and its unfolding Olympic legacy.” Stanford Journal of East Asian Affairs 4, no. 2 (2004): 35-49. 3.Ibid 4.Ibid 5.Ibid 6.Ibid 7.Beyer, Stefanie. “The Green Olympic Movement: Beijing 2008.” Chinese Journal of International Law 5, no. 2 (2006): 423-440. 8.BROUDEHOUX, ANNE. “Spectacular Beijing: the conspicuous construction of an Olympic metropolis.” Journal of Urban Affairs 29, no. 4 (2007): 383-399. 9.Keller, Sean. Bidden City. Artforum,2008. 137, http://ezproxy. untid=13631 (accessed October 28, 2012). 10.Ibid 11.Ong “New Beijing, great Olympics” 12.Pearson, Clifford A. “Yan Huang: Beijing’s Olympic planner.” Architectural Records 192, no. 3 (March 2004): 240. Academic Search Premier, EBSCO host (accessed October 28, 2012) 13.Liao, Hanwen, and Adrian Pitts. “A brief historical review of Olympic urbanization.” The International Journal of the History of Sport 23, no. 7 (2006): 1232-1252. 14.Candice , Song. China Highlights, Last modified June 6, 2012. Http:// (accessed October 28, 2012) 15.Ong “New Beijing, great Olympics” 16.Ibid FIGURES 1.Photo comparison: Appropriated from 2.Site map: Appropriated from 3.Areal Render: Appropriated from 4.Public transit map: Appropriated from





TERRENCE DONNELLY CENTER FOR CELLULAR BIOMOLECULAR RESEARCH ALYKHAN NEKY Nestled in the tight University of Toronto context, the Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular & Biomolecular Research (CCBR) maintains a strong connection to its context through its complex circulation system. Posed with a difficult collection of contextual variables, Architecture Alliance in partnership with the German firm Behnisch Architects proposed a design that would complement the complex university framework and capitalize on the positive contextual conditions while diminishing or reversing the negative. The buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ground floor is a node in a network of pathways connecting the Donnelly Center to its adjacent buildings.The Terrence Donnelly Center responds to multiple layers of contextual variables at different scales, ranging from the spatial relationships to adjacent buildings, to the circulation on the school campus, and to the urban fabric as a whole.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Situated in the tight urban context, The Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular & Biomolecular Research (CCBR) project was posed with difficult collection of contextual variables. Located in the heart of the University of Toronto’s medical school, the building is a prime example of modern architecture, creating a one of a kind relationship to its surroundings by responding to a multitude of contextual variables which in turn impact the immediate urban fabric. The structure, completed in 2006, today serves as an iconic focal point for the medical school, as well as successfully serves as a precedent in the realm of modern architecture through its innovation, sustainability, responsibility, and response to context. The building is the result of the collaboration of two architecture firms; Architecture Alliance and Behnisch Architects. Beginning with the site itself, the lot was previously a complex circulation center point for students going to and from the Medical Sciences building.1 This center seems to echo the theme of ‘connections’ beginning with the program itself. “Cellular and Bimolecular research is very “interdisciplinary and trans boundary” and overlaps with other areas of science including medicine, biology, engineering and computer science.2 Behnisch Architects refer to the project as a “node in the network of relationships in the quarter”.3 The Donnelly Centre design team was aware of existing campus circulation routes and, maintained and helped facilitate them. For example, many faculty and students use the Donnelly Centre as a shortcut to Queens Park Subway Station. Likewise, other nearby buildings 480

and areas associated with the university’s Faculty of Health include the Fitzgerald building, Rosbrugh Building, Mining Building, Hospital Precinct, Mars Discovery District ad Kings College Circle, all of which are located radially around Donnelly Centre, and, chiefly through circulation routes have contributed to the form of the Center.4 The Donnelly Center is also setback over 30m from College St., creating a courtyard space before the Centre (figure1). Students and faculty approaching the building have a visual connection to the bamboo winter garden as well as to the east façade of the Rosbrugh Building through the entrance, well before they get close to the building, and vice versa. While the building breaks the continuity of the street, it in fact offers a much richer experience for the pedestrian, as the setback creates a large square condition with gentle ramps and landscaped terraces, which draws pedestrians inward from the street. Situated in the discovery district of Toronto, the University of Toronto’s medical school is one of Canada oldest medical facilities.5 Responsible for the isolation of Insulin as well as the discovery of Stem Cells, the faculty is 7th worldwide in the field of ‘Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacology and Health Sciences’ according to the High Impact Universities. Aware of faculty’s worldwide prominence, the design team of the Donnelly Center would be responsible for creating a building that acknowledges the history of the university while creating a new environment that would serve not only as a research building, but also as a place that would symbolize a dramatic step

Figure 1 - South Perspective of the facility showing a 30m setback from the street. This creates a courtyard condition for ‘informal meeting’ for faculty members and pedestrians (highlighted in orange) The mechanical component on the 6th floor (shown in red) is sensitively set back from the building perimeter, creating two masses; the height of the lower matches the neighboring buildings heights allowing the Center to gracefully fit to its context


Figure 2 - Bridging a connection to the context through the 30 ft. high void bordering the Rosbrugh Building’s east Neo-Romanesque facade. Scientists working in the center today tend to favor usage of the stairs (shown on the right) overlooking the bamboo garden instead of the elevators, saving energy and contributing to the theme of sustainability

into the future of health science and research; a place for the greatest minds in the field to come together. It is in this building scientists hope to develop the cure for cancer.6 The facility houses 280 doctors, pharmaceutical specialists, computer scientists and engineers, as well as 48,000 lab mice.6 The building now, is an icon in the health sciences complex. It is bounded in the west by the Rosebrugh building. It is in this building that scientists first isolated insulin. The Center respects this buildings historical identity by enclosing its entire east neo-Romanesque façade, making this restored facade the west interior wall of the Donnelly Centre. To further complement this Neo-Romanesque wall, the Donnelly Center employs a 30 ft. high void bordering Rosebrugh’s façade, allowing visual connections to this beautiful wall up to 6 stories high (figure 2).7 The Donnelly center doesn’t only respect the historical identity of the Rosebrugh building, but enhances its grandeur by bringing its history directly into Donnelly Center, through the ‘framing’ of this textured yellow wall. Architectural Record refers to the Donnelly center as a “symbolic and physical bridge between the academic community to the north, the medical community to the south, and the public living and working nearby.8 The Donnelly center successfully pays homage to the university’s history and in contrast makes a statement of modernity, progress and even anticipation for the discoveries to come. The Terrence Donnelly Centre not only serves as an icon for the Faculty of Health, but also is a milestone in architecture for Toronto. Sean Stanwick, author of the ‘Design City’

series refers to the Donnelly Center as a ‘lesson in modernity’ for Toronto.9 The center does indeed stand for modernity and progress in multiple ways. Beginning with the workspaces themselves, the design team challenged the ‘hermetically sealed spaces’ typical of traditional research facilities in light of a more open and fluid plan with only a few fixed walls to define the work space.10 The mechanical floor that separates the two massing volumes also allows for a ‘free plan’ in the labs. (figure 1) Furthermore, according to Canadian Architect 2006, 80% of scientific discoveries occur outside the lab and instead in informal social spaces.11. Architecture Alliance & Behnisch Architects decided to facilitate this idea by creating multiple social areas such as coffee bars and small double story gardens (figure 3) where scientists could interact, possibly exchanging the latest in their individual studies. These are very well designed spaces that are uncommon in traditional research facilities. Architecture Alliance and Behnisch Architects have successfully challenged the norm of architecture in this particular building typology, offered and implemented a conntemporary idea and have set an example for the architecture of today as well as the future. Rethinking the work space, taking into account the changes brought about by technology over time and responding accordingly in new dramatic but effective ways, are what the design team have done with the Terrence Donnelly Center. This is truly an example of what modern architecture should try to accomplish, particularly the contemporary office space. The Center has already begun to 481

URBAN SCALE DESIGN attract and influence public opinion, which in turn will create a desire and demand not only for improved work spaces but for buildings as a whole. The Terrence Donnelly Center also takes a stride towards modernity through its sustainable design. The building is a high performance building that responds to the changing climate of Toronto as well as the sun angles and exposure. The southern façade employs a double skin façade with a large airspace that acts as buffer to heat loss.12 This skin, in addition to a series of retractable perforated aluminum sunshade louvers, reduce solar heat gain, making the building more energy efficient. Scientists working in the center today tend to favor usage of the stairs overlooking the bamboo garden instead of the elevators (figure 2), further contributing toward the idea of sustainability. The large double and triple story gardens (figure 3) in the building act as lungs for the structure, increasing interior air quality, of which the positive effects on employee efficiency are tremendous. While much of Toronto still relies on single glazing, the Donnelly center sets the stage for sustainability, making it the most environmentally friendly and advanced building in its context. The building has been shortlisted for the Lubetkin Prize by Royal Institute of British Architects; it has won the 2008 Governor General’s Medal in Architecture, the 2006 Award of Excellence by the Ontario Association of Architects, the 2006 RIBA International Award, and finally 2006 Architectural Record Business Week award.13 The Donnelly center has taken a step ahead, 482

offering solutions today to the problems that will become increasingly important in the future, in the hopes that architecture in Toronto will follow in its footsteps, creating buildings that will not only fit the urban fabric of tomorrow but likewise be milestones in their respective contexts. While designed and developed in a completely different era, the Donnelly Center shares numerous principles with CIAM as well as theories many of the participating architects advocated, for example sound economic efficiency. The center, through sustainability, is a living example of CIAM’s principle of reliance on technology. Creating an environment of ‘minimum effort’ is exactly what the Donnelly Center advocates, although in way new and different from the original principle. However after the war, many architects such as Le Corbusier were concerned with efficiency and functionally and prized these ideas before the ‘aesthetic’ of the structure. This is a response to the postwar housing demand at the time, evidenced by CIAM’S Existenzminimum. As the context changes over time, such as in the

Figure 3 - (Left) One of the double story gardens where scientists can interact. Spaes such as these facilitate informal encounters Figure 4 - (Top)The pedestrian bridge (shown in red) is an example of Donnelly’s integration into the health sciences complex. The east facade (on the left) of the Center alludes to the program and is expresed with DNA electrophoresis patterns Figure 5 - (Bottom) One of the corridors facilitating connections to different buildings in the immediate context. These connections allow for efficient circulation


Figure 6 - The Center alludes to the program through its helically shaped vertical connections. Donnelly makes statement of modernity and innovation for the University’s health sciences complex

case of Univerity of Toronto, functionality and aesthetic can be seen, not as two separate paths, but instead as a relationship of two ideas brought about by successful architecture. For example the Donnelly Center, praised and highly regarded for its functionality and efficiency, maintains a beautiful aesthetic through sustainability, employing interior green spaces or even as decoration in the facades that mimic DNA patterns (figure 4). The Center also has efficient circulation routes, with separate corridors facilitating different connections, maximizing efficiency (figure 5). This idea differs slightly from CIAM in that it serves as a living example of the fusion between the aesthetic and functionality. The Terrence Donnelly Center is prime example successful architecture of the modern era. The building has been formed as a result

of a multitude of contextual forces, which were exerted on the design during its process, ultimately yielding a building that is both sensitive and responsive to its surroundings. The centers ground floor circulation has been carved out by existing pathways and its massing has been split to match its neighbors. The building also stands a symbol for the future of health science and research at the University of Toronto, playfully alluding to subject of bimolecular science in its architectural components such as its helically shaped vertical connections (figure 6) and the DNA electrophoresis patterns on its eastern façade. Featuring a double skin façade allowing personalization for the user, bamboo gardens for increased air quality, and improved circulation efficiencies, the Terrence Donnelly Center serves as an archetype, setting an architectural standard for Toronto as well as making a statement of modernity and innovation for the University health faculty. As time progresses and the realm of technology expands, coupled with the increasing concern for sustainable energy, the need to incorporate the latest technology to create buildings that are efficient and sustainable is growing. In tomorrow’s context, energy usage concerns will make buildings such as the Donnelly Center commonplace. Today the Donnelly Center serves as a precedent, a perfect example of building in the modern era, answering tomorrow’s contextual problems, with a solution today.


1. Jen, Leslie. “Genetic Complement.” Canadian Architect, January 2006. 2. Jen. 31. 3. Jaeger, Falk. Behnisch Architekten. Berlin: Jovis, 2009, 24. 4. Jen. 30-31. 5. Wikimedia Foundation. “University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (accessed October 28, 2012). 6. Jaeger. 7. Jen. 8. Weatherby, William. “University of Toronto Center for Research Toronto.” Architectural Record, July 2006. 9. Stanwick, Sean, and Jennifer Flores. Design city Toronto. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2007. 10. Weatherby. 11. “Terrence Donnelly Center for Bio-molecular Research.” Canadian Architect, May 2008. 12. Murray, Scott. Contemporary curtain wall architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2009. 13. Jaeger. FIGURES

Neky, Alykhan (all images- original image and overlay)





SKYSCRAPER OF THE URBAN CONTEXT: ONE BRYANT PARK HAO YUE BAI As a prominent building on the famous Manhattan skyline, the Bank of America Tower is located in the heart of downtown, where it is considered to be the second tallest building in New York City. The main architects, Cook + Fox had to take in multiple considerations while designing this office tower. Some of the key principles were sustainability, technology integration, urban intensification, workplace design and connection to the natural environment. Unfortunately, the building design and construction were restricted by the site’s location; the site is bounded on one side by highrise buildings and another by subway lines. The project team had to deal with the New York City Department of Transportation, the New York City Transit Authority, the Consolidated Edison Company of New York and other agencies who had jurisdiction over some part of the project or surrounding areas. Thus the buildings’ shape was inspired by the unique site, with the base accommodating for circulation to the overall massing, addressing the local pedestrian and transportation thoroughfares of Midtown Manhattan. The Bank of America Tower, acknowledging the value of healthy, productive workspaces is the first commercial high-rise to earn a LEED Platinum certification, enhancing both the building’s indoor and outdoor environment. A progression of public and private spaces, from the office to the lobby then to the street, the Bank of America Tower is a building that relates the visitors to the outside, maintaining this vital connection to the urban context.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN The Bank of America Tower (formally known as One Bryant Park) serves as the New York headquarters of Bank of America. Designed by Cook + Fox architects, this tower was completed in 2009 and is the second tallest skyscraper in New York City (soon to be third after the completion of the One World Trade Center). The designers had the vision of making the tower the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum high-rise in New York City. LEED Platinum is the highest certification that can be received, acknowledging the green abilities that the building has. The five key principles that the designer had in mind was sustainability, technology integration, urban intensification, workplace design and connection to the natural environment. 1 Looking at the early urban development of New York City, and the zoning laws that took place we can better understand some of the design considerations that the architects wanted to improve. Cook + Fox architects wanted the tower to be an example for future buildings in the city, their idea for this prominent financial office tower was to join nature and the workplace together. Even though the site gave the designers, engineers, and even the construction managersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; difficulty due to its zoning and busy location, they were able to give back to the city. The sustainable features that the building has can save resources and lower energy demands. These strategies can also improve employee comfort and productivity, allowing sunlight and good indoor air quality to flow through the office. Focusing on the public realm as well as the private, they looked at the connection to Bryant Park and the 486


urban and public space that surrounds the site. New York City is known to be a high rise, high density area. Their grid street is one of the most efficient ways to quickly build a large city. Past skyscrapers were restricted by height through material, but the evolution of technology gave designers a chance to extend the height limit of towers. The New York City 1916 Zoning Resolution was a measure that arose out of the development of skyscrapers, stopping the design of skyscrapers at a certain height.2 The new zoning laws developed setback requirements, encouraged plazas and podiums, only allowing a certain area for the tower. The Zoning Resolution created new ideas in tower design; many of the tall, iconic slender towers that can be seen today in New York came from that movement. The site of the Bank of America Tower is considered as a Commercial District, as it is located on West 42nd Street, a few minutes away from Times Square. It is surrounded by


Figure 1 - Location of Bryant Park to the tower


Figure 2 - Cuts on the tower were made according to view the left cut directs views to the park, while the other is for sunlight. Picture taken standing in Bryant Park

a vast cultural context, consisting of tourist attractions and local amenities. Adapted from the 1916 Zoning Resolution, the site has height and setback requirements, setting limits to both the height of the building and the base height before setback.3 The site also reflects the Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s physical contextual history; the grid gives the site a rectangular shape, reflected in the tower base. In response to the history of Manhattan, the Bank of America Tower reflects past priorities while adding its own solutions. Setting back the whole building extends the sidewalk and allowing for a new subway entrance and better pedestrian flow. The original building design would have been a simple rectangular box, but the main architect, Richard A. Cook explains that the cuts on the exterior face of the building were all done rationally. As it rises from the uniform street grid, the massing of the tower shifts.4 The building is also set back and the floor plate decreases as the building gets higher, the cuts were due to several studies to allow adequate sunlight to get through onto the site and into the office. The building is a private building; the land owned by Bank of America is outlined by the difference in floor texture from the side walk to the tower base. The main lobby is accessible to the public, but the higher levels of the building are only accessible using a swipe card access. The Bank of America Tower had to go through several public meetings because of their building design. The American Institute of Architects New York Chapter held a public hearing in 2003 where the chapter was in support of the proposed building but had several

issues to address. One concern was that the tower might cast shadows onto the park and how the building will give back to the city.5 The public space was criticized to be not enough; the urban garden room proposed at the beginning of the design did not link to the site at all. To solve these problems, massing and detailing allowed for sunlight into the park, and a size increase of the garden room allows for more public space and a potential rentable area for retail. The process for planning approval in New York City is similar to Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s process, but much more complicated. The application and pre-certification is sent to the department of city planning (2 month duration) then the application is sent to the community board. The community board notifies the public and holds a public hearing on the application, and then the document is sent to the city planning commission, borough president and borough board (10 month duration). The whole planning approval process takes a minimum of 1.5 years to finish, assuming no modifications are to be done to the application.6 One thing that was not mentioned in the books was the fact that several historic buildings had to be demolished to make way for the new building; the Remington Building was demolished in 2002 as it was located on the site now owned by the developers, the Durst Organization. The project team also had to address problems involving the New York City Department of Transportation, Transit Authority, the Consolidated Edison Company of New York and other agencies who had jurisdiction over some part of the project or surrounding areas. 487

URBAN SCALE DESIGN The site is located on top of underground subway lines, which were not owned by the organization. It was a unique site to work with, with subway, pedestrian and natural landscape connections the building had to respond to the requirements of physical (parks and daylight), social (relations to public), political (subway and zoning), and cultural (business district) context of the site. The problems of the subway and pedestrian access was solved through the setback of the building. The subway is accessible from the tower and from the outside; an additional subway stop was added, so that office workers have a direct connection from the tower to the subway. A connection between the public and private spaces is made through the addition of this subway stop, futhur intensifying the urban activity of the area. Another factor that the team had to look at was the connection between the building and Bryant Park. The park, used as an outdoor break room by office workers and relaxation area by the public can be seen as a borrowed landscape for the project team. The designers listed that a connection to the natural environment as one of the key principles that were considered in the project proposal. The base of the building itself responds to the public space feature of the surroundings allowing three times the public circulation space of a typical as-of-right office building, including an urban garden room.6 The sustainability features of the building were also partially inspired by Bryant Park, the 54-story building was built using local materials, the double glazing helps 488

lower energy consumption by reducing thermal loss and the cement production looks to reduce carbon dioxide output. 7 The tower also has a 4.6-megawatt cogeneration plant provides a clean, efficient power source for nearly 70% of the buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s annual energy requirements.8 The architects had to look at their key principles by understanding the sites past and present to envision the future. The past zoning resolutions gave the designers ideas for a tall slim building, allowing pedestrian traffic and sunlight to pass through the site. I believe that they have successfully addressed most of the key principles. They achieved LEED Platinum through accounting for energy consumption, carbon dioxide output and material usage.9 They looked at present ways to improve the office tower using technology integration, using available technology to reduce operation costs and ensuring the safety of the office tower through swipe card access. The future addition of the subway entrance allowed for more pedestrian flow and easy home to work access for the employees. The workplace design ensuring a flow of clean air, accessibility, and amenities make it an ideal place to work. Finally, the connection to the natural environment was resolved by the design of the building, the urban garden room addressed this connection at a street level, and the building form directs views towards Bryant Park. A building design that continuously changes and grows from looking at the zoning, and addressing the urban context of the site, the office tower is able to maintain a close connection to the surroundings because the designers looked at multiple considerations



Figure 3 - Evolution of the building design according governed by surroundings

PRESENT DAY while designing the tower. The Bank of America Tower is a building which the design evolved through looking and understanding the urban context.

NOTES 1. NYC Architecture. “1 Bryant Park”. Last modified 2009. http:// com/MID/MID157.htm. accessed, October 27, 2012. 2. Cookfox. “One Byrant Park”. php?id=One-BryantPark. accessed, October 26, 2012. 3. NYC Department of City Planning. “Zoning”. gov/html/dcp/html/history_project/history_project2.shtml. accessed, November 8, 2012. 4. Ibid. 5. ”American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter.” AIANY. (accessed November 5, 2012) 6. NYC Department of City Planning. “Zoning”. gov/html/dcp/html/history_project/history_project2.shtml. accessed, November 8, 2012. 7. Time. “Bank of America Building: A New Green Standard?”,8599,1994554,00.html. accessed, October 26, 2012. 8. Ibid. 9. Durst. “One Bryant Park”. accessed, October 26, 2012. 9. Moe Kiel, Integrated Design in ContemporaryArchitecture. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2008), 24. accessed, November 5, 2012 FIGURES


1. Site Plan: appropriated from http://www.architectureweek. com/2010/0825/environment_2-4.html 2. Building Cut Design: appropriated from: own photo 3. Evolution in Design: appropriated from :Moe Kiel, Integrated Design in ContemporaryArchitecture. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2008), 24. accessed, November 5, 2012 4. Public Subway Entrance: appropriated from: own photo

Figure 4 - Public subway entrance on main street 489




MAXXI: ARTS & ARCHITECTURE OLGA CHEPIGA Zaha Hadid Architects completed the National Museum of XXI Century Arts in 2010. It is located in Rome, Italy and has won several awards including the Innovation & Design award, the RIBA award and the RIBA Stilting Prize in 2010. The building is made up of two museums the MAXXI art, and the MAXXI architecture. The building design blends perfectly into the neighborhoods the cities physical, social, cultural and political contexts. The buildings overall mass is interconnected with the concept of de-constructed fluidity, this can be seen in the way the building corresponds to the neo-classical symmetrical facades of the surrounding context. The link between the past and the future can be seen in this project, in physical and social interaction. The project, the site and the existing urban context blend perfectly into the physical, social cultural and political contexts of the Flaminio neighborhood and to Rome. Zaha Hadid uses the Museum of XXI Century Arts as a model to promote the constant grow and change of cities. The Museum of XXI Century Arts promotes the idea of a renewed city. This carefully planned decision gives the city a contemporary identity its been looking for to bring it into the future. By examining the project in the urban site, it becomes very clear that the design of the MAXXI corresponds to the neighborhood and the cities physical, social, cultural and political contexts. And clarifies that the cities urban context is not only shaped by the public or by the planning organizations that work for it, but by the kinds of knowledge that planners choose to employ and set for the future.



The National Museum of XXI Century Arts is located in Rome, Italy and was completed in 2010 by Zaha Hadid Architects. The project has won several awards including the Innovation & Design award, the RIBA award and the RIBA Stilting Prize in 2010.1 The building consisted of two museums the MAXXI art, and the MAXXI architecture. The buildings form is made up of winding rectangular tubes that intersect and overlap to create the overall mass. The urban site and the building are interconnected with the concept of de-constructed fluidity; this can be seen between how the curved smooth walls of the Museum of XXI Century Arts correspond with the neo-classical symmetrical facades of the surrounding context.2 This links the modern to the motionless city of Rome that is filled with classical heritage.3 This project is appropriate for this specific site because it blends so perfectly into the existing urban context and responds seamlessly to the physical, social cultural and political contexts of the Flaminio neighborhood in Rome. Zaha Hadid uses the Museum of XXI Century Arts as a model of the 492

ways cities constantly grow and change. The Museum of XXI Century Arts promotes the idea of a renewed city, which brings a lot of economic activities along with it. This carefully planned decision gives the city a contemporary identity its been looking for to bring it into the future.4 The MAXXI project by Zaha Hadid Architects is an ideal example of modern day architecture that creates a new urban context for the future of the city. By examining the project in the urban site, it becomes quite clear that the design of the MAXXI corresponds to the neighborhood and the cities physical, social, cultural and political contexts. And by doing so clarifies that the cities urban context is not only shaped by the public in a given area or by the attitude of planning organizations that work for it, but by the kinds of knowledge that planners choose to employ and set for the future. Looking at the cultural context of Rome, the city has stood for centuries as a model for creativity in art and architecture within the western world, It is a representation of culture as it changes over time. There are the classic

Figure 1- Pedestrian Open Space: Shows the public square the building creates to engage people from the community.


Figure 2- Street-Form Connections: Shows how the parallel and perpendicular forms geometrically respected the orthogonal site and grid, creating a building form that respects the two grids of the site.

grand monuments of ancient Rome; the works from the middle ages by Cimabue, Giotto, and Arnolfo di Cambio; the Renaissance works of Donatello and Brunelleschi, as well as Raphael and Michelangelo; and even the Baroque work by Bernini and Borromini.5 It is a layered context where art and architecture are essential components in the perception of Italy and Rome abroad. It is a growing understanding that the city of Rome had a prominent and important artistic heritage that identified the culture of the region for centuries, however the future development must be guaranteed and encouraged as well.6 The Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities has always actively promoted Rome’s rich past, but now saw a need to promote currant artistic efforts because there efforts are the ones that will likely comprise tomorrows cultural heritage. The concept for the National Museum of XXI Century Arts came from a complex vision of analyzing the layers of its cultural context.7 Rome is a city famous for its architectural history, but the most visible layers are the Baroque curves and counter - curves of the seventeenth and eighteenths century buildings, the design of the National Museum of XXI Century Arts responds to this with the use of sweeping curves that can be connected to some of Bernini’s principals8. The idea of moving fluid forms in architecture can be shared between Baroque architects and Zaha Hadid. An example of this can be seen in the National Museum of XXI Century Arts through the use of linear forms to create a context of its own making the courtyard of the museum a world of its own,9 just as the arms of Bernini’s colonnade

at the Vatican creates a space of its own inside the dense, urban context.10 That said, it is not simply a debate between those who favor the new and those who wanted to preserve the past but where Rome will stand in the future. The sites physical context is comprised of a former military compound in the Flaminio section of Rome, down the street from the 1960 Olympics buildings by Pier Luigi Nervi and the recent Auditorium Parco della Musica by Renzo Piano.11 These modernist structures are placed between massive late-nineteenth and early twentieth- century apartment blocks.12 Unlike the center of Rome with its historic buildings, where modernist architecture is rarely found, here the context of ancient Roman architecture is not immediate.13 The significant context is actually mostly modernist. The site of the project is an awkward L-shape, with a grid that shifts at a 45-degree angle from Flaminio’s dominant grid.14 The physical context imposes multiple demands on the design, as the site is geometrically irregular; occupied by a plain barrack building at the front and an adjacent military structure at a diagonal grid. The diagonal street grid outside the site virtually penetrated the site, with an impact on the building. The idea for the site was to create a new geometry that would drift from the courtyard in and through the building.15 The parallel and perpendicular forms geometrically respected the orthogonal site and grid creating a building form that respects the two grids of the site. The contextual advantage is that every line runs parallel or perpendicular to the existing lines of the streets, so every line, when it turns agrees geometrically with buildings outside 493

URBAN SCALE DESIGN the site.16 The design intention appears to be starting from the geometry of the immediate urban context of the neighborhood, were the two urban grid connections met at the site. The urban site serves as an agent of connection and creates an organizational system for the project. The awareness of the social context in Rome is a significant consideration in creating newness in an ancient city, the mix of old and new can interpret urbanity in a different way.17 The National Museum of XXI Century Arts is socially contextual, not because of the Roman history, but because its an old military base in the context of streetcar lines, nineteenth century buildings and modernist buildings.18 But Its not only the adjacent buildings that create the social environment, but learning from other contexts and bringing them into the design.19The National Museum of XXI Century Arts does an ideal job in stating its general architectural positions, which is to educate and inform the public about the future of art and architecture of Rome. Here the avant-garde architecture finds the occasion to be critically recognized as a worthy dimension of a social development.20 Radical architecture innovation can exist here due to the openness of the very institution of art within the contemporarily society.21 The National Museum of XXI Century Arts offer a frame for all social events through its use art and architecture as objects of open-ended reinterpretation.22 The immediate site offers a frame for social communication and interaction, by providing people with space that is public and communal. It is this social communication and connects people and projects an alternative 494

view on the world that art and architecture today reflect new phenomena and ideas of Rome.23 For example both art and architecture initiates public events and constructs a public space of engagement, and the site reflects that. It is here that the society can experience itself as selfmade and self-making.24 This social and public interaction of people sets a stage for the future of art museums in Italy, as they have replaces religion and the church as spaces of societies self-encounter. Moving the city of Rome into a future where the creative has replaces the sacred.25 The political context of Rome allowed for a completely new type of space in the world of museums.26 The Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities has always promoted the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s famous past, but now sees the need to promote current artistic efforts as well, because it is these efforts that will make up tomorrows cultural heritage.27 Politically speaking the Ministry wanted to give the city of Rome and the country of Italy a multi-use campus for twenty-first century artistic expression, the objective here was a space that not only represented the present era but also supported and aided development of new generations.28 The administrative, political, and construction process was quite long, beginning in 1998 and ending in 2010, lasting well over 10 years for the building to finally open. In 1998 the Ministry organized a design competition, which planed to create a national center for twenty-first century art and architecture, as Rome has become a city open to architectural innovation.29 A major requirement of the competition guidelines

Figure 3- Public Space: Shows how the public space is possitioned on the site.


specified that the museum complex is to connect with the neighborhood and the surrounding urban landscape.30 In 1999 Zaha Hadid’s design was declared the winner, the jury was impressed with how well Hadid’s design related to the surrounding Flaminio neighborhood and how well it would work on the site.31 The six years of construction from 2003-2009, were genuinely the result of shared efforts between delays in financing, changes in political and administrative regulations, and the complexity of construction. Only a few months after breaking ground, new seismic regulations were issued, requiring a complete structural adjustment of the design.32 The years of site work were also a period of intense construction design, carried out by contractor, during which mock-ups of all significant architectural elements were testes in order to refine and win approval for the proposed solutions.33 The regulations made Figure 4- Visual Connection to Public Space: Shows the visual connections from the spaces above to the public square.

it that the structure of the MAXXI was to be divided into five structurally independent forms, which caused major structural reconstruction of the architectural form.34 This resulted in the construction of every portion of the building to proceed by a length, planning phase followed by the development of structural drawings.35 The National Museum of XXI Century in Rome, Italy by Zaha Hadid Architects is a perfect example of an architectural project that is appropriate for the urban site and fulfils its mission as a national museum that will move Italy and Rome into the future in terms of contemporarily art and architectural design. The museum corresponds to the urban context and becomes one with the site, fitting perfectly into its physical, social, cultural and political contexts and overcoming all of the sites constrains. The planning and organization of the project and the corresponding context shapes the principals that move Rome into the future in terms of site design and planning.

NOTES 1.“MAXXI_National Museum of the XXI Century Arts by Zaha Hadid - Dezeen.” Dezeen - architecture and design magazine. http://www. (accessed October 15, 2012). 2.“The Meaning of MAXXI” “ Concepts, Ambitions, Achievements.” Patrik Schumacher. http://www. Texts/TheMeaningofMAXXI.html (accessed October 17, 2012). 3.Anderson, Jane. “Zaha Hadid:MAXXI Museum of XXI Century Arts.” In Architectural design Basics architecture 03. Lausanne: AVA Academia, 2011. 28-31. 4.Betsky, Aaron, and Zaha Hadid. “MAXXI:National Museum of 21st Century Arts.” In Zaha Hadid: complete works.. Rev. and expanded ed. New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications, 2009. 156-157. 5.Ouroussoff, Nicolai. “Architecture Review - Zaha HadidÂ’s Maxxi, Modern Lines for the Eternal City -” The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. design/12zaha.html (accessed October 17, 2012). ¸¸6.“MAXXI:National Museum of 21st Century Arts.” 157 7.Racana, Gianluca, and Manon Janssens. Maxxi: Zaha Hadid Architects. New York, N.Y.: Skira, 2010. 8.Zaha Hadids Maxxi, Modern Lines for the Eternal City (October 17, 2012). Retrieved from: design/12zaha.html 9.“Maxxi: Zaha Hadid Architects”. 10. Zaha Hadids Maxxi, Modern Lines for the Eternal City (October 17, 2012). Retrieved from: design/12zaha.html 11.Baldi, Pio. MAXXI, Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo = MAXXI, National Museum of 21st Century Arts. Milano: Electa ;, 2007. 12.“MAXXI:National Museum of 21st Century Arts.” 156 13.“The Meaning of MAXXI” 14.Racana, Gianluca, and Manon Janssens. Maxxi: Zaha Hadid Architects. New York, N.Y.: Skira, 2010. 15.“MAXXI:National Museum of 21st Century Arts.” 157 16.“Maxxi: Zaha Hadid Architects”. 17.“Zaha Hadid:MAXXI Museum of XXI Century Arts.” 29 18.“Maxxi: Zaha Hadid Architects”. 19.“MAXXI: Museum of XXI Century Arts - Architecture - Zaha Hadid Architects.” Zaha Hadid Architects. architecture/maxxi/ (accessed October 23, 2012). 20.“MAXXI, Zaha Hadid Architects, “ World Architecture News, Official Page, php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=12789 (accessed October 27, 2012). 21.“Maxxi: Zaha Hadid Architects”. 22.“MAXXI:National Museum of 21st Century Arts.” 157 23.“MAXXI, Zaha Hadid Architects,” (October 27, 2012). Retrieved from: projectview&upload_id=12789 24.“MAXXI_National Museum of the XXI Century Arts” (October 15, 2012). Retrieved from: “ national-museum-of-the-xxi-century-arts-by-zaha-hadid. 25.“ MAXXI, Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo = MAXXI, National Museum of 21st Century Arts.” 26.“Maxxi: Zaha Hadid Architects”. 27.“Zaha Hadid:MAXXI Museum of XXI Century Arts.” 30 28.”World Buildings Directory - MAXXI, National Museum of XXI Century Arts.” World Buildings Directory - Home. http://www. (accessed October 18, 2012). 29.“The Meaning of MAXXI” 30.“Maxxi: Zaha Hadid Architects”. 31.“MAXXI_National Museum of the XXI Century Arts” (October 15, 2012). Retrieved from: “ national-museum-of-the-xxi-century-arts-by-zaha-hadid. 32.“Maxxi: Zaha Hadid Architects”. 33.“MAXXI_National Museum of the XXI Century Arts by Zaha Hadid - Dezeen.” (October 15, 2012). Retrieved from: 34.“MAXXI, Zaha Hadid Architects, “ World Architecture News, Official Page, php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=12789 (accessed October 27, 2012). 35.“World Buildings Directory - MAXXI, National Museum of XXI Century Arts.” World Buildings Directory - Home. http://www. (accessed October 18, 2012). FIGURES 1. Pedestrian Open Space: appropriated from: 2. Street-Form Connection: appropriated from: 3. Public Space:appropriated from: 4. Visual Connection to Public Space (Right): :appropriated from:





Cultural Imperialism Pouya Pak Design without purpose is eyes without perception. Indeed that we are in an era which many modernist architects, have erected the most innovative and sustainable skyscrapers that humankind has ever experienced. However, that does not justify to anurban response relating to the political, economical, cultural, physical and social context of these articulated projects. The linked Hybrid is a magnificent example of a modern 21st century project, done by Steven Holl Architects, exemplifying these rational notations of measure for a design with purpose. An â&#x20AC;&#x153;Open City Within a Cityâ&#x20AC;?, a multi-dimensional urban complex relating its experience to movement tim- ing and sequence. Being geographically located in the heart of Beijing and adjacent to the old city wall, it gives the project a huge social and physical context in terms of control over circulation. Yet, we have to ask ourselves what was the architects intent when it came to the programming of this super-project? Are the programs accountable for control over circulation or could have he designed the program in response to the circulation? Nevertheless, an interdependent clash between commercial, educational, recreational and residential areas which were all characteristics of the Athens Charter designed by early modernist architects can be seen in Hollâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work. On the other hand, cultural imperialism and globalization of architectural ideas have a linear effect on urbanism, therefore, as a society, can we accept a response such as Linked Hybrid which carries western values and let it control our social, cultural and physical principles of moral diversity? Throughout this essay we will observe and analyze Linked Hybrid to understand the role of cultural imperialism through globalization of architectural ideas and their effects on political, economical, cultural, physical and social context of urban cities.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN It is quiet amazing to experience time as an illusion and to be lost in space through order and peace which spaces indulge within us. It is remarkable to break the habits that bound us from understanding space and to enjoy our presence while being. However, to what cost? Today Cultural dominance plays a great role in the field of Architecture and Urban Planning (1). In essence this phenomenon has affected the way we build things taken from standardize western implications. Although, it is nice to see a replication of a pre existing complexes in different parts of the world, adjusted programmatically to suit the needs of its site and surrounding context; It can be disturbing. The example we will use to fully elaborate the causes of cultural dominance and its transmission through architectural language which can predominantly affect the social, political, economical and physical context of urban cities, will be Linked Hybrid. In spite, at a micro scale this project is very successful in inhabiting 2500 occupants while creating a three dimensional scenographic space that allows one to be lost and vanished within itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s existence, it does not built upon the cultural values of those living in Beijing. in Contrast, suggesting a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Westernâ&#x20AC;? way of living to the Chinese. Suggesting that the International Style of Architecture which is most definitely a reflection on American and some Western world ideals on design and planning should be imposed upon other nations. Ultimately, the problem with that is the elimination of creativity and the opportunity to manifest alternative ways of Urbanization. 498

Assuming that humans are all equal and identical in nature, and that the only thing that makes us all different is our ethnicity and cultural values, one can argue that Linked Hybrid is a magnificent example of an urban scale project. It has predominantly solved and set a very strong bond between recreational, residential, commercial and educational spaces. Steven Holl has successfully imprinted the notations of design from early modernist architects and their guidelines written in the Athens Charter. For instance, use of alternative open green spaces in order to invite the public to the program. Holl mentions that the program is open from all directions to the public and in fact very welcoming2.The connectivity and flow through residential, recreational, educational and commercial zones are done through multilayered circulation paths that occur below, on grade and above grade. Steven Holl has used movement, timing and sequence as three constitutional design motifs in order to manifest a solid relationship between the programs. Therefore, overall at a design perspective the architect was very successful in bringing into being an autonomous complex. Often the word autonomous is referred to a self governing being. Edward Ford in his book of Architectural Detailing exceptionally explains the relationship of any detail in relation to the whole which leaves two possible outcomes in the build up of their linear relationship3. He briefs the importance of Architectural Detailing and its dedication to the system it remains within. Wether as an autonomous design, which can substantially be self governing and to have no

Figure 1- Response to Athens Charter by Steven Holl


Figure 2 - General volume and grid facade structure

other purpose than to portray its momentarily function in relating to the whole (linked Hybrid), or to reveal a piece of information, more-like a story about the full structure (Beijing). Ford also believes that an autonomous design can impose order on the holism by having order of its own and as a result, an interdependent functional relationship is built from this scenario4. This scenario ultimately classifies Linked Hybrid as a self governing and functioning urban project whom imposes order on its surrounding context by having order of its own. One can ask, what is the problem with such an approach? Well, to refer back to our first point of discussion, people are not all the same, and each person carries different values and morals, different culture and perception. Therefore, this sort of approach will ultimately promote a one type society. It eliminates all cultural and site specific values that have been built upon for thousands of years. It amplifies cultural dominance and leaves no room for creativity which ultimately eliminates alternative ways of urban scale productions5. In other words it is understood that things should be done in one way and that it is uncivil and not modern if done differently than the International Style. To recap, we have to understand that Linked Hybrid is an exceptional project signifying urbanization at a smaller scale and aesthetically appropriate for our 21st century needs. Yet it shows very limited connectivity to the cultural context and roots that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s built upon. Even though, Steven Holl has made great efforts to incorporate facilities such as Tai Chi platform as well as meditation pavilions which essentially represent the 5 Chinese elements of

earth, wood , fire, water, metal, it still does not elaborate a full connectivity to the cultural roots. After all cultural values cannot be picked up from theory by architects, they must be practiced and lived by life long in order to relinquish in ones design. Location and site context have always been a major planning strategy. Being located in the heart of Beijing and adjacent to the old city wall the project has to respond to many criteria6. Linked Hybrid is very successful in creating paths for ultimate routes of circulation and guiding mass density through the project. As we know Chinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s economy is booming by day and politically they sees the tendency to standout globally and to maintain a global respect from developed nations. Therefore, many investors and developers choose to work with well known international architects in order to build upon global respect. Linked Hybrid is an example of a super project that has grasped much attention globally and is seen as a symbolic illustration of Beijingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s booming economy and political diplomacy. In addition, prior to the development of Linked Hybrid in 2003, there was an urgent need for dense housing in China due to a booming economy and the displacement of many residents who resided near the Yangtze River dam7. As a result, eyes were on China and politically they had to prove the world that they were capable to solve such an intense issue as quick as possible. By doing so they were honored in achieving further respect from nations that are economically tied with China. Linked Hybrid is often referred back to as a great success in modern urbanization . The 499

URBAN SCALE DESIGN premium awards that were given to the project have also indicated a success towards modern urbanization. Yet the question that remains is, how? Understanding social context and building for the people is the answer. Steven Holl Architects have predominantly exceeded the amount of social integration which occurs within and outside of the complex. Aesthetically using circulation not only for passage through space yet, accountable for activities which promote social interaction. For example, the semi-lattice bridges which are designed to connect all the towers from the 18th to the 20th floor are all programmatically designed to facilitate the inhabitants. A bridge can contain a gym, while the other has a cafe, and therefore, social integration is profoundly dominated the weaknesses of this super project. The cultural attribute which is ultimately the missing link can be overlooked through the integration of public and promotion of social interaction. Holl has enabled such a manifesto through programs such as public green spaces, commercial zones, hotel, cinematheque, kindergarten, Montessori school and an underground parking lot8. One needs to understand the importance of social interaction within an urban project and its domino effects on the social fabric of its compliant city. Holl in his book of Urbanism: Working with Doubt, very well explains the his implementation on cultural values that has been given limited attention to9. He mentions that his way of approach towards building upon cultural values, is driven through the social interaction and a self educating system10. He mentions that no one architect can perfectly understand 500

how people will tend to use the spaces that are given to them, and therefore, different uses of programs can be an outcome of this idea11. In addition, people will be interacting and educating one another about cultural values through social interaction and programs that have been designed to promote this approach. Therefore, there does not need to be a specific cultural aesthetic driving the design implications of the complex. Do to the tendency and instinct of human beings each one will interact and educate others in their own way concerning cultural values. On the whole, perception is just an interpretation. Each one person has a variant view and understanding about urbanization and factors that affect it. For example, one may feel that lack of cultural context and dominance of western values is a natural phenomenon and it occurs do to higher global standards of living by a cultural groups such as the western world. While others may believe that it is disturbing to the foundations of a society, and can ultimately destroys the preexisting cultural understandings of an environments and its ecologies. No one can justify the measures of disturbance and corruption that cultural dominance can carry through architectural language. In the example of Linked Hybrid, the architect has programmatically design the urban project in a way that cultural context was very reliant on social interaction and social context. The implementation had suggested that an autonomous design can restrain order on the whole (the city) by having order of its own. Therefore, only portraying ones existence

Public Space

Private Spaces

Mix Space most activity

Routes of access Central Node

Figure 3 - Diagram illustrating the spatial relation Figure 4 - The means of access to the site


through a functional relationship with the whole. In other words, Linked Hybrid is a functional component of the city which does not reveal a historic value as part of the city, yet it serves the functional needs of Beijing political social and economical context.

NOTES 1. Thomas A. Dutton and Lisa H. Mann, Reconstructing Architecture: Critical Discourses and Social Practices, (University of Minnesota Press 1996) 2. Steven Holl, Urbanisms: Working with Doubt, (Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition 2009) 3. Edward R. Ford, Architectural Detail (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011), 42 4. Ford, The Architectural Detail, 42 5. Dutton and Mann, Reconstructing Architecture 6. Perkins Eastman Architects, International Practice for Architects (Wiley; 1 edition, 2007), 244 7. Holl, Urbanisms: Working With Doubt, 138 8. Holl, Urbanisms: Working With Doubt, 138 9. Eastman Architects, International Practice for Architects, 244 10. Holl, Urbanisms: Working With Doubt, 140 11. Holl, Urbanisms: Working With Doubt, 139 12. Steven Holl., â&#x20AC;&#x153;Linked Hybridâ&#x20AC;?,, october 2009, detail.php?id=58 FIGURES 1. Collage: Appropriated from 2. Elevation: Appropriated from 3. Diagram: Appropriated from 4. Diagram: Appropriated from





BAY ADELAIDE CENTER: AN ARCHITECTURAL RESPONSE TO URBAN CONDITIONS OF TORONTO LEONARDO HO The Bay Adelaide Centre is a 51 storey commercial office tower located in the heart of the financial district of Toronto. Designed by WZMH architects and completed in 2009. It is the reincarnation of the historic National building built in 1926 and the completed rendition of two previously failed attempts in the 1990s. It was among the last of a series of construction projects in downtown Toronto during a major redevelopment era in the 1980s. The Bay Adelaide Centre is Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first high-rise office building to achieve LEED Certified Core and Shell Gold status. It is also the first building of its type since the early 1990s representing the return of the commercial office tower to downtown Toronto. The goal of this evaluation is to gather critical information about the current relationship between architectural decisions and urban conditions. An investigative study of the Bay Adelaide project into the interrelationships of the participating parties, design principles, economical issues, regional and cultural issues, social and political issues, regional and zoning requirements and regulations, site attributes, and the progression of the project is documented along with a review of a personal visit to the Bay Adelaide Centre. The visit is an evaluation focusing on ease of circulation, acoustics, lighting, aesthetics, and accessibility to transportation and amenities. Findings of particular reasons or problems that influence or generate responses or decisions and the result or consequences will be generalized and assessed in search of potential guidelines for future design.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Although modern day architects have been blessed with tools that enable instant access to data and information for site analysis on micro and macro scales, the challenge to create architecture that appropriately responds to all conditions has not been eased. The specialization of site analysis in the context of differing areas of concern combined with fluctuating values of a diverse society may leave architects with contradicting resolutions of greater variance. However, this strategic dilemma of modern architects is generally resolved due to a tendency for economic factors to determine the scope of endeavors. Economic factors are often recognized as the primary drivers for urban development. In many instances, architecture derived from such development facilitate economic growth. It is clearly evident that there is such an interconnection between the economy of Toronto and development of the Bay Adelaide Centre. The advancement of its development could be seen as a direct reflection of Toronto’s economy in its construction, design and impact. The recent transition from economic recession to expansion has been the narrative of its course of completion. Pronounced in its design and function is an intent to respond to a target market. Since its completion, the Bay Adelaide Centre has generated substantial economic activity and left long-lasting effects on Toronto’s economy. The original Bay Adelaide Centre began in 1989 as a joint venture of Markborough and Trizec Properties Ltd. to create a 57 story tower 1 with 1.6 million square feet of leasable space. It was meant to be to be completed by the end of 1992 but just a year after construction 504

began, a decline in demand of office space 2 led the developers to delay it to 1994. In 1993 when vacancies reached as high as 20%, the developers decided to halt the project indefinitely 3 despite already spending $500 million. It was the 4 last of a major redevelopment era in the 1980s. An elevator core of concrete on top of a parking 5 garage was all that was built. The project was revived briefly in 1998 with a new design for a 6 45 storey tower but never saw daylight. In 2001, TrizecHahn sold it’s 50% share to Brookfield 7 Properties. The project was put on hold until significant pre-leasing deals have been reached 8 with one or more main occupants. Construction finally restarted in 2007 and the new design for a 51 story office building was completed in 2009 providing 1.2 million square feet of class A office 9 space. Being the first of its kind in a decade, the arrival of the Bay Adelaide Centre in 2009, revitalized the City of Toronto’s competitiveness 10 as an international financial center. Located on the edge of Toronto’s network of skyscrapers in the financial core, this newest addition to this class of office towers provides the space desperately needed to accommodate new jobs 11 in this region. Encouraged by a high occupancy rate(95%) in the Bay Adelaide Centre, Brookfield Properties, in June of 2012, announced plans to build a second tower adjacent to the existing tower. This tower will consist of 44 stories, providing 980,000 square feet of leasable space. Deloitte, an international professional services firm is has already agreed to commit to 43% of space in this tower. Construction is expected 12 to be complete in 2015 or early 2016. The progression of this development which began

PRESENT DAY over 20 years ago, signifies turning points in Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s economy. Without a strong market, the scarcity of substantial tenants could end a multi-million project in the midst of construction. When the economy is strong, occupancy is high, providing ground for developers to consider further development. In recent years, the financial core which once accommodated a wide rage of businesses, has become a region primarily occupied by businesses in or affiliated with financial services. This is because the scarcity of space drove up occupancy costs to the extent where only the largest companies were able to afford space in 13 the region. With the financial core holding the largest concentration of class A office space in Canada, it was essential that the Bay Adelaide Centre be designed to the highest quality to be 14 considered an option. With a growing demand for a sustainable workplace, the latest green 15 building technologies were to be incorporated. The Bay Adelaide Centre was designed to possess the highest standard of its time, making it the first LEED Core and Shell Gold high rise 16 in the core. Congestion has become the biggest threat to competitiveness but due to its favorable site location, the Bay Adelaide Centre 17 is advantageous in the area of accessibility. It is linked to the PATH underground pedestrian walkway providing rapid access to public transit and offers 1,100 parking stalls in its parking garage with access points on both Adelaide and 18 Richmond Streets. The Bay Adelaide Centre can be identified and recognized from a distance with the presence of a company logo at the top of the building. The logo is of its lead tenant; KPMG, an

international company with worldwide presence 19 that provides audit, tax, and advisory services. Association with world renowned companies give buildings corporate identity. These status symbols may be considered quality assurances even more so than LEED certification. In an region where office space is scarce and developable sites 20 are limited, office space is prioritized. The Bay Adelaide is an office tower that contains no other programming on grade or above other than office space. The development of the Bay Adelaide Centre has been instrumental in generating substantial economic activity and facilitating growth in the region. The development of the first tower has motivated the city to amend zoning regulations in favor of office towers. In 2006, By-law No. 460-2006 amended By-law No. 99888 to give the Bay Adelaide lot a site specific 21 exception to build to a higher density. It was recently adjusted again in October, 2012 due to a requested variance to permit more constructible 22 non residential area. The site was originally classified as a CR 12(C8;R11.7) SS1(x1842) zone which means that it is a commercial residential zone with a maximum combined 23 floor space index of 12. A maximum of 8 for non residential and 11.7 for residential but with these amendments, that no longer applies. The maximum allowed usage under C for commercial uses now has a floor space index of 11.7 which is what was allowed under R for residential uses. This could be seen as a decision by the city to shift towards allowing higher density commercial space in the area instead of favoring residential use in the zone to accommodate a growing 505

URBAN SCALE DESIGN demand for office space in the financial core. Providing 1.2 million square feet of Canada’s top class A office space with its occupants experiencing the highest rate increases, the Bay Adelaide Centre is sure to generate substantial 24 revenue just from rent. The construction of the second building will also generate millions spent on materials while creating hundreds of jobs. In response to sustainability, the performance of the Bay Adelaide Centre set a standard that is 25 becoming the new norm. Several older office high-rises in the area have been forced to follow its lead in response to rising vacancy; spending 26 close to 100 million or more on renovations. Hundreds of millions spent on renovations to achieve sustainable certification triggered not by technological advancement or change in position but risk losing competitiveness. The evaluation of the construction, design, and impact of this development has been indicative of Toronto’s economic status. In more ways than one, this economically driven project has been successful in facilitating growth. However, long term consequences may be overlooked in the presence of short term financial gain. In recent decades of recession, Toronto’s housing market remained relatively strong resulting in reallocation of developable sites to residential and other uses in the core. This reduced the amount of available space close to transit for office development. The scarcity of developable office space drove up land costs for developers. Higher land costs; combined with higher developing costs due to land policy; and higher complexity in construction of buildings in downtown; results in higher occupancy costs. With 506

higher occupancy costs, the range of businesses 27 that could afford space in the core are limited. The addition of another Brookfield office tower in this region provides class A office space that’s still in demand but further reduces the amount of developable land for alternate accommodations. The continuation of this expansion of corporate office towers may be beneficial in validating Toronto as a global financial center but the lack of diversity in the workforce makes the 28 region vulnerable to economic downturns. It is evident that this dilemma could have been prevented. If the city decided not to reallocate developable office sites to residential and other uses, the shortage of office space would not be as apparent. However, in a state of recession, its hard to refuse economic activity. It may be too late for there to be a chance of diversifying the region but the City of Toronto needs to do what it can to protect the competitiveness of the financial core.


1. Maureen Murray, “Bay Adelaide project still in limbo,” Toronto Star, May 28, 1992, docview/436636990 2. Daniel Girard, “Twin-tower plan delayed 2 years Bay-Adelaide Centre project to slow,” Toronto Star, January 18, 1991, 3. “Developer Trizec Mothballs Adelaide Centre Project,” The Gazette, August 19, 1993, 4. Christopher Hume, “Bay Adelaide Centre: R.I.P.,” Toronto Star, August 28, 1993, docview/436887125 5. Shirley Won, “End nears for Toronto’s Bay-Adelaide ‘stump’,” The Globe and Mail, July 19, 2006, 6. George A. Peer, “Toronto high rise gets 2nd green light [BayAdelaide Centre],” Heavy Construction News, May, 1998, http://search.proquest. 7. “TrizecHahn sells six non-core assets including Bay Adelaide Centre,” Canadian Press NewsWire, January 31, 2001, http://search.proquest. 8. “Brookfield seeks tenants for new office towers; Strong markets prompt action Bay-Adelaide plus Calgary, N.Y. sites,” Toronto Star, April 28, 2005, 9. “Brookfield Properties Corp.; Brookfield Properties Completes 76,000 Square Feet of New Leasing at Bay Adelaide Centre in Toronto,” Investment Weekly News, April 10, 2010, 10. “Brookfield Properties Launches Bay Adelaide Centre Development in Toronto’s Financial Core,” last modified July 19, 2006, http:// 11. Glenn R. Miller, “The New Geography of Office Location and the Consequences of Business as Usual in the GTA,” Canadian Urban Institute, March 18, 2011, pp. 33. 12. Ora Morison and Tim Kiladze “Brookfield set to build second office tower at Toronto’s Bay Adelaide Centre,” The Globe and Mail, June 12, 2012, 13. Miller, “New Geography of Office,” pp. 31-33 14. Miller, “New Geography of Office,” pp. 1 15. Miller, “New Geography of Office,” pp. 17 16. “Bay Adelaide Centre Specifications,” accessed September 12, 2012, relatedlinks/2228.pdf 17. Miller, “New Geography of Office,” pp. 15 18. “Bay Adelaide Centre Specifications.” 19. “About KPMG,” accessed September 12, 2012, http://www. 20. Miller, “New Geography of Office,” pp. 32-33 21. City Of Toronto By-Law, No. 460-2006, legdocs/bylaws/2006/law0460.pdf 22. Toronto, City Planning Division, Committee of Adjustment Agenda Toronto East York Panel B, October 3, 2012. planning/pdf/cofa_tey_agenda_3oct12am.pdf 23. Toronto, Draft Zoning By-law, June 18, 2012, c. 40. http://www. 24. Brenda Dalglish, “How to lease commercial space in a tight market,” The Globe and Mail, July 03, 2012, report-on-business/industry-news/property-report/how-to-lease-commercialspace-in-a-tight-market/article4380723/?service=mobile 25. Miller, “New Geography of Office,” pp. 17 26. Shelley White, “New towers leave empty space in iconic buildings” The Globe and Mail, September 6, 2012, http://m.theglobeandmail. com/report-on-business/industry-news/property-report/new-towers-leave-emptyspace-in-iconic-buildings/article2312114/?service=mobile 27. Miller, “New Geography of Office,” pp. 33 28. Miller, “New Geography of Office,” pp. 32 Figures 1. Aerial Map: appropriated from 3.WZMH Architects, “Bay Adelaide Centre, Toronto,” Photograph. Accessed September 12, 2012,,





NAMBA PARKS TOM KOWALCZYK Namba Parks located in Osaka, Japan was designed by the firm, The Jerde Partnership. It was completed in 2003 and seen as a great addition to the city of Osaka. Being located directly adjacent to the Namba Train Station, The Jerde Partnership set out to have Namba Parks be the “gateway that would redefine Osaka’s identity”. Japanese city centres, like Osaka, are very dense and have very little, to no green spaces available for the public to use. The Jerde Partnership, along with various other design firms set out to design a project that encapsulated various elements of city life – residence, work, recreation and leisure, and transportation – in what would be “a large green park, a natural intervention in Osaka’s dense and harsh urban condition”. Namba Parks created a new destination within the city core which “celebrates the interaction of people, culture, and recreation”. The built form of the project resembles that of a winding canyon, with multiple levels or terraces sloping down to the street level; this was a form that was not what one would expect for a shopping centre, and even for a park. The project is an example of how context is integral to how cities are planned and laid out and where the project fits within the larger scheme of things. Examining elements of CIAM and the Athens Charter reveals that certain fundamental elements still remain integral issues within the design and planning process, however the manner in which they are addressed is what has changed over time. People’s desires, values and ideas change overtime and therefore so do cities, Namba Parks has taken this into consideration to create, what is now, an integral part of Osaka.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Namba Parks aimed to create a new environment and form in the existing urban fabric that would be integrated into the city of Osaka, Japan, and successfully join elements of city life.Looking at the elements of city life they can be described as residence, work, recreation and leisure, and transportation. Each of these elements of city life plays an integral role for the city to function in an efficient manner. A project must also address the various contexts that surrounded it in order to come up with successful solutions. CIAM and the Athens Charter managed to identify the main elements behind proper and efficient city planning as well as architectural forms in the new cities. Looking at Namba Parks it is evident that those elements that were identified by CIAM and the Athens Charter are considered but the manner in which they are addressed is far more different that what was the proposed ideal plan and architectural form. Looking to CIAM`s Athens Charter, the main areas of concern for planning were looking at the organization of various land uses - dwelling, work, recreation and traffic. CIAM looked to have each of these uses be separate from one another; everything had its place within the greater plan. Namba Parks is an example of how as times change, so do peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s values and ideas about design and planning and most importantly, it is an example of the changes that the cities undergoes from a physical perspective. There is no constant set of conditions that will always be present in every time period and place in the world. Looking to the context of the physical environment of the 510

city, as well as the social and cultural contexts, a new project will be able to both understand and address any issues and concerns the city will have. Namba Parks has managed to successfully create an urban environment at a large scale that addresses the four types of land uses described in the Athens Charter, as well as the surrounding contexts in which it was built. Namba Parks was seen as a project that was reacting â&#x20AC;&#x153;against the existing contextâ&#x20AC;?.1 Namba Parks is located on the site of the

Figure 1 - Aerial View of Namba Parks


Figure 2 - Green Park Terraces

old Osaka baseball stadium.2 It was the closing of the stadium that allowed for opportunities to become available for redevelopment of the land.3 Being located adjacent to the Namba train station4, the rail company, Nankai Electric Railway, wanted to see the site become a “new urban centre that would serve as a gateway to the city”5 and that the gateway would “redefine Osaka’s identity”.6 The Nankai Electric Railway company had The Jerde Partnership along with various other design groups come together to create this new urban centre.7 The Jerde Partnership used nature as a driving force for the design, it was meant to be “a natural amenity that offers relief from the hard, bustling city, creating a new experience for Osaka”.8 It is important to note that Osaka, prior to Namba Parks being constructed, was missing significant green spaces within the city and this project was a means of providing that green space.9 With land being valuable due to the density of the cities in Japan, simply providing a large park on the same area that Namba Parks is currently on would have been unreasonable. The present day trend of extruding out buildings and building up to gain more real estate was not the desired solution either. Finding the middle ground is what The Jerde Partnership, along with the various design groups, looked to achieve. The collaboration of these design groups resulted in a built form of the shopping centre resembles that of a canyon, breaking from the norm of extruded box forms that typically contain the programmed spaces within. There is nothing regular about this form, it looked to the existing site area and created a canyon on the

land enclosing all the shopping and recreation within and provided the green spaces on roof levels.10 The roof levels of the shopping centre create green park terraces that cascade down to street level where the pedestrians are invited into the space.11 The entire project was a means of joining people from across the entire city and neighbouring regions, not just the immediate neighbourhood in various areas. Examining just how much CIAM and the Athens Charter have influenced present this present day projectCan be seen by breaking down the program of the Namba Parks area. Namba Parks included the land use of dwelling in the form of a 46-storey residential tower on the edge of the site.12 It incorporated work in the form of the multi-leveled shopping centre and the 30-storey office tower.13 With respect to creating spaces for recreation it looked to the shopping centre for interior recreation and roof level green spaces to create the possibility for outdoor recreation.14 Lastly the land use of providing and separating traffic could be found in the main train lines and adjacent streets.15 Each of these elements in Namba Parks comes together in a way that has worked for the city and most importantly worked with each other. This multi-functional planning is a typical planning strategy for Japanese cities due to their density. One can find land uses of dwelling, work and recreation overlapping frequently. The traffic land use in Japan is driven by its various and numerous forms of train lines. People can commute into the city from much further away and the use of public transportation within the city reduces traffic problems. Namba Parks 511

URBAN SCALE DESIGN looked to include aspects of each of the land uses in a single area and that demonstrates just how much the values of people have changed since CIAM created the Athens Charter. The issues of density and city growth have also been taken into consideration to create a space that can address multiple uses. Namba Parks shows the importance of flexibility in the planning of cities especially in denser areas. This project could have been a series of towers with dwelling units, others with work and parks in between much like what CIAM would have referred to as the ideal planning method. It was the desires and existing conditions of the city that deemed a complex likes Namba Parks would be the best possible, appropriate and ideal solution for Osaka. Looking back to CIAM, it developed a planning method and a built form that would be able to be applied to city planning, it was considered to be the ideal urban design. It is important to remember that the Athens Charter and CIAM were setting out a method to create the ideal city conditions; however it is important to note that the no two cities are alike. Simply transferring solutions to other locations would not be enough to create another successful city. Looking at Namba Parks, it is considered to be an appropriate project given its context. Namba Parks looked to use its placement near the train lines, location in the downtown area and the lack of green space to create a solution works for Osaka that met the needs of the present and the needs of the future generations that will be occupying the city. Namba Parks has become a destination 512

that “celebrates the interaction of people, culture and recreation”.16 It is through these interactions that the city comes to life, without the people there the city is just a series of structures and places. Any number of planning strategies could be employed but without people to use the spaces, planners would never know what works and what does not. It is because of the human element that planners and designers learn how to plan, and it is this element that also poses the greatest challenge since it is ever changing.

Figure 3 - (Left) CIAM Land Uses in Namba Parks Figure 4 - (Right) Sketch - Exterior ‘Canyon’ Space

PRESENT DAY The planners and designers of Namba Parks took this into consideration as seen in their proposal for the project. The purpose for Namba Parks was to act as a transportation hub, a recreational destination and natural retreat from the environment of the city, while also providing areas for people to live and work. Namba Parks shows the importance of examining the surrounding environment in order to create a successful urban environment. It has become a place that the people of the Namba region of Osaka, the surrounding regions, the rest of Japan and the rest of the world look to visit. There is no set formula that architects, designers and planners will be able to use to solve problems that new developments and projects will face. The simplest way of looking at it is that they must study the context within which they are building in order to create successful urban spaces. If one were to determine and summarize some of the key design principles that were at work in Namba Parks they would be: understanding of context, recognition of scale, connections between places – interior and exterior, flexibility of the plan within the city, creation of place. It is through incorporating these principles that Namba Parks was able to create the new environment that would improve the existing urban fabric and change Osaka for a long time to come.


1. The Jerde Partnership, and Vilma Barr. “Building Type Basics for Retail and Mixed-use Facilities”. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2004. 160 2. The Jerde Partnership, “Namba Parks.” Accessed September, 2012. 3. Ibid. 4. Partnership, The Jerde, and Vilma Barr, op. cit., 160 5. Architecture News Plus. Namba Parks. http://www. (accessed September 2012). 6. The Jerde Partnership. op. cit. 7. Architecture News Plus. “Namba Parks.” Accessed September, 2012. 8. The Jerde Partnership. op. cit. 9. Eckelmann Eckelmann, Alena. “Forget Ginza: Osaka is Japan’s real class retail act.” Last modified April 12, 2012. Accessed October, 2012. 10. The Jerde Partnership, op. cit. 11. Ibid. 12. Ibid. 13. Ibid. 14. Ibid. FIGURES

15. Ibid.

1. Aerial View of Namba Parks modified by: Tom Kowalczyk; original image appropriated from: 2. Green Park Terraces modified by: Tom Kowalczyk; original image appropriated from: 3. CIAM Land Uses in Namba Parks modified by: Tom Kowalczyk; original image appropriated from: http://www.newhometrend. com/17964/nature-and-natural-namba-parks-in-osaka-japan/vivid-nambaparks/ 4. Sketch – Exterior ‘Canyon’ Space appropriated from: Tom Kowalczyk





VANKE CENTRE FARZAN MARZBAN China with using architecture as a business development tools with the owing of the free market reform, became one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest destination as an architectural masterpieces for last decade. The vanke Centre which known as a horizontal skyscraper has been built over a tropical garden Shenzhn , China by Steven Holl Architects with the partnership of Li Hu which has been completed on 2009. The most important reason of Steven Holl to design this skyscraper in horizontal shape over tropical garden was due to height limit by the zoning in laws in the Shenzhen area. Three distinguished features of this project needs to be examined as the first and most important one is the effect of zoning by laws on The Vanke Centre project which resulted tectonic form and the second important one was the use of natural resources on site makes this project an environmentally complex, and due to using numerous green technologies has been honored the first LEED platinum rated building in Southern China and the third was that Steven Holl astonishing design as a hovering structure instead of conventional buildings, allows him to expose the largest green space by opening the ground level to the public for which over nine million people had role on planning policy of the region. Steven Holl lateral thinking has created new paradigm of creating human scale for large urban projects.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN China with its continuous economic growth while the western world suffering for the recession has become the center of attraction for investment and innovation. Shenzhen a small city in Guangdong province as a free trade port located in Southern Part of China was not excluded for the attraction to the investors. But Shenzhen needs something more for which the Chinese architecture Li Hu and Steven Holl could make it happen. They design a unique master piece to consider all environmental features, appreciate the natural beauty and China Red Sea climate with maximum efficiency in using material and saving energy. These make this master piece the so called Vanke Center to be built in Shenzhen for which completed in 2009. The experience and knowledge of the local architecture Hu, partnered with Steven Holl with complex and ultimate experience and education from USA, and UK,Italyand ended his Graduate School at the Architectural Association School of Architecture 1976 in London enable him to create this magnificent structure. It is amazing that the city planning 35 meter height restriction seems to be imposing but these two architectures see this as must to design this structure horizontally instead vertically like Empire State with same size. So the Vanke Center structure friendly accommodate the local imposing 35 meter height (1), the hovering structure and using the materials from the nature like bamboo to be a renewable, as green technology has been honored for the first LEED platinum rated structure in that region.In 2010 the Vanke Center awarded by the American Institute of Architects, and Knut Hamsun Center 516

from Norway afterwards. The over one million square foot Vanke Center has been built on eight vertical concrete cores at the max height of 35 meter, and combination of Hu idea of Cable- Stay technology, and concrete frame makes this horizontal skyscraper Tsunami poof that once a while happen in that region. The Vanke Center contains a large walkways landscaping, Restaurants, hotels, cafes which reminds the visitors Roberto Burle Max gardens in Brazil, a conference hall to accommodate over 400 attendances, SPA, and pools (3) both outdoor, and indoor, instead of residential areas with glass cubes windows surrounded the building which give a 360 degree view of the beautiful surrounding area for workers and visitors, apartments, offices, and Vanke head offices. Just imagine how this center brings a great wealth and comfort for the neighboring lands and people. Due to the very unique structure in that region it save around 20 per cent energy for lighting, cooling and heating of the building. The smelling jasmine

Figure 1- (Top) Exterior of The Vanke Centre Figure 7 - (Bottom) Detail window silhouettes


Hotel Apartment

Office Community spaces

Figure 3 - (Top) Exploded Programming of The Vanke Centre

wind whispering through the hovering design from the red sea to landscaping which counted as the 75 per cent. of the center. Creating generous landscaping makes looks like an expensive ring, and the Vanke Center like a diamond. It is needless to say how The Vanke Centre had a great role on increasing the value of the surrounding neighborhoods land, with huge green space, couple of restaurants and hotel instead of having a residential community. The Vanke Centre has all brilliant features to make it undoubtedly a masterpiece such as massive design, using local materials which are renewable (bamboo), dynamically controlled operable louvers, high performing glass which makes the building more utility cost efficient and natural ventilation by the hovering structure which consequently reduce the reliance on mechanical equipments. The Vanke Center is a mixed use and is consist of green space as Public Park, hotel, offices, and serviced apartment units. The Vanke Centre is the biggest construction project in Southern China with the urban scale of 1,296,459 square feet. The Vanke Centre has been built on eight concrete cores, with a massive horizontal structure of roughly 860,000 square feet (2). The eight vertical concrete cores needed some special and innovative engineering to make the long buildings span on them. The technique used by Steven Hol and partnered engineering firms was the steel-stay cable bridge to enable the building interstitial spans, Hu said” I threw the idea out of table as a crazy joke” (5) , but the tension cables are loaded with 3,280 tons

weight. The southwest to northeast has been buckled up in the Vanke Centre’s regular cross section, while five more arms extended from the buckled form. It defines tapering courtyards and addressing the site’s south-westerly coastal views. The idea for horizontal skyscraper instead of traditional vertical structure were first to follow the city planning restriction of maximum 35 meter height, appreciating the climate, to secure from heavy rain and hot sunny day and this building a sustainable and livable urban project in Shenzhen, and good example to use this innovative design elsewhere. So always restrictions and special climate would not stop the genius people like Steven and Liu from presenting a remarkable design for such a gorgeous building. The architectures can elaborate two strategies in resolving the problems either resolve the abstract or address to the context, usually it is possible to achieve it by releasing themselves from their surroundings, or resolving by isolation in their formal aspects. Usually for lifting a project out of their sites as proposed by Le Cobusier shifting onto PILOTIS to reach to “machine for living” (4) as Hol and Hu did. The positive effects of this project on the society and its surrounding are,natural environment and economy of the Shenzhen, are inevitable. Nevertheless the flexibility of the round the clock 24/7 services to welcome different type of people regardless of gender, age, education, nationality, professions, and needs, and business spaces for inhabitants of the center. The huge Vanke Center allows designing 517


efficient and generous layout from the hotel rooms up to rest of the places in the center. And one of the most important things is that the life in the Vanke Center is very alive and you can touch it closely, instead of tall cold concrete building. The structure of the Vanke Center was mainly a solution with the restrictions and the restraints of the location and for sure will be a good example for the future similar buildings all around the world. This will be a good lesson for the young architecture to find a solution as they found, for which never been practiced elsewhere. Steven Hol and Li Hu take into consideration all the aspects and features and get maximum benefit out of it, while building a brilliant structure to respond to the society and use renewable material for safeguarding the natural resources. And enhanced the quality of life of the people living there and bring wealth to the region. Not only can hardly find an issue has not been considered by them( accommodating the imposing 35 meter height, using the local renewable material, energy saver design, building huge complex to have everything 518

needed for the comfort of the visitors such as restaurants, hotels, pools, SPA, conference hall to attract companies and related organization for seminars, increase the value of the neighboring Real Estate, Tsunami proof, and not missing the smell of jasmine to wide spread by the wind from the red sea to the public garden in the landscaping area) even they have been honored for green project and awarded for the LEED platinum and AIA certificates. We should never ignore, that this project clearly become a model to use by other architects who plan to build a oriented, flexible, and profitable urban scale projects for the future. For many AVANT-GARDE projects vertical disengagement from site was a strategy. Archigram’s walking cities that has been effect by ecological or nuclear problem for a postapocalyptic landscape. Koolhaas’s “Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture “ not considering the elevated landscape behind walls across London, while Japanese shifted their buildings in to the sky, Cluster In The Air, by Arata Isozaki or fled into the water, Tokyo Bay Project, by

Figure 4 - (Left) Typical floor plan of Vanke Centre Figure 5 - (Right) Section A:A of Vanke Centre


Kenzo Tange to escape the crowded areas. With lifting and elevating building toward the water will allows air to circulate and generate more comfortable climate to protect against impurities of the site.

1. “STEVEN HOLL ARCHITECTS.” STEVEN HOLL ARCHITECTS (accessed October 15, 2011) 2. Gregory, Rob. “AR 2010 JUNE - VANKE CENTRE BY STEVEN HOLL ARCHITECTS, SHENZHEN, CHINA | Archive | Architectural Review.” Architectural Review. aspx?storyCode=8618854 (accessed October 24, 2011) 3. “Dezeen » Blog Archive » Vanke CenterShenzhen by Steven Holl Architects.” Dezeenarchitecture and design magazine. http://www.dezeen. com/2010/03/05/vanke-center-shenzhenby-steven-holl-architects/(accessed October 25,2011) 4. “Shenzen Vanke Center, Steven Holl China, Vanke Center, Shenzhen Building.” Architecture News, World Architects, Building News, http://redchalksketch.wordpress. com/2010/09/15/adaptive-prototypes-vanke-center-and-formal-adaptabilitysteven-holl/ Architectural News, World Buildings. (accessed October 25, 2011) 5. ”Getting the Lay of the Land.” McGraw-Hill Construction, Continuing Education. http:// (accessed November 5, 2011) FIGURE : 1.Figure2: Ouroussoff, Nocolai, 2011. project-detail php?id=60&search=vanke%20center (accessed Nov 28, 2012). 2.Figure 5: Gorbatt , Alberto, 2009, (accessed Nov 28, 2012). 3.Figure 6: Minutillo, Josephine , 2010, print.php?L=5&C=630 (accessed Nov 28, 2012).

Figure 6- Elevations of Vanke Centre 519




LONDON 2012 BRANDON BERRY It has become an increasing issue that as populations increase exponentially, cities are having issues of providing proper accommodations and amenities to its citizens. This forces developers and planners to look at the reuse of land within cities and the occupation of brown-field sites. More predominantly, these design teams also must focus on the quintessential issue of sustainability of a buildings lifecycle for future generations to survive. In 2012, London hosted the Olympic Games requiring for the development in order to house the population increase of London for the period of the games. The Olympic Games do not only attract thousands of spectators and athletics, architects and planners must collaborate in order to create a liveable and workable landscape out of a 202-hectare brown-field site. Architects such as Zaha Hadid and Hopkins Architects have created buildings have become adaptable to service smaller venues in the future while still creating environmentally friendly structures. The Athletes village and international media centre will also be converted in order to create new housing and a business centre for the London community. In order to understand the importance of flexibility and the reuse of buildings for future generations, this paper will discuss the political, economic, and social factors while creating a successful example of sustainability from the London 2012 Olympic buildings.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Hosting a mega-event such as the Olympic Games is no small task. In 2005, London, England had won the bid over the favourite Paris based on the promises the use of a brownfield site for regeneration and development that was already under consideration. London also promoted the principles culture, multi-ethnicity, and inclusiveness for the neighbourhood of the Lower Lea Valley, Thames River Gateway, and Stratford considering that the area was in dire need of regeneration and had minimal impact on the urban fabric of the city1. Overall the Olympic zone and respected parks have been planned to become as compact as possible which covers an area one-third the size of the 2008 Games in Beijing, China. The regeneration of these areas do not depend on hosting the games but with the investment from the Olympics provided an opportunity to create a global city and a cultural capital2. This does not mean that a smaller project holds less important issues of housing and occupation in a post-Olympic environment. The Thames Gateway contained a small population that was likely to be forced from their homes during the construction and event of the Games. This site was also selected on the basis that current infrastructure was already in place and would not require the need for new roads leading to the complex. It is not only important to consider the operation of the complex during the Games but emphasis has also be placed on how the development of these areas will sustain themselves along with the city in a post-Olympic environment. Yet, sustainability does not merely reflect the environmental aspects of such developments 522

but it alsoco includes the outcomes which will ultimately affect social, economic and political realms of the urban fabric in a post-Olympic London. This paper will examine how the rapid development of the Olympic Games and neighbourhood regeneration projects affect the surrounding urban fabric in order to create a sustainable and flexible complex for the future. The Thames Gateway covers east and south-east London with Essex and Kent counties and the Medway estuary which has been subjected to many unfulfilled housing projects imposed by the city due to slow development rate. By hosting the Olympics offers a strong opportunity for investment in the area and can

Figure 1 - Ariel view of the London 2012 Olympic Complex


Figure 2 - Districts of London, UK affected by the development of the Olympic Games

rapidly accelerate the developments. In order to meet the housing goals for the Thames Gateway (3 million new homes by 2020), London was able to use the Olympics as an investment to achieve these goals. Another area which has felt the impact of hosting an international event includes Stratford. This area holds the Olympic Park developed in an linear stretch for approximately two kilometres. This park will house many of the main Olympic buildings such as the main Olympic Stadium, Aquatic Centre and Athletes Village3. In a release in 2007, the information on the Olympic Stadium’s design was released issuing that stadiums must be able to reduce seating post-Games to avoid buildings which cannot be supported at a local level4. Two examples of flexibility include Zaha Hadid’s Aquatic Centre and the velodrome by Hopkins architects. Hadid’s project gained much recognition as her designed reduced seating by 17, 000 allowing for accommodations for 3, 500 occupants in a post-Olympic London as Hopkins Architects have designed a facility to for a moderate 6, 000 spectators which will be transferred the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. Both of these buildings will provide for the public and future athletes in a post-games London. With an overall positive outcome for the city’s development, London and Olympic planners have placed a large amount of focus in order to provide for the public sector giving rise to the issue of future development and economic growth arises. As many communal aspects are added, those surrounding this development will then end up having to help finance the

projects through increased rent, property values, and taxes. This replaces the previous neighbourhood of affordable housing, low property values and overall small contribution to the image of London with an area of higher property values and provide a larger image for London in the global market. In order to achieve what London promised for hosting the games, many businesses and residents were displaced and forced to move from their established setting. Although a minimal foot print, reduced travel time, and strong growth for the city have been established within its design, London neglects to mention the impact that this will have at the social level. Unfortunately, some of these residents and occupants will not be able to afford the development of their area. With such vast expansion and construction happening at a relatively rapid pace, Londoners must quickly adapt and inhabit these spaces in order to accommodate the financial burden now placed on the city. In order to achieve a feasible design, the ability to provide employment and a financially stable ecosystem lays the ground work for success. Despite the low projections for net gain on a national level, employment plays a larger factor at both the local and national scale. As most of the jobs are provided during the construction phase of the project, the all-important retail component of the Westfield shopping complex gives strong backing to sustain the legacy of the Olympics. The Westfield shopping complex at the north end of the park contains 300 shops with its1.9 million square feet and provides approximately 523

URBAN SCALE DESIGN 8, 500 new jobs in addition to other opportunity throughout the park. With so many new jobs and a new development, the issue of housing arises as people flock to the amenities provided5. With such expansive development occurring, some of the financial burden ends up on the shoulders for the members of the public through higher land values. This raises the issue of affordable housing and those who have the income to afford such places. As noted earlier, many of the residence and business of the Thames Gateway, which have already been established in the area, have been forced from their places of business and their homes in order for the Olympic complex construction to take place. As the Olympics are a time of international social inclusion and peace, it is often forgotten the steps required in order for events such as this to take place. Once the games are finished and London life returns to normal, how can the people displaced by the expansion return to their old neighbours? As Graeme Evans notes in his 2009 essay London 2012 ``affordable is a misnomer in London`s property market. With average house prices between £250, 000 and £300,000, a first time buyer requires £55, 000 per annum income to secure a mortgage6. In addition, Morgan Brennan recognizes the impact of inflation to the cost of living noting that “London home prices hit a record high in July [2012], according to Knight Frank […] They are currently 13.5% higher than previous market peak reached in early 2008”7. Based on the numbers provided, housing the in area has increased by nearly £40,000 ranging from £283, 524

000 to £340, 000. This makes it increasingly difficult for the displaced to return to their old area as many will not be able to afford new land values and rental rates. Not only have the immediate space occupied the complex been affected but surrounding neighbourhoods have also seen increasing property values as early as the announcement that London will be hosting the games. By hosting such a mega-event, an economic boom takes place and allows for the city to grow and develop at a local and national level. Yet, rising land values do not entail a negative impact. This provides for a stronger economy for London in the future as these prices have established a new benchmark for housing prices in the area. Overall, the hosting of a mega-event provides positive change within the fabric of the city. It offers the possibility for rejuvenation and a strong economy for the future as well. In order for the Olympics to occur, cooperation is required from the public in order to achieve the desired outcomes for the event. It has been noted that the neighbourhoods affected by the Olympic Games in London have had a positive affect through their increased value. Those displaced by the construction must understand that these events support the greater good of the community and can still provide for their business and provide them with greater and more suitable public amenities. As new businesses move in and residents claim their new homes, a new setting for the Lower Lea Valley and the Thames Gateway is created that now provides a vibrant, pedestrian friendly, healthy economy and neighbourhood.

Figure 3 - Deprived areas affected by the Olympic Games

PRESENT DAY NOTES 1. Pitts, Adrian , and Hanwen Liao . “Evaluating Olympic urban development for sustainability.” In Sustainable Olympic Design and Urban Development. New York: Routledge, 2009. 193-215. 2. Gold, John R., and Margaret M. Gold. “London 2012.” In Olympic Cities. Secdon Edition ed. New York: Routledge , 2011. 359-390. 3. ibid 4. Pitts, Adrian , and Hanwen Liao . “Evaluating Olympic urban development for sustainability.” In Sustainable Olympic Design and Urban Development. New York: Routledge, 2009. 193-215. 5. Gold, John R., and Margaret M. Gold. “London 2012.” In Olympic Cities. Secdon Edition ed. New York: Routledge , 2011. 359-390 6. Ibid 7. Brennan, Morgan. “As Olympic Games Unfold, London Home Prices Hit Record High - Forbes.” Information for the World’s Business Leaders - (accessed October 24, 2012). FIGURES 1. “London counts down to the start of the Olympic Games- The Globe and Mail.” Home- The Globe and Mail. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2012. <>. 2. Image: “London Maps and Orientation: Greater London, England.” London Travel Guide and Tourist Information: Greater London, England. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2012. < london_maps.html>. Information: Brandon Berry 3. Image traced from: Gold, John R., and Margaret M. Gold. “London 2012.” In Olympic Cities. Secdon Edition ed. New York: Routledge , 2011. 359-390.





THE HIGH LINE Anthony Gugliotta New York Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s High Line park is truly one of the most successful and innovative urban projects of the last decade. It has inspired others to reconsider the possibilities of adaptive reuse, and demonstrated the importance of bottom-up, community-level planning. Planned by landscape architect James Corner Field Operations, and architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the project first opened in 2009. The High Line demonstrates the importance of historical preservation and neighbourhood identity. By analyzing the High Line though the lens of city planning and CIAM theories, it becomes clear that the community itself plays the most important role in planning. The predominate political opinion prior to gaining support for the High Line park, was that demolition would better serve the community, and afflicted land owners within the High Line corridor. Rather than relying on hierarchical government administration to make decisions for the collective whole, a social evolution in New Yorkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s West Chelsea neighbourhood birthed a desire within its members who sought to better their community by transforming the line into a public amenity. The plan gradually gained reputability as others became convinced of the cultural benefits, and later the development potential of the project. A new standard has emerged, not only in terms of design quality, but in terms of giving back, and projects that benefit the community as a whole. The High Line has encourage a rapid gentrification, generated wealth and improved the quality of the neighbourhood it intersects. Striving to achieve similar levels of cooperation and organic growth within cities will strengthen urban life as planning theory continues to evolve.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Introduction The High Line, a synthesis of inputs in an unconventional bottom-up approach, resulting in a project that challenges the convention and exemplifies the new norm. New York City’s High Line park is truly one of the most successful and innovative urban projects of the last decade. The project embodies the ideals of the contemporary city and its ability to reinvent itself within a changing context. Through the cooperation of community members, government officials and private business the project was able to reclaim a neglected piece of infrastructure for the greater good. The project takes CIAM principles full circle, originating from a desire for efficient traffic flows, later becoming an industrial artifact caught between demolition and historic preservation. The High Line demonstrates how unconventional planning methods can yield new and unexpected results, that are often superior to the solutions of individuals working independently. The first section of the High Line was opened in New York City, June 2009. From concept to completion the process of conversion from an abandoned rail line to a public, city-owned park, occurred within a period of a decade. The time line is commendable given the complex political and historical context surrounding the West Side Line. Founders of Friends of the High Line, and principle advocates for the restoration of the line, Robert Hammond and Joshua David, were not the first to suggest saving the elevated railway from demolition. The debate over what to do with the line dates back to the 1980’s when its operation was discontinued1. In 1981 Steven Holl was the first to propose converting the line into public space, however, heated legal 528

debate surrounding demolition costs, and lack of neighbourhood support prevented the effort from taking off2. In 2004 the design entry led by landscape architect James Corner Field Operations, architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and botonist Piet Oudolf, was chosen to guide the revitalization of the High Line. On June 8, 2011 the second section of the High Line was opened, with construction on the third section expected to be complete in 20143. Historic Preservation The initial drive to save the High Line was fuelled by the design principle of historic preservation. Robert Hammond has described the High Line as an “industrial relic”4, one full of historic and cultural importance to New York, and the West Chelsea neighbourhood. The original rail line fed industry on Manhattan’s lower west side beginning in the 1930’s. Prior to that, trains operated at ground level alongside other pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The elevation of the line became a way to separate these streams and allow for the efficient, unimpeded movement of trains on the upper level and vehicular movement at ground level. In total the line eliminated 105 railway crossings along its 20km length5. The trains that ran on the line carried produce and goods, to and from the various factories and warehouses they served6. With a gradual decline in the use of the railway throughout the mid-century, the neighbourhood gradually found ways to reinvent itself. In the 1990’s a new cultural district began to emerge as artists and art galleries moved into the neighbourhood. Many made new use of the old factories that once characterized the neighbourhood, converting them into studios, shops, restaurants and

Figure 1- (Top) Views from Section 1 Figure 2- (Bottom) Views from Section 2


Section 3 Hudson Rail Yards Section 2

homes. The choice to preserve and restore the High Line was eventually regarded as necessary, fed by the social and cultural context of the neighbourhood7. Today, this gentrification continues, pushed to accelerating rates by the continued development of the High Line8. Community Improvement

Section 2

One of the key design principles established by Friends of the High Line was improvement, protection, and enhancement of the surrounding neighbourhood. The transformation of the rail line has been successful in creating new levels of connectivity, increasing the attractiveness of the neighbourhood and providing a valued public amenity that integrates with the urban fabric. The park itself has become a gallery and a venue for public events. Friends of the High Line provides dedicated opportunities for artists to exhibit their work, as well as community events designed to enrich and diversify the neighbourhood9. Adaptive Reuse

Figure 3 -The three sections of the High Line with notable architectural projects highlighted. Section 3 is currently under construction.

One of the most unique aspects of the High Line is its physical context. New York City is known for its gridiron city planning; however, the High Line disrupts this. The park has become known for its web of soft and hardscapes, and the choreographed rhythm of expansion and contraction, as the park flows from tight corridors to expansive landscape views of the Hudson River. The rhythm of the built context is even captured in the zoning bylaw that was implemented to protect this dynamic. When it was originally constructed the decision was made to run the elevated line through the centre of city blocks instead of over-top or alongside

the streets, as would be typical of an elevated subway. As a result, the line is organically interwoven into the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s infrastructure, with several new developments providing access and connections. Examples include the Standard Hotel and the Chelsea Market Building, which extend over the High Line and provide stairways to the High Line10. The physical context and dense urban environment of Manhattan provides the ideal conditions, critical in the success of the High Line park. Many other cities are looking to New York as an example of the possibilities of revitalizing their own abandoned rail corridors. However, what needs to be considered is that the dense physical and social context found in New York, is not readily found or easily repeatable in other cities. The nature of the High Line is such that it would have been more costly, and more disruptive to the built context if the structure was simply demolished11. Public-Private Relationships & Planning Another design principle the High Line demonstrates is collaborative planning and public-private cooperation. In an era where diversity and collective knowledge are some of the most powerful assets, Friends of the High Line recognized the imperative of gaining the backing of both the government, and local developers. When the campaign to revitalize the line was initiated, almost all parties involved, including New Yorkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, were convinced the neighbourhood would be better off if it was demolished. Under the administration of current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and with the backing of numerous political figures, Friends of the High Line was able to successfully reverse demolition plans and convince developers of the value and 529

URBAN SCALE DESIGN amenity of a new elevated park space. The irony is that many of the same individuals who were opposed to the park were eager to sign on to the new project, once they were convinced of its value12. As it stands the project would not have been nearly as successful without input from the private sector. Initial funding for the line was provided largely by the city in faith that it would see a return on investment. Today with over $150 million invested into the completed sections of the project, the third and final phase of construction, as well as the operational budget, are able to rely mostly on donations made by the private sector13. The project is estimated to have generated over $500 million in tax revenues and increased property taxes, not including the billions of dollars in new development14, or the cultural value of projects by international architects such as Renzo Piano, Frank Ghery, Shigeru Ban, and Jean Nouvel15. Future development is also planned for the Hudson Rail Yard, the largest, and one of the last undeveloped sites in Manhattan16. Community Input From the start, the success of the High Line has been dependent on input from the community. The rehabilitation of the rail line as usable urban space has given the West Chelsea neighbourhood an opportunity to reinvent itself; create a new identity, and embrace both contemporary development and historical context17. A 5-step process was undertaken to convert the High Line into a public park. In New York City the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) is the process all zoning and development applications are subject too. It includes reviews by Community Boards, the City Planning Commission, and City Council18. 530

60% of HL frontage may rise no higher than the level of the high line

The remaining 75% may rise to maximum allowable height At least 25% of frontage must sit between 35’-45’

Public Access Point

25’ typ. 100’ 11th Ave.

Development also involved acquisition of the High Line through the transfer of ownership from CSX Transportation (the rail company) to the city. During acquisition of section 3 of the High Line, legal agreements were made between CSX; who owned the property, MTA (New York City’s transit authority); who operates the rail yard, and The Related Companies (a third party developer) who controls the rights to develop the land19. A similar legal agreement was made with the land owners of property around the High Line for sections 1 and 2. Prior to the development of the High Line, land owners were restricted from building on their property, and thus favoured demolition. With the help of the city, a new zoning regulation was implemented to allow land owners to transfer development rights to eligible properties on adjacent avenues, effectively increasing their land value and allowing them to exploit unused density20. After successful acquisition of the High Line consultants were hired to perform the design work, which was followed by the construction and operation of the park. Today, the High Line belongs to the city, and is operated and funded by the Friends of the High Line organization.

High Line Transfer Corridor

10th Ave.

Figure 4 - A visual representation of the new zoning regulation for the High Line neighborhood.

PRESENT DAY from the private sector. These relationships demonstrate how unconventional planning methods can yield new and unexpected results, that are superior to the solutions of individuals working independently. The High Line embodies the ideals of the contemporary city and its ability to reinvent itself within a changing context. Through a synthesis of inputs in an unconventional bottom-up approach, the project was successful in challenging the conventional planning approach, and welcoming in a new era of community planning. Conclusion When the first section of the park was completed designers had the opportunity to return to members of the community and ask their advice for the design of sections 2 and 3; community input was considered to be an invaluable asset in the design of the park from the start21. The High Line is a prominent example of bottom-up community planning that encompasses contemporary design principles and embraces local context. It demonstrates a reversal of a CIAM-era planning process, favouring community involvement and encouraging new relationships with governing bodies. The project gives back to the community on many levels, allowing the neglected infrastructure of a past age to be preserved and reclaimed as an addition to the public realm. The project would not have been possible without support from the proper municipal officials, or funding and cooperation Figure 5- The High Line cuts through the middle of the block and is on an elevated plane from the regular traffic flow. At the centre a new development HL23 arcs over a portion of the High Line.


1. Friends of the High Line. “High Line History.” The High Line. (accessed October 9, 2012). 2. Sternbergh, Adam. “The High Line.” New York 40, no. 16 (May 07, 2007): 26-33,107.; http://sfx.scholarsportal. info/ryerson?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journa l&genre=article&sid=ProQ:ProQ%3Apqrl&atitle=The+High+Line&title=Ne w+York&issn=00287369&date=2007-05-07&volume=40&issue=16&spage&au=Sternbergh%2C+Adam&isbn=&jtitle=New+York&btitle=. 3. A blog entry from September 20, 2012 provides information about the groundbreaking ceremony. See “High Line Blog.” http://thehighline. org/blog 4. Robert Hammond. “Robert Hammond: Building a park in the sky.” TED video, 5:41, filmed March 2011, posted June 2011, http://www.ted. com/talks/lang/en/robert_hammond_building_a_park_in_the_sky.html. 5. “High Line History.” 6. “Robert Hammond: Building a park in the sky.” 7. Carlo Gasparrini, and Valeria Sassanelli. “New York, Manhattan.” In architecture, city and urban cultures monomagazine = monomagazine di architettura, cittaÌ€ e culture urbane. Barcelona: LlSt Lab Laboratorio Internazionale Editoriale, 2010. 300-339. 8. Shevory, Kristina. “Cities See the Other Side of the Tracks.” The New York Times, August 2, 2011, Online edition, sec. Commercial. http://www. (accessed October 10, 2012). 9. The official website provides donation links and information about corporate funding see “High Line.” 10. Sternbergh, Adam. “The High Line.” 11. Shevory, Kristina. “Cities See the Other Side of the Tracks.” 12. Sternbergh, Adam. “The High Line.” 13. Charlie Rose. “A Conversation about the NYC High Line.” Charlie Rose video, 21:54, November 17, 2011, view/interview/11996. 14. “Robert Hammond: Building a park in the sky.” 15. Friends of the High Line. “Rail Yards Talk: Robert Hammond.” YouTube video, 54:31, October 17, 2011. watch?v=SKURnIILb6U&feature=channel_video_title. 16. Gasparrini and Sassanelli. “New York, Manhattan.” 300-339. 17. Department of Urban Planning. “The Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).” New York City Department of Urban Planning. (accessed October 10, 2012). 18. “Rail Yards Talk: Robert Hammond.” YouTube video





REFLECTING ABSENCE MALGORZATA KOLBE The National 9/11 Memorial (Ground Zero or “Reflecting Absence”) is a memorial reminiscent of the attacks on the World Trade Centers in New York City. It was designed by Michael Arad along with landscape architect Peter Walker. The project is connected to the previously existing towers. It was officially opened ten years after the attack on the World Trade Centers, on September 11, 2011. Ground Zero is an urban place, and through its geometrical simplicity, passes on a very powerful message. It consists of two large pools dug into the ground and water falling into their centers. Even though it is a memorial, it also acts as a public space for human interactions. The project is very simple yet extremely powerful. Through the use of technology and the architect’s special skills, it passes on a message which hopefully will be remembered across generations. The site became an icon of global terrorism after the attacks. However, the designers created a symbol of hope and a piece of architecture that unites people from all around the world.



Freedom Tower

Tower 2



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t Stree


Tower 3

Tower 4

Liberty Street

Figure 1 - Master Plan

Church Street



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Studio Daniel Libeskind was selected by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC). The master plan occupies 16 acres, which includes: Tower 1 (by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill), Tower 2 (by Foster and Partners), Tower 3 (by Maki and Associates), Tower 4 (by Richard Rogers Partnership), Transportation Hub ( by Santiago Calatrava), Visitors Pavilion (by Snøhetta), Memorial Museum (by Davis Brody Bond Aedas), and Memorial (by Michael Arad and Peter Walker). The re-planning of Lower Manhattan has taken up a greater area than just the World Trade Center site and it has a huge impact on the inhabitants and the city itself. LMDC identified short-term and longterm solutions to the challenges associated with neighbourhoods. Many residents couldn’t return to their homes for a significant amount of time because of street and public space closings2. The transformation also considered rehabilitation of the public transportation system, since the area expects around 5 million visitors per year. The economic growth in the area also calls for a new transportation hub (WTC transportation hub) which is a crucial element of Lower Manhattan development, along with new business and social places which would increase the quality of living and working conditions. Through the memorial’s design, one can observed the architect’s key design principles: symbolism, minimalism, design in context, social values and materiality. From the very beginning stages of his project, Michael Arad wanted to create a culturally and emotionally valuable space that would act as a memorial. Moreover, he wanted to express the city’s loss, as well as

st We

The National 9/11 memorial (also known as Ground Zero or “Reflecting Absence”) is a place that commemorates the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. It was designed by Michael Arad along with landscape architect Peter Walker. On September 11, 2001 two planes were hijacked - American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 - which both crashed into World Trade Center Towers destroying both the north and south towers, as well as Building 7. This was a significant loss for the City of New York. This incident was an key element of the current design of the 9/11 memorial. There is a clear relationship between the memorial and the plane, as Chloe Roubert described in his essay: both require a ticket in advance and one has to go through multiple security checkpoints in order to get to the destination1. The act of reminiscence is deeply rooted in our social culture and human nature. One can observe different forms and responses of it throughout history, which are influenced by social change and current visions. Ground Zero is an urban place, and through its geometrical simplicity, passes on a very powerful message and brings people together after the icon of the New York City (World Trade Center) had fallen. The City of New York is one of the most popular, as well on of the most populated cities in the world. Lower Manhattan, where the project is located, is the southern part of Manhattan with a central business core (financial district). The attacks on the World Trade Centers are connected to the current rehabilitation and revitalization of the area, which started in 2003 when the master plan design (Figure 1) by

PRESENT DAY Vesey Street

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preserve current social values that would be passed on to future generations. After seeing the master plan, he thought of a place where people could come together to quietly reflect, as well as interact with each other. The initial idea was to create a plaza, where one could look down from the edge into a void and feel the notion of destruction. Afterwards, they could go into the underground into a more intimate space by a curtain of water, where the names of victims would be inscribed3. After submitting his initial idea, the jury selected eight finalists to proceed to the second stage, Michael Arad being one of them. The second stage of the project involved further design concepts, as well as a presentation in front of the jury. The final project takes 8 out of 16 acres (Figure 2) of the site and it consists of two identical pools ( 192 by 192 ft.) claded with jet mist granite, which are dug 30 ft into the ground (Figure 3). The materiality plays an important role in this design because it intensifies the sense of two voids. The north and south pools, reflective of the WTCs, frame the footprint of the original twin towers with a water falling into their bottomless centers, which reminds us of the fallen towers. They create a public space within the city, accompanied by white oak trees which surround the reflecting pools4. The names of those killed in the attacks are engraved in bronze panels around the perimeter of the pools. It is interesting how digital technology was used to arrange those names. The algorithm has been created to set a “meaningful adjacency”,5 which uses victims personal relationships with their names so they are closer together or farther apart, “ names

of those they sat with, those they worked with, those they lived with and, very possibly, those they died with”.6 Michael Arad through his design transformed the place of grief into a powerful and cultural civic space, which became a significant part of New York City’s history. “Reflecting absence” is not simply a memorial. The architect wanted to give something else to the city: “I wanted it to be part of the city, something that would benefit everyday residents on their way to work 7.”It aimed to provide a public space where strangers and family members can share their personal memories and interact with each other. That public square, through the use of technology and cultural trends, became a place of human interactions. One of the methods which was used to achieve that goal was a pedestrian simulation modeling done at the World Trade Center Memorial. It evaluates pedestrian environment (Figure 4), and proposes various solutions that will enhance the experience of the memorial and utilize the space efficiently. The outcome of that simulation was a placement of security gates, benches, bus stops and viewing areas8.The interaction between humans and the civic space is brought by the memorial’s own language of communication. The monument leaves interpretation up to the public, which is carefully balanced between a sense of terror and a quiet, peaceful place full of love and memories9. Just as every project undergoes changes and compromises, the “Reflecting Absence” final product is not as the architect envisioned it. There is a political context behind that project, 535


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increasing dependence on technology it is possible today to record all the news and events in different types of database, as well as social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)11. Therefore, accessibility to this type of information would preserve the memories of these incidents. Moreover, in terms of creating memorial places, designers should create them so they evoke feelings related to a certain occurrence. That would make the message more powerful for our children and children’s children. After the collapse of twin towers, which served as a symbol of hope during insecure times in America, the construction of the 9/11 memorial brought back hope and the desire for further developments. Moreover, it built back American power and autonomy. It was not an accident that one of the towers, situated in Ground Zero, rises up to 1776 feet: “That’s the date that declared that all people have full human rights, not just Americans, everybody in the world deserves rights, justice12.” The master plan for the site refers to some of the key concepts from CIAM (Congres International d’Architecture Moderne),




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and some major factors that influenced the final design were: budget, economy, security issues, politics, and program changes. Even though it was planned as a memorial site, it is also a piece of very valuable property. The architect’s estimate for the project was $1 billion; however, the cost was radically cut to only half of that amount. Furthermore, the architect’s vision was to create an underground gallery screened by waterfalls, where names of the victims would be inscribed at the lower level. There were many diverse opinions regarding where the memorial should be placed - underground or above ground - which highly influenced the planning process and introduced some changes to the program, as well. Moreover, another problem associated with the construction of the memorial was resistance of victims’ families. Even though the planning process was complete and construction had already started, the families sued to stop the construction. They believed that the memorial would destroy the historic foundation and dishonor their loved ones10. However, even after all the confrontations and adjustments were made, the architect was satisfied with the final product. The World Trade Center Memorial, as a traditional memorial does, promotes the commemoration of the lives that were lost, and preserves their memories. However, contrary to others, it provides a public space where the users are able to come together and be part of something bigger. It stands for social and cultural values of our time. The question is: how strong is the message, and how much it will impact future generations? With our

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Figure 3 - (Top) Void Figure 4 - (Bottom) Circulation

PRESENT DAY which was recognized worldwide and highly influential in urban planning. The idea was to create not only a piece of architecture, but also to see the architecture as a tool to improve the urban spaces through the physical, social, political, and cultural contexts.

NOTES 1. C Roubart, “Reflecting absence or when social networks memorialize,” International Contemporary Art, 34, no. 113 (2012), http://|A2 86559081&v=2.1&u=rpu_main&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&authCount=1 (accessed October 27, 2012) 2. Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, “Lower Manhattan Neighborhoods.” Last modified 2007. Accessed October 27, 2012. 3. M Arad, “Reflecting Absence,” Places, 1, no. 21, http:// 4. K Rosenfield, “National September 11 Memorial / Handel Architects with Peter Walker.” ArchDaily, 2012 . http://www.archdaily. com/272400 (accessed October 27, 2012). 5. C Roubart, “Reflecting absence or when social networks memorialize,” International Contemporary Art, 34, no. 113 (2012), http://|A2 86559081&v=2.1&u=rpu_main&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&authCount=1 (accessed October 27, 2012) 6. D Dunlap, “Constructing a Story, With 2,982 Names.”The New York Times, May 4, 2011. (accessed October 27, 2012). 7. K Rosenfield, “National September 11 Memorial / Handel Architects with Peter Walker.” ArchDaily, 2012 . http://www.archdaily. com/272400 (accessed October 27, 2012). 8. M Monteleone, “Pedestrian Simulation Modeling World Trade Center Memorial.” Accessed October 27, 2012. http://www.cssnationaldialog. org/documents/NewBrunswick/CSS-National-Dialog-World-Trade-Center-.pdf. 9.. C Rivers, “The symbolism of the 9/11 memorial in New York City.” Accessed October 28, 2012. 10. C Roubart, “Reflecting absence or when social networks memorialize,” International Contemporary Art, 34, no. 113 (2012), http://|A2 86559081&v=2.1&u=rpu_main&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&authCount=1 (accessed October 27, 2012) 11. C Roubart, “Reflecting absence or when social networks memorialize,” International Contemporary Art, 34, no. 113 (2012), http://|A2 86559081&v=2.1&u=rpu_main&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&authCount=1 (accessed October 27, 2012) 12. M Schumacher, “ Ground zero memorial, an unflinching confrontation with loss,” Sentinel, entertainment/129460283.html (accessed October 28, 2012). FIGURES 1. Figure 1. Master Plan. Source: Handel Architects. 2004, Digital Image. Available from: Arch Daily, 2. Figure 2. Final Design. Source: Handel Architects. 2004, Digital Image. Available from: Arch Daily, national-september-11-memorial-handel-architects-with-peter-walker/ 3. Figure 3. Void. Source: Handel Architects. 2004, Digital Image. Available from: Arch Daily, 4. Figure 4. Circulation. Source: Handel Architects. 2004, Digital Image. Available from: Arch Daily,





ONE40WILLIAM CLASSIC & CONTEMPORARY KYLE MARREN The challenge of integrating a large-scale office and retail complex into the scale and texture of a historical yet expanding city is one faced by architects and planners in Perth, Australia. One40William by Hassell architects solves these problems and more with a focus on Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Expression in architecture. Located in the bustling retail district of Perth, One40William critically acts as a mechanism for interaction, connectivity, and community. The site of the development consisted of a unique condition where as the design would need to integrate and connect to Perthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s underground rail system. As a response to these existing conditions and progressive workplace design One40William has been designed from the inside out to be engaging to the public while creating a new standard for environmental design, and becoming the first building to be fitted out with the objectives and principles of the whole government accommodation master plan. The massing of ths project consists of shifting volumes on both the vertical and horizontal axis. The arrangement of these volumes open up spaces which create vertical and horizontal connections both within the site and to the surrounding city. These connections are expressed as public streets and lane-ways, which converge at points creating public squares and courtyards. One40William capitalizes on the rail commuter traffic to increase the commercial prosperity of the site as well as to support the diverse range of activities which occur within the public realm of the centre. The buildings mixed use nature and linkage to public transportation and the public realm, help to integrate the building into the fabric and life of the city.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN One40William is one of Perth’s most influential modern architectural projects, and is the cornerstone of the revitalization of Perth’s City Centre. 140 William is located on the corner of William Street and the Murray Street Mall, directly above the newly constructed north-south train station, in the heart of Perth’s historic retail district. Completed in 2010 the project was designed by Hassell Studio’s, an international design practice with locations across the Eastern Hemisphere and a focus on interdisciplinary design. The project is unique as it not only tackles the construction of a single building, but the development of an entire city block. It takes on the challenges of designing within a contemporary city, and the development of a problem solving strategy of how to integrate a large-scale office and retail complex into the scale and texture of a city of historical character, and a connection to a major transportation network1. The project successfully tackles these unique challenges through its adherence to the Western Perth Planning scheme’s vision for the city, as well as taking a contemporary approach to the creation of built form through focus on the buildings occupant and the public realm. Prior to the design and construction of the One40William project, the Western Australian planning commission had mandated the area for development and had created an intricate precinct defining the conditions, regulations, and objectives for future development of the site. The site was planned to be developed upon the completion of the North-South underground train station, and was previously developed with 540

buildings constructed during the early part of the twentieth-century. “The comprehensive redevelopment of the William Street precinct will present the opportunity to integrate the development with the station function, the retail core, the civic square and the heritage values either side of both Wellington and William Streets and to create interesting elements which contribute to a lively, colourful and stimulating environment.” 2 The development of the William Street Station precinct falls within the broader scheme of the Citiplace precinct, which was strategically planned in the City of Perth City Planning Scheme 2. The precinct determined that projects developed within this region should have a prime focus on retail and commercial industry. The specific site should then be redeveloped to incorporate a mixed use facility that is integrated with the existing heritage buildings, and provide a distinctive corner statement, engaging pedestrians whom approach, enter, leave, or pass by3. The local government developed a

Figure 1 - Exterior Massing Sketch

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list of proposed objectives, which a successful development of the site should fulfill. The project must be integral to the William Street platforms, as well as the development must protect, integrate, and enhance the existing structures of historical significance. The project must also use architecture that is contemporary and responsive to the scale, and character of the immediate locality. The conservation of the existing human scale environment and the other civic values of the area is a priority. The surrounding buildings in the vicinity range in height from 3 story heritage buildings to 10 story old style commercial buildings. The redevelopment of the site should reflect the existing building heights while ensuring the maximum feasible solar access to the Murray Street Mall4. The City envisioned that behind the existing historic facades along street frontages, a future multistory building, would be setback from the street frontages and integrated and developed in conjunction with the existing historic structures. Many of the buildings fronting William and Wellington Street are of particular heritage significance, the development should utilize this significant opportunity to integrate the buildings within its contemporary form. Upon the development of the William Street Station, the Western Australian Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, and the Western Australian Government Architect created a competition in 2006 for architect and development teams to propose a project 5, which would fulfill the vision as laid out by the William Street Station precinct.

Hassell studios’ project proposal addressed the city of Perth’s issues and visions for the redevelopment of the site, while proposing a contemporary solution to these issues. The development recognizes the unique conditions which makes the specificity of the site important. The location of the site in combination with the historical value and connections between pedestrian walkways and main transportation networks, makes 140 William the ideal location for developing a retail and commercial centre which can redefine Perth’s City Centre. Hassell accomplished these objectives through the integration of contemporary design principles into the historic fabric of the city. These principles intend to focus of the creation of an inviting public realm, while respecting the local context of the site. “The design celebrates heritage, promotes new linkages between workplace, retail and public transportation and creates a positive shared civic space. A thorough investigation of the site resulted in a built form that is confidently modern while responding to the surrounding buildings in scale, proportion and streetscape.” 6 The form of One40William was derived from adhering to the site development precinct, as well as from taking an inside out approach to design. The buildings mass is broken into chunks in order to respond to the scale of the surrounding context. With accordance to the William Street Station precinct the historical scale of 3 story’s is maintained and the contemporary high-rise elements are setback from the street to maintain the importance of the human scale, 541

URBAN SCALE DESIGN and the relationship to the pedestrian. These setback levels then act as planted gardens, with some accessible spaces7. The form of the structure is articulated to reflect the form of the city, and is cut to generate views and access to natural sunlight from all internal workspaces. The accessibility of urban green spaces and natural light is integral to the projects success as it recognizes the need for occupants of a workplace to have both visual and functional relationship between natural elements in a built environment. These strategies not only add to the comfort of the occupant, but as well to the sustainability of the project. One40William is acclaimed to be the largest project in Western Australia to obtain a Five-Star Green Star Design rating8. The built form is separated into linear bars which divides the building into local neighborhoods within the large low-rise campus. The buildings programmatic elements are defined on a vertical scale, with transportation below grade, retail at grade, and commercial offices above it as defined by the setting back of the office spaces and the low rise historic integration. How the building addresses it’s context is defined down to every detail of construction. The building’s facades both respond to their solar orientation by providing a system of horizontal and vertical sunshades as well as create a highly graphic pattern which animates the buildings articulated form, while maintaining a human scale. The cutting of the form and the creation of neighborhoods defines the individual office environments and creates a sense of place 542

for those whom work inside9. It is important to identify with your work environment as it makes the individual feel to be a bigger part of the whole. The workplace is about the people and not about the property. The design of One40William reflects and enhances this vision with it’s focus on the public realm. One40William is a progressive response to workplace design, the public realm, and the preexisting contextual conditions. The building strives to engage people whom work within, visit, and simply pass by10. The theme of the public realm is carried throughout the building, not only through the creation of neighborhoods, but also onto the buildings ground levels, and commercial spaces. On the ground plane the architect has created a series of interconnected lane-ways, which are surrounded by retail spaces and follow the formal logic of the building. The insertion of a street provides a focal point around which the building has been constructed, as well as providing a mechanism for interaction, connectivity, and community. At it’s base the street is a public circulation route, and a spine in which different lane-ways and elements can be placed around and diverged from11. It provides separation from public and private spaces, while providing access to shared resources and facilities. The street sustains a wide variety of activities which are vital to civilization. It acts as a shared public easement between structures and facilities, It is a singular shared resource integral to the existence and prosperity of the retail centers situated along it12. The street provides diverse opportunities and is free to transform and perform many functions,



Figure 3 - Programatic Devision



the street may assume role of a town square. Providing a local for meeting and lingering within a space defined by the its boundaries. The street is inviting and acts as the tying element which the buildings mass is situated around. It is the determining factor which defines One40William as a successful urban project. The development of an urban scale project faces many unique challenges, in which it must address in order to become a successful architectural project. One40William overcomes it’s challenges and fulfills it’s core objectives through it’s contemporary, yet respectful approach to design.

NOTES 1. Vivian, Philip. ArchitectureAU, “One40william, Perth, by Hassell.” Last modified 2012. Accessed October 24, 2012. http://architectureau. com/articles/one40william-1/. 2. City of Perth City Planning Scheme No 2 Policy Manual, “William Street Station Precinct Guidelines”. Perth: Western Australian Planning Commision, 2007. 3. Ibid., 6. 4. Ibid., 8. 5. Vivian 6. Henry, Christopher. archdaily, “one40william / HASSELL.” Last modified 2011. Accessed October 24, 2012. http://www.archdaily. com/170875. 7. 140 William Street Relocation Information Guide. Perth: Government of Western Australia Department of Treasury and Finance Building Management and Works, 2010. 8. Ibid., 3. 9. Ibid., 8-9. 10. Henry 11. “140 William Street Relocation Information Guide”, 10. 12. Ibid. FIGURES 1. Exterior Massing Sketch, Marren, Kyle 2. Zoning Proposal Appropriated From: “William Street Station Precinct Guidelines”, 7. 3. Programatic Devision Appropriated From: 140 William Street Relocation Information Guide, 3. 4. The Street Appropriated From: Ibid., 10.

Figure 4 - Street Concept 543




THE HIGH LINE: A CATALYST OF CHANGE KRYSTYNA NG New York Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s High Line is an urban renewal project whose transformation has greatly affected the adjacent urban fabric. During the mid twentieth century, the High Line was an important element of urban infrastructure in the West Chelsea area. The rail tracks, originally located at street level, were elevated in 1934 due to frequent accidents between trains and pedestrians. The modernist movement, whose ideals consisted of the city operating as a machine and separating cars from pedestrians, influenced the division. The last train ran in 1980 and until recently, the abandoned rail had been left to decay. In 1999, Friends of the High Line, a non-profit organization, worked in conjunction with the City of New York to prevent the demolition of the High Line and to convert the rail into a public urban space. The revitalization of the High Line takes the ideas of the modernists to have urban gardens, but redefines the nature of these spaces. Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the project architects, worked in collaboration with Field Operations and Piet Oudolf to design an urban space that was appropriate to the city and surrounding neighbourhood. Key design principles that were integral to the success of the project included attention to the genius loci, maintenance of historical references, creation of a diverse program, and establishment of both physical and visual connections to the city. Since the revitalization, the area has developed from being completely industrial to a cultural neighbourhood flourishing with creative minds that contribute to the unique and vibrant urban fabric. The evolution of the physical, social, political and cultural context of New York has greatly affected the built form and urban fabric of the area surrounding the High Line.



The High Line, an adaptive reuse project located in New York City, has become one of the most successful urban park developments that has occurred in the last decade. The High Line runs for a mile and a half through the West Chelsea neighbourhood of Manhattan and weaves through the interior and exterior of old warehouse buildings1. Its existence in New York City and its evolution from a freight line to a public park has been influenced by various historical events and movements that have occurred in New York City. The High Line is a piece of urban infrastructure that has evolved to meet the needs of a growing community. To understand the physical context surrounding the High Line, a brief history on the planning of New York is necessary. Settlement began on the southern tip of Manhattan, as the population increased in the early 19th century, the city was in need of organization and regulation2. In 1811 the commissioner’s grid was implemented and covered the entire island with a gridiron plan, leaving only the waterfronts as breathing spaces in the city3. However, due to the 546

use of ships for the transportation of goods, the waterfront, particularly in the West Chelsea area, developed into an industrial and manufacturing neighbourhood. In 1857, the City of New York authorized street level railroad tracks to service the factories and distribution centers4. The area around tenth, eleventh, and twelfth avenues became known as “Death Avenue”, due to the number of accidents that were occurring between pedestrians and trains5. Rail men were hired to ride horse back in front of the trains and warn pedestrians of oncoming traffic, they became known as the “West Side Cowboys”, but even then about one person was killed every month6. In 1927, the City proposed elevating the freight line and in 1931 the construction began7. The elevation of the rail tracks was greatly influenced by modern architecture and city planning of the early twentieth century. City planners were inspired by forward thinking ideas, like those of Le Corbusier and the CIAM, that intended to solve the problems of traffic congestion and dangerous conditions that were associated with urban crowding8. Le Corbusier’s

Figure 1- An outline of the Commisioner’s Grid is overlayed on top of a map showing the West Chealsea area and the location of the High Line. A plan of the comparison between the grid composition of Miletus should also be noted.


Figure 2- The varying levels of New York City’s infrastructure describes the separation between pedestrians, automobiles, and utilities.

“City of Tomorrow” suggested separating different forms of transportation onto different levels9, supporting modernist ideals that the city should run as efficiently as a machine. The industrial revolution that was taking place at the same time provided the means and technology to raise the tracks thirty feet in the air, and thus the High Line was born. Eventually the construction of interstate highways and city planning centered on the automobile, led to a decline in rail traffic and the ultimate demise of the High Line being used to transport goods10. The High Line that had been in operation since 1934 ran its last train in 196011. The High Line sat abandoned for several decades and was overgrown by native plants. It was not until 1999 that two residents of the neighbourhood, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, met at a community hearing regarding the future state of the High Line12. David and Hammond discovered they were the only two people interested in preserving the High Line and revitalizing the railbed into an urban park. The two of them co-founded Friends of the High Line and began their journey on establishing New York’s newest urban public space. David and Hammond saw beauty in the wild ruins of nature that had grown between the tracks and saw an opportunity to create a new way to experience the city13. This is not the first time the need for green space has been recognized within the City of New York. Following the establishment of the commissioner’s grid, New Yorkers addressed the need for urgent public space after they recognized that the blocks were being filled up with by buildings14. The introduction of public parks and green space in the city began with Frederick Law

Olmstead and Cavert Vaux’s design for Central Park. The park provided a space for New Yorkers to escape the cities over crowdedness, noise, and pollution15. The creation of parks, boulevards, and parkways in the city was influenced by the City Beautiful movement that was occurring in Europe around the same time period16. Upon the proposal and implementation of transforming the original railbed into a public park, Friends of the High Line received major resistance from city authorities, particularly Mayor Giuliani, as well as developers and land owners in the West Chelsea area. Mayor Giuliani was in favor of demolishing the High Line; he recognized that West Chelsea was developing as a creative neighbourhood with emerging galleries, restaurants and lofts and believed that without the demolition of the abandoned railbed, the neighbourhood would never reach its full potential17. David and Hammond needed to make an economical argument in order for their proposition to be taken seriously by fellow New Yorker’s and city authorities. An economic feasibility study was conducted to estimate the project cost and revenue, the main argument being that revitalizing the High Line would make good economics for the city18. The economic feasibility study approximated the cost of the revitalization to be $100 million and the revenue $250 million, in the end the actual project cost was $150 million and the revenue is estimated to be approximately half a billion dollars19. The attack on the World Trade Center in 2001 is an important event to mention as it had an influence on the revitalization of the High Line; David and Hammond were initially concerned that nobody 547

URBAN SCALE DESIGN would be interested in supporting the project after 911 occurred, however the Ground Zero design process actually ended up paving the way and heightening public interest in the High Line’s transformation20. Mayor Bloomberg, who was elected in 200221, played an influential political role in the approval of the High Line project. He offered $122.3 million towards the project and struck a deal with Friends of the High Line, they would have to supply $19.4 million themselves and pay for the majority of operating costs once the park opened22. The CSX was neutral to any ideas about the High Line, whether it be demolished or turned into a park; they were more concerned with passing on the liability that came with the maintenance and taxes that they were currently responsible for23. Friends of the High Line needed approval to work in accordance with the railroad to create a railbank (the transformation of an old rail line to a trail) and had to acquire a CITU (Certificate of Interim Trail Use)24. This would allow them to develop on parts of the railbed that crossed into privately owned land. Both David and Hammond, as residents of the neighbourhood adjacent to the High Line, were able to see the need for transforming this piece of urban infrastructure into public space and the opportunity that the revitalization would provide for the growth and development of the West Chelsea area. The neighourhood had already begun to experience change with the current influx of the creative class and commercial mixed use buildings appearing in the area, and the adaptation would only further support the growth. The cultural context that comprises the 548

West Chelsea neighbourhood is emblematic of a community that strives to preserve its historical past. The fight for preservation is not the first time resistance to major infrastructural changes have taken place in this neighbourhood. City planner Robert Moses, who strongly supported the age of the automobile, during his tenure, experienced a phenomenon that would affect all future urbanization; the more roads that are built, the more automobiles there will be to fill them25. Moses’ proposal to demolish an entire neighbourhood and construct a thruway was greatly opposed to by the residents of Greenwich Village (also in the West Chelsea district). The community was extremely concerned with protecting their treasured neighbourhood and therefore spread awareness, Moses was forced to reconsider and the thruway was never built26. The design of the High Line was heavily based on preserving the heritage of the railbed and the natural wildlife that had grown. Friends of the High Line held an “ideas competition” in 2003 where they were expecting a couple dozen entries from New Yorker’s; they received

Figure 3- A visual sequence of the High Line’s evolution, from contruction to a public park.


Figure 4- Public space on the High Line.

720 entries from 36 countries27. Their call to architectural firms resulted in a final competition winner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro who worked in collaboration with Field Operations and Piet Oudolf. The design included the preservation of the surrounding heritage by incorporating the native plants that had grown on the tracks since the abandonment; sleek wooden benches peel up from the parks surface to create a varied texture of manufactured hardscape and natural landscape28. The program is essentially a long meandering pathway with special moments scattered throughout, these moments frame key views of the city; for example the amphitheatre that is located over Tenth Avenue. The revitalization of the High Line is a successful project because it started within the grassroots of a strong community. David and Hammond admitted at the beginning of the project that they knew very little about preservation, architecture, community organizing, horticulture, and fundraising, working with City

Hall, or running a Park29. The lack of expertise forced them to ask other people for help who were more knowledgeable in those disciplines30. Collaboration allowed for new design ideas infused with multiple points of view. The difficulty in determining whether urban planning projects are successful is largely due to the fact that design is continually in a state of flux. However, the success of the High Line can be measured by the public, how they use the space on a dayto-day basis, and the overall contribution that the revitalization has rendered for the neighbourhood as a whole. People from the community, other New Yorkers, and tourists are part of the 2 million people that visit the High Line annually31, using the space to walk, dwell, and explore. Refurbishing existing city infrastructure, that at one point in time was essential to the areas economic survival, reawakened the historical spirit of the area by providing appropriate public space to the community.

NOTES 1. Paul Goldberger, “Miracle Above Manhattan,” National Geographic, April 2011, goldberger-text. 2. Reader, John. Cities, pg. 251. New York: Grove Press, 2004. 3. Marshall, Bruce and Christopher Gray. Building New York the the Greatest City on Earth, pg. 12. New Rise and Fall of York: Universe Publishing, 2005. 4. David, Joshua and Robert Hammond. High Line the Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky, pg. viii. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. 5. Ibid., viii 6. “Building a Park in the Sky,” TED Video, 5:41, http://www.ted. ert_hammond_building_a_park_in_the_sky.html. com/talks/rob 7. Joshua David and Robert Hammond, op.cit., ix. 8. Ibid., 136 9. Ibid., 135 10. Ibid., ix 11. Ibid. 12. Ibid., xi 13. Ibid., 6 14. Reader, op.cit., 251 15. Marshall, op.cit. 70 16. White, Norval. New York a Physical History, New York: Atheneum, 1987. 17. Paul Goldberger, op.cit., April 2011 18. “Building a Park in the Sky,” TED Video. 19. Ibid. 20. Paul Goldberger, op.cit., April 2011 21. Wikipedia, s.v. “Michael Bloomeberg,” accessed October 27, 2012, http:// 22. Paul Goldberger, op.cit., April 2011 23. Joshua David and Robert Hammond, op.cit., 30. 24. Ibid.,16 25. Marshall, op.cit. 242 26. Ibid. 27. Paul Goldberger, op.cit., April 2011 28. Ibid. 29. Joshua David and Robert Hammond, op.cit., 6 30. Ibid. 31. “Building a Park in the Sky,” TED Video. FIGURES Fig 1. (Appropriated by Krystyna Ng) Friends of the High Line, Aerial Photo, photograph. High Line the Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky, 338.NewYork: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. Hector Rivera, 1811 Grid Plan. Accessed October 28, 2012, http://www.mbpo. org/blog_details.asp?id=53Photographer Unknown, Plan of Miletus. Accessed October 28, 2012,http://www.travellinktur Fig 2. (Appropriated by Krystyna Ng) Barry Munger, High Line, photograph. High Line the Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky, 338. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. Getty Images, Subway Underground, photograph. Building New York the Rise and Fall of the Greatest City on Earth, 54. New York: Universe Publishing, 2005. Fig 3. (Appropriated by Krystyna Ng) Friends of the High Line, Construction, photograph. High Line the Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky, 338. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. Friends of the High Line, Elevated Rails, photograph. High Line the Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky, 338. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. Iwan Baan, Aeriel View, photograph. High Line the Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky, 338. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. Photographer Unknown, Railbed, hotograph. High Line the Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky, 338. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. Fig 4. (Appropriated by Krystyna Ng) Barry Munger, People Walking, photograph. High Line the Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky, 338. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. Iwan Baan, Public Space, photograph. High Line the Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky, 338. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.





URBAN RENEWAL: VANKE CENTER DIANA SCHEMBRI One of the most important contributions an architect can make to architecture is to build urban life in a domestic space. Hovering over a newly excavated landscape that is part garden, part plaza, and part landscape, is Vanke Center, designed in Shenzhen, China by Steven Holl Architects, and completed in 2009. The project underlines the social benefits of regional renewal, community life and the promotion of sustainability. The design of the building is a reinterpretation on today’s vertical skyscraper typology. Vanke Center is seen and identified as a horizontal skyscraper, which seeks to integrate the urban landscape into a skyscraper’s program by lifting the program above the ground plane. The building itself is a hybrid form of urban landscape with a mix-use program to include apartments, a hotel, and offices for the headquarters of China Vanke Co., in addition to a variety of social functions and urban uses. The concern for making open spaces for people to enjoy is one of the primary goals of Steven Holl’s design. As an urban strategy, the building fuses with the landscape and attempts to integrate the two realms. The architects envisioned an open project, which is created in the spirit of the community being able to walk to all the functions of the space. Easily accessible by the public, the center serves as an urban oasis that encourages community interaction and public involvement. The essay will examine Vanke Center as an urban scale project and ways in which it affects the city, its immediate context, and its community. It will also discuss issues associated with planning and zoning on the site of the Vanke Center.



35 m ocean views

maximize views, landscape and public space

Introduction Steven Holl, design architect of Vanke Center Complex, and CCDI, executive architect, created the Vanke Center, enriching the collaborative experience of two international firms. Vanke, one of China’s leading real estate companies, was looking to expand in the southern coast of China, so the architects engaged in the closed competition, and were chosen to have their design constructed. The client, Vanke, being a real estate company, wanted to not just build an office space, but construct a complex which would generate real estate from hotels and apartments, and attract people to the area outside of the downtown and into the Pearl River Delta. The two architects envisioned, designed, and ultimately built urban life between Shenzhen’s mountains and bay. The project successfully addressed the most important requirements of planning a community: the social, environmental, and economic effects. Easily accessible by the public, the center was created to serve as an urban oasis and encourage the level of community interaction and public involvement into the suburban site it is located within. The City: Shenzhen 552

The city of Shenzhen is known for its greenery and landscape, having many public spaces and parks for the community to use and gather at. Shenzhen first existed as a small village of China, but over the past two decades, they have has experienced a significant economic growth. As the city grew in nature, it experienced growth both in population and in standards of living. In Shenzhen, China’s leading Special Economic Zone, the planning and construction of a new city center complex was designed to symbolize the city’s transformation from a manufacturing zone, to a ‘world city’ and to function as its servicesector core. The economic prosperity from the Special Economic Zone status has made Shenzhen one of the most expensive cities to live in China. Consequently, there has been an increase in the number of urban renewal projects, starting by implementing city centers, and urban villages, which is how Vanke Center Complex was established. Site Plan and Physical Contexts Vanke Center is located in Shenzhen, China (Figure 3), and situated between two significant geographical forms, the mountains to the north, and the Pearl River Delta to the


Figure 1 - (Top) Transformation of built form to maximize site features and context Figure 2 - (Bottom) Solution creates a mutual beneficial condition




mountain view




lak an v


Figure 3 - (Top) Location of Shenzhen on map of China Figure 4 - (Bottom) Maximum views created

south. The plan was to use the bay as inspiration, creating a floating, futuristic horizontal skyscraper. With the water from the bay below and the mountains above in the background, the Vanke Center reflects its surroundings1. The long body of the complex bends itself along the form of the existing landscape, mimicking the movement of the mountains, and the arms extrude from this body to provide views towards the bay (Figure 4). The idea to float the built form, with its location in mind, makes it appear that it once had to float above bay, leaving the structure propped up high on eight legs2. Being raised on a structure, allows sea and land breezes to pass through the landscape below, creating a pleasant area for the public to occupy, and active public realm for users with views to the bay (Figure 2). Planning and Zoning Issues Steven Holl’s desire for porosity is a direct representation of the intent behind the Vanke Center complex. The decision to float one large structure right under the 35 meter height limit3, gives Holl the option to build conventionally on the ground, having multiple mid-rise buildings (Seen on the left of Figure 1). It is a strict zoning requirement to keep to this height because of the area is located within, as tall buildings on this site would block the views of the smaller developments north of the Pearl River Delta, which Holl was faced to design around. Instead of a tall building, Holl came up with the solution to lay the built form on its side, spanning the height of the Empire State Building in New York City (Figure 6) so that the density of the program can still be built. Furthermore, Holl decided to float the building 3 stories off above the ground (Figure 5),

to ensure that the land preservation law enforced by the city was accounted for. The design of the building is a reinterpretation on today’s vertical skyscraper typology, and regarded as a ‘horizontal skyscraper’ in published criticisms. Building Strategies Holl’s design for the Vanke Center allows for a successful urban scale project to be used by individuals of Shenzhen. Unity and sustainability are two key design strategies Holl has implemented as the basis of Vanke Center. As an urban strategy, the building fuses with the landscape and attempts to integrate the two realms. With regards to unity as a design strategy, Vanke Center is a large, unified mix-use building, spanning its body across the length of the site, as opposed to singular use buildings dispersed within the site. The architects envisioned an open project, which is created in the spirit of the community being able to walk to all the functions of the space. Holl focuses his designs on the interaction occurring between people in the different program spaces within the building, which can be seen in the Vanke Center project through the use of an active public realm. As a tropical, sustainable 21st century vision the building and the landscape integrate several new sustainable aspects4.The sustainable techniques as another design strategy have been incorporated in Holl’s design in a series of ways in order to maximize areas for green space. The building is located on a reclaimed site, forming itself part of the existing storm water management system and sitting on a lagoon that functions as a bioswale and retention pond. The design of the complex, being elevated off 553

URBAN SCALE DESIGN the ground has preserved such a great amount of the landscape. By lifting the building some 15 meters off the ground, HoIl isn’t just providing occupants with sea views; he’s making it possible to transform nearly the entire 13-acre site into a public park5. The entire site of the Vanke Center Complex is approximately 60,000 square meters, where about 45,000 of this is landscaped area accessible by the public, which is only made possible because of the raised structure. The building was constructed with about 15,000 square meters of rooftop, generating a relatively zero footprint, and qualifying Vanke center as one of China’s LEED platinum rated buildings. Furthermore, the massing and form of the building has been constructed with recycled, renewable and local materials such as bamboo on the interior, and green roof, solar panels, operable louvers, and high performing glass on the exterior. In the long-term scheme, sustainability of the project plays an important factor. The series of systems within the building are cost efficient ways of building which reduce the reliance on mechanical equipment and energy consumption, thus lowering the environmental impact. These and other nature-inspired designs are eco-friendly and conceptually impressive ways to harness the power of the earth6. Vanke Center introduces a new urban layer in China, which employs some of the most forward thinking sustainable design strategies. With 75 per cent of the site area reconfigured as an open landscape, the practice’s strategy has been extremely well received7. These strategies lends to Holl’s concern for making open space for people to enjoy, ultimately creating positive effects on the 554



ocean views

neighborhood society and natural environment. The planning of the complex allows for social interaction and encourages more communication within the users of the building and the public of Shenzhen, showing how the building was designed for the community with an overall lower environmental impact. Design Principles In the late 1950’s, criticism of city planning and urban design, organized by Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM), led to the rediscovery of some principles of classic urbanism and what defines appropriate architecutral projects. These principles can be seen in Holl’s design for the Vanke Center. The complex was designed with regards to the context, and was intended to be an escape from the busy inner core of the city of Shenzhen and regain a sense of community in the rural area. The idea of a mixed use program increases the density, and aids Vanke Center Complex to draw more people from the downtown area to the Pearl River Delta. Vanke Center has been created through elevating the private building and creating


Figure 5 - Raising program spaces to allow for a greater public realm below


380 m

Figure 6 -Vanke Center size comparison to Empire State Building

a public landscape beneath. The single raised core promotes interaction of uses and users with its indoor circulation spaces and outdoor public areas. The large public landscape and the way the building fits into the landscape reveals the connection with the area and the culture of the city. These principles, adapted from CIAM, allow for a functional, attractive, and usable space for the community, and an appropriate urban scale project. Conclusion The understanding of urban development within the context of the present day has evolved away from simply a response to the need for a dense built form and urbanized green space. Rather, it is an
attempt to integrate, into an already existing city fabric, the idea to improve not only the physical environment of the city, but the cultural and economic environment it is situated in. This allows the architecture to be the foundation on which a city can grow and develop naturally. Vanke Center has been designed with these ideas at hand, and is a great example urban planning and response to architecture. The

practice’s aim was to provide an exemplary form of new urbanism that prioritized the provision of fully accessible public space8. The design fits into its physical surroundings, and pays attention to its users and how they interact with the building and the spaces within, reflecting the positive cultural values and economic development in the city of Shenzhen. Holl designed a building that pushes its users to stop and think about the world around them. In doing so, he has given identity to what was until now a formless urban condition9. The architectural solutions Holl has designed for the city of Shenzhen, brings life and character to the city.


1. Chen, Su. CCDI architecture: design for China’s future.. Mulgrave, Vic.: Images, 2008. page 178. 2. Holl, Steven. Urbanisms: working with doubt. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2009, page 169. 3. Ibid. page 169. 4. Cilento, Karen. “Horizontal Skyscraper / Steven Holl | ArchDaily.” ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwide. horizontal-skyscraper-steven-holl/ (accessed October 24, 2012). 5. Gregory, Rob. 2010. Vanke centre. The Architectural Review 228, (1360): 43-51, 9503?accountid=13631 (accessed October 24, 2012). 6. Chen, Op. Cit., page 178. 7. Gregory, Op. Cit., page 43-51. 8. Gregory, Op. Cit., page 43-51. 9. Ouroussoff, Nicolai. “Steven Holl’s Design for the Vanke Center in China - Review -” The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. (accessed November 2, 2012). FIGURES 1. Redrawn from: “Shenzen Vanke Center, Steven Holl China, Vanke Center, Shenzhen Building.” Architecture News - World Architects, Building News|Building. html. 2. Redrawn from “Architecture and Design’s New Hot Spots: Hong Kong and Shenzhen | Fast Company.” Fast Company. http://www.fastcompany. com/1487210/architecture-and-designs-new-hot-spots-hong-kong-andshenzhenl. 3. Redrawn from: “Comparison of ecophysiological characteristics between introduced and indigenous mangrove species in China.” ScienceDirect. (accessed November 8, 2012). China, Vanke Center, Shenzhen Building.” Architecture News - World Architects, Building News | Building. vanke_center.html. 4-6. Redrawn from: “Shenzen Vanke Center, Steven Holl China, Vanke Center, Shenzhen Building.” Architecture News - World Architects, Building News | Building. html.





CORUS QUAY QUINCY SIU The Corus building is located on the waterfront of Toronto which is the first building to kickstart the Toronto’s waterfront project. Diamond and Schmitt Architects had multiple consideration towards the site with key issues of sustainability, technology integration, urban intensification, workplace design and connection to the waterfront project. The brownfield site had numerous problems with funding and support towards the construction of the building. The desolate location proved to be a risk but with 1,100 employees, it has populated site. With a building to kickstart the waterfront of Toronto, multiple agencies had to be included such as Toronto City Council, Ministry of Infrastructure, Department of Finance Canada and Toronto Waterfront Secretariat. The general building shape is reasonable with the use of an office space. A low profile shape is to help detach its presence from future changes to Toronto’s waterfront. The massing of the building becomes fundamental for directing the flow of circulation towards the site. The central plan is formed to direct circulation flow in two ways. One way to explore the building is through the central spine of the building. The other way is to go around the building experiences with the waterfront. Public art, restaurant and parks are located beside the boardwalk to capture the public’s attention. The Corus building acknowledges the value of healthy living earning the LEED gold certification enhancing the sites’ atmosphere. The vertical gradation of private to public help maintain a vital connection towards the urban context.


URBAN SCALE DESIGN Corus Quay is an eight storey commercial office located on the waterfront of Toronto, Canada. It is a catalyst that is needed to kick start the Toronto waterfront project. With the increase of digital media use, Corus Quay has a demand to help house 1,100 employees. Toronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO) employed Diamond & Schmitt to help design Corus Quay. Jack Diamond focus on the key issues of urban intensification, connection to the waterfront project, workspace design, sustainability, and technology integration. The integration of key issues towards the site is a strategic development of the Eastern end of Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s waterfront. It is necessary for Corus Quay to be develop as it was because of the pre-existing issues towards the site. The brownfield site was originally an industrial zone. The 20th century brought forth refineries, rail yards, cement works, scrap yards, steel fabricators, salt storage, varnish factories, foundries, lumber yards. Through later years, the expansion of transportation had relocated many factories and closed others, leaving the Eastern waterfront to be a ghost town. Because of the proliferation of products in the industrial age, the attention to the environment was not present. The polluted water emitted methane gas which created an unhealthy environment for future employees. The solution was to create a comprehensive filtration system for the polluted water. The waterfront also was difficult to build because of the subsoil which it created problems for the foundation of the building. The solution for the foundation was to be reinforced and placed strategically to strengthen the structure 558

of the building.1 The office zoning of Corus Quay help intensify the urban space through the daily flow of 1,100 employees. With economic activity towards the area, a diverse range of professions is needed to have a sustainable economic environment. Digital media has merged services of television and radio together in a synergistic environment. Just like the industrial age, where there is close the proximity between factories. Steel factory and automotive factories work close together to help speed up the manufacturing process. Corus Quay imitate the industrial age idea of conglomeration with services of digital marketing, graphic designers, broadcasters, IT specialists, programmers and animators. With departments located close together, it creates a better social environment and leads to increase of overall productivity. On the other hand, Waterfront has a heavy reliance on the Corus Quay for economic activity. With the extraction of economic and intellectual resources, Corus Quay resembles the characteristics of a resource town. The change

FIgure 1 - (Top) Macro View of Toronto Waterfront compared to Corus Quay Site Figure 2 - (Bottom) Historical Map overlaying Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s industrial past


Figure 3 - Neighborhood Context

of tenants could have adverse economic effects on the waterfront. With Corus Quay being the forefront of digital media, it will increase the flow of investments towards the waterfront area.2 The remote placement of Corus Quay gives opportunity for new towns to be developed. The biggest development with close proximity is West Don Lands. West Don Lands is a development of multiple residential neighborhoods which is directly linked to Corus Quay. West Don Lands will have housing which will increase work life balance for the employees of Corus Quay. The connection between pockets of land of the waterfront is through two main paths; Queens Quay and the waterfront trail. The waterfront trail gives a experiential path following the plan to beautify the waterfront. Queens Quay enables the continuity of the waterfront primarily through vehicular circulation.It is an ideal work life balance exploring through different pockets of neighborhoods. St. Lawrence, Distillery District, Old York Town all have existing retail to support essential needs. George Brown College provides technical expertise which can help Corus Quay. The symbiotic economic relationship of Corus Quay and its surrounding context help flourish with each other. The relation to CIAM is neglected through the waterfront. The four zones; residential, commercial, recreational, and industrial are all fused together which help create a mixed use zone. The diverse application within spaces are decentralized within waterfront allowing people to explore the area.3 The intentional design of the building has a bland look to help maximize profit. To restate

Corus Quay original purpose, it is an economic venture to help attract activity into the area. Office space per sq foot is carefully planned to attract tenants into the building. With allowable setbacks and restrictions, the cube-like mass is erected up to eight storeys with a permissible height of 32m. The reason of this general shape was because of political issues. Public funding was given by the provincial government of Canada as well as the waterfront board. The essence of budgeting and profit played a vital role where expressiveness has been regressed with a more conserve appearance.4 To help compensate for the banal design, Troika Artists were hired to help reach out to the public. Three art pieces were installed; The Thunderbolt, Shoal and the Light Ripples. All the art pieces adhere to the nautical theme where most of them are displayed at the periphery of the building with the exception of Shoal. Shoal is located at the spine of the building plan. The modulating motion of the Shoal fishes creates a sense of being underwater. It directs the public towards the South leading them to the waterfront view. The building programs of radio stations also opens out towards the public through a display on the west side. CityTV and Muchmusic opens towards the public where they involve the public with live airing of guests and speakers. The 8m height for the public gives the public more breathing room to walk under the building. It not only provides shelter from sun and rain, but it also gives the corporate presences of power. As an office building, presence is an important aspect where the cantilevers expresses the giant massing elevated on top. 559

URBAN SCALE DESIGN The most controversial part of the design process was the center atrium space. Originally the space was design to be a meeting space enclosed by the shape much like the bean in Chicago Millennium Park.5 This was another public art piece intended to be design but later changed. Again, to maximize profit, it was changed to multiple-storey meeting room and replaced by a slide. Critics says that by compromising the meeting rooms, it has changed the design into just another ordinary office design.6 The restaurant is the only real program that offers the best experience for the public. The 5m curtain wall door opens out towards the lake allowing public events to be held there. The contrast of office space and recreational public space interact in a unique way which help reach out more towards the public.7 The color of the building is through the monotone use of grey. This was to follow through with the rest of the waterfront design. KPMB, responsible for George Brown College Campus on the East side, follow the similar color scheme. The color scheme also reflects to the surrounding environment where majority of the does lack in color. It also adapts to different lighting conditions where Corus Quay reflect both the sky and the lake. Corus Quay design intention was not to captivate the public, other waterfront projects had the opportunity to do that. Iconic buildings in the waterfront is not necessary because it goes against the decentralized form of the waterfront project. Simple functional form is created to help house a simple need of a commercial office. It does 560

lack the architectural flair many critics has complained, but it is not necessary. Function follows form and Jack Diamond primarily focused on the efficiency of the space.8 Corus Quay is the first building constructed for the waterfront and it also presents itself in a very efficient way. It is awarded LEED Gold with key features of green roof, rainwater cistern, low-flow plumbing fixtures, double glazed windows, lighting controls, recycled materials, energy recovery ventilation and the living wall. New construction method and commercial interiors played a vital part of the LEED accreditation. New construction method proved to be the most challenging part of the LEED accreditation. The remediation of the brownfield site provided too many problems with the soil. The soil was excavated and chemically cleaned making it possible to add points leading up to LEED Gold standards. The accreditation of LEED is a public display to help embrace the sustainability trends of the waterfront. LEED acts as a tool to help add premium fees and save management costs.9

Figure 4 - Section showing installations of different public art pieces.

PRESENT DAY the waterfront plan. Leading technologies of sustainability and information technology help entice tenants. The necessary push of economic venture must be present to increase a diverse use within the waterfront area.

Figure 5 - A South elevation showing the effects of the public art pieces

Technological integration within Corus Quay influenced how programming of spaces. Digital infrastructure is important to the digital media industry where it holds broadcasting equipment for radio and cable television. The management of video and audio content must be efficient to broadcast content to the public mass. Using the digital infrastructure, it has changed the environment with a more flexible workspace. The server rooms requires a lower specific temperature due to heavy work loads. The redesign of HVAC system would need to harness its excess heat and reuse it for heating the building. Corus Quay is a necessary project where the political, social, and physical context influences its development. Every development plan in any scale all start with an economic source. To attract activity to a brownfield site of Corus Quay, commercial office is needed to kickstart the development. With an political approach, urban intensification has been achieved throughout

NOTES 1. “Art + Architecture: The Building of Corus Quay.” Inkblot Media. 2010. (accessed 10 22, 2012). 2. “Corus Quay.” Waterfront Toronto. 2012. http://www.corusent. com/home/Corporate/CorusQuay/tabid/2346/Default.aspx (accessed 10 22, 2012). 3. Lorinc, John. The Globe and Mail. 4 29, 2011. http://www. (accessed 10 22, 2012). 4. Rickwood, Lee. “Corus Opens State of the Art Digital Media Facility.” Broadcaster Canada’s Communications Magazine. 10 1, 2010. http:// (accessed 10 22, 2012). 5. “Submission of Corus Quay Entertainment Inc.” Government of Canada. 7 13, 2010. (accessed 10 22, 2012). Toronto Waterfront Council. 11 17, 2007. dbdocs/4759ba7783582.pdf (accessed 10 22, 2012). 6. Ibid. 7. Ibid. 8. ”Corus Quay (East Bayfront Dockside, 7s, D S).” (online forum message). Urban Toronto. (accessed October 12, 2012). 9. Ibid. FIGURES 1. Aerial Map: appropriated from 2. Historical Map: appropriated from & http:// community 3. Neighborhood Context: appropriated from http://www. community 4. Section view: appropriated from http://www.waterfrontoronto. ca/dbdocs/4759ba7783582.pdf 5. South elevation: appropriated from http://www.





WATERFRONT CAMPUS: GEORGE BROWN COLLEGE WAI TSUI WONG The intention of a revitalization project is to bring something old back to life, in other words, relieving certain parts of the city by bringing in a new source of income from tourists or from travellers. Creation of new forms of architecture in today’s urban context can have a great impact to the surrounding areas which is why architecture can be such a debatable topic. But one thing can be for sure, architecture has always been a destination of great importance to building stronger ties amongst different parties of people, and with different communities in the district. In Toronto, a series of revitalization projects has been built at the Waterfront. One of the new revitalization project is George Brown College’s Waterfront campus. The new Health Sciences Centre of up to eight-storey high is capable of holding up to 3,500 students.1 Not only does the building provide opportunities and spaces for students in obtaining an education in health, but the act of building a Health Sciences Centre on the waterfront as a revitalization project is already enough to reckon it in some people’s point of view as an action plan in the city’s mainstream healthcare services.2 By incorporating a sense of future planning with the use of up to date architectural materials as the shelter of the revitalization project on the waterfront, the prospect of the city will grow with faith and vitality in the youth of the future generations of years to come that uses these facilities. Not only that this new building is already registered under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) as a targeting gold project, but the other surrounding types of revitalization projects have also joined in with the building green concept and forming what is proposed as the East Bayfront.3 As a collaborative project between groups of corporations that have never worked together before, the waterfronts symbolizes hope for a prominent future for the people of Toronto for years to come. With that in mind, let us explore the physical, social, political, and cultural contexts and the planning behind the project in order to understand why the new Health Sciences Centre of George Brown College should be considered as a highly appropriate architectural project. 1


URBAN SCALE DESIGN As the largest city in Canada, Toronto is known to the world outside of North America as a popular destination for immigrants. Over in the past decade, Toronto has become one of the world’s most diverse cities with its high population of non-native-born residents according to the Canada 2011 Census.4 With Toronto’s popularity soaring pass other cities, an immense amount of change in culture and economy is expected from generations of years to come. In one of Toronto’s recent leading movements located in the East Bayfront on Toronto’s waterfront, a new Health Science Centre has been constructed for students of George Brown College. By using a LEED approach in building the new campus on the waterfront, the new expansion from GBC has enabled a green approach to be held accountable in attempting to revitalize the cityscape of the site from before construction of what used to be a dock.5 But at the current stage, not everyone who reside in the GTA are affected by this particular architectural project. In order to deal effectively with those who wish to seek for a better future for the environment, the city must function well with those who uses it including public transit, amenity, and opportunity. To begin tackling how a green building in the city of Toronto will bring happiness to its context, the new Health Science Centre of George Brown College will be analyzed with respect to its contexts in supporting this statement. For years, the city of Toronto has been planning and consulting with the public on how to effectively revitalize its East Bayfront site and now, with the first phase of revitalization completed, the benefits is evident from the 564

site’s proximity to downtown Toronto and in the openness that Lake Ontario brings to the relaxing waterfront. Proximity provides a convenience for users, thus it allows more interaction to occur between users with the same interests. The means in designing a successful building lies in how it works with its context. With the immense area assigned to GBC, the collaboration between Stantec and KPMB Architects was successful in creating an appropriate architectural project to accommodate for a large number of students while providing efficient green spaces outside of GBC to give the school a sense of identity, vitality, accommodation for growth, hope for the future and the amenities that people need.6 By designing the new HSC of GBC on the waterfront to be over 300,000 square feet of occupancy area, a three-storey glass podium was able to fit within it to function for the public and for the students to use.7 In the past, the four schools were spread across a variety of locations in the city and as a result, the separation between each school created unnecessary confusion amongst the faculty of

Figure 1 - (Left) Hawk View of HSC w/ Existing Context Figure 2 - (Top) Closer View of HSC w/ Existing Context Figure 3 - (Bottom) Exterior Promenade View

PRESENT DAY the four schools.8 Now, with the new building completed, the integral whole of the design can play its significant role in freeing the four schools by a direct way of communication between students and teachers. In addition, the open space in the facility will allow its present and the future students a chance to grow substantially through the creation of an environment where students from different professional programs can learn with, from and each other to understand the importance of collaboration within one whole space rather than a confusing mix of locations from before. By enabling the crucial design feature of collaboration to occur, the new campus is in active mode to be able to house 3,500 full-time and 450 continuous learning students at one time.9 If a student were to register in an animated atmosphere such HSC, it would give them confidence in the school attended which will be able to provide with them the necessary tools that they need to succeed in their choice of career path. The HSC is designed for students to be able to work in a hands-on learning environment that incorporates both simulation and direct patient care so that this form of learning method will encourage other types of learning to occur even outside of the classroom through other learning facilities.10 The overall composition of the Waterfront Health Science Campus is unique. In order to fully understand the building and its importance to its context, the composition of the building must be analyzed in order to understand why it is the way it is. The building is comprised of four complex parts, each shape projecting

at a different direction. When approaching the building along the west side, the massing is similar to a grounded anchor but in reality it is a flexible academic loft bar building.11 While facing south, east and north, a three-storey, highly transparent glass podium exists providing retail, food services, clinics, student amenity space and an auditorium.12 As the building evolves, a floating two-storey library emerges on the south-east corner with its own amenities such as an exterior terrace placed on the roof of it,

Figure 4 - Exterior promenade & Waterfront 565

URBAN SCALE DESIGN and offering a warm and inviting atmosphere with wood decking, pergola, and a green roof landscape to its users.13 When looking at the north-east corner, a pair of stacked lecture hall volumes exists as a floating object above the podium.14 With such complex shapes put together as a space for students to grow in, the experience of it all is priceless. As a commitment to building the school for a long term use, the school has used a LEED Gold target to designing the school to be equipped with essentials of sustainability, circulation of fresh air in the building, maximized natural lighting in the building, pleasant nature views, and an ease of accessibility for the disabled onto public transit and other alternative modes of transportation.15 By doing so, the school acknowledges its studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s health as a priority and have begun to change the environment starting first with the design of the building to functioning well with its students and with the city overall. But however pleasant the HSC of GBC seem to be from its specifications, there are still problems with its current condition. One of the problems that exists is how the overload of traffic from the Gardiner Expressway is improperly released onto the nearby locations of the HSC and the downtown grid of Toronto. As traffic accumulates during rush hour, this part of the highway splits the city into congestion. Consequentially, with the mass amount of people using the same pathway at the same time, it causes obstructions to users from getting across to their destinations. In this case, 566

the waterfront campus is obstructed as a result. From a social contextâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perspective, the obstruction from the highway due to traffic jams can be also seen as a planning and zoning is sue. When traffic accumulates, the principles of a mix use area will not work, and as a result, the users will not tolerate inefficiency and will act by taking other alternatives of transportation to getting to work. In the near future when the neighbourhood of the waterfront revitalization is settled, height restrictions of proposed buildings will be able to carry out the scope for that particular area by creating a castle like neighbourhood that will be able to block out unnecessary vehicular traffic by creating new focal points in the city for foot traffic, and gateways and articulation from the heavy concentration of the nearby highway.16 With the tiered height of the buildings in the revitalization project increasing gradually at a distance toward Gardiner Expressway, the zoning of the East Bayfront will succeed in the long run with its use of tower like structures to protect its inhabitants

Figure 5 - Section of HSC


Figure 6 - Perspective of HSC

from the obstructions that exists today. As a result of the height zoning that has been implemented on to the revitalization fabric of the West Precinct in respect to the East Bayfront, public open spaces will be needed, reational boating uses will be permitted, waterfront promenade will become accessible for all users including people with disabilities, special pavilion are permitted for animation uses, local infrastructure will improve with the lessen use of automobiles, and affordable housing will enable low income families to live there as well.17 With such high goals to be achieved in the city of Toronto, the environment must function well with those who uses it in order to be able to deal effectively with the problems that still exists amongst the overall region of the city.

NOTES 1. Waterfront Toronto, “George Brown College.” Last modified 2009. Accessed November 7, 2012. brown_college. 2. World Architecture News, “A learning landscape.” Last modified 2010. Accessed November 7, 2012. 3. Waterfront Toronto, “East Bayfront.” Last modified 2009. Accessed November 7, 2012. 4. Wikipedia, “Toronto.” Last modified 2009. Accessed November 7, 2012. 5. Waterfront Toronto, “George Brown College.” Last modified 2009. Accessed November 7, 2012. brown_college. 6. Waterfront Toronto, “George Brown College.” Last modified 2009. Accessed November 7, 2012. brown_college. 7. World Architecture News, “A learning landscape.” Last modified 2010. Accessed November 7, 2012. 8. George Brown College, “New Waterfront Campus.” Last modified 2009. Accessed November 7, 2012. 9. Waterfront Toronto, “George Brown College.” Last modified 2009. Accessed November 7, 2012. brown_college. 10. George Brown College, “Waterfront Campus: Industry and Community.” Last modified 2010. Accessed November 7, 2012. 11,12,13,&14. World Architecture News, “A learning landscape.” Last modified 2010. Accessed November 7, 2012. 15. Stantec Architecture, “George Brown College - Waterfront Health Sciences Campus.” Last modified 2010. Accessed November 7, 2012. 16. Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation, “East Bayfront Zoning Project.” Last modified 2006. Accessed November 7, 2012. pdf 17. Kuitenbrouwer, Peter . National Post, “Peter Kuitenbrouwer: Waterfront’s bright future still only on the billboards.” Last modified 2011. Accessed November 7, 2012. FIGURES 1. (Hawk View) of HSC with existing context: appropriated from KPMB Architects, Tom Arban 2. (Closer shot of hawk view) of HSC with existing context: appropriated from KPMB Architects, Tom Arban 3. Exterior promenade view of GBC Waterfront Toronto: appropriated from KPMB Architects, Tom Arban 4. Exterior promenade view of GBC Waterfront Toronto: appropriated from KPMB Architects, Tom Arban 5. Section of HSC: appropriated from KPMB Architects, Tom Arban 6. Perspective of HSC with promenade: appropriated from KPMB Architects, Tom Arban





REBIRTH: GROUND ZERO ARTHUR GOLDSTEIN Ground Zero, in the heart of New York City, has been a staggeringly conflicted site to build on. Daniel Libeskind was selected to redesign the master plan in 2003 following the September 11th attacks. Libeskind is an internationally acclaimed architect whose work includes the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. The 16-acre site includes a multitude of buildings such as a museum, transportation access and 4 towers to replace the two fallen. The project, as described by Libeskind, is a “site of memory” to help the “healing of New York”. Due to the monumental implications of the project, it has been swarmed with controversy and a clash of interests on every side. Upon winning the competition, Daniel Libeskind’s old proposal, “Memory Foundations” was heavily revised alongside Skidmore, Owings and Merrill who helped designate different buildings on the project to well known architectural firms, such as Norman Foster and Santiago Calatrava. This led to a collaborative master plan, although it is Libeskind’s framework and placement of programmatic elements, as well as relationships between buildings to one another. Libeskind’s plan has huge implications, as it is aiming to revive a financial hub that is at the heart of New York; it is a reorganization of space to fit both private and public interests. There has been a wide range of delays on the project, though the plan appears to finally be fleshing out. The towers are all under construction, aimed to be completed between 2013 and 2020.



As the initial shock subsided after events that took place on September 11th, 2001 in New York City, new question began to arise – what was an “appropriate” response for the site? What kind of planning process was to deal with the shattering attack on American society? It could have been dealt with as yet another planning issue, allowing the most powerful to simply impose a fiscally profitable, self-serving agenda. 9/11 was undoubtedly a global event; the World Trade Center was targeted as a symbol of capitalism and terror succeeded, gripping the world in shock. The embarrassing amount of time it took to begin constructing anything on the site is evidence that the public role in architecture has deteriorated to a merely symbolic one. The principles of the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (International Congress of Modern Architecture) – CIAM – which once invigorated the practice of urban architecture have been abandoned, though their underlying ideas still continue to permeate in urban practice today. That the site was located in on one of the nation’s greatest 570

urban centers, it was inextricably tied to the political, social, cultural and economic contexts of the city. Following deliberation, Daniel Libeskind was chosen to design the master plan of the site, alongside internationally renowned architectural firms who designed the individual structures on the site1. The New York World Trade Center was a complex of seven buildings featuring the landmark Twin Towers by Minoru Yamasaki, all of which were eventually destroyed, leaving a 16acre site in Lower Manhattan for development2. Although the New York Port Authority owned the site, it was leased to Larry Silverstein—a real estate investor and developer—for 99 years, and it was his obligation under law to rebuild the site3. This led Silverstein to hire a design team in the initial months after the attack that resulted in the proposition of two simple blocks which mainly served his his interests for a capital return on his investment; that is, to rebuild as much commercial and office space as fast as possible. Public outcry followed and Silverstein, alongside George Pataki (governor at the time) created

Figure 1 - Aftermath of September 11th, 2001 (Wikipedia)


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Figure 2 - Original World Trade Center plan

the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) to deal with the rebuilding of the site and sponsored an architectural competition (which in its requirements included 6.5 to 10 million square feet of office space and 600,000 to 1 million square feet of retail space)3. Even though political rhetoric continuously reaffirmed the democratic nature of the competition, it was in fact completely carried out entirely behind closed doors. There was no jury nor transparency and a series of backroom deals filtered public opinion to the aspects that they deemed important to suit their own agenda3. Daniel Libeskind, who at the time was mostly an academic theoretician, having only constructed three low-rise museums, won the competition for the master plan3. Libeskind’s design stood out in that it spoke to the subjective aura of the site (that is, a focus on the experience and was responsive to the multiplicity of subjects impacted) rather than pure utilitarianism. Libeskind titled it “Memory Foundations” and alongside his emotional refugee story created a plan based on the memorialization of the site rather than re-development, which ultimately secured him the position2. Libeskind’s plan was to serve as both the conceptual and technical basis for the re-development of ground zero: it defined the spatial organization of all structured elements on the site (including the location and massing of Libeskind’s five proposed towers and two “footprints” of where the buildings were for a memorial), as well as the infrastructure, transportation, sustainability standards and security strategy while remaining sensitive to the surrounding context1. One World Trade

Center (Freedom Tower), the lead building of the complex, was designed to stand at the exact height of the Twin Towers—1776 feet— and featured a 60 foot tall atrium that, according to Libeskind, housed the 7 biomes of the world in the form of a sky garden1. As critics quickly pointed out, the structure was technically infeasible as it is impossible to build such a large atrium without an extensive support structure4. This was a huge embarrassment and Silverstein hired David Childs (consulting design partner at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill). What resulted was a mash-up of their designs in the form of a reserved skyscraper4. Larry Silverstein took lead in the design process, vastly diminishing Libeskind’s influence4. Due to the complex circumstances of the site, it has been an amalgamation of interests that have shaped the final outcome of the design. While the Port Authority of New York owns a majority of the site, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority owns two subway lines beneath it and the City of New York owns the streets that bind the property as well as rights-ofway within it5. A variety of firms have contributed final designs to the site: the Freedom Tower by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the other towers by Foster and Partners, Maki and Associates, and Richard Rogers Partnership as well as a transportation hub by Santiago Calatrava, a visitor’s pavilion by Snøhetta and a memorial by Michael Arad and Peter Walker with a museum of memory beneath1. A performing arts center by Frank Gehry is also in development1. Libeskind designed the site to feature various symbolic functions such as leaving a “Wedge of Light”, 571

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task. This is due to the context in which the master plan was designed- a context so deeply influenced by politics and competing interests that any proposed idea would have had to undergo many conservative revisions. Daniel Libeskind, who first championed the torch for redesigning Ground Zero, was eventually pushed nearly out of view (except for his affinity for the camera and the media), presently contributing merely four percent of the square-footage of the site6. While Libeskind is no longer charged with much responsibility, it is the city that will bear the effects of whatever does get built. The reflecting pool memorial in place of the footprints of the buildings is extremely successful in its reminiscence of Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial (it’s no surprise – she was on the jury to select the winner of the memorial)5. The area is surrounded by 25-30 foot trees, which provide the site with texture and an intimate human scale as well as a generous amount of benches placed throughout the park6. The two gaping voids are filled with waterfalls, which provide further separation from the street to diminish the noise produced from the high-traffic area. Public opinion preferred to leave the entire 16-acre site to a memorial, yet the interests of those in power led them to re-build the site through the profitable construction of commercial skyscrapers5. Other principles endorsed by CIAM are scattered amongst the design: adequate space for occupancy; openings to the outside; sanitation; and adequate sunlight for all the buildings7. However, due to the ever-changing changing nature of cities, there are many elements that are lacking, too: the buildings are built along

st west

an area where the sun would reach from 8:46 a.m. to 10:28 a.m. each year on September 11th where the towers once stood1. (The Wedge of Light is not in fact reached by direct sunlight and his wedge is now the width of a large sidewalk)2. Leaving the footprints of the towers to serve as the memorial, they were to go down to the foundation bedrock and slurry wall that survived, leaving the remainder of the site bordered with mega-structures to house the commercial space planned1. The irony that the World Trade Center complex was notorious for the alleged way it did not integrate into the surrounding neighborhood; the complex was most often viewed from the underground shops and transportation below or from in the towers themselves2. There was minimal street presence around the site, the structures towered above everything else and effectively changed the skyline of New York, remaining the tallest towers in the city until their collapse2. The plaza in front of the towers was not used as a primary entrance for many (it was a barren, post-modernist plaza). Rather, the public preferred to use the underground PATH entrance2. The idea of the footprint did not have much basis and is misleading in that the towers were never grounded in any special structure. Rather, they rose from the underground mall to the top. The plan to preserve these footprints is thus a symbolic gesture made in attempt to immortalize the idea of the towers that once stood and the meaning that they hold for New York’s skyline. Drawing a comparison between what has developed at Ground Zero and the principles of effective urban design is no easy

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Figure 3 - Daniel Libeskind’s World Trade Center master plan

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Figure 4 - Daniel Libeskind’s “Wedge of Light”

transportation routes (the subways underneath), which CIAM frowns upon as they are detrimental to health; the resources consumed to build the high rises have far exceeded a reasonable budget ($700 million for the memorial alone, and over 15 billion for the whole project)5; rather than freeing the ground on which the buildings sit, they are conservative towers that engulf the space around them and the skyline; the green areas around the memorial do no serve any other purpose; and pedestrians must still conform to traffic as the site is divided on all sides by roads7. Although this re-development appears to evoke principles encouraged by CIAM and the likes of Jane Jacobs, in reality when they are put in practice they are crudely distorted to fit the needs of developers. The overall monumentality of the project negates numerous aspects that CIAM has proposed, and realistically would never have won the architectural competition in light of the forces at play. Principles of good urban design are all overshadowed by the rise of terrorism,

which has forever changed the way the public may interact with architecture. Even something as public as the 9/11 memorial will hinder visitors; people are required to make ticket reservations (18 months in advance)6 and pass through a security checkpoint with big, timeconsuming line-up. After all the complications one must undergo to see the monument, one may be distracted from its overall impact and may not have the ability to make a contemplative thought once there. Several of the finalists for the architectural competition were remarkably similar to CIAM’s principles, but in the end it was Libeskind’s carefully orchestrated plan that was chosen because it combined commercial viability and an emotionally charged message. CIAM may have been useful in the post-war period as a means of setting a standard for the post-war housing crisis but, in this day and age, it would be irrational to conform to every item in the charter. CIAM’s principles remain evident in architecture today; however, attempting to enforce them with the multitude of parties present would be almost impossible. One critical tool that emerges is the use of the Internet and local opinion as they provide the most vital and objective opinions, but it would be difficult for a project such as this, where conflicting political agendas and pious statements run rampant all under public scrutiny. Libeskind may not have created the greatest master plan (we can assume this because he has never done so before) but the plan projected to be completed in 20201 can hardly be credited to himself alone, it has been decades in the making.

NOTES 1. Daniel, Libeskind. Studio Daniel Libeskind, “Ground Zero Master Plan.” Last modified 2003. Accessed October 26, 2012. 2. Sturken, Marita. “The Aesthetics of Absence: Rebuilding Ground Zero.” American Ethnologist. 31. no. 3 (2004): 311-325. 3. Hajer, Maarten. “Rebuilding Ground Zero: The Politics of Performance.” Planning Theory & Practice. 6. no. 4 (2005): 445-464. 4.Moore, Martha. USA Today, “Discord Delays Ground Zero Rebirth.” Last modified 2011. Accessed October 26, 2012. http://usatoday30. 5.Garvin, Alexander. “Ground Zero: The Rebuilding of a City.” Perspecta (The MIT Press). 36. (2005): 92-99. 6. Goldberger, Paul. “Shaping the Void.” The New Yorker, September 12, 2011. skyline/2011/09/12/110912crsk_skyline_goldberger (accessed October 26, 2012). 7. Wolfe, Ross. Modernist Architecture Database, “CIAM’s “The Athens Charter” (1933).” Last modified 2010. Accessed October 26, 2012.’s-“the-athenscharter”-1933/. FIGURES 1. Wikipedia 2. Arthur Goldstein 3. Arthur Goldstein 4. Arthur Goldstein


AFTERWORD Urban projects are reactive to their context and urban development has responded, throughout time, to the technological inventions, societal changes, political influences, and economic incentives of their times. Any development, whether it was met with positive or negative reactions, considered a success or a failure in planning, has aided in the advancement of the study and practice of city planning. Pre-CIAM projects perfection and Utopian standards, looking at reinventing cities in such form’s as Howard’s Garden City; a City Beautiful project. CIAM looks to protect cities and form rationale through residential resolutions. Post-CIAM criticizes the ideals of the period that precedes it. The sustainability of present and future city building is a reflection of the concern for the conservation of natural resources, as well as improving and maintaining economic, and social structures. Throughout the life of cities, sanitation, overcrowding, pollution, and poverty have reigned as the largest crises challenging the efficiency of cities. Whether it be the Haussman’s redesign of Paris in the mid-1800’s, the lessons of Pruitt-Igoe, the emergence of New Urbanism or the current Regent Park revitalization project; urban development remains a reactionary process. Developed from technological innovations, urban scale design continues towards achieving the ultimate sustainable environment.

Property of the Department of Architectural Science PLX 599 - The Human World

Book Editors Stephen Baik Aubrey Deluca Kate Gonashvili Dorothy Johns Gerald Karaguni Annie Pavia Eric Reid Aviv Sarner

Section Editors Nicholas Ager Carrie Groskopf Anthony Gugliotta Dami Lee Jenny Leung Advita Madan Nicola Rutherford Sahel Tahvildari

Urban Scale Design | PLX 599 | Part 2  
Urban Scale Design | PLX 599 | Part 2  

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