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Acknowledgements Rene Biberstein

Fontane M

Sena K

Virginia Tsz Y

Adam O

Emrik B

Chris P

Cristina T

Randa L

Jeff Min J

Michael H

Freedom S

Alice Si C

Stephen H


Publishers Publishers

Publishers Publishers Editor

Editor Editor Editor

Editor Editor Editor

Editor Editor

Foreword Places, pedestrian, activity, and boundaries is what define the urban life. Good Urban Design are fundamental in our lives because it produces attractive, efficient and sustainable locations for human to enjoy. They make people want to live, enjoy and relax. Focusing of locations in Asia / Australia, America, and Europe; this collection of essays will be discussing about the urban design practices around the world. The essays are written by Students from the Department of Architectural Science from Ryerson University, and will be commenting on various projects about their urban design qualities. The diagrams and words are created by the students who created them, and thus does not belong to Ryerson University. We hope this collection of essays will provide insight about global urban design and ultimately raise the awareness of the significance of urban planning practices.

Asia / Austria The perspectives and approaches to urban design differ continentally, nationally and regionally. This collection of essays describes the relationship of buildings to their contexts in the continents of Asia and Australia. With new architecture and approaches to architecture, comes the evolution of the design profession itself, with an increased focus on sustainability. This focus reaches beyond the typical sustainability in terms of “green,� and more often than not, touches on cultural sustainability.The content focuses on historical, cultural, and physical dialogues as considered by the architect, the planner or the urban designer of each building, complex or plan. In both regions, architecture is determined globally instead of nationally, with a focus on the superficiality. Much of the architecture in these areas is created in a generic international style rather than a distinct regional one. However, the changes in the architectural profession have begun to influence this. As recognition of the negative effects of the international style arises, a shift towards vernacular architecture, as well as the preservation of historic and cultural icons follows. Many theories, movements, and principles have changed the way urban space is designed. Designers are implementing different ideas and views from many precedents from around the world in order to create successful urban environments for its user in order to better the living conditions. Each site has its own specific demands and requirements for the creation of successful public spaces leading to various creative approaches to urban design. As a result, this collection of analyses on new and old urban design represents the evolution of architecture and planning, and its relation to urban contexts throughout various regions of Asia and Australia. This collection of essays serves to document these shifts that are taking place within Asia and Australia through the analysis of architecture and urban design that has taken place after the 1850s.

Burj Khalifa

State Theatre Centre

Han Show Theatre

Burj Al Arab

The Darling Quarter

Surry Hills Library

The Bank of China

People’s Park Complex

Abar, Sean

Agustin, Maribel Arez, Nona

Franzoi, Giancarlo Guldimann, Alan

Stock, Bethany Taylor, Jessica

Za-Koenji Theatre

Kaska, Sena

Truong, Cathy

Bai, Jiachen

Kohsravi, Shamin

Jumeirah Palm Island

CCTV Headquarters

Linked Hybrid

Taipei 101

Jing’An Kerry Centre

Nakagin Capsule Tower

Parliament House of Canberra

The Shanghai Tower Breton-Honeyman Matt Chan, Lauren

Kwan, Carol

Arario Museum

Law, Randa

CCTV Headquarters

Lee, Sookyum

Chang, Youhyun Chen, Si Alice

International Commence Center Cheng, Ka Pui Agnes

Yamaha Ginza Building Hong Kong Design Institude Ling, Hao

The Hysan Place

Linked Hybrid

Ma, Fontane

Han Show Theatre

Mu, Pearl

Deng, Yuezhu Enica

Union Building

Doucette, Emilie

Kowloon Walled City

Makuhari Housing Complex

The Q1 Tower

Dumo, Julian

Galaxy Soho Fown, Alex

Shah, Saloni

Staseff, Victoria

The Darling Complex Steriotis, Steph

Yip, Woon Sun Steffi Yung, Tsz Virginia



Due to an increase in generation of wealth owing to continuous creation of drivers of the economy and the effect of globalization, a number of major cities in the world are currently undergoing a major transformations, particularly those found in the Middle East. These cities are experiencing development of an immense scale at a growing rate which have been fostered by the need to redevelop them. Those cities with little development prior to this revamping initiatives, for example Dubai, are undergoing three times the amount of development each decade in relation to the extent of urban development. Design projects intended for urban development which initially addressed grouping of structures or a block of buildings in the city currently encompass a large area of cities (Abdelrazaq, 2010). This may also involve creation of new cities which may cover the extent of Dubailand whose area is about 300km2. It is possible that in the future most of these man-made cities may grow to the entire size of Monaco. One such project located in Dubai is the Burj Khalifa. This structure, which projects skywards, and is located to south of Sheikh Zayed road officially opened back in 2010. It has officially surpassed such other buildings as itself, which previously held world’s tallest building title such as Taiwan’s Taipei which currently stands at 509m above ground (Kallen, 2014). The Taipei presents some of the issues that have informed urban planning. The aim of this projects was to put up a structure that would allow multi-use capabilities by

providing about 460,000m2 of floor space of which there would be commercial, residential, office, hotel, entertainment, leisure, shopping and facilities for parking. This projects purpose of the project was to be the focus of the greater Burj Dubai project that currently spirals up to the skyline to a height of 828m with more than 155 floors. Despite these achievements, it is not clear whether claims by the architects to have been inspired by local forms is engraved in such structures built in an environment in which such projects are tools of economic diversification (Kallen, 2014). The claim that the architectural shapes have an association to historical forms have little conviction, and are simply a marketing tool just like the governments need for skyscrapers. Dubai’s glistening contemporary architecture together with its innovative projects were the main base for invoking interest in infrastructural development. Pursuit for economic stability was made simpler as a result of the government’s guidance and policy on urban expansion and developments. As an example, most cities in the west have developed as a result of the government’s role in the area of urban development and planning. In America, for example, planning is the role of those involved in urban development in which case the state or the city has a very limited role. In Dubai, however, the approach used utilizes both of what is done in Europe and America (Ramos, 2010). This represents a combination of liberalism of economy



Figure 1 Surrounding Water and national control that involves most of the planning being influenced by the ruling class in an environment that is mainly capitalistic. This form of urban development approach seeks to encourage an influx of foreign investment thereby encouraging a reduction of restrictions of an open enterprise. The outcome of such a system is an urban development that spatially expresses the ruling class’s economic policy. The result of this form of influence on the planning and construction of Burj Khalifa has two parts to it. One, it raises the subject of partisan power and the need for the construction of this structure (Ramos, 2010). One of the things that makes this form system unique is the centralization of UAE’s government. Being a monarchy, the UAE limits democratic involvement of the general public is matters of urban planning. To put this in perspective, development projects such as the Burj Khalifa are meant to benefit the elites. This form of urban development has led to creation of distinct sections of cities that that cannot be accesses by the common those of a lower class. Although implementation of the Burj

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Khalifa project faced some elements of polarizations just the city of Dubai from a number of critics at a conceptualization level, the building’s architectural form is one that is refined, surprisingly. This building’s artistry achievement is one that has completely placed it in a class of its own apart from the rest of a similar scope. This structure exudes elegance brought on by the combination of steel, glass and concrete. The entire structure was clad with an iridescent skin that has created aluminous outline which pierces Dubai’s skyline. Although projecting grace and chromatic restraint when compared to other such iconic structures, there has been a lot of criticism concerning its “pomposity”. In this era in which there is a new found priority in terms of sustainability, it hardly justified to criticize a building based put up in an environment whose temperature can go up to 120 degrees (Abdelrazaq, 2010). It is for this reason that its exterior curtain wall consists of glass that is able to trap condensation which would otherwise be lost through condensation. Such a design allows for water conservation helps reduce water consumption by up to 20 %. In addition, this huge water requirement for the more than 30,000 this building houses would still be required whether the structure was built horizontally or vertically as it currently stands. This modern form of architecture has revolutionized the limits to which structural design as well as engineering involving high rise buildings (Ramos, 2010). With its combination of a revolutionary technology and sociocultural influences, Burj Khalifa embodies global flamboyancy which depicts the future of skyscrapers and urban centers. This structure points global architectural movements in the direction of compact and livable environments. Its verticality together with its capacity to house urban density is a representation of a conceptualized green phenomenon.

The increasing infrastructural development currently being experienced in the Middle East has brought up an evolution in the way tall buildings are being put up. This has also brought out a form of architecture that is backed by symbolism. The most common aspect of this form of architecture is the increasing frequency with which local and international architects are integrating local forms in their work. Such efforts have proven to successfully synthesize modern techniques into local forms. Most often than not, the task of incorporating motifs that allude to centuries local history end up creating caricatures rather than a fusion of architecture and history. As a case in point, domes that are onion shaped have an association to Persian architecture rooted in south Asia and not Arab Architecture. In that regard, it is not known whether Burj Khalifa alluded to the onion domes and the Hymenocallis flower (Thomas, 2010). At the center of Dubai’s development and Burj Khalifa’s project implementation are two key developers, Nakheel and Emaar, parastatals owned by Dubai’s government. This two bodies are responsible for projecting progress as well as dynamism in a country where things are done fast, projects are amazing and big. This is meant to attract the well-to-do and those with the much needed talent. All this are necessary towards the consolidation of Dubai as a global brand. The design of Burj Khalifa was meant to enhance this image. Currently, tall structures are used as makers of geographical locations. In addition to being beacons, they are not always designed to offer functionality only. They must be able to meet social as well as urban intricacies. Buildings such as the Burj Khalifa were designed specifically to meet a particular focus and enhance the radiance of other such buildings. These buildings help urban areas to

meet the needs of contemporary commerce. This serves to define and enhance the image of urban areas that have a particular purpose in mind. Due to a recent change of policy on land use and zoning effected by the Sheikh, a number of areas were up-zoned in Dubai. This change in policy allowed for re-zoning of land from being residential to multi-story use as well as for isolated villas. This provision enabled land owners and property developers to put up structures on their land in line with the sheikh’s directive. The sheikh’s directive aimed at enhancing economical use of land. This would allow for creation of areas in which people would work, live and play encouraging sustainability thereby improving the social, environmental, economic as well as cultural aspects of the community (Ramos, 2010). Such a development would make it easier to access basic social amenities and services such that there would be a reduction in carbon emission through proper use of available resources. However, as far as Burj Khalifa is

Figure 2 Vehicle Circulation

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“This building was design to focus its location’s growth and density providing a direct connection to a mass transits network.”

Figure 3 Figure concerned, urban developmental strategies and architecture were meant to be marketing tools to advertise and thus brand Dubai’s landscape. Located at the center of a downtown area, this building was design to focus its location’s growth and density providing a direct connection to a mass transits network. In relation to this logic, development in Dubai has revolved around the idea of “smart city” development based on sustainability, mixed use and density (Ramos, 2010). The philosophy currently revolving around Dubai is that the erection of structures such as Burj Khalifa is an attempt at formulating a sustainable plan involving Green buildings.

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Figure 4 Ground Dubai’s efforts lends reference to Scheherazade syndrome dominant globally. It elucidates image branding endeavors to influence global trends through carefully and skillfully locating local urban areas on a global map. The risks associated with such investment efforts in process of creating a fabled appearance through inequitable and unsustainable improvement can hardly be overemphasized (Shaheed, 2008). This has come at the expense of ecological failure and degradation. Dubai has failed to establish a balance between urban development and ecological conservation. It is clear that saving an urban area from degradation requires

intensive partnership. There must be efforts to encourage equitable and sustainable development juts as Dubai has endeavored to promote astounding architecture in urban development projects. What Dubai needs is a change from luxurious ambition to a focus on achievable, equitable and sustainable ventures.

Bibliography Abdelrazaq, A. (2010). Design and Construction Planning of the Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE. Structures Congress 2010. FollowMe. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from burj-dubai/ Kallen, S. (2014). Burj Khalifa: The tallest tower in the world ([Paperback Ed.). Ramos, S. (2010). Dubai amplified the engineering of a port geography. Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate Pub. Shaheed, A. (2008). Briefing: Large-scale urban design projects in Dubai. Proceedings of the ICE Urban Design and Planning, 3-8. Thomas, G. (2010). The rough guide to Dubai. London: Rough Guides.

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Through the vast growth of infrastructure around the world due to available technology, buildings have taken various approaches to respond to the urban fabric of a particular city. However, the aspect of a building can be interpreted differently by observing the building in a different scale; viewing the building in a global scale and comparing it to other buildings around the world is different to the experience and actually witnessing its surrounding context. With Dubai’s rapid development, buildings such as the Burj Al Arab have attained the world’s fascination in its infrastructure and urban fabric. The city’s goals, that include creating the hotel, as a symbol that represents the city’s qualities, became a very successful architectural project as well as allowing the city to become one of the top tourist destination spots in the world (McBride, 2000). The great ambition of Dubai to build a city out of nothing in an accelerated manner with luxurious and complex architecture has jeopardized its urban scale. Although the 1999 building by WKK Architects is prosperous architecturally, the urban design perspective and its physical connection to the city falls flat. The essay will go through urban design principles and theories that would create a successful human experience and how the Burj Al Arab responds to each concept. This includes the ideas of enhancing liveability, creating community, expanding opportunity, promoting equality, and to display sustainability (Brown, 2014). It will also analyze and critique the goals and design decisions at a human scale that have

impacted the building’s urban design, such as being placed on a man made island, as well as introducing strategies to potentially create a more inviting and enhanced surrounding area. The history of the Burj Al Arab starts with the industrial revolution where Dubai encounters the ability to generate income from oil revenue and industrial developments (Elsheshtawy, 2004). This allowed the city to create multiple grand structures, which altogether created a “Las Vegas” within the eastern portion of the world (McBride, 2000). The form of the hotel represents a sail, and the idea that the progress of the city is continuously sailing. The successes in the architecture of the Burj Al Arab have allowed the structure to become a monumental piece in the city that becomes a desirable landmark to experience. This is done through the interiors, which use luxurious material, unconventional geometries that form large open spaces such as the central atrium, and the modern aspect of being built on a man made island (McBride, 2000). With the details of the building demonstrating very elaborate, intricate designs and patterns, this building portrays an example of the arts and crafts movement. The arts and crafts movement dealt with the revivalism of ancient architecture through decorative aspects and was practiced by William Morris. In comparison to the Red House designed by William Morris and Phillip Webb, The Burj Al Arab appears to be a larger, more

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Figure 1 Before the hotel develment

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luxurious, and contemporary version of an old Victorian home. With all the thought being put into every detail of the building, it appears as through too much thought has been put into the interior design and minimal efforts have been put into analyzing the consequences of the building’s presence towards its neighbouring spaces. With public spaces meant to link spaces, the hotel is successful in creating a large public space with the atrium; it is able to connect all the private spaces above to the lobby. Compared to many other hotels around the world, lobbies are seen as an intimate, small space; however, the Burj Al Arab’s lobby opens up to the height of the buildings with glazing on the north, allowing an unobstructed view to the city of Dubai (Penner, 2013). Taking a look at literature and observing how the building responds to each of the theories of urban design allows for the determination of whether the building is successful within the urban fabric. The two pieces of literature that will be used to measure the hotel’s characteristics include “Urban Design for an Urban Century: Shaping More

Liveable, Equitable, and Resilient Cities” by Lance Brown and David Dixon; and “Measuring Urban Design Metrics for Liveable Places” by Reid Ewing and Otto Clemente. Brown and Dixon introduce principles of urban design that create successful urban environments. The first is enhancing liveability, which deals with making the surroundings of the building more versatile and useable. The Burj Al Arab attempts to achieve this by creating green space around the hotel on the island; however, the space is very ambiguous. The fact that the building is situated on a manmade island and takes up more than fifty percent of the area only makes the ability to do activities very limited this rendering it unusable. The amount of space is only usable for lounging on the beach chairs and watching the city. The consideration of safety is also a factor when occupying the space since the edge of shore is very abrupt and close to the building. The second principle by Brown is the creation of community, which deals with engaging and welcoming users and visitors to the building. Once again, the island prevents the success of this principle through the attempt of representing Dubai by isolating the building from the rest of the city; it instead segregates itself from the city. This is done through a roadway that connects the city to the island however; it is very narrow and is mainly used for vehicles. The security of the building also prevents a large volume of people wanting to experience the building because of the luxurious features and its protection. Only at certain times are people allowed to access the building and require a certain purpose to be within it, such as renting a hotel room. The third principle is the ability to expand opportunity. Allowing future developments to branch out from this building represents versatility to the area. By creating more islands and roads, and connecting the building to future structures achieves this however; by designing it as a monument, it can only remain as a standalone building. By initially designing it as prestigious and grand, it creates a hierarchy of buildings in the city. This conflicts with the fourth principle of urban design, which is promoting equality. The concept of a hierarchy creates a sense of superiority amongst individuals

who are allowed to access the building, and creates exclusivity in the environment. One can live in the city of Dubai, but by not being part of the upper class, one cannot experience the building, causing inequality. The last principle is fostering sustainability, which is achieved architecturally but lacks in an urban design aspect. This is because an island has to be made, which required a great amount of materials and labour, as well as requiring the use of vehicles to access the island resulting in air pollution. The attempts to create a successful urban environment based on the principles presented by Brown are not achieved. Therefore in terms of this literature, the Burj Al Arab is not successful in urban design. In the literature of Ewing and Clemete, the authors talk about the urban design qualities that create a successful atmosphere for the community that surround a building. The first is imageability, which deals with the space being recognizable and having the ability to be easily understood. This is successful with the Burj Al Arab as it is iconic through its form and created a symbolic significance to the city; it is known and seen as the tallest hotel in a sail form, that stands on a man made island, overlooking the city and desert of Dubai. The second quality is enclosure, which relates to the boundaries that shape the public space of the building. In most urban cases buildings frame it define the public space, such as courtyards and the street front. This is not apparent in the Burj Al Arab but instead, the two elements are in a role reversal, where the public space of the island frames the building and the body of water below the level of the public space is what defines the public space boundary. The third quality is human scale, which takes a look at the relationship and proportions between the building and its users. This is not achieved since the building’s height dominates even the surround buildings, being known as the tallest hotel in the world. Although it attempts from being so dominant through distance, an individual standing next to the building as well as being so close to the edge of the water almost seems very intimidating and unsafe. The next

quality of urban design deals with transparency, which relates not only with the visual field of view of public spaces, but as well as the easy flow of circulation through the outdoor public spaces. Although this is achieved within the building, with the lobby and atrium allowing for a direct flow of circulation, the transparency isn’t clear outdoors; it becomes limited to the perimeter of the building and the visual field of view becomes obstructed by the building, which is centered on the island. Another quality of urban design deals with linkage, which relates to the direct connection and the relationship with other buildings in terms of transportation. Taking a look at the hotel, the island compromises the connection to the city since it is physically separated, and vehicle transportation is the only means of reaching the building. The last quality involves the idea of coherence, which deals with the building’s ability to blend and fit within the urban city context. This is clearly not apparent, as the building and its outdoor public spaces are completely independent and separated from the rest of the city. With the non-conformance to the qualities by Ewing and Clemente, this


Figure 2 After hotel development

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“The ‘Las Vegas’ structure... designed to provide tourists of the world as well as its own community a grand and adventurous living experience. “


140m 10m Figure 3 Height relationship to neighbourbouring structures. results in possibilities in which the building and its public spaces can perform better. The “Las Vegas” structure of the Burj Al Arab as described by McBride is designed to provide tourist of the world, as well as its own community, a grand and adventurous living experience. It is unfortunate that the public spaces are not as successful as the interior of the building. As the urban context is measured through literature, it can be determined that the Burj Al Arab’s architecture is exceptional but more efforts could have been made in the understanding and analysis of the effects the building has towards its own public spaces, the people, and the city’s infrastructure. Taking the principles of Brown and Dixon, it was determined that the hotel did not comply to any theories however, by manipulating current features of the building, the Burj Al Arab could

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have the potential of being a well experienced space inside and out. For example, enhancing liveability can be achieved through a mixeduse building or with multiple programs along the ground floor of the building. This would allow versatility and convenience to the hotel. Another solution includes reconsidering the parti of the building; a sculpture that represented the city on a man made island. This relates to the principles of creating community, ability to expand opportunity, and fostering sustainability as discussed by Ewing and and Clemente. For example, with the massive scale of the building and its intention of being a monumental piece, the possibility of making it a central piece, could have been more successful than an object building sitting on a pedestal that can only be admired from afar. Another option could have been a building

on the desert portion of the city. Since the city was in the process of expanding rapidly, the building could at first watch over the city and through time, the building would be able to grow with the city and slowly become a centered masterpiece. Through the development of a better schematic design and analysis of the site, the Burj Al Arab could have fostered the fundamental features of urban design. With Dubai growing rapidly, the buildings appear to have been designed individually and in competition with one another. A master plan where the buildings would have been designed in unison to work together would have been more appropriate. This results in a city filled with objects rather than a coherent flow of an inviting environment, and simply leads to a copy and paste of “Las Vegas� in the city of the United Arab Emirates.


Figure 4 Burj Al Arab Site Plan Bibliography Brown, L., & Dixon, D. (2014). Urban design for an urban century: Shaping more livable, equita ble, and resilient cities (Second ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley. BURJ AL ARAB, DUBAI. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2015, from burj-al-arab/ Burj Al Arab. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from 2012burjalarab/ Elsheshtawy, Y. (2004). Chapter 8: Redrawing Boundaries: Dubai, an Emerging Global City. In Planning Middle Eastern cities: An urban kaleidoscope in a globalizing world (pp. 169- 197). London: Routledge. Ewing, R., & Clemente, O. (2013). Measuring urban design metrics for livable places. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. McBride, E. (2000). Burj al arab. Architecture, 89(8), 116-127. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.lib. Penner, R. H., Adams, L., & Rutes, W. (2013). Hotel Design, Planning and Development (2nd Edition). Saint Louis, MO, USA: Taylor and Francis. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary. com

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The Bank of China Tower, designed by I.M. Pei, is a 70 storey skyscraper located on 1 Garden Road in Central and Western District in Hong Kong Island. It is the core of urban area in the city, making this area the central business district. The Central and Western District is located on the northern part of Hong Kong Island. The Central part refers to the core of business district and the Western part is the first area in colonial Hong Kong to be urbanely settled with a high density population and comprise mostly manmade structures. (Cox, n.d.). In order to build this skyscraper in such a high density urban context, while, enhancing the quality of living, some considerations were essential prior to its design process in terms of environmental, economic, social and climactic factors. They had to make sure the site and the surrounding context is appropriate for this design due to its unique characteristics and more importantly its height. They also focused on the economic factors and how the building will have an impact on the capital and employment on the site. Another important factor to consider was that how the building interacts with people, pedestrians and vehicular circulation. They also had to take into consideration the effects of the building on the air circulation since it is one of the recent issues that has been neglected over the past couple of years.

High rise buildings of Hong Kong form a unique characteristic for the urban structure of the island. (Liang, 1973, Page 15) The height of the Bank of China Tower is 315 meters, making it the tallest building in the United States and in Asia from 1989 to 1992, creating a striking singularity on the skyline of Hong Kong. (Bank of China Tower, n.d.) One of the preliminary considerations by the designers was to make sure the area was dense enough to hold this building inside its context. The Central District is an area with a rich cultural and historical context due to the fact that it has a combination of buildings with ultra-modern style near Victorian-era colonial style in addition to old Chinese architecture. Some of these prestigious landmarks are Hong Kong City Hall, Jardine House and Statue Square, on the North side of this tower. The Hong Kong Park, located on the South side of the site, and St. John’s Cathedral, located on the west, are designed based on British architecture. Norman Foster’s HSBC building, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, in addition to the Government House, are located on the West side of the site. (Bruegmann, 2010) The site is jammed between two elevated highways with a difference of nine meters between the two edges, making the existence of a skyscraper

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Figure 1 Relationship of the building with its context in terms of height

on the site more logical. The site, although located in the central district of Hong Kong, was small and covered with highway overpasses on three sides. (Wiseman, Pei, 2001, Page 288) Furthermore, the need for housing and commercial buildings has dramatically increased because of the immigration and construction boom that happened during the 1950s. Due to this increase and the site’s small size, urban expansion took the form of vertical growth instead of horizontal. (Liang, 1973, Page 18) In addition, since the site was located out of the airport flight path, the building was not restricted by the height limit. (Boehm, Pei, 2000, Page 106) In conclusion, a high rise building was appropriate and needed on the site. These high rise buildings are able to meet the commercial functions of financial capital of China. The designers also had to consider the fact that the site is rich enough to afford the Bank of China Tower with no difficulties. The district has the most educated

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residents with high incomes; therefore, it could be concluded that the site had no problem accepting this skyscraper. Only 18 floors of the building are being used for the bank and 52 other floors are for renting. (Bank of China Tower, n.d.) During the 1950’s, extraordinary number of refugees came to Hong Kong and consequently created “over urbanization”. Due to the increase in number of people living in the area, the colony was facing a crisis of unemployment and had to find solutions in order to overcome this problem. Most of the refugees were businessmen, workers and landlords who brought with them some sort of capital and this made the “over urbanization” different in Hong Kong compared to other countries because the population came with money and this made the site rich enough to accept expensive buildings. After couple of years, the crisis decreased when the colony was forced to go through industrialization. (Liang, 1973, Page 18) During this time, they came to a conclusion that vertical

urban expansion is the most efficient way of providing commercial and residential spaces. Therefore, skyscrapers such as The Bank of China Tower were introduced in the island. With the creation of job opportunities in the city, the majority of the population settled within the built up areas, where urban development has taken place. The fact that tall buildings or even skyscrapers can be found in most residential zones is a unique characteristic of the residential system of Hong Kong. This characteristic has some similarities with the CIAM movement, organization by Le Corbusier, which strived to reduce the distance between industrial and residential zones in a city to decrease the time of commuting. This movement put emphasis on the functional segregation and distribution of the population into tall buildings, in a same way that Hong Kong distributed its population.This combination exhibits mixed land-use pattern which is the most significant features in the land-use pattern of the area. This type of city planning is very similar to pattern planning which focuses on the natural growth of city without an envisioned master plan. “I like to think that buildings are designed for people. For that reason, I prefer to design pubic buildings, which usually are used by a lot of people who will interact with that spatial experience, and hopefully will be affected by it.� (Boehm, Pei, 2000, Page 108) Based on this theory by I.M. Pei, the Bank of China Tower was designed in a way to maximize people’s interaction with the building. Another advantage of the height of this building is the fact that it allows people to overlook

some of the most prestigious building of Hong Kong with a panoramic view of the harbor and this maximizes the relationship of the building with its context. (Boehm, Pei, 2000, Page 106) The building is located on the site in a way that is accessible from all four sides due to the huge amount of transportation and pedestrians that it brings to the site. As Pei mentions in one of his interview, one of the struggles he was dealing with when he started designing this building was that the site is surrounded by a heavily trafficked roadway and there was no possibility to make an entrance. In order to gain an access to the site, he proposed to create a new road at the back of the site. (Boehm, Pei, 2000, Page 106) He provided two major entrances for the building, from east and north side, in addition to a continuous walking path directed on east-west axes. The high density of the site increases the amount of circulation around it. Even though there are lots of internal transportation in this area to facilitate

Figure 2: The two major entrances of the building in reference to the highways surrounding the site

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“I like to think that buildings are designed for people.” - I.M. Pei Figure 3 Figure ground diagram showing the surrounding conext

circulation of people, it has not yet met the needs of the increasing population due to the fact that political situation remains the same and economic growth continues. This led to the segregation of place of residence and place of work and consequently a mixed land-use pattern. (Liang, 1973, Page 25) Improvement of internal transportation is the most urgent need in the city of Hong Kong which will cause a gradual alteration to the land-use pattern of the city (Liang, 1973, Page 26) In order to create a comfortable relationship between the building and its existing masonry neighbors, Pei created a base of stone for the tower and set the glass portion on top of this base. Even though, this created an inconsistency with the rest of the building, only the base would be visible from pedestrian’s point of view

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which is more pleasant to the eye of the viewer. (Wiseman, Pei, 2001, Page 290) However, the height of this skyscraper resulted in no transition between the scale of the pedestrian and automobile and the scale of the tower. (Bruegmann, 2010) Hong Kong is one of the densest populated cities in the world and this has created some advantages for the city; for instance, efficient land use, infrastructure, and closer proximity to daily amenities. However, it is harder to consider natural environment in these conditions – natural air and wind ventilation. (Feasibility Study, 2005) Some of the main problems are: “lack of considered network of breezeways and air paths towards the prevailing wind, tall and bulky buildings closely packed together forming undesirable windbreaks

to the urban fabric behind, a general lack of greenery in the urban areas and tight streets not aligning with the prevailing wind.” (Feasibility Study, 2005, Page 5) These factors had to be considered before designing this skyscraper, especially in this setting because of its vulnerability to typhoons. (Wiseman, Pei, 2001, Page 289) As I.M. Pei mentions: “The problem I faced in Hong Kong was “feng shui” worship which literally means wind and water. It has its roots in the worship of the forces of nature, which sometimes degenerated into a form of superstition. When you design buildings in Hong Kong, you cannot get away from that problem. There are specialists who advise people on all matter of things, especially on the selection of a building site; placement of the building on the site; and the shape and form of the building.” (Boehm, Pei, 2000, Page 105)

It has to be ensured that the wind travels along breezeways and major roads and it can penetrate deep into the district. This can be achieved by proper linking of open spaces and stepping building heights in rows which was achieved in the Bank of China Tower. In conclusion, the designers had to consider different aspects before designing this skyscraper. These considerations were about the existing site conditions and how the building can impact the site and focused on environmental, economic, social and climactic factors. These preliminary considerations resulted in a building which fits into its surrounding context, also minimizing the negative impacts of the skyscraper on the site.

Bibliography Bank of China Tower - The Skyscraper Center. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2015, from http:// Boehm, G., & Pei, I. (2000). Conversations with I.M. Pei: Light is the key. Munich: Prestel. Bruegmann, R. (2010, February 1). The Architect as Urbanist: Part 1. Retrieved September 23, 2015, from Cox, W. (n.d.). The Evolving Urban Form: Hong Kong. Retrieved September 24, 2015, from http:// Feasibility Study for Establishment of Air Ventilation Assessment System. (2005). Hong Kong: Department of Architecture Chinese University of Hong Kong. Liang, J. (1973). Urban land use analysis: A case study on Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Ernest Publications. Wiseman, C., & Pei, I. (2001). The architecture of I.M. Pei: With an illustrated catalogue of the buildings and projects (Rev. ed.). London: Thames &

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November 2008, in Shanghai, the biggest, most populated and the most developed city in China, a building foundation was laid, a skyscraper was being built. The location, was at the heart of this city of international trade, Lujiazui distract--the downtown of Shanghai. The name of this building is Shanghai Tower. This mixed-use building was built between 2008 and 2015 and is the 2nd tallest building in the world. China has a population of over 1.3 billion people and Shanghai as the largest city in China, has over 30 million people living there. In a city with such a high population, it makes sense to build up and it is easy to build a large building to contain lots of people. The thing is, what Shanghai really needed, what China was really looking for, was a solution. A solution that will fix the situation and create a new way of living and working in such a populated urban area, and Shanghai Tower, was the solution. In an area like Lujiazui, the major issue is the lack of green space since each square meter is valued more than gold. What the office workers need, is a place for short rest, a place to eat lunch in peace. What the residents living in the downtown area need, is a place to rest and have fun. How to accomplish two different groups of people’s needs is what the Shanghai Tower trying to solve. With a population like Shanghai, parks are usually full with people trying to make peace with nature within the city. How to accommodate a large number of people’s need for green space is a problem all highrise buildings are trying to resolve.

The idea of the Shanghai Tower is to create a neighborhood, even a city within the building - a place where people can eat, work and live. It is one of the most sustainably advanced tall buildings in the world and also as the third tower in the trio of signature skyscrapers at the heart of Shanghai’s Finance and Trade Zone according to Shanghai master plan, having the Jinmao Tower represent the “past”; the Shanghai World Financial Center represent the“present” and the Shanghai Tower represent the “future” to symbolize the development of Shanghai. The design team kept the Shanghai Tower’s footprint to a minimum to give more space to vegetation, public space and pedestrian walkway, so that people can be more comfortable around the building. The green coverage rate is over 33% for the site. Around the building is a huge park provides sitting, fitness equipment and water fountain. At the edge of the park, landscape was designed to create a buffer between the crowded street and the park itself. This area became a gathering space for people working and living nearby. Shanghai city property line for this site is right by the pedestrian walkway, but when designing the shanghai tower, the design team decided to push their owe line further back to give more space to the pedestrian. The building locates at the center of the site to create a full circle green space around the building. Entrances to the park/green space are on all four sides and four corners to provide maximum accessibility to people from any directions.

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with stores, and restaurants, most important, it has sunlight, greenery and an open space where people doesn’t feel like trapped inside of a building; those spaces will feature local vegetation and trees that will provide fresh air and help regulate the building’s temperature, also the communities reduced occupancy’s need for going all the way down to the ground and lowered the energy consumption to achieve a more sustainable environment.

Figure 1 Vertical Communities The problem is, there are more people in Shanghai than whole Canada combined, so even with such a big green space on site, it is not enough. To accommodate both people working inside the building and people living and working nearby, more green space is needed. Therefore interior “skyparks” was designed. As a building that is almost as big as a city, Shanghai Tower contains 9 vertical communities, each accommodates 12-15 levels. It was created by giving the building two layers of skin. These spaces are from the idea of city’s historic open courtyards, which merge interiors with exteriors in a landscaped setting; in this case it is the sky lobby. The first layer is installed on the building’s concrete core like a normal building; the other layer is installed on a steel frame shielding the building, creating a 12-15 stories high public lobby. Those communities provide space needed for daily life. Each section has a main floor

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Major elements in the Shanghai Tower are offices and hotel. People working inside the Shanghai Tower need a place to rest or eat lunch in between work, but they don’t have a lot of free time to do so during working hours, especially in such a high skyscraper, it will take a long time to go up or down the building. With the 9 vertical communities, the public spaces serve as outdoor spaces. People who live and work in the building do not have to go all the way down to get what they need, essentially each community act like an individual building. By reducing the need of going outside the building, the “skyparks” not only makes the interior environment a better place to be in, but also helps reducing the population density in the parks on the ground. The Shanghai Tower not only put nature

Figure 2 Circulation and access on site

“it is the combination of architecture and urban planning/design, a vertical city�

Figure 3 Shanghai 1979 Map back into the city, but also into the building itself, and created a beautiful, sustainable and comfortable space, it is the combination of architecture and urban planning/design, a vertical city. It might be too soon to judge whether the Shanghai Tower has positive or negative effect on Shanghai since the building has just finished construction a couple month ago, but from traditional sense of urban planning point of view, the Shanghai Tower might did not creates a nice and healthy connection between the site and the surroundings, the building itself would not be considered a great urban design, but it did combine urban planning of a much bigger scale into archi-

Figure 4 Figure-ground

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tecture, giving a solution to future Urban development and created a new way of living and working in the high population density urban environment. The city’s vice-mayor at a conference in 2014 said: “with 23 million inhabitants – an increase of almost 50 percent in the past decade – and 9 million migrant workers, the city had no choice but to build upwards.”the population problem is challenging Shanghai, and this is why each building build in Shanghai has to think about how to fixing the problem on both architecture and urban planning scale. Maybe in Shanghai, in China, the definition of a good urban design are no longer exists on the ground level only, but on a higher altitude as well; and it is not only about creating small comfortable spaces anymore, but also creating comfortable space for a high population. “In the last decades of the 20th century, Shanghai was seen as the engine of modernization in China. (Pridmore, Jay.)”having such a background, the Shanghai Tower make sense. It is the starting point for future Chinese urban planning. In conclusion, the Shanghai Tower is the combination of urban design and architecture, a beautiful vertical city. It might not be considered a good urban planning project in the traditional sense, but it meets every aspects and needs for the development of Shanghai. The new way of living and working in the high population density urban environment the Shanghai Tower created might be the future solution for China’s population problem.

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Figure 5 Before and after

Bibliography Horesh, N. (2014).Shanghai, past and present: A concise socio-economic history, 1842-2012. Sussex Academic Press. Jenks, M. (2008).World cities and urban form: Fragmented, polycentric, sustainable?Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Pridmore, J. (2008).Shanghai: The architecture of China’s great urban center. New York: Abrams. Shanghai Urbanism at the Medium Scale(Aufl. 2014 ed.). (2014). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. Wu, J. (2008).Global integration, growth patterns and sustainable development: A case study of the peri-urban area of Shanghai. New York: Routledge. EVolo skyscrapers 2. 150 new projects redefine building high. (2013). Brockton: EVolo. Weler, E. (2003).Skyscraper: Designs of the recent past and for the near future. London: Thames & Hudson. Shanghai Tower, Park Hyatt and cityscapes - Time Captures. (2015, March 14). Retrieved November 23, 2015, from

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Designed by American architect Steven Holl, Linked Hybrid was designed and planned to be a new type of housing development in China. This paper investigates how the planning principles of the project were shaped by the current political, social and cultural influences within China. As recent growth trends relating to population and construction were becoming evident in large urban centres like Beijing, the Linked Hybrid housing model was meant to counteract those tendencies. Previously, mass housing models were planned around traditional Feng-Shui and geomancy planning principles (Lam, 2011, p.19). A new Beijing style had been recently adopted where vertical living could give opportunities for individual expression through the urban design of new communities. The area the project was developed in had previously been a socialist paper mill industry town. Customarily, walls were used to separate the working community from the living communities for privacy and use of space reasons. As a strategy to solve China’s problematic urbanism, Linked Hybrid was intentionally designed as an open public community with program like parks, restaurants and a movie theatre placed at the core to draw the public in at grade. In recent years the occupants of the complex constructed perimeter walls to enclose their new residential community. The Western urban design ideals of Steven Holl clashed with the traditional norms of the local residents. The conflicting planning concepts of the designer in comparison

to that of the intended population are evident in the Linked Hybrid housing development. The site for Linked Hybrid is located in the Dongzhimenwai neighbourhood of Beijing (Peasron, 2008). Before this area underwent development, it was a typical socialist work unit in Beijing in which its industry focused around a paper mill (Holl, 2010, p.67). When the industrial zone of the factory complex was purchased by a private developer for the construction of Linked Hybrid and other housing developments, the factory workers’ residences were left untouched just north of the proposed site but were divided by an existing wall (See Figure 3B). The prominent site located just outside the inner city on the first ring, is placed adjacent to a major highway that connects Beijing International Airport through the surrounding ring roads that make up the city’s primary vehicular circulation roots. The placement of site in relation to transit was significant to the planning of this project with the anticipation that the users of the housing would be commuting to a Beijing’s City Centre. This new model contrasts with many of the adjacent communities that primarily work in surrounding factories (Lam, 2011, p.76). With the drastic change in zoning regulations for this project, in terms of use and volume, the adjacent historical workers housing communities and the new development full of young elite, have

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A) 1940s-1990s Bejing First Paper Mill

C) 2007 POP MOMA completed & Airport expressway completed

B) 2000-2003 Wangguocheng MOMA completed

D) 2008 Dangdai MOMA (Linked Hybrid) completed, demolition of housing at the south

Figure 1 Development stages been revealed to have contrasting ideals for ways of living. These two social groups share very different understandings of urbanism and of society due to their different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, as well as due to the different experiences and ways of thinking of their respective generations. `` Steven Holl’s vision for the project was to produce a gateless, open community for a country that has been using walls and gates for privacy for hundreds of years. In Holl’s words, the intention was ‘…to create an open space and a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere. On the ground floor of the community, all daily-life necessities, including a full-service

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laundry centre, banks, and supermarkets, can be found. Residents do not need to rely on cars, but they can walk to their destinations… This idea tries to connect different parts of the city on a macro level and connect everyday life and architecture on a micro level’ (Holl, 2010, p.22). His intention for the project was highly praised by the editors of international architectural journals as a possible alternative solution to the problematic layout of Beijing. However, these positive reviews isolated the new architecture from its context (Lam, 2011, p. 48). This example reiterates the idea of how a project cannot be deem successful if only the architecture is strong but does not work with the urban fabric and visa versa. Although these attitudes are typically seen as idealistic in a North American context, that is not so the case for this particular Chinese culture and community. During the early planning stages of the complex, Holl drew on inspiration from his home of New York in his critique of Chinese contemporary urbanism (Holl, 2010, p.36). He brought in design ideas on a micro urbanism level that focused on freedom of pedestrian travel. For large urban projects like this that are made up of several buildings, the physical porosity becomes essential for a healthy, active street life. Influences from Greenwich Village and Jane Jacobs’s ideal aspirations of a pedestrian focused plan were at the heart of this new planning experiment half way across the world (Lam, 2011, p.13). The concepts of self-contained communities designed around micro urbanism can also be compared to the planning principles of The Garden City Movement by Ebenezer Howard (See Figure 3B). With the at-grade programming of the housing development designed to host shops, theatres, cafés, and laundry facilities, this model of urbanism is an attempt to create a holistic, self sustaining community as seen similarly in the Garden City Movement. Furthermore, the new residential sectors of the development have incorporated green and water spaces at the core and along the perimeter which adds


Traditional Neighborhoods

City of Pockets Caused by New Residential Development and Uncoordinated privitization


Figure 2 Shift in Chinese urbanism planning strategies

an additional layer of comparability to The Garden City Movement. China, a walled country, has historically used gates to create more privacy and separation between spaces. Throughout the 1950s, when the paper mill factory was at its peak of production, there was a wall separating it from the residential communities that housed workers (See Figure 1A). A totally new model of separation is implemented in order to achieve privacy between these two new communities of differing social groups. The societies’ view of gated communities is not so much a critique of capitalism but more a discussion about the conflicts between two power systems conflicting at other sociological levels (Petit, 2013). The role of developers in the Chinese planning landscape is made apparent with the planning power they hold exemplified in this project. Linked Hybrid was designed as an open community with emphasis placed on the concept of linkage. This concept imagined by Holl was meant to connect his design to the surrounding neighbourhoods by allowing people to interact with the development at an

experiential, pedestrian level. His intention for the project was reviewed positively by the architectural community. However, these positive reviews isolated the new architecture from its context. Holl states, ‘Rather than a fixation with solid, independent object-like forms, it is the experiential phenomena of spatial sequences with, around, and between which emotions are triggered. Especially in the city of Beijing where the urban grid layout (inherited from the hutong blocks) tends toward‘s upper block dimensions, porosity is crucial.’ (Holl, 2010, p. 45) Linked Hybrid brought cultural, social, and political conflicts to the surface, providing a case study in evaluating practices of urban planning strategies in China, as well as to understand the culture of China from an architectural and planning point of view. The design of the building, planning and inhabitation of Linked Hybrid are having an effect on architectural design in China today because it is being constantly appropriated as an architectural model to be followed. The rapid change in the area’s infrastructure and zoning proved to be a rejection by both community groups.

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“the development brought cultural, social, and political conflicts to the surface, providing a case study in evaluate practices of urban planning strategies in China” Wall between two communities

A) Beijing First Paper Mill (Before 2000)

Newly constructed wall

B) MOMA communities (After 2000)

Figure 3 Figure ground diagram before and after development This is formalized in positive and negative learning examples. As the new housing project began to fill up with residents, it was revealed that many of the population were young ‘elites’ that had received North American educations. This was a factor in the planning from the developer’s perspective because of the analysis of the potential market. This typical process of appropriation of Linked Hybrid as a foreign model also

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forms part of the Chinese context and of Chinese culture. Critical extrapolation needs to be respected in terms of future goals for Beijing and China as a whole. Their recent boom is already showing long-term effects on the vertical and horizontal density growth. Projects like Linked Hybrid are important to analysis how planning can be implemented to successfully merge together culturally traditional ways of living with life-styles of the next generation.



Beijing before 1980s

Beijing after 1980s

Linked Hybrid


Figure 4 Chronological building typology

Bibliography Holl, S. (2010). Urbanism: Working with Doubt. New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press. Jefferson, E. (2005). Holl on hybrids. Architectural Design, 75(5), 78-83. doi:10.1002/ad.140 Lam, T. (2011). Linked Hybrid in Beijing: Placing an American Building and its Architectural Concept in its Chinese Context. London. Melvin, J. (2008). DYNAMIC HYBRID. The Architectural Review, 224(1340), 50-53. Pearson, C. A. (2008). Linked Hybrid. Architectural Record, 196(7), 130 Petit, E. (2013). Steven holl. The Architectural Review, 233(1393), 20-21.

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Japan has undergone through many dramatic historical changes that have affected* its culture, demographics, politics, and technology. From earthquakes to tsunamis to volcano eruptions, the nation has endured endless natural disasters being in a zone of extreme tectonic instability. Regardless, this natural disaster hotspot is home to a staggering population of 127 million and a density of 336 people per square kilometer. Such density results in intensified innovation and city development. With urbanization beginning within the past century, cities have been destroyed and rebuilt countless times, each time emerging from the rubble stronger and more resilient. At such a rapid rate* of urbanization, authorities have difficulty keeping up with designers and builders. Although originally designed to fit seamlessly into the haphazard site and respond to the needs of the city through the embodiment of Metabolist principles and the fulfillment of the programmatic needs of Japanese businessmen, Kisho Kurokawa’s Nakagin Capsule Tower failed to realize many of its ideas and is unable to keep up with its surroundings, leaving it in a state of despair. Tokyo has a very distinct aesthetic and demographic arising from its lack of city planning, design guidelines and coherent organization. Theoretically, the Nakagin Capsule Tower responds tremendously well in meeting the needs of the population and in its consideration of the site. Yet, Kisho Kurokawa’s vision is not entirely realized. The mosaic of different architectural expressions is the result of the “slow creation of advanced urban

amenities in response to the cast migration of people into the city” while “neither the shape nor the form of the growth of the city was managed by city planning in spite of recurrent destruction in the twentieth century” (Hein, Diefendorf, & Yorifusa, 2003, p. 51). In a purely aesthetic point of view****, Nakagin Capsule Tower does not respond to any design cues from the site because there are no overarching principles to drawn upon. The site lacks a cohesive visual aesthetic and the expression is one of haphazardness and incongruity. In that sense, the Capsule Tower fits in seamlessly and brings its own element of modularity, scale and geometry. The tower is situated in a unique site where the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 destroyed the majority of the Western planning influenced structures in the area. Two decades later, the Second World War left a site of chaos and destruction, destroying some 750 000 houses in Tokyo alone (Sorenson, 2002, p. 162). These two events left a clean slate for the city to intensify development through its population boom in the postwar era. The government pushed for economic development to strengthen the state from the 1950s and 1960s at any cost. This intense demand for the development of a metropolitan resulted in an erratic urban fabric. The capsule tower currently exists at the edge of a high end shopping area alongside the Tokyo Expressway** with several skyscraper office buildings towering at 50 stories on the other side. To further the chaos, loose urban planning regulations set by the Japanese government allowed the district to take on a life of its own. Rapid

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Figure 1 Figure ground with building urbanization in Japan meant that any land within commuting distance was fair game and anything within the urban core was densified to extreme levels. With inconsistent urban design guidelines and little to no regulation on public realm design, the Nakagin Capsule Tower makes a considerable attempt at acknowledging the ground condition. The podium on which the two cores connect exhibit influences from Le Corbusier in the bay windows, free façade, and pilotis. The lack of any physical mass at the ground floor suggests the possibility of an animated street. Currently, it is poorly lit and uninviting, due to the low occupancy and general mismanagement of the building.

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Kurokawa attempted to respond to the demographical needs of the city in this Metabolist icon. Following the expansion of the urban core, there was a migration out of this high density area and into the newly formed suburbs in the surrounding communities. From 1960 to 1965, Tokyo experienced the first

ever net loss of migrants as suburbanization continued to take over the surrounding areas. Citizens were “pushed [out] by expanding central area businesses and rising land values, and pulled [away] by lower housing costs” (Sorenson, 2002, p. 206). Additionally, small farmers who held the majority of the land on the urban perimeter refused to sell their land which drove prospective homeowners to seek affordable residences further and further away from the center. Overall, the distance between dwelling and work requires a lengthy and suffocating average of 106 minutes to and from work according to the Financial Post (2015). The Nakagin Capsule Tower sought to respond to the needs of the city and its people by providing a second home for Sararīman or salarymen, meaning Japanese white-collar businessmen, who wanted to avoid the daily commute home. The intention was that each individual unit would provide the bare necessities, including a bed, sink, and washroom, for a person to stay the weeknights and return to their suburban home for luxury amenities. However, the few units still occupied now serve a variety of purposes ranging from permanent residences, storage spaces, and personal offices. The Nakagin Capsule Tower is arguably the face of the Metabolist movement which “advocated architectural forms that could fluctuate and expand in response to their environments” (Daniell, 2008, pg 115). It was a “radical, utopian movement in response to urban issues in postwar Japan” (Holt, 2014). Defined by four essays by Kisho Kurokawa, Fumihiko Maki, Masato Otaka, and Kikutake titled “Ocean City”, “Space City”, “Towards Group Form” and “Material and Man”, Rem Koolhaus deemed it “the only non-white avant-garde in 3000 years” (Daniell, 2008, pg 115). Most relevant to the capsule tower was “Towards the Group Form” which is about deemphasizing permanent megastructures and instead shifting the emphasis to flexible urban planning. The essence of Metabolism and Group Form is that “elements can be added and

taken away from the cluster without destroying the balance of the whole composition as a modernist ensemble” (Sorenson, 2007, pg. 291). Located in the upscale shopping district of Ginza, the Nakagin Capsule Tower is an icon of the Metabolist movement and attempts to respond to the city as an ever-changing organism. Applying biological growth to architecture in order to adapt to the needs of the urban environment meant that each individual living unit or “capsule” was manufactured in a factory in Shiga Prefecture and then transported to site to be assembled and installed into the core. Each capsule was meant to be replaced individually approximately every 25 years (see Figure 3). In theory, the ability for pods to be added and removed as necessary means an increase in responsiveness to ever changing site conditions. However, Kisho Kurokawa’s original intent for the capsule tower to be “a machine for living in” similar in the way Le Corbusier say housing was never realized to its full potential as evidenced by its current derelict state. The essence of true metabolism is the ability for each individual element to be autonomous in order to function as part of a whole responsive organism. Theoretically, each capsule should be able to be removed and replaced individually yet surprisingly enough that is not the case with the tower. Only the top capsules can be removed and to replace anything below would be to do so for the entire site of 140 units. Only when each component is treated as a free individual will true metabolism be achieved. This fatal flaw is what has prevented a slow and steady replacement of capsules which are designed to last 25 years. Capsules and all the components within have slowly been failing and the systems serving them face the same fate. Private showers no longer work and the communal shower at the ground level is the substitute. 18 years past their design expiration date, a choice will have to be made whether to overhaul the entire set or demolish the historical structure. To further

the despair of the tower, the skyscrapers that have gone up south of the site, an example of careless city planning, cast shadows for the majority of the day thus limiting any direct sunlight (see Figure 4). As the surrounding area continues to develop, the Capsule Tower will stay on its downhill path of despair. The Nakagin Capsule Tower has many aspects which strive to respond to the physical and demographic conditions it is placed in. It attempted to be a fluid and adaptable work of architecture in order to flourish in Japan’s fast paced society through its metabolic nature. The podium design also demonstrated sensitivity to the street level in its Corbusian influenced elements. The tower program established a potential solution for salarymen to avoid the exhausting commute home. However, due to its flaw in metabolist design, lack of maintenance and inability to active the street, it has been fighting a demolition sentence for the past 10 years. Overall, the Nakagin Capsule Tower encapsulates many possibilities of successful design and responsiveness to site and demographics that were unfortunately never realized due to a combination of factors.

Figure 2 Figure ground without building

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Figure 3 Diagram illustrating metabolist architecture

“Theoretically, the Nakagin Capsule Tower responds tremendously well in meeting the needs of the population and its consideration of the site. Yet, Kisho Kurokawa’s vision is not entirely realized.” 42 42




buildings over 20 storeys

Figure 4 Diagram illustrating building heights and main vehicular circulation

Bibliography Daniell, T. (2008). After the crash architecture in post-bubble Japan. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Hein, C. (2003). Rebuilding urban Japan after 1945. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. Holt, Kikutake’s Sky House: Where Metabolism & Le Corbusier Meet. (2014, February 19). Retrieved November 6, 2015. Shelton, B. (1999). Learning from the Japanese city: West meets East in urban design. London: E & FN Spon. Sorensen, A. (2002). The making of urban Japan: Cities and planning from Edo to the twenty-first century. London: Routledge. Sorensen, A. (2007). Living cities in Japan: Citizens’ movements, machizukuri and local environments. London: Routledge. The Metabolist routine. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2015. Travel times prove transit’s a non-starter. (n.d.). Retrieved November 6, 2015. Tokyo 1892 - David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. (n.d.). Retrieved November 6, 2015.

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The Space Group Building aka Arario Museum in Space is constructed in 1971, it is located in downtown Seoul, South Korea is manifesting geographic historical context. The building is situated in the core of the city, neighbouring Changduk Palace, which represents the historical time of Chosun (historical name of Seoul). The architect Swoo-geun Kim, architecturally express continuity in space, human scale, and courtyard, which is the focal core of the space in the Space Group Building. The building is adjacent to the landscape of mountains. The urban context with the mountain is an unfamiliar environment for Western Urbanism; however, the building follows formal Korean architecture and western modernism to express cultural context and identity. The Korean traditional style house and the modern style structures symbolize the urban evolution of Korea. It is expressing the Korean culture of dense modernity and it defines strong historical and architectural discipline. The Space Group Building is more than line and form; it recognizes space and integrates the relationship with the surrounding environment. Seoul is one of the cities in the world with a very long history. In 1392, King Taejo decided on what is today’s Seoul as the site for the new capital of the Choson Dynasty (1392-1910), with the move there starting in 1394 (Yim, 1999). This means that the city has a long history of 600 years. Now serving as Korea’s political, economic, social and cultural center, Seoul developed from a small city of just over 200,000 people (Yim, 1999). The downtown area in Seoul in the beginning of 20th century had no organized

plan of streets while the majority of buildings along the main street of Seoul were hanoks (traditional Korean house). The urbanization of the city began during the Japanese colonial period in 1910-1945. By the time the country was liberated from colonial rule in 1945, Seoul had become a big city of one million people over the course of 20th century (Yim, 1999). Many Korean citizens who had been forced to seek refuge abroad returned home. Many North Koreans who took refuge to the South during the Korean war of 1950-1953 increased Seoul’s population (Yim, 1999). By the early 1960s, Seoul had a population of over 2 million residents. Since the late 1960s, the population of people in the city grew ever more, the scale and speed of urban development increased, and the rapid process of modernization resulted in the destruction of a large part of the traditional urban fabric of Seoul (W. Kim, 1997). In the 1970s, due to a surge of economic growth, most new buildings were high rise buildings. In the 1980s, architectural trends expanded, buildings designed by foreign architects sprouted, large-scale residential complexes such as the ‘86 Asian Games Athlete’s Village and the ‘88 Olympic Athlete’s Village were also constructed (Yim, 1999). Moreover, many buildings were explored in the concepts of diversity and traditional form. One of the most influential buildings completed during this period (late 1900s) is the Space Group building. Today, Seoul is a big city containing the population of over 10 million people, a city that developed over the past half century. The rapid progression along with architectural structures and buildings has been constructed and extreme development on materialism and functionalism took

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Arario Museum in Space

Gyeongbok Palace

Jongmyo Shrine

Unhyung Palace Government Complex-Seoul

National Museum of Korean Contemporary History Jogyesa Temple

Gwanghwamun Square

Nakwon Arcade

Jongno-gu Office

Sejong Center


Hangeul Gaon-gil

Tapgol Park

Kyobo Book Centre

Dongwha Duty Free

Cheonggye Plaza

Bosingak Pavilion

Bibap Theater

Cheonggyecheon Stream

Deoksu Palace

Seoul City Hall Seoul Plaza

Lotte Hotel Seoul 0



Figure 1 Site plan of South & West from the Museum the main role in the city. The improvement of inconsiderate industrialization damaged and destroyed urban context of natural and cultural environment.

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The Space Group building aka Arario Museum in Space is located in Jongno-gu, built in 1971-1977. A small hanok (traditional Korean house) settles in the courtyard between the original Space Group building and its annex building wrapped in glass (Kim, 2012), materials used are glass and black bricks, covered with ivy. The Space Group building is designed by Swoo-geun Kim (1931-1986), the architect of main stadium for the 1988 Summer Olympics and the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, one of South Korea’s most internationally recognized modern architect. In 1997, the new annex building was added to the original Space Group Building, designed by Se-yang Jang (19471996), who was a head of Swoo-geun Kim’s architectural firm. The new building with one basement floor and five floors above ground was built on a 660 square meter lot along with a total floor area of 1350 square meters (Kim, 2012).

