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Newsletter of the Institute for Urban Design January/February 2004 Vol. 20 No. 1 COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY AND STANFORD PROVIDE DIFFERENT CLUES TO DESIGN OF PUBLIC SPACE FOR THE 21ST CENTURY UNIVERSITY. Real estate as the economic lifeblood of 21st century universities was underscored at a breakfast panel on January 21 at CUNY’s Newman Institute, a program co-planned by Institute for Urban Design with Ellen Posner, Coordinator, CUNY Urban Consortium. Called Campus and Community: Changing Challenges for Public Space, the panel enabled speakers from Stanford University, Columbia and Governors Island to exchange comments on campus planning at each place. Stanford Portola Valley

David Neuman, until January University Architect at Stanford University, pointed out that Stanford’s Real Estate Holding Company manages a $7 billion dollar working investment fund. The university also owns some $1.4 billion in real estate. It is these assets that help defray cost, of student education since tuition covers only half the cost, said David Neuman. Stanford is unusual, explained Neuman, in housing 95 percent of undergraduates and 60 percent of graduate students on land provided by the former Palo Alto farm of the Leland Stanford family. Although this 3,900-acre spread now includes the Stanford Shopping Mall and is surrounded by Portola Valley communities, it has retained the European cloister as its ideal model for campus form. “Stewardship of the land is what matters most,” said Neuman. (See page 4 for book on Stanford).

Columbia Manhattanville

Mark Burstein, as Vice President for Campus Planning at Columbia University, has invested some $400 million dollars to provide 500,000 square feet of new space on a Morningside Heights campus squeezed from the west by the Hudson River, from the east by the sheer drop down into the valley of Morningside Park and to the south by the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Therefore the university now seeks to expand north into the Harlem community of Manhattanville. Planned for the 125th Street Manhattanville location: a school of the arts, a science research building, a gallery, a residence and possibly a hotel. Work is carried forward by a team led by Marilyn Taylor, SOM, with responsibility for planning and Renzo Piano, with responsibility for design. Connectivity to east and west, a retail oriented destination and a redefinition of traffic flow are the three elements that the new plan seeks to implement, said Marilyn Taylor in responding to Vice President Burstein’s presentation. Geographically it makes sense for Columbia to connect the Morningside Heights campus centered at 116th Street with three other university sites along the Hudson, most prominently, the College of Physicians and Surgeons. With 23,000 students in 16 schools, Columbia has added already 2 million square feet of space in the last decade. Panel Chair, Jean Gath, Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer, prevented from participating by a skiing accident, commented that Columbia’s challenge will continue to be rapprochement with surrounding community. Stanford’s goal will be to retain cloister format in face of 21st century land pressure.

Governors Island New York

Governors Island, the third jewel in the crown of New York Harbor, together with Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, will also be the city’s new destination for education announced James Lima, President of Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp. which officially opened an office on the Island in late January, will present a plan next winter by Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn.



Mark Robbins, former director of Design Arts program, NEA, has been appointed Dean, Syracuse School of Architecture. The role of urban design within the academic curriculum has not yet been explicated . . . Hugh Hardy flies to China in late May for his firm’s current commission there . . . On the way back to New York is Deborah Berke from assignment in Scottsdale for the James Hotel in a palate of umber and magenta . . . Brad Cloepfil, Allied Works Architecture, has unveiled an extension to the Seattle Art Museum. Meanwhile, his proposal to redesign the old Huntington Hartford Museum in Columbus Circle has become the subject of almost daily critiques by the New York press, including among the best are those by Michael Sorkin and Laurie Kerr, Wall Street Journal. Richmond’s abandoned Main Street Station, has opened as an Amtrak stop. The 17th Street Farmers’ Market, the oldest continually used farmers’ market in the country is, once again, thriving. These developments along the James River, where the first English Colony was established in 1607, have facilitated a green light for the First Freedom Foundation, to be designed by Tod Williams and Billi Tsein. An old hydro-electric plant is being turned into an entertainment center and two high-rise condominium complexes are under construction on Browns Island. By the time visitors begin to detrain for the quadi centennial of the states Richmond will have created a rehabilitated quarter with housing, green market, cultural center and recreation along the James. Sarah Brown “City


making is the next big thing,” says editor C.C. Sullivan introducing PA Awards. Among projects cited: • Silresim Superfund Redevelopment Study for Lowell, Massachusetts prepared by Chris Reed. Nial Kirkwood, Center for Technology and Environment, among designers on study team. This is a study for phased development of 120 acres of a Brownfields Superfund site into “green” industries. The proposed Superfund project is a model for a non-architecture based strategy to recover and revitalize large contaminated sites within Lowell to a new use. • S.O.S.: Strategic Public Realm Strategy for Lower Manhattan. This plan would improve and correct scarce open space in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan. Laurie Hawkinson, Smith Miller & Hawkinson Architects. Ralph Lerner, Princeton, Urban Designer Sam Schwartz, traffic planners for Lower Manhattan Development. The plan expands the number of public spaces by linking existing private space at base of tall building to a series of new public spaces. Result is delicate hand-made open space. Additional Institute Fellows with winning entries in the awards program include: • Weiss/Manfredi for Olympic Sculpture Park for Seattle Art Museum. A system of staggered landforms connects three parcels by spanning roads and rails. • Machado and Silvetti for American University School of Business in Beirut. Pathways encourage interaction between business school and its neighbors.


University of New South Wales seeks to fill a Professor of Architecture position at its Sydney Campus and may extend the March 30 deadline in order to do so. Applicants should have a capacity for cross-disciplinary work in a school that ranges from Architecture through Landscape Architecture to Urban Design. Reply to: Professor Peter Murphy at Phone: (02) 9385-4768. Urban Design in the Schools: Spotlight on UVA, ASU and UC-Berkeley

Arizona State

At Arizona State University, shifts in leadership are about to produce a new organization, the Urban Design Institute, a design laboratory that would be the heart of ASU’s satellite campus in downtown Phoenix. This effort is being pushed forward by architect, artist, and former MIT professor Wellington “Duke” Reiter, who is the new dean of the College of Architecture & Environmental Design. It dovetails with the university president’s vision for a major downtown campus complete with housing for 12,000 students. (His goals are reportedly enthusiastically supported by the new Phoenix major, Phil Gordon.) CAED already runs an urban design studio downtown, which will be expanded and folded into the Institute, which Reiter hopes will open in the 2004-2005 academic year.

Phoenix Two Acres an Hour

Phoenix’s growth rate (two acres an hour and 100,000 people per year) and sprawling patterns present a rich, important, and rather urgent context for the Institute. Nan Ellin, an associate professor of architecture, calls the planned Institute a “think-and-do-tank” that will be engaged in research and implementation projects. Trans-disciplinary teams will generate urban design proposals and engage the community through symposia, presentations, exhibitions, and publications. According to Reiter, “These proposals will emphasize connection, communication, and celebration, in contrast to the functionally zoned city which separates, isolates, alienates, and retreats.” The Institute, working with the College of Education, will also host an educational outreach center using the idea of the city as a tool for engaging elementary, middle, and high school students in design thinking, government, planning, geometry, computer visualization.

U. Virginia Charlottesville

At the University of Virginia, a certificate program in urban studies is available through the School of Architecture’s Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (A/LA), which was recently merged in response to the increasing emphasis on multidisciplinary studies. SOA Dean Karen van Lengen says that the school’s most aggressive urban design exploration is coming from professors Bill Morrish (who has a joint appointment in A/LA and the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning) and Craig Barton. Morrish came to UVA from Minnesota, where he was the founding director of the Design Center for American Urban Landscape, a nationally recognized think tank for professionals, academics and civic leaders on issues of metropolitan urban design. “Many urban design programs developed in the 1960s in response to large, complex projects,” Morrish says. “We’ve learned how to do those. Now there is a movement to overlay other issues onto projects of all scales. We are acknowledging a reciprocity that has long existed. This means finding ways to bring together knowledge about ecology, multi-family housing, and many other issues and considerations. To teach that, you need some people who can cross disciplines and make linkages. I am charged with making those connections.” Morrish says he sees urban design moving beyond design guidelines and massing studies to a more complex and layered interface between a broad range of disciplines and interests.

U. California Berkeley

The University of California-Berkeley has long been a West Coast leader in urban design education. Harrison Fraker is dean of the College of Environmental Design, within which the School of Architecture offers a Master of Urban Design working with faculty members from several disciplines. The school offers urban design concentrations to those studying architecture, landscape architecture, and city planning at the graduate level, and some joint degrees are also possible. Fraker has identified a series of theoretical strains, or lenses, that he suggests are driving urban design today. These include the fascination with hypermodernity and “generic” urbanism; New Urbanism’s emulation of 19th-century models; hybrid urbanism that tried to account for cultures that are being overwhelmed; “everyday” urbanism that tries to celebrate marginalized but vital processes; a reintroduction and restoration of natural systems; and a transformative urban morphology. (The ecology lens on urban design was one Fraker himself cultivated while working with Bill Morrish and Catherine Brown in Minnesota.) The UC-Berkeley one-year master’s program in urban design is only open to those who have worked in architecture, planning, or landscape architecture for at least three years. “Here at Berkeley, our program grew out of the transformative morphology approach, but we are also very much concerned with the ecological and natural underlays of the urban condition that have been compromised and even erased. Berkeley is eclectic… we explore all of these things with rigor and diligence.” Kira Gould

BOOKS A Century of Interior Design: 1900-2000. By Stanley Abercrombie. 100 color and 300 black/white illustrations. 224 pages. Rizzoli, New York. 2003. $45.00 hardcover. $29.95 paperback. This beautifully conceived and organized book allocates a spread for each year and within that space gives the reader an overview of technical developments, magazines, books and exhibitions while selecting a key designer and/or architect for each year. What does this delightful to peruse volume have to do say about urban designers? Mies Van der Rohe, Robert Venturi, Marcel Breuer and Antonio Gaudi are four included figures known also for parks and buildings as well as chairs, exhibition design and interior design as it developed over a century. Institute Fellow Daniel Libeskind is cited as a central figure in the century and he is also most seminal urban design figure for his work at The World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. One hypothesis that can be extrapolated is that those who have worked at the interior scale tend, as a result, to produce more humane environments when working at the scale of the city. As Denise Scott Brown once remarked, “We design teapots and we also plan at the scale of the city.” Stanford University Campus Guide. By David J. Neuman, Paul Turner and Richard Joncas. Illus. 175 pages. Princeton Architectural Press. New York. $21.95. This book is a model for how to write a useful book on campus planning, and it is focused on one of the greatest campus ensembles in North America. The Romanesque Inner and Outer quads are blended with Mission style for other portions of the campus. Antoine Predocks’ red tile roof for the Allen Center for Integrated Systems carries on the Mission style while James Polshek’s Cantor Center for Visual Arts strikes a more independent note. In any case campus architect David Newman, a lead writer for the text, will face the challenge of a traditional campus plan versus forces of sprawl and auto traffic, in his new role as campus planner for University of Virginia in Charlottesville where Thomas Jefferson designed the original campus buildings, including the Rotunda, and made the plan. In some ways, the fierce attachment of local residents may remind Neuman of a similar devotion by locals to the maintenance of early plans for Stanford. What may come as a shock in Virginia is the extreme force of sprawl around Charlottesville and the way it is destroying the town while making campus expansion difficult.


Jeffrey S. Brown, New York, NY; Matthew Dockery, School of Architecture & Design, New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury, NY; Dr. Susannah Hagan, University of East London, London, England; Carol R. Johnson, Principal, Carol R. Johnson Associates, Inc., Boston, MA; Brad Lander, Director, Pratt Center for Community Development, Brooklyn, NY; Richard Meier, Richard Meier & Partners, New York, NY; Linda Pollak, Principal, Marpillero/Pollak Architects, New York, NY.

UPDATE, published six times a year, welcomes contributions from members.

Institute for Urban Design - Urban Design Update Jan./Feb. 2004  

Columbia University And Stanford Provide Different Clues To Design Of Public Space For The 21st Century University

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