The Space Group got into the bankruptcy and was not able to maintain the building. They decide to sell the building, there were many people concerned that the building can be demolished or modified by the new owner and lose the unique colour of architectural sense. The Arario Gallery’s chairman, Changil Kim (aka CI Kim) stepped up to be the new owner of the Space Group building. The Arario Gallery, based in the mid-west city of Cheonan, is one of the country’s most influential art galleries (Kwon, 2013). The gallery is known world-wide as one of Korea’s most successful commercial galleries. The transformation of an architecture office building into the Arario Museum in Space created innovative architecture revolution. The museum provides unique arts space for exhibiting international and Korean style contemporary artworks to the public. The Arario Museum in Space is expected to create a new contemporary art center in central Seoul, continuously introducing a wide variety of domestic and overseas art works that harbour historical, social, and cultural values (The Huffington Post, 2014).

Samcheong Park

Sungkyunkwan University

CheongWaDae (Blue House) National Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, Seoul Cheongwadae Sarangchae

Bukchon Hanok Village

National Folk Museum of Korea

Tongin Market

Changduk Palace Seochon

Gyeongbok Palace

Sajik Park


Changgyung Palace Samcheong-dong

National Palace Museum of Korea


Arario Museum in Space Jongmyo Shrine


Figure 1 Site plan of North from the Museum The building has several architectural strategies underlying the project: spatial complexity, contrast of scale, a nod to traditional Korean material texture, and the integration of landscape and architecture (Hong & Park, 2012). Swoo-geun Kim designed the Space Group building, respecting Koreans and Korean architecture. “In pursuit of Korean-styled modern architecture, Kim was engrossed in understanding space, scale, and proportion that best suited Koreans,” says Chang-bok Lim in SPACE, the magazine of the Space Group (Y. Kim, 2012). The greatest representation of Kim’s chief themes: continuity in space, human scale, and a reinterpretation of the traditional Korean courtyard (Lim & Ryoo, 2014).The building is open to the public, the building from the outside looks like a five-storey however, the building has 14 levels with complicated dynamic structure of diverse spaces. The small stairways and low ceilings dividing the building into several spaces adjusted to human scale,

a height restriction is also in place due to the proximity to Changduck Palace, Unesco World Heritage Site (Kwaak, 2013). The building’s entrance is hidden from the street; it is placed in the side of the street, away from the street façade, which is the inner space of the building. “The building and the architect’s atelier will remain intact. Our intention is to preserve the building as a cultural space, maintaining the historical context of the building, which is one of the great samples of Korean modern architecture.’’ Henna Joo, executive director of Arario Gallery (Kwon, 2013). The Space Group building, transformation of the architectectural firm to art museum, Arario Museum in Space became a favourite cultural gathering hub for people. The site is valued as an important architectural and artist district in Seoul, which inspires residents and visitors to feel the cultural community and share the passion. Geographically South Korea contains 70% of mountains and cities are formed and centralized from the river. The urban context of

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“...the building as a cultural space, maintaining the historical context of the building, which is one of the great samples of Korean modern architecture�

Figure 3 Site plan of galleries around the Museum

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the site seems packed with traffic, housing and high-rise buildings however, it is different than the most of the Western urban context, it is rare to find water and greenery in the Western countries. However, the context around the Arario Museum is surrounded by the mountains of Bugaksan to the north, Inwangsan to the west, Mokmyoksan to the south, and Naktasan to the east. Between these large and small mountains, the water way Cheonggyechoen Stream flows. In the site context, it is possible to look out upon nature from any perspective of the city. The site condition has a strong connection with nature which it provides an overwhelming environment for people living in the urban setting. The building provides natural environment with priority given for visitors to co-exist in the urban context and nature. The other interesting fact is the Korean architecture still remaining around the site.

The palaces of the Choson Dynasty, Chanduk Palace, Changgyung Palace, Gyeongbok Palace, Unhyung Palace, Jongmyo Shrine, and also traditional hanok houses scattered around Insa-dong and Bukchon Hanok Village remains as Korean traditional architecture. Also there are art galleries around the building, providing artist district to create favourite site for artists and tourists. The site is historical and cultural space surrounded by educational and recreational monuments and historical heritages. The ecological space with urban parks and the lanscapes gathers pleaurable natural environment and numerous valuable cultural heritage buildings for millions of citizens.

Section of the old Space Group building

Section of the new annex building

Bibliography 1. Hong, J., & Park, J. (2012). Convergent Flux. Basel: De Gruyter. 2. Kim, C. (2012). SPACE Group Building Urban Oasis by a Pioneer Architect. Koreana Korean Culture & Arts, (1016-0744). 3. Kim, W. (1997). Culture and the city in East Asia. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 4. Kim, Y. (2012). Modern Korean Architecture, The Shape of Things to Come. The Granite Tower. 5. Kwaak, J. (2013). Uncertain Future for Historic Seoul Building. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 5 November 2015, from 6. Kwon, M. (2013). Iconic Space building acquired by art gallery. The Korea Times. 7. Lim, J., & Ryoo, S. (2014). K-architecture: Tradition Meets Modernity. 8. The Huffington Post,. (2014). Kim Chang-il’s Arario Museum Opens in Seoul. Retrieved 5 November 2015, from 9. Yim, C. (1999). The Urban Environment and Architecture of Seoul. Koreana. Images 1. A Flâneur in Korea,. (2015). The Space Group Building / Kim Swoo Geun. Retrieved 5 November 2015, from 2. Kim, H. (2011). Retrieved 5 November 2015, from

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With a history of foreign rulers wiping out the old in order to accommodate for the new, there is an interdependence between the new visions of Chinese urban planning with the excesses of “strarchitecture”. An example of this symbiotic relationship is the China Central Television (CCTV) headquarters in Beijing. Situated in the Chaoyang District, the tower is in close proximity to Beijing’s foreign embassies, a well-known bar district, as well as the central business district (CBD). Rather than a quest for ultimate height, CCTV’s form is essentially a folded skyscraper. Rising from a base, two towers lean towards each other and merge in a perpendicular, 75-metre cantilever. Before 1978, Chinese cityscape consisted of mostly low-rise buildings; there were very few buildings that were taller than five or six stories. As for automobiles, they were restricted purely for the use of the official government on a limited road network. After 1978, due to a change in economic policies, there was a sudden release of capital that caused a construction boom. Ever since, China has been the country that built the most skyscrapers, malls and transportation networks (Chow 2015). Not only are these infrastructures intended to serve the people and be used as generators of the economy, they are also intended to showcase the progress of individual cities. Government would award city officials that most rapidly transforms his city into a “great international city” which paints the picture of one that resembles very much like Manhattan. As the government almost makes this

Figure 1 Han Dynasty Plan of Beijing a competition between the cities to see which can become modernized faster, there is a rush to develop. This often results in compressing the time spent on design and planning phases. Conceptual designs move onto constructional document phase without design development, and construction often begins before the documents are even finalized (Chow 2015). Just like the unprecedented speed of building, the size of the projects are also extreme. The CCTV headquarters is a perfect example of this extreme sizing. The plan of Beijing derived from its settlement as the country’s capital over the course of history. Today’s city core is derived from Han dynasty, when the Mongols built the city walls to claim the territory and establish legitimacy to their reign. On each of the four sides to the city

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“A building that completely disregard its context and its history. It is generic, thus can be put into anywhere in the world. ”

Figure 2 CCTV Headquarters within Context wall, there are three equally spaced gates which acted as the starting point of boulevards. These large boulevards would create sixteen large blocks as a base, from which smaller streets would stem off of. As a result, this produces a loose network of super blocks. This pattern is sustained outside of the core of Beijing as it continues to expand. The size of one block is equivalent of twenty-eight blocks in New York and thirty-one blocks in Barcelona (Chow 2015). Although one city block is enormously big in comparison to other cities, developments based on a single block is still the norm. Due to the land and building costs, these blocks are forced to have super-sized projects in order to profit. The CCTV headquarters is a result of this planning scheme of the Chinese government- a megadevelopment on a mega-block. While the building only takes up a portion of the block, the rest is specially landscaped as public green space. Each super-block is viewed as a tabula rasa for development (Chow 2015).

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Whether it is intended to erase its history or to allow for new investments, there are very few restrictions placed on these developments. One of the few that exists is the street setback. When the city blocks become too big like Beijing’s, there are very few route choices to move between the city blocks. Thus, most of the road network becomes arterial. In order to accommodate the growing urban traffic, Beijing has widened its historic street network. This setback on developments is reinforced in order to not only provide continuous streetside green space but also to allow for any possible future changes to the width of the roads. The setbacks for this particular project is approximately between twelve and twenty meters for the four sides. A project like this, placed on a single block, is somewhere in between being a big building and a small city. The traditional urban planning of Beijing is no longer suitable for today’s conditions. Plans for land use have failed to “describe the formal complexity of the city and its temporal use of places” (Chow, 2015, p.76).

Due to the sheer size of the CCTV Headquarters, it is able to be seen from various points in Beijing. Situated right outside of the original city core consisting of low-rises and preserved traditional courtyard houses, it has a significant impact on the urban skyline. This reflects the concerns of designer Kongjian Yu (2010), the increasing number of “cosmetic art of urbanity”, buildings as decorations, and that they have lost their essence of design in “search of mind-numbing conventional styles or meaninglessly wild forms and exotic grandeur” (p.4). Architect Yung Ho Chang has voiced similar concerns, describing Beijing as a “horizontal city” overtaken by objects (Chow 2015). People have started to recognize the problem of the loss of urban heritage. The problem of the loss of urban heritage in Beijing is that developments are made without any references made to the context. On the north and west of the CCTV Headquarters site there are high-rises that stand at a maximum of thirty storeys, while the east and south sides of the site are bordered by low-rise buildings. At fifty-four storeys tall, it draws no

reference to its context, and causes quite an impact on the shadow studies of adjacent sites. Observing the figure ground drawings of the site and its adjacent context, there is no existing pattern to be concluded. Although there is a grid on a larger scale, there is none at a scale as small as the adjacent site context. Small streets cuts through the landscape with no warning and arbitrarily gets cut off. The buildings almost draws no reference to the street and it can even be concluded that the buildings determine the paths instead of the other way around. Many small roads are cut off because of the construction of a new project. In The Four Books of Architecture published in 1570, Palladio’s drawings of buildings were devoid of any contextual information. Since this book, there has been a trend of propagating architecture itself as a local place. Examining almost any architecture book and journal today, the site context is rarely present. The idea of architecture as a stand-alone object, disassociated from the site is molded into our thoughts.

Figure 3,4 Figure Ground Diagram: Before and After Development

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The present way of Beijing of urban planning is simply encouraging urban fragmentation. Echoing western urban growth in the 50s and 60s, the increase in transportation networks, private vehicles and home ownership is transforming the Chinese built and natural landscape. It has not even been a century since the establishment of the Athens Charter, yet all lessons have been ignored in order to build faster. The CCTV headquarters project was designed by the firm OMA. The lead architect at OMA is Rem Koolhaas, who also published several books on his urban planning theories. Ohne Eigenschaften is the German phrase for “without qualities”, which is the main idea behind Koolhaas’s Generic City. The Generic City is his urban planning strategy, one that is uncontrollable and duplicable. City as a tool to portray local identity is an idea of the past because in the world today “identity conceived as this form of sharing the past is a losing proposition” (Koolhaas 1998). His theories are reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s principles of urban planning, that one building design can be used in all cities and climates. However, Koolhaas opposes the creation of identical or standardization of architecture. The visions of La Ville Radieuse is long behind him while he

steps forward to embrace the chaos the modern metropolis offers. Thus, Koolhaas’ ideas are not about cloning cities, but rather the lack of perceivable variance between them. While many architects and urban planners criticize the loss of local identities, he reaffirms that his idea of homogenization emerges as a result of globalization and cultural interconnectivity. The CCTV Headquarters, OMA’s first project in China and the firm’s biggest project to date, illustrates his ideas for the city. A building that completely disregard its context and its history. It is generic, thus can be put into anywhere in the world. Beijing’s interesting mix of historical hutongs (small streets), Stalinist-era residential buildings and the modern infrastructures was what amazed and inspired Koolhaas the most. Although it is an internationally recognized city, it differs from New York in the fact that it is in the middle of modernization, while the former is a city with aging buildings full of sentiments. There are mixed opinions about how the CCTV headquarters stand in the city, whether it is a positive or negative addition. Despite these opinions, it can be concluded that it is now a landmark building in the city.

Bibliography 1. Chow, R. (2015). Changing Chinese cities: The potentials of field urbanism. 2. Koolhaas, Rem, Bruce Mau, Jennifer Sigler, and Hans Werlemann. Small, Medium, Large, Extra-large: Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Rem Koolhaas, and Bruce Mau. New York, NY: Monacelli, 1998. Print. 3. Koolhaas, Rem. Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan. New York: Monacelli, 1994. Print. 4. “Shohei Shigematsu | A View From the Top.” N.p., 02 Apr. 2013. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <>. 5. Gargiani, Roberto. Rem Koolhaas, OMA: The Construction of Merveilles. Lausanne: EPFL, 2008. Print. 6. Gilbert, M. (2000). On Beyond Koohaas. Retrieved February 24, 2014, from http://www.uibk. 7. Yu, K. (n.d.). The Big Feet Aesthetic and the Art of Survival. Architectural Design, 72-77.

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Hong Kong, is a dense urban city with a high skyline and is the centre of modern architecture. Limited amounts of land and a high density of population creates an intense urbanism and compact vertical city environment in Hong Kong. The International Commerce Center (ICC) being one of the iconic core buildings in the city, creates a huge impact on the urban context in this prosperous urban environment. This essay attempts to point out how the International Commerce Center incorporates with the urban design project of the West Kowloon District in Hong Kong through aspects of transportation, surrounding context and how it influences the future urban planning development of the West Kowloon Cultural District. Rather than just being a tall iconic skyscraper, ICC represents one of the major transitions of urban development of high rise from the blocks of low-rise shop houses after the nineteenth century in Hong Kong. ICC is also the tallest building in Hong Kong and the world’s fourth tallest building by number of floors, ninth by height. This symbolizes the dominating power of finance and corporations in the city.

(Hendrik, 2013). One of the ways to solve this problem is by through the reclamation of land along the coast of both the Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. Extensive land reclamation has been done primarily along the Victoria Harbour. (Figure 1) Mixed use of land and high density vertical environment in urban planning come into play to support this dense and complex city which forms the unique characteristic of architecture in Hong Kong. This urban planning condition is apparent in Jane Jacobs’s classic text written in 1961, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, “which argued for high densities, mixed uses, mixed schedules of operation, and good connection in and between city neighbourhoods” (Shelton,2011,p.21). The process of vertical expansion and intensification also dominated the urban growth in Hong Kong. “Vertical expansion results in ever taller buildings, while intensification brings greater concentration of activities and modes of movement across more levels of the city.” (Shelton, 2011, p.13) These kinds of conditions leads to the successful integration of multi-use building design into the ICC.

Hong Kong is a small, populous city with a topography that consists of over 200 islands, many of which are small and mountainous. As such, steep hills and sea, scarcity of land and dense population are a few of the major factors that affect the urban planning in Hong Kong. “This barely buildable landscape encouraged highly compact settlements, connected by linear infrastructure along the coasts”

Locatesd at the West Kowloon District in Hong Kong facing the Victoria Harbour, the International Commerce Center is a 118 storey commercial-retail building with a height of 484m. Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), it was completed in 2010 and subsequently opened in 2011. This mixed-use building consists of retail spaces and shopping malls on the lower levels, office spaces in the middle, a hotel with a sky

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Figure 1 Reclamation of land in Hong Kong lobby, and a restaurant at the top. The ICC is also along Hong Kong’s MTR subway system and is directly connected with the Kowloon Station via a station exit. (Figure 2) This makes the ICC part of a larger ecosystem of vertical centres linked by a horizontal network. The building is a podium and tower design while the “tower’s subtly tapered re-entrant corners and the gently sloped curves at its base are designed to optimize its structural performance“(Parry, 2011). The sloped curves splay out at the base of the tower, merging the tower with the surrounding area while creating sheltering canopies on the other three sides with a dramatic atrium at the north. (Parry, 2011). “The atrium gestures towards the rest of the development and serves as a public connection space for retail and rail station functions” (Parry,2011) which creates excellent exposure to pedestrian flow. Since the ICC can accommodate over 20,000 people during normal working hours, double deck elevators are implemented to increase the efficiency of pedestrian traffic flow through the building which allows more vertical movement within the building. The success in urban design by KPF can be seen in the combination of multiuse high rise building with a highly efficient structural and operational system. West Kowloon, one of the developing

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districts in Hong Kong, was formed mainly by reclaimed land developed in the late 20th century. It is a district that was zoned for mixed residential, commercial and leisure development. One of the major urban planning projects located at the West Kowloon district is the Union Square project which includes the ICC as the last phase of this urban development. (Figure 3 ) Union Square is a residential estate and commercial project in the West Kowloon district above the Kowloon MTR station. It was constructed in seven phases from the year 2002 to 2011, with the first six seeing the completion of housing estates and the shopping mall. The ICC was completed in. This master plan development includesd offices, retail spaces, hotel and residential areas, all organised around the central public square with an easy access to the MTR station below. The project shares a similar urban design concept with the ‘New Urbanism’ idea, which promotes walkable neighbourhoods with a mixed use

Hotel Offices Mechanical Floor Skylobby Retail Parking

Figure 2 ICC Program Diagram

of housing and multiple land use strategies. Greenery and an urban park garden are also included in the public square which creates a more pleasant gathering space in the district. The intent of the design was to create a second financial district that would mirror Central, the traditional financial centre of Hong Kong. The completion of the ICC represents a major milestone in the “emergence of West Kowloon as a financial hub, responding to the challenges stemming from a lack of office space in Central, Hong Kong’s traditional Central Business District” (Parry J, 2011). As a further testament, Western Kowloon’s ICC stands in complement and, in many ways, rivals Central’s International Finance Center (IFC). The two buildings frame the Victoria Harbour making for a striking visual. Both structures figuratively and literally reshape Hong Kong’s image as a global commercial and financial centre. A high quality network of transportation is also an important principle in urban design. The ICC forms an urban network with Hong Kong’s mass transit infrastructure which provides convenient and highly efficient transportation routes. The building itself connects to the Kowloon Station both physically and symbolically, linked by a super block podium. This urban design brings in the combination of “strong central planning, a powerful transit authority and an innovative development culture”(David M, 2010). ICC sites above the Kowloon station which lies at the geographic centre of Hong Kong. This provides rapid access to local, international and cross-boundary business locations, including the thriving Pearl River Delta region. Being situated at this prime location encourages more foot traffic as well as more rapid circulation of pedestrians, citizens and visitors to the ICC. Its success as a development stem “from its seamless connection with Central, Hong Kong International Airport and mainland China via a network of high speed rail, subway, buses and ferry terminals” (David. M, 2010). Moreover, the ICC is located next to the entrance of the Western Harbour

Tunnel which creates another transportation linkage with the local neighbourhood. This transportation hub and rail junction creates a super transport city at the site where ICC located. This corresponds with the New Urbanism idea that a community should be transit oriented while allowing development of mass transit at the center of the neighbourhood in order to maximize access while simultaneously reducing its carbon footprint. Located next to the ICC , the West Kowloon cultural district (WKCD) is the new urban planning development project in the West Kowloon district. It is aimed to be developed into one of the world’s largest cultural and art quarters, with a series of art, cultural, green open spaces and public entertainment areas along the Victoria Harbour. The master plan of the project was designed by Norman Foster’s ’City Park’ scheme which is also similar to the New Urbanism idea of bringing and creating a neighbourhood together; places to live and work with a mixed use of land. The street pattern along ICC at West Kowloon will also 1 ICC 2 Kowloon Station 3 The HarbourSide (residential) 4 The Arch (residential) 5 The Waterfront (residential) 6 Sorrento (residential) 7 The Cuilinan (residential)


7 2



4 3

Figure 3 Union Square Project Plan

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Kowloon Station Residential area ICC

UnionSquareProject West Kowloon Cultural District

Park ( Green Open Spaces)


Art Pavilion

Figure 4 Circulation plan of West Kownloon Cultural District and Union Square Project be extended into the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;City Parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; which becomes a natural extension of the local community. (Figure 4) The proximity of the ICC and the WKCD encourage a more accessible and walkable neighbourhood of urban design. The mixed use of land has always been one of the major urban design strategies applied in Hong Kong. For the WKCD, the design of this mixed used district captures the unique urban character of Hong Kong while integrating the culture with the city. The WKCD and ICC will also be well connected with the surrounding neighbourhood through open public spaces and easy access to the Kowloon station via the ICC. The high density of the surrounding neighbourhood along with the convenient transportation hub at the nearby ICC will encourage more circulation and pedestrian movement to the WKCD. The WKCD will also create a visual balance with the ICC to form a new skyline on the Kowloon peninsula. This development demonstrates the optimization

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of urban design which can enrich the city. Rather than being just an iconic landmark in Hong Kong, the International Commerce Center is a success in urban design. Utilizing mixed land use, the ICC creates a close relationship with the urban context of the West Kowloon District through the development of the Union Square project and the Kowloon MTR station. The building itself follows the major urban planning strategies in Hong Kong which is the mixed use of land and vertical development in a single building. This transit integrated skyscraper also represents a sustainable model of future highrise development in Hong Kong. The ICC also enhances the future urban development project of the West Kowloon Culture District with the connection of the mass transportation hub around the neighbourhood which helps to boost the development of cultural and entertainment establishments in Hong Kong.

“ The International Commerce Center incorporates with the urban design project of the West Kowloon District in Hong Kong through aspects of transportation and surrounding context.”

Figure 5 Figure Ground (Before)

Figure 5 Figure Ground (After)

Bibliography David Malott. (2010). Case Study: Hong Kong International Commerce Centre. CTBUH journal, 2010 Issue IV. Ginsburg, Norton S. “HONG KONG: (reprinted from FOCUS; Fall1997; 44, 3; ProQuest Central Pg.10).” Hong Kong: 10-12. Print. Hendrik Tieben. (2013, March 1). 2013 Hong Kong City Profile - FuturArc. Retrieved November 4, 2015. Koor, A., & Feuer, K. (2006). Hong Kong: Architecture & design. Dusseldorf: TeNues Pub. Group. Parry, J. (2011). Redefining Hong Kong’s skyline- International Commerce Center. BMJ, D498-D498. Retrieved September 22, 2015. Tsang, S. (2003). A modern history of Hong Kong. London: I.B. Tauris. Shelton, B., & Karakiewicz, J. (2011). The making of Hong Kong: From vertical to volumetric. New York, NY: Routledge.

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Stretching over 3000 years of recorded history, Chinas massive capital is not only one of the biggest cities in the world, but also one of the oldest. Known much for its contemporary designs as well as its historical landmarks, the city possesses abundant amounts of extraordinary architecture. According to contemporary urban planners, Beijing is a combination of a pattern planned city, sculpted by its inhabitants through years of history and conflict (Lam 12). The development of the Linked Hybrid in Beijing’s Dongzhimenwai community in 2010 created a tremendous impact on the paper mill district in an urban zone near the heart of the city (Pearson 35). Designed by the American architect Steven Holl and associates, the Linked Hybrid apartment complex in Beijing represents a case study that investigates the urban, social and cultural impact on contemporary architecture and urban planning in China. Throughout this study, a thesis is formulated based on the relationship between this complex and its urban context will be analysed through cultural, social and economic factors within Beijing. Described by Tat Lam in his research thesis on the project, he “considers Linked Hybrid to be an exceptional case in China because the American architect, Steven Holl, attempted to introduce significantly different ideas from those that Chinese developers and residents were used to” (Lam 73). Following the concept of creating a ‘city within a city’, the complex thus creates an open community as a solution to China’s problematic urbanism.

The Linked Hybrid complex is located adjacent to the old city wall of Beijing, aiming to juxtapose the current enclosed urban developments through creating modern porous spaces, inviting the public from every side. Based on the concept of ‘linkage’, connection to the surrounding neighbourhood was key in Holls design. During an interview, Holl mentions the overpopulated state of China right now, and its struggle to transform through social, political and urban reform (Petit). Fascinated by the poetic civilization, Holl states that there is more poetry in the culture than all other civilizations combined. Recalling upon a book, Holl stated that the first step to understanding the people of China was to understand their poetry. “Rather than a preoccupation with solid, independent object-like forms, it is the experiential phenomena of spatial sequences with, around, and between which emotions are triggered. There is a scale of distances walked and seen and passages available in the area around rue du Bac in Paris that offers a gentle urban porosity of movement. The pedestrian can change direction in seconds; the pedestrian is not blocked by large urban constructions without entry or exit. This freedom of pedestrian movement, championed by Jane Jacobs as the ideal matrix, is based on the case of Greenwich Village in Manhattan and can be envisioned in different ways for the twenty-first century” (Lam 82). Culturally, Old town Beijing believed strongly in the concepts of fongshui, resulting in open courtyard houses oriented specifically to adapt to

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Figure 1 Figure to Ground of Intersection environmental conditions. To iterate this, Holl strays away from the modern tower design to create a linked community through walkways, introducing once again the concept of porosity reflected within the traditional city fabric. The porosity also offers a number of open passages for all people, ensuring micro-urbanisms of small scale. Holl states that “For larger urban projects made up of several buildings, porosity becomes essential for the vitality of street life. Especially in the city of Beijing where the urban grid layout (inherited from the hutong blocks) tends toward ‘superblock’ dimensions, urban porosity is crucial” (Lam 72). In Beijing’s financially segregated society, Holl’s design also tried to the public and private configuration of a traditional Chinese gated community within a new architectural framework.

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Located on the site of one of Beijing’s original Paper mills, the area will always remain a socialist work unit. Immediately situated outside the old city wall, the complex was one of the industrial factories that followed Mao Zedong’s industrialising policy for Beijing (Holl 2009). After the purchase of the industrial zone of the area from a private developer, the factory worker residences were left in place, allowing

two different communities and social groups to coexist in proximity to each other. These two groups share very different understandings of urbanism and society due to their variating social and economic backgrounds, as well as their experiences and forms of thinking. Interactions throughout the building occurs in its many intersecting points, which generate random relationships with the context as well as the visitors. In his research, Lam shines light on the lingering social conflicts in China. He describes Holl’s original intent of the complex as wanting to create a gateless open community to aid the redevelopment and industrialization of the city. However, the developers ended up enclosing the building with walls and gates. In this process, Lam states that the Linked Hybrid brought to light cross cultural, social and political conflicts, providing an evaluation of space development practices in contemporary China as well as an understanding of the social culture of China (Lam 97). On the basis of Urban design, Holl agrees with leading figures in urban planning such as Jane Jacobs when it comes to the laissez faire form of planning to shape a space; referring to the Greenwich village in Manhattan, which illustrates the freedom of pedestrian movement in an ideal matrix. In the conceptual porosity block, the light does the slicing; but so does the building code (Radford). Based on Holls complicated multifunctional design, building code and zoning bylaws aided partly in the shaping of this form. The abundant number of entrances and open circulation also contributes to creating a porous environment within the city. Reiterated in many of Holl’s designs, the Porosity block is currently the largest exoskeletal loadbearing concrete structure in China. The tectonics of this building evokes the development of modern building technology in China, providing alternate more efficient methods to large scale building construction. Economically, the building stands as one of the

“ His design methodology is sponge-like: with enough consistency of approach to provide structure for enquiry, yet porous enough to allow for the infiltration of new experience”. - J. Pearson




“ This project will stand for one hundred years, and who knows what kind of frustration the government leadership will have. So try to build the best possible building, the highest sustainability and the most public space, and hope the ethical climate of the leadership in China improves” (Petit). Through this analysis, the cultural, social, and economic context of


Intended as a Kickstarter for Beijing’s urban reform, the Linked Hybrid successfully encompasses Holl’s interpretation of the urban context and its relationship to the surrounding communities. Stated by Holl in his interview with Emmanuel Petit

modern day Beijing is analysed in respect to the City’s changing urban context. Ultimately, the Linked hybrid creates an architecture that is expansive enough to contain histories and futures specific to its rooted location. “To borrow an analogy from Holl, we think of his design methodology as sponge-like: with enough consistency of approach to provide structure for enquiry, yet porous enough to allow for the infiltration of new experience” (Jefferson 75).



most sustainable residences in Beijing, with the design qualified for LEED gold certification. All public functions on the ground floor are connected to greenspaces that surround and penetrate the project. Programmatically, the complex includes a restaurant, hotel, Montessori school and a cinema on the ground level (Holl). Additionally, 720 residential units reside on the upper 30 storeys, emphasizing connections between residents and their city. The Sky loop is not only a means for circulation, but hosts numerous other functions, such as exhibition spaces, shops and even a swimming pool. Linked Hybrid contains sustainable strategies such as geothermal wells, (655 at 100 meters deep) providing cooling in the summer and heating in the winter, and overall making it one of the largest green residential projects in the world.

Figure 2 Figure to ground of Building

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Figure 3 Beijing 1954





Figure 4 Greenspace in Context

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Figure 5 Loop circulation allows all 8 of the main buildings to be connected. Bibliography Holl, S. (2009). Urbanisms working with doubt. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Pearson, C. A. (2008). Linked Hybrid. Architectural Record, 196(7), 130. Petit, Emmanuel. “Steven Holl.” The Architectural Review 233, no. 1393 (03, 2013): 20-21. Lam, T. (2012). Linked hybrid in Beijing: Placing an American building and its architectural concept in its Chinese context (Order No. U605373). Radford, A. (n.d.). The elements of modern architecture: Understanding contemporary buildings. Jefferson, E. (2005), Holl on Hybrids. Archit Design, 75: 78–83. doi: 10.1002/ad.140

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The Han Show Theatre is a 2000 seat live performance theatre located in the heart of Wuhan China. Designed by Stufish Entertainment Architects, this performance hall is built especially for the Han Show, a water and acrobatic performance show directed by theatre director Franco Dragone. The design of the theatre is based on the traditional Chinese lantern and contains state-of-the-art technology within the building to allow for the architecture to also be part of the show. The movable seating reveals the 10 million litre performance pool below that reflects the 3 largest moving LED screens in the world. This theatre’s cutting edge architectural design and technological aspects have made it an instant landmark within the city of Wuhan (“Han Show Theatre”, 2014). Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, is the most populous city in central China and is known as the economic, financial, cultural, and educational center of China. The theatre itself is located right at the end of Han Street, a shopping and restaurant district popular with tourists and locals alike. To the East of the project is the Donghu (or East) Lake, the largest lake enclosed in an urban setting in the world (Liu, Wei, Jiao, & Wang, 2014). Based on the nature of the Han Show Theatre, the project supports the sociocultural, environmental and architectonic context of the bustling urban context of Wuhan in which it is located. The Han Show Theatre is actually a smaller architectural element of a large development project called the Wuhan Central Cultural District. This project

spreads across 2 kilometres of the Chu River and its main focus is to connect the six lakes that are located within Wuhan. This particular development is the first phase in this large endeavour and simply connects the East Lake to the Shahu Lake along the Chu River and Han Street (see Figure 1). The Cultural District includes office towers, cultural buildings, residential buildings, and plenty of shopping opportunities (Clarke, 2014). The Han Show Theatre is the most eastern element of the district located on the waterfront of the East Lake, which is the largest of the six lakes. The theatre is also adjacent to Han Street (See Figure 1), which is the largest hub for tourism, restaurants and shopping in all of Wuhan. The theatre is world renowned and has people from all over the world filling the seats for the shows, which ends up bringing more tourism and business for the shopping centres and restaurants in the area. The planning and investment for the Wuhan Central Cultural District is done by the Dalian Wanda Group. This commercial property company is the largest in all of China and is currently expanding beyond China to the rest of the world. The firm’s focus is to serve the community through volunteer opportunities, pioneer environmentally friendly construction, and to value their employees. Because of the involvement of the Dalian Wanda Group with the planning and construction of the Han Show Theatre, there were

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from the area (Du, Ottens, & Sliuzas, 2009). Though the Han Show Theatre is located right on the waterfront, it was built on a brownfield site that is right beside a 7-star hotel. Because of the nature of the program within the theatre, the building will not have any particularly large amounts of pollution or waste going into the lake as much as, for example, a factory would. The use of the brownfield site preserves the farming and agricultural land in the area. What once was an empty and open site is now a cultural icon for all of China.

Shahu Lake

Han Street

Chu River

East Lake

Figure 1 The Wuhan Central Cultural District thousands of jobs created for the construction and thousands of long term jobs to assist in the running of the theatre. Construction of the theatre was completed in less time than expected and under budget. The theatre also has large revenue and it is expected to remain as such for many years to come (Clarke, 2014). The location of the Han Show Theatre, right at the end of Han Street, is regarded as a landmark based on placement alone. The architectural design of the theatre adds an extra element to that. The Chinese lantern, of which the theatre is designed, is a largely recognized cultural symbol for China which, in turn, makes the building recognizable and a new landmark for the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

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Wuhan is sometimes known as the â&#x20AC;&#x153;water cityâ&#x20AC;? as it has the largest density of water bodies in an urban setting in the entire world, covering almost 25% of the area. This leads to some difficulties for urban designers and urban planners in Wuhan. This intensive use of the water bodies and the land surrounding them for urban buildings and elements has led to some serious water quality issues. Most of the water bodies in Wuhan are polluted because the large and quick urban sprawl of the city that has been removing trees and natural elements

Concurrent to the urban sprawl is the public transportation sprawl. Since 2009, the Wuhan Metro has seen new management and an expansion of almost 5 times its size (See Figure 3). This huge boost in public transportation has reduced the Greenhouse Gas emissions that would be linked to other types of vehicular transportation (cars, taxis, etc. ). This new subway map allows for more people to access the areas of Han Street and The Han Show Theatre (See Figure 3) which allows more locals and tourists to enjoy the area in a more ecologically friendly way.

Figure 2 Figure Ground before construction

“The Han Show Theatre is located within a highly

dense mixed-use urban setting which allows for the residential, commercial, and cultural buildings to blend and lend a unique experience to the residents and tourists of the area”

The area around Han Street is a densely mixed use area that has residential, commercial, and cultural buildings. This mixed use (residential/commercial) aspect of the street allows the residents to have less travel time between home, work, and play which also removes the need for vehicular transportation and adds an ecological edge to the culture of the street. As mentioned before, the Han Show Theatre is located within a highly dense mixed-use urban setting which allows for the residential, commercial, and cultural buildings to blend and lend a unique experience to the residents and tourists of the area. The theatre fits seamlessly into this highly dense touristdriven urban area and has even heightened the tourism by its intense cultural symbolism and technological advances. In China urban planning documents were first introduced in the 1980’s and are still not considered legal documents. The planning code that does exist in the area is more of a suggestion for planners and designers. The master plans for the area of Wuhan have low public awareness and political will (Du et al., 2009). These documents only focus on density issues, architectural height, and floor/area ratio. They do not specify any sort of 3D architectural expression or any regard to ecological aspects of the site. Most of the planning in China puts emphasis on the location of the architecture for profit reasons rather than2009 sustainable ones. The Han Show Theatre is a definite example of this sort of planning. The 3D massing of the theatre does not reflect the current urban fabric of the street, in fact it stands out. It is also located in

Wuhan’s largest tourist area, a definite planning strategy to optimize the profits and success of the building. This is beneficial to the area and the building itself. Though the form is vastly different from the current urban fabric, it has stood out to be a cultural landmark that is visited by people from all around the world. The location of the building may be in a tourism area, but this facilitates travel to and from the theatre that is visited by so many people each and every day. The Han Show Theatre has become a cultural icon within Wuhan China based on its



Figure 3 Development of the Wuhan Metro

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urban planning. Its location within the Wuhan Central Cultural District adds to the cultural tourist aspect of the area and has created many jobs and a steady profit for the residents of the area. The building may not follow the most green and ecological architecture, its close proximity to the local public transportation system allows for vehicular car transportation to be cut down. Also the construction on a brownfield site reduces the destruction of natural elements around the East Lake. The 3D form of the building adds another cultural aspect but also allows for the Han Show Theatre to stand out from the commercial and residential urban fabric of Han Street. This theatre has become a landmark for modern Chinese Culture and tourism within Wuhan and has become a precursor for buildings that are within the Wuhan Central Cultural District and the connections of the lakes within Wuhan.

Figure 4 Figure Ground with the building


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Clarke, C. (2014, April 12). Press Releases. Retrieved September 22, 2015, from http://www.ceibs. edu/media/archive/122504.shtml Du, N., Ottens, H., & Sliuzas, R. (2009). Spatial impact of urban expansion on surface water bod ies—A case study of Wuhan, China. Landscape and Urban Planning, 175-185. Han Show Theatre / Stufish Entertainment Architects. (2014, December 27). Retrieved September 24, 2015. Isar, Y. (2013). Creative economy report 2013: Widening local development pathways (Third and special ed., p. 69). Li, J., & Hu, H. (2014). A Conceptual Framework for Site Design of Urban Design in China. In Advanced Materials Research (pp. 866-872). Liu, Y., Wei, X., Jiao, L., & Wang, H. (2014). Relationships between Street Centrality and Land Use Intensity in Wuhan, China. J. Urban Plann. Dev. Journal of Urban Planning and Devel opment, 05015001-05015001. Retrieved November 3, 2015, from Moriyasu, K. (2015, January 3). Chinese retail: Wanda’s new megamall offers rides,dives and a butler by your side- Nikkei Asian Review. Retrieved September 22, 2015, from http:// butler-by-your-side?page=1 N. Li, “A Conceptual Framework for Site Design of Urban Design in China”, Advanced Materials Research, Vol. 878, pp. 866-872, Jan. 2014 Smith, C. J.“Monumentality in urban design: The case of china. Eurasian Geography and Econom ics”, 49(3), 263-279. 2008

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Tokyo is currently recognized as a reservoir known for having a remarkable architectural presence, especially when it comes to contemporary architecture. Without hesitation it can be stated that this is a result of Tokyoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interesting experimental character, favourable economic conditions, unrestrictive building regulations, strong liberalism, and a result of having a belief that there is a limited amount to gain from holding onto what may already exist. Tokyoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s architectural presence grew to what it is today during the 1980s and 1990s when the previous mentioned conditions were most favourable, ultimately producing buildings with unique and experimental forms and structures. Tokyo at the time gave way for European and American architects to use as grounds for experimentation and as a canvas to draw ideas freely, especially when it came to housing projects. Housing in Japan was heavily grounded in tradition, and as a result the housing sector in Tokyo consisted of a very fine balance between westernized ideas and Japanese tradition. Tokyoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favourable conditions and cultural context attracted well known architect and designer Steven Holl. Steven Holl has designed a number of buildings in Tokyo and Japan in general all which are worthy of study, but one in particular has remained as a major influence in terms of urban design and housing complexes across Tokyo is the Makuhari Housing Complex. The Makuhari Housing Complex is placed in a newly constructed town (at the time) that is located farther East of Tokyo called Makuhari Baytown. Makuhari Housing Complex is a 6 storey building containing 190 residential units, 6 commercial units, and an interior courtyard.

Despite being an incredibly pleasing building, visually and functionally, it can be visually noted that building is unique and different in comparison to surrounding built environment. This brings up the question whether or not the housing complex designed by Steven Holl was done intentionally and strategically in relation to the urban context of the town or if it was done with no consideration and therefore based off only what he thought would be aesthetically pleasing. Thorough research has proved that Steven Holl designed the housing complex with strategic relation to its surroundings and urban context. This can be proven by examining the urban planning guidelines (ex: zoning) that were first established in Makuhari Baytown and how they played a role in the layout of the design, the overall cultural history of the town and country that influenced the overall design of the project, and finally through examining how well the project functions within the immediate context of the site. Makuhari Baytown is a newer town located in the Mihama ward of the Chiba prefecture in Japan. The town is originally known for its development in industrial and educational facilities, while the residential section of the town was developed at a later time. It can be visually noted that the residential sector was developed at a later time in comparison to surrounding sections of the city as well as wards within the same prefecture. The urban planners that are in charge of the residential sector of

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Figure 1 Figure Ground illustrating surrounding building typologies

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the town did not find the existing models for social housing sufficient and desired to create something more unique in this new town. The urban planners of the town studied European and American precedents that focused on the pedestrian scale in hopes of bringing an ‘international image’ to the new town. This ultimately resulted in mixed-use housing complex that were 6-7 storeys tall and on average 25m in height consisting of commercial use at ground level. The housing complexes in the town were a perimeter or l-shaped block typologies and set back approximately 5m away from the street to allow for tree-lined streets and wider sidewalks for pedestrian circulation. In relation to the makuhari housing complex, Steven Holl’s housing design abides by all these zoning rules and regulations. Despite the absence of having a commercial ground floor, the housing complex is approximately the same in building height when compared to the surrounding housing complexes in the town. Consisting of 6 storeys as well, the building too is set back far enough from the street level to allow for wide tree-lined streets for vehicular traffic and pedestrian circulation. The complex

does not provide any extra shading that negatively impacts surrounding buildings or pedestrian life as it is both setback accordingly and the similar in height to the other housing complexes that surround it. “The project was designed within the planning codes for building height limits, street pattern, space for shops and landscaping. It is a fine example of modern Japanese high-density housing” (Stein, 1997). In comparison to the surrounding building complexes, the only thing that differs with the Makuhari housing complex is the building typology. The housing complex is more broken up in comparison but can be seen as a mixture of both the perimeter and L-shaped block typologies. This has little negative effect on the surrounding context of the building as it still manages to produce a continuous façade on street facing sides. The Makuhari Housing complex manages to successfully fit into the existing built environment without disrupting the already existing urban setting / environment. While the housing complex abides the zoning by-laws and codes set by the town and prefecture it is located in, the housing complex also manages to contextually reflect Makuhari Baytown as well as the cultural values of Japan through the overall design of the project. As mentioned earlier, Makuhari Baytown is a new town that was developed within the Chiba prefecture and is located along Tokyo Bay. The town was seen as “the star in the monumental drama of urban development” (Ken, 1990), as this area was the last chance of revitalization and bringing back the beauty of the bay as the industrialization increased along the coastline. As a way to pay homage to the idea that the town was used as a way to bring back residents and reflect the bay, Steven Holl incorporated two large ponds of water into the interior courtyard of the complex – one at the entrance into the interior courtyard and the other right in the middle of it. The two large ponds do not only reflect the importance of the Bay but also directly relate to Japanese culture. In traditional Japanese culture, it is necessary to have a pond of water or basin at the centre of the garden. It is

important for this water source to be placed so that it runs from East to West so that the path of the sun follows the water. Despite the water being still in Steven Holl’s complex, it still pays its respect to this tradition as both rectangular ponds are positioned with the longer axis running East to West. The 25m high concrete walls can be seen as the stone walls that enclose a garden in the middle, which in this case is the courtyard. Japanese traditional houses typically have high stone walls that enclose the garden for the purpose of privacy and maintaining a level of serenity (Essley, 2014). Additionally, the complex provides a small pavilion in which is used strictly as a public tea house for its residents. This directly relates to the Japanese tradition of tea ceremonies. Just as the tea ceremonies, the small pavilion in the complex is designed to provide an aesthetically pleasing and spiritual satisfying experience for the guest. “… forms one of the most interesting and balanced attempts at mediating between consolidated, modern housing styles and a subtle version of Japanese tradition – the use of water and greenery in the central courtyard, spaces devoted to the tea ceremony” (Sacchi, 2004). Finally, the corridors are cantilevered and free of structure within the complex and are located behind walls along with circulation routes and galleries. This meets Japanese standards as majority of homes are built this way. The Makuhari Housing complex is able to accomplish a balance between modern housing while still keeping in relation to traditional Japanese tradition and relation to the context. The Makuhari Housing Complex is successful within its surrounding context as it is a highly functional building. As mentioned before, the complex is more broken up spatially, in contrast to the other complexes as well as a mixture of a perimeter and L-block typologies. As a result of this, there are openings throughout the building on the ground floor that occur more often as opposed to the normal perimeter or L-shape block typologies that are located around the complex. Besides opening onto the major street, which is most logical, the complex also opens and puts

emphasis on the surrounding green spaces. To the East of the building there is a large park immediately outside of one opening. This park is actually connected to an elementary school allowing easy access and circulation for residents of the complex. To the West of the complex, another park that is connected to a library, allowing again for easy access and circulation. Furthermore, the openings are positioned in a way in which entering the building creates a perspective where at least two of the six small pavilions are in view allowing for a very picturesque and memorable entrance. Additionally, the complex has taken path of the sun into great consideration the. It is a requirement that houses in Japan must receive a minimum of four hours of sunlight



Figure 2 Illustration showing before and after consideration of sun path

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“reflecting the context and culture of the town and Japan, in turn creating a balance between modern housing and Japanese tradition”

Figure 3 Figure Ground illustrating neighbouring school, library, and parks

daily. To accomplish this, Holl altered the forms of the building as well as the façade by implementing chamfering and inflections. “The structures with concrete walls have thick facades and a rhythmic repetition of the openings (with variations between windows or surfaces), gently sloping according to the arbiter of sunlight” (Gausa, 1998). Despite the surrounding context consisting of very little, it can still be noted that Holl has taken it as well as the location in general into consideration during the design process. Steven Holl has successfully created a unique complex that stands out from its surroundings but at the same time manages to blend in. The Makuhari Housing complex

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accomplishes the task of following zoning by-laws and codes set by the town and Chiba Prefecture urban planners, reflecting the context and culture of the town and Japan, in turn creating a balance between modern housing and Japanese tradition, finally it accomplishes the task of being a functional building within its built environment. Steven Holl’s Makuhari Housing complex was designed intentionally and strategically in relation to the urban context and creates a positive relationship with the surrounding urban setting and a healthy living environment for its inhabitants.

Figure 4 Illustration showing the public Tea Ceremony house located in one of the interior courtyards

Bibliography Essley, J. (2014). Japan Houses - A Look at Current and Traditional Japanese Homes. Retrieved October 26, 2015. Gausa, M. (1998). Housing: New alternatives, new systems BirkhaĚ&#x2C6;user. Ken, O. (1990). Makuhari new town. Japan Quarterly, 37(4), 451. Sacchi, L., & Purini, F. (2004). Tokyo: City and architecture Universe. Stein, K. (1997). Project diary: Steven hollâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s makuhari housing complex is his biggest project, and biggest struggle as an architect, to date The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc Zhou, J., & Colquhoun, I. (2005). Urban housing forms, Elsevier.

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China’s sudden rise to power has spurred immense growth in it cities, namely its capital city, Beijing. Since the revolution of the People’s Liberation Army to overthrow the corrupt government in 1949, the growth of Beijing has skyrocketed. From a population of four million during the time to a current population of 11 million, it has grown almost threefold (Yu, Wang, & Li 2011). Alongside the explosion in population, industrial factories have also expanded correspondingly to provide a large source of income for the economy (Sit 1995). However, it’s not all a pretty picture. Over the years, China and Beijing have experienced much political turmoil and cultural upheaval (Sit 1995). Many problems have emerged in the urban landscape, pollution by overconcentration of industrial processes, the destruction of greenery and historical buildings with the lack of policy enforcement, poor living conditions due to lack of zoning laws, water shortages and droughts, and the list goes on. The sudden expansion of the economy has put a great strain on the city and how it should be planned, however, new developments like Zaha Hadid’s Galaxy SOHO provides no solutions to these problems. SOHO China, a wealthy real-estate developer, invited Zaha Hadid and her firm to design a 330 000 square meter multi-use mega mall and office complex. Located on the inner side of the second ring road, Galaxy SOHO is within the prime heritage boundary which the locals call the “Old City”. The Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Centre has shown its discontent, criticizing Galaxy SOHO for damaging the old

Beijing streetscape and traditional hutong and siheyuan. The design of Galaxy SOHO is certainly futuristic, but when comparing it with its local context, it shows no resemblance in any way. China’s reckless desire for growth in the city of Beijing, prompted construction of buildings, but failed to realize the significance to respond to site conditions, to address the historical value, and to provide a sustainable solution which truly fit China’s needs. When looking at Galaxy Soho as a discrete system it is a magnificent feat of architecture and engineering. The four blocks of 15 storey tall gleaming white round masses connected with curving bridges and bands of glazing is a testament to the master class of contemporary design. However, when taking a look at the bigger picture, Galaxy Soho is no longer master class, but of no class in urban design. First of all, the four 15 storey tall domes are not exactly small masses. Each dome needs its own atrium in order to get light into the building, making it at least two or three times the width of its neighboring office towers on the other side of the second ring road. These large masses also dwarf the important vernacular architecture that sit nearby to the west, creating awkward scenes where intimate spaces in hutongs or village roads have giant white alien eggs looming in the background. (Wainwright 2013) Lastly, and the most obvious example is its main design feature the large circular and curvaceous masses that adhere to no design consistency with the buildings around it. Buildings along

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Figure 1 + 2 1 The area of the Second Ring Road, the Forbidden city and the location fo Galaxy Soho 2 Figure ground of the milieu, proximity of the courtyard houses to the left and the contrast in urban design between Galaxy Soho and the surrounding buildings the large boulevard that is the ring road, reflect architecture from the 1970’s to 1980’s they harken back to the heavy block granite towers and mirrored glazing (Borden 2014). Other buildings to west, deeper within the cultural ring, are dominated by vernacular architecture such as the siheyuan, traditional courtyard houses, hutongs, network of village roads, and smaller tower buildings. The large round masses in no way relate to any of its surrounds. It is obvious that it is trying to make a big statement by differentiating itself, but by doing this, it fails to respond architecturally to the existing urban design. Galaxy Soho is purely an attempt to be an architectural icon, not only does it physically disregard context, it is also ignorant of the deep cultural roots of Chinese architectural history. Beijing is not a city that suddenly appeared 60 years ago when the boom of its growth started. It is a city and landscape with a diverse history and very deep roots in culture. When Deng Xiao Ping came into power in the 1980’s, he declared that Beijing is to be a centre for political and cultural affairs. Traditional buildings and structures are to be protected thoroughly, especially within the

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second ring road, or as the locals call, the “Old City”, which encircles the sensitive culture of the inner core (Zhao, 1997). Within the inner core, Beijing’s 800 years of cultural history can be seen, composed of the hutong; village roads, siheyuan; courtyard houses, and most importantly the Forbidden City. During that time, fengshui, directly translated as wind and water, is a cultural belief in the balance of elements and heaven and earth. This influenced the plan of the siheyuan, with its four rooms bounding a courtyard in the centre together in a square plan speak to the balance of fengshui. Zaha Hadid, in the design of Galaxy SOHO attributes that the “valley”, the central area surrounded by the four enormous mounds is a reflection of the traditional courtyard houses (Wainwright 2013). However, this cannot be farther from the truth. This interpretation of the courtyard lacks any true understanding of the cultural beliefs of fengshui that guides the planning of the house. Furthermore, in an interview video of the grand opening of the Galaxy Soho, Zaha responds to critics who challenge her about the building having no relevance to Chinese culture, and she simply replies that, “…in the future, this will look like a Chinese project.” These brief and superficial

“...a city and landscape with a diverse history and very deep roots in culture.” statements show Hadid and her team of architects’ lack of understanding of Chinese culture. This translates to a building that does not only physically and visually fragment itself from the city and its surroundings, but also diminishes the cultural connection that the people have with the urban streetscape and design in the Old City. Aside from the neglecting physical aesthetics of its surroundings and the traditions of Chinese culture, there is another aspect which makes Galaxy Soho an example of bad urban design; the failure to accommodate for the true needs of the city. Due to China’s particularly troubled political affairs between 1949 and 1978 there was a lack of policy and official documents which resulted in unplanned development during the early years after 1949 (Zhao, 1997). A sudden change in the viewpoint of the government concluded that Beijing was to be a centre of industrial activity. This spurred the growth of factories in the city, eventually leading to several major problems (Sit, 1995). An over concentration of factories created tons of pollution that

Figure 3 Traditional siheyuan or courtyard house, hutongs are the village roads that connect thtese houses

damaged vital greenways and greenbelts, factories were built too close to residential units posing hazards to the health of its people, and the sporadically erected industries adhering to no zoning laws further damaged cultural heritage and green areas. The early years after the People’s Republic of China (PRC), was a tough and complicated time for its political affairs. Not until Deng Xiao Ping did China open its doors to the outside world to invite foreign countries to join in its development. Under these circumstances, Beijing, a city still recovering from its past wounds is not in need of a modernist building like the Galaxy Soho. It gives no sustainable advantage to the use of the land and its planning. Disappointingly, 2 the massive 330 000m of office and retail space since its time of conception actually stands mostly empty of tenants meaning that it given no economic benefit back to the city (Jreguielewicz 2013). Besides, the economic downfall, the Galaxy Soho also shows no cultural connection to the locals in the city. Instead, the site on which it is built on is previously the No.7A Small Arch Hutong, meaning hundreds of traditional homes have been demolished for the construction of this building. Rather than destroying the cultural heritage of Beijing which is so essential to its character, buildings should not be a display of gaudy architecture, but strive to revitalize the old siheyuan and other vernaculars. In a personal visit to Beijing, a traditional siheyuan was renovated to meet the modern needs of society, while keeping the same traditional plan of the courtyard house. This is the kind of solution that keeps with the traditional values of Beijing, while still improving the residential and lifestyle quality. Unfortunately, Galaxy Soho in its impressive show of architecture does nothing to improve the need for greenbelts, the conservation of vernacular architecture, and the living conditions of the people.

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Figure 4 The composition of the courtyard house is essential to its fengshui and although Hadid claims Galaxy Soho derives from its traditional architecture it certainly does not reflect its features It is true that the Galaxy Soho is quite a spectacular display of architecture and engineering. The pure white round planes which make up the mounds are intruiging in their fluidity and the bridges which connect them create interesting vistas when looking up from the ground floor. However, Soho China, the developers of Zaha Hadid’s building have invested in the wrong solution for the city. Through the analysis of the building and its context it is apparent the goal of the

developer has never been to cater towards the preservation of the cultural heritage, the contribution to local design language of the city, or the immediate needs of the city. Instead, Galaxy Soho is a display of China’s desire to be recognized by the world through architectural means. With this mindset, the four empty white alien eggs do nothing for the urban design but stand pretty on its own.


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Bingshi, Z. (1997). Beijing: Urban development and planning. Ekistics [H.W. Wilson - SSA], 64(385/386/387), 211. Yu, K., Wang, S., & Li, D. (2011). The negative approach to urban growth planning of beijing, china. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 54(9), 1209-1236. doi:10.1080/09640568.2011.564488 Jodidio, P. (2009). Zaha Hadid: Hadid : Complete works 1979-2009. Köln: Taschen. Nico Saieh. “Galaxy Soho / Zaha Hadid Architects by Hufton + Crow” 16 Nov 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 6 Nov 2015. <> Sit, V. F. S.. (1996). Soviet Influence on Urban Planning in Beijing, 1949-1991. The Town Planning Review, 67(4), 457–484. Retrieved from Borden, D. (2014, January 14). Pretty, Vacant, Zaha’s New Beijing Bubbles. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from Jurgielewicz, M. (2013, December 3). Zaha Hadid’s Galaxy SOHO: Back From the Future - Failed Architecture. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from Wainwright, O. (2013, August 2). Zaha Hadid’s mega mall accused of ‘destroying’ Beijing’s heritage. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from zaha-hadid-destroying-beijing-heritage

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The State Theatre of Western Australia was a building designed to take an ambitious attempt towards incorporating a modern building into an historical site. What will be discussed in this paper are the logical designs that the architect intends to incorporate towards his building in order to make it coherent with the urban context. The location that the theatre is situated in is also known as the Cultural Centre surrounding itself with a variety of arts, music, food, entertainment and festivals all year around. While this theatre incorporates a more modern look towards its surrounding context the State Theatre of Western Australia creates an engaging interaction between its surrounding building’s and begins to shift the environment in a positive manner. This not only allows the area to incorporate a new urban environment but it allows for the beginning of a revitalization within the core of the Cultural Centre creating a new stepping stone of urban design within its context. Additionally the State Theatre of Western Architecture subconciously incorporates a connection towards the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM) movement identifying how public space can influence the urban planning of a development. Kerry Hill Architects refrains from designing the State Theatre of Western Architecture as an independent building but rather an interactive space creating “... a permeable welcoming venue, knitted into the urban fabric”. (Lomholt) The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia was constructed and designed

within the years of 2005- 2007 by Kerry Hill Architects. The intention of the building was to create a venue that would meet the needs of the performing arts community. (Goldswain) Described by Kerry Hill Architect: “The architecture of the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia arises from a dialogue of opposing forces. A sense of darkness and light. An expression of mass and transparency. A language that is robust and delicate. The building volumes are clearly articulated on the site. The theatres are stacked vertically, freeing up space on the site for a courtyard…” The design of the building utilizes a modern approach of architecture while sitting at the edge of one of Perth’s least attractive urban environments. (Goldswain) The reason why the design of the State Theatre Center is so effective is because of its use of composition architecturally along with its interactive approach through the urban form. The building design of the State Theatre Centre incorporates an admirable approach of connecting a multi-layered foyer allowing a connection from the building to the streets (Goldswain). After taking a close analytical approach one begins to see that the State Theatre Centre looks towards the shifting environment surrounding the building. This allows for the beginning of a revitalization on site, setting a benchmark

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Figure 1 Before and After Figure - Ground

for the public architecture in Perth. Besides the development that Kerry Hill Architects has pursued, the location of the building was a key aspect that allowed for the State Theatre of Western Australia to blend in and create a coherent connection towards its surrounding context. Sitting at the corner of Roe Street and William Street, the State Theatre Centre was located in a prime location with essential necessities within walking distance along with the relation to the artistic buildings located within the area. This not only allows for the State Theatre Centre create a visual connection towards the surrounding urban context but its presence attracts the community closer within the district drawing more attention towards â&#x20AC;&#x153;the cultural heart of the cityâ&#x20AC;?. (Hall)

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Perth Cultural Centre has become a very well-known meeting place for locals and visitors located in the area of central Perth, Western Australia. This Cultural Centre incorporates a mix of art, music, food, entertainment and festivals incorporating many institutions

on site including the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. (Figure 3) These institutions are developed at the corners of this block which include; an Art Gallery of Western Australia; Western Australian Museum; State Library of Western Australia and centering the node is the Perth Cultural Centre which bleeds out into the courtyard in the centre of all four buildings. The unique and intelligent aspect of incorporating each building at the corners of the site is for frontage allowing for a maximum visual representation of the building and at the same time creating an art community within this specific urban context. With the incorporation of these buildings on site, along with a courtyard to center the buildings, it allows for this zone of Perth to be pedestrian oriented. The traffic flow for both pedestrians and automobiles also becomes an important aspect when dealing with the planning of this site. By utilizing the core of the Perth Cultural Centre, pedestrians are able to easily enter into the site and be able to utilize the State Theatre Centre. In regards to the automobile traffic, having the State Theatre

Centre located at the corner of Roe Street and William Street allows for clear visible access towards the building along with clear traffic flow along Perth’s standardized grid system. Other than the use of the vehicle on site, the bus line located south west of the site is another method of transportation that is very accessible to the State Theatre Centre. This allows for all pedestrians to be able to access this site through various modes of transportation which makes the site of the building very efficient. The zoning laws that coincide with this area of Perth, Australia have been made towards the redevelopment of this precinct also known as Northbridge. The zoning which was established by the City of Perth proposes a document to provide a guidance towards the developers on site and an overall planning framework of the surrounding environment. With these guidelines in place, the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia successfully maintains them to ensure the cohesiveness with the other developments already in place. According to the Planning Policy Manual – Section 6.2 some of the objectives include;

to relate to what has already been developed and constructed on site. This creates a direct relation to the Perth Cultural Centre and more specifically the State Theatre Centre. Another aspect important on this site is the height of the developed or potentially developing buildings. With the controlled building heights which at this point is at a maximum of 10 meters. The City of Perth is able to control and measure the amount of natural light entering into the site allowing for a friendlier environment for the people visiting the Perth Cultural Centre or more importantly the State Theatre Centre. The CIAM which was founded in Switzerland, 1928 was an association of architects created “to advance modernism and internationalism in architecture”. This elite group of architects saw an opportunity to serve the interest of society and focus on spreading the principles of modern movement. Even though the CIAM was created long before the construction of the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, the principles behind the CIAM was still presented within the theatre. In chapter four of The CIAM Discourse on

“Maintaining diversity of activity in Northbridge; create attractive and humane public space in Northbridge; encourage public art in Northbridge to enliven the built environment and give expression to the cultural diversity of the area; ensure that Northbridge continues to be a place where people are able to move about comfortably on foot” With all these in play the Northbridge study promotes and maintains many of the physical characteristics on site promoting the design compatibility between the new up and coming development along with the existing building fabric of Northbridge. In respect to the urban context the components of each developing building should visually relate to its immediate neighbour while contributing to its surrounding context. With this it allows for the future development of the area

Vehicle Flow Pedestrian Flow Figure 2 Vehicle Versus Pedestrian Flow

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“urban context and over time will become the stepping stone for future development of its community. “

Figure 3 Relationship to it’s surrounding context Urbanism, 1928 – 1960 Eric Mumford writes, “… one of the earliest efforts to discuss the urban public space in the transformed circumstance of modern architecture…” (Mumford) The CIAM saw that you can identifying the public space through design and urban planning. The State Theatre Centre allows for the people within the community to see the development of the art community flourish within the city of Perth. There are four essential tools when locating a specific building: living, working, recreation and circulation which the State Theatre of Western Australia maintains. One of the observations mentioned in the book, The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, was able to move industrial zones closer to residential

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homes to reduce the workers commuting times. The State Theatre Centre not only keeps a close relationship towards the other art institutions within the area but it also stays within close proximity to the housing development located just north of the site. Additionally located within the city block of these institutions is a public space dedicated towards the artistic community. The public space is used for many recreational purposes and for the State Theatre it allows for many advantages. This includes increasing the number of users by the attraction of the public space. Today, the field of urban design has emerged and flourished by identifying the urban context through interconnected fields of work including architecture, landscape

architecture and urban planning. The city of Perth, Australia, has developed over time and become a city driven towards a sustainable future. The impact that the state theatre promotes through the city allows for the future development of the area to become more enhanced along with the recollection of identifying the area as a unified whole. The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia creates a development that coincides with the surrounding urban context and situates itself in a prime location that utilizes all modes of transportation in order to create an easily accessible site. Furthermore, the zoning being distinguished allows for appropriate building heights. Thus creating many advantages for the Perth Cultural Centre while maintaining the proper street frontage along the standardized grid system of Perth, Australia.

important movement that shapes much of the thinking for large scale urban design. This movements such as CIAM, creates a precedent for future urban planning developments. The State Theatre subconsciously creted a connection towards the CIAM movement. This allowed for a succeful connection between the building and the urban context. The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia has been developed to coherently work with its surrounding urban context and over time will become the stepping stone for future development of the Northbridge community.

While considering these fields of work functioning together there is also another Bibliography Banerjee, T & Loukaitou-Sideris, A. (2011). Companion to Urbanism. Madison, NY: Routledge. Print Goldswain, P. (2011). “State Theatre Centre”. ArchitectureAU. n. pag. Web. 24 September 2015 Hall, P. (1988). Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the Twentieth Century. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Print Introduction to the Western Australian Planning System. Retrieved September 23, 2015. Print Lomholt, I. (2011). “State Theatre Centre of Western Australia: Perth Building”. e-archetect. n. pag. Web. 26 September 2015. Mumford, E. (2000). The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. Print “Perth Cultural Centre”. 23 September 2015. Web Images: Lambert, A. State Theatre of Western Australia. Acom Photo Agency. Photography. (First Page) Retrieved from ern_australia_w180811_1.jpg

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Sydney’s western harbor is being transformed into a vibrant and energized public domain that sets the bar for urban development worldwide. One development in particular, the Darling Quarter Commonwealth Bank Place, is a mixed use, commercial building designed by FJMT architects in the darling harbour precinct of Australia, completed in 2011. The surrounding park, and green spaces, namely the Tumbalong Green, were designed by Aspect Studios. The development’s primary principle is the revitalization of the area formerly occupied by the SegaWorld site, which began underperforming. Attendance dropped, and decay ensued. The inception of the development into the precinct has stressed the ideological shift in thinking about the importance of public domain centred on entertainment, and how the development of such a set of buildings through urban and architectural design can lead to the revitalization of a historically underused urban space within the building’s context. Moreover, the selection of its site developed the most underused area of the precinct and put Australia’s stringent urban design guidelines to the test. Through the exploration of its addition, and response to revitalization of the greater darling harbour area, the importance of the darling quarter as an integral part of a now key entertainment centre for Sydney will be demonstrated. What the design achieves is mediating the scale and density of the Central Business

District, by inserting the large mixed use facility into the landscape. By combining the facility’s programming with the design of the surrounding green space, the overall plan of the urban space promotes pedestrian activity through open procession. This achieves a link between the Harbour and the Central Business District, as well as many other districts and parks in the surrounding Sydney area. Looking at the overall planning of the city, we can see a clear mix between pattern and master planning design approaches. A geometric grid has been placed over the natural pattern of the Sydney harbor. Superimposed upon this grid, are nodes (parks) that are connected by crisscrossing streets, forming main arteries. Moreover connecting different precincts designated within the grid (fig. 3). The design revitalizes the once decaying node, that although is small in scale, was central in the connection of several precincts of the city to the north, south, east, and west. By focusing the design on social integration, its position in the link between these nodes plays a crucial role in addressing issues of social and cultural cohesion. This creates a series of pedestrian thorough-fares to increase the ease of pedestrian circulation. A new East-West pedestrian street connects Darling Harbour South with the rest of the city. The NorthSouth pedestrian laneway collects dining, retail, and playground spaces with a children’s theatre, along one new artery linking the entertainment centre to the south with Cockle

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Figure 1 Figure Ground map showing the development’s position in the Harbour Bay to the North. The design further connects the park and the rest of the urban fabric through several formal decisions. The Commonwealth Bank Place’s form follows the shape and path of the park and its main arteries, in an effort to integrate the design of the greenspace with the rest of the city. The stepped zoning of the surrounding city precincts is continued through the commercial developments. The roof line of the Commonwealth Bank Place offers an elegant transition between the large scale developments of the Central Business District and the smaller building scales of the Harbour District.

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The development has set the bar for sustainable design across the city, and Australia as a whole. The long-term sustainability is ensured through environmental design initiatives which have been put in place. A sixstar rating from the Green Building Council, both on interior and exterior fit-out has been awarded based upon a 72 percent reduction in overall carbon emissions as a result of building operation. The site also treats over two-hundred and forty-five thousand litres

of waste water daily, which is a significant contribution to the environmental health of the precinct. This feature was particularly important for the connection between precincts. The Haymarket District, including Darling Harbour, shares waterways with the Bays District, and as such, it was important to preserve and protect these waterways through urban design initiatives. Social and cultural sustainability has also been addressed through the design’s low-rise, campus style development which sits comfortably within the cityscape. Furthermore, it addresses both pedestrian and urban scales. The major stakeholder, Lend Lease, and the Sydney Harbour Shorefront Authority, who commissioned the project, have put initiatives in place to stimulate public activity and to ensure a constant maintenance – both which have been fully integrated into the development’s operational budget, along with ongoing public initiatives structured towards family programs, namely outdoor cinema and music events. The goal of the development functionally, is to design a landscape that was both comfortable, and vibrant, and which featured a diverse range of trees and plants which thrive in the Australian climate. The trees offer natural shading throughout the park, and a mix of low walls, seating and planted landscapes create a dynamic pedestrian circulation. Moreover, encouraging social interaction. This community green space provides a flexible open area for relaxation and recreation of all kinds. This clearly demonstrates the precincts influence on the stimulation of the precinct’s public domain. The high volume of pedestrian traffic draws businesses within the development together in close proximity, creating a bustling retail environment, which works in tandem with the financial programming of the Commonwealth Bank Place. Furthermore, establishing the

node as an integral economic hotspot within Sydney’s grid. The development sees nearly twenty-four hours of activity each day; a testament to its effectiveness as a social condenser. Due to the high traffic day-in and day-out, it has become an important goal for the development to promote public safety at all times of day. Night time lighting powered by roof mounted solar panels on the Commonwealth Bank Place provide a way of creating twenty-four hour, zero cost safety, fully integrated into the design of the development. The entire site is designed principally as a pedestrian environment. The new roadways, mentioned in an earlier paragraph, promote a safe link for pedestrians and cyclists to access different precincts around the city. additionally, these lanes develop and maintain clear lines of site across all areas of the development and surrounding city, which not only improves the safety of pedestrian circulation, but is also an important design consideration in Sydney’s urban design guidelines. The Darling Quarter has been truly integrated into the urban fabric. Just as the development has been strictly planned in accordance with the wider master plan of the city, just as strict as set of guidelines has been applied to the quality of materials, and in particular, their response to the surrounding context. Timber, stone, steel, and glass form the major expression of the surrounding precincts, and therefore, the materiality has been carried through the buildings of the development. Further design additions make reference to the site’s industrial history; the design takes a playful interpretation of the harbour’s history, by incorporating water activity into the recreational programming of the park. The design achieves an overall sensitivity towards social, contextual, material, environmental, and historical influences, and

has therefore become an altogether engaging development within the growing Sydney landscape. The development has unified all aspects at the core of Sydney’s urban design guidelines; the protection/ conservation and interpretation of natural and cultural heritage, preserving view corridors, minimising loss of solar access to the public domain, use of materials suited to the local palette, appropriate response to building scale, alignment and massing, and providing a signature space open to parklands which aid in showcasing the city. The concepts are key within the guidelines for addressing context and design excellence, place-making, and responsonding positively to the public realm, and as such have been placed at the core of the Darling Quarter’s intended goals. The Darling Quarter draws together the physical, social, and economic, ultimately creating a place of functionality, viability, distinct beauty and cultural identity.

Figure 2 Figure Ground showing the condition of the site pre-development

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“Superimposed upon this grid, are nodes (parks) that are connected by crisscrossing streets, which form main arteries. Moreover connecting different precincts designated within the grid”

Figure 3 aerial illustration of the connections between parks(nodes) via main ateries of pedestiran and vehicular circulation Bibliography A ‘whole of precinct’ approach. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2015. Case studies: Darling Quarter. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2015, from casestudies/darling.aspx Darling Quarter. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2015, from Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT) - Architecture, Interiors, Landscape, Urban Design. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2015, from Inside Darling Quarter. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2015, from Development/DarlingQuarter/InsideDarlingQuarter/index.html#/2/

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“Case Studies.” Darling Quarter. ASBEC, 1 Sept. 2015. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.




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Situated in central Singapore, ParkRoyal on Pickering is a high-density residential project by WOHA Architects. This project raises many urban design and sustainability issues which the essay will address in further depth. Historical development of urban space in Singapore relates closely to ParkRoyal as it follows a unique approach to design for a highrise project. The design initiative behind the ParkRoyal is to introduce a vertical, green living environment where existing occupants as well as new occupants of the space can admire the various forms of greento-urban areas (the fusion of landscape design with urban planning through careful consideration for the existing context and architectural practice). This design language is meant to draw in existing properties such as the park and streetscape to create a vibrant discussion. The ParkRoyal is a bold and ambitious achievement that speaks closely to urban revitalization by integrating green and open elements into its conception. The essay will discuss Singapore’s history of urban revitalization, the building’s conceptuality, and how its vernacular connects with the surrounding contexts of the site. Today, Singapore is at the penial of innovation in regards to design largely due to the city planners and architects who pay close attention to the development of urban landscapes and environments within the city. This was not always the case. The city had previously been suffering from urban renewal and transforming into a city focusing on the stack-ability of factories. It

was not until the late nineteenth century that the city wanted to move in the direction of urban revitalization and focus on the healthier alternatives of design for its future. WOHA is one of Singapore’s reputable architectural firm who have built many low and high rise buildings that adhere to fundamental approaches to urban design through means of sustainability and accommodate an appreciation of the place in which the projects exist. The use of green architecture helps with the progression of a “breathable city” which the government has been striving to achieve for Singapore since 2002 (Blanc, 2008). The following essay will shed an understanding on how Singapore developed from the early stages of urban renewal to urban revitalization through the project, ParkRoyal, which utilizes unique concepts of design. Ultimately, how it identifies itself in the urban context of its surroundings will also be explained. Throughout history, Singapore has greatly evolved from its time of colonization and post-war era, especially in regards to urbanism. The earliest significance of the city was for its factories and imports located all around central Singapore and Marina Bay (Bull, 2007). Both regions play critically to the urban quality and formation of the city as it maintains a surmountable construction of stacked forms of living, as well industrial factories. The city’s urban density was rapidly growing after the World War and the city began to strategize plans to build high rise dwelling antecedent in the area sustainably because they were

Figure 1 A Nolli Plan representing the modern state of central Singapore and the ParkRoyal today. Area represented in red being the project footprint, the arrows shows circulation paths for streets and the darker/dashed paths highlight access to transit routes. projected to have limit land area to utilize. In the 1960s, following the colony’s independence, the Housing Development Board was established to construct housing blocks which used stacking as a whole footprint as opposed to individual footprints such as bungalows (Bull, 2007). It focused on the comfort for its residences and self-sufficiency, trying to forge its path from urban renewal to urban revitalization. In the Peter Hall’s “Cities of Tomorrow,” he reflects on Ebenezer Howard’s notion of “the community should primarily grow from a collective sense of ownership of the garden city by its people. Physical planning and design would reflect this common ownership rather than be a substitute for it” (Hall, 2014). The Garden City movement can be seen in parts of Singapore as it “shows the Howard’s influence.” Despite its extremely high density, it combines living, working, and other uses. It is through urban growth that newer generations of Singaporeans find themselves living in a harmonized realm of CIAM mass housing. The housing community was produced according to an abstraction and hugely rational design process, but lacked consideration on the way people had behaved in the old Singapore (Hall, 2014). This is an example of how innovation is introduced through planning and architecture,

by firms like WOHA, is exceptional in devising green liveable spaces in dense and public spaces. ParkRoyal on Pickering is a project that encompasses various values of sustainability and dense urban city living as Singapore is aspiring to realize. WOHA is Singapore based architectural firm that approaches building landscape with consideration of ecological footprint and appreciation for the site in mind. The methodology is to not take, but to somehow give back to the urban environment in a sustainable way. ParkRoyal on Pickering is a large, high rise hotel complex that is situated in the Singapore’s central business hub adjacent to the Hong Lim Park. Its purpose is to adhere to visitors with welcoming qualities, both through architecture and landscape architecture. The building consists a total of 15,000 square metres of skygardens, reflecting pools, waterfalls, planted terraces, and green walls. This is double the site area or equivalent to the footprint of the adjacent Hong Lim Park (Busenkell, 2012). The trees planted on the site range from a variety of species such as shading trees, tall palms, flowering plants, leafy shrubs, and overhanging creepers. Such variety allows for the appearance of a lush tropical setting

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greenery as well as materiality.

Figure 2 Sketch of the biodiverse landscape on each floor in regards to form and function. that is attractive not only to residences, but also insects and birds, extending the green areas of Hong Lim Park and encouraging biodiversity in the city. The properties of the landscapes are designed to be self-sustaining. They are meant to exist as organically as possible as they rely minimally on natural resources. Primarily, rainwater and gravity are the essential components to maintaining the system. Water is collected from the upper floors then naturally irrigate planters on the lower floors by gravity. After, it is supplemented by “non-potable recycled NEWater” a brand name given to reclaimed water produced by Singapore’s Public Utilities Board then be further used for all water features (Busenkell, 2012). Richard Hassell from WOHA suggests that their approach on landscape to be a metaphor for a canyon or plateau. “It is a way to conceive forms that are a bit looser than if we were to relate back to other building types – such as basilicas, or plaza” (Busenkell, 2012). He also describes some levels to be like terraces in paddy fields, suggesting that it is similar in regards to architectural landscape, but much “looser in shape.” The formation of landscape and contours create a unique element to the overall urban footprint. It diversifies the neignbouring spaces with its representation of

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The materiality in this project consist of perforated panels, tinted glazing, glass fins, granite, cladding, stone clad wall, and overall pre-cast concrete construction especially for the contours (Busenkell, 2012). ParkRoyal’s typology, placement on site, and orientation to the site allows for various vantages on the east such as the Hong Lim Park and a percentage of Singapore’s skyline and Rivers as you ascend to higher floors. The building’s vernacular and “E-shaped typology” creates a dialogue with the existing adjacencies and context. The podium houses the aboveground car park, transforming it into a sculptural urban object while its roof becomes a lush landscaped terrace, housing the hotel’s recreational facilities, which include birdcageshaped cabanas (CTBUH, 2014). Its skygarden landscape feature is meant to mimic the essence of a rainforest as well as the Hong Lim Park that it faces (Blanc, 2008). The landscapes on each level has walkable paths which transitions from one podium to the next creating a dynamic experience with the neighbouring landscape. As a result, the project manages to establish a unique language between the urban and the landscape. Richard Hassell describes the architecture of ParkRoyal to be “interacting with the landscape. For [him], it’s a highhearted and delightful project, like [the] “bird

Figure 3 Sketch of skylight at cantilevered sky gardens.

“In ParkRoyal, the architecture is interacting with the landscape. For me, it’s a hight-hearted and delightful project, like our “bird cages.” It sums up the old pleasures of being in a classical garden with follies.” – Richard Hassell, WOHA

Figure 4 Rendering of the site in regards to massing of surrounding buildings, the relationship with the adjacent Hong Lim Park, and its identity in the realm of urban-to-landscape. It also shows the 206% Green Plot Ratio. cages.” It sums up the old pleasures of being in a classical garden with follies” (Busenkell, 2012). The stack-ability of the skygardens and overall green spaces in the building are dependent on Singapore’s equatorial climate as light is able to perpetrate towards the façade allowing to maximize natural sunlight in the process. The topographical aspect of the building is unique since the contours constructed on the site adhere to an array of components and functions. To the general public, the contours are meant to generate conversation and provide an aesthetical breath of fresh from the generic podium high rise construction that is already occupying the greater portion of Singapore. Functionality is incorporated by utilizing orientation and natural light as those allow for circular light-wells on each level of the contours. This successfully sustaining 206% Green Plot Ratio, the highest ratio of living

green space considered on high-rise with this particular concept (Busenkell, 2012). Views are admirable from the hotel rooms as each suite overlooks the Singapore skyline towards the Marina River where the city’s major traffic and import occurs. The building utilizes photovoltaic panels to store energy on its roof. WOHA wanted to encompass the philosophy of a “Vertical Village” (Wood, 2014) that models a fostered community spirit by strategically forming urban clusters and weaving informal spaces along daily routes to encourage social bonding and interaction, good neighbourliness, mutual care, watchfulness, a sense of shared ownership, belonging and pride. Overall, ParkRoyal on Pickering is meant to not only function as a commercialresidential space, but also as a testament to green-to-urban integration that rests around


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Figure 5 Sunpath study of the building, estimating the amount of natural light the landscape and suites are able to attain annually. the existing environment in the central Singapore. It’s vertical greening and elevated gardens demonstrate how conservation of greenery is strategized in a stacked format in a high rise city center to achieve a successful language that speaks with its surrounding context architecturally, sustainably, and urbanely. The hotel-to-garden aspect is meant to introduce a natural connection to green space with living space. This approach helps to adhere with Singapore’s green efficiency. Many elements, both natural and man-built, inspired the concept the design of the ParkRoyal hotel. The typology plays on the language of the

urban setting as it is built in the central business sector, erected adjacent to a park and close by the Marina River. Stacked “vertical gardens” within the site and around the four towers help to alleviate the green footprint of the site in scale, shape and form (Wood, 2014). ParkRoyal on Pickering achieves an unprecedented amount of greenery and landscaping in a high-rise development, integrating them in innovative ways that address urban design and sustainability issues.


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Blanc, P., & Lalot, V. (2008). The Vertical Garden: From Nature to the City. New York: W.W. Norton. Bull, C. (2007). Cross-Cultural Urban Design: Global or Local Practice? London: Routledge. Busenkell, M. (2012). WOHA: Architektur Atmet = Breathing Architecture. Munich: Prestel. CTBUH. (2014, September 18) CTBUH 2014 Shanghai Conference - Mun Summ Wong, “The Tropical Skyscraper” [Video file]. Retrieved from Hall, P. (2014). The Garden City. In Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the Twentieth Century (4th ed.). Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Wood, A., & Bahrami, P. (2014). Green Walls in High-Rise Buildings. Mulgrave: Images Publishing.



This essay analyses how the Downtown Dubai Complex affects its surroundings from an urban perspective. Downtown Dubai, previously known as Downtown Burj Dubai, is a large-scale, mixed-use complex development in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It includes some of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most important landmarks including Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, and Dubai Fountain. Twelve years ago, the site used to be a desert and after its completion, Downtown Dubai became the central square turning it into a touristic centre and an economically iconic area. This complex resulted in an increase in the economic value of the land which is beneficial for the country, however, it also became the reason for unbearable traffic. Knowing Dubai has its own Arabic culture and traditions, creating a capitalist modern area for its multicultural residents could eventually diminish its conservatism and result in an entire city filled with excessive incoherent architecture. On an international scale, this project has created a competition of economic power in the Middle East, resulting in a 1000 meter tall Kingdom Tower project in Saudi Arabia to be the tallest building in the world. Within fifty years, Dubai transformed from being a desert into a major industrial and touristic area, unlike other Western cities that took two hundred years (Pacione, p255). It used to be a settlement that relied on fishing and pearl diving, however, in 1966, the discovery of oil played a big part in making Dubai one of the most active cities in the world (Pacione,p256). Discovery of the massive oil reserves affected Dubai

and it also affected the Arabian Gulf that includes countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. To gain International recognition, these countries are going through a neo-liberal urbanization phase very rapidly by following an investment model that devotes a lot of money into mega architectural projects( Smith, p292). The financial crisis of 2008, slowed the construction process of all these project including the construction of Burj Dubai (Kanna, p80). To stop the delay, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ruler of the neighbouring state Abu Dhabi, financially aided the project; as a result, name of the tallest building in the world changed to Burj Khalifa. With its circular master plan, Downtown Dubai added a focal point to the map of Dubai and it became the most important centre of the city but the plan does not accommodate for its number of visitors. The layout of the city is largely vehicle dependant and does not encourage walking. The amount of parking spots are not enough resulting in many parking buildings being built close to the complex. Public transit recently got implemented, however residents are accustomed to it yet. Moreover, the map of the public transit does not reach to all places where most of the visitors come from (neighbouring Emirates like Sharjah). All these factors generated major traffic issues within the Downtown Dubai area which is why the city is constantly constructing wider highways and roads. Jane Jacobs mentioned how designers think that if they solved the traffic issues of a city means they have solved


tre for its lower income residents, mainly the people who built the complex. Such projects encourage social classifications and inequality. “The question of “what is built for whom?” is ignored or consigned to secondary status.” (Kanna, p79)

Figure 1 Contrast between Downtown Dubai and its workers’ residences a major problem in the city. However, she later explains that a city must work in order for planners to deal with the traffic. (Jacobs, p10)

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Many workers from Asia were brought to Dubai to build this large complex. Housing for these workers were provided, however it was located far away from the tourists creating a segregation. “Dubai is not a just image, it is just an image. A thinly-veiled actualization of Walter Benjamin’s observation that the worst alienation is turned into an aesthetic, spectacular delight. Alongside Dubai’s sparkling surfaces, the glitz and glamour of its faux international aesthetic, the price of a paradise for some is paid for by the million or so migrant manual construction workers – from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China – who do the hard labour and live their negated lives in squalid encampments (work camps) out of view from the tourists and residents. Dubai is a greenhouse of hatred” (Smith, p293). The project created a complex for investors, the rich and the middle class but, did not create a cen-

Burj Khalifa became the symbol of Dubai’s power, thus overpowering all the other buildings that used to represent the city. The centre has been a definition of limitless wealth. Although the design of the Burj Dubai claims to be inspired of Arabic architecture and design, it does not show it (Littlefield, Jones, p72). Arabic and Islamic art is known for its geometry and patterns, and is popular for its unique architecture and design. Knowing Burj Khalifa has become the icon of the city it does not represent its culture correctly. In other words, if the tower were placed elsewhere around the world, it would not feel out of place. The Complex looks like one that could be located in Las Vegas. knowing Las Vegas’ and Dubai’s cultures are very different, Downtown Dubai has failed in enforcing its traditions and conservatism through design; it is surrounded with signs that remind its tourists of its conservative rules. This type of master plan confuses its visitors and speaks the wrong language about the city. The outcome of Dubai will end up being a capitalist city with no identity or authenticity. Ahmed Kanna explains the streetscape of the main highway in Dubai: “Driving along Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road near the World Trade Center interchange is an uncanny experience in architectural remembrance. A wall of skyscrapers, one to each side of the highway, gives the passerby the claustrophobic impression of travelling through an interminable tunnel of mirrored glass (Kanna, p77). Plan of Downtown Burj Dubai impacted other cities regarding urban planning of other tower complexes. This complex has created a movement of urban master planning in the Middle East and has been a precedent to other future projects, like the Kingdom Tower that is going to be built in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This movement of neo liberal master planning is all

about economic and political power. The design of Kingdom Tower includes the same chief architect of Burj Dubai and he foresees that the new Kingdom Tower is going to be a much improved design. Fast developing cities like Qatar could also be a part of this competition later on. “Even if the tower itself is not a major generator of revenue for the developer, it will produce a handsome return on investment because it will significantly increase the value of the real estate around it, which the developer also owns. This was the concept with Burj Khalifa in Dubai, where the tower itself made little or no profit but increased the value and desirability of the land around it, which made the overall development very profitable.” (Smith Adrian, 2011) Idea of these master plans lean towards money as opposed to social values. Downtown Dubai is a city within a city and has made the world recognize Dubai’s value and power, in addition to providing a city centre. However, it does not celebrate Islamic and Arabic heritage. Aftermath of the city can be disastrous with forgotten Arabic tradition and architecture. Mentioned by Pacione in the following quote, main problem is that public input by the residents is limited and results in a future city that is not for its users. “In Dubai the centralized structure of government and economic imperatives of the structure plan afford limited potential for local democratic participation in urban planning.” (Pacione,p264) Unfortunately, Economical values are much more valued in Dubai’s city planning over social values. An advantage of such values is that the country will excel economically and politically. On the other hand, agreeing with Jane Jacobs, urban planning should be designed for its people to create a safe environment and streetscape (Jacobs, p9). The gap that has been created between Dubai’s architecture and the people it represents has resulted in an inconsistent streetscape that can lead to unreliable environments.

Figure 2 Similarity of streetscape of Dubai (Top) and Vegas (Bottom)

Figure 3 Kingdom Tower (left) Vs Burj Dubai (right)


â&#x20AC;&#x153;The outcome of Dubai will end up being a capitalist city with no identity or authenticity.â&#x20AC;?

Figure 4 and 5 Figure-Ground Diagram before and after construction of the complex Bibliography Jacobs, J. (n.d.). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Kanna, A. (2011). Dubai, the city as corporation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Littlefield, D., & Jones, W. (2012). Great modern structures: 100 years of engineering genius ([New] ed.). London: Carlton. Pacione, M. (n.d.). Dubai. Cities, 255-265. Russo, G., Abagnara, V., Poulos, H. G., & Small, J. C. (2013). Re-assessment of foundation settlements for the burj khalifa, dubai.Acta Geotechnica, 8(1), 3-15 Should the Kingdom Tower be built? (n.d.). Retrieved November 6, 2015. Smith, R. (2014). Dubai in extremis. Theory, Culture & Society, 291-296. Photos (n.d.). Retrieved November 6, 2015, from da327a8b7ef80dfe8cf07_large.jpeg (n.d.). Retrieved November 6, 2015, from Communities/DownTown/backgroundimages/10/welcomepage.jpg (n.d.). Retrieved November 6, 2015, from bor-camps-2.jpg (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2015, from loads/2015/04/paris-las-vegas-widescreen-hd-wallpaper-for-desktop-background- download-las-vegas-images-free.jpg (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2015, from d66623_b.jpg

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In 1965, Singapore gained its independence. It was after the World War II and Singapore, faced with increasing population that resulted in overcrowding the areas and generating safety and housing problems in the city. Singapore government undertook the actions for urban renewal of the central area of the city. Then, the government formed Urban Renewal Unit (URD), today, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and commissioned to prepare a concept plan for the city. In 1971, the first concept plan divided the city into areas according to ethnic groups. The plan had grid-like street patterns with ethnically segregated areas such as, Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam (URA). But just dividing city into such areas was not enough; the population in these areas were still increasing. With the influence of time and leading urban planning movement by CIAM and Le Corbusier`s high density proposed designs, the government had interest in high-density housing projects to clear out the slums and develop public housing in the city. Between the 1967 and 1989, the government folded 184 hectares of land for 155 development projects (URA). According to the primary implementation of the concept plan and influences of Athens Charter, the first residential-commercial high-density project, â&#x20AC;&#x153;People`s Park Complexâ&#x20AC;? was built in Chinatown, which was one of the busiest and most crowded areas of the city. People`s Park Complex was located in the corner of New Bridge Road and Cross Street in the Chinatown which was the original settlement of the Chinese community in Singapore (Urban Redevelopment Authority, 2011).

By 1860s, people started to settle around the Sri Mariamman Temple (URA). By 1900, the area expanded to the surrounding areas and the population reached about 164,000 people (URA). As it can be seen from the Figure 1, in 1900, major settlements were along the east side and some developments were taking place on the south side of Chinatown. With the lack of housing in the area, People`s Park Complex built on the north side of the site, across the 2-3 story houses, to provide more dwelling in the area (Refer to Figure 2). With the influence of CIAM and the Athens Charter, the project included not only residential but also commercial functions in it and aimed to offer for more effective life for the occupants in the building. People`s Park Complex opened in 1973 as Singapore`s first multiuse building with shopping, residential, offices, and car parking facilities integrated into a single building (DP Architects). Its residential tower designed in such a way that it has exposure to necessary amount of light. Parking, offices and commercial stores were located on the ground floor, with an atrium that serves to the public. Separate entrances were provided to the occupants of the building to separate the private residential tower from public commercial area in the building. Also, by having the work amenities and residential dwellings together in a building, the time to be spent on transportation to go work from the dwelling minimized as Athens Charter manifested (Corbusier, 1973). Also it was the first time of the Singapore`s history that a building had a large internal atrium that overlooked the stores, and it became a meeting point for the occupants in the community (DP

row secondary streets, where they overlooked (Refer to Figure 4.2 and 5). In opposite, People’s Park Complex’s dense housing units were located in the tower overlooks to wide main streets and breaks the 3 story street wall of the urban scale of the area. This typological contrast, highlights the importance of the 31 story People`s Park Complex in the area of 3 story shop-houses (Refer to Figure 3). By having housing in the tower, and public functions on the ground floor, DP Architects designed the ground floor in a horizontal block form to respond to the site`s urban fabric (Refer to Figure 5). Also, they utilized its ground floor horizontal form design to provide large, open public space in the building. By overlooking to the open and wide street, on the ground floor, the design combined street life with the building, with an atrium that DP Architects described as “a city room” and “a public domain” . The gesture of having open space as an atrium in the building, created a space for occupants, where the people of the Chinatown community, can get together, eat, socialize and shop in their daily life.

Figure 1&2 1900 - 2015 Site Figure & Ground with 500m radius surrounding Architects). People`s Park Complex`s site had a great impact on its successful connection to the community. The connection created through People`s Park Complex`s, contrasting typology, public spaces and contribution to the circulation and character of the area. The shop-houses located across the street, creates an interesting contrast with typology of the Peoples Park Complex. Both settlements formed with high density population in the area, but their typology were very different. The shop-houses built next to each other without any setbacks, and created almost a street-wall along the nar-

Beside the amenities like atrium and shopping, also the form and the parking amenity of the building attracted occupants in the area and shop-houses, to circulate towards the building. The circulation in the area was based on a hierarchical street system where the site housed two main streets; New Bridge Road and Cross Street, and secondary streets. The New Bridge Road was located in between shop-houses and People`s Park Complex, and Cross street was located on east side of the site. The gradient of high vehicle and pedestrian circulation was organized by narrowness and wideness of the streets. Main streets in the corner of People`s Park Complex served to direct high vehicle circulation and secondary streets in between the shop-houses served to direct high pedestrian circulation. All of the secondary, narrow streets in between the shop-houses overlooks to the People`s Park Complex. By having visually outstanding 31 story tower, in the low-rise area of shop-houses, People`s Park


Complex`s design encourages occupants to walk in the Chinatown towards the Complex (Refer to Figure 3). The main roads provide easy access to the Chinatown. And the parking amenity of the complex provides an opportunity to occupants of the area to leave their car in the complex and to explore the area by walking. People`s Park Complex`s design also balances the heaviness of the traffic between main streets and secondary streets as well as their vehicle and pedestrian circulation in Chinatown. With its amenities it provides, can be considered as an encouragement for a walkable city.

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Also, in 1989, the government considered Chinatown as a conversation area and put the site under protection (Urban Redevelopment Authority, 2011). The protection of the area achieved through the guidelines provided by URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority, 2011). This protection was to preserve the urban fabric, and built heritage of People`s Park Complex, Shop-houses and Chinatown. As it can be seen from Figure 4.3, the built forms of the shop-houses and decorations of the Chinatown streets are very exotic and colorful. The architectural expression of the shop-houses comes from the Chinese culture. Accordingly to this culture and colorful expression of the built form, People`s Park Complex`s façade painted in colors of green and yellow. The expression of the colors and Chinese letters on the People`s Park Complex facade (Refer to Figure 3.1), reflect spirit of the Chinese culture. Also, every year occupants of the area celebrates the spirit of Chinese culture with festivals in People`s Park Complex atrium and the streets of Chinatown. With the complex`s public amenities and architectural expression, People`s Park Complex continues to serve to tourists and local people with the delightful character of the area. That’s why, with the conversation of the area, the government also protected the People`s Park Complex`s authentic relationship of the shop-houses, Chinatown and Chinese culture. Taking everything into account, People`s Park Complex is a very successful example of good urban design. It was built as the first

multi-use complex in Singapore, but its location has played a very critical role in its success. If this project were to be located elsewhere, it may not have been so successful. The project’s design was generated from Athens Charter`s principles, which combined different functions in the same location. However, being in Chinatown and having shop-houses across the street, has created a natural path for users to go into the building where they can experience different functions such as shopping, gathering and socializing. The Complex has created a better environment, established stronger connection to the urban context integrated with the community.

High Vehicle Circulation People`s Park Complex

High Pedestrian Circulation Chinatown Shop houses

Figure 3 Pedestrian and Chinatown Shop houses Connection to the Building




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Figure 4 Urban High Scale & Urban Fabric Vehicle Circulation People`s Park Complex

High Pedestrian Circulation Chinatown Shop houses

Chinatown Street Decorations

“... served as a magnet for residents, ... to transform the People’s Park Complex into a focal point for the Chinese community and one of the first successful urban revitalization projects in the nation” - DP Architects



Street Wall

Public Visual Connection to Chinatown & Shophouses

Street Wall Wide Street, High Vehicle Circulation

Chinatown Shop-houses - Stacked housing

Narrow Street, High Pedestrian Circulation Chinatown Shop-houses

Figure 5 Shop-houses typology vs People`s Park Complex Typology. Their relationship to each other and circulation of the area.

Bibliography Bishop, R., Phillips, J., & Yeo, W. (2004). Beyond Description : Singapore Space Historicity. Florence, KY, USA: Routledge. Retrieved from Carmona, M., Burgess, R., & Badenhorst, M. S. (2009). Planning through projects: Moving from master planning to strategic planning : 30 cities Techne Press. Cho, William. (Photographer). (2011). Singapore Chinatown [Photograph], Retrieved from Corbusier, L. (1973). Athens charter Grossman Publishers. DP Architects. (n.d.). Peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Park Complex. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from http:// Urban Redevelopment Authority. (2011). Conservation Guidelines. Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority. URA (n.d.). History of URA. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from uol/about-us/our-organisation/ura-history.aspx Wong, T., Yuen, B., & Goldblum, C. (Eds.). (2008). Spatial Planning for a Sustainable Singapore. Dordrecht, NLD: Springer. Retrieved from Yuen, B. (2011). Urban planning in southeast asia: Perspective from singapore. The Town Planning Review,82(2), 145-167. Retrieved from

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Dubai’s urban growth potential has been rapidly increasing since the mid 1990’s and her ruler, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, anticipated opulent living desires in the cities of Dubai. The ruler invited architects to plan for expansion of tourist destinations in the country to augment earnings from oil revenues. Some of the projects aimed at reclaiming land from the sea are The World, Dubai Waterfront and Palm Islands Jumeirah, Deira and Jebel Ali. The Palm Jumeirah is an intricate assembly of man-made islands constructed from 2001 to 2006 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, providing significant seafront area while remaining culturally symbolic and relevant. The Palm Jumeirah was designed by Helman Hurley Charvat/Architects Inc to reclaim land occupied by seawater and develop the land for luxury hotels and villas, commercial hubs and apartments to facilitate leisure and tourism on the spectacular man-made island. The design was inspired by respect for culture, nature and climate (Kanna, 2013). The project has revolutionized architectural depiction of précis magnificence. The architect has integrated Muslim culture and modern trends in it’s design and construction. Globalization influences urban politics and policies which are the key drivers of urban change. Increased globalization of trade, production and information dissemination initiates worldwide localglobal articulations as old borders and cultural diversities are reworked into new liberties. Dubai is strategically located in the

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Persian Gulf as a port city and trading hub. The aim of constructing signature projects is to re-brand Dubai into a tourist attraction and making a mark in the global economy. Dubai’s urban development grew due to huge capital flow into the city. The city is centrally located between the East and the West and blends the civilizations into a modern city with the projects like The Palm Jumeirah (Ller, 2012). The island introduced new land where there was none previously. The aspect of environmental restoration is a continuous process for instant unprecedented settlement and sand filtration. Significant measures are in place to ensure replacement of eroded sand and circulation of water within the breakwater through two openings. Planning was carried out in three stages, recognizing strategic goals for the project, formulation and design and finally, implementation. Social evaluation ensured that the proposed project would create employment for thousands of people and at the same time enrich cultural diversity (Ller, 2012). Development of world-class shopping malls and hotels facilitates international trade and international cohesion. The aim of the multiple projects in Dubai is to make it the most preferred tourist destination in the world. Economic dependence on oil would be augmented by selling tourism, which is the master plan for Dubai through later years. Provision of a secure and conducive environment for future visitors had to be guaranteed before the onset of project construction. Pursuit for economic

cultural symbol, the palm tree. The local authority stimulated conception of multibillion mega-projects scheduled for completion within just quarter of a century. Pioneering projects to attract hundreds of thousands of tourists is an inspiration for the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s economy. The urban development is undoubtedly an ambitious undertaking.


100m 200m


Figure 1 Figure Drawing strength was streamlined by the governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s policies on urban development and expansion. As this is only seen around the Middle East, the island is also very different in many ways as there are not many man made islands in the world and it is something new that is happening around the world. In Dubai specifically, one would see many superstructures being built, as currently in Dubai, they are planning on building even taller than the current Burj Khalifa. The Burj Khalifa is also designed by the same architect but the Palm is not a superstructure yet. The Palm is known to be added to the Seven Wonders of the World. This project was a very unique idea and it has attracted many tourists to travel to Dubai. Near the Palm Jumeirah are two other islands as well as the World Islands which are known to have been made by humans. This movement will be a very big movement as countries will also start to plan man made islands to bring more tourists into their country. Jumeirah Palm Island symbolizes thematic representation of the powerful

Site selection was stratigically chosen in a gulf where there is statistically no expectation of catastrophic ocean waves. This enables the level of the palm to be as low as four meters. The shape offers the most beachfront areas since the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s coastline is more than doubled, with the existing coastline extending from 72 kilometers to 78.6 kilometers on completion. The island hastwo distinct regions, the palm and the crescent shaped breakwater (Thomas, 2010). The palm has three artificial land forms; the Trunk, the harbors commercial centers of entertainment, shops, marinas, five star hotels, cafes, luxury apartments, and beaches. The Crown with a garden, town-houses, personalized villas and lastly, the Crescent with a barrier reef that protects the rest of the island. The Crescent is connected to the crown through a subsea tunnel with themed hotels. The palm island has become home to 60,000 residents from more than 70 nations worldwide, and expects a growing number of more than 20,000 visitors by the day (Thomas, 2010). The Palm is something similar and different than all the other designs in Dubai as it is a manmade island and not a superstructure. In Dubai, one would see images from before and realize that it was a deserted island with nothing on it. Within ten years, the island has grown and grown and since they have the money from the oil under their land, they are able to design a manmade island to bring many attractions. It is not a tall structure building to attract the eyes of many, it is an island on the water that attracts the people of the world. A series of satellites enabled a global


positioning system, tacheometry and satellite imagery from the only privately owned satellite. The contemporary technology was used to determine accurate positions of placing material; making Palm Jumeirah the first artificial landform to be constructed from space, making it outstanding. Dutch reclamation experts were consulted for the project. The 11.5-kilometer breakwater was constructed first by laying 7.5 meters of sea sand and stones to a height of three meters (Choomchaiyo, 2009). Sea sand was dredged six nautical miles outside the shore and transported to the site while stones were obtained by quarry blasting. Another layer of sand was placed on top and vibro-compacted to free the spaces after interlocking of sand and rock particles. This prevents future settlement due to loading of the structures. The plan of the artificial island is such that it cannot support high structures, much the same as the houses built inland desert land. They are low, to avoid the effect of sandstorms blowing across the region. Low rise establishments are built in the island, also because of the additional hazard that Dubai is located on an earthquake zone (THE PALM JUMEIRAH MASTER PLAN, .n.d.). In future many other countries will adopt this invention to increase land areas as a measure to ease congestion inland and modify landforms. The most emergent progress being developing property for tourist attraction and creation of landforms that are visible from space.

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A distinct growth is evident on the onset of the 21st century, whereby the speed of development has been so rapid (Elsheshtawy, 2010). The city of Dubai expanded from a small fishing village and has liberated itself from remote depiction to a world-renowned tourist destination. Dubai has recently been a trading hub, port city and transportation and communication link. “It may be more useful to argue that Dubai is a model for the Arab world not through its megaprojects, but because it

accommodates multiple nationalities, a fact that may contribute to its unique response to globalizing conditions” (Elsheshtawy, 2010). The transient population from the world over has created a unique blend that challenges boundaries. Most cities in the developed world are advanced owing to the government’s role in urban planning and development, spearheaded by the head of state or persons bequeathed with the mandate of urban planning and development. In Dubai, urban planning and development represents a partially liberalized economy, with national control of resources and policies by the ruling class in a capitalistic environment. The outcome of such a system is an urban development that spatially and pre-conventionally expresses the ruling class’s economic policy. However, planning in Dubai is yet to be revolutionized in a way that modern planning tools will be adopted (Darmaki & University of Southampton, 2008). The result of this antiquated form of governance caused impulsive influence on the planning and implementation of Palm Jumeirah due to centralization of the government. Being

Figure 2 Ground Drawing

â&#x20AC;&#x153;It may be more useful to argue that Dubai is a model for the Arab world not through its megaprojects, but because it accommodates multiple nationalitiesâ&#x20AC;?

Figure 3 Concept Drawing a monarchy, the governing system limits democratic involvement of the general public in affairs of urban planning. This results to development of projects like Palm Jumeirah most likely befitting use by the privileged elite in the society. The structuring of such projects leads to emergence of distinct sections of the city that socially and economically discriminates on the lower class. The timeline for construction of the project was strictly adhered to, to avoid the cost overruns that are associated with delayed completion (Darmaki & University of Southampton, 2008). Palm Jumeirah is a mega project that makes Dubai one of the most coveted tourist destinations in the world. Its construction is a challenging engineering feat, with a hundred tons of stone and sand used to support the modern city constructed on top

and at the same time withstand the forces of nature. Construction of projects beyond the previous scope of operation triggered a greater risk of operation, investment strategy and environmental impacts. Building a manmade island in the Arabian Gulf seemed to be an overly ambitious dream and became a feat of engineering, challenges notwithstanding. Knowledge of post construction impacts will inspire future designs in the rest of United Arab Emirates and the world because of its innivative nature. Experiences in construction of Palm Jumeirah will facilitate emergence of effective and efficient construction methods. Knowing the post construction impacts will give way into better design methods that incorporates the said impacts. Finally, ambitious projects will continue to develop and advance greater engineering feats.


Figure 4 Land vs Water

Bibliography Choomchaiyo, T. (2009). Construction of the Islands - The Impact of the Palm Islands, United Arab Emirates. Retrieved 1 November 2015 Darmaki, I. A. R. A., & University of Southampton. (2008). Globalizations and urban development: A case study of Dubaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jumeirah Palm Island Mega Project. Southampton: University of Southampton. Elsheshtawy, Y. (2010). Dubai behind an urban spectacle. London: Routledge. Kanna, A. (2013). The superlative city: Dubai and the urban condition in the early twenty-first century. Cambridge, Mass.: Aga Khan Program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Ller, S. (2012). Charter of Dubai: A manifesto of critical urban transformation. Jovis. THE PALM JUMEIRAH MASTER PLAN. (n.d.). Retrieved from the-palm-jumeirahmaster-plan.html Thomas, G. (2010). The rough guide to Dubai. London: Rough Guides.

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Title Page Image (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from File:Palm_jumeirah_core.jpg#/media/File:Palm_jumeirah_core.jpg



Many cities go through the process of urban renewal, either as financial district or tourist areas, these areas will be developed to attract more tourists. Located in the Xinyi District, in Taipei, Taiwan sits its landmark, Taipei 101. It is an important building in Taiwan that symbolizes progress, development and independence. Taipei 101 was the world’s tallest building in 2004 and is now the world’s 5th tallest building. Xinyi district, also known as “Taipei Manhattan” covers an area of 11.2 square kilometers and has a population of 225,000 people. Xinyi District is part of a commercial district that seats many department stores, headquarters, and offices. It has become the most modern cosmopolitan district of Taipei and the surrounding buildings include major buildings like Taipei World Trade Center, which also attracts many tourists to this city. This area is also recognized as being the political, economic and cultural center of Taipei with many activities happening in this area.

Figure 1 Taipei City Map

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The project of Taipei 101, also known as the Taipei Financial Center officially started in 1997. A land development contract was let for the complex on a Build- Operate- Transfer basis. The development was started when the property market was prosperous and capital costs were low, the Mayor of Taipei invited developers to bid for a major site for development to stimulate the economy and attract tourist. At that time, the newly vacated

area, Xinyi district was designed to become a major multifunctional area in the Taiwan Capital. In the 1940s, Xinyi district was a place with many factories and there was not any major buildings in that area. In 1976, the Taipei government decided to make the east part of the city a place for urban renewal and make it a financial and commercial district. Also, with the development of new residential buildings in that area, the planners strive to make this city a place that provides a good living condition. Now, Xinyi district is the only district in Taipei with a large street block design that is well designed and developed. The commercial area, as well as the landscaping well satisfy the needs of Taipei’s residents. Often large developments in Asia have a huge influence on the western culture, and the city will lose its own characteristic, becoming just an urban city without any own personal or cultural aspects. Unlike those developments, Taipei 101’s design was not only driven by western cultures, but it has huge influence on the Asian culture. By having the redevelopment, it can stimulate the economy and attract tourists, which can also help the property market. It can also improve amenities and by expanding the width of the roads, which benefits the residents and visitors. The design of Taipei 101 contains two major theme: culture and technology. The architect C.Y. Lee as a Chinese architect, he blends the western technology with the eastern ideas, and designed this bamboo- like structure. In the Chinese culture, bamboo is an example of the harmony between nature and human beings. Its tall, straight stem represents honor, its hollow interior modesty and its clean and simple exterior exemplify chastity. With the analogy to bamboo, the building appears to be elevating upward joint to joint, and combined with the over scaled corner and entry decorations, this building
















Figure 2 Figure Ground Showing Transit Route becomes a Chinese monument and focal point. Another striking feature of Taipei 101 is the eight, eight- level pods that are stacked on top of one another. The number 8 in Chinese culture represents prosperity and good fortune. The city of Taipei does not only focused on domestic, but it has repositioned itself and now also the international clients and audiences. Taipei is now moving from narrow production-oriented conceptions of urbanization and towards a more diverse and open lifestyle. After the urban developments in Xinyi district, buildings became highly concentrated in activity, with accessible transit system and a more diverse in range of functions and uses. This involves a mix of commercial, office, retail, residential, and cultural facilities. These types of buildings can also be seen in Xinyi district, where Taipei 101 is. Surrounding Taipei 101 are major buildings like Taipei City Council, Taipei International Convention Center, Taipei World Trade Center, National Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall. Taipei 101, as a mixed- use building, it encompasses the largest shopping mall in Taipei, which includes many famous retail stores, restaurants, conference centres, Taiwan specialty galleries, bookstores and offices. Taipei 101 becomes a living vertical city, where all needs can be found inside one building. The access to Taipei

101 is also easy and convenient. Taipei’s Xinyi District Aimbridge system is a footbridge that links different buildings together, like the Taipei World Trade Centre, as well as Taipei 101. It is one of the most significant pathways of Xinyi district, and can improve pedestrian safety as well as traffic. Parks and other aspects of public open space plays an important role in urban developments. Taipei 101 also includes an outdoor terrace on the 91st level, with a public park is located nearby within walking distance. Many residents will gather at the park in the morning to relax or to exercise there. Not only that, the buildings in that area are easy to access; buildings are either a walkable distance or easy to get to by public transit. Ever since 1980s, the Xinyi District in Taipei started to develop, and was part of the urban renewal area. Their emphasis on the redevelopment is large - scale buildings. The wide urban blocks criss-crossed by comparatively wide thoroughfares, clearly enhanced the forms of contemporary developments. Transit connects to the redevelopment district also improved its metropolitan accessibility and centrality. Above and below ground connections among buildings and elements of the transportation infrastructure were contrived to also create a cultural landscape. One of Taipei’s public transit system is Taipei Metro, also known as MRT. It serves around 2 million passengers per day and it has been effectively relieve some of Taipei’s traffic congestion problems. The system also proved effective as a catalyst for urban renewal as well as increasing tourist traffic. Crossing through the site of Taipei 101 are the two lines of MRT. North of Taipei 101 is the Bannan Line and on the south is the Tamsui-Xinyi Line. Having these two lines effectively help increase the tourist traffic as well as helping to resolve the problem of traffic congestion. Not only by the Taipei metro line, public transit like the Taipei public buses also offers different routes leading from the center of the city to the boarders of the city. Some criticize that this


district has a mono-dimensional character and lack of socio-economic support service and diversity, however it is just a matter of opinion, and because it only started its redevelopment in the 1980s, it still has a lot of space for improvements. One also argues that when having large developments, it has the tendency to siphon off economic and social life from neighboring developments with the unavoidable loss of local competitiveness. High-rise buildings are dominating in the city, and becoming a vertical community space where it has the most social activities happening. Buildings like Taipei 101 then becomes an iconic landmark and serves as a social plaza. On the fourth level of Taipei 101 is an urban City Square, which acts as a social plaza where people gather and relax there. On the public ground level, an outdoor public art gallery is accessible to all visitors. The outdoor space is dedicated to display public artworks by different artists from different countries. One example is the popular artwork: Dragon feature fountain, by Crystal Fountain Inc., Canada. The fountain is located on the plaza facing one of the main entrances to the shopping mall and it act as a welcoming sign to welcome visitors and it also allows them to gather near the main entrance and increase social activities on the street level. Another example of one of the art piece is the Global Circle by Ching Pu from Taiwan. It is a black granite ring embedded in the Social Plaza of the shopping mall which symbolises the place of Taipei in the context of globalisation. Here, we can see that the architect not only uses architectural elements but also uses art to express and draws and invite visitors into the space.

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The tower has served as an icon of modern Taiwan ever since its opening. The building was architecturally created as a symbol of the evolution of technology and Asian tradition. With the urban renewal of Xinyi district and the construction of Taipei 101, this area now becomes the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heart and it has increase many social activities in the area.

symbolises the place of Taipei in the context of globalisation. Here, we can see that the architect not only uses architectural elements but also uses art to express and draws and invite visitors into the space. The tower has served as an icon of modern Taiwan ever since its opening. The building was architecturally created as a symbol of the evolution of technology and Asian tradition. With the urban renewal of Xinyi district and

Figure 3 Figure Ground before Development

Figure 4 Figure Ground after Development

“The tower has served as an icon of modern Taiwan ever since its opening”






Figure 5: Perspective Drawing showing Building Relationship the construction of Taipei 101, this area now becomes the city’s heart and it has increase many social activities in the area. evolution of technology and Asian tradition. With the urban renewal of Xinyi district and the construction of Taipei 101, this area now becomes the city’s heart and it has increase many social activities in the area. symbolises the place of Taipei in the context of globalisation. Here, we can see that the

architect not only uses architectural elements but also uses art to express and draws and invite visitors into the space. The tower has served as an icon of modern Taiwan ever since its opening. The building was architecturally created as a symbol of the evolution of technology and Asian tradition.


Bibliography 101 Taipei Financial Center Corp. (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2015, from Binder, G. (2006). 101 of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tallest buildings. Victoria: Images Pub. Binder, G. (2008). Taipei 101. Mulgrave, Vic.: Images Publishing. Buck, D. (2006). Asia now: Architecture in Asia (pp. 120-121). Munich: Prestel. Pomeroy, J. (2014). The skycourt and skygarden: Greening the urban habitat. New York, NY: Routledge. Rowe, P. (2011). Emergent architectural territories in East Asian cities (pp. 126-132). Basel, Switzerland: Birkhauser. TAIPEI 101 - The Skyscraper Center. (n.d.). Retrieved November 20, 2015, from Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation. (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2015, from http://english.metro. taipei/

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The Parliament House of Canberra is viewed by many as a representation of the nation of Australia, stemming from its deep ties to its national, as well as immediate context. Consequently, the design and construction of the Canberra Parliament House is a reflection of the design and construction of the city of Canberra itself. This is seen in the historical contexts and how they are manifested in each design, as well as their relationships to the overall fabric of the Australian natural environment, and the overall legacies of each respective design. It is through the comparison of these contexts that the relationship between the Parliament House and its relationship to the urban context is understood. The city of Canberra was designed to the likeness of the Garden City, and thus held a social ideal as the driving intent of the project. In the construction and inception of the Parliament House, these ideals were carefully considered and replicated in a modern way. The form of the Parliament House’s embedment into the natural landscape is an extension of this intent, as well as a solution to the problems presented by Griffin’s master plan for Canberra, the defining characteristic of which would be the focus on Capitol Hill. The result of these considerations of physical and intangible contexts is an administrative building which strives to lead by example and act as a symbol of a united nation. The creation of the city of Canberra bears strong ties to the history of Australia itself; its creation stems from the federation of the six colonies of Australia in 1901, and the design of the Parliament House follows this pattern of precedent informing the present (Styles). That

being said, one of the prevalent themes of the Parliament House is to continue the language of convergence, spoken in Griffin’s winning design of Canberra, which highlighted a large space at its centre – Capitol Hill – as the focal point of not just the city, but of the nation. Griffin’s plan followed the trends of the City Beautiful movement, and subsequently the ideals of the Garden City (Mitchell, 1988). Above all else, the ideas of Canberra as a city were of democracy and social reform; a confluence of people that would influence the government in ways to benefit society as a whole, and this informed the design of the Parliament House (House of Representatives and Broadcasting Content, 2008). In the cultural considerations of the design, the jurors and architects were forced to realise the strength of Griffin’s original plan intents, and try to capitalize on these in order to create a Parliament House worthy of the site it was given, in the midst of the converging boulevards of the city, representative of the convergence of the people of the nation. At the same time, considerations as to the aesthetics and wishes of the people had to be considered; many Australians believed the most true form of beauty was the natural landscape (Mitchell, 1988). As with the original Griffin plan, the Parliament House is held as the dominating feature of the city, in many ways, the crown of Australian government, however this was contrary to the public realm’s interpretation of what the city should be. This in turn created the form that exists today; integrated into the natural topography and landscape, embedded and wedded into the fabric of the city itself (House of Representatives and Broadcasting Content, 2008). At the time of construction,

Figure 2/Figure 3 Figure Ground showing evolution of Canberra’s Capitol Hill and its surroundings the city of Canberra faced the effects of World War II, and consequently large portions of the city followed the military-influenced organization of the Garden City movement that was essential to creating what exists today, which in turn formed the demographic and urban context for the Parliament House to cater to. The urban fabric created by the Griffin plan, and the evolution of it, was not so much a representation of the typical Australian urban condition, but rather the typical Australian suburban condition (Mitchell, 1988). Due to the democratic nature of the government then and now, the Parliament House’s design was created with the heavy consideration of the wants and needs of the public demographic – the middle class (Mitchell, 1988). As a representation and result of the ideals of a middle class population, Canberra became a prime example of the Garden city, and a large defining piece of architecture for this categorization was the Parliament House. In its consideration of the cultural and demographical context, the Parliament House became simply a part of the Garden aspect, a key component of the Garden City style. Due to its target audience of a middle class population, the Parliament House’s

ideal form was that of a park, a form it achieved through the use of innovation in material and planning (Mitchell, 1988). The Parliament House is the culmination of the eight years of work, by thousands of labourers, and their participation and dedication to creating a permanent fixture in Australian history (House of Representatives and Broadcasting Content, 2008). By gathering professionals of the trades needed from around the world for the completion of such an elaborate project, quality and craftsmanship assurance was given, offering reassurance to the Australian population that the Parliament House would be a project that pride could be taken in. Not only that, but this helped to form the suburban context of Canberra itself, as many of the labourers which migrated to Australia from various parts of the world remained after its construction (House of Representatives and Broadcasting Content, 2008). The creation of the Parliament House pulled on the very roots of Australia, drawing together not just the people of the time, but those of the past; much care was taken in the investigation of Australia’s past, and its Aboriginal roots. During its design, much thought was considered as to the contributions of the people, and so the task of creating one of the


most important aspects of the building, the mosaic in the public square, was given to Nelson Jagamara as an acknowledgement of the involvement and occupation of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia (House of Representatives and Broadcasting Content, 2008).

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While much of the consideration of design for the Parliament House was in the direction of historical and cultural symbolism, the urban and natural contexts played a very large role in its development and construction. At present, the three storey building sits below the hill, embraced by the walls which frame the ramps of the hill, helping to define the space as one of importance. While Canberra holds the ideals of city planning in the Garden City, the Parliament House continues this theme in form and its relationship to the city. In its conception, the ramps allow for public access to a space that is not typically allowed; above the government. This space of importance is emphasized by both the form of the building, in which multiple axes of circulation intersect at the flagpole strategically placed in the centre, and by the layout of the city and thus its urban context (Beck, 1988). The challenge that is presented by this focus of one of the representation of democracy, in a space which cries out so clearly for a show of power, a grand gesture if you will (Mitchell, 1988). The radial plan of Canberra presents the focal point at Capitol Hill, yet at present, this focal point is simply a flag, a wall, and a hill. This triad of symbolism defines the Parliament Houseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s language. The intent of the city, reflected in the intent of the building; the hill is a representation of place, the flag a representation of nationhood, and the wall, a representation of human occupancy (Beck, 1988). These three elements, together, symbolize the unity of the nation through the unity of natural and human landscapes. This unity is created through the form of the building, in which the walls and features seem to converge on the various courts and park of the Parliament House (Beck, 1988). The Land Axis of the site serves to emphasize the journey of the public through the indoor spaces of the building, culminating in the core of the Parlia-

ment House, directly under the flag, while the Water Axis, accentuated by the shorelines of the man-made Lake Burley Griffin, describes the larger scale Parliamentary Triangle, which creates an idea of the building as part of the fabric of Canberra (Beck, 1988). Composed with these axes are the curving walls of the structure, which act as a gesture of encirclement and invitation to the public, following the lines of the centrally planned city to draw the public into the private workings of the government building. Much consideration to the physical landscape of Canberra, both in regards to preserving the existing park condition, and in enhancing the space, was given to the creation of the Parliament House, and it has become a national landmark of Australia and a symbol of the ideals of its people. In its careful consideration of the multiple facets of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s history, culture, and landscape, the Parliament House has become a true landmark of the people, and a representation of the ideals of its people. These ideals, held closely by the people, have been reflected first through the design of the city of Canberra itself, and then carried through into the design for the Parliament House. The manifestation




Figure 4 Map describing main sightlines of Canberra

“The Parliament House has become a national landmark of Australi and a symbol of the ideals of its people.” and collaboration of the people has led to the creation of a democratic building, reflective of the Garden City ideals of the Australian population. Despite the monumental significance of this building, it has avoided certain gestures in order to become a structure that reflects its people, asserting itself as part of the fabric of Canberra, and as a representation of Australia as a nation.

Bibliography Beck, H. (Ed.). (1988). Parliament House, Canberra: A building for the nation. Sydney, NSW: Collins. Commonwealth Australia. (n.d.). About the Building. Retrieved from Visit_Parliament/About_the_Building House of Representatives and Broadcasting Content: Department of Parliamentary Services (Pro ducer). (2008). Pride of Place [Documentary]. Australia: Parliament of Australia. Mitchell, R. (1988). Canberra, a people’s capital?: A book for the national capital’s 75th birthday. Canberra, ACT: Australian Institute of Urban Studies. National Archives of Australia. (n.d.). Walter Burley Griffin and the design of Canberra – Fact sheet 95. Retrieved from OECD (2002), Urban Renaissance: Canberra: A Sustainable Future, OECD Publishing, Paris. DOI: Styles, C. (n.d.). An Ideal City - The 1912 Competition to Design Canberra. Retrieved from http://


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The Yamaha Ginza building is designed by the famous Japanese architecture firm, Nikken Sekkei. The building is situated in the heart of the shopping district of Ginza, Tokyo, Japan, an extremely modern and urban environment that derived from the Planning Act of 1919 (Gordon, 2006). The Yamaha Ginza building is another modern architectural addition to the existing context. The building realizes its concepts of sound and music through materialization and tectonics, utilizing glass and wood for their accentuation in detail. The form and shape of the façade has architectural expressive intents of fluid movements of acoustics. This type of modern expression is made possible due to the adaptation of Westernized-style urban grid planning by the Ginza district that encourages dynamic and creative structures; however, they neglect the Japanese cultural and social aspects, as well as the historical qualities, but excel in relating to the urban modern context, due to set of rules implemented by the planning guidelines. The path of Westernized-style urbanization of Ginza district began after the Great Ginza Fire in 1872 (Lawrence & Thomas, 2005). The fire destroyed thousands of wooden homes and caused the district to undergo massive redevelopment, which gave the government an opportunity to experiment with urban planning. The main priorities were set to prevent the risk of fires, as well as introduction of natural disaster prevention design guidelines (Lawrence & Thomas, 2005). Other priorities in

relation to urban designing were to build broad, straight, paved streets (Sorensen, 2002), which are used to create a unified streetscape and separate traffic (Lawrence & Thomas, 2005). They looked to German and U.S. models for land program readjustments and zoning systems respectively (Gordon, 2006). The urban plan design consisted of the grid layout system, which effectively simplifies both land adjustments and zoning (Figure 1). The Ginza district was set as a model of urban designing for major Japanese cities. Tokyo was especially prone to the urban plan proposal because of its issue of a rapidly expanding population. The City Planning Act of 1919 was designed to accommodate the growing population in an area within an average commute time of one hour (Sorensen, 2002). The Act determined the Ginza district to build upwards in an orderly fashion, thus allowing high-rises to dominate the area. As mentioned before, the notion of building upwards and in an orderly fashion were not the urban structure that the Japanese praised. Their cultural, social and historical aspects suggested “natural” growth in the cities’ urban structure. The history of the Ginza district affected its urban planning course, where it could have had two possible outcomes. Either it adapted the Western-style urban planning, as we know it today, or the district could have reconstructed itself in traditional Japanese manner with the addition of fire prevention. These two


context. The advantage of these limitations, caused by the urban structure, is that it forces designers to be more creative in dealing with the structure of the site, while respecting the surrounding buildings. The height is another significant factor that shapes the architecture. Looking at the examples, the height line of the neighbouring context restricts both buildings, which implies that the Yamaha Ginza building would not permitted to be built in such a framework.

Figure 1 Modern Urban Planning of Ginza outcomes are on opposite ends of the spectrum in urban designing in relation to order and chaos. The Yamaha Ginza building was built in accordance to the strict zoning by-laws of the existing Ginza district; however, if the Yamaha Ginza building was built according to the “natural” traditional Japanese sense, the design would be drastically different. The reason being is the level of control in the design aspect and the degree of boundaries and limits, as well as the shape and form of the city structure. Most modern Japanese architecture, especially homes, have strict site constraints, imposed by the nature of the “natural” urban structure, which often suggests small, tight and irregular shapes that the architect has to work with. The “Double Helix House” by Onishimaki + Hyakudayuki Architects is a good example of how the building fits tightly into the site, as well as wrapping around another home. Another example is the “TAEKENO Nursey” by Tadashi Suga Architects, where it is situated on an irregular site, blending into the residential

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Having a look at the city of Tokyo, there are many “natural” parts of the city that show disorder through various shapes and forms in all sizes. The natural urban growth are a result of urban sprawl due to the rapid population growth with low authority from the government in regards to design and zoning. If the Yamaha Ginza building were to be built within the disorderly part of Tokyo, the geometry of the site becomes an influential part of the design. Cultural and social aspects are also key factors, which dictates the nature of the building that becomes a design challenge in how the edifice plays a role in the urban lifestyle of Japan and how it relates to historic planning. The properties of Japanese urban structure consists of population density and decentralization, which effectively produces characteristics of small-scale buildings and narrow streets. These characteristics reflect the Edo period of Japan where the organic form of modern Tokyo developed from. The natural urban environment clearly does not reflect the qualities of the historical urban structure for the Yamaha Ginza building. In reality, the building is built in a Westernized condition, where it sought qualities of regular form, flat urban fabric and height. The Yamaha Ginza building’s details show how much thought has been put into the design of the building. The design has sensitive solutions toward both the exterior and the

context. The limitations can include relation to streetscape, relative height, connectivity with public domain, and other forms of relating to the context. The design of the Yamaha Ginza building addresses these constraints with a flat faรงade that maintains the streetscape fabric, while adding its own unique design through the use of varied coloured glass panels. Its height corresponds to the regular height in the Ginza district, which preserves the skyline. This shows respect the surrounding buildings as to not overshadow them and allows the Yamaha building to fit in, while effectively standing out due to its dynamic design.


Figure 2 Facade Design interior spaces, as well as the relationship between the two. The faรงade of the building is made up of varying warm-coloured glazed panels, diagonally orientated and supported by tension cables that remove the need for mullions, allowing extra fenetration for views and light (Figure 2). The properties of the glass become significant in the overall design in which it becomes the threshold between inside and outside. During the day, the faรงade reflects its opposing context in a mixture of warm colours; however, during the night, the interior lighting causes the building to light up the street and reveal the interior space that welcomes pedestrians inside. Building in the Ginza district comes with design guidelines and zoning by-laws that limit the extent of the design and define boundaries for the project to work in, which dictates the nature of the structure. Although these constraints limit the building, it does guide the design from concept to finish by suggesting how it should relate to the surrounding

The public realm is dealt by utilizing height to create a grand entrance that opens up to the street, which draws people in (Figure 3). The entrance becomes grander at night due to the indoor lighting penetrating through the coloured glass creating warm ambient illumination and further exposing interior elements. As far as shapes and forms are concerned, the modern urban planning of the Ginza

Figure 3 Exterior to Interior Strategy


“Different urban planning does not affect the process of architecture”

Figure 4 Elevation district governs the exterior nature of the building, thus freeing up the interior. The inside of the Yamaha building is built of expressive wooden elements that flow throughout the entire structure, representing the fluidity of sound and acoustic movements. The building houses a concert hall, an event hall, and practice rooms, which signify the importance of acoustics and sound quality of the interior spaces. Elements of acoustics and sound come with noise pollution and vibrations, which are important factors to consider as they affect the quality of the building. During the design process, there were issues with noise pollution and vibrations due to the Ginza subway line, the street traffic of Ginza Avenue and other programs within the building (“Yamaha Hall”,

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2015). To provide optimal acoustics within the spaces while preventing noise pollution and vibrations, the architects used a “special rubber-like cushioning unit” that is placed around the halls, causing the spaces to “float”, and isolating them from the disturbances (“Yamaha Hall”, 2015). Solution by isolation is an interesting way to design with the urban context and signifies the problem of noise pollution within the city. The modern urban planning of the Ginza district may not reflect the Japanese culture and may be less dramatic (Lawrence & Thomas, 2005), however, this is the route that the Ginza district took, and it developed its own cultural and social qualities that support the creation

of dynamic and creative architecture (Figure 4). This path would eventually lead up to the development of the Yamaha Ginza building. The building demonstrates site consideration and issues of the urban context and addresses them appropriately, and if it were to be built on a â&#x20AC;&#x153;naturalâ&#x20AC;? urban setting, it would approach the matter differently which would be suitable for the situation. The Yamaha Ginza building is an admirable product of modern urban planning that demonstrates site consideration and relationship to the urban context. If the history of Bibliography Sorensen, A. and Okata, J. (2010). Megacities: Urban Form, Governance, and Sustainability. Sorensen, A. (2002). The Making of Urban Japan: Cities and Planning from Edo to the Twenty First Century. London: Routledge. Springer Science & Business Media. Gordon, D. (2006). Planning Twentieth Century Capital Cities. New York: Routledge. Lawrence, J. V., Thomas J. C. (2005). The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover from Disaster. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. Shapira, P., Masser I., Edgington, D. W. (1994). Planning for Cities and Regions in Japan. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. Yamaha. (2015). Yamaha Hall, Part 1 - Yamaha - Global. Retrieved 6 November 2015, from http://




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Architects and urban planners are to create a sense of place through a close examination of the existing built- environment. Hong Kong Design Institute by CAAU was built in the tiny city of Hong Kong where hundreds of skyscrapers and numerous of high-rise buildings stand. Its goal was to encourage a dynamic flow of people and ideas in order to enhance the learning experience at HKDI and therefore connectivity to the city becomes predominant. This paper will examine how the original concept of “the white sheet” plays an important role in HKDI to encourage creativity in action to foster synergy between its two resident institutes and how it embraces the cohesiveness of Chinese culture and the openness of Western culture. Additional illustrations will demonstrate how the idea transformed the site into a large public place for interaction and created an urban space for relaxation at the same time. In the ultra-urban centers of today, the term “nature” has evolve into a precious resource that often gets sacrificed in the name of progress and development. The presence of nature has become increasingly harder to achieve in the concrete jungle of present day metropolises. “In the contemporary urban center of Hong Kong, where development is extensive and population is saturated, the displacement of nature cannot be spared” (Abbas, 1994). As Hong Kong continues to open up to the world, the whole society is influenced by globalization to a large extent, and architecture acts as an extension of the ideology. Hong Kong has become more

aware and understanding of external influence and architects are seeking to find a new way of expression that balances modernity with local tradition. Density is not a condition exclusively associated with the metropolis; its is at the origin of every form of human settlement. Villages and cities were established to facilitate both self protection and trade.However, they were establish in response to the urban need to move closer together. People’s desire to gather has always been the main driving force of settlement. “Density is the direct result of the cultural need to communicate immediately and continuously; it is the essence of the urban and it attains its apotheosis in the metropolis”( Koor, 2006). Although the overwhelming density of Hong Kong may put its inhabitants physically closer to each other in an environment of extreme proximity, people are actually instinctively withdrawn into their own mental spaces as a way to escape, completely alienating themselves from the world(Kwok, 2001). When faced with the challenge of a lack of available land, Hong Kong decided to look up. Today, Asia has more than 7,600 skyscrapers, high-rises and other iconic buildings that make it a living showcase of the best in international contemporary architecture(Modern Architecture). Therefore, there is a need for properly proportioned and designed spaces where people can have the room to relax their mind and comfortably interact with one another. Using shared intellectual and physical experiences like food, sports and art, as a

Figure 1 Figure Ground (Before) common bond and medium, urban inhabitants could be able to intimately link and relate to one another, in order to recover the humanity in the urban lives. Despite being one of the world’s most densely populated cities, Hong Kong’s world-class transportation system, Mass Transit Railway (MTR), carries an average of four million passengers every working day and is the primary mode of transportation for many of the city’s inhabitants(Yip, 2011). Hong Kong’s complex transportation grid makes places and people extremely well-connected. Although Hong Kong architecture is currently gaining more recognition internationally, the logic of the city can be difficult to read from its environment and sometimes it may not even exist. “The lack of order and disorienting nature of the urban environment causes anxiety in the inhabitants of Hong Kong” (Kwok, 2001).It is clear that the role of a urban city has to reveal its functions and the structure to its inhabitants, providing them the possibility to form a profound connection to their environment.

The Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) by Coldefy & Associés, Architectes Urbanistes (CAAU), is a new architectural icon in Hong Kong. The mega campus is an award winning design from the International Architectural Design Competition in 2006. Located in Tiu Keng Leung, the project offers spatial reinterpretation of its urban context by allowing social interaction on different levels and creating new connections with the ground (Hong Kong Design Institute, Dezeen Magazine, 2011). The campus rises from a green landscaped podium above King Ling Road. The key to the Hong Kong Design Institute being embraced by the local community is the abundance of public open outdoor space that it provides. The open space of the “Design Boulevard” entices visitors, and the glazed façades of the four towers, accentuate the feeling that the two-level sky platform is floating on air. Together, these external features blends an open outlook with teaching and learning spaces to encourage interaction and the cross fertilisation of ideas(HKDI, Dezeen Magazine, 2011). The open space is welcoming, but also isolating which sets the Institute apart as something special, making urban connections across it, so that the block does not become a barrier in the future. The Institute offers an infrastructure capable of producing design and connecting it to the outside world. The HKDI is located in the Tiu Keng Leng area, to the north east of Hong Kong Island, in the Sai Kung district, adjacent to the Tseung Kwan(Hong Kong Design Institute, CAAU, 2010). Thorough analysis of the surroundings, it is shown that a typical Hong Kong environment, the building is well connected to all facilities adjacent to the site such as MTR, leisure and recreational area and bus terminal (see Figure 3). Although the activity there is mainly residential and commercial, the building provides the community opportunities to connect one another with a meeting place by making its auditoriums and sports facilities available for public use(Hong Kong Design Institute, CAAU, 2010). It also brings new energy to the social life to the area with


the presence of students on the campus as well as the “numerous exhibitions and activities organized around the new urban spaces that have been created” (Hong Kong Design Institute, CAAU, 2010). One of the main goals was also to connect the site and the neighbourhood at the ground floor open plaza by means of the internal street which they called the “Design Boulevard”. It is a space for student activities and the interaction of creative minds that is open to all public and students, inviting all to come and experience the campus’ activities “The white sheet, the starting point of everything…” symbolises the new Hong Kong Design Institute. The white platform, a metaphor of “creativity”, “floats in the air and connects all other parts of the campus”(Turner, 2011). The architecture is conceived to offer maximum openness and permeability on the ground to connect with the urban grid and enhance public interaction. The elevated base creates a large public space for interactiona; an urban space of which the key role is to encourage meetings and relaxation and to provide a natural green space(See Cover). Circulation design is crucial in such a dense environment; the Institute connects the program effectively to the neighbourhood and all surrounding facilities with the use of escalator from ground floor to seventh floor. Its function is to “transfer students effectively from entrance to the strategic communal spaces and Learning Resources centre”(Turner 2011).

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The roof garden from above and the Design Boulevard below offer public and semi-public spaces for the neighborhood communities and the student bodies. These spaces including the the four towers and the “white sheet” each has its own specific function and purpose. Together they “provide a sense of identity that is dynamic rather than fixed, with room for further development and growth”(Hong Kong Design Institute, CAAU, 2010). Completing the Podium, Design Boulevard invites the public into the campus. Stretching out over 125 metres, this open area offers access to the auditorium, exhibition spaces and

common facilities(Turner 2011). The base of the building, the giant urban lounge favours meetings and exchanges, whilst taking advantage of internal and external green spaces and views of the countryside, thus fulfilling the liaison with the city. The Hong Kong Design Institute’s design was influenced by the “floating architecture” of the Hungarian-born French architect and urban planner, Yona Friedman. Yona Friedman was trained as an architect and rose to prominence with his manifesto The Mobile Architecture ( L’Architecture Mobile) and his idea for a different approach to urban growth with the Spatial City (Ville Spatiale) in 1956(Friedman ,2007). the idea consisted of a series of moveable megastructures suspended on a grid of stilts over existing cities and other locations, so that they left a minimal footprint and that future inhabitants were free to construct their dwellings within these structures. Friedman later expanded this idea for Mobile Architecture into the creation of elevated city space where people could live and work. With this principle he also hoped to introduce a method that could restrain the land use of growing cit-

Figure 2 Figure Ground (After)

“The white sheet, the starting point of everything…”

Figure 3 Transportation Connection ies. His goal explained that it was “not necessary to demolish older city parts to create new housing. He also pleaded for the compactness of the city, as building above the existing city could diminish expanding the city outwards”(Friedman, 2007). In the end, the HKDI became one of the city block of Friedman’s unrealised plan.


Figure 4 Design Boulevard. Escalator runing from ground to 7th floor. Hong Kong Design Institute By CAAU. Photograhy © Sergio Pirrone


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Abbas, A. (1994). Building on disappearance: Hong kong architecture and the city. Public Culture: Bulletin of the Project for Transnational Cultural Studies, 6(3), 441. Friedman, Yona, and Hans Ulrich Obrist. Yona Friedman. 7;7.; Vol. Walther König, 2007.Print “Hong Kong Design Institute.” CAAU*. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2015. < hong_kong_design_institute>. “Hong Kong Design Institute by CAAU - Dezeen.” Dezeen Hong Kong Design Institute by CAAU N.p., 01 July 2011. Web. 22 Sept. 2015. < stitute-by-caau/>. Koor, Anna, Katharina Feuer, and Martin Nicholas Kunz. Hong Kong: Architecture & Design. Dusseldorf: TeNues Pub. Group, 2006. Print. Kwok, Sean Zee. Urban Oasis: The Central Market Redevelopment of Hong Kong. N.p.: n.p., 2001. Print. Lee, Anderson, and Gene Kwang-Yu. King. Learning from Tri-ciprocal Cities the Time, the Place, the People: 2011-12 Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism-architecture, Hong Kong. Novato (Calif.): Oro Editions, 2014. Print. “Modern Architecture.” Hong Kong Asia’s World City. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2015. <http://www.dis>. Turner, Christopher. “Hong Kong Design Institute by Coldefy & Associés Architectes Urban istes (CAAU) - Icon Magazine.” INTERNATIONAL DESIGN, ARCHITECTURE AND CUL TURE- Icon Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2015. < news/item/9319-hong-kong-design-institute-by-coldefy-associes-architectes-urbanistes-caau>. Yip, Paul S. F. “Disconnection in a Highly Connected City.” LSE Cities. N.p., Nov. 2011. Print



Hong Kong has seven million residents, and more skyscrapers than any other city. It is the most complex and dense urban city in the world, and is best represented through its essential verticality. The public would often find themselves walking through a constant change of grade and elevation, from ground level, underground pathways, footbridge, and vertical shopping malls. Designed by the Kohn Pedersen Fox Architects, The Hysan Place is one of the newest vertical shopping malls developed in Hong Kong. This 36 storey mixed-use commercial building provides a vibrant mix of of retail spaces and offices, and is the first certified LEED Platinum building in Hong Kong (Chan 7, Giovannni, Malott 9, and Submission of Design and Development: Hysan Place, Hong Kong 3). Although uncommon in other urban countries, “the simple program of an office tower sitting atop a commercial base had a long precedent in Hong Kong that was already written into zoning” (Giovannni). Thus, the program was not a big challenge for The Hysan Place. It was the site context that was complex (Figure 1+2), exerting multiple demands on the design. Because it is located at 500 Hennessy Road in Causeway Bay, the heart of Hong Kong’s prime shopping mecca, the building faces social, economic, and environmental challenges. They include pedestrian and traffic improvements, indoor vertical circulation, scarcity of land, high cost of retail spaces, heat island effect, and limited light exposure (Malott, Chan 7). This essay will further discuss these challenges in detail

and how the building successfully responded to the problematic site environment and demonstrated exceptional urban planning and sustainable aspects. Hence, The Hysan Place is a great example of how planning plays a significant role in achieving sustainable urban development. The Hysan Place is one of the most successful and well received urban project in Hong Kong. Its excellence can be seen from their solution to existing social challenges of the site. Opened in August 2012, the facility has immediately positioned as landmark destination in Hong Kong. This is because The Hysan Place nestles in the heart of Causeway Bay, the major commercial district of Hong Kong. Despite having highly efficient and convenient transportation routes directed from different parts of Hong Kong, it is recognized for its congested pedestrian routes. In the Study on Pedestrian Subways and Related Traffic Improvement Measures in Causeway Bay published by the Transport Department of Hong Kong, it states Causeway Bay “is always crowded with shoppers and tourists. The footpaths at ground level are barely adequate to serve the high volume of pedestrian flow” (AECOM Asia Co. Ltd 1). Moreover, the street The Hysan Place is located on is one of “ the major pedestrian routings with the peak flow of about 18,000 pedestrian/hour” (AECOM Asia Co. Ltd 2). Hence, the area is overcrowded with high level of pedestrian flow and high urban density in the area, it is undoubt-





Figure 1+2 Figure Ground Diagram of Causeway Bay in Hong Kong, demonstrating the comparison of pre and post construction of the Hysan Place.

edly significant for new urban developments to consider creating leisure breathing spaces for people to rest and socialize. In the light of this, The Hysan Place demonstrates pedestrian streetscape improvement by offering two main entrances that is connected to the ground floor streetscape, each located on opposite sides of the building. The entry openings creates retail identity and presence at street level. Not only does this draw more pedestrian from both sides, Hennessy Road and Kai Chiu Road, it is significantly helpful to the circulation because it divides up the traffic flow instead of having visitors all crowded on one side. Moreover, due the chaotic nature of the environment, “the ground floor of Hysan Place Mall was deliberately raised up to create an inviting and calm haven away from the busy streets below” (Submission of Design and Development: Hysan Place, Hong Kong 10). This allocates shoppers onto a different level than the common pedestrian, thus soothing the crowding issue. Moreover, it is a great urban design feature because the area dedicated for the escalators that lead to the mall’s ground level acts as a buffer zone. This sheltered shared open space can also be the venue to small community events, or an

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alternative sidewalks to alleviate heavy foot traffic on Hennessy Road (Figure 3). The space creates a wider streetscape and naturally turns into a resting place for the pedestrian, enhancing the pedestrian experience. Another social issue The Hysan Place had to face was providing an efficient and exceptional shopping experience for the visitors despite the limited site area. Hong Kong has high density of urban developments and the homes of many local shoppers can sometimes be constricting and depressing. People visit the shopping malls viewing it as a haven to get away from their relatively small apartments, therefore shaping a reminiscing and unforgettable spatial experience for the individual is very important. Thus, “careful consideration was paid to the retail and interior planning. It was extremely important to ensure a smooth circulation flow for visitors from street level all the way to the upper levels of the mall” (Submission of Design and Development: Hysan Place, Hong Kong). The architect solved this by introducing innovative vertical transportation system, an express escalators that skips intermediate floors to provide rapid transportation

within the super volumetric facility. Evidently, traffic congestion near the site and indoor vertical circulation is a huge social challenge for The Hysan Place. The complex demonstrates excellent urban solution to it by offering multi entrances which also acts as a buffer zone, and innovative vertical transportation system, ultimately proving the excellent urban design qualities of The Hysan Place. Moreover, The Kohn Pedersen Fox Architects also considered economic aspects about the site context, proving the impact urban context on the design of The Hysan Place. Hong Kong has always been famous for the rapid urban development and “escalating land values have accelerated the urban and architectural evolution of the city. High real estate values drove developers to build up, creating a dominantly vertical city, with a premium on retail” (Giovannni). In fact, the site of Hysan Place, Causeway Bay was ranked as the world’s most expensive retail location in 2013, with a rent of $34,000 per square metre and still rising each year (Cushman & Wakefield 6). Clearly, the scarcity of land and high cost of shop spaces at ground level was a big reason for the architects to develop another vertical volumetric shopping mall. Thus, they created a complex with a gross floor area totalling around 716,000 square feet over a site area of around 48,000 square feet. Moreover, The Hysan Place was not the first vertical mall approach in Hong Kong. “In many commercial districts, shops and restaurants have moved into the upper floors of older buildings previously built for residential purpose since the rent for higher floors in these buildings are more affordable. However, vertical circulation in terms of lifts in these older buildings is often not sufficient to meet the increased demand. The resulting vertical shopping mall being created as an organic growth of the city of Hong Kong is surviving” (Chan 7). However, many vertical shopping mall still have inefficient vertical circulations. Fortunately, the architects foresee this issue and “pur-

posely built [The Hysan Place] with express escalators in addition to lifts to enhance more efficient vertical circulation, making the shops and restaurants at higher floors more accessible and economically sustainable” (Chan 6). In addition, the idea of creating a office community and shopping mall community was very beneficial because the synergy between the two ensure “Office workers will benefit from the convenience of shops and restaurants downstairs while the shopping mall will benefit from the patronage of the office workers for better business” (Chan 7). Evidently, The urban concept behind the super stacked retail and office spaces encourages healthy economical prosperity simply within the facility. In addition, the mall has convenient connectivity to Hong Kong’s major underground MTR system indoors at the basement, along with major bus and tram on Hennessy Road. These features are very prominent because it ensures the Hysan Place is highly accessible to attract more business, making it very economically sustainable. Nevertheless, environmental challenges is one of most significant in creating a sustainable urban design. With high density of urban developments, Hong Kong has been facing a lot of environmental issues, including air pollution, heat island effect, limited light exposure, and exterior noise, as addressed in the zoning plan of Causeway Bay (Town Planning Board of Hong Kong). In light of this existing issue, the client, Hysan’s late chairman Peter Lee, “said he wanted the most sustainable building in Hong Kong” (Giovannni). As a result, the complex to consists a wealth of green building features that conform to the highest international standards of sustainability (Malott). The architects performed careful and thoughtful green solutions to suit Hong Kong’s climate and context. The first and most significant solution is to arrange shift of forms to provide vertical gardens over the height of the building (Figure 3). Not only does it improve shopping experience by providing


“to provide long term planning flexibility and a synergy between the uses in a form that opens itself to the environment”


Figure 3 Vertical Gardens acts as urban oasis for the visitors

a urban oasis for the shoppers and office workers from the dense population, it also allow “prevailing breezes to pass through the building”, thus encouraging natural ventilation within the urban site (Figure 4) (Malott). Moreover, the total vegetation area of the sky gardens is around 2000 square metre, which is equivalent to 47 percent of the site area (Hong Kong Green Building Council 1). Immediately after its opening, it was praised for being first attempting Hong Kong to integrate low level urban oasis at the most expensive commercial area to encourage urban ventilation, alleviate pollution problem, and relief heat island effect from the Causeway Bay area. The architects also performed various assessment including air ventilation assessment, Computational Fluid Dynamics, and Wind Tunnel Test to ensure the effectiveness of its green feature and the pedestrian comfort at the various sky gardens as well as the ground level streetscape (Hong Kong Green Building Council 2). In addition, since there are many existing and proposed building surrounding it, limited solar exposure is a huge issue for the interior of this facility. To solve that, the architects create two grand atriums to pour natural skylight into the areas they each dominate, while also using

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Figure 4 The form encourages prevailing breezes to pass through

subtle LED lighting to excentuate the drama and appearance of the skylights (Submission of Design and Development: Hysan Place, Hong Kong 5). As as result, the interior spaces within the vertical mall becomes very inviting and lively. It creates a feeling of fluidity which inspires movement throughout the mall. The skylights were very successful and easily solved the environmental urban issue of limited solar exposure. In addition, certain forms were purposely placed on the south or north side of the site according to their need of solar exposure. Therefore, it is evident the building is configured to accommodate the best performance to optimize the site conditions. Moreover, Hysan Place also demonstrated their social aspect again when they cooperated with the local tertiary education establishment City University to create an artificial wetland on the sixteenth floor rooftop (Submission of Design and Development: Hysan Place, Hong Kong 11). It aims to help recycle grey water, as well as educating the local youth on recycling and green issues. They also included an urban farm , which provides organic farming throughout the year. It offers groups of children that grew up in high density urban city an exquisite opportunity to learn about basic farming

techniques. Clearly, the building is very detail and careful about achieving a successful and sustainable development for the community. The Hysan Place does not only consist sustainable features within the building to acc, but also invest on appreciating and promoting social and sustainability-based communities. The social and environmental benefit brought by the green spaces are priceless. After demonstrating the solutions Hysan Place has provided to solve site related issues. From social, economic and environmental challenges, it is clear the architects had put lots of consideration and thinking into providing the best urban planning. As the architect describes, the design aim â&#x20AC;&#x153;to provide long term planning flexibility and a synergy between the

uses in a form that opens itself to the environmentâ&#x20AC;?. Through its commitment in being an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable community, The Hysan Place is very successful and a great example of how urban planning impact the design of the architecture. It also shows how creativity can complement a retail space, in this case, a stacked vertical shopping mall within a complex and challenging site context. The urban benefits brought the Hysan Place are priceless, and will definitely continue to inspire and encourage better urban design in Hong Kong, and even internationally.

Bibliography AECOM Asia Co. Ltd. (2010, September 6). Study on Pedestrian Subways and Related Traffic Improvement Measures in Causeway Bay. Retrieved November 5, 2015. Chan, M. (2013, September 13). Shaping sustainable cities - High Rise Development, Connectivity, Physical and Social Fabric. Retrieved November 6, 2015. Cushman & Wakefield. (2014). Main Streets Across the World 2014/2015. Retrieved November 6, 2015. Giovannni, J. (2013, August 19). Hysan Place, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from Hong Kong Green Building Council. (2014). Hysan Place, Hong Kong. Retrieved November 6, 2015. Malott, D. (2013, June 11). What Contributes Most to Sustainability in Tall Buildings? Retrieved November 6, 2015. Submission of Design and Development: Hysan Place, Hong Kong. (2013, January 1). Submission presented at ICSC Asia Awards 2013. Town Planning Board of Hong Kong. (2010, September 17). Draft Causeway Bay Outline Zoning PLan No.S/ H6/15. Retrieved November 6, 2015.




The city of Shanghai is one of the most famous cities within China and is most known for their trading industry. Dating back to the origins of the British immigrants settling in Shanghai and increasing its popularity in the west during the industrial revolution, this began the start of the Bund neighbourhood and the construction of the famous buildings known today. This thesis follows how the urban design of The Bund greatly affects the form, materiality, program, history and expression of the buildings that are located within this harbour front neighbourhood. The Union Assurance Company building is one of the buildings located within The Bund and was designed in a specific way based on the elements required in the city’s urban grid. In terms of its context, the Union Building is located on an urban corner lot between The Bund and Guangdong Road, while its north-east façade faces a non-urbanized environment. Its form was designed to blend in with its urban context in terms of its urban grid and other nearby buildings of the Bund, while the grid was designed in regards to its location. The history of Shanghai and The Bund influences the form, materiality, expression and service that The Union Building was designed for. From the foreign visitors coming into Shanghai to the boom of the Chinese economy and opening up to the world, these historical times influenced the design of Shanghai’s urban grids, as well as influenced the purpose and establishment of the Union Building. This essay will explain the Bund’s history and how its context created the urban design which affected the design of the Union Building.

During the 1840s, many British settlers came into Shanghai for their pursuit of wealth and business but were only to find the Chinese citizens living in the walled city of Shanghai, where the city was enclosed from the outside world and was filled with poverty and filth. They then decided to settle near the shores of the Huangpu River according to Hibbard (2007) from, “The land regulations which had been drawn up by the local Chinese in 1845, that were to lay the ground rules on how the British inhabited area was to be managed and administrated. Balfour (a British Consular) wanted to secure an exclusive British zone and regulations were drawn up to define its boundaries and to deal with matters such as building codes and land taxations” (p.27). At this time, the British received goods and new immigrants, the Taotai who came into the new community demanded gardens at the shore to be designed and conserved so which remained until this day. Years went by and an urban grid was finally formed in the 1850s. Each lot in the urban grid was established based on whoever purchased the piece of land and how much square feet they wanted. All the roads located within this settlement were narrow and poorly maintained since they were only designed when needed and also follow the disorganized directional path of creeks and dykes, thanks to the Committee of Roads and Jetties at the time. By the 1860s, the Bund was officially established and was dense but with spacious compounds of many trading buildings. At this time many merchants came into the town and designed “compradoric” architecture with simple square lots and plans,


Bund from south to north. Because of the rise in the economy and businessmen coming into Shanghai and the original urban grid that was designed during the 1850s, those two historical events highly affected how the Union Building was designed and why it was needed during the industrial era.

Figure 1 Building form in relation to its context

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a style that was highly used in typical Great Britain Asian colonies. This altered the original urban grid by accommodating more buildings and now only gardens and parks existed along the Bund shoreline. Between the years of 1899 to the 1900s, the popularity of Shanghai and its economic and population growth increased. Because of the industrial era, trades were booming and many immigrants and visitors were occupying the neighbourhood. Therefore, this influenced the increase in urban development and expanded settlements. Due to the increase of population and higher demand of transportation trade, Denison and Ren (2006) commented that a 25ft wide road along the Bund was the first and widest” (p. 48) constructed to accommodate this new innovation. Because of the increase in the economy and its popularity, The Bund needed more industrial buildings to accommodate the high demand and economic change after WWI, therefore the Union Assurance Office building was designed by England architects Palmer and Turner. It was the first building they designed on the Bund and was categorized as the third building along the shore of the

The surrounding context of the urban plan around the Union Building also plays a huge role in affecting its design and function. Based on the coming of the industrial era during the 1900s, the Europeans during the time were focusing on the concept of City Beautiful Movement, therefore it was brought into the Bund. Dongyang (1989) explains how the urban design of the Bund had three elements of the City Beautiful Movement, “Monumental civic centers to enhance civic pride, to build wide boulevards, and to build a system of linked parks to create healthy amenities” (p. 88). The Union building was decorated with British flags and Pridmore (2008) described that the, “richly carved granite ornaments conveyed the grandeur essential to its occupant of English financial concern” (p. 39), as well as it was surrounded by the wide boulevard, gardens and the Huangpu river towards the east, small residential and trading houses on the west, and the other major industrial buildings of the Bund towards the north and south. These elements describe how the Union building was placed in a “City Beautiful Movement” and how the materials used to construct its façade belong to the British civic order, Lu and Gardiner (2008) explained how western architects excel in planning, “Buildings to function as part of the context of the city structure and landscape” (p. 52). The form of the Union building was highly influenced by the size of the lot, as well as how one would view the building at certain angles. Based on its building lot, it is located on the corner of Guangdong road and Zhongshan Er Road (the wide boulevard along the shoreline). Since it is located on a major road, its main entrance is located on Guangdong minor road instead so that workers and businessmen can avoid the large congested crowd at Zhongshan Er Road

when going in and out of the Union Building. If one were to sail towards Shanghai via Huangpu River, one can spot out only the major buildings, as well as the Union Building along the Bund shoreline since they are large in scale compared to the other surrounding buildings. According to Denison and Ren (2006) this was created because of, “The business and social elite busily jostled for position in order to be as much a part of the performance as a witness to its unfolding. Always more blustering and giving an impression of majesty, the Bund’s neoclassical and British renaissance façade were designed to boast status, projecting the outward pretensions of civic pride, while inwardly coveting unbridled wealth” (p. 101). The line of these buildings and the Union Building itself affects the idea of the Bund as a whole since they block out almost the entire city with its large scaled masses and designs. The goal of the Bund during the 1900s was to build beautiful, wealthy and high civic pride buildings during the City Beautiful Movement to help promote the business of Shanghai and further increase the economy since according to Dongyang (1989), “Most western planning theorists believe the city is a product of the economic and political forces. Therefore the city form merely reflects the spatial needs of the industrial economy and its production and market needs, such as transportation corridors, the location of residential districts and employment” (p. 34). Therefore, the other industrial buildings on the Bund as well as the Union Building were the best choice to promote the city since they were located on the edge of the Huangpu shoreline. The design of the Union Assurance Building was highly influenced by the history of the Bund in terms of its formation of the urban grid and the increase in population and the industry; to its surrounding context and the City Beautiful Movement that occurred during this time. It is interesting to see that the design of the building has a relation to western city planning, even though it is located on China where their views of urban planning during the time were based on Lao Zi’s concept of elements

like man and nature being interrelated. Urban planning and design plays an important role in the design of buildings and without them, how will buildings respect its context and laws of the urban code?

Figure 2 Site Prior to Development

Figure 3 Site Post Development


“The Bund’s neoclassical and British renaissance façade were designed to boast of status, projecting the outward pretensions of civic pride, while inwardly coveting unbridled wealth.” - Denison & Ren

Figure 4 Circulation accessibility

Bibliography Denison, E., & Ren, G. (2006). Building Shanghai the story of China’s gateway. Chichester, England: Wiley-Academy. Dongyang, L. (1989). An Epistemological Interpretation: A Comparative Study of Idealogical Roots in City Planning in China and the West. Winnipeg, Manitoba: University of Manitoba. Hibbard, P. (2007). The Bund Shanghai: China faces West. Hong Kong: Odyssey ;. Lu, X., & Gardiner, L. (2008). China, China--: Western architects and city planners in China. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz. Pridmore, J. (2008). Shanghai: The architecture of China’s great urban center. New York: Abrams.

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Kowloon Walled City, also known as the city of imagination, is just 30 miles off of farming country from the border of Hong Kong, China. The industrial suburb is a densely populated slum with clusters of buildings amongst the clean landscape which represents a strong contrast between order and chaos as no architect, no law and order and no planning were involved throughout its making and use. An informal city in a non - master planned country of China was not only vibrant; it was a city of hope, culture, lifestyle and incredible architecture and planning. The buildings created an imaginary border to create its own sense of identity. Soon, unplanned passageways were created - more like a maze - along with basic electric and water supply by illegal means that often caused the systems to crash. Predictable building typologies were vastly repetitive with random construction on available spots of land. It had no particular form or elegant views. After the demolition of the city, maintenance has been a primary factor with removal of contaminated soil, pest control, and chlorination of wells and so on. Kowloon Walled Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s history helped to create a symbolic representation of order versus chaos at its limits, with no planning compared to its immediate urban context. In general, the city had a strong control of spaces through the concept of pattern planning. It is now a tourism attraction in the urban landscape of Hong Kong, remembering the history of the City, Kowloon The history of Kowloon Walled City dates back to 960 A.D. when it was used as an â&#x20AC;&#x153;outpost to regulate salt tradeâ&#x20AC;? (Girard, 90).

Little had changed until 1810 when China created a coastal fort and surrounded it with a thick wall for protection. However, this idea failed as the British who had colonized Hong Kong at that time already, starting occupying the settlements by 1899 (City of Darkness, N/A). The wall came down to allow the material to be used for an airport guard, when the Japanese began to settle down in this area. In 1945, the Chinese ruled again. In 1947, refugees who did not want to leave China for its protection began to use this City as an escape for cover. As this was an unused large piece of land, it became the cheapest and easiest solution for many. This was the beginning of the Walled City. The area did not have any laws for housing; all occupants resided illegally, which at that time seemed like the best and safest option for over 2,000 people. Soon, this began to attract thousands more, which lead to infinite number of housing, leading to the erection of the self -built city of Kowloon. There was no master plan for the city; not even the government was capable of controlling the actions that were ongoing once the city was so populated. Therefore, there was no law or regulation that was considered. The population grew exponentially in the 40 years that it took to completely finish construction. To bring this to scale, if Kowloon City still existed, Hong Kong and New York City together would be a total sum of the number of people that resided this area. Moving on, it was ultimately a game of survival as no sufficient supply of food, water and shelter were available. It was consumed from illegal means from the cities surrounding it. There were only 8 standpipes providing drinking water to the whole city. No garbage


Figure 1 Present day Kowloon City, at Kowloon City Park.

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collection was ensured as it usually ended up on rooftops where children would also play sometimes. However, the rent was only $4 USD with no tax which sufficed and attracted residents (Harter, 93). No inspections were taken for all the legal and illegal professions that were booming without complete or any licensing. Inevitably, triads started to form in the dark narrow streets, along with dealing of drugs, prostitution and uncontrollable crime. On the contrary, despite the chaos, the city still carried schools, churches and businesses in order to continue a culture of their own. There was no architect, planner or engineer on the job to conduct the execution of the Walled City. Residents began to use remnants of the fort that was built and added onto it as needed (City of Darkness, N/A). Houses were crammed and only served minimal purposes and provided minimal necessities. It was a clear pattern planning approach to the city. The demolished wall was used as a guideline to where the boundaries of the city would be. It created a setback for the site, which was very contrasting to the long

landscape surrounding it with low buildings. The city stood out very clearly, night and day. The buildings were stacked up to 14 meters in order to avoid plane crashes as the city was on a path of many airlines. There were no zoning by laws reinforced. The dark streets were narrow and stingy with water leakage, full of unsanitary stains and human waste. It is clear that vertical planning became the solution to accommodate over 50 000 inhabitants in 2.7 acres. There was a clear distinction between order and chaos in the Walled City. In general, looking at the way it was constructed, so quickly within a small timeframe, would seem chaotic and messy. On the grid, it does not follow any certain pattern or method. The housing units were built on top of one another until a certain extent and a new building would begin construction connecting to it to save space. It resembled a row of townhouses, however with unalike buildings up to 14 meters. The lifestyle of the people also resembles this concept. They lived in a very horrific, chaotic, dirty condition however they continued their lifestyles normally. It became the norm to them

as they began to get used to it and work their way around it. Their own homes were more organized and rooms were multipurpose in the manner that they had one room generally to work, sleep, eat and bathe. They all had a similar footprint of area that they were satisfied with, to the point that when they were asked to leave with compensation, they refused to let go to their way of life. The social connections that were made throughout the City â&#x20AC;&#x201C; good and bad â&#x20AC;&#x201C; were too special for the people. They had everything they needed in a small space, thus they found no need to move out into a larger City. There was a control of space in the chaos, which must not be taken for granted. In conclusion, Kowloon Walled City is a strong example of an informal city in a non master planned country. The city created an imaginary border with the building facades which created its own sense of identity. Power and sources of water was brought to the buildings by illegal means; the wiring was so complex and unpredictable, that investigators could not figure out their methods. The buildings were built with no permit, and the

police or government had no say as the people were determined to reside there. In 1993, the British government became embarrassed of the City and began to demolish it slowly. Although residents received compensation, they refused to leave. The lifestyle became a norm to them, the outside world seemed dystopic. However, they were forced out and soon the area was turned into a Ching dynasty style garden. Today, the site has become known as the Kowloon Walled City Park, with mostly landscaping to cover up and clear the horrific images from its past. It still has no set master plan; it now holds too much value and memories to destroy that with buildings and towers. Kowloon Walled City was a symbolic representation of order versus chaos at its limits, with no planning compared to its context as it had a good control of spaces through the concept of pattern planning. It was a contrast of society and lifestyle compared to its immediate farming context and far away cities. It was a slum, however it boomed with hope and happiness for the residents. This typology of buildings and settlement ideas should not be repeated again or taken

Figure 2 Kowloon City before demolition. The crowded buildings create a busy junction for the residents to live in.


â&#x20AC;&#x153;the city of darkness becomes a city of imagination at itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s peek. An orderly chaos and pattern planning at its best â&#x20AC;? as a good precedent for the future. It was not a healthy environment to grow in and would not allow for good spaces to be in. There were many connections to the streets and their surroundings, as suggested good by many planners; however this should be considered an extreme that is inhumane. Pattern planning can still be proved successful, however it has to be with more planning, without illegal methods and with good intentions for a strong city to strive in. The Kowloon Walled City should be regarded as a lesson learned and avoided for the betterment of architecture, design and urban planning, and far away cities. It was a slum, however it boomed with hope and happiness for the residents.

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This typology of buildings and settlement ideas should not be repeated again or taken as a good precedent for the future. It was not a healthy environment to grow in and would not allow for good spaces to be in. There were many connections to the streets and their surroundings, as suggested good by many planners; however this should be considered an extreme that is inhumane. Pattern planning can still be proved successful, however it has to be with more planning, without illegal methods and with good intentions for a strong city to strive in. The Kowloon Walled City should be regarded as a lesson learned and avoided for the betterment of architecture, design and urban planning.

Figure 3 Axonometric diagram of program spaces in one of the buildings of Kowloon Walled City.

1898 Walled Fortress and Barracks

1950 Walls removed for material and beginning of Walled City

1990 Fully developed Kowloon City

1993 Demolition and Chinese Garden

Figure 4 Timeline showing the growth of the City from where it started and after demolition. Bibliography City of Darkness Revisited. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2015, from http://cityofdarkness. Girard, G., & Lambot, I. (1993). City of darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City. Chiddingfold: Watermark. Harter, S. (n.d.). Hong Kongâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Dirty Little Secret: Clearing the Walled City Of Kowloon. Journal of Urban History, 92-113. Kowloon Walled City | ArchDaily. (n.d.). Retrieved September 25, 2015, from


Kowloon Walled City Park. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from Life in the densest place on earth: Kowloon Walled City - (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2015, from The Walled City Of Kowloon - SkyscraperPage Forum. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from




Q1 Tower is a resort, spa, and residential tower located on a sandy beach along the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. It is the tallest residential building in Australia, and an icon. This building, amongst others similar to it, was part of the development of the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast is unique in the sense that it was developed without a traditional urban plan and was allowed to develop naturally. There is no downtown financial district or government core in the city - a fairly unconventional practice. The city is known for its distinctive tourist strip, where the Q1 Tower is located. The tower itself was designed as a dislocation from average life and a tropical destination resort. Given this circumstance, and the unconventional manner in which the Gold Coast was developed, how does the Q1 Tower exemplify tourist urbanization? This will be determined by examining how the Q1 Tower was designed in general, how it was designed in relation to the Gold Coast, and the meaning of tourist urbanization in terms of the Gold Coast. The Q1 Tower, or Queensland One Tower, is located in the heart of Surfer’s Paradise, on the Gold Coast of Australia. It is a luxurious getaway destination for those who want to relax by the beach. It is located in the second most frequented tourist destination of Australia, after Sydney. The tower was designed by Atelier SDG and the Buchan Group, developed by Sunland Group, and built by Sunland Construction Group (Tallest Residential Tower, 2015). Officially opening in 2005, it is the sixth tallest residential building in the world, and the tallest residential building

in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere. The concept of the tower is based on the studies of wind, movement, tension, and the idea of the ribbon. The tension in movement is exemplified by the gradual twisting of the aluminium clad ribbons, as they circle around the building. The architects wanted to wrap the base of the building concentrically with these ribbons, which would create an entry plaza and provide shade and cover (Tallest Residential Tower, 2015). The result of this is an open-air galleria shopping area under the glazed ribbon structure, and a retail façade with a curvature that meets the street’s edge. This is an important connection to be made considering the height of the Q1 Tower. The Q1 Tower sits at a height of 322.5 meters (measured to the top of the spire), with a roof height of 245 meters (Tallest Residential Tower, 2015). One may wonder; how does the Q1 Tower relate to its context at all? Q1’s proximity to the beach is an important factor (Dedekorkut-Howes, 2014). At ground level the building interfaces with the environment; this is an active zone. The lobby is part of the active zone, where patrons can participate in the activity happening at the base. This is the heart of the building; this is why the focus was to make the lobby rich and textural (Q1 Building - Gold Coast Australia, 2015). The ribbons reinforce the energy happening at the base of the tower; they reflect the dramatic nature of the building. The building was also intended initially as two towers which would have created an entirely different base condition. However, the solution was to stack


(Dedekorkut-Howes, 2014). How can this be if the Gold Coast emerged from social, historical, cultural, and economic factors that shaped it?

50 m

Figure 1 Figure Ground Map, 2015 the two towers into one, soaring into the sky, becoming an architectural marvel. It is important to remember that the Q1 Tower was created for a very specific purpose. It feeds into touristic urbanism; the Gold Coast is a destination city. It is said that the Gold Coast will never be considered a city with a real culture in the traditional sense. In order to understand this, the design of the Q1 will be considered in terms of the area it is located in: the Gold Coast.

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The Gold Coast is the sixth largest city in Australia with 400,000 inhabitants, it is located just south of Brisbane (Queensland). It is one of the finest examples of a post-modern city. It is an example of post-industrial urbanisation, as well as adolescent urbanism. Adolescent urbanism is just what it sounds like; rapid growth, confusion of identity, a development of sexuality, a growing analytical capacity, and egocentrism (Burton). It is said that the Gold Coast ‘was borne to pre-eminence in an era devoid of design or planning’, and it is labelled as a ‘free enterprise city’ or a ‘cultural desert’

In order to understand how this happened, one must first understand the history of the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast is now known as a subtropical city, famous for sun and surf. Structure-wise, the Gold Coast was shaped by terrain and historical factors (DedekorkutHowes, 2014). The Gold Coast was originally a place for agricultural settlements such as sugar, timber, and dairy production (DedekorkutHowes, Bosman, 2013). Naturally, the Nerang River and wetlands shaped the area; these waterways were transformed into a network of islands and canals (Lindner, 2006). This resulted in development of bands parallel to the Pacific Ocean’s edge. Development works in linear strips or bands that run parallel to the coast: beach strips, high rise strip/ residential coastal strips, highway strips, canal estates, suburbs, and eventually semirural hinterland as one works his or her way inland (Dedekorkut-Howes, Bosman, 2013). The most intense development occurs in Surfer’s Paradise, where Q1 is located. The city started out with the development of the railway system in 1889, which progressed to a system of highways, and eventually private car usage and the development of airports (DedekorkutHowes, 2014). This helped to shape the city as a tourist destination. A shift in cultural attraction, which developed into a fascination with the outdoors, as well as second home-ownership stimulated the construction industries and property services on the Gold Coast, which in turn resulted in a property boom (DedekorkutHowes, Bosman, 2013). It was very common for Australians to have a second home or a vacation home on the Gold Coast. However, the properties along the beach were eventually demolished and replaced with motels, then the high rise typology, and apartment accommodations (Dedekorkut-Howes, Bosman, 2013). This was to accommodate not only for the population growth but also for the

increase in interest in the area. As the population grew, the economy diversified. This led to an increase in tourism. How does a tourist city develop? Social factors that contribute to its history are the high population growth rate, few children, more elderly residents, and higher residential densities, as well as more transient residents, low job skills, lower incomes, and high unemployment rates (DedekorkutHowes, Bosman, 2013). Most migration came from interstates, rather than overseas migration (Spearritt, 2009). The ‘sunbelt’ and Sunbelt growth is also a phenomenon that affects the Gold Coast. Sunbelt Growth is a regional development phenomenon resulting from basic shifts in comparative economic advantages. It is the when a certain place is seen as more desirable to frequent rather than another place because of its geographic location (Dedekorkut-Howes, Bosman, 2013). Sunbelt growth is evident in the Q1 Tower as it is along Main Beach, evidently an exemplary geographic location. Economically, the region is funded by local business generation (tourism), rather than exports and production.

Q1 Tower incorporates spaces that reach into the streets surrounding it, marketing desirable notions of culture for the community (Lindner, 2006). This is reinforces the approach of the Q1 Tower; it responds to the cultural, social, and economic needs of the Gold Coast. It provides an income for local businesses, it responds to all the natural and man-made attractions the Gold Coast has to offer, from its double-storey observation deck, to its direct access to Main Beach, to its spectacular views of the whole city. Q1 also provides the accommodations that cater to the upper class, but are accessible to all. Tourist Urbanization is defined by Mullins as ‘an urbanization based on the sale and consumption of pleasure’ (Dedekorkut-Howes, Bosman, 2013). The Gold Coast presents itself as a city of leisure, a city of enterprise, a city of tourism and a city in its own right, as well as being a perfect example of tourist urbanization (Dedekorkut-Howes, 2014). It is a hedonistic city; growth and spatial organization promote consumption (Dedekorkut-Howes, 2014). Q1 is located on the beach, in the core of

Rather than having a larger city center, smaller city centers are spread around the city, with long beaches that encourage dispersal, while short beaches promote concentration of recreational businesses (DedekorkutHowes, 2014). Governmental, law, and cultural institutions are dispersed outside the dominant skyline of Surfer’s Paradise, emphasizing the non-existence of the city core. The Gold Coast is the fastest growing region in the world (Lindner, 2006). Even as it evolves into more of a city in a sense, the Gold Coast will always be characterised as a tourist destination. The Q1 Tower responds to this with its style of ‘new millennium architecture’ (Lindner, 2006). New Millennium architecture is an innovative way of going about the architecture of the 21st century. An architecture that attracts tourists has to be conceived in a particular way. The 80-storey

50 m

Figure 2 Figure Ground Map, 2004


“Q1 exemplifies tourist urbanism through its location, form, function, and purpose.”

Q1 Tower

Main Beach

John Fraser Memorial Park

North 50 m

Figure 3 MapNerang of the River Area

Surfer’s Paradise, surrounded by commercial institutions. It is traditional for tourist cities to have distinctive urban symbols that evoke pleasure to tourists. Q1 is a symbol of pleasure and leisure; it is the pinnacle of luxury. In conclusion, the Gold Coast is a tourist city. Its central image is the high-rise strip from Main Beach to Palm Beach with iconic buildings like the Q1 Tower. The Gold Coast is a place of tourism and less of a city, which begs the question how does the Q1 Tower reinforce concepts of touristic urbanism? Q1 exemplifies tourist urbanism through its location, form,

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function, and purpose. This was determined by examining how the Q1 Tower was designed in general, how it was designed in relation to the Gold Coast, and the meaning of tourist urbanization in terms of the Gold Coast.

1 5 10


Figure 4 Conceptual Ground Level showing the Ribbons

Bibliography Burton, P. (n.d.). Growing Pains: The Challenges Of Planning For Growth In South East Queens land. Australian Planner, 118-125. Dedekorkut-Howes, A. (2014, November 19). City without a Plan: How the Gold Coast was Shaped. Retrieved September 23, 2015. Dedekorkut-Howes, A., & Bosman, C. (2013). The Gold Coast: Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s playground? Cities, (42), 70-84. Lawton, L. (2005). Resident Perceptions Of Tourist Attractions On The Gold Coast Of Australia. Journal of Travel Research, 44, 188-200. Lindner, C. (2006). 13. Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gold Coast: A City Producing Itself. In Urban space and city scapes: Perspectives from modern and contemporary culture (pp. 177-191). New York, New York: Routledge. Q1 Building - Gold Coast Australia. (2015, July 8). You Tube. watch?v=YVHv51e73RA (Q1 Building - Gold Coast Australia, 2015) Spearritt, P. (2009). The 200 Km City: Brisbane, The Gold Coast, And Sunshine Coast. Australian Economic History Review, 49(1), 87-106. Tallest Residential Tower. (n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2015, from (Tall est Residential Tower, 2015) Image Hierner, M. (Photographer). Q1 Tower, Gold Coast [photograph]. City, e-architect, http://ww




Sydney Australia is a major national harbour city that was in great need of a redeveloped harbour front. The redevelopment needed to not only inspire new innovative architecture but create regional open spaces for the public to enjoy and interact with. It had to engage the public realm in an inventive and purposeful way that not only enhanced the surrounding building but Central Business District that it services, the Darling Harbour, a major tourist attraction. Darling Quarter is a 1.5-hectare area that creates an energetic new district at the edge of the Sydney Central Business District in Darling Harbour South. The redevelopment incorporates a state of the art playground with an integrated high quality retail terrace, along with a children’s theatre, community green space and two commercial buildings called the Commonwealth Bank Place. With its historical past and social implications for its redevelopment there was a lot weighing on the redevelopment of Syndey’s Darling Harbour, yet, through the careful attention to city policy on urban design and innovative building tectonics, Darling Quarter engages the community in a multifaceted approach to create a hub of entertainment, business, and relaxation while being mindful of its impact on surrounding context, pedestrian axes and public realm. The site was mainly a large industrial harbour from the early 1800s to the late 1900s. It housed railway goods yards and serviced wharves. The increasing development of the harbour pushed the seawall further and further out into the

ocean. It wasn’t until the late 1980s when plans for a complete redevelopment of the harbour were implemented by Queen Elizabeth II. The intent was to create a space for entertainment and relaxation. It was the largest urban renewal project of its time in Australia. Soon after the first redevelopment, Darling Quarter became a commerce hub with many large financial institutions locating their headquarters there. Now Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD), the area is thriving and full of life more than ever. The redevelopment commissioned by Lend Lease and the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority in 2005, was a plan to transform the already growing harbour front into a multi-modal and multi-functional conglomeration of spaces — work, play, gather, relax. This redevelopment was a five year project that faced many challenges in making it the successful development it is today. In 2005, for the first time the New South Wales (NSW) Government announced the development of the North West and South West Sydney Growth Centres. Instead of applying for rezoning, a new approach was taken to solidify the development as an urban renewal project. (Thompson p. 319, 2007). These five factors were considered of the utmost importance: the protection of biodiversity: regional open space and precious water resources, connected housing, roads, transport, schools, jobs, and shops to facilitate walkable and liveable communities, sustainability via recycled water and smart energy use, promotion of public transport to help reduce car use to


Figure 1 Illustrating the sensitivity to surrounding building heights

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access services, and healthy green environments made up of protected bushland areas, round creeks, open spaces, parks, and recreational facilities (Thompson p.320, 2007). Located just on the outskirts of the Sydney’s CBD, it is surrounded by a multitude of high rise apartment buildings and office towers, as well as Darling Habour. Darling Quarter comprises of the Commonwealth Bank Place head office and the park that surrounds it — which truly played a large role in influencing the building’s built form. From a planning perspective, the building form had to be responsive to existing city streets and pathways as well as create large open spaces that promote pedestrian usage. The Darling Quarter is careful in its gestures of impact by keeping at a relatively lower scale — 8 storeys — than its surroundings — Harbour Street, (see figure 1). From the other side (park side) the building is kept at an approachable scale of six storeys, as it matches the tree heights welcoming the people to the common park grounds. Some have argued in the past that “overcoming the perception that tall buildings are somehow unsympathetic to Australia’s urban character and lifestyle will be challenging” (Thompson 2007 ) however, Darling Quarter proves that a building of a smaller scale and more pedestrian axes engages the user more than a large high rise square-based extruded tower where the top of it is barely visible. The two buildings shape excellent positive and negative space in and around the site which in turn creates these wonderful park spaces that work well with the built form.

The response to the pedestrian was crucial for this project to be as successful as it is now. The project had to connect to of the most complex streets in the city — Harbour Day Street and Bathurst Street. In order to create a pleasant pedestrian experience as well as vehicles, and, at the same time, give it a dignified civic quality, demanded considerable skill on many levels. The creation of a new pedestrian street called ‘civic connector’ handled this issue of intersecting streets by connecting three major nodes — Tumbalong Park, Bathurst Street and Town Hall, see figure 2. Kate Luckcraft of ASPECT Studios writes that about the pavement pavement inlays in the civic connector and how their precise craftspersonship makes “the history of the site available to people in a way that is fun and engaging” (Inside Darling Quarter 2012) which is another way Darling Quarter strives to create links between its public realm and built form. Through the creation of this new pedestrian only street, people can stroll through the street, passing shops and restaurants on their way. There is also a new playground for children that replaces that old Sega World playground that did not offer as much promenade like routes that were solely for pedestrians. In many other developments around the world, it is more common to see new streets created for loading or servicing the back of house of a building through the introduction of a new laneway perhaps, which fails to recognize the pedestrian as one of the most important users. Darling Quarter does an excellent job in understanding who its primary users are and how they would expect them to behave when given a space like this one. A clear connection between the two commercial masses delivers pedestrian access from the city core to Darling Harbour and illustrates a definitive hierarchy of movement and entry. In David Wheeldon’s article discussing the Darling Quarter’s impact on the environment, he touched on issues of sustainability not only from the environmental aspect but the social

aspect as well: “Social sustainability outcomes have been addressed through the creation of valuable public amenity”(2011). These ‘public amenities’ begin as you walk along the western Tumbalong Park frontage, a generous timber lined cantilever provides a shelter condition to the retail activities below for both families and commercial users. The western facade is a warm, articulated screen of timber shades and blinds that provide a considered scale and image to Darling Harbour. On the public domain side of the precinct is a spectacular world-class 4,000 square metres playground that is one of the largest free family entertainment attractors in Sydney. The playground will be the first illuminated public playspace in Australia and integrates interactive play equipment and waterplay in a landscaped environment. The Darling Quarter Kids Playground invites families of all sizes and backgrounds to enjoy an array of fun activities that promote learning and imagination for all ages. The designers have effectively put together an outdoor space that compliments its surroundings as well as engages the built form. The Commonwealth Bank Place is responsive to the circular park as demonstrated through its formally curved facade which displays its sensitivity to the site. The success of the project can be attributed to its response to the public realm of the growing city. The project director, Michael Wheatley, describes this project as having a huge public interface with a massive potential on Darling Harbour. He continues to urge that its success is determined by the ‘place’ and the public domain rather than just the building itself, which is exceptional on many standards. Darling Quarter proves to be a unique opportunity to rejuvenate one of Sydney’s most visited public spaces (Inside Darling Quarter 2012). Replacing the former Sega World site, Darling Quarter, Commonwealth Bank Place, in Sydney, Australia, drastically revitalized an area of the Darling Harbour that is considered to be amongst the busiest tourist attractions in Sydney. Located by the western edge of Sydney’s Central Business District, the new design serves

as not only an enhancement to its predecessor, but as a well integrated new establishment which engages the existing public realm. Darling Quarter is the 2012 winner of the Australia Award for Urban Design as it is at the forefront of technological innovation as well as in its consideration for the human experience. Darling Quarter is situated on a complex site that lends the connection to the city core on the one side and an extremely significant public node on the other. The strong pedestrian focus and consideration in the design is clear in its intent to reconnect the city to Tumbalong Park. The success of this project is accredited to its attention to urban design as well as the architecture behind the form from which the buildings are derived. Cities today are growing rapidly and public spaces are suffering because of it. The demand for high quality outdoor public space is at an all time high so architects must work diligently to incorporate the environment they are given with the environment they want to create in order to rejuvenate old networks, motivate “social activation through place making initiatives and achieve excellence in sustainable design” (Inside Darling Quarter 2012).

Figure 2 This demonstrates the pedestrian axes that the building creates


“success is determined by the ‘place’ and the public domain rather than just the building itself”

Figure 3 Figure Ground Relationship Bibliography Design, D. (Ed.). (2011). Inside Darling Quarter (p. 2, 6, 12, 14, 18). Special T Print. Large commercial 2012 winner: Fjmt for darling quarter. (2012). Building Product News, Reed Business Information Pty Ltd. Protocol framework. (2012, April 10). Retrieved September 23, 2015. Sydney’s darling quarter receives international acclaim at prestigious asia pacific property awards. (2012). Targeted News Service Toumbourou, S. (2013, June 1). ASBEC’s Policy Platform - ASBEC. Retrieved September 23, 2015. Thompson, S. (2007). Planning Australia: An overview of urban and regional planning (Second ed., pp. 319-322). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Wheeldon, D. (2011). GBCA kicks off green building week at darling quarter precinct by lend lease. Building Product News, Reed Business Information Pty Ltd.




Han Show Theatre, designed by Mark Fisher from Stufish Entertainment Architects, is part of an urban development initiative in Wuhan, Hubei, China. The Wuhan Central Cultural District development includes this project, and the Film Culture Theme Park also created by Stufish, as well as office spaces, residential and cultural buildings, and shopping malls on a site spread over 2km along the canal, funded by the group Dalian Wanda. The building is designed to recall traditional Chinese lanterns, which originated during the Han Dynasty, and is the inspiration for the performance that takes place within. The cladding is constituted of 18,000 steel disks lit inside and out with LED lights in order to illuminate the entire building, and make exciting visuals. These are inspired by Chinese bi disks, similar to those from the Han Dynasty. While this project successfully relates to the area’s history and serves as an important step towards urban growth, it perhaps fails at relating to the surrounding buildings. Its form and scale could be considered uncomfortable compared to nearby structures and imposing to pedestrians at the street level. However, this distinction does create a landmark within Wuhan’s Cultural District. Set on East Lake, it can be seen from far off in the city. It catches the eye, and creates a more vibrant district of town. The project is located in Wuhan, which is the capital of Hubei Province in central China. It is placed along the middle of the Yangtze River, which is the third largest in the world, and is “a transportation hub and regional center of economy, technology,

education, and culture” (Liu, 2014, p.2). A study by Cheng and Masser (2002) has found that over the last three decades, rapid urbanization has brought opportunities of new urban developments. This has spurred landuse changes and rapid urban expansions (Du, 2009). Wuhan has been interested in “location leading” developments largely controlled and guided by the government, as it leads to more incremental growth. In 2004 they launched a strategy of “promoting the central region” for quick economic growth (Tan, 2014). They have therefore been pushing initiatives in sectors of real estate and housing, local industry, commercial, and service facilities. They have been making profit-oriented decisions to fill and supplement the city’s new main development areas (Du, 2009). The government often focuses more on the quantity of urbanization rather than the quality (Tan, 2014). This particular project has been funded by the Dalian Wanda Group. One of China’s richest companies, they own many properties and have funded the Wuhan Central Cultural District development. The company boasts that their projects are completed ahead of schedule, below cost, and yield above-target net profit, including this particular development which was built and opened for business within nine months (Clarke, 2014). With this in mind, the goal was perhaps to create a landmark within the city, in order to attract economic and cultural growth, especially in tourism. Dalian Wanda Group’s Vice President Tang Jun “calculates that Wanda can get 300,000 people through its doors a day, with a significant portion of them sleeping over” (Moriyasu, 2015).


Figure 4 Scale of the building compared to the human scale Simply because it is designed as a landmark does not necessarily mean that it is bad urban design. In fact, the idea of urban growth is a positive one. However, this iconic building is of such a monumental scale which can be argued, does not relate to the human scale of passing pedestrians, and can be considered imposing and uncomfortable. The lower levels of the building are composed of tall, sleek, light white columns, almost reminiscent of colonnades on ancient Chinese architecture. Yet in older precedents, such as Yellow Crane Tower, also located in Wuhan, the arcade is generally one storey tall, and as such, relates better to the human scale. Instead, these columns are three to four storeys tall, an imposing height for pedestrians on the ground plane. Similarly, it does not relate to surrounding buildings. Its squat, circular form, though striking and eyecatching, does not relate to any other building in its immediate context. Every other visible building is rectilinear in form and vertically oriented. The exception to the lack of respect for immediate context are the verticality of the columns, as well as their white colour, which is commonly seen on surrounding buildings. China is a country with many wetlands. Wuhan is known as “hundreds-of-lakes-urban” (Xu, 2010), as well as “Water City” (Du, 2009). These are apt nicknames, as the city is located at the junction of the Yangtze River and the

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Han River, contains the largest urban lake in China – Donghu Lake – and nearly 25% of the area is covered in lakes, shallow water bodies, canals, and rivers (Du, 2009). It is a well-known fact that many of China’s bodies of water are polluted. This is no secret. In fact, according to a case study of Wuhan by Du, Ottens, and Sliuzas (2009), nearly all lakes inside Wuhan’s urban core have a quality rating of V+. This is the worst pollution level and is too dirty to be touched by human skin. This is partially caused by the intensive use of water bodies and surrounding land. The vegetative cover of its river banks is limited and has decreased as a result of urban development. Du states that “at the local level, an on-site water-sensitive design approach should be advocated so as to eliminate cumulative effect by local incremental construction” (2009, p.184). This idea is echoed in the Wuhan Master Plan of 1996, where the idea of building an ecological framework based on natural resources is presented. However, this has not been subject of discourse yet due to low public awareness and support, lack of systematic consideration, as well as a lack of political will (Du, 2009). Similarly, the master plan revision in 2005 asks that land use zones around water bodies be defined, but a lag in time made adopting these measures difficult for urban planners (Du, 2009). Finally, the Urban Plan Making Regulation of 2005 and the City and Country Planning Act of 2007 encouraged major change in urban planning principles in China in order to reflect greater environmental consciousness (Du, 2009). However, the Han Show Theatre does not especially embody these environmental ideas well. It must be said that there is some reference to the site’s adjacent lake in that the iconic building’s LED lights are reflected in the water, creating a pleasing visual effect, and can be seen from across the lake. But this does nothing to actually support the urban ecosystem, because of the lack of vegetation included in the design. The very edge of the land peripheral to Donghu Lake has some vegetation, beside a concrete service area looking out onto the lake. There was an opportunity to create a beautiful, natural

Figure 1 Current Figure Ground

Figure 2 Figure Ground Before Construction

edge to the water, but it was ignored in favour of a more industrial approach. The gathering space adjacent to the street could have also utilized vegetation in its design, which has not only ecological benefit, but also aesthetic appeal, and could have set the pedestrians more at ease with a contrast in scale to the imposing structure. However, it uses minimal vegetation in its design, using instead concrete once again. Though smooth, and relating to the surrounding city, does little to improve the health, nor soften the aesthetic of the site.

Originally used simply as lamps in ancient China, monks would light these lanterns on the twelfth day of the first lunar month for Buddha. During the Eastern Han Dynasty, Emperor Liu Zhang ordered citizens and inhabitants of the imperial palace to light lanterns in order to worship Buddha like these monks. This custom developed into a grand festival and these lanterns now symbolise and celebrate prosperity, strength, and power (Travel China). This is a respectful historical gesture for the building to make. A judge praised that “the lighting of this civic theater is well integrated into the iconic building design and truly transforms it into a 21st century Chinese lantern, making it a centerpiece of the city” (TOPBM, 2015).

The redeeming feature of this building, in terms of urban design, is its reference and respect to historical context. China has a rich cultural history throughout its many dynasties. Particularly important to this project is the Han Dynasty, for which the Han Show is named. In order to respectfully reference this, the architects decided to design an iconic symbol, “to create an instantly recognisable Chinese symbol that would provide an aesthetic cladding” (Stufish, 2014). In order to do this, they derived the form from traditional Chinese lanterns. The illuminated red top portion of the building represents the lantern, while the tassels are symbolised by the slender columns on the lower levels. This is an appropriate reference to emphasize, as these lanterns originated from the Eastern Han Dynasty (25AD-250AD).

This structure also references Chinese jade bi disks, which were important from the late Neolithic period 6000 to 7000 years ago, until well into the Han Dynasty (25AD250AD) (Shu-p’ing, 2013). This is done through the cladding of the “Chinese lantern” constructed with 18,000 steel disks (Stufish, 2014). These disks originated from the human concept of the sun’s orbit in the sky, known as “Yellow Path” or “Path of Light”. They grouped twenty-eight constellations into four quadrants corresponding to rules of seasons, which developed into the iconography of “Four Divine Creatures” which was very popular imagery during the Han Dynasty


“In order to do this, they derived the form from traditional Chinese lanterns ”

Figure 3 Traditional Chinese Lantern vs. the Han Show Theatre (Shu-p’ing, 2013). This skyward ambition not only references the building’s historical context, but is also supposedly a symbol of what will be discovered during the performance within the theatre.

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Though Han Show Theatre does relate well to its historical context through the reference its form makes to its heritage, it is disrespectful to the urban planning of the city in general. It does very little to relate to the city around it, as well as the human scale. It is large and imposing, while carrying very few physical traits of the surrounding buildings. Though it is located on the water, and has a large courtyard, very little landscaping is included. Vegetation is kept at a minimum, providing an imposing aesthetic without the softening of nature. It also disrespects the body of water adjacent to the site in this way. However, it does provide a landmark recognisable from across this lake, which is to the urban centre’s advantage. In general, the architects could have done more to

use the site to their advantage. The question of whether or not a building is good architecture could be considered irrelevant if it disrespects the surrounding city, the pedestrians, and the urban ecosystem.

Bibliography Liu, Y., Wei, X., Jiao, L., & Wang, H. (2014). Relationships between Street Centrality and Land Use Intensity in Wuhan, China. J. Urban Plann. Dev. Journal of Urban Planning and Development, 05015001-05015001. Retrieved November 3, 2015, from Cheng, J., & Masser, I. (2002). Urban growth pattern modeling: A case study of Wuhan city, PR China. Landscape and Urban Planning, 199-217. Du, N., Ottens, H., & Sliuzas, R. (2009). Spatial impact of urban expansion on surface water bodies—A case study of Wuhan, China. Landscape and Urban Planning, 175-185. Tan, R., Liu, Y., Liu, Y., He, Q., Ming, L., & Tang, S. (2014). Urban growth and its determinants across the Wuhan urban agglomeration, central China. Habitat International, 268-281. Huang, H., & Wei, Y. (2013). Intra-metropolitan location of foreign direct investment in Wuhan, China: Institution, urban structure, and accessibility. Applied Geography, 78-88. Xu, K., Kong, C., Liu, G., Wu, C., Deng, H., Zhang, Y., & Zhuang, Q. (2010). Changes Of Urban Wetlands In Wuhan, China, From 1987 To 2005. Progress in Physical Geography, 34(2), 207-220. Han Show Theatre. (2014). Retrieved November 5, 2015, from the-han-show-theatre Han Show Theatre / Stufish Entertainment Architects. (2014, December 27). Retrieved November 5, 2015, from Cheng, J., & Masser, I. (n.d.). Urban growth pattern modeling: A case study of Wuhan city, PR China. Landscape and Urban Planning, 199-217. Han Show Theatre / Stufish Entertainment Architects. (2014, December 27). Retrieved September 25, 2015, from Origins. (n.d.). Retrieved September 25, 2015, from The Han Show Theatre. (n.d.). Retrieved September 25, 2015, from The Han Show Theatre by Stufish Entertainment Architects. (2015, January 5). Retrieved September 25, 2015, from The Jade Bi-Disk from China, Use, Meaning and Material in Historic and Prehistoric Times. (n.d.). Retrieved November 6, 2015, from infoE.html Shu-p’ing, T. (2013). Han Jade Bi Discs and the Significance of Bi Discs in the History of Chinese Culture. The National Palace Museum Research Quarterly, 30(3), 29-30. Clarke, C. (2014, April 12). Press Releases. Retrieved September 22, 2015, from http://www.ceibs. edu/media/archive/122504.shtml Han Show Theatre / Stufish Entertainment Architects. (2014, December 27). Retrieved September 24, 2015. Isar, Y. (2013). Creative economy report 2013: Widening local development pathways (Third and special ed., p. 69). Li, J., & Hu, H. (2014). A Conceptual Framework for Site Design of Urban Design in China. In Advanced Materials Research (pp. 866-872). MORIYASU, K. (2015, January 3). Chinese retail: Wanda’s new megamall offers rides,dives and a butler by your side- Nikkei Asian Review. Retrieved September 22, 2015, from http://asia.nikkei. com/Business/Companies/Wanda-s-new-megamall-offers-rides-dives-and-a-butler-by-yourside?page=1 The Han Show Theatre in Wuhan Ctiy, China, Honored with IALD Radiance Award. (2015, May 13). Retrieved November 6, 2015, from





Surry Hills Library is located in Sydney, Australia on Crown Street, directly opposite of Shannon Reserve. The Surry Hills Library was conceived by FJMT Architects, an Australian based firm and was completed in 2009. The new Surry Hills Library and Community Centre replaced an old and modest community center that dated back to the 1950’s. The building masters its entire 539-square-metre site and is designed in such a way that the scale of the building would be maximized. The dynamic of the area in which Surry Hills library was built is ever-changing. The neighbourhood has a distinct and unique history. Different cultural groups and businesses have infiltrated the area creating a more diversified community. There are residential apartments, terrace housing, shops, commercial and industrial premises. Sustainable urbanism, a term that applies to Surry Hills and Surry Hills library, is a response to the urban framework while independent to the functional, practical and environmental control requirements. This building declares social harmony and enhances social and functional interaction. The library has created a partnership between the community and the public and private sectors. The library and community centre conserves the community’s identity, strengthening the neighborhood and encourages its cultural diversity and distinctiveness while also considering all of Surry Hill’s historical development. Therefore, The Surry Hills library and community centre exemplifies sustainable urbanism because the

building is essentially a direct response to the urban fabric and changing dynamics of the neighbourhood. Surry Hills is an inner-city neighbourhood of the city of Sydney, Australia. The land use of the area is primarily residential and industrial. Historically, Surry Hills was home to a lot of crime and immorality. It housed people of high rankings and also sheltered the very poor. Most, if not all of the residential housing of the Surry Hills community is nearly 100 years old. One street could house a variety of homes and residences for the people of Surry Hills, then traveling to the next street would be crammed with workshops, warehouses and factories producing goods of a wide variety. Therefore, “Today the streetscape of Surry Hills reflects these variant, often conflicting notions of what locale best accommodated.” (Keating, 1992, p6). Surry Hills started off as a “barren expanse of sand, swamp and scrubby heath” ( Keating, 1992, p6) Until Captain Joseph Foveaux was granted 105 acres of land. From then on Surry Hills slowly started expanding and emerging into what Surry Hills is known as today. By 1890’s the area was largely built out and it was apparent that Surry Hills at this time was in rapid and uncontrolled urban development. This development happened because the local and colonial governments possessed neither the legislative or political power to control and enforce orderly development over Surry Hills. Therefore, throughout this period, power of private


idea and practice of pattern planning or profit planning. Pattern planning allows the people to create and sustain culture, creates social and functional interaction for the people and gives the community identity, thus, Surry Hills can be categorized as sustainable urbanism.

Figure 1 black figure ground with Library and community centre on it. Grey showing without. These images demonstrate that streets and buildings remain the same today

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property remained unchallenged. Developers and owners of land had a remarkable degree of control over their land and the process of urban development, land use and public amenity. The people of Surry Hills “had free hand to build what they liked, where they lliked regardless of drainage patterns, street alignment, and block size, housing quality or public health. It was profit not planning that built Surry Hills” (Keating, 1992, p6) Therefore, the city in which Surry Hills Public Library lies, is part of an intriguing urban fabric that grew and formed through the people. Surry Hills exemplifies the

However, “the phenomenal rate of growth was accompanied by a corresponding degradation of the people’s quality of life as the population increases far outstripped the provision of roads, drainage, and sewerage and water facilities.”(Keating, 1992, p6) With these closer settlements, the conditions became even unhealthier for the people living in these areas. The local gentry and financially secure people moved out to a more hygienic and healthy areas. This left Surry Hills abandoned to the working classes and the poor. By the century’s end, the reputation of Surry Hills was nothing more than a community for slum housing, crime and immorality. The consistent and rapid growth of Surry Hills was moving at a pace that was in turn, not able to be maintained. Eventually, these housing units or slums had to be torn down, due to the fact that they were becoming more unsanitary and unhealthy. The Surry Hills Library and community centre took into account the extensive history of Surry Hills and the building has declared that it shall become sustainable and will take into account all political, economic, environmental and cultural aspects of Surry Hills to create a cohesive building, a building that would possess longevity within the community and enhance the urban fabric. Furthermore, the Surry Hills Library and community centre cannot be classified as a single typology. It is a library, community centre, a childcare centre and a congregational centre for meetings. Accordingly, the decision to make the building more than one typology demonstrates a direct reflection of Surry Hills and its history. When the building was being designed by FJMT, decisions had to be made about the scale, site and architectural features of the

and private sectors between the indoor area of the building and the outdoor area. It also creates social and functional interaction with the street, further proving that Surry Hills library and community centre is a practice of sustainable urbanism.


In conclusion, Surry Hills Public Library and Community Centre is a building that is greatly influenced by sustainable urbanism. This because the building is extremely conscious of Surry Hills’s history which developed the programming of the building, as well as the architectural decision and choice of site made within and outside the building. Surry Hills began as a vast expanse of land that concluded to have no potential towards the development of the already growing city of Sydney. However when the land that Surry Hills lies upon was bought, the potential for the land started to change. The people of Surry Hills had the advantage to build anything on the land they possessed. Soon enough the rapid and urban growth was advancing, advancing at a pace that was unlikely to be maintained by the people living in the city. This created slum areas and a place where it became unlivable and eventually many buildings had



building. The architectural scale and the choice of site is best for this particular building. Looking back at the history of Surry Hills a fear for urban architecture in inner-city areas has risen because of the slums that were a result of the overdevelopment of urban architecture. Anything greater than two storey’s in inner city areas is considered “high density”. The library exceeds this scale completely, and utilizes every “sleight-of-hand” to inflate its scale. Surry Hills Library is located on Crown Street opposite of Shannon Reserve, which houses weekly markets. Even though the two-storey rule applies, the scale and structure of Crown street can easily accommodate for a building, such as Surry Hills Library.(Fortmeyr,2012) The new community centre “terminates an established street-wall condition Its entry is made as a continuation of the row and formed from polished black concrete that makes it recede into shadow, allowing the primary formal element of the building, a refined timber box, to hover tantalizing at the corner” ( Harding,2010 , p43). Furthermore, the architecture and architectural decisions , designed by the architects, lends itself to Surry Hills to establish sustainable urbanism. The architecture of this community centre and library communicates itself to the community of Surry Hills by utilizing extensive glazing on various facades on the building. “The expansive glass facade of the finely articulated cube-like form reveals the content of the architecture yet also acts as a device to provide comfort and air for users through a clever growing system of environmental controls.” (Watson & Martyn, p118) This allows the spaces on the inside of the building to open itself to the surrounding public/outdoor spaces. This blurs the boundaries between the indoors and outdoors allowing there to be a stronger connection with the urban fabric of Surry Hills. Furthermore, it creates a comfortable and environmental area for the people of Surry Hills to congregate within. (Kling & Kruger, 2013,p17) Decisively, the architectural decisions of site, features and scale create a partnership between the public



Figure 2 Closer view of the libary and its relationship to the street and other parts of Surry Hills


“Accordingly, the decision to make the building more than one typology demonstrates a direct reflection of Surry Hills and its history.”

Childcare centre Office/meeting areas Library Circulation

Figure 3 Section of building to show the different typologies

to be torn down. Surry Hills Public Library is a direct response to this history. The building understood that the city at one point practiced pattern planning, therefore the building is not designed in accordance to a master plan or a larger idea, but is closely related and grounded to the streets and community that directly surround it. This building is a reaction of the people’s culture and past.

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In addition, Surry Hills Library and Community centre strives to sustain itself by relating to the people through all the architectural decisions. In summary, Surry Hills Library is a complete and coherent

building that has strived and achieved the method of sustainable urbanism by identifying Surry Hills’ history and culture and directly applying that to the architecture.

Bibliography Fortmeyr,R.(2012,May 20). Case Study: Surry Hills Library. Retrieved September 10th, 2015 from asp ( article written about the sustainable features of my chosen building) Harding, Laura. (2010). Architecture Australia. Surry Hills Public Library.43. King,B & Kruger,T.(2013) Signage:Spatial Orientation. Surry Hills Library and Community Centre, 17-18. Keating, Christopher. (1992). Surry Hills, 6-7. Watson, Fleur., Hook, Martyn. (2010). FRANCIS JONES MOREHEN THORP (FJMT), 118-125




“Za” meaning the energetic sound of a sweeping movement (SFX Translations, 2015) is an appropriate description of the public theatre’s relation to Tokyo’s urban planning and surrounding context. The Za-Koenji Public Theatre is a dynamic and energetic building designed by famous Japanese architect Toyo Ito (Futagawa, 2009, p. 50). Its theatrical form and unorthodox material selection makes the building a certain tourist attraction (Sumner and Pollock, 2010, p. 130). Although astonishing, the fabric-like form of the building does not blend with the buildings around it, but drapes over them without considering the urban fabric. Within its site, the building merely “sweeps” over any relationships to the surrounding public and the context. In many aspects of the introverted design, the theatre pulls away from its target audience it is supposed to entertain. Claimed as a new symbol of Koenji by the designers (Futagawa, 2009, p. 50), the Za-Koenji Public Theatre lacks sensitivity to its context and represents a missed opportunity to create a human environment that invites the small community in. To analyze the appropriateness of the urban design, the essay will look into the building from the macro scale of the site, to the micro scale of the building. At a macro scale, the urban landscape of Japan iDue to Japan’s two hundred year isolation from outside influence the urban landscape of Japan is vastly different from the Western Hemisphere (Hein, 2010, p. 450). At the macro scale, familiar gridlines creating axial roads and rectilinear lots are foreign to the city of Tokyo. Instead, tinier vessel roads

branch off the main roads through the city, creating a patchwork of varied sized and shaped blocks. The planning of Tokyo is reminiscent of pattern planning—a laissez-faire approach where there are only loose zoning by-laws and relaxed building regulations. The approach of pattern planning greatly influences the current approach of Tokyo planning; the idea of individual developments being constructed in anyway, but regulated only by the objectives and goals of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Bureau of Urban Development (Planning Tokyo’s Urban Development, 2015, p. 1), not by by-laws nor regulations. The particular area before and after the development must be analyzed before narrowing the focus to the architectural building. The figure ground devoid of the theatre, highlights a significant modern and historic characteristic of Tokyo’s urban planning. The small parcels of lands seen presently were similar to those of the past. Historically, the land lots were divided by the Shogunal government system that created a diversity of lot divisions and building outlines. Even after the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 which destroyed much of the city, the unique lot divisions remains the same today. Although possible, the government did not desire to implement an urban overhaul of the city, and instead, only made small land readjustments so people could start building the city again (Hein, 2010, p. 479). This significance event exemplifies the respectful approach of Tokyo’s urban planners: the practicality of the urban design is more important than the aesthetics (Hein, 2010, p. 479). The idea of implementing


points (Hein, 2010, p. 454). The Za-Koenji Public Theatre meets this desire, as there are two lanes providing access to the building, one east of the building leading to its exterior bicycle parking, and North of the building. An effort is made to keep this access path for both the theatre and adjacent buildings. While there are some disparities with the lot size of the theatre, the public theatre still respects some of early Tokyo planning desires.

Figure 1 Figure ground showing before and after development. a master plan with a focused design approach was not influential, even rejected, within the city landscape. Thus, small-scale land ownership of these parcels is pre-dominant in Tokyo, exemplified by the many tiny buildings found in Japan. This shows a contrasting and unique condition as the small parcels of lands owned by different owners usually represents many limitations in Tokyo developments (Hein, 2010, p. 479). The plot of land that the building rests on is peculiar to other development lots in Tokyo. The addition of the theatre to the site represents an interesting condition. The theatre’s property is approximately 6x as large as the surrounding buildings, which could have only been done by a collaboration of the landowners. In this way, the theatre is a rare development in terms of the relationship between the current and historical planning of the city. Although different in terms of the figure ground analysis, the theatre aligns well with the ideal desired by early Tokyo planners. It was desired that its small and deep lots would have multiple alleyways weaving through the lots so buildings could have multiple access

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As previously stated, the Tokyo’s Bureau of Urban Development has lenient policies towards zoning and building regulations, however, there are specific objectives the Bureau want achieve. Therefore, the suitability of the building within the urban context will be analyzed on a micro scale based off the Bureau’s objectives. One of the primary goals of the planning Bureau is: “[the] [r]egeneration of beautiful urban space surrounded by lush greenery and waterfront landscape” (Planning Tokyo’s Urban Development, 2015, p. 1). In this case, the building frontage could be considered as urban space as the building is pushed back from the street. The space has positive public elements such as benches for seating and trees for shade. However, all these elements are interrupted by the parking spaces in front of the building, thus the positive elements are pushed to the side of the building making them ineffective. In addition the bench is made of a hard concrete and are sloped, to the mimic the aesthetic of the building. The furniture lacks an ergonomic design as its hard surface and slope make it an undesirable place to sit. Furthermore, the sparse greenery provided can barely provide lush greenery for the urban space desired by the Bureau. The public café instead of the theatre could also be categorized as public space. It is addressed positively in writings on the building (Sumner and Pollock, 2010, p. 130), but in reality without transparency to the façade of the theatre, the café is hidden to the public. Thus, the public plaza fails to make a suitable and desirable environment for citizens to use, which would be valuable for the schools, shops, and residents nearby (Sumner and Pollock, 2010, p. 130). On another note, the

Another objective set by the Bureau is “. . . the Bureau will promote urban planning that will strengthen the city’s international competitiveness and heighten its dynamism and appeal . . . ” (Planning Tokyo’s Urban Development, 2015, p. 1). The theatre’s unique design establishes the building’s international presence, achieving the Bureau’s desire. The building’s steel cladding and dynamic curvilinear shape eludes a futuristic style found in recent projects in Tokyo, rising to Tokyo’s international architectural competitiveness. As claimed by the famous designers themselves, the theatre “creates a new symbol in the urban environment” (Futagawa, 2009, p. 50). However, there is an important aspect of the site forgotten. Although a new symbol, there is no reference to what was previously standing in the space. Notably, the new modern building replaced the original Koenji Hall: a traditional Japanese theatre house (Gregory, 2009, p. 75). The new theatre building proposes the opposite concept of a traditional Japanese theatre house as it does not utilize or celebrate wood as the structure, and there is little transparency from the interior to the exterior of the building, to name a few characteristics. The building does not only override its historical concept, but it also drapes over its surroundings. The theatre’s tent-shaped roof intends to create

sensitivity to the residential buildings beside it by sloping down towards the residential buildings (Sumner and Pollock, 2010, p. 130), much like a setback. However, even with the setbacks implemented by Tokyo, the view of the residential building immediately East of the building is blocked by the structure. `` The idea presented on the lack of public relationship and context of the building becomes more severe when compared to the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre designed by Yoshinobu Ashihara. In contrast, the theatre makes clear connections to the public, the context and historical typology of the Japanese theatre. The theatre’s geometry angles towards the public street inviting the public into its interiors. The entrance is also easily seen, defined by the canopy and framing columns in the centre of the front façade. The building’s façade also offers transparency to the public, creating a connection from the interior to the exterior. The glazed façade also relates to the transparent buildings within its context. Lastly, the structure holding the fully glazed entrance of the building relates back to the traditional



teritary access

inwardness of the building’s design does not make it physically or visually accessible for the public. Unlike the surrounding buildings, the street frontage is not kept and the building is recessed with the front entrance even hidden to the side. Although there are 230 round circular windows (Sumner and Pollock, 2010, p. 130), perforating the façade, there is still an opaque elevation that the public cannot connect with. What is claimed to be a “publicly accessible accommodation” (Gregory, 2009, p. 74), is not inherently accessible at all. The cultural theatre that is “targeted to local audiences” (Sumner and Pollock, 2010, p. 130) pulls itself away from the locals. The building’s interaction is limited to only the intended audience using the space, not residents who may enjoy the urban space in their free time.

secondary access

Figure 2 Site plan showing the property boundaries and access routes.


“What the theatre achieves in attractiveness and disaster-capability, it fails immensely as a building within the urban fabric. ”

Figure 3 Perspective of building frontage showing the limited public space in the front plaza, and the sparse transparency of the façade. Japanese theatre house. Although not made with wood, the extensive steel structure used to hold the glass makes reference to the many wood members made to support the traditional theatre house. Overall, the way the Za-Koenji Public Theatre relates to its site is similar to the idea that the city is subordinate to architecture. Quite literally like the Bilbao Effect, the attractive tourist building clearly stands out as an object within the urban fabric. However, the arguments presented are being described by a Western perspective of urban design. Most buildings in the West seem to have a homogeneous aesthetic when looking at urban design because they are regulated by stricter building codes and zoning by-laws. However,

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the approach Tokyo is and has been taking to their urban design is instinctively different from the West. Because of this, the city of Tokyo has even been accredited as a model metropolitan city. It may be the case that the Za-Koenji Public Theatre is the beginning of Koolhaas’s “the city of the captive globe” (Riley, 2010, p.122) where vastly different architectural forms and designs co-exists.been accredited as a model metropolitan city. It may be the case that the Za-Koenji Public Theatre is the beginning of Koolhaas’s “the city of the captive globe” (Riley, 2010, p.122) where vastly different architectural forms and designs coexists.

Figure 4 Perspective view of the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre showing the large public space in the open plaza and large amounts of transparency of the façade. Because of this, the city of Tokyo has even been accredited as a model metropolitan city. It may be the case that the Za-Koenji Public Theatre is the beginning of Koolhaas’s “the city of the captive globe” (Riley, 2010, p.122) where vastly different architectural forms and designs co-exists.been accredited as a model

metropolitan city. It may be the case that the Za-Koenji Public Theatre is the beginning of Koolhaas’s “the city of the captive globe” (Riley, 2010, p.122) where vastly different architectural forms and designs co-exists.

Bibliography Futagawa, Y. (2009). GA document 107. Tokyo: A.D.A. EDITA. Gregory, R. (2009). 046: Za-koenji theatre. London: Emap Limited, 74-79. Hein, C. (2010). Shaping tokyo: Land development and planning practice in the early modern japanese metropolis. Journal of Urban History, 36(4), 447-484. Martin, I. (2014). My place: Koenji, Tokyo. Teaching Geography, 39(1), 34. Planning Tokyo’s Urban Development. (2015). Retrieved September 23, 2015. SFX Translations: Sa. (2015). Retrieved September 23, 2015. Sumner, Y., & Pollock, N. (2010). New architecture in Japan. London: Merrell. Riley, T. (2002). The changing of the avant-garde: Visionary architectural drawings from the Howard Gilman collection : Exposition, New York, Museum of Modern Art, 24 oct. 2002 - 6 janv. 2003 (p. 122). New-York: The Museum of Modern Art. Uffelen, C. (2010). Performance architecture design. Salenstein: Braun.




When Beijing was created, its layout was based on a dense network of perpendicular streets, regulated by the Central Axis, forming an orderly set of rectangular blocks. The layout consisted of two axes, connected in the center at the Forbidden City. During the post-Imperial period, a new order took form from the 1950s plan; a system of concentric roads were arranged around the Forbidden City. Between 1992 and 2010, a regulating plan was conceived regarding the conservation of the historic center. The system of growth articulated by the sequence of Ring Roads was approved, directing the majority of investments, mostly private, into the city’s outskirts. This was done with the objective of overcoming poverty, owing to unfavorable economic and social conditions. Hence, over the past fifteen years, Beijing has undergone exceptional change; “a change more dramatic and profound than ever before” (Greco and Santoro, 2008, p.20). Contemporary skyscrapers and architectural forms are slowly surrounding the historic city center. Steel and glass structures, and new constructions “reminiscent of distant metropolises, highways, viaducts and sports facilities have given Beijing a new face” (Greco and Santoro, 2008, p.20). In that context, works were undertaken for the construction of the new “Central Business District” (CBD), near the Third Ring Road, upon the central east-west axis. The site’s vocation is summed up in the slogan “the place where China meets the World” (Greco and Santoro, 2008, p.120). The zone that would accommodate large international

companies’ offices, signifying the presence of a new urban center, was approved. The creation of the CBD aimed to facilitate investments by large international companies and to allow the Municipality to make more interchange with the countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The area now, with the increase in the development of skyscrapers, represents one of the major centers of commercial exchange between China and the rest of the world. It is an evident symbol of the cohabitation of the capitalist and socialist systems when contrasted directly with the Forbidden City.

Figure 1 Figure-ground showing site prior to development


The CCTV building frames, encompasses and casts shadows upon the public spaces in the TVCC and the Media Park next door.

Figure 2 Figure-ground showing site post Development The site now hosts, among other luxurious residential and commercial complexes, the Central Chinese Television’s main headquarters. The headquarters for Chinese television is located at the Third Ring Road and Chao Yang Road. It is composed of three buildings: the Central Chinese Television (CCTV), the Television Cultural Centre (TVCC), and the Media Park. As an object, the CCTV building appears as a huge three-dimensional arch, simple in geometry but at the same time innovative and daring. “It’s something that’s not really a tower, but three-dimensional, so it defines urban space” (Mattern, 2008, p.882). The CCTV building not only has to bear the load of serving as an architectural icon within the urban context, but it also has a cetain responsibilities to the state, the market, the Chinese people and the global public. The exterior of the building shows no sense of scale to the passerby. The façade gives no indication of where floors begin and end. The CCTV building questions the future of density in cities, and the “slavish admiration of skyscrapers with a single method of circulation- up and down” (Arup, 2008, p.55).

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The Media Park, covering 25,600 square metres in the southeast zone of the lot, is a man-made park composed of green spaces and open-air, interactive entertainment structures, enabling a new boundary for communication in close relation to the urban context. It is intended to offer a “soft landscape” for outdoor broadcasting and public events. A two-story, ring-shaped service building is also located on the site. The latter holds the central energy for CCTV and TVCC, parking for CCTV vehicles, and guards’ dormitories. The landscape design for the CCTV and TVCC site in Beijing includes circulation, green roofs, gardens, street edges, semi-public plazas and entrance areas and is based on old etchings of Roman cities mapped by Piranesi. Its scale and complex organization reflect the urban fabric of ancient parts of Beijing and complements the clear character of the new buildings. The Piranesi drawings were converted into a pixelated

Figure 3 Piranesi Pixel

system, so that the landscape design could be mapped, instructed, executed, organized and maintained in an easier way. The Pixel system introduces the possibility for a flexible form of landscaping, in which circular elements act as planters, water features, lighting systems, barriers and way-finding tools. This landscape strategy creates gardens, ‘rooms’ and ‘streets’ providing a background and scenography for outdoor filming and public events. For now, as we establish the spatial context for the CCTV building, it is important to note that the city itself — Beijing’s physical space — has historically functioned as a medium. Since Beijing has experienced rapid growth in the mid-20th century, the issue of contextualism, referring to how a design speaks to its surroundings, has created heated debates. However, developers wondered which methodology was the best: to preserve the city’s architectural heritage through a “faithful and literal” adoption of historical architectural characteristics, such as the curvilinear roof, clay tiles, brick walls with half-exposed wooden columns, etc.; or to follow Soviet advice and reject that “feudal” historical style in favor of more modern, socialist designs, or whether to find a compromise, one “capturing the essence” of the local context and national style, while also reflecting “the spirit of contemporary society” (Mattern, 2008, p.874-875). Like American cities, China aims to be urbanized as a rich and modern city. Beijing has become a city where “architecture is a driver of economic growth and urban identity and where urban regeneration provides significant opportunities for ambitious designers” (Arup, 2008, p.52). Within the CBD, 300 new towers will rise in the next decade. “Asia has adopted the skyscraper as the symbol of its modernity,” critic Hou Hanru (2004). However, any of these buildings could have been built anywhere else. Beijing is becoming a realization of the most superficial aspects of a contemporary design culture obsessed with the gesture and the icon, with the intelligence and difficulty of its own structure. This is architecture as stage

set for the Olympics, for a system determined to demonstrate its modernity and its emerging economic and cultural power. The CCTV headquarters which was constructed before the Olympics, which was hosted in China at that time, was rushed to be completed. Workers hurried to finish the façade of the CCTV building before the start of the Olympics. Hence, when its grandeur was being broadcast throughout the world, it acted as an iconic building, representing China’s ability to design visionary projects. It is clear that these types of buildings are constructed to show off the richness and the power of the country. Radical architecture has let itself be used for spectacle and propaganda. Iwan Baan and Frank Palmer, architectural photographers of large-scale construction, record the rapid construction of the project and made people aware of the urban context of Beijing, in terms of its enormity in scale and its recent modernization. Since modernism and post-modernism, the CCTV building is considered to be one of the most far-sighted project. It redefines the meaning of tall building in architecture, not just in a formal way but, more importantly, in a social, cultural and technological way. The architect have meticulously thought on the way the programs have been laid out in the building, in terms of their functions, their organization and the spatial circulation in between them, in order to enable the opportunity of changing the society and urbanism. The CCTV complex, like the programs it houses and the urban and national contexts within which it belongs to, expresses a tense relationship between capitalist and socialist values: It is both “mouthpiece and moneyspinner, both propaganda and commerce, both transparency and opacity, both chauvinism and internationalism” (Mattern, 2008. p.901). It may not be an embracing, accountable and accessible structure, as presented by the architects, but in its contradiction, it functions well as China’s state-controlled television and perfectly represents it.


“It’s something that’s not really a tower, but three-dimensional, so it defines urban space”

Figure 4 Beijin’s Skyline with CCTV Headquarters Tower Bibliography

Greco, C., & Santoro, C. (2008). Beijing The New City. Milano: Skira Editore S.p.A. Mattern, S. (2008). Broadcasting Space: China Central Television’s New Headquarters. International Journal of Communication 2, 869-908. Retrieved September 22, 2015. Dawson, L. (2005). OMA Office for Metropolitan Architecture, CCTV Central Chinese Headquarters, Beijing. In China’s New Dawn: An Architectural transformation (pp. 56- 59). New York: Prestel. Sit, V. (1995). Beijing: The Nature and Planning of a Chinese Capital City. Toronto: Jon Wiley & Son. Ding, C., & Song, Y. (2007). Urbanization in China: Critical issues in an era of rapid growth. Cambridge: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Solutions for a modern city: Arup in Beijing. (2008). London: Black Dog Publishing.

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Urban design is the collaboration of architecture, planning and landscaping, in order to create positive human environments through the planning and design of buildings within a complex urban setting. Situated in Shanghai, the Jing An Kerry Centre is a large-scale development that has been carefully designed by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates (KPF) to create a prosperous urban setting within the competitive global city. The Jing An Kerry Centre exhibits the successful integration of multi-use complexes into the metropolitan and demonstrates the role that multi-use complexes play in supporting a dense and dynamic district. KPF understands the existing context of the site, and strategically plays with the scales of buildings, creates meaningful porosity, and intelligently plans for transit hubs in order to provide a sustainable urban design that upkeeps the goals of the greater Shanghai city. The firm utilizes principles of new urbanism in order to provide a liveable and sustainable urban environment. This mixed-use development has a gross floor area of 450, 000 square metres, with a metre mall, office tower, hotel, and apartment block. This essay will examine the incorporation of multiuse complexes in the design of megacities through the Jing An Kerry Centre and explore how planning and architecture can add to, elaborate on and enrich a city’s quality of life. As Jan Gehl once stated “First life, then spaces, then buildings - the other way around never works” (Gehl, 1978). KPF’s design process of the Jing An Kerry Centre follows Gehl’s belief. The beginning of good urban planning is to first understand the lifestyle of the popu-

lation, the challenges that need to be faced, the issues that need to be addressed and the goals of the city that need to be reached. Within the last century, Shanghai has experienced multiple eras of urbanization, transforming the city into the world class metropolitan it is today. With a population of over twenty-four million, the city has become the third greatest megacity in the world. This has made urban density, “the concentration of built area, rate of occupancy and intensity of user activity” (Klemperer, 2014), a major challenge faced by urban designers of Shanghai today. Positive social interaction is also highly important in such a dense city. However, as a global financial center, the citizens of Shanghai live a fast paced lifestyle that often revolves around work and home. Citizens usually spend their time at work and return home; leaving little time for social interaction that poses a major concern to the social development of the city. The space and the location of the site is also carefully considered by KPF. Bordered by Nanjing Rd, Changde Rd, Tongren Rd and the Yan’an Freeway, the site used to be a large superblock of 800 by 1000 feet consisting of a ship container yard, scattered low-rise housing and the first Kerry Centre Tower in the northeast corner. This was problematic due to its great lack of order and consistency, its poor transportation infrastructure, and its inefficient use of land. Moreover, Nanjing Road is known as China’s busiest shopping street which allows for excellent exposure to pedestrian flow. Kerry Properties, the developer, and KPF, the architectural firm, noticed the great potential of this site and used it to resolve prevailing problems



Figure 1 Graduated Linkage and improve the city. After analysis of the life and the space within the Jing An District, KPF decided to revitalize this site by implementing a mixed-use complex that would allow for proximity, “live-work-play” environment that would be highly beneficial to city, the site and its people. Various new urbanist principles that have been applied to the Jing An Kerry Centre contributed to the success of this award-winning complex. Ideals like incorporating mixed-use, increasing density, assuring quality architecture and urban design, creating walkability, providing connectivity, improving quality of life and implementing sustainability have allowed the centre to be integrated appropriately into the existing urban fabric. Multi-use districts in downtown districts allow for high efficiency of land use. Tall buildings incorporated into the mixed-use complexes allow for high ratios of usable floor area to land area which is essential to planning of such dense cities. However, these complexes must be carefully and strategically planned in or-

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hotel function facility retail



hotel/ function facility retail/ parking TOWER 3

Figure 2 Mixed-Use and Density

gradual scale


der to avoid the major consequences that may arise such as “overcrowding of ground plane, lack of diversity of use and a scarcity of public space and a less than optimal access to light and air” (Kemplerer, 2014). The Jing An Kerry Centre offers office buildings to accommodate many workers within the business hub, hotels to accommodate for tourist, a residential tower to house inhabitants. All these towers are tied together using a public realm packed with a variety of retail stores and restaurants to allow for economic and social development. Open gathering spaces throughout the complex inspires community interactivity. The mixing of uses allows for offices and residences to have close proximity to social gathering, entertainment, and relaxation. Notably, “intricate minglings of different uses in cities are not a form of chaos. On the contrary, they represent a complex and highly developed form of order” (Jacobs, 1961). Like Jane Jacobs states, the mixing of uses through the incorporation of verticality and quality public realms allow for a sophisticated form of planning that allows for density in an orderly manner.

street level

Quality architecture and urban design considers coherent integration into the existing building fabric and understands the human scale. The Jing An Kerry Centre uses a graduated scale in order to create incremental heights that would knit together the new and old urban fabric. The “graduated linkage” as discussed by the designer, Klemperer, creates a visual balance allowing for the ground level to be visually connected with the rest of the Shanghai skyline. Buildings within immediate proximity of the public realm consists of low rise podiums to allow for human comfort at the ground level. Buildings are then stepped at various heights before becoming tall skyscrapers. This diversity of scale also allows for a hierarchy of spaces and respect for heritage. Mao Tse Tung’s small shop-house, where he living in the early 1920’s, is situated in the middle of the site giving the area a distinctive heritage. The historical site, is thoughtfully made the centre piece of the complex and complemented with a large exterior public space in order to allow for the continuous admiration of its heritage. When designing, the short two storey house acts as the smallest scale buildings and as one travels away from the centre, the buildings gradually get taller to create a respectful and comfortable change in building scale throughout the site. The development was design by treating the site as a “field containing indelible paths and immovable found objects” which supported the “goal of recalling a historic fabric which had itself originally emerged out of a process of serendipitous planning and construction” (Klemperer, 2014). Grid systems are utilized throughout the Jing An District. The rectilinear superblock gave opportunity to employ the grid in a micro and macro scale to create a sense order and a motif throughout the complex. The site is ordered in a variation of the grid plan, and the modular frequency of the grid is then used on the facades of the building to give architectural expression. The grid system allows for a neat intersection of the neighbouring buildings to give connectivity and continuity throughout

the whole complex. The Jing An Kerry Centre weaves into the existing urban fabric through acknowledgement of the existing site by creating visual relationships with existing buildings, building at the human scale, recognizing heritage and the employing the grid as a planning and architectural expression. Porosity within the complex allows for relief from the feeling of compactness on the site and allows for the creation open public spaces. Following the urbanism goals of creating a pedestrian friendly, walkable city, porosity allows for improved circulation and access. At the centre of the development, a variety of programmatic functions such as housing, transit, retail and offices all tied together with a pedestrian friendly plaza. This allows for positive social interaction is such a high frequency complex. Spatial continuity of the surrounding urban fabric is supported through the integration many internal spaces and open air walkways that become public open space and paths for circulation throughout the complex. Greenery and softscapes are also incorporated

Figure 3 Ground Plane Circulation/Porosity


“ KPF understands the existing context of the site, and strategically plays with the scales of buildings, creates meaningful porosity, and invigorating public realm

outdoor public gathering space

heritage conservation (Mao’s House) natural pedestrian friendly softscapes circulation

Figure 4 Urban Design Strategies in the large gathering spaces and along circulation paths within the development to contrast the hard masses and allow for a pleasant social space. Porosity allows for the breakdown of large masses, creation of interactive gathering spaces and improves circulatory pattern for users. “Connection to transport networks and even adjacency to major transport hubs” (Arup, 2014) is an important principle to urban design. The Jing An Kerry Centre places a great deal of working and living quarters in the vertical towers of the development due to the sites proximity to a variety of transport hubs. Major streets bound the block allowing for surface transit options and most important, its connection to the Jing’An Temple subway station makes it a prime location and convenience to many workers and travellers in the hotel

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towers. The proximity to these transportation alternatives allows the site to “maximize access and mobility throughout the region while reducing dependence upon the automobile” (Charter of The New Urbanism, 2014), which allows for the reduction of carbon footprint. The programmatic diversity of the mixeduse development, conservation of the city’s heritage structures, visual connectivity of the urban fabric through graduated scaled buildings, enablement of a more walkable city, creation of open public spaces and improvement of transportation infrastructure are all urban design principles used to achieve a more sustainable and liveable city. Goals of the Shanghai Master Plan in from 2001-2020 consists of: serving china and opening up to the world, emphasizing the joint progress of the urban

intelligently plans hubs in order to provide a sustainable urban design that upkeeps the goals of the greater Shanghai city. ” area for an enhanced overall competitiveness, unified developments, being people-centered and improving the environment. The complex benefits the country of China and opens up to the world by creating an exciting tourist attraction that invites, accommodates and impresses its visitors. The multi-use complex supports a live, work and play environment that is supportive both economic and social growth, hence enhancing the cities overall competitiveness. The development creates unity within its own complex and harmoniously connects with the rest of the district and Shanghai skyline. Its public realm is design to respect the people centered value. It accessibility to public transit and its LEED certifications make it environmentally sustainable. Kohn Pederson Fox As-

sociates’ urban design successfully combines planning, architecture and landscaping in order to create a highly sustainable development that will allow continuous economic and social improvements to the city of Shanghai.

Figure 5 Figure - Ground (Before & After)

Bibliography Carmona, M. (2009). Planning through projects: Moving from master planning to strategic plan ning : 30 cities (pp. 446-458). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Techne Press. Congress for the New Urbanism. (2015). The Charter of the New Urbanism | CNU. Douay, Nicolas. (2014, February 6). Shanghai: Urban Planning Styles in Evolution. Gehl, J. (1978). Life between buildings using public space. Washington, DC: Island Press. Jacobs, J. (1961). The death and life of great American cities. Vintage. Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. (2015). Jing An Kerry Centre. Shanghaiing the future: A de-tour of the Shanghai urban planning Exhibition Hall. Public culture, 20(2), 307-320. Lobo, D. (2015, June 17). Jing An Kerry Centre - 2015 Global Awards for Excellence Finalist - Urban Land Institute. Shanghai Ji Xiang Properties Co., Ltd. (2014). Jingan Kerry Centre. Von Klemperer, James. (2014). Urban Density ­and the Porous High-Rise: The Integration of the Tall Building in the City. Yusuf, S. and We, W.P. (2002) “Pathways to a world city: Shanghai rising in an era of globalisation” Urban Studies, 39(7), 1213-1240. Shane, D. (2011). The Megacity/Metacity. In Urban design since 1945: A global perspective (pp. 254-283). Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley.


America In the 19th century, with the increasing population and formed settlements, the Americas testify the rise of new ideas regarding architecture and public interaction within urban planning. Impactful movements, such as the garden city movement, introduced new ways of planning and building cities to the world. As new ways of planning arose, oppositions took place that approached improving cities by alternative means. Later, one of the most powerful committees for urban planning came together as CIAM. Led by Le Corbusier, this group introduced a manifestation regarding high density living, dwelling, working and transportation within the Athens Charter. As Modernism brought forth a number of housing solutions with hopes of maintaining healthy living conditions, such sites have been subject to issues of crime, poverty and density. In response to the concerns with new urbanism, cities have learned from unsuccessful predecessors by planning more community oriented sites. Certainly, public spaces have become crucial within the urban fabric as well, reinforcing the importance of social interaction and nature. While the world faced destructive war times, the ideas of urban planning were tested and improved in North America. As illustrated in the analysis, Chicago, New York City and Toronto housed a number of projects that were built with these ideologies in mind. As with Detroit and Colombia, some of the problems led to unsuccessful representations of these ideologies. A reaction to some problems included the application of more open public spaces; architectural and functional gestures in a buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s design enabled a connection with the street from the ground plane. Over time, city planning evolved from following guidelines presented by CIAM to becoming more community oriented designs that served the public. Extending the idea of connecting buildings to its surroundings, some nations have strived toward creating their own cultural identities through the creation of modern landmarks to identify and enhance a cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s individuality. In conclusion, through the examination of different precedents one is able to see that the Americas have become great grounds for housing different approaches to these ideologies as well as towards architecture and urban planning. Sometimes the line between good architecture and good urban design becomes blurred; however, a successful urban design will always be about the integration and contribution to the community.

Cathedral De Brasilia

Marina City

Monadnock Building

Michael Lee Chin Crystal

Toronto Dominion Centre

Lafayette Park

Toronto Community Housing, Block 32

Arena Do Morro

Halifax Central Library

Flatiron Building

Toronto City Hall

Mossannen Mozaffary Parastoo

Habitat 67 Expo

Lafayette Park

Ford Foundation Building

São Paulo Museum of Art

Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts

1111 Lincoln Road

One World Trade Centre

Wychwood Barns

The Chrysler Building

Parque Biblioteca España

Regent Park North

Tassafaronga Village

La Grande Bibliothèque

41 Cooper Square

Cineteca Nacional S. XXI

Concord Pacific Place

Toronto City Hall

West Queen West

Regent Park Revitilization

Conjunto Urbano Nonoalco Tlatelolco

Brijraj, Jason

Burrows, Emrik

Carvalheiro, Luis Chan, Jonathon

Place Ville Marie Chen, Simon Choi, Ye

Chong, Lucas Drab, Dan

Guay, Jean-Paul

Guzman, Andres Herrera, Laura

Hewitt Stephen

Jimenez Gregorio

Lai, Pui Ju Kelly Lai, Timothy

Luong, David

Nong, Robin

Persad, Sarah

Peterson-Hui Douglas

Phagoo, Tirisha Amelia Pham, Jennifer Pin, Chris

Shin, Louise

Sobieraj Daniel

Thomson, Robyn

Tian, Jing Jessie Tratnik, Gregor Wong, Justin

Wong, Chun Sen Matt Ye, Meng Lynda

Zhang, Jiayi John

Guggenheim Solomon Rß Bledowski, Matt



Throughout history, popular trends and approaches to planning have been able to shape the cities of today. Each trend and approach offers new insight to the shape of urban landscapes through its ability to resolve the issues of the day. Successful urban planning, as well as architecture should seek to appropriately respond to the circumstances at hand. With this reasoning in mind, Modernism during the 1950s wanted to provide efficient cities through rapid growth and development. Many buildings built during this era speak to efficiency, rectilinear forms, and truth expressed through structure. With this broad idea of modernism in mind, one may begin to wonder whether a piece that involves an emotional attachment or sacred connection that is vested in modernist principles can truly be successful. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of Aparecida Cathedral or the Cathedral of Brasilia can be seen as an appropriate religious building within the era of modernism. It is able to appropriately respond to the many issues facing the country and city at the time, as successful planning and architecture should strive to do. Through an analysis of the political, socio-cultural and physical contextual issues facing the country, city and the cathedral one can begin to understand how the building is a suitable addition to Brasilia’s modernist masterplan. To understand the cathedral’s success as a modernist work, one must first understand its position within the masterplan of the city it Is located in. Perhaps no cities provide a greater example of modernist planning than

Brasilia, as its growth and development was incomparable during this time. Brasilia’s planning was rooted deeply, in modernism’s principles upon the choice to relocate and build an entirely new capital in the country’s centrally geographic region (Dahdah p. 23). Upon the instruction of Juscelino Kubitschek, president of Brazil, planner Lucio Costa would embrace the task of laying out the city (Dahdah p.23). He would seek the help of esteemed architect Oscar Niemeyer, whose architectural language would resonate well with his own vision for the city and eventually become synonymous with the city. Costa and Niemeyer would ultimately enforce the thinking of CIAM (Congres Internationale Architecturale Modernisme), a group of modernists, who encouraged the principles of modernism in their planning and architectural contributions (Holson p.15). CIAM believed that cities should be separated by function, separating the program of cities between working, residences, recreation and transportation (Mumford p.55). These zones and the cathedral’s relationship to them are all visible in Brasilia’s masterplan. The Transportation zone takes the form of two biaxial streets that form the primary vehicular circulation. residential blocks sprawl along one primary axis in “superquadras” and commercial sectors lie between the residential units (Dahdah p.33). Along the central axis of the city lies the political buildings and the recreation zone. The cathedral is sited at a symbolic location within the masterplan at the intersection of the two primary axes of transportation at the center of the city. Through an understanding of the masterplan of Brasilia and the Cathedrals position within it, one can


Figure 1 Figure Ground Analysis without the Cathedral 1:2000 begin to observe how political, socio-cultural and physical issues were managed within the criteria of modernisms principles.

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The political issues facing brazil during the time is represented through the cathedral, allowing the building to be observed as somewhat of a political statement. During the 1950s, the country of Brazil bared witness to the rapid growth of European and American urban cores. Paying attention to many cities adopting modern methods brazil was accepted the opportunity to develop a modern approach to planning quite eagerly in its masterplan and cathedral project. During this time, Juscelino Kubitsechk was able to gain presidency from 1956 to 1961, due to his promise to achieve, “fifty years of prosperity in five” (Gautherot, M., & Frampton, K. p.109) Kubitschek was able to promote the development of the country’s automotive, naval, heavy, construction and hydro electric industries without state owned companies resulting in great economic wealth for the nation (Gautherot, M., & Frampton, K. p.110). He held very progressive thoughts on education and established infrastructure throughout the country as a means of bringing

the nation together (Dahdah p.29). This progressive mindset was met well with the progressive views of modernism, and this is clearly expressed through the construction of Brasilia. Ultimately, the city and all of its monuments were able to be a testament to this achieved prosperity in the nation due to its thriving economy (Gautherot, M., & Frampton, K. p.115). This allowed for funding of various elaborate building designs in order to raise other aspects of the nation to the global stage. Viewed in this light, the cathedral becomes an ambitious symbol of brazil’s exciting entrance into the spotlight as an economic power. As Cathedral structures are traditionally humble structures that serve the sole purpose of congregation and bringing people together under religion, this iconic and intricate cathedral serves as a political testament to the country’s thriving economy of the time. The cathedral essentially serves as a proud reminder of the prosperity and forward-thinking political attitude of the city at this time, showcasing how the building is an appropriate means of addressing the political situation of the day. As the cathedral’s narrative can be viewed as being representative of the political issues of the city, the cathedral is an appropriate response to the socio-cultural issues of the country as well. The cathedral showcases how an institution vested in modernist ideals can thrive within the context of Brasilia’s masterplan. A religious institution would be essential to the masterplan, as although modern thinking was applied to many fields during this time, religion, more specifically roman Catholicism, was still every much integral to the Brazilian socio-cultural fabric. As, over sixty percent of Brazil’s population observe Catholicism, the masterplan of the city still needed to address religious institutions (UNESCO). This strong catholic demographic is rooted in Brazil’s history as a Portuguese colony, thus Brazil prior to this planning movement

was a country that was very much rooted in colonial and traditional ties (UNESCO). Many of the country’s major cities such as Sao Paolo and Rio De Janeiro were Portuguese establishments. Thus, the foundations of city layouts and subsequent architectural language laid deeply within the thinking of Portuguese planners and colonialists. However, the construction of a new capital city, rooted in modernism, essentially allowed the country to develop its own iconic city landscape that spoke entirely to the thinking of Brazilians and the country at large, devoid of its past. This allowed for a development of the cities own architectural and urban planning language and expression, which is evident in the cathedral. As previous cathedral and church structures took on the language that was conducive to colonial construction, through elements such materiality, structure, and more, the cathedral of Brasilia sought to provide a new language for the country. This traditional approach is evident in many of brazil’s earlier church projects such as Church of St. Francis Assisi in Ouro Preto, Brazil (Niemeyer, O., & Futagawa, Y p.44). However, in this cathedral many colonial motifs and traditional language of brazil’s previous churches are non-existent in this attempt to free the country of its colonial roots and provide a new modern religious institution within the city’s masterplan. In this sense the church is an instrument of sociocultural advancement into modernity. The political and socio-cultural circumstances facing brazil are represented in Brasilia’s modernist cathedral, as well as the physical issues facing the site. When viewed as an architectural piece within the larger scheme of Lucio Costa’s plan, one can begin to understand how the church is suitable within the context of the capital city’s urban landscape. Lucia Costa’s proposal for the city involves two major street axes of the Eixo Monumental and the intersecting streets of via 2, via 3 and DF-002 (Gautherot, M., & Frampton, K.

p.34). Although, the city is arguable one that is vehicle-oriented, the Cathedral is still given appropriate management in relation to the circulation of the city as well as the building’s position as a primary source of religious congregation (Niemeyer, O., & Futagawa, Y. p.52). As the modernist plan favors the larger scheme at hand as opposed to the individuality of each building, the cathedral without a doubt stands out among the relative monotony of the pure form buildings surrounding it. The cathedral is sited at the crossroads of two primary streets, as if to suggest centrality among religion in the modernist city. The cathedral is also located within the city’s cultural sector, or the recreational zone expressed by CIAM (Holston p.33). This allows the cathedral to be easily accessible from all parts of the city. On the smaller scale of the building site, the entrance to the building is located adjacent to a major street, where visitors descend and emerge within the light filled building (Niemeyer, O., & Futagawa, Y. p.20). The architectural form as well as the approach to the site achieves scared connotations within the principles of modernism as well. The form is able to use sixteen identical hyperboloid

Figure 1 Figure Ground Analysis with the Cathedral 1:2000


“the cathedral rejects the traditional colonial language of Brazil’s previous churches, in order to provide a religious institution rooted in modernism”

Figure 1 The centrality of the Cathedral is understood amoung a large scale Figure Ground Analysis

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columns, which promotes the modernist principle of repetitive members and honesty in structure. In this light, the work is appropriate as it takes advantage of the repetitive elements that were also technological feats of the time to form the primary space forming entities of the buildings. Although, representation od modernist ideals, the cathedral still maintains a high level of expressiveness. The building’s dramatic form is accentuated by the vast expanse of land surrounding it and is not occupied by any built form except for the building’s entrance condition. This design decision is able to prompt the visitor to view the work in isolation relative to the repetitive buildings surrounding it, and also encourage the visitor to enter the building. Niemeyer’s architectural approach is one that is able to be successful as a religious piece as well

as a successful piece within the constraints of modernism and the Brazilian master plan. Clearly, The Cathedral of Brasilia presents itself as a suitable fixture within the modernists landscape of Brasilia. The Cathedral is able to appropriately respond to the political, socio-cultural, and physical issues affecting the country and city during its time. The Building is a testament to the economic wealth and forward-thinking political views, the progressive nature of in order to attain a unique urban core, and a testament to problem solving nature of the buildings relationship between the site and city plan. Through an analysis one can understand how the Cathedral of Brasilia is able to prove as a successful religious work within the constraints of modernist principles.

Figure 1 The Cathedral Surrounds the cultural, residential, recreation, and political zones of the city. This showcases the Cathedrals placement within the functional zones of Brasilia Bibliography Brasilia. (n.d.) Retreived November 6, 2015, from Dahdah, F. (2005). CASE: Lucio Costa, Brasiliaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Superquadra. Munich: Prestel Gautherot, M., & Frampton, K. (2010). Building Brasilia. London: Thames & Hudson. Holston, J. (1989). The Modernist City: An Anthropological critique of Brasilia. Chicago: University of Chicago press. Mumford, E. (2000). The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.:MIT Press. Niemeyer, O., & Futagawa, Y. (2008). Oscar Niemeyer: Form & Space. Tokyo: A.D.A. Edita. The Radiant City: Elements of a doctrine of urbanism to be used as the basis of our machine-age civilization. (1967). New York: Orion Press




As the turn of the century began to take hold in 2002, the city of Toronto realized that it needed to begin looking at the new and developing ideas and needs of the changing community. A series of renovations and constructions began to take place in the city in order to satisfy the people, which included that of the Royal Ontario Museum at the corner of Bloor Street and Queens Park. The winning design was that of Studio Daniel Libeskind and its completion in 2007 sparked a dialogue between architectural and planning critics everywhere as to whether or not the addition was a masterpiece or a complete disregard of its surrounding context and site. The answer to this is not as simple as other, more reserved expressions of urban planning, because its connection is more complex than that of simply texture or material of the façade. Rather, it utilizes its non-traditional form and design to connect with the social context of Toronto’s past and present alongside its fulfillment of simpler attributes of the public realm. During the design phase of the crystal, Libeskind said the he had an advantage when creating architecture on an existing building. This comment can be viewed simply when looking at the inception of a concept and building off of previous architecture, but also in a sense of site heritage. The relationship of this comment to successful urban planning is revealed by Jane Jacobs in her book The Life and Death of Great American Cities where she states that “it is futile to plan a city’s appearance, or speculate on how to endow it with a pleasing appearance of order, without knowing what sort of innate,

functioning order it has” (1961, p14). This comment remarks upon the importance of looking at the history of a site in order to understand its needs and facilitate the organic growth of a city. The crystal quite literally uses the historic museum building as a foundation for itself but also repurposes different parts of the old building into more relevant and useful spaces in the modern day. Ghazi raises an interesting idea that the crystal is itself, a “physical symbol of the past providing a foundation from which the museum’s future can be built” (2012, p3). As depicted in figure 1, the crystal structure is in direct juxtaposition with the old building. This design move sprang from the effect of the old building on the streetscape and was settled upon by referencing the flaws of its heritage, in a sense, and updating the building in order to improve the site to modern standards. These historic homages helped to create a more connected design to the culture of Toronto but also aided in the design of many of the architectural features of the crystal as well as its site and urban context. When looking at the modifications that were made to the site with the Libeskind renovation, one notices first that the main entrance of the museum was relocated from Queens Park to Bloor Street. This was done in order to create a dedicated street space for the museum’s patrons which can facilitate events, circulation and casual gatherings. Across the street from the old entrance is the Gardiner Museum which has a façade that draws people in and facilitates gathering more successfully than the ROM and so,


are being manifested in the organization of the exterior space in order to benefit the urban context. The relationship of the crystal to the existing building also remarks upon its use in the society. Kelvin Browne looks at the ROM’s relationship to the surrounding buildings as a way to excite people and draw them into a space where they can explore and learn. This juxtaposition has a purpose as “the more dynamic the relationship between artifacts and their environment, the richer the experience of the viewer of that artifact” ( 2008, p58). This “rich experience” is speaking to the city’s want to consider the modern trends of society and grow its image both externally and internally. Figure 1 Connection of the crystal to the heritage building

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moving the entrance gave both museums their own space in the neighborhood. In moving the entrance to Bloor Street, the ROM gained a valuable amount of sidewalk space which the crystal respected and did not encroach on. This large sidewalk speaks again to the concepts and ideas of Jacobs who developed three points or benefits to the neighborhood and city which large sidewalks provide. The first being safety as the increased space allows more eyes on the street which are unconsciously policing each other in order to reduce the need for governmental intervention. The second is contact. This means that people are able to connect with each other in a casual setting which removes the stress of expectations and intimidation for different classes and occupations to mingle. an aspect especially important for the ROM, which tends to draw in those with creative ideas and thinking, because it can facilitate the growth of new ideas that can benefit the rest of the city and society. The third and most beneficial to the greater context of Toronto is the assimilation of children. The extra space on the sidewalk to a child can be transformed into anything imaginable, and because it is directly connected to a place of knowledge, information, and discovery, it shows how the interior functions of the building

One of the main criticisms of the crystal addition is that it is in a different style than the surrounding architecture on the site. This, Libeskind says, is purely up to the preference of the viewer and has nothing to do with the functionality and societal impact the building makes with its context. In Browne’s interview with him, Libeskind remarks that “ ‘The [crystal] would be the right burst of energy for the site’ ” as it would materialize the creativity of the people (2008, p148). This creativity that Libeskind is talking about is explained in a work by Richard Florida, who writes about the creation and rise of what he calls the “Creative Class”. He looks at the social patterns of this

Figure 2 Public space at the entrance of the crystal

new class and compares them to patterns in conventional society saying that “the norms of the creative class are different from those of more traditional society. Individuality, selfexpression, and openness to difference are favored” (Florida, 2002, p10). These favored societal attributes are manifested in the crystal design in order to help Toronto rapidly grow and develop in this new era rather than to become trapped using and conforming to the methods of the past. The crystal also speaks to the ideals of the modern museum-goer as gone are the days where the museum is a sterile preservation of the world of the past. Libeskind addresses this shift by understanding both that the place is one of contemplation, but also that “ ‘the public wants to be entertained, wants to have a solitary experience, wants to interact, wants to go to restaurants, wants many things of a museum’ ” (Browne, 2008, p149). The modern expectations of a museum are different from the past, and the crystal addresses those changes with its interactive spaces, hosting of events, and even allowing a run to be held inside the building as an art exhibit to inspire creativity. Christopher Hume explains in the Toronto star that “ ‘Clearly, the building was designed to provide maximum pleasure to visitors, to be an artifact in its own right, not simply a receptacle’ ” and it regularly emphasizes the many way in which it is aiming to involve and please the community (Browne, 2008, p144). Toronto was looking for something which could revitalize its image to the rest of Canada and the world as stated in its masterplan, similar to the effect the Guggenheim had on the city of Bilbao. This redesign to the face of Toronto was happening in different places including the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Sharpe Center for Design and called for what Browne calls a “crowd magnet” that is both bold and dynamic to change Toronto into a contemporary city of the world (2008, p139). The crystal addition to the ROM has had a difficult growth as it began its life as a

Figure 3 Aerial view of the southern façade of the ROM in 2000 prior to the beginning of the renovation controversial piece of architecture by critics around the world. Although, through careful analysis of the renovations operation and design, the true meaning of the form, site connections, and organization become clearly outlined. Architecture contains art, and like all art, it is always subject to the viewer’s opinion and preferences and the ROM is no exception. Critics of the design seem to look past its

Figure 4 Aerial view of the southern façade of the ROM in 2007 after the completion of the renovation


“People forget that harmony isn’t about playing the same note over and over again” - Daniel Libeskind






Meters 500






Meters 500






Meters 500

Figure 5 Figure ground drawing of the neighborhood of the ROM in 2003 (left) and 2007 (right) concept and focus on the part of the design which can evoke varied opinions. The analysis of the crystal shows that the design focuses itself on the larger goals and aspirations of the city and aims to inspire the increasing number of creative people in the society. This is paired with its sensitivity to the goals of the past as well as planning for future growth and development. The ROM may not be a traditional contextual design, but it reacts to the site’s wants as well as its needs.

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Bibliography Bricker, Tom. NA. 2014. Digital Photograph. Toronto, Ontario Browne, Kelvin. Bold Visions: The Architecture of the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 2008. Florida, Richard. The Rise of the Creative Class – and How it’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life. New York: Basic Books, 2002. Ghazi, Shabnam. (2012), Inventing Metropolis: Crystal City. Notes, 1-11. Retrieved from http:// Giral, David. Moment Factory Centennial Ball 05. 2014. Digital Photograph. Toronto, Ontario Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House, 1961. Stanwick, S. (2007), The Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum. Archit Design, 77: 126–127. doi: 10.1002/ad.501





Block 32 was part of a large scale master planned development in the Railway Lands West precinct, which is now known as the Fort York Neighbourhood. The main intention of the master plan was to create an urban mixed use environment with a focus on the residential community. Several planning movements and ideologies went into the master plan such as the City Beautiful, Garden City, Village City, Luxury condo city, and the city of rediscovery movements. Block 32 introduced new housing typologies to promote social family environments into high density housing. It also creates a luxurious living environment for a low cost along with communal social atmosphere in an urban context. The building introduces communal housing with a unique approach to social housing that provides quality and healthy living environments. Block 32 and the Fort York Master Plan successfully revitalized the neighbourhood through careful social and design planning strategies along with the integration of new housing typologies and communal interaction. The plan for the Fort York incorporates many movement ideologies into its design such as the City Beautiful, the Village City, the Luxury condo city and the city of rediscovery. The Fort York area was comprised of a large railway station that took up a majority of the site and surrounded Fort York Park. The railway station dates back to the 1850’s, and has remained present until the early 2000’s. In

2002, the Fort York Boulevard was created and replaced the railway, dividing the large empty site (figure 1) and so the redevelopment master plan came into action. According to du Toit Allsopp Hillier (DTAH), “Fort York completes the process of reclaiming underused railway and industrial lands in the area, for productive mixed uses and integrating the land into the urban pattern to the north” (du Toit Allsopp Hillier, 2004). Signifying, the Fort York Neighborhood Master Plan was created to revitalize the Fort York area as well as creating a lively new urban community to the unused brownfield site (figure 2), in essence integrating the city of rediscovery movement. The Village City plan ideology is part of creating Fort York’s unique identity in the city, much like the distinct little neighbourhoods spread around Toronto. Jane Jacobs had a similar ideology of embracing and harvesting the culture and identity of the city’s neighbourhoods (Jacobs, 1993). Fort York is a designated historical site, therefore it is significantly important to the neighbourhood. Views towards the Fort York Park have thus been a priority in framing the heritage of the neighbourhood. Placement of streets, parks, and building have all been located to emphasis the views of Fort York. DTAH stated, “the Fort York Neighbourhood should have a clear identity and yet be integrated seamlessly into the urban fabric. Its public realm should contribute to improving the overall connectivity and accessibility of west downtown” (du Toit Allsopp Hillier, 2004).


Figure 1 Figure Ground of Site in 2007 before developments began.

Figure 2 Figure Ground of Site in 2013 after major developments have been completed. This statement suggests the importance of creating a distinctive presence to the city much like Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s little neighbourhoods and villages. However, it is still important to be able to connect to the fabric downtown Toronto and adjacent neighbourhoods. This connection creates a smooth transitional sequence between downtown and Fort York, unlike other neighbourhoods of Toronto such as Chinatown, where there is a sudden noticeable change in the public realm.

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The necessary connection to downtown leads into the luxury condo city movement. As Fort York integrates with the downtown core, the implementation of the luxury condo style

is necessary to create the smooth transition into the neighbourhood. Block 32 specifically creates a luxurious appeal much like other condo high-rises to be potentially designed in Toronto by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB) (Mays, 2013). This style approach KPMB use helps create the luxury condo aesthetic that is prominent in Toronto, creating a smooth transition into Fort York (figure 5). However, Block 32 provides a luxury style for a much lower price and different housing typologies in order to accommodate families. Another focus of this master plan, was the public realm and the experiences at grade

a communal gathering space that is accessible both from the courtyard and the street, and offers views towards the Canoe Landing Park (Baird, 2013). Although the pavilion space is public, the setback provides a patio space and planters are used along the sides of the pavilion to create a slightly private experience from the pedestrian traffic, represented in figure 4.

Figure 3 Diagram showing circulation routes and pedestrains walkways division with vegetation. and between buildings, thus integrating the City Beautiful movement in order to achieve this. The City Beautiful movements began, “as a call for civic betterment” and pride, often expressing itself through “great parks, boulevards, focal axes framed by streetfronting buildings” (Dobbins, 2009). This movement can be seen through the design of the streets, the incorporation of parks, vegetation, public views and experiences as well as the building street walls. The newly developed streets for Fort York follow Toronto’s grid structure but add an organic execution, emphasising the landscape. The sidewalks for Fort York incorporate vegetation along the streets. This creates a better pedestrian friendly environment and divides the oncoming and incoming traffic. The design of Block 32 implemented planters and vegetation to help differentiate between public and private on the sidewalks (figure 3). The parks also play an important role in the planning of Fort York with special attention given to their design and interaction with surrounding buildings and views. Canoe Landing Park is diagonally across from the south east corner of Block 32. The corner of Block 32 is articulated to be a public amenity space in the form of a multipurpose pavilion that breaks up the townhouse frontage along the perimeter of Block 32. The pavilion creates

As for the Garden City implementation, the plan focuses on the pedestrian and cyclist safety, interaction and circulation in the neighbourhood. Sidewalks are wide with the implementation of vegetation, ground level interactions with retail spaces, parks, and townhouse frontages in order to animate the streets. Bicycle lanes are widely incorporated into the streets to reduce vehicular traffic and promote healthier alternatives. Public transportation is also emphasised in the plan with streetcar tracks and bus routes, providing quick and easy access to the downtown core. The transportation and circulation ideologies from Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City Theory for a sustainable city plan focused on public transit and pedestrian circulation over the

Figure 4 Diagram showing corner articulation and view from Canoe Landing Park


“The neighbourhood is planned as a high-density, primarily residential community with a range of building types ”

Figure 5 Diagram showing contrast between low cost and luxury housing and intergration of both in Block 32 and building typologies. use of the automobile (Hall, 2014). This theory influenced the planning of the Fort York neighbourhood’s circulation and transportation design.

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Block 32 incorporates a variety of housing typologies such as townhouses and three to five bedroom units, a feature unseen in the condominium movement. The neighbourhood “is planned as a high-density, primarily residential community with a range of building types including stacked townhouses and midrise buildings along the street edges, as well as slender point towers in specific locations” (du Toit Allsopp Hillier, 2004). Block 32 follows these guidelines with the stacked townhouses located along the street and in the podium. Following these guidelines creates a similar residential atmosphere of the traditional row houses of Toronto, but at a higher density. Playrooms, daylight laundry facilities, event spaces, communal kitchens, outdoor urban agriculture spaces, and an elevated outdoor courtyard in Block 32 boosts social interaction between the occupants resulting in a better communal housing.

Due to the increasing demand of housing because of population growth, high density housing aims to provide housing for the increase in demand. There is often a misconception that families do not want to live in apartments downtown. However, every unit is taken and a waiting list in already in action (Mays, 2013). This could be due to the affordability of the large three plus bedroom units. The larger bedroom units in Block 32 targets families into the city for a higher density and sustainable approach to living than the suburban lifestyle. Families not requiring subsidies are also able to, and do, rent units in Block 32, creating a non-segregated living environment. The Hong Kong Housing Authority believes an important aspect to affordable housing is to provide quality housing and healthy living environments to its occupants which results in better contribution to the community (Ng, 2008). This requires better environmentally friendly, functional and cost-effective design principles to be integrated into the plan. Block 32 manages to do exactly that, achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold, along with it efficient

double-storey units and functional design (KPMB Architects, n.d.). All for the low total cost of $90,000,000 for a high style and sustainable design (KPMB Architects, n.d.). By creating healthy and better quality living environments, the feedback of the community is much more positive. Also, the additions of community amenity spaces within the building improves the social interaction between the occupants. This approach is radically different from previous social housing projects, such as Pruitt Igoe, that did not focus on the quality and living environments of the occupants, thus resulting in a negative communal outcome (Hall, 2014). Block 32 improves low income housing standards through functionality, communal interaction, and aesthetic design as shown in figure 5.

Block 32 and the Fort York Master Plan successfully revitalized the neighbourhood through careful social and design planning strategies along with the integration of new housing typologies and communal interaction. With the integration of numerous planning movements and ideologies - such as the City Beautiful, Garden City, Village city, Luxury condo city and the city of rediscovery movements - the master plan created a successful residential community in an urban mixed use environment. The introduction of new housing typologies, Block 32 stimulated communal family living environments into high density housing. Block 32 provided a luxurious living environment for an affordable cost along with quality and healthy living environments social housing designs previously overlooked.

Bibliography Baird, G. (2013). Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects. Basel: BirkhaĚ&#x2C6;user Verlag AG. Bogdanowicz, J. (2013, November 1). Community Building: A downtown tower and nearby revitalization plan demonstrate Toronto Community Housingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commitment to high-quality neighbourhood development. . Canadian Architect, 52-56. Dobbins, M. (2009). Urban design and people. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. du Toit Allsopp Hillier. (2004, February). Fort York Neighbourhood Public Realm Master Plan and architectural design guidelines. Retrieved from Fort York: Hall, P. (2014). Cities of tomorrow : an intellectual history of urban planning and design since 1880. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. Jacobs, J. (1993). The death and life of great American cities. New York: Modern Library. KPMB Architects. (n.d.). Toronto Community Housing, Block 32. Retrieved October 2015, from KPMB Architects Web site: minyearx=&maxyearx=#pub Mays, J. B. (2013, April 3). Toronto Community Housing goes high style for low-cost homes. Retrieved from The Globe and Mail: Ng, E. (2008). Designing high density cities : for social and environmental sustainability. London: Earthscan. White, C. (2012, February 28). Toronto Community Housing Bringing Affordable Rental to CityPlace. Retrieved from Urban Toronto:




The Flatiron Building is a streamline structure overlooking Fifth Avenue, Broadway and Madison Square Park. Designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham in 1900, the Flatiron Building is located at 175 Fifth Avenue of Manhattan, New York City. The city was integrating ideas emerging in Europe at the time, bringing a sense of beauty and order into the industrial city. The City Beautiful movement was introduced to Manhattan integrating diagonal streets to provide enhanced vistas and circulation. The relationship shared by these streets formed a triangular lot nestled between some of Manhattan’s most prominent streets. PostWar and industrial revolution influences has shaped the design of the growing New York City with an increasing demand for efficient design, leading to the deltashaped monumental mass expressed by the Flatiron Building. The Flatiron Building is a building advocate for the City Beautiful movement and acts as a landmark that symbolizes one of New York City’s earliest planning gestures developing a relationship between the site and the public realm. Completed in 1902, The Flatiron Building is considered as one of the first projects to utilize steel frame construction. Harry Black, who took over the position as president of the Fuller Company after the passing of George A. Fuller, commissioned the twenty-storey office building. The plan responded to the need for office spaces in the city that permitted views, ventilation, and economic growth. Nestled at the intersection of three prominent streets in

New York City, the building certainly left a mark on the city. Black commissioned architect and urban planner, Daniel Burnham, to design the structure with an emphasis on site and economy. Burnham is well known for the conception of the City Beautiful movement and influences in city planning. In conceptualization of the Flatiron Building, it is evident that Burnham’s background as an urban planner is influential in his works of architecture. Social and financial issues have led to the emphasis on economic efficiency at the end of the nineteenth century. In regards to these issues, Daniel Burnham’s response in relation to design within the urban context has led to the conceptualization of this American landmark. The boulevards and promenades in the nineteenth century acted as a catalyst for the City Beautiful movement. Introduced to America by Daniel Burnham, the City Beautiful movement was launched at the 1893 World’s Fair; the movement soon became his greatest achievement in the Chicago Plan of 1909. Burnham had visions to “restore the city a lost visual and aesthetic harmony, thereby creating the physical prerequisite for the emergence of harmonious social order” (Hall 2014). Order would be imposed in American cities by thoroughfares, removing slums, and extending parks. After the reconstruction of the Mall in Washington DC, it had advocated for the City Beautiful movement in many



Figure 1 Plan of New York 1887

Figure 2 Plan of New York 1902

1 : 5 000

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American Cities such as New York City. City Beautiful principals were soon introduced to projects in New York, influencing the design of streets and developments such as the Fuller Building. The proposed site of the Flat Iron Building is nestled at the edge of Madison Square, at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, thus allowing any proposed building to be seen from a distance and is considered as a rare condition in New York City. Thomas Hines (1974) writes, “The corners furnished by the intersection of Broadway with the rectilinear

reticulation imposed upon Manhattan Island by the Street Commissioner of 1807 are not only the most conspicuous, but really the only conspicuous sites for building.” The site afforded enhanced vistas and functional advantages such as light and air, while all offices would have a panoramic view to the New York skyline. When the building was constructed in 1903, it was the tallest skyscraper north of the financial district and fits in a triangular site that overlooks Madison Square (Bradford & Condit, 1996). It is expected that a high real estate value would be imposed on the site due to the location of the site as well as it’s notable features. The Flatiron Building was informed by Post-war and industrial revolution influences. Architects, planners, and the general public had a focus on the economics of the city. There was a relationship between the City Beautiful and the City Functional movements in New York City, as pointed out by Robert Fishman, “the culmination of a profound shift in American planning: from the City Beautiful to the City functional which emphasized business-like, technocratic, and survey-based approaches” (Hall 2014). Burnham’s business attitude in architecture and urban planning reinforces the importance of finance in design. After the American Civil War ended in 1865, New York’s skyline began to reflect the demand for office space. Paula Geyh (2006) writes that there are “two different stages of American capitalism: the American industrial capitalism of mass produced consumer goods, a capitalism of things, which dominated the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.” It was clear that the urban fabric of New York City reflected the economic base of American cities. There was a desire to utilize the site at its utmost potential yet making an architectural expressive structure that was harmonious with its context as these specific sites would typically be used for public spaces and monumental buildings (Hines 1974). Since zoning had not yet been implemented into the city, the client

would provide height restrictions and setbacks. Although, the Flatiron building preceded zoning guidelines in New York City, it had a large influence in supporting the argument in implementing zoning guidelines into New York City. Zoning was first introduced to New York in 1909, when New York Lawyer Edward M. Basset was struck by the success of German Zoning guidelines in Düsseldorf by Werner Hegemann’s work in Berlin. Since Manhattan was specifically more concerned with commercial buildings rather than residential, there was a focus on the bulk and massing of buildings in attempt to protect the value of existing real estate, such as the Flatiron Building. Zoning principals dealing with land use and height restrictions were implemented in New York City’s zoning ordinance in 1916 due to the economic benefits. The nature of the site imposes a sense of hierarchy that perceives it as a node within the city. The problem of the site was to develop a design that dealt with the “awkwardness and practical ineligibility of thin edge of the wedge, of the apex of the triangle” (Hines 1974). As a product of postwar and industrialization influences, Burnham designed a structure that seek to maximize the footprint of the site, thus resulting in the delta shaped mass. The Flatiron Building can be perceived as the manifestation of economical drivers that directly inform the architectural and urban design aspects of the structure. Upon the completion of the Flatiron Building, the structure was considered as a landmark in New York. With consideration to both the site and the economic issues that are prominent at the beginning of the twentieth century, the problem in this case was to make the most of the “detachment, magnitude, altitude, and conspicuousness,” while to effectively “minimize the disadvantages of the awkward shape of the plot, and to do these things without any the least sacrifice of the utilitarian purpose of the structure” (Shepherd 2003). The odd shape of the site is an issue that evokes an urban design response at the public

realm. The terra cotta surface enrichment applied by the architect is a system that respects the scale and density of the surrounding context. The building elevations are a direct response to three scales of the skyscraper, with a distinction between the bottom, middle, and top. For instance, the frieze of the fourth story is “effective in itself and particularly effective as denoting and emphasizing a transitional member of composition” (Shepherd 2003). With regards to the ‘wedge’ condition, the

Top Office Space

Office Space

Public Realm

Figure 3 Perspective from Broadway, illustrating the three different facade treatment


“The economic prosperity brought forth from the American Civil War is reflected from the economic drive attitude of the American people and urban fabric”

Madison Square

Figure 4 City Beautiful Movement, intersecting diagonal streets with access to greenspace architect had decided to chamfer the apex of the building to effectively contribute to the streetscape, as it softens the transition between the intersecting streets. Today, the building is one of America’s greatest landmarks, with the two-lane roadway adjacent of the Flatiron building being transformed into a public plaza.


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This American landmark is developed as a coherent dialogue between the elements of economic, social, and design excellence in the early twentieth century. The Flatiron Building illustrates a clear relationship between financial issues and design in the urban context. The site’s scenic qualities and desirable vistas are key participants in the increase of land value. It is apparent that the economic prosperity brought forth from the American Civil War is reflected in the economy driven attitude of the American

people and urban fabric. The social and economic issues further reinforce this emphasis on finance at the time, as capitalism dominated the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A great contributor to the introduction of zoning into New York City, the Flatiron Building influenced New York City’s zoning ordinance in 1916 to protect the value of existing real


Figure 5 Plan of Fuller Building/ Flatiron Building

estate. The popularity of the Flatiron Building is evident in the attraction of the public. The irregular shape of the site imposes an urban design response that deals with the public realm. A design that interacts with the city at various scales, it enriches the overall experience of the streetscape through an articulation in the elevation as well as a chamfered condition at the apex of an irregular lot. It is Burnham’s response to these issues that lead to the international recognition of the Flatiron Building.

Bibliography Kennedy, S. (2010) Demolished Bucky Fuller Dome Subject of New Film. Architectural Record, 198(9), 40. Landlau, S. B., & Condit, C. W. Rise of the new York skyscraper: 1865 – 1913. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996. Rocheleau, P. (2003). Daniel H. Burnham: visionary architect and planner. New York: Rizzoli. Thomas S. Hines. Burnham of Chicago: Architect and Planner. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974. Schaffer, Kristen. Daniel H. Burnham: Visionary Architect and Planner. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 2003. Shepherd, Roger. Skyscraper: The Search for an American Style 1891 – 1941. New York: McGraw Hill, 2003. Photographer. 2010. Flatiron Building [Photograph], Retrieved from




Located in the heart of downtown Montreal along the intersection of Boulevard Robert-Bourassa and Boulevard ReneLevesque, the Place Ville Marie is an office and shopping complex. Rising 188m from the ground, the crucifix-planned building was designed by I.M. Pei & Partners and Dimitri Dimakopoulas. At the time of completion in 1962, when Montreal was the metropolis of a young and budding Canada, the city had begun to enter its modern era. An abundance of urban ideas, architectural schemes, and construction sites were beginning to materialize in the city. Embedded in the early stages of Montreal’s modernization was the development of the Place Ville Marie. As such, the building would play an integral role in shaping an urban context for both the city and its country, setting a precedent for future urban planning ideas. This essay will explore the impact of Place Ville Marie on its site, and the architectural ideas of the building and its effect on American urbanism. To establish setting, Montreal at the time was the central economic, industrial, and transportation hub of Canada. As a country that was reliant on Great Britain, Montreal was the point of connection for the two economies, exporting goods and agricultural products to the United Kingdom. Because of this, the commercial and financial districts would be the first to be developed, followed by transportation strategies. In the planning of Place Ville Marie, three major traffic studies were done (including one by I.M. Pei & Partners) which concluded that developing downtown Montreal would include widening McGill College Avenue,

constructing an east to west highway, and building the Place Ville Marie as a point of connection for transportation. Therefore one can understand the importance of the city before the eventual rise of Toronto, and how the addition of a significant building would have an affect beyond simply its immediate context. Similarly, one can see the designer and planner’s hope for the Place Ville Marie being a successful building. Being one of the first high-rise in Montreal at the time, this building typology was new to many; the idea of planning something unique was also the selling point to much of the public. The Place Ville Marie would be one of Montreal’s earliest multifunctional buildings, being an office tower, retail centre, and transportation hub. Additionally with vehicle and pedestrian traffic/ circulation being a prevailing topic, Place Ville Marie sought to present its own solution by providing an underground subway path and redefining the circulation patterns on the streets adjacent to it. This building’s success in regards to urban planning is relevant to its time and also today, as many of its planned solutions persists to be valid. Often overlooked is the underground shopping complex, it gave the city a different element in planning. Commonly called the underground city, it is the largest underground complex in the world, consisting of shops, banks, hotels, and bus stations. The underground plaza of Place Ville Marie was the spawning point for this below grade network of circulation which proved to be effective, as it is used by hundreds of thousands every day, especially in the harsh Canadian winters.


The Place Ville Marie in many ways is an icon of Montreal. Its monumental scale was a stand-out presence in the city’s skyline in the latter half of the 20th century, and its presence is currently felt today. This speaks to the urban planners’ intention at the time; placing such a unique building onto the city was not bad urban planning, but a statement of rethinking the downtown core of Montreal. It was a statement on the national scale, expressing the city’s change from traditional gothic to modern architecture. In a bigger scale, it was the city making an image for itself on the world stage, eventually propelling Canada to recognition.

Figure 1 Figure-Ground diagram (present)

Figure 2 Shadow casted in afternoon

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The design of the building was not without critics and controversy. Montreal was and currently is home to some of the Canada’s oldest buildings such as banks and cathedrals. Because many of these significant buildings were close to the downtown core, they would be in proximity to the monumental Place Ville Marie. Citizens of the city were not only concerned with the towering height of the building, but also the new modern aesthetic which greatly contrasted the style at the time. Despite these concerns, simultaneously, there were many that believed, as Quebec Premier Jean Lesage (1962) said when he stepped onto the podium of the newly constructed Place Ville Marie, “With the erection of Place Ville Marie the whole aspect of the centre of Montreal has changed. One of America’s oldest cities is gradually becoming one of the most modern”. In many ways, people of Montreal saw the design as the city stepping into the modern era, adopting a new style of architecture and planning. In the design of the Place Ville Marie, one can see the inspiration from modernist architecture. The building is high density, rising upwards with a simple glazed facade that is exposed to large amounts of sunlight, and lastly the building was viewed as a social

design hoping to improve the city. As Montreal was beginning to re-imagine itself in the 1950s to 60s, it began thinking of social planning and using architecture as a way to improve its citizen’s lives. As architecture professor Derek Drummond writes in In Praise of Modernist Civic Spaces in Canadian Cities (2004), “Our cities have tended to be street-oriented rather than place-oriented. Unlike European cities where important buildings tended to be sited on an existing square or plaza or to create a new publicly accessible place as part of the design, important buildings in Canada tended to be simply located on a street” (p.53). The Place Ville Marie had become a place where people could gather.

Historically the city of Montreal has always been the epicentre of trading, beginning with fur trading when European settlers arrived. Because of the settlers, the city had adopted a heavy catholic background. It can be said that the move towards modernism was a move for trading and away from the




Perhaps one of the greatest failures of the modernist style was its idealistic design. In trying to create a universal design that responded to all social need, its mistake was that it failed to respond to the specific needs of a community. Many modernist plans were based on imposing a generic design to a site. Though the Place Ville Marie drew inspirations from this style, its success was in its ability to respond specifically to the citizens of the city. The building became a public gathering hub, and despite the controversy between this new style of architecture and the old, the planners understood the importance of preserving the old and allowing complexity in the city. Additionally, one of the major critiques of modernism is the abandoning of a city’s sidewalks; however Montreal planners had begun to think of the city in terms of multifunctional and active spaces. A part of the Place Ville Marie’s design intent was to provide a large outdoor plaza for civic gatherings, which included an election rally for Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1968 featuring the building on a national stage. In Toronto, similar open plazas such as Nathan Philips Square, and interior gathering spaces such as Brookfield Place appeared. As the precedent was set, Canada as a whole adopted the modernist

style. The curtain wall on the Place Ville Marie was new to the country at the time but quickly spread to cities such as Toronto. In this sense, the Place Ville Marie was both a symbol of Canadian modernism, and a stimulating factor in the spread of urbanism.


Figure 3 Circulation showing vehicle (blue) and pedestrian (yellow) traffic


â&#x20AC;&#x153;...the Place Ville Marie was both a symbol of Canadian modernism, and a stimulating factor in the spread of urbanism.â&#x20AC;?

Figure 4 Scale of Place Ville Marie relative to its adjacent buildings

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religious emphasis. In constructing new types of building, glass was used in abundance, partly as an architectural technique to activate the street front. In the latter half of the 20th century, there had been a new idea among local urban planners and architects to think of city streets as public spaces. McGill-College Avenue (a street that reaches the entrance of Place Ville Marie) is an example of this through the widening of sidewalks, planting of trees to create a buffer zone between pedestrian and vehicle, and illumination of sidewalks. Additionally, it is an

early example, demonstrating the change in city planning that originated from the Place Ville Marie area. On a local scale the Place Ville Marie was a shopping centre, office tower, and transportation hub; it was an exciting new mixuse urban idea that became popular among its cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s citizens. In such a historic city, it was a bold move; perhaps this is the reason for its impact beyond a local scale. This in combination with the city on the rise allowed the Place Ville

Marie to become a national landmark. It is odd to think that when I.M. Pei & Partners and Dimitri Dimakopoulas designed this building, it was going to have such a significant impact on the city. Despite the modern city covered in buildings that are yet a half-century old, the Place Ville Marie continues to stand out in the city’s skyline because of its size, height, and crucifix form. Simultaneously, the city continues to remember its history as many of its historical sites and buildings remain giving the city a fitting mix of old and new. The name ‘Place Ville Marie’ comes from the original Fort Ville Marie which would later become

Old Montreal, and soon the metropolis of a nation. It seemed only fitting that the building symbolizing the next chapter featuring a modern Canada was the Place Ville Marie, as it encompassed a country’s history and a bright future.

Bibliography Germain, A. & Rose, D. (2000), Montreal: The quest for a metropolis. Chichester, West quest for Sussex: Wiley. Linteau, P. (2013). The history of Montréal the story of a great North American city. Montréal: Baraka Books. Marsan, J. (1990). Montreal in evolution historical analysis of the developement of Montreal’s architecture and urban environment. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Nerbas, D. (2015). Zeckendorf, Place Ville-Marie, and Modern Montreal. In Urban History Review / Revue d’histoire urbaine (2nd ed., Vol. XLIII). To, Ontario: Printemps. Vanlaethem, F. (2012). Place Ville Marie: Montreal’s shining landmark. Montreal: Quebec Amerique. Drainville, A. (Photographer). (2013, July). Place Ville Marie - Montreal [photograph]. Montreal, Quebec: Flickr




Brazil, as an emerging independent country in the beginning of nineteenth century have had a significant history of urbanization guided by optimistic modernism that has influenced the country’s social, political, and economic conditions and as well modernist architecture and urban planning theories of the Western world. One building that cannot be overlooked when discussing modernism and urban development of Brazil is the Museum of Art in São Paulo (MASP) on Avenida Paulista. Much celebrated at its reception for its monumental structural feat having two concrete piers holding a glass prism more than 70 metres apart, the design of museum was not driven by an abstract design ambitions of the architect but the restrictions laid upon its prominent site. Seated at highest point of the city, the museum’s site offered superior panoramic view of the city which restricted any planning activity that obstructed this view since its conception in 1891. In response to this regulation, architect Lina Bo Bardi proposed a radical design that challenged the technology of that time and with help of most exceptional engineers at the time, came to physical actualization after twelve years in construction. However, the construction of Museum of Art of São Paulo was not only a revolutionary structural proposal but also a challenge to authoritarian regime and oligarchic social atmosphere. Urban design limitations not only decisively affected the conception and overall design of the building, but the country’s civic environment that fostered aspirations for equality, freedom of individuality and expression, and improvement of neglected social factors all had effect on the inception to completion of this architectural project.

As a rapidly modernizing country in early nineteenth century, Brazil has a unique history of urbanization guided by optimistic modernism that influenced the country’s social, political, and economic conditions as well as the modernist architecture and urban planning theories of the Western world (Carranza & Lara, 2014). One of the country’s leading cities is São Paulo municipality in which almost 20 million people inhabit, making the city the most populous area over all American continent and placing it next in importance to just a few North American cities in terms of economic and global influence. Such accelerated urbanization and development of São Paulo expanded onto Avenida Paulista, which to this date is considered the most important avenue where the city’s prominent financial, political, social, and cultural institutions are concentrated (Izarabal, 2008). One of the best examples of Brazilian modernism and urban planning in Brazilian metropolises is the Museum of Art in São Paulo (MASP) in the city of São Paulo. Much celebrated is the reception for its engineering feat of two monumental concrete piers holding a glass prism more than 70 metres apart, and this the design was not driven by an abstract design forms or concepts of the architect but purely by the restrictions laid upon its prominent site (Carranza & Lara, 2014). Seated at highest point of the city, the museum’s site offered superior panoramic view of the city which laid restriction on any construction activity that obstructed this view (Izarabal, 2008). In response to this regulation, the main architect Lina Bo Bardi proposed a radical design that lifted up the whole building off the ground level, leaving


Figure 1 Figure-Ground map of São Paulo in 1930

Figure 2 Figure-Ground map of São Paulo in 2015

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the entire site programmatically untouched by the museum (Bergdoll et al., 2015). This essay demonstrates how Museum of Art of São Paulo presents itself as an excellent architectural piece while at the same time declaring to be one of the most significant examples of planning-centered design in São Paulo, even to the extent of modern architectural history. There are several reasons that legitimizes the planning success of the Museum of Art of São Paulo. First, the Park Trianon, located directly across from the site of the museum that overlooks the city at one of its highest point, was the source of the restriction on the site that banned any construction from obstructing this view toward the city, which in turn helped incorporate the museum

as an extent of the popular park. Second, a unique architectural feature of Museum of Art of São Paulo is the fact that it has absolutely no program at its ground floor except for a set of stair for circulation to the upper or lower levels of the building. Consequently, the Museum of Art of São Paulo is arguably the most “urban” architecture that exists because its program at the street level is the extension of the street itself. Third argument that validates the planning achievement of MASP comes from its actual history of usage, from inception until today. The public space under the Museum of Art of São Paulo, named Trianon Terrace yet commonly called as Vão do MASP (“span of MASP”), serve as a venue where numerous civil and political events as well as various entertainments including markets, parades, circuses, and art exhibitions are held, proving its viability as a center of the city. Avenida Paulista, the avenue along which the Museum of Art of São Paulo lies, is generally accepted as a significanlty influential avenue in all of São Paulo and as one of the most famous in all of Latin America (Izarabal, 2008). Historically, Avenida Paulista was home to the elite class of the newly builty city of São Paulo. The Park Trianon, or now renamed as Siqueira Campos Park, was inaugurated in 1892 by French landscaper Paul Villon and English architect and planner Barry Parker (Maropo, 2015). The park was designed in English Picturesque style under influence of European Romanticist aristocrats that formed majority of the elite class living in São Paulo (Izarabal, 2008). As per characteristic of the Picturesque, Park Trianon and Avenida Paulista was placed on one of the highest point of São Paulo for beautiful view that overlooked the whole city (Carranza & Lara, 2014). Before realization of MASP, Park Trianon and Belvedere Trianon, a pergola that was later replaced by MASP, were often used in conjunction to host social events for the high class (Izarabal, 2008). Subsequently, the demolition of Belvedere Trianon and following opening of Museum of Art of São

Paulo in 1968 suggested much more than a new construction; it implied a transition, or at least an ambition, from oligarchical society to more democratic one.Bo Bardi, the architect of MASP, described her design aspiration for creating a space of freedom and public involvement (Lu, 2011), transforming a formerly prestigious site into a public one. This approach clearly reflected the spirit of the immeidate post-World War II period during which CIAM proposed the search for the ‘heart of the city’ as carried out with Avenida Paulista and urban planning strategies promoting democracy (Izarabal, 20008). The plaza of Museum of Art of São Paulo successfully extends Park Trianon and its public life into itself, both visually and spatially, providing a picturesque garden for the public of São Paulo. The very architectural significance of Museum of Art of São Paulo is expressed in its programmatic organization. The building is composed of three levels: underground level comprised of secondary services such as offic-

es and library; ground level that is completely open except for four concrete piers, a set of stair and glass elevator shaft; and upper level of gallery space (Carranza & Lara, 2014). This architectural gesture is what makes the Museum of Art of São Paulo a very planning-centered design in its urban context at ground level. Approaching MASP on Avenida Paulista provides very famous panoramic view of the city, connecting the city with Park Trianon despite the wide lane traffic of Avenida Paulista (Carranza & Lara, 2014). The complete openness of the MASP plaza indicates its main architectural gesture, which is to invite and to merge itself with the city. In fact, it successfully does so, having been ingrained as one of the outstanding modern monuments in São Paulo and exemplary of modern architecture and urban planning in all of Brazil. Aside from all other abstract reasons why Museum of Art of São Paulo is a successful urban design, the strongest argument is sup-

Figure 3 View from Park Trianon towards city


“The Museum of Art of São Paulo demonstrates that public spaces and integration of public are central to urban design for the vitality and equality of the cityscape that supports livability of a city”


Figure 4 Programmatic Organization

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ported by its historical and current usage of the space. Following Brazil’s pro-democratic and rapid modernization, Avenida Paulista has become an epicenter of São Paulo’s financial and cultural hub, and it was the realization of ideal modern cityscape. Therefore, the Museum of Art of São Paulo was a validation of Avenida Paulista’s cultural importance (Lu, 2011). Bo Bardi’s husband, Pietro Bardi, who was the art curator for MASP, eagerly collected world-class artworks to be displayed at the museum, which to date are regarded as the Latin America’s most comprehensive collection of fine-art (Lu, 2011). The upper level of museum hovers eight-metre from the ground, providing enough platforms for various events such as circuses to be performed underneath the mass of museum (Car-

ranza & Lara, 2014). This plaza holds Feira de Antiguidade or the Antique fair on a weekly basis in addition to allowing many other social, political, and social manifestations to take place, only to become irreplaceable landmark to the Paulistanos [residents of São Paulo] (Izarabal, 2008). Urban design limitations not only decisively affected the concept and the overall design of the building. However, the country’s civic environment that fostered aspirations for modernization, freedom of expression, and resolution of neglected social issued all had effect from the inception to completion of this architectural project. The Museum of Art of São Paulo is a legacy of intertwined

effects of urbanization, modernization, and democratization of a twentieth-century city, introducing distinguished impact on modern architecture and urban planning perspectives. The validity of MASPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s urban success was argued from aspects of its landscaping strategies that integrates picturesque-style Park Trianon, its entirely urban approach to program, and the history of the usage of MASP plaza. The Museum of Art of SĂŁo Paulo demonstrates that public spaces and integration of public are central to urban design

for the vitality and equality of the cityscape that supports livability of a city.

Bibliography Bergdoll, B., Comas, C., Liernur, J., & De Real, P. (2015). Latin America in construction: 19551980. New York, NY: Museum of Modern Art. Carranza, L., & Lara, F. (2014). Modern architecture in Latin America: Art, technology, and utopia. Hardoy, J. (1975). Urbanization in Latin America: Approaches and issues. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press. Izarabal, C. (2008). Ordinary places, extraordinary events: Citizenship, democracy and public space in Latin America. London: Routledge. Lu, D. (2011). Third world modernism architecture, development and identity. New York, NY: Routledge. Maropo, M. (2015). Parque Trianon. Retrieved October 27, 2015. Sennott, R. (2004). Encyclopedia of 20th century architecture. New York: Fitzroy Dearborn. Williams, R. (2009). Brazil modern architecture in history. Cornwall: MPG Books. Sectional drawing referenced from for diagram




The events that took place in New York, USA on September 11th, 2001 dramatically changed how the world perceived public safety and buildings in the urban environment. In response to the fall of the twin towers, the union between architecture and urban design provided a solution to the void left behind, constructing the One World Trade Center as a sign of America’s resilience and recovery. Architect Daniel Libeskind was tasked with designing a modern megastructure integrated with mixed use programming and remaining contextually sensitive to the site. Existing as the tallest building in America, the One World Trade Center impacted New York’s urban fabric, its planning, and design. The building’s massing and footprint reshaped the city’s skyline and affected its urban surroundings on a macroscopic level. In addition, urban landscaping was implemented in the plan to accommodate for the tower’s presence, providing an open space of tranquillity and remembrance. Consequently, the design transformed the public realm in its immediate context through the spaces it created and the activities it engaged. It is through exploring these macroscopic and local relations that the tower was able to adequately address its urban milieu. The One World Trade Center is worthy of study, standing as an exemplary product of ingenious architecture that ultimately manifests in a responsible urban design. The One World Trade Center’s dominant mass had a great impacted New York City on a macroscopic scale. The building’s verticality re-envisioned New York’s skyline as a sociocultural icon, demarcating the heart of the

urban environment’s core. In the twin towers’ absence, the skyline was indistinguishable from other cities, resulting in a loss of identity (Neill 2004). This construction was therefore imperative to America’s restoration. The construction of a megastructure in the city’s core had implications on how the adjacent buildings would respond contextually. As a result of the master plan, the new surrounding buildings were constructed in increasing height approaching the tower. The height gradient that was established lessened the stark contrast of the One World Trade Center’s height in the city scale. The podium is rectilinear in its figure ground, designed with having flat façades on all sides. In regards to zoning, these frontages were setback in consideration to pedestrian circulation and to maintain the street’s building façade continuity. An issue that is often attributed to high-rise developments is how a volume can affect light entry onto adjacent buildings and the site. The One World Trade Center casts a large shadow north of the site, creating shaded areas noticeable on the street level. In order to reduce this impact, the glazing used on the building’s façade is semi-reflective allowing some light to diffuse onto the street. The building does not create a drastic glare due to its orientation, geometry, and glazing material. With limitations set about by its programmatic requirements, the high-rise responded appropriately to the urban context through its design. However, one may argue that building horizontally would have been more appropriate, given its street conditions and the area of the site. Though this would reduce casting shadows onto adjacent buildings and allow for more programming at grade, this would compromise the green


Figure 1 Twin Towers Figure Ground 1:10000 space it created. In addition, the cultural identity of the building would be lost as it would appear normative in New York’s skyline. The current shape of the tower is complimentary to the previous World Trade Center’s footprint and geometry, responding to its historical context. The massing of the tower was appropriate in this condition given that the surrounding buildings are high-rises which lacked green spaces in the urban milieu. The One World Trade Center’s massing was successful on a macroscopic level in reinvigorating New York’s urban identity, addressing the urban fabric through a gradient scale of height and form, and zoning to effectively preserve the continuous frontage onto the public realm. The need for green space and public amenities in the city were pervasive in the One World Trade Center’s urban planning process. Adjacent to the tower on the southern portion of the lot, there are two memorial pools surrounded by a paved landscape featuring trees and strips of grass. These pools are the excavated footprints of the previous twin towers

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which emphasizes void on a phenomenological and historical level (Sorkin 2002). This condition is similar to Corbusier’s idea of the “Tower in the Park” concept which explored solid and void relations from the densely populated mass to the open park. Urban landscaping is utilized to function as a public space for remembrance, contemplation, and movement. In developed urban conditions that are heavily dependent on commuting, noise becomes an issue for spaces that require silence. To remedy this condition, the north and south memorial pool utilize falling water to override the audible disturbances from ongoing traffic. In addition, the inner depths of the lot are not accessible by vehicles, creating a space that is exclusive to pedestrians. The trees and green strips are not landscaped in a repeating pattern; rather it utilizes the city’s grid as an organizational element. This creates intriguing spaces for the public while remaining contextually sensitive to the site’s regulating lines and views. One may question if this vast space is necessary, seeing as it does not formally entertain the idea of flexible programming, i.e. a stage or a communal garden. On the contrary, it is arguable that the lack of formal activity in this space further iterates the immersive experience that one may feel upon entering the site. Though holding formal events would engage the public, it is not a necessity in achieving the park’s intent of silence and contemplation. Any additives onto the park would be reducible in nature and disrupt the integrity of the void space. In summation, the memorial park’s design was positive in creating a seamless transition between the building and the immediate public through solid/void relations, acoustical considerations, and its green layout. In the One World Trade Center’s immediate context, urban design sets out to improve the quality of public spaces and engage the public realm. The building’s primary entry is located on the south, encouraging workers to travel through the park prior to arrival. There is also large overhang suspended above the entrance to provide shelter. With these elements, urban design is manifested in the accommodations

that the building provides for people both functionally and experientially. The podium’s facade is solid to represent fortitude at the building’s base but exercises a degree of partial reflectivity. This degree of transparency is also considerate to public safety (Jencks, 2008) as the lights from within the building illuminate the street at night. On the streetlevel, the podium’s geometry accommodates for circulation as the building’s corners are chamfered allowing pedestrians to efficiently traverse around the building’s perimeter. In terms of material selection, the base is cladded with glass which is smooth in visual tactility. Upon closer observation, the base may utilize its operable aluminum fins to increase privacy from the street. This partial solidity at the base in contrast with the reflectivity/transparency of the tower creates an illusion of scale to pedestrians. From the pedestrian’s perspective, the podium breaks the continuity of the surface and reduces the immediate visual scale of the building height. Overall, the One World Trade Center’s design was successful in engaging the public realm by emphasizing the quality of circulation paths, providing public safety through lighting, and contextualizing its scale through materiality. The One World Trade Center manifests in a responsible urban design as it operates contextually from the macroscopic urban fabric to the microscopic public realm. This scope is made apparent in its contextual massing, its solid/void relations, and its immediate interaction with the public realm. In the union of architecture and urban planning, urban design is manifested in the spaces it creates and the spaces the building occupies. The One World Trade Center exudes this trait on a pragmatic functional level and on a symbolic phenomenological level. Given the existing constraints brought upon by its historical urban context, the tower’s positioning, frontage on the street, and green space fully optimize the genius loci of the site within the urban milieu. Through this narrative, the One World Trade Center’s urban design is worthy of being a

precedent for responsible and informed design for planning the future cities of the Americas.

Figure 2 New York Skyline + Fabric

Figure 3 OWTC Figure Ground 1:10000


“... the union between architecture and urban design provided a solution to the void left behind”

Figure 4 OWTC Site Plan 1:5000 Bibliography Charney, I. (2014). Transforming a tower: How did the One World Trade Center eclipse the Freedom Tower?. Department of Geography and Environmental Studies. Area, 46: 249–255 Jencks, M., Kozak, D., Pattaranan, T. (2008). World Cities and Urban Form: Fragmented, polycentric, sustainable?. New York, NY: Routledge. Klerks, J. (2011). Planning the World Trade Center: 40 Years Apart. CTBUH Journal. Retrieved from

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Neill, W. (2004). Urban Planning and Cultural Identity. London, Great Britain: Routledge. Sorkin, I., Zukin, S. (2002). After the World Trade Center. New York, NY: Routledge.



The Chrysler Building BY DANIEL DRAB

All built form have relationships to the spaces that encompass them, relationships to other buildings, spaces, in both small and large context. Each relationship is different in how it responds to them, and how it can create new spaces in between. Relationships between buildings and spaces are always being created, expanding everyday. These sets of buildings and spaces together create towns, cities, campuses, the urban fabric in which we live. This is urban design. Architecture by itself, set on a blank canvas with no context is not considered urban design. Urban design requires relationships to other forms, buildings, spaces, basically a healthy relationship to the urban context in which the architecture exists. Architecture can be seen by itself as a discrete system, as well as an urban element, depending on the viewer’s’ relationship to the form. When viewed with the surrounding context, it becomes part of the city, or town in which it’s in, allowing it to be considered good urban design. Buildings that are located in the middle of the forest of the desert cannot be considered good urban design, as they have no built context to have a relationship with. To have good architecture, the functionality of the space and program must work for both the human element and with the site, adhering to circulation, relationships with parts of itself and of course being aesthetically pleasing within its environment. However, the reality is that even if the form or space created is in an urban environment, it does not exclusively mean that it can be considered good urban design. To have good urban design, the form and space must have connections with its entire context, relating to many ideas of design including materiality, form, the occupants, the

physical conditions of the site both previously existing and potentially changed/improved upon. Planning is an important part of urban design, allowing for the analysis of urban context. This includes both small scale projects such as a singular building or large scale projects with many proposed buildings that would be included in a master plan proposal. The structuring of the human and natural environment through planning can assist in a project becoming good urban design. All that is very applicable to a residential building or to a master plan design that strives to reach social and architectural equality within a city. However, during the roaring twenties in Manhattan, the socio-economical environment was less focused on constructing buildings that conformed to the city fabric and focused more on redefining the city. Architect William Van Allen was the mastermind behind the art-deco masterpiece of the 1930s. Construction of the Chrysler Building began in 1928, at a time when the wealthy were racing to build the world’s tallest building. Upon completion the Chrysler Building was the jewel in the crown of New York City’s skyline. Completed in 1930, the 77 story Art Deco skyscraper, the tallest in the world at the time, was finished and quickly became the symbol of big city living. It encompassed all the glamour and glory of living in the big apple . Its cloud penetrating spire and, steel-clad ornaments depicting gargoyles, and hubcaps came to represent the thrill of the Machine Age. By today’s standards, a building that does not relate to its urban surroundings, cannot be


Figure 1 Caption classified as good urban design. That much is irrefutable. However, of at the time the whole world is attempting to build the tallest, most impressive building. A world engaged in a Architectural Arms Race so to speak. Then perhaps a ludacris building is appropriate. A large shiny 77-storey monument might be the perfect response to a global desire for progress. I believe that the definition of urban design has to evolve along with the urban scale. The Chrysler Building, if proposed today would be seen as something that in fact is poor urban design, at the time of its conception was in fact a good urban design. As it pushed the urban scale upward, it embodied the American dream. A massive monument to an ever growing economy, with references to the automobile- the workhorse of the american people, the Chrysler building is probably one of the best pieces of architecture and urban design to come out of New York City in the 1930’s.

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Before he was awarded the project, William Van Alen was a successful architect and had won the recognition and approval of the world’s elite. He had come up with a few of

the design practices and standards that are still used to this day. For example, he came up with the idea to keeping the glazing flush with the outside face of an exterior wall. A common practice today, but he and his partners were the first to use it in New York City. Another thing he came up with was using glazing at corners of buildings. Before him, there was not a lot of use of wrap around windows. He proposed that the column take the load of the slabs and let the glazing wrap around the corner of the building exposing the structure. A gesture to honest architecture. The flush glazing at street level has also great implications of good urban design. It pays respect and emphasizes the street edge, which is a key component of urban design as it signifies that although the buildings along a particular street are not built by the same person, or at the same time, they still reflect the conscious effort of designers working as a team in creating a healthy and uniform urban environment. The Chrysler building has a bit of a complicated past. The original building at 405 Lexington Avenue was also designed by William Van Alen, and was also intended to be the tallest building in the world, however, it was designed to have “strong romantic imagery” (Stern, pp. 606.) All of this changed when Walter Chrysler bought the plans from William Reynolds. Chrysler wanted to build the tallest building in the world and was willing to do whatever it took. With the cunning mind of Alen, they had won the race to the top, beating out 44 Wall Street, which coincidently was designed by Alen’s rival. The Chrysler was completed in 1930, and for a short period held the title of the tallest building in the world until it was bested by the Empire State Building in 1931. However, the Chrysler building still holds the title of the tallest brick building in the world. William Van Alen’s building was a stunt to make the public look up [insert quote]. In an attempt to build the world’s tallest building he did not forget to consider the human scale and engaged the public from street level. The

9m 3m

18m 6m

ack line

Figure 1 Figure Ground map of Manhattan c.1920

Based on 1916 New York City zoning by-laws


In a city where buildings are competing for the spotlight, the Chrysler building stands among the most impressive. After having the spire restored in 2007, it shimmers in the high summer sun overlooking the rest of the city. Although it is not the tallest, it cannot be overshadowed, as good architecture and good urban design cannot be diminished, only complemented with the company of its surroundings. At the time of its design, the Chrysler building did not need to fit in within the rest of New York, it needed to stand out and be noticed. Good urban design is not a static concept, but an evolving one. Just as good architecture is contextual, urban design is based on the social climate of its surroundings.


45m Street wall

shiny gargoyles resembled hub caps, car ornaments and radiator caps- parts found on the cars that Chrysler built which were cruising past the building everyday. Alenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work engaged the vertical plane from grade, which is very important in urban design.

30m wide street


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Figure 1 Figure Ground map of Manhattan c.2014

Bibliography Bayer, P. (1992). Art Deco architecture: design, decoration, and detail from the twenties and thirties. Harry N Abrams Incorporated. Dupré, J. (1996). Skyscrapers. Black Dog & Leventhal Pub. Gray, S. (2001). Architects on architects. McGraw-Hill Professional. Lash, S. (1990). Postmodernism as humanism? Urban space and social theory. Theories of Modernity and Postmodernity, 45–61. Laskis, A. (2004). The Chrysler Building. Retrieved from uploads/2014/02/12151453_Laskis_Adam_Chrysler_Building_2.pdf Newman, B. (2012). Where the Art Is. Retrieved from grants/press/371/original/LaumierSculpture_MediaCov_Architect_sNewspaper_20120905.pdf Robinson, C., & Bletter, R. H. (1975). Skyscraper style: art deco, New York. Oxford University Press. Thiel-Siling, S., & Bachmann, W. (1998). Icons of architecture: the 20th century. Prestel Pub. Van Alen, W. (1930). The Structure and Metal Work of the Chrysler Building. In Architectural Forum (Vol. 53, pp. 493–498). Waldvogel, P., & others. (2009). Chrysler Building, 2008. Lexington, 3rd, 2nd, 1st Aves. Retrieved from Bascomb, Neal (2005-05-26), “For the Architect, a Height Never Again to Be Scaled”, The New York Times, retrieved 2015-09-20 Dunlap, David W. (September 1, 2005). “In a City of Skyscrapers, Which Is the Mightiest of the High? Experts Say It’s No Contest”. The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-20 Lewis, Michael J. (June 19, 2005). “An enduring hood ornament”. U-T San Diego. Archived from the original on May 19, 2009. Retrieved 2015-09-20. Noted in Kevin Walsh, Forgotten New York: The Ultimate Urban Explorer’s Guide to All Five Boroughs, 2006:171. Nash, Eric Peter; McGrath, Norman (1999). Manhattan Skyscrapers. Princeton Architectural Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-56898-181-9. Retrieved 2015-09-20.




Toronto had been expanding gradually since 1834, with East Toronto and Moore Park in 1908 and 1912 respectively (City of Toronto Archive Annexing Map), slowly becoming the city that it is today. Shortly after the end of the Second World War, Toronto had an increasing number of people that were deciding to make it their new home. As the city began to grow in population, the demand for housing within the inner city core grew as well. However, with a growing city also comes the responsibility to maintain the city and its citizens, whether it’s for new infrastructure, health plans or housing (Purdy, 2006, p.52). Regent Park was Canada’s first public housing project, a solution to a slum that was riddled with poverty and poor infrastructure (James, 2010, p.69). The Regent Park public housing plan was to be fresh restart for the area, with public spaces within the project to enable a community oriented living environment. Several decades after the project was constructed, the buildings and spaces around them had begun to be used in a manner that was not originally anticipated, as social and political problems had begun to take shape. The 1940’s Regent Park development changed the way that architects and urban planners saw public community house planning, and how the social aspect of the project changed throughout time, resulting in what was Toronto’s most violent neighborhood. Before Regent Park had been realized, the area on which it stood was once known as Cabbagetown, a residential neighborhood just west of the Don River. Cabbagetown was a poor workers slum, and was deemed unfit for living. This area housed many Irish immigrants

working in the nearby brickworks, breweries and other companies in Toronto. The houses in this neighborhood were constructed in the 1820’s (Samsun, 2012, p.5), and were primarily singles and duplexes between two and three stories in height constructed of mainly wood with some being brick. These dwellings had begun to become unsafe, crowded and unsanitary. The houses often had no running water or electricity, while several families would be living in a single home that was meant for a family of four. With problems of overcrowding causing fire safety hazards, structural failures within the houses, and a lack of sanitary needs for the Torontonians that lived there, Cabbagetown had become a slum of Toronto (Micallef, 2012). The city realized that they had to do something about these issues; therefore several architectural firms submitted plans and ideas of what they believed could revitalize the area. The final decision was made to use Page and Steele’s master plan of Regent Park, under chief architect J.E. Hoare. (City of Toronto Archives, 2013). Regent Park was to be a public housing project comprised of many large block shaped low-rise apartments arranged around central courtyards. Although the original Cabbagetown reached farther north and south than the project covered, Regent Park, a 69 acre, 7,500 person redevelopment, covered the worst section of the slum (Loney, 2013). This area was framed by Gerrard Street to the north, Dundas Street East to the south, and River and Parliament Streets to the east and west respectively. Construction began in 1948, after the demolition of the Cabbagetown slum the previous year (Loney, 2013). While the first livable space in Regent Park was created in


Figure 1

Figure-Ground of Cabbagetown in 1923

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1949 (Regent Park North)(Purdy, 2006, p.45), the entire project was not completed until 1959 (Regent Park South) (James, 2012, p.2). Regent Park was designed originally as a low-income solution to control the slum-like issues seen in Cabbagetown via uniform architecture and by being state supported and regulated. This urban planning concept however created a distinction between the rest of Toronto and Regent Park, which in time would result in a negative bias toward the project. People that lived in the slums were to be the ones that were to live there when it was completed since the area was a redevelopment scheme. However by the completion date, only 23% of former residents of the slum decided to stay (Purdy, 2004, p.523). Many of the other families were not happy with the compensation by the city for their houses in the slum-clearance area, and decided to start an organization named the Regent Park Ratepayers’ Association (RPRA) in an effort to have a say in the development process and overthrow the construction of Regent Park. (Purdy, 2004, 523) This movement was without success, however it brought attention to the people who once lived in the slums and hated being stigmatized by the word. Regent Park was under attack by social organizations before it was even constructed, helping keep the stigma of the slum neighborhood before it, and as a result paved the way for the eventually unsuccessful project.

Figure 2

Figure-Ground of Regent Park North in 1959

Later on in 1951, the group became known as Regent Park Ratepayers’ and Tenants’ Association (RPRTA) fighting for things such as television in the projects, a luxury that was banned by The Housing Authority of Ontario (HAT), the organization that oversaw Regent Park North - Regent Park South was overseen by the Ontario Housing Corporation (OHC) (Purdy, 2006, p.51). This was a success after much debate and threats to the tenants of Regent Park, and as a result the RPRTA died down (1, Purdy, p.525). Many years later, in the mid 60’s, there began talks of the OHC also being the provincial body to oversee Regent Park North, something that the tenants were not content with at all. The takeover happened, and the residents of the neighborhood began to organize once again (Micallef, 2012), to “keep sincerity between tenants and administration” in order to maintain control of their environment and rights (Purdy, 2004, 526). A group named Belvins Place Association of Some Tenants (BLAST), 1968, fought for the OHC’s more recreational areas for children to play. Many of the residents marched, and raised $2,700 for the construction of a local on-site swimming pool (Purdy, 2004, 528). This group also successfully created the organization Regent Park Community Improvement Association (RPCIA), aimed at bettering the living conditions that were then becoming

a problem in Regent Park. The ideas put out by RPCIA included “all areas human rights, education, recreation, culture and relaxation; for our senior citizens, dignity and pride in an age of materialism”(Purdy, 2004, p.529). This movement eventually led to the newsletter of Regent Park, and the notion to the city that the people of Regent Park are “not second class citizens”(Purdy, 2004, p.530). Accusations by the RPCIA were published stating that the OHC was not assisting Regent Park and it’s people adequetly, and that it will be the thier fault that “in the end [it] might get violent” (Purdy, 2004, 530). These events were a hint as to what was to come in the next several years. The comment was rebutted by the OHC that the Regent Park residents should “help themselves in a democratic and constructive manner”(Purdy, 2004, 531). As well, other issues that were brought up included but were not limited to, garbage, laundry rooms, fair rents, and other internal conflicts that tenants were facing in relation to problems because of disagreements with the government. Many of the tenants at this time were living on very little income, or welfare, making it difficult to pay for their rent while still being able to live.

Some of these problems were resolved but in the end the lack of help from the government led to dismayfrom the residents (James, 2010, p.75). By this time, many of the tenants lost interest in maintaining an organization to rally for what they deserved. The distrust and lack of willingness to work together between the government and the tenants left Regent park at a standstill, in which both them and the Regent Park development were treated as social failures, which helped decide the future views of the soon to be failed project The master plan of this project was the first of its kind in Canada, allowing for a community within a larger city. Whilst keeping a separation between the two by creating courtyards between buildings residing at the edge of the plan. The layout of the masses was designed to enable more community gatherings and interaction between the people of Regent Park (Micallef, 2012). When the plan for Regent Park was designed, one of the goals for the area was to create a community within Toronto for the working class people with families to raise. Regent Park would enable the people that worked these labor intensive jobs to retreat

Community Green Space

2 Storey Townhomes

Riv er

Str e


3 Storey Appartments


Ammenity Spaces (Pool, etc)


e Str rd

a err

6 Storey Appartments


e Str as





Pa rl


en tS tre


Figure 3

Regent Park North before public spaces were removed


“The project was there soon after riddled with crime thanks to the political, social and physical attributes of it’s past and it’s planning in Toronto.” 1949 RPRA was created, combatting the construction of Regent Park. The first families move into the project

1930’s Talks begin of reworking the slums of Cabbagetown

1945 Second World War ends

1947 Paige and Steele’s master plan accepted, demolition of Cabbagetown

1951 RPRA became known as Regent Park Ratepayers’ and Tenants’ Association

1959 Regent Park housing project completed

1968 Belvins Place Association of Some Tenants (BLAST) fought against OHC for more recreational areas, eventually raising enough money for a swimming pool.

1963-68 Ontario Housing Corporation (OHC) begins talks of taking over Regent Park North, causing the residents to organize once again after several years at peace.

1973 The failure of Regent Park as a public housing project was known across Canada

1970 Uprising begins for the community of Regent Park and the disatisfaction of the tenants for the lack of government suport for the project. Political and Social battles ensue throughout

2005 Plans begin to redevelop Regent Park

1980-90 Violence and crime had spread through Regent Park, steming from problems caused by the goverment that was unwilling to help fix the previous decade.

2015 Demolition of the original Regent Park project continues as the revitalization of the area continues in phase 3 of construction. The last standing Regent Park buildings boarder Gerrard and River streets to the North and East.

Figure 4

Timeline of Regent Park

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to a quiet family oriented nieghborhood, with large open fields, amenity spaces and gardens to grow food (Loney, 2012). While the intention of these spaces was to benefit the families that were a part of the neighborhood, many of them were never able to experience them. There are several reasons to blame for the lack of community spaces that were once planned. To begin, Regent Park was built for people of lower income, who worked close to the places they were living and did not have the need for cars. The belief was that the nearby streetcars would be plenty enough for access to the downtown core when needed. However, as technology became more affordable, many more people were able to afford cars, including the residents of Regent Park. The original master plan did not account for the spaces to store automobiles on site for the residents. The plan simply included a limited amount of small laneways accessing the core of the housing project. The lack of parking became a problem for the city and therefore, it was decided that parking lots would be constructed, at the cost of the green spaces

that once helped make Regent Park an ideal place to raise a family (James, 2012, p.5). Also, the low-income tenants of Regent Park had to find ways to save money wherever they could, and taking from the history of Cabbagetown, began to plant intricate gardens with what land they had left. These gardens provided food for the people, as well as created several small informal businesses such as farmers markets within the grounds of the project (James, 2012, p.9). Although these were successful, the tenants still had problems with the lack of space for children. Several years later in 1968, petitions had started to include more recreational areas for four thousand children to play in the area, after a child was killed on the way back from a swimming pool across the city (Purdy, 2004, 528). Tenants of Regent Park had begun to revolt against how the neighborhood was being maintained, and had started several tenant led organizations to showcase their concerns and issues with the way Regent Park was being both stigmatized and taken care of. In addition, the apartments and townhomes

were of lack luster quality, built quickly and cheaply to make the most profit while housing as many people as possible. These buildings were designed in the modernist movement, an era in which large plain repeated building blocks were prevalent in architecture. The mundane design, arrangement and repetition of the buildings was very basic and bland in the overall master plan (TCCLD, 2012, p.5). This layout also enabled the violence and crime that came in the 80’s, due to the arrangement of the buildings and the lack of access to the interior courtyards (Loney, 2012). This allowed for gang and drug activity without the aid of police to prevent it because there were many places to hide in the project (TCCLD, 2012, 10). Regent Park’s layout and design was one of the flaws that led to its downfall.

specifically at the governmental level. The project of Regent Park was there soon after riddled with crime thanks to the political, social and physical attributes of its past and its planning in Toronto. Plans to redevelop the area started in 2005 (Samsun, 2012, p.5) when Daniels Corporation bought the public housing community, planning on redevelopment with mixed income housing (James, 2012, p.9). The plan is to go down in five phases, of which the project is currently in the middle of phase three. The new development has been integrated with the city in a much better way, as opposed to the original Regent Park which did not relate to its urban context through social, political and physical means, therefore separating it from the city.

The idea of the social failure of Regent Park was by 1973 known across Canada, Bibliography Barc, Agatha. BlogTO (May 17th, 2010), Nostalgia Tripping: Remembering Regent Park, Retrieved from < city/2010/05/nostalgia_tripping_remembering_regent_park/> Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum. 201 Winchester Street, Toronto, Ontario. <> City of Toronto Archives (Sept 19th, 2013), Intention to Designate under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act – 14 Blevins Place, Retrieved from <> James, Ryan K.. Routledge (Feb 2010), From ‘slum clearance’ to ‘revitalisation’: planning, expertise and moralregulation in Toronto’s Regent Park, Retrieved from<> James, Ryan K. (July 2012), LIVING THROUGH “REVITALIZATION”: YOUTH,LIMINALITY, AND THE LEGACY OF SLUM CLEARANCEIN PRESENT-DAY REGENT PARK, Retrieved from < Liminality_and_the_Legacy_of_Slum_Clearance_in_Present-Day_Regent_Park> Loney, Heather. Global News (June 13, 2012), Background: Toronto’s Regent Park, Retrieved from <> Micallef, Shawn. Metcalf Foundation (2012), Regent Park: A Story of Collective Impact, retrieved from < wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Regent-Park.pdf> Purdy, Sean. (2004), By the People, for the People: Tenant Organizing in Toronto’s Regent Park Housing Project in the 1960s and 1970s. Retrieved from Park_Housing_Project_in_the_1960s_and_1970s Purdy, Sean. (2006), Ripped Off ’ By the System: Housing Policy, Poverty, and Territorial Stigmatization in Regent Park Housing Project, 1951-1991. Retrieved from <> Samson, Murchida Mueen, (2012), Toronto Centre for Community Learning And Development Immigrant Women Intergration Program. Retrieved from <> Toronto Centre For Community Learning & Development (2012), Regent Park Neighborhood, Retrieved from < wp-content/uploads/2012/11/RegentPark_2011-12_CRNA-Murshida.pdf> Toronto Community Housing (September 2007), Part 1: Context; Regent Park Social Development Plan.




La Grande Bibliothèque du Quebec is a public library located in Downtown Montreal. The library is part of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). The importance of the building is that it does not only function as a public library in Montreal but it also represents the social and cultural identity of French Canada. Among all the books and collections, the library owns the Quebec’s heritage collection: Collection universelle de prêt et de référence and the collection of the Bibliothèque central de Montréal. These collections are made up by a large number of heritage materials consisting of printed, audiovisual, and digital media. Through a historical analysis and a study of the building and its context, the goal of this paper is to explore how La Grande Bibliothèque responds to the city and its citizens. Also, it is of importance to analyze how the location and the history has influenced the creation and design of the building. Based upon the distinctive characteristics that make the library significant for the region, this research will aim to demonstrate how La Grande Bibliothèque represents an approach to urbanism which considers the history, the place, and the people of French Canada. La Grande Bibliothèque is a fairly recent building-just completed by 2005. However, it is heavily linked with the history of libraries in Montreal and the preservation of the French language. This is due to the fact that the main purpose of the building is to bring together two heritage collections of books and house them both under the same roof: The Bibliothèque nationale du Québec

and the (BnQ) Bibliothèque centrale de Montréal (BcM). These two collections are representative of the cultural history and the development of a unique FrenchCanadian identity and language. La Grande Bibliothèque, therefore “is not simply a library, but also a building, an architectural intervention into the city, and a monument that grounds Québec’s existence in material reality” (Mickiewicz, May 2013, p. 62). In this sense, La Grande Bibliothèque as a constructed object “also testifies to values; it constitutes memory and permanence” of the cultural changes and transformations of Montreal and its citizens. (Aldo, 1982, p. 34) On another level, La Grande Bibliothèque is not uniquely related to the history of libraries in Montreal or the heritage collections but it also connects historically to its context in terms of the relationship to the neighborhood and the site. The library is located in an area that is known as the Latin Quarter in the West side of Montreal close to the intersection or Rue Saint Dennis and Rue Berri. Throughout the years, the site has been distinguished by its many cultural transformations which are parallel to the evolution of the city of Montreal. “The Architectural history of this particular quartier exhibits all the complexity, tension and contradictions characteristic of past and contemporary Québécois identity and citizenship.” (Mickiewicz, May 2013, p. 96) This quarter, for instance, has witnessed the struggle of the Quebecois to succeed over the Anglo-




La Grande Bibliothèque Figure 1 Figure Ground of Site in 2002 (Left) and existing figure ground (right) . Notice that the Palais du Commerce had been demolished before construction begun. speaking West elite. It also represents the dream to achieve a francophone downtown in the city. (Mickiewicz, May 2013, p. 97) Another characteristic that makes the site relevant is the many Cathedrals that surround it. They mark a period when Revivalism was the leading movement of Urbanism in Montreal. Most of these Cathedrals and religious buildings have “defined the neighborhood as a district of reform and charity and significantly tie the francophone community to the clergy.” (Mickiewicz, May 2013, p. 97) Furthermore, the site in which the library is located, used to be where the Palais du Commerce was located. The Palais du Commerce was a building which belongs to the Modernist Movement. It was built as a Show Mart. The program of the Palais resembled La Grande Bibliothèque as it had meeting rooms, projection facilities, restaurants, retail stores and recreation-based enterprises. “The Palais du Commerce became not only an urban gathering space but also a market for used cultural commodities, that were in large

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part specific to Québec’s cultural heritage and were possibly just as efficient at gathering Québec’s national treasures as the Grande Bibliothèque itself.” (Mickiewicz, May 2013, p. 106) Unfortunately, the Palaise du Commerce was demolished before the construction of the La Grande Bibliothèque. The Latin Quarter characterizes itself by the fact that many buildings have not been maintained adequately or renovated in many years and require urgent repairs (Mickiewicz, May 2013, p. 94). As result the architecture of the BAnQ contrasts with the urban fabric in its physical characteristics and architecture. In fact, this has been one of the main critiques to the building after it was built. This is because the Grande Bibliothèque is not meant to be a contextual representation of the neighborhood, instead it is meant to represent the character of the neighbourhood or the spirit of the site (as Rossi Aldo calls it the Genius Loci. (Aldo, 1982).) In terms of its physical connections with the context, this site is characterized by its

proximity of L’Université du Québec à Montréal, the CEGEP du Vieux-Montréal the Central Bus Terminal, and the UQAM-Berri metro station which makes the building easily accessible on foot or by transit. The universities have helped transform the neighborhood into a “social and cultural hub.” Also “the older buildings have been transformed into cafés, bars and boutiques, and unused lots were reconfigured as outdoor public spaces.” (Mickiewicz, May 2013, p. 98) The construction of La Grande Bibliothèque as a center of culture for the city has helped enhance this idea. In fact, on April 23rd, 2005, (Mickiewicz, May 2013, p. 14) just after the opening of the GB, Montreal was given the title of the World Book Capital by UNESCO. It could be said, therefore, that the GB did not only succeed in integrating itself to the neighbourhood and context but it also became an entirely new cultural institution that branded Montreal as a cultural hub. Cultural value and people become a central theme for the conception of La Grande Bibliothèque. In fact, almost as important as the collections themselves, the building finds

the opportunity to reconcile the public realm and the interior cultural space. The building achieves this by the creation of “collapsed spaces” between the street and the public spaces inside the library (K., 2006, p. 4). This is emphasized by the many entrances from the building to the Berri-UQAM metro station located below. Thus, merging the interior of the building to the public domain at the underground level. It also allows the formation of a dynamic environment where one might find a café, retail stores, exhibition spaces, an auditorium, meeting rooms, etc. Therefore, while all these activities are happening at the street or underground level they are also occurring inside the library. La Grande Bibliothèque does not only engage the public space by creating direct connections but it also attempts to revitalize the surrounding streets. On the east side of the building, overlooking Rue Savoie, (which is a narrow lane of over 3m wide) there are vitrines and small shops that currently function as book stores (Mickiewicz, May 2013, p. 143).

Rue Saint-Denis

Avenue Savoie




Rue O

Boul de Maisonneuve E.

Booksellers Alley

Rue Berri 1:3000

Figure 2 Plan view of the site displaying the immediate context and main avenues.


“Cultural value and people become a central theme for the conception of La Grande Bibliothèque ”


Figure 1 Section of LaGrande Bibliothèque displaying circulation of the street, subway, and interior of the building. These book stores help animate the “Booksellers Alley” which otherwise would be isolated public spaces. Additionally, located on the north side of the building, there are sculpture gardens by the French Canadian artist Roger Gaudreau. Inspired by the French Royal Gardens in the same fashion as the City beautiful movement did by using the park or garden to create a focal point and frame the street. This integration of the public has been part of the success of the La Grande Bibliothèque. In fact, the public was involved in the design process from the very beginning. An example of this is the many public hearings that took place for the selection of the site of La Grande Bibliothèque. Most people overwhelmingly favoured the site on Berri Street with a 70% of the votes (Mickiewicz, May 2013, p. 102). This was mostly due to the ease of access and the proximity to the Université du Québec à Montréal. As a result, the decision of the site was a purely “public decision rather than a governmental one.” (Mickiewicz, May 2013,

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p. 102). For the very first time in Montreal, “Architects and landscape architects looked for public guidance” in order to “willingly incorporate ideas they didn’t think up, and interact with community leaders.” At La Grande Bibliothèque, “this approach” resulted in “more satisfying and enduring results.” (Dobbins, 2009) In general, the reason of the success of the La Grande Bibliothèque as an urban artifact is the fact that the architect’s approach considered all the many aspects of the site including the people, the city, the historical and cultural values and the neighborhood. The result has been the creation of a building that represents the Quebecois and reflects the social and economic characteristics of its environment as well as enhancing the notion of culture in the city. The value of La Grande Bibliothèque resides in the fact that it is not simply a building of material characteristics, but instead it embodies an idea: the idea of the Québécois nationalism.

Bibliography Aldo, R. (1982). The Architecture of the City. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. Anonymous. (2010). La Grande Bibliotheque du Quebec. The Canadian Architect, 55 (5), 46. Bethiaume, G. R. (2014). Bibliothe`que et Archives nationales du Que´bec: Convergence and the path of innovation. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, Vol. 40(3), 182–185. Blore, S. (2000, July 29). Architects in our good books: Grande Bibliotheque du Quebec a step in ascent of husband and wife team. The Gazette, p. B1. Dobbins, M. (2009). Urban design and people. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. du Toit Allsopp Hillier. (2004, February). Fort York Neighbourhood Public Realm Master Plan and architectural design guilines. Jacobs, J. (2011). The Life and Death of American Cities. New York, New York: Modem Library Edition. K., F. (2006). Patkau Architects. New York, New York: The Monacelli Press Inc. MacLennan, B. (2007). The Library and Its Place in Cultural Memory: The Grande Bibliothèque du Québec in the Construction of Social and Cultural Identity. Libraries & the Cultural Record, Vol. 42 (4) 349-386. Mickiewicz, P. (May 2013). The Bias of Libraries: Montreal’s Grande Bibliothèque. Montreal: De partment of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. RAIC. (2010). RAIC Canada. Retrieved from Governor General’s Medals in Architecture-2010 Receipient. Rochon, L. (2005, May 2014). Definitely one for the books. The Globe and Mail, p. R10. Samenak, S. (2000, April 11). Library architects’ list down to five: Panel looks from Paris to B.C. for designers of Grande Bibliotheque du Quebec. The Gazette, p. A4. Smith K., &. F. (2007). Library Design. New York, New York: teNues Publishing UK ltd.




The purpose of this essay is to examine and investigate the influence of urban planning and design in the construction and perception of the new addition to the National film archives building of Mexico, now renamed the 21st Century National Film Archives. (Cineteca Nacional Siglo XXI de Mexico) This investigation will be realized through three different perspectives; historical, socioeconomic, and immediate impact. The historical aspect will be evaluating the relationships of major movements in the urban planning of Mexico City, as well as the unsustainable urban growth and economic forces involved. The socioeconomic impact will assess the economic, social and cultural responses caused by historical conditions and movements in Mexico City. Lastly, the direct impact will measure the cultural and social connections that the National Film Archives offers to its direct context. This will evaluate the relationship of the contemporary design addition with Mexico’s Hispanic architecture, as well as the relationship of the architectural addition with its host building. The findings will challenge the idea of Mexico’s developing cultural identity through contemporary or “stand-alone” architecture as well as the socioeconomic impact on the city. Latin-America has generally been affected by lack of order in developments that involve urban growth (Sanchez, 2012, p.40). It is often heavily influenced by the consequences of immigration, industrialization (Griffin & Ford, 1980, p.398), and in the past decades, globalization (Valenzuela, 2013, p.2) since many of the major cities have been experiencing rapid

urban changes through short spans of time. During colonial times, LatinAmerican cities were thoroughly monitored by the laws of Spanish conquistadors. They regulated specific design traditions based on Roman planning such as the requirement of a geometrically regular grid pattern with a central plaza (Griffin & Ford, 1980, p.398). Decades later, the influence of Anglo-Americans in Latin American cities became obvious. The creation and eventual expansion of the central business district into “North American downtowns” became noticeable in economically thriving South American cities. These “downtowns” came to replace the central Spanish plaza with a variety of skyscrapers, commercial towers and entertainment buildings (Griffin & Ford, 1980, p.399). The most representative example of this economic growth is in Mexico City. Its central business district had expanded during the years from Zocalo (the Hispanic-traditional core) to almost a mile south (Griffin & Ford, 1980, p.400) and beyond. The growth of suburban movements in Latin America was minimal compared to North American planning movements. This was due to the lack of national implementation of public services, like water and electricity, with the exception of a few wealthy suburban areas (Griffin & Ford, 1980, p.400). Also, the variety of architectural styles were minimal compared to North American cities. For example, until the 1920’s the traditional block of single or multi-story Spanish courtyard houses were predominant components of the urban fabric. Many expanding cities like Mexico City started to experience rapid urban growth due to high birth rates and immigration


Google Maps. (2015)

Google Maps. (2015) Xoco Area The primary entrance (Coyoacan Avenue) Secondary street (Real Mayorazgo)

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Figure 1 Figure and ground with the building

Figure 2 Xoco: Direct proximities

from rural areas to the cities. This unsustainable urban growth resulted in the gentrification of areas. At first such areas developed in big pockets within the city, and after the 1970â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s these areas were pushed to the peripheries (Griffin & Ford, 1980, p.404). Gentrified areas were composed of self-built homes since lowincome and government subsidized housing were still too expensive for many residents. The result was a socioeconomically polarized city (Mateos & Aguilar, 2013, p12).

the public and the private sector. A conceptual vertical axis, distant from its direct context at ground level (Valenzuela, 2013, p.2).

Globalization has had a major impact in territorial organization of Mexico City. Its original objective was to create a homogeneous space, but instead it encouraged a strong social division and heterogeneity in close proximity contexts. Globalization has brought megaprojects catering only to the global and high-tomiddle income class. As a result, the growth of land value in adjacent areas and the creation of privatized and gated communities (Valenzuela, 2013, p.5) imposed a physical division between

This consequence of Globalization is evident in the core of Mexico City. La Cineteca Nacional is located in the historic core, the Benito Juarez Borough, more specifically in the Xoco area (Figure 1). Land privatization and heterogeneity, as explained above, is prominent since La Cineteca is surrounded by institutional buildings meshed together with a range of income housing. The apparent reduction of segregation is in fact diffused throughout the city in even smaller pockets reflecting the model of the scattered pattern plan of segregation (Mateos, Aguilar, 2013, p 11). The area of Xoco and La Cinetecaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s neighboring buildings are an example of this issue where segregation of low income and self-made housing is spread and directly bordering middle income gated-communities and institutional buildings (Figure 2).

The last architectural addition (Figure 3) of La Cineteca was described by the architectural record as an “abusing sexy hub” that turned archival buildings into a public and welcoming place for everyone interested (Hanley, 2014, p.70). The built project is a “master plan for the 311,000-square foot complex that expanded the Cineteca’s facilities and gave them the feeling of an urban park” (Hanley, 2014, p.70) with four new theatres, a bookstore, café, restaurant and an ice cream bar. The entirety of its program is unified by a big lawn which is accessible by any person of the public realm to view outdoor films for free (figure 4).

CONACULTA (the national council for culture and arts of Mexico) opened La Cineteca Nacional in 1974 in Churubusco, its initial location. It was moved to Xoco after a fire caused by film preservation chemicals destroyed most of the building. The reconstruction was designed by the Mexican architect Manuel Rocha in 1984 and since, La Cineteca has thrived with its mission to preserve the national film identity of Mexico, as well as to promote film culture. Mexico has been one of the major and most influential television and film industries exporting to the rest of Latin America (Mantecon, 2003, p.5), making this building of continental importance. The architect responsible for the addition, Michael Rojkind, from Rojkind Arquitectos, an emerging Mexican firm, explained in an interview that the hosting building designed by Manuel Rocha “committed all the sins of 20th century car-centric planning….” (Hanley, 2014, p.70). The original Cineteca complex was composed of four theater buildings, a number of archive buildings, and the majority of the area was taken up by surface parking (Hanley, 2014, p.70), all within a gated-community.

1 Primary entrance 2 Secondary entrance


Host buildings Addition 1 New theatres 2 Parking 3 Outdoor Lawn theatre Canopy

The social inclusiveness of the design by Rojkind Arquitectos is a clear response of the wide economic gap, and the socioeconomic segregation previously mentioned. Even though La Cineteca is a cultural mega-project, it connects both axes; the privatized-vertical with the direct urban-horizontal. In terms of design, the architecture of the addition might read as a stand-alone building. Since it is designed to highlight the uniqueness of itself, and to differ from its context. The building is different from its direct urban fabric, middle income housing,

3 1


1 1

Figure 3 Re-organization of program


“Master plan for the 311,000-square foot complex that expanded the Cineteca’s facilities and gave them the feeling of an urban park”

(2011, Jaime Navarro Arquine) Figure 4 Creation of public spaces

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and small apartment buildings. However, La Cineteca blends with the overall scale of the Xoco area, many institutional buildings generally mid-rise buildings, meshed with small scale housing. In general, La Cineteca does not stand out for its exclusiveness, instead it stands out for being a cultural niche, an attractive point for congregation, regardless of visitors’ social standing. La Cineteca faces two streets. The primary entrance is facing the Coyoacan Avenue, where unfortunately the architects of the addition placed a four storey parking lot, degrading the urban streetscape with an industrial raw feeling. In contrast, the secondary street (Real Mayorazgo) opens up to the free urban theatre giving the city a number of posters and historic pictures all along the perimeter.

In terms of accessibility, La Cineteca can be reached by public transit, foot or car. There is a pedestrian bridge that crosses the busy avenue of Coyoacan. To conclude, historically Latin-America has been dealing with rapid uncontrolled growth of highly populated cities often caused by economic factors like globalization and international affairs. Mexico City is one such example in which rapid growth brought a number of new social problems and compounded existing tensions. Megaprojects often benefit a small percentage of the population. In many cases, harming the urban fabric by creating a pattern of micro-pockets of gentrified areas. La Cineteca Nacional tries to embody

social change by incorporating the design of the canopy into an exterior movie theater, as well other amenities that are open to the public. The building acts as a community hub, highlighting the organization’s and CONACULTA’s missions, now more than ever. However, the design doesn’t respond positively towards the streetscape, giving the city the face of a parking lot, neglecting completely the

importance of an urban corridor. The design of La Cineteca Nacional is an example of positive improvements of cultural buildings in South America, however, it shows that there is a lot more to implement in terms of zoning rules, street-scape, and street design in cities as congested as Mexico City.

Bibliography Cox, S. (n.d.). Michel Rojkind is making a name for himself and Modernism in Mexico City. Architectural Record, 193(12), 106-111. Retrieved October 15, 2015, from Ebscohost. Ford, L. (n.d.). A New and Improved Model of Latin American City Structure. Geographical Review, 86(3), 437-437. Retrieved October 15, 2015, from ProQuest. Griffin, E., & Ford, L. (n.d.). A Model of Latin American City Structure. Geographical Review, 70(4), 397397. Retrieved October 20, 2015. Hanley, W. (n.d.). The Urban Theater: A firm transforms Mexico’s national cinema into a bustling, sexy civic hub. Architectural Record, 202(1), 70-70. Retrieved October 18, 2015, from Ebscohost. Mantecón, A. (2003). New Processes of Urban Segregation: The Reorganization of Film Exhibition in Mexico City. Television &amp; New Media, 4(1), 9-23. Retrieved October 25, 2015. Mateos, P., & Guillermo, A. (n.d.). Socioeconomic Segregation in Latin American Cities. A Geodemographic Application in Mexico City. Journal of Settlements and Spatial Planning, 4(1), 11-25. Retrieved October 15, 2015. Sánchez, D. (2012). Aproximaciones a los conflictos sociales y propuestas sostenibles de urbanismo y ordenación del territorio en México. Res42 Revista De Estudios Sociales, 35, 40-56. Retrieved October 10, 2015. Valenzuela, A. (2013). Dispositivos de la globalización: La construcción de grandes proyectos urbanos en Ciudad de México. Eure (santiago), 101-118. Retrieved October 20, 2015, from ProQuest Environmental Science Collection. Arquine, N.J (2011). Cineteca Nacional S. XXI / Rojkind Arquitectos [Online Image]. Retrived November 2, 2015 from http :// Google Maps. (2015). [La Cineteca Nacional, Mexico city, Mexico] [Street map]. Retrieved from https://,-99.1644897,18.25z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x85d1ffc08f0eae11:0xb0ccd05d5f549b73




Finnish architect Viljo Revell’s Toronto City Hall was erected in 1965 as the winning design submission for Toronto’s renowned 1956 City Hall Competition. His design composition was intended to become a post-modern hallmark in a city that has been plagued with unimaginative architecture, and in a country which city halls have lacked civic engagement. Revell’s intent to attain “functional clarity and visual significance of a public building” was derived from modernist design fundamentals and prioritized around civility (Polo, 1994, p.42). In contrast, his impact on urban architecture in Toronto is limited to his design parameters, which exclude the established cityscape, instead of integrating the urban condition. This relationship is clearly expressed through its two concave towers, which are cladded with concrete on the outside, towards the city, and with glazing on the interior, positioned over the council chamber and civic square. From these design attributes, it becomes clear that Revell envisioned city hall as a separate entity for Torontonians to assemble for both human and political programming. The Congres Internationale d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) heavily influenced the Toronto City Hall Competition as its forward looking approach to social design took root. CIAM suggested that a “new

monumentality” was needed in cities and argued the need for planning with human values in mind (Kapelos, 2015). CIAM worried that architecture was not addressing the “sensory dimension” of society and that design will only be accomplished when such schemes promote human interaction (Kapelos, 2015). On September 24th, 1956, Toronto City Council called for an open international design competition called “The Heart of the City” for its newly budgeted city hall (Armstrong, 2015). Adjacent to the current city hall of that time, lay a newly cleared thirteenacre lot residing at 100 Queen St. West which acts as the site parameters of the competition. After the analysis of 510 preliminary entries, Viljo Revell’s futuristic scheme took home the top prize. Incorporating the ideals of the time, the new building features large and pure form towers, with a saucer shaped counsel chamber atop a podium which acts as a connection point. A large and open space civic square lay in-front of the building, with a surrounding elevated walkway and an open ramp to allow visitors to easily scale the complex. Toronto City Hall accurately displays the architectural movement of modernism and creates a “new empiricism” of social interaction and activity (Polo, 1994). The design attracts people from all four corners in addition to the entire south side of the lot, making it easily accessible


Figure 1 Toronto Figure-Ground 1950

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from the city nodes of the Queen and Bay intersection and Queen and University Avenue. Torontonians, especially architectural academics, were excited but skeptical of the design selection. In a TV interview conducted by CBC in 1958, many Torontonians described the building as “too futuristic,” “Like a UFO has landed” and “just right for Toronto” (Kapelos, 2015). In 1959, Canadian Architect issued an invited commentary from Sigfriend Giedion, and competition entrant Jaqueline Trywhitt, in which they concentrated on “monumentality, the human experience of modernity, and the idea of the civic square” (Armstrong, 2015). They were asked question such as “whether city hall and square should be designed so that it would be a continuation

of Toronto’s urban structure, closely in line with the urban fabric, or whether it should be understood as a district place and complete within itself ” (Armstrong, 2015). It became evident that while there are unresolved problems in Revells scheme, such as a largely under programmed civic square, the “compositional relationship of volumes to each other, and the relationship of volumes to planes” was a strong element in the winning submission (Armstrong, 2015). The placement of the counsel in relation to the site is well thought-through and easy to understand once in the space. The small pond on the south side has great pedestrian access from Queen Street and relates well to the walkway. The raised walkway around the perimeter detracts from certain aspects of the design, and creates sharp edges on the site, but also allows pedestrians to have an interesting view around the lot. The walkway may have been more confusing when the structure was first constructed, however it has since grown into the design because of the surrounding and rapidly growing cityscape. The composition gives a democratic and forward thinking approach to civic design, with a large programmable square and visual access to both the council chamber and podium green roof. Although the building embraced new concepts and became a frontier of modernist design schemes, it has notable issues that only the test of time can put in perspective. Many architects questioned the “impact on the surrounding neighborhood, and its structural design and related cost implications” (Meeting Places, 1985). Once built, the main civic

square, as intended, has very little program. Besides the moderately sized pond/skating rink on the south side of the lot, much of Nathan Phillips Square is open and has very little greenspace. The raised walkway around the parameters of the site are lightly used, and have become an area of mischief and a makeshift homeless shelter at night. On the south-east side of the lot, the walkway paves a sharp corner to traffic heavy financial orientated Bay St; this effectively cuts off a considerable portion of the east side of the city, where much of the foot traffic originates. What you’re left with is a very internal design that acts as a separate entity in the city, for better or for worse. Relation to surrounding buildings are almost non-existent, and much of the architecture was a first of its kind in Canada. Even as these attributes might suggest a lacklustre building, or a white elephant of design aspirations, its spatial conditions function quite well and its architecture is ambitiously inspirational. The building is a prime example of good architecture, and not so great urban design. Perhaps it was a result of the building requirements being “carefully articulated” by the competition moderators and the civic square being “less clearly defined” (James, 1992). Its closed off approach is an interesting take on civility, an architectural by-product of CIAM and the post-modern era. City Hall proves that creating architecture separate from its urban condition can be beneficial to the overall composition, and might be needed to achieve monumentalism. One of the reasons for the buildings iconic image is due to the fact that it operates as an

independent structure, similar to the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Both building are grandiose structures with little association with their built and/or natural context. These attributes seemingly portray the buildings as a sovereign body and a city node of visitation and civic events. The architectural beauty of both projects are in their urban design flaws, by not relating to their environment, and instead taking on a life of their own. Only in unique projects, under unique circumstances, can this model be considered effective. With Old City Hall to the east, the city naturally grew around the current site, making it a direct influence in the area. Toronto City Hall defined a new age in civic and institutional design. Fortunately, the scheme resented the premise that government buildings are

Figure 2 Toronto Figure-Ground 2015


â&#x20AC;&#x153;Its closed off approach is an interesting take on civility and an architectural by-product of CIAM and the post-modern era. â&#x20AC;&#x153;

Automotive Traffic Plaza Entry Access to Podium Metro Access

Figure 3 Circulation at Grade

only a political facility to dictate civic policy. Instead, Revellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s building incorporates and encourages city life as an epicentre of civic events, which portrays the political duties as a collaborative environment. The entire composition is an indigenous feat, one that is architecturally independent, and sculpted around its own ideals. Although City Hall does not interact well with its surroundings, it in turn provides a unique and desirable urban condition inside of its parameters. It

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sacrifices urban design cues for generating a modernist architectural monument with an open and programmable civic square. The trade-offs make for one of the most original, iconic, and ambitious modernist builds of the 20th century.

Figure 4 Accessibility and Sight-lines Perspective Queen and Bay Street Intersection Bibliography Polo, M. (1994). II. Toronto city hall. The Canadian Architect, 39(3), 42-43. Meeting places: Toronto’s city halls : 1834-present. (1985). Toronto: Produced for the Market Gallery of the City of Toronto Archives by the Dept. of the City Clerk, Information and Communication Services Division. Armstrong, C., & Sewell, J. (2015). Civic symbol: Creating Toronto’s new City Hall, 1952-1966. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. James, G. (1992). Toronto places: A context for urban design. Toronto: Published in association with the City of Toronto by University of Toronto Press. Kapelos, George, and Christopher Armstrong. Competing Moder===nisms: Toronto’s New City Hall and Square. Toronto: Dalhousie Architectural, 2015. 128. Print.




The Regent Park Revitalization sets a new precedent in Urban Renewal in North America and is part of the new paradigm in Urban planning. It is an Urban Planning that uses a complex multi-tiered partnership between government, private and non-profit agencies, and uses an on going consultation and evaluation process that engages the community being affected. It is this complexity, coupled with a mandate for sustainability, which gives the Regent Park Revitalization master plan the opportunity for adaptability even while construction continues. The Regent Park Master Plan has changed from its inception in 2003 but it is the ability to adapt to feedback from partners and community members that has made this project a success and a precedent for future projects in North America The Regent Park Revitalization takes the original 69 acre social housing development built in 1948, and implements a 20 year redevelopment plan broken down into 5 phases. Using sustainability as a central guiding concept, the Master Plansâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; vision is guided by 6 major principles: Reconnection, Housing Diversity, Mix of Uses, Safety and Accessibility, Environmental Sustainability, Economic Sustainability, and Fewer automobiles (walk-able city). The end result will be an increase in density from a population of 7,500 to 17,000 by introducing mixed-income, mixed-use housing integrated with commercial, community and open spaces. Planning for the Regent Park Revitalization began 2002 when Toronto Community Housing Corporation (responsible for social housing in Toronto) partnered with

the City of Toronto to initiate redevelopment. Financing for a development of this calibre ($1.75 billion) called for leveraging the relatively low density and high land value of Regent Park for additional condo development by a single developer, The Daniels Corporation. Various consultants and Key players like planner Ken Greenberg and Don Schmitt, a principal of Diamond Schmitt Architects were engaged to draw up the master plan. The initial Revitalization plan called for replacing of the existing 2,083 Rent-Geared-to-income (RGI) units, while introducing 700 affordable rentable units and 4,000 m market-rate units. Basic urban design guidelines informed the plan, with the majority of the built form designated to be town-house and mid-rise buildings and an additional 7 residential towers to be dispersed throughout out. As a safe guard for a successful development , the master plan was kept inherently democratic and adaptable with three measures. The first was by dividing the development into 6 phases spanning 20 years. The second was by engaging in an ongoing and extensive community consultation with Regent Park residents and neighbours. The Third was to allow for an ongoing review by the TCHC and third party consultants. These measures insure that the master plan can be fined tuned and adapted to its urban socioeconomic context as new insights are discovered. From the beginning of phase 1 construction in 2006 to the beginning of phase 3 in 2016, opportunities have been found to improve the master plan through the de-


















Fig. 1


Regent Park Before (North & South blocks)

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Fig. 2


Regent Park Revitalization.



velopment of additional community amenity spaces such as the Daniels Spectrum Arts and Cultural Centre, Regent Park Aquatic Centre and Regent Park Athletic Grounds. As a result the Master Plan has been reconfigured by increasing the overall density and shifting it to other parts of the redevelopment. Another major change was to reduce the phasing from 6 to 5 phases and insure development is completed on schedule (2025).

end and a means, as well as a measure. While the physical and social rewards of walking are many, walkability is perhaps most useful as it contributes to urban vitality and most meaningful as an indicator of that vitality. ”1 This is in direct contrast to the “automobile-city” envisioned in the modernist urban planning ideologies that shaped the original Regent Park into two mega blocks divided by Dundas St. into northern and southern sections.

These changes have been implemented in response to the continual feedback loop from residents and on going studies by third party consultants.

One of the great insights that has been adopted by modern urban planning was articulated by Jane Jacobs, “To understand cities, we have to deal outright with combinations or mixtures of uses, not separate uses, as the essential phenomena.”2 THe mandate of the Regent Park master plan has been to introduce three different building types, low-rise, midrise and residential-high-rise. The placement of the building types follow the hierarchy of the newly created street grid. Urban design guidelines ensure that the mid-rise buildings are located on arterial and primary local streets, while low-rise buildings are located on secondary local streets and the high-rises are placed in strategic locations. An adaptable master plan has allowed the natural shift of the devel-

Physical integration to adjoining neighbourhoods was a key component of the master plan. This was accomplished by the re-introduction of a grid network of streets. Urban design guidelines insured that the streets were pedestrian friendly, and integrated with retail, park and open space. Whereas the original Regent Park was without commercial amenities, the new plan established Dundas as the area’s commercial artery and social focal point. In essence it was to instil the concept of the “walkable city” into the plan. “walkability is both an

opment from an original 60%-40% to a 75%25% market-rate to RGI units. This change was a response to market forces and compromises between private developers and government agencies. In response the Regent Park Revitalization plan has involved the coordinated efforts of different levels of government and NGOâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s to insure that there are financial support mechanisms that allow a full spectrum of people from different socio-economic backgrounds to reside in this new development. This is not to just replace the existing stock of social housing but to allow moderate-income earners and previous social housing residents to become 1st time home owners through Mortgage assistance programs. This is an example that modern Urban Planning and Urban Design involve multi-tiered partnerships with agencies and organizations to address the different but connected goals of the project. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Get walkability right and so much of the rest will follow.â&#x20AC;? From the very beginning, the adoption of Sustainability as a central concept for the Regent Park Revitalization has guided and filtered through the many layers of the Regent Park Master Plan. By encouraging walking, cycling, transit use and reducing car use and available parking space, the character of a vibrant neighbourhood is established. This was accomplished with strategic placement of community amenity spaces and parks that would act social and cultural nodes within the neighbourhood and stimulate a balanced and vital circulation of pedestrian traffic. There is a direct feedback loop between a walkable and safe neighbourhood and a busy retail and commercial sector. The integration of sustainable design elements into the Regent Park Revitalization has led to improved building performance targets of 30% reduced energy consumption, 35% reduction in water use per capital, 20% reduction in storm water runoff and a reduction in green

house gas emissions. These targets have led to innovations such as the introduction of a District Energy Plant located below grade in the basement of a 22-storey TCHC residential tower. The plant supplies all new housing in Regent Park with heating and cooling. It reduces green house emissions by 30% and provides cost efficiencies. The future of the district energy plant will see the integration of geothermal storage and solar energy systems to reduce its reliance on carbon-based energy. Sustainable design achieves a multiple of goals simultaneously. By maximizing planting and retention of trees, integrating green roofs, community gardens, parks, open spaces and reducing car use, a foundational framework is set up. The framework provides an opportunity for the growth of a natural ecosystem, a reduction of storm water run-off and the heat island effect. An after effect of this greening is a production of cleaner air and a more enjoyable and walkable neighbourhood. Building performance standards were

Fig. 3 N

Development phases PHASE 1






“This inclusiveness speaks to the adoption of sustainability as a central guiding concept...”


Regent Park 1948 street design (Tower in the Park)

Fig. 4

insured by adhering to LEED gold standards for all new condos and LEED silvery for town houses which will include heat recovery ventilation systems. Urban Renewal is not a new concept. The original Regent Park social housing development built in 1948 was an urban renewal project that was conceived with Modernist urban design principals. It had the intention to invigorate neighbourhoods, provide quality housing for a growing population and alleviate the inequalities of the time. Similar projects across North America, from New York and Chicago to Montreal, eventually developed the same symptoms of perpetual poverty, crime, and decay.

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The Regent Park Revitalization represents the beginning of a new era of Urban Planning. Like many other revitalization projects it takes on the “four generators of diversity” described by Jane

Regent Park Revitalization (reconnecting street grid)


Fig. 5

What sets this project apart from similar revitalization projects in cities like Chicago (Gautreaux) or Montreal(Benny Farm) is that the Regent Park Revitalization has maintained the existing stock of social housing and integrated it seamlessly with market-rate housing. Walking through the neighbourhood you would not be able to distinguish which buildings are Condos and which are social housing. This inclusiveness speaks to the adoption of sustainability as a central guiding concept in the planning of the Regent Park Revitalization. Its a social, economic, environmental and democratic sustainability, it is the ability to regenerate and for Regent Park and the surrounding neighborhoods its an opportunity to reconnect and grow.

Bibliography Freeman, B. (2015). The New Urban Agenda: TheGreater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Toronto: Dundurn Toronto. Kromer, J. (2010). Fixing Broken Cities: The Implementation of Urban Development Strategies. New Yok: Routledge. Moore, A. A. (2013). Planning Politics in Toronto. Toronto: University Of Toronto Press. Moore, A. A. (2013). Trading Density for Benefits: Toronto and Vancouver Compared. Toronto: IMFG. Sewell, J. (1993). The Shape of the City. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Short, J. R. (2006). Urban Theory: A Critical Assessment. londan UK: Palgrave. Speck, J. (2012). Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step At A Time. New York: FSG. Zielendbach. (2000). The Art Of Revitalization:Improving Conditions in Distressed Inner-City Neighborhoods. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc.




After WWII, American cities lost great amounts of population due to the “suburban flight”. As the city expanded more towards the suburbs, so did many of the offices and retails jobs. The downtown core of Chicago was declining and the entire social economy begun shifting. This resulted in the Urban Renewal Movement, being developed in 19th century in the area of high urban density use, the movement was to help reform the city, relocating the business and people. This led to the Marina City Complex designed by Bertrand Goldberg in 1959, located on the north bank of the Chicago River. Goldberg proposed an idea of mixed-use apartments, “A city within a city”, to attracted people to live and work in the city. The complex was constructed with reinforced concrete in a very sculpture-like form and had many design and construction innovations such as incorporating parking with vertical living. These two towers acted as a city of its own, consisting of everything a person may need and successfully relocating people back into the city by providing affordable and efficient living. Relating directly to the urbanism and utopianism, Marina City was designed for the intent of future economic development and made possible implications to the city of Chicago. As Marina City was planned to be built beside the river, it reclassified the site into a mixed used development, later bringing in many opportunities, jobs and economic growth along the riverfront. Today, Marina City stands as an icon of urban planning and modernism. Its uniqueness brings new waves of residential approach to urban design. The Marina City was designed and planed by Bertrand Goldberg and constructed between 1960 and 1967.

During the 1950s, the city of Chicago had experienced a significant amounts loss of people due to the impact of the baby boom, high city living cost, and the “Suburban Flight”. The expense of living within the city caused the decline of city population, thus people leaving the city for cheaper living. Therefore, Goldberg’s Marina City was planned as one of the post war urban renewal project, based on the ideas of the “city within a city”, which the high-rise complex will consist of many functions such as residential, commercial and entertainment use. These two towers acted as a city of its own, consisting of everything a person may need and successfully relocating people back into the city by providing affordable and efficient living. Moreover, the development of Marina City has made positive implication during the change of Chicago, by emerging the central area of Chicago from aging buildings, thus declining the use of industrial and commercial buildings. Today, Marina City has become the most significant icon of Chicago’s modern architecture, urban planning and urban renewal projects. Furthermore, this essay will be discussing the success of Marina City in relation to the major planning movement, urban design, urban context, and the city planning. The development of the Marina City was one of the Urban Renewal Projects during the post war period. The Urban Renewal Movement was developed around 19th century to redeveloped or reprogram the area from moderate to high-density urban land use. After


Marina City IBM Building open space

Figure 1. Relationship to the Urban Context

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World War II, planners and business people were concerning about the decline and the decreasing population of the City of Chicago. Although population generally increased after the World War II due to the baby boom period, the City of Chicago was facing significant amounts of people leaving due to high price of living and the decline of war related industrial production. However, the 1959 survey by the Real Estate Research Corporation of inner city housing showed that there were still many people who would like to live downtown and closer to work. Therefore, the intention of the Marina City was to solve the problem of decreasing population by creating attractions such as ideas of living above the store, affordable living and mixed-use living.

The planning and design of the Marina City was reflected to the views of Congres International d’Architecture Modern (CIAM) in many ways. The principle of CIAM clearly stated the change and the development of cities is in relation to the decline or the success of the city (Mumford, 2000). Marina City was designed to create an attraction and positive influence to bring citizens back to the city. The complex was planned in a way to improve the social and economic circumstance along the riverfront, also the center of the city. Throughout the past 50 years, Marina City has been continuously involved with the positive economic influence along the river, even reaching to the financial hit during the time when the country was facing economic trouble. The CIAM also states the recommended travel distance between work and home should be short and efficient, since the time spent on travelling between the two was considered a waste of leisure activity. Goldberg’s use of the idea of “living above the store”, acts as another way to shorten the distance between banks, groceries and other activities. The complex of Marina City was also programed into different functions such as office and commercial use, which removes the need for transportation. Thus transit during the time was a significant focus and part of the city planning due to the overcrowding and traffic during the rush hour, Marina City had successfully reduce the public crowd and created a much comfortable living in the downtown of Chicago. Marina City was unlike many of the new high-rise apartments built during 1950s, instead of being proposed for luxury and high-class living, it was designed as affordable housing for medium income family and office workers who work in the city. The idea behind the Marina City was to create a self- contained community or a “city within a city”, in which to meet everyone’s need and desire within a short travel distance (Mooney, 2015). Within the complex of Marina city, there are five interconnected major structures – two residential towers facing towards the

Chicago River, a theater building, an office building/ hotel, and a two story commercial building – located at the riverfront, on the North State street. The multilevel plaza in front of the residential towers was planned to have multiple functions, such as having direct access to the shops, skating rink, restaurant, banks and parking. Moreover, the plaza was lifted up from the water to create a marina and harbor below (Condit, 1974). The development of Marina City has really created a lively intersection within downtown Chicago, which increases the networking between people and the public realm. Furthermore, the IBM Building designed by Mies was constructed in 1969, thus the building was planned to step back from the river line to create a civic space or small plaza to build a relationship with the Marina City plaza across the North State Street (figure 2,3.) Historically, the site chosen for Marina City was surrounded by masonry warehouses, railroads, and very little attractions. Although there are were few major cultural institutions, theatres and large department stores; the city center did not have much commercial infrastructure at the time (Mooney, 2015). The development of Marina City has changed the total environment along the Chicago Riverfront. By introducing the mixed used living ideas, open plaza, and marina along the riverfront; the complex today has the ability to provide circulation use for high-density population which included stores over 700 boasts. It was the first building to utilize and repicture the view of the “dirty” Chicago River (Marjanovic and Katerina, 2010). In relation to the urban context, Marina City is built along the Chicago River and today is surrounded by hotels, financial and commercial buildings. The location of the building is a block away from the central Chicago transit loop, which later affected the design of the Marina City and the way it is accessed. The transit plan of Chicago has radically changed between the 1950’s and the

1970’s. Even though the Chicago transit system continued to develop till the 1960s, many of the transit systems and expressways ended up closing down due to the incensement of vehicle owners. Nevertheless, Marina City has considered the Chicago transit as part of its development. While creating onsite parking and taking interest into sustainable design. The first 18 storeys are programed into a vertical parking for both residential and public use, and the parking lot can be accessed directly from the plaza (figure 4.) The complex was planned into a mixed used community where people can shop and do groceries without traveling and or taking transportation assuring that Marina city had everything a person may need.



Figure 2,3. Prior and Present Development


â&#x20AC;&#x153;These two towers acted as a city of its own, consisting of everything a person may need and successfully relocating people back into the city by providing affordable and efficient living. â&#x20AC;?

open plaza




marina/boat storage



Figure 4. Programatic Site Plan and Section

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The site of the Marina City was chosen along the north side of Chicago River between State and Dearborn Street, with stunning views to the Loop and Lake Michigan. While it was a perfect site for the Marina City, the site did have some challenges. The site is originally located within zoned C-3, which prohibited for residential development while being surrounded by warehouses and railroads (Mooney, 2015). Since the zoning by laws of single use development created the zoning restrictions in 1920s, the mix used construction and residential project on the site that Marina City had chosen now became difficult. However, Goldberg knew he had a chance to make the development of Marina City possible if he can provide an exciting living environment with

affordable living price; he had that as a bargain with the zoning by laws of Chicago City. In 1957, the zoning bylaws allowed projects of four acres or more to be zoned as a Planned Urban Development (PUD), which allowed mix used new construction on a single site. Although the property of the Marina City site was only 3.1 acres, the Commissioner of Chicago Planning Department had approved the site to be a PUD district and allowed the multi used, complex residential development to be constructed (Mooney, 2015). As Marina City was planned to be built beside the river, it reclassified the site into a mixed used development, later bringing in many opportunities, jobs and economic growth along the riverfront.

Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City has accommodated and solved the problems of Chicago City in many different ways. By introducing mixed used living, onsite parking and an open plaza as innovation to the Chicago urban city planning, it successfully re- established and transformed Chicago’s downtown core. Marina City now stands as a city of its own, consisting of everything a person may need. It brings in opportunities for jobs, and the economic growth along the riverfront by reclassifying the site into a mixed used development zone. As one of the CIAM influenced buildings, Marina City followed the principles and concerns in a very thoughtful way, in which the ideas of “living above the store” to shorten the travel distance and encourage a

sustainable life style in the city, and creating a “functional city” by introducing a multiuse complex. Although many of the renewal projects failed during its time, Marina City was one of the successful projects in comparison to the other modern high-rise housings. It was built at an appropriate time and period, which made numerous positive implications towards the city. Today, Marina City has been considered as a historical and modern architecture icon of the City of Chicago. Yet, it’s not because of its innovation and structure design, but how successful Marina City is in the overall planning and urban design that has made Chicago what it is today.

Bibliography Cohen N. (2005) Chicago Architecture and Design. New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc. Condit C.W. (1974). Chicago 1930-70: Building, Planning and Urban Technology. USA: The University of Chicago Press. Dribin A. (2009). More Marina. Retrieved from Marina City (n.d.) Retrieved September 17,2015 from Marjanovic I, and Katerina R. (2010) Marina City: Bertrand Goldberg’s urban vision. New York: Princeton Architecture Press. 6. Mooney A.J. (July 2015) Preliminary Summary of Information: Marina City. Retrieved from Mumford E. (2000) The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960. USA:MIT Press. Satler G. (2006) Two Tales of a City: Rebuilding Chicago’s Architecture and Social Landscape, 1986-2005. Northern Illinois University Press Waldheim C. and Ray R.K. (2005) Chicago Architecture: Histories, Revisions, Alternatives. USA: University of Chicago Press




Located in the heart of Toronto’s financial district, the Toronto Dominion Centre is an influential example of the international style in Canada. The Toronto Dominion Centre is located on the symbolic heart of the financial district at the intersection of King and Bay Street alongside with four other influential banks: Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the Royal Bank all demonstrating their power through their imposing high-rise office buildings (Edward 2014). Symbolizing Toronto’s next step into modernization with the city’s growth in density and high-rise construction, the financial district at the time, was one of the only part of the old city to see growth and development in the modernist style. As a result, a development of a new urban fabric occurred with a change in typology of buildings, reconfiguring Toronto’s skyline into a “mountain” of buildings (Bureau of Architecture and Urbanism 1987). Due to the amalgamation of the Toronto Bank with the Dominion Bank, the building was commissioned by Allan Lambert, the chairman of TD calling for a head office building to accommodate the large amounts of workers. Mies Van der Rohe, the leading force in the “international style”, was commissioned along with John B. Parkin & Associates and Bregman + Hamman to designing the Toronto Dominion Centre. Even though the concept of “international style” does not regard the context of a site, the Toronto Dominion Centre not only reacts well to the immediate context but also relates to the greater context of Toronto through addressing its social context, as well as provides successful urban design qualities

through its built form and site. In designing the building, compared to past large scale office buildings, a consideration was taken towards the social well-being of the working class population. As Toronto saw continual evolution in the city in the 19th century, it developed into a large metropolitan centre (Kerr, & Spelt 1965). With the rise of modern manufacturing in the city, industrialization began to happen at a quick pace in Toronto. By the mid-19th century, Toronto became more dominant in the manufacturing as an economic activity with its most important products being iron and steel for sheet-metal products, iron castings, store machinery etc (Kerr, & Spelt 1965). This combined with the increase in immigrant workers in the post-war period led to great economic growth for the Dominion Bank. Thus increasing the importance of the financial district with the major banks becoming more influential in Toronto. Allan Lambert understood the growing needs for the developing business class realizing the importance that real estate had in helping with its success (B H Architects 2015). Though occurring in the post- CIAM era, the building exemplifies some of the aspects highlighted in the Athens Charter with its high density of program but also in its relief of the imposing structure by placing in large green spaces at grade. Although a major investment, the building of the Toronto Dominion Centre majorly influenced the direction and the future of city growth in Toronto, setting a new standard of design for office buildings with modern design standards. The raise in architectural standard pushed future projects that together make Toronto’s financial core an

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Figure 1 Figure Ground Before Construction

Figure 2 Figure Ground After Construction

international leader. By relating to the social context of Toronto, the Toronto Dominion Centreâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relationship to the city is strengthened.

seemed isolated from its surroundings at the time, a dense urban fabric would soon develop around the buildings as the notion of the city as a mountain did not fully take shape until the construction of the Toronto Dominion Centre in the mid-60s.

Accommodating for a large population of 15,000 workers at the time, the program of the building called for 3.1 square feet of office space set to be built in two stages based on the anticipated market with a banking area of 22,500 square feet. Also, to allow for more use in the building, it was decided that they included shops, restaurants, a cinema and underground parking facilities which Mies placed underground to allow for four season use due to Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cold climate. The design of the building forms consists of the original 3 blocks, two being towers of 46 and 56 stories with a banking pavilion to the corner of King and Bay street which was and still is considered the banking centre of the city with later additions of three more buildings. Mies Van Der Roheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s solution took site into consideration by making the banking program a lower building providing a structure that was not as imposing relating more to the human scale of on-going pedestrians. This also suggested an entrance on the north east side of the site. Furthermore, Mies fascination of the regulated grid system and order speaks to the gridiron layout of Toronto as a whole. Although the black towers proposed by Mies

With the choice of building form and urban design principles, Mies demonstrates consideration of the relationship between building and site. Rather than filling all of the floor area with office space, Mies incorporated a central plaza into the building, breaking up the building into three forms rather than having a single block (Carter 1999). Mies put the banking program into a lower structure along with two office towers in a configuration that allowed for a number of individual interlinked public plazas that were interlinked but also defined, to be created at the ground level (Carter 1999). Within the public outdoor space, are over three acres of space for public use (Carter 1999). This breaking up of the site allowed for created pedestrian movement throughout the site creating a greater sense of community. Also making the street level more pleasant for the workers of the building as it created a place for gathering. The courtyard also provides a break from the dense urban fabric that eventually would form around the site. The building is also part of an underground PATH system

Figure 3 Relationship of ground material to structure blurs interior and exterior allowing for easier access to the building in the harsher winter conditions. Mies Van der Rohe continuously strove towards providing direct entrances for pedestrians at street level (Carter 1999). As mentioned previously, by proposing a smaller building at the corner of King and Bay, Mies used the configuration of buildings to suggest an entrance from the north-east allowing pedestrians to discover the expanse of the plaza. This highlights Mies’ awareness towards pedestrian movement by designing the building not only architecturally but also with the surrounding environment. The paired stairs that lead to the concourse level located near the sidewalk along King Street are axially centered with the Toronto – Dominion Bank Tower is said to act as a ceremonial gesture. Mies would not place arbitrary changes in grade as he used stairs for the ease of ascent (Carter 1999). What this also demonstrates is his sensitivity to the topography of the site. Mies used the flooring

to strengthen the relationship from exterior to interior. A surface of granite is placed on the podium extending throughout the site. This is understood by pedestrians who move up along the few steps that rise from the corner of King and Bay, through the Banking Pavillion along King and continue southwest across the open plaza (Carter 1999). Pedestrians then pass by the flanking columns of the Royal Trust Tower alongside the trees and grassed areas allowing them to experience the full resolution of space. The plaza’s surface material extends from the glass lobbies of the bank towers as well as the banking pavilion towards the public, blurring the distinction between the interior and the exterior space thus strengthening the building’s relationship to its context. Granite was also chosen with consideration of the harsh conditions it endures allowing the site not to worsen in condition over time (Carter 1999). This close attention towards

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“the Toronto Dominion Centre majorly influenced the future development of Toronto”







Figure 4 Creation of interconencted open spaces by breaking up the building into three masses the materiality of the surrounding physical environment resulted in a unification of the building to the site establishing an environment within the human scale thus allowing for easy assimilation to the urban fabric of the city. Responding to the changing urban conditions in Toronto, the Toronto Dominion Centre set the stage for the development of the workplace environment into modernity. Seeing the success in the completion of the Seagram building, Mies extended his ideals of an urban composition to buildings of larger scale such as the Toronto Dominion Centre. Mies designed a building of movement as the building’s relationship to the pedestrian continuously changed as one progressed into the site. First with his placement

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of stairs combined with the composition of the buildings, a shift from solid to void depending on one’s orientation occured with the building. Light bouncing off the surface of the building would play with the eyes of the pedestrians. Although he advocated for a universal language of the building Mies still had a keen sensitivity towards the building’s effect on future development of the city as well as its relationship with the surroundings at grade, integrating public space within the complex to strengthen a sense of community. Overall, the Toronto Dominion Centre represents the shift of Toronto’s urban fabric into modernity that is still apparent in the city. today.

Bibliography Bureau of Architecture and Urbanism. (1987). Toronto modern architecture, 1945-1965: Catalogue of the exhibition with critical essays. Toronto: Coach House Press Carter, P. (1999). Mies van der Rohe at work. London: Phaidon Press. Edward, R. (2014). Toronto: Transformations in a City and Its Region. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press. Lambert, P. (2001). Mies in America. Montreal: Canadian Centre for Architecture. Kerr, D., & Spelt, J. (1965). The Changing Face of Toronto. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer. “Toronto-Dominion Centre.” B H Architects - Global Architectural, Interior, Landscape, Sustainability and Planning Design Firm with Offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Shanghai, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Delhi, Sharjah and Dubai. 2015. Web. 1 Nov. 2015. “Toronto-Dominion Centre.” (2005). Ontario Heritage Foundation. Web. 1 Nov. 2015.

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Natal, the capital city of the Rio Grande do Norte state is home to a strong tourismbased economy due to its white-sanded beaches and pristine waters. This resulted in a concentration of commercialized development that cradles the ocean-front. The commercialization and the attempt to capitalize on the growing tourism helped foster Natal’s tourism economy, but inherently turns its back on its existing communities, such as Mae Luiza (McGuirk, 2015). Mae Luiza is a favela in Natal that differentiates itself from others of its kind (Arena do Morro / Herzog & de Meuron, 2014). Favelas are common conditions in Brazil, often characterized as slums caused by the large migration of workers from rural areas towards cities (Urban Problems in LEDCs, 2008). This excessive migration has caused an influx of migrants that the city cannot support, forcing them to construct settlements outside these major cities (Urban Problems in LEDCs, 2008). Favelas, much like slums in other urban conditions, are grounds for crime, violence, and drug abuse (Urban Problems in LEDCs, 2008). Mae Luiza’s establishment was caused by migrants escaping drought in the 1940s rather than willful workers but it still experiences the same problems (McGuirk, 2015). It differentiates itself from other favelas through its location, being situated between the developed oceanfront on the east and protected natural sand dunes on the west (Fixsen, 2014). Problems of dense population, deteriorating

infrastructure, poverty, crime, and absence of public space still plague the favela. Through the recognition of the site context and what it needs, the establishment of a master plan, and the construction of the Arena do Morro that contributes to the community physically and socially, Herzog + de Meuron has produced a vital anchor in the neighbourhood that contributes to the community in terms of social relationships and the future progression of Mae Luiza. Fundamental issues were brought to attention when Herzog & de Meuron approached this project. From their initial site analysis and urban studies, they concluded that Mae Luiza lacks the breeding grounds for social engagement between its citizens (“Urban Vision for Mae Luiza”, 2009). The study revealed that the favela consists of many dualities that threaten it. Despite its condition not being as poor as other favelas in Brazil, Mae Luiza still suffers from poverty and decaying infrastructure (“Urban Vision for Mae Luiza”, 2009). The inhabitants have a strong sense of community and culture not typically found in other favelas but is still affected by crime, ultimately threatening that sense of community (“Urban Vision for Mae Luiza”, 2009). The beautiful sand dunes and natural setting is closed off to the favela and its commercial ocean-front development is threatening its community character (“Urban Vision for Mae Luiza”, 2009). The existing open spaces that are meant to foster the social environments that this community is in need of are underused (“Urban Vision for Mae Luiza”, 2009).

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Figure 1 Prior to the Arena do Morro being built (left), the lot was an empty area that had great potential to have a congregation area as it was between the open land and the urban neighbourhood. After being built (right), the Arena do Morro connects the citizens to the open space and allows for recreation within the facility. Furthermore, two main streets are responsible for voiding the smaller streets of any activities (“Urban Vision for Mae Luiza”, 2009). These juxtapositions within Mae Luiza’s geography and social condition highlight the need for a functional community-oriented building that can act as a catalyst for social and physical development. Herzog & de Meuron figured that these opposing dynamics should be addressed in their master plan.

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From the site analysis, Herzog & de Meuron derived that Mae Luiza requires spaces for leisure, culture, workplace, and sports (“Urban Vision for Mae Luiza”, 2009). With the help from the Ameropa foundation, a philanthropic branch of the Swiss fertilizer and grain dealing company, and a local organization, Herzog & de Meuron detailed a master plan dubbed “A Vision for Mae Luiza” (Fixsen, 2014). This grand plan features elements that would strengthen the community as a whole and tackle each issue that the urban study has highlighted. The master plan calls for a strengthened street on Joao XXIII to act as a backbone for the community which will be achieved through a green canopy that will provide a shaded and friendlier pedestrian

path (“Urban Vision for Mae Luiza”, 2009). The idea was to use the two parallel streets within the favela to define a quieter, more pedestrian-oriented area on the west while integrating Mae Luiza into Natal’s downtown in the east by establishing a main traffic thoroughfare, commercial concentration, and public transportation (“Urban Vision for Mae Luiza”, 2009). This main axial notation from the roads is bisected by another axis imposed by community-oriented buildings. With the Arena do Morro being at the center of this programmatic axis, new shops, a school, workshops, a sports field, and a public amphitheatre are established and are linked through a proposed path (“Herzog & de Meuron, Arena do Morro, Natal, Brazil 2014”, 2014). The necessities for leisure and culture are satisfied through the public amphitheatre, park, and shops while the need for workspaces and sports are supplemented by the sports field, Arena do Morro, workshops, and school (“Herzog & de Meuron”, 2014). Furthermore, the establishment of a main pedestrian link towards the beach has already improved the social conditions of the area (McGuirk, 2015). Author Justin McGuirk (2015) has witnessed that street markets are slowly replacing cars





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Figure 2 “A Vision for Mae Luiza” - Master plan for Mae Luiza by Herzon & de Meuron. The master plan focuses on creating community-oriented spaces to strengthen and improve the social conditions of Mae Luiza.

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“To offer to an entire community new social opportunity, with sports and cultural activities, is to help safeguard the young generations from tragic influences that, unfortunately in today’s Brazil, destroys thousands of lives. ” - Carlos Eduardo, Mayor of Natal

Figure 3 The Arena do Morro provides a recreation space for the community to socially interact, ultimately developing a stronger neighbourhood connection and strays the youth away from gang violence. along the improved thoroughfare. This small improvement is evidence that the overall master plan is capable of bringing social improvement to the community despite only having the Arena do Morro completed.

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The Arena do Morro is the first step in the overall master plan for Mae Luiza. The building itself sits comfortably on a vacant lot at the corner of a block, filling up the urban fabric that would otherwise be an awkward void (McGuirk, 2015). The form of the building compliments the surrounding context by adopting a pitched roof and following the sense of vertical scale without dominating the surrounding context (McGuirk, 2015). The bright white colour of the arena highlights itself within the area, placing an importance and establishing its own presence within the neighbourhood as a social beacon (McGuirk, 2015). The architectural

gestures of the building, lightness and porosity, communicates a new image to the favela by establishing a transparency between the community and the building (McGuirk, 2015). The transparency gives an inviting impression and helps the social condition of the favela by creating a welcoming atmosphere for the locals to get some recreation (Glancey, 2014). The process of establishing the facility on site allowed for short and long-term benefits. Despite being designed in Switzerland, the Arena do Morro was built from local construction materials such as a newly developed cement block and corrugated sheet metal along with local labour forces (Glancey, 2014). The development of a new louvered cement block that allows for ventilation and light is an addition to the community’s list of building materials as they were locally produced just for this project (McGuirk, 2015).

The physical representation of the Arena do Morro compliments the surrounding urban fabric through its sense of scale and materiality but also defines itself as a social congregation facility, highlighting itself from the rest of the neighbourhood for emphasis. The Arena do Morro plays a more significant role in Mae Luiza than just being physically complimentary to its urban neighbours. The availability of a joint recreation facility that doubles for sports activities and dance class creates a social environment that was in need in the surrounding neighbourhood. The facility itself breaks the local gang and gun culture that plagues the youth of Mae Luiza (McGuirk, 2015). Asean Mergenthaler, the partner in charge of the Arena do Morro, describes that “kids who first came to see the building carrying guns are now leaving their weapons at home and coming to play football in the evenings, or simply to hang out” (Glancey, 2014). Kids from gangs often came to the facility asking the coaches to hold on to their guns while they played (McGuirk, 2015). This behaviour was not accepted and the coaches enforced rules of sportsmanship and law in the facility, resulting in the youth leaving their firearms at home and participating in a

healthy social environment within the building (McGuirk, 2015). The mayor of Natal states that “where there is an absence of public power, a parallel drug traffic power appears instead” (Glancey, 2014). This is what the Arena do Morro truly contributes - a sense of public power that provides the youth of Mae Luiza opportunities for sports and recreation and diverts them from the drug and crime that exists within the favela. Jonathan Glancey (2014) dictates that architects that deal with urban conditions similar to favelas focus more on the building being a social activist instead of a physical aesthetic. Herzog & de Meuron are able to administer to both the aesthetically pleasing and engaging the local social issue. The Arena do Morro stands as a precedent for future projects that exist in deteriorating slums to develop a social connection to the urban context. The responsibility of the architect not only includes the role to create a friendly environment within the building, but the greater context in which the building is situated. Herzog & de Meuron are able to provide a vital facility through the recognition that Mae Luiza is in need of community spaces and developing a master plan to tackle this

Bibliography Arena do Morro / Herzog & de Meuron. (2014, May 22). Retrieved September 23, 2015, from Fixsen, A. (2014, May 1). Exercise in Design: Herzog & de Meuron shapes a welcome recreation center in a tight-knit favela community. Retrieved September 20, 2015. Glancey, J. (2014, August 15). Sporting Chance: Gymnasium in Brazil by Herzog & de Meuron. Retrieved September 20, 2015. Herzog & de Meuron, Arena do Morro, Natal, Brazil 2014. (2014). A U: Architecture and Urbanism,10(529), 82-93. McGuirk, J. (2015, February 27). Stadium on the Hill. Retrieved September 23, 2015, from http:// Urban Problems in LEDCs. (2008). Retrieved November 2, 2015, from http://www.geography. Urban Vision for Mae Luiza. (2009). Retrieved September 23, 2015, from vision-for-mae-luiza.html

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Toronto’s New City Hall was completed and opened to the public in 1965. The design, which features an urban civic plaza, was an outcome of an international competition won by Viljio Revell. The building’s rectilinear base holds two curved towers that grow in different heights and frame a disc like council chamber in the middle. Its concept was conceived from the modernist influential thinking rooted in CIAM. After the end of the Second World War, Canadian cities were in search of a newer, more modern and distinct identity through architecture and planning. The erection of the New City Hall brought new symbolic focuses to the city and soon became a local and national landmark. The controversial modernist design of the New City Hall was highly influenced by the new modern ideas and technologies that overlooked the traditional methods of construction and civic centers, demanding a break from tradition. The New City Hall complex set one of the first precedents of modernist architecture in the city of Toronto, and Canada. The accomplishment of this landmark presented strong governmental leadership in design and a positive example of new planning applied to large office buildings and civic spaces. This project changed the public’s perception towards change and modernism by producing a sense of public purpose and activating the center of the city. Most of the architects that commanded commission at that time were trained under Beaux Arts system that gave them a knowledge about the Georgian and Gothic architecture, which they considered not so

much as historic style but somewhat as a design material. They slowly started to see the light and their work changed as graduates in their employment were given greater freedom of design. The possibilities for work attracted young architects from every province as well as the United Kingdom and Europe. Debates on the future of the city were ongoing. In 1937, Lewis Mumford would critique traditional urbanism stating “...dead buildings, lifeless masses of stone that had become burial grounds”. This was not the direction the city wanted to take. It was crucial to achieve the new monumentality that the Viljo Revell would address the sensory dimension, the human experience of the build world. The building flows from emotional life to the community and recognised in places that stimulated human interaction. The idea of creating a civic centre in Toronto was not new. The shape and form that a new city hall and civic square would take was influenced by the international debates about the direction in which the modern architecture would take. This was a hot topic at the time and was being fueled but the Congres Intrenationale d’Architecture Modern also known as CIAM. Established in 1928, CIAM brought up and promoted the key principles of the modern movement in architecture. The CIAM emphasised on improving the human condition and addressed monumental architecture, the civic centre, public space, and the imprint of the human figure in the contemporary built work. The competition brief of the

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Figure 1 Figure Ground 1947

Figure 2 Figure Ground 2015

Toronto New City Hall that was authored by Eric Arthur was highly influenced by CIAM. The 18th century period cathedrals and town hall would dominated the urban scene of the city, physically and spiritually. The old city hall was largely overshadowed by commercial and financial buildings, but it still dominated by its thick presence. It differed in the respect from those centres of civic administrations in North America where the hall is just another office building. One of the reasons for this competition was. The public life of the city is expressed not only through its architecture and forms but throng the public spaces that are created to compliment them. The site of this project is located on the intersection of Queen Street west and Bay Street and expands over twelve acres of land. It accommodates an underground parking garage that could house up to 2400 cars under the site. The building takes up one third of the site to the north and an urban civic square takes up the remaining two-thirds of the site. The site location was originally chosen for proximity to the downtown business centre, the shopping centres as well as the Old City Hall. To the east

of the site is the location of the 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 south of the site where there are parking lots and residential and commercial buildings. The land proposed for the new city hall however, was not vacant and it demanded the demolition of two historic city landmarks which included, Shea’s Hippodrome Theatre, and Beaux Art Provincial Registry building. These buildings featured some of Toronto’s original classical architectural typologies such as Corinthian columns and other classical details. The projects also called for the demolition of a part of Toronto’s lively Chinatown and existing residential dwellings in the location of the site. To make up for this loss the project was to accommodate opportunity for new and vibrant urban development. In response to the demolition of these classical features Viljo Revell uses 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. Although the back of the towers is sometimes criticized for its lack of windows or interesting features, the curved nature of the towers has always limited the degree to which those looking at the structure from north have to confront a massive wall of concrete. Since the construction of this project, the areas around the site have great rapid development as it was originally 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.

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The focuses and purpose of the Viljo Revell proposal for the City Hall and Civic plaza was aimed to achieve a functional clarity and vibrant visual significance of this public building and plaza. The building complex itself was intended to be a user friendly place by considering the users and how they use the spaces. This building complex is set on a low podium at the north edge of the block, creating grand civic plaza to the south. On The podium level, access to public activities are addressed, by creating connectivity and access to the ground level. The complex is organized on this podium around the central council chamber. The council chamber becomes the focus of the project a low civic disc shaped building, symbolically it is the most important space in the government. The two dramatically curving office towers behind the council chamber emphasis the concept and vertically house the employees. A curving ramp from the top podium to the east, the ramp and podium are used for circulation through the site and celebrations along the civic square space, the square is named after Nathan Philip who was the mayor of Toronto at the time. On the ramp direct eye connection is made with a large civic space with and a large reflecting pond at the south end of the site the three concrete arches placed on a pond bring the eyelevel from the ground to the top playing with the power of sight. The pond reflects the masses and the shadows of the surroundings and has become

an interactive element on this grand plaza. It has become a true civic centre and square is used for temporary festivals and evens such as concerts effectively engaging pedestrians all year round. This civic square has benefited the city in ways such as providing an open area in the middle of the dense Toronto giving people space as well attracting tourists, and giving cultural opportunities to occur in the space such as farmers markets. This civic space has also improved the local economy by attracting the developments around it. The Toronto City Hall is considered as Modern and a post-CIAM building, it is conceived after the CIAM was disbanded. However there are highly influenced concepts and similarities to the principles which were established by CIAM which are apparent through this project. For example the existing historical context was removed and replaced by this project in order to make new precedents. Furthermore, at the time of its construction the new city hall disregarded the immediate surrounding context and pushed the envelope

Figure 3 Access and Movement

“The erection of the New City Hall brought new symbolic focuses to the city and soon became a local and national landmark.”

Figure 4 Site Panorama in order not to only make new precedent but to lead the future of the city as a modern and bring the city to an international level. The building gives back to the city in numerous ways, it has established its own historical value and gained a highly monumental and iconic quality. Additionally each user is addressed appropriately throughout the project from the public to the municipal worker which proves to be a great aspect of the project. The city hall building is one of the major buildings of any city, it sets the language which is to be expected to be seen throughout that city. Viljo Revell’s modern design has set international standards for the city that is now one of Canada’s most international and modern cities. Making Viljo Revell’s city hall a successful and influential both as a building and as a symbol for the city of Toronto.

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Figure 5 Civic Centre

Bibliography Armstrong, C. (2015). Civic symbol: Creating Toronto’s new City Hall, 1952-1966 (Vol. 1, p. 224). Toronto : University of Toronto Press. A step forward in time: Viljo Revell’s winning design - Web exhibits - What’s online | City of Toronto. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2015, from Mumford, E. (2000). The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. History of City Hall. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2015 Toronto’s City Hall is turning 50. Here’s how it was almost never born. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2015. CIAM 8 8th International Congress for Modern Architecture. [The core. (1951).. PHOTO The Cultural Landscape Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved October 03, 2015 Toronto Archives - Your City - Living In Toronto | City of Toronto. (n.d.). Retrieved October 03, 2015

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Throughout the mid-20th century, modernist planning and architecture were perceived as the solutions to many of the social problems plaguing American cities. In response to these problems, such as poor housing conditions for the working class, several urban renewal projects were conceived but ultimately had failed. Lafayette Park, a mixed-income housing development in Detroit, Michigan is one of the few examples of successful modernist urban renewal. Completed in 1965, it was designed in collaboration with architect Mies van der Rohe, urban planner Ludwig Hilberseimer and landscape architect Alfred Caldwell. This paper examines how the planning decisions made by Hilberseimer and his colleagues allowed Lafayette Park to succeed as a well-integrated community within the declining city of Detroit. A look at Lafayette Park’s relationship to the former and existing urban context of Detroit; execution of concepts explored by Hilberseimer and Caldwell such as the superblock and landscape as planning tools; as well as the integration of its community demonstrate both the success and pitfalls of Lafayette Park as a master planned neighbourhood of the modernist era. Before Lafayette Park was conceived, Detroit was thriving as the capital of America’s automobile manufacturing industry which lead to the city’s rapid growth. In the years following World War II, car and home ownership increased. It was during this time that automobile manufacturers began to move their operations outside of the city while unemployment was also on the rise. Meanwhile, the wealthier middle class began

to move towards the suburbs, which was also driven by shifts in the racial makeup of Detroit’s demographic (Ryan, 2012, p.71). Thus, problems of decentralization, declining economy and population, as well as racial segregation became the main concerns of Detroit’s politicians and planners. The Gratiot Redevelopment Project was initiated as a response, which later became Lafayette Park. The new master planned community was intended to be suburban in character, with low-density housing, lots of green space and plenty of accommodation for parking (Mertins, 2004, p.22). As the closest residential zone to the downtown area, it is located half a mile away in the lower east side and separated by a vast network of freeways. The Detroit cityscape itself is characterized by flat topography, sprawling density, monotonous architecture and a rectilinear city grid (with an exception of downtown). However, upon entering the site via residential cul-de-sac streets from the west, one sees a stark contrast between the dull, industrial landscape of the city centre and the green, naturalized landscape of Lafayette Park. Therefore, there was a clear intention to design the neighbourhood as defined as a suburban “island” with little resemblance to the surrounding context yet integrated well into the urban fabric. One controversial aspect of Lafayette Park was its ethically questionable removal of Black Bottom, the neighbourhood that previously existed on the site. Modernist urban renewal during the 1950’s was often a means of slum clearance, and razing Black


Bottom was an example such “tabula rasa” approaches to planning. The neighbourhood was the home of nearly 8000 residents who were predominantly low-income African Americans working industrial jobs (Debanne, 2004, p.69). Detroit’s politicians saw the area as part of the city’s “urban blight”, and consequently initiated new development that would remove it. However, there was no plan to rehouse the displaced residents in Lafayette Park, since it was geared towards the middle class and not the poor. Therefore, it was at the expense of Black Bottom’s residents that the new master plan could be executed on a clean slate, without much regard for the former site. Although the current community members are well integrated internally, Lafayette Park did not entirely respond to Detroit’s most pressing social issues at the time regarding low-income housing. Figure 1 Figure ground of Black Bottom (1949)

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Figure 2 Figure ground of Lafayette Park (2012)

Hilberseimer is known for his work exploring decentralization in response to the problems of the industrial city (Mertins, 2004, p.24). Similarly, Alfred Caldwell shared the same beliefs about the “chaos of the modern metropolis,” and both “sought ‘organic’ design principles and endorsed planning as a route to social reform” (Constant, 2004, p.96). As a result, landscape became the major driver for the organization of program and circulation in Lafayette Park’s master plan. Key aspects of this landscape include communal green spaces, private yards, and a central 19-acre park that forms the link between the sparsely positioned buildings designed by Mies van der Rohe. It incorporates some major points of Hilberseimer’s conceptual work (such as the New Regional Pattern), which emphasize “proximity to work, separation of the automobile and pedestrian traffic, and ease of access to elementary school, public transport, cultural amenities, and parkland” (Constant, 2004, p.96). The sparseness of development also allows for widely spaced apartment towers with unobstructed views, and townhouses with ample sunlight with surrounding greenery.






SHOPPING CENTRE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Aerial photo image source: Scholars GeoPortal

Figure 3 Existing site plan (2015) Landscape is seen as the most important link between different programs of Lafayette Park and “fundamental to its social foundations” (Constant, 2004, p.97). The resulting scheme of the merging ideologies of architecture, planning and landscape design was one in which everyone could live united by and in proximity to nature (Mertins, 2004, p 26). Although Lafayette Park is not a true reflection of the natural environment, it successfully mimics nature to achieve the ideal model of suburban master planning, making Lafayette Park a desirable place to live for its target middle class. Instead of incorporating the former rectilinear city grid into Lafayette Park’s master plan, the design team decided that it should be entirely restructured. Hilberseimer stated in 1951 regarding congestion that “only a structural change of the city could bring about the necessary order” (Mertins, 2004, p.19). Subsequently, the superblock concept became the primary strategy for organizing the new

78-acre development. It combined townhouses, row houses, apartment towers, an elementary school and neighbourhood shopping centre, all of which are connected by pedestrian pathways and a linear park. Vehicular access to the residences is only possible from the perimeter, making the site impermeable to general traffic. In addition, cul-de-sacs terminate the residential streets, which are similarly employed in the Garden City-based town of Radburn, New Jersey which Hilberseimer drew inspiration from in his conceptual work (Constant, 2004, p.97). Only a network pedestrian routes through the park penetrate the site. Although the superblock strategy is known to have failed in other contexts due to underused space or lack of street activity, it succeeded in Lafayette Park by producing a suburban “oasis” in the city with its sprawling vegetation and low levels of noise, crime and traffic. Since its inception, Lafayette Park was designed to house the middle class rather than the poor. Consisting of a mixed-race,


“An anomaly among Modernist urban renewal housing projects of 1950’s due to its success” VEHICULAR CIRCULATION PEDESTRIAN CIRCULATION

Aerial photo image source: Scholars GeoPortal

Figure 4 Pedestrian and vehicular circulation patterns mixed-income community, it bases itself on publicly subsidized cooperative housing with a combination of rented and privately owned properties (Mertins, 2004, p.19). Its housing typologies include two-story townhouses, single storey courthouses, and high-rise apartment towers that were designed in the rectilinear, unadorned International Style of Mies van der Rohe. One contribution of Lafayette Park to Detroit was its added variety to the city’s housing stock, which at the time was mostly single-family homes and not many apartments or cooperative housing (Constant, 2004, p.105). It also gave the middle class, especially the urban professionals which Lafayette Park was heavily geared towards, the choice of living downtown in a suburban setting while commuting closely between work and home.

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In comparison to the rest of Detroit, Lafayette Park is an insular community. This makes Lafayette Park safe in many ways, from the abundant crime and changing social landscape of Detroit. These are some examples of the benefits of the culde-sac street, parklands and separation of pedestrian circulation from vehicular because it encourages frequent interactions between neighbours. The modernist-style townhouses with their floor-to-ceiling windows allow neighbours to be visible to each other while still maintaining a level of privacy behind vegetation. Lafayette Park today still maintains a balanced demographic amidst the ongoing deterioration of the city surrounding it. In fact, it is precisely due to its isolation and contrast to the surrounding neighbourhoods which makes Lafayette Park’s community notably stable.

Despite the success and praise for Lafayette Park, there have not been many known attempts to duplicate or directly reference it in newer development. Perhaps it is because Lafayette Park is essentially an idealized suburb. There also is some criticism about the lack of mixed used facilities in Lafayette Park which would have given it the potential of being truly inclusive and vibrant community. Lafayette Park was not the fully realized vision that the design team had in mind, as it was subject to politics that were beyond the control of the designers. In addition, cities nowadays are dealing with ways to build vertically rather than horizontally, while managing higher densities rather than decreasing them. Lafayette Park with its vast surface parking spaces and lack of mixed-use public facilities would make the development in the present day seem like an uneconomical use of real estate considering the low-density population that it serves. However, it has proven that low urban density neighbourhoods can function well, so long as it consists of a mix

of building types and public green spaces that unified, well-used and foster a strong sense of community. Now a designated National Historic Landmark, Lafayette Park is an instance of urban renewal which could have otherwise failed in a different context of location and time. However, it achieves what its developers originally strived to accomplish, which was the modernist version of a suburb in the city, even if the project did fall short of the designers’ ambitions for social reform in Detroit. The relation of Lafayette Park to the urban context, application of planning concepts and integration of its community offer a unique case study – an anomaly among modernist urban renewal housing projects of the 1950’s due to its success. Most importantly, the project owes much of its success to its interdisciplinary team of world-renowned designers who combined their specialized knowledge of urban planning, architecture and landscape design.

Bibliography Constant, C. (2004). Hilberseimer and Caldwell: Merging ideologies in the Lafayette Park landscape. In C. Waldheim (Ed.), CASE--Hilberseimer/Mies van der Rohe, Lafayette Park Detroit (pp. 95-111). Munich: Prestel. Debanne, J. (2004). Claiming Lafayette Park as public housing. In C. Waldheim (Ed.), CASE--Hilberseimer/Mies van der Rohe, Lafayette Park Detroit (pp. 55-61). Munich: Prestel. Herron, J. (2004). Real estate: Buying into Lafayette Park. In C. Waldheim (Ed.), CASE--Hilberseimer/ Mies van der Rohe, Lafayette Park Detroit (pp. 55-61). Munich: Prestel. Hilberseimer, L. (1956). Mies van der Rohe. Chicago: Paul Theobald and Company. Mertins, D. (2004). Lafayette Park: Collaboration in order. In C. Waldheim (Ed.), CASE--Hilberseimer/ Mies van der Rohe, Lafayette Park Detroit (pp. 55-61). Munich: Prestel. Ryan, B. D. (2012). Design after decline: How America rebuilds shrinking cities. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Thomas, J. M., & Bekkering, H. (Eds.). (2015). Mapping Detroit: Land, community, and shaping a city. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.




The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts was developed from an urban renewal project, lead by Robert Moses and commissioned by John D. Rockefeller III and designed (master plan) by Wallace Harrison, of the Lincoln Square neighbourhood, New York City. Its goals were to create an urban center for art culture and destination for tourists, even with the means of destroying existing tenements, warehouses, and shops. The campus was completed in the early 1960s. The completed project resulted in an unsuccessful attempt for positive urban design. However, when the firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro took on the job of redeveloping Lincoln Center in the early 2000â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, the campus achieved its original intentions and was made integrated with the public and the city. The design history of Lincoln Center is an excellent study on both good and bad techniques of urban design and how we can fix past mistakes. The architecture amongst most of the halls are classic. The façades of the main halls are cladded with heavy limestone (travertine) with little glazing and are accented with classical columns. The main halls of Lincoln Center is located on a raised platform, inspired by a Venetian Piazza. In the original design, the plaza level, intended to be a public square, was rather disappointing from an urban design point of view. In an interview with a partner of the firm, Elizabeth Diller comments how the constructed plaza comes

off as an arrogant sculpture of the campus, separated from the city and the public. The implications are that the users and visitors from the culture of the center rise above the rest of the city and the plaza is not intended to be used by the public. The intentions of the plaza was to encourage public activity to the center, but it was quite unsuccessful. The northern part of the plaza became empty, unmaintained, and lost its attraction over the years. The original landscape architecture was altered and the artistic quality that once existed was gradually replaced with generic stones, vegetation, and tiles. Diller Scofidio + Renfro saw potential in restoring the landscaping of the plaza, to make the space more lively and enjoyable. Materials were restored, tree planters were replaced, and new sitting areas were constructed. Lincoln Center was also criticized for being automobile orientated, rather than pedestrian or community driven. The planning of the site was poorly designed, as service functions (loading docks and parking garages) puncture through the platform, in optimal locations, making the space uncomfortable as well as congested with vehicles. Underground parking dominated the original design, that which should hidden away for the favour of pedestrians, with locations that can potentially be welcoming entrances to the plaza [see v 1]. The main entrance to the plaza was originally anchored by a passenger


“ [Lincoln Center] is planned entirely on the assumption that the logical neighbour of a hall is another hall. Nonsense. . . . It is a piece of built-in rigor mortis.” Figure 1 - The original design of Lincoln Center. The blue represents the existing parking garages before renovation drop off lane taking up the whole entrance, making it more difficult for pedestrians to access the entrance through multiple lanes of traffic. As well, the entrances seemed to favour those in cars, as many entrances were located in the lowered car garages away from pedestrians. Diller Scofidio + Renfro decided to relocate the two existing parking garages to surrounding streets (off of the Julliard building) in its renovation. To improve interface with the city, for pedestrians and cars, a new curbside passenger drop off was designed and relocated. The main stairs were able to expand and were more accessible and grand for pedestrians.

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The original entrances, critics found, were not welcoming to the public at all. Although the development proposal was supposed to be cater towards opening up to the neighbourhood, the outcome was quite the opposite. The complex was designed to open up to Columbus Ave. and Broadway

in the south-east but appear closed off to the community apartment complexes, north on Amsterdam Ave. The entrances, on this façade, appear unfinished and the buildings are cold and box-like with no glazing. There is no sense of activity and public invitation from this side of the campus. A large addition, done by Diller Scofidio + Renfro was the new restaurant located on the West 65th Street side of the plaza (between two theatre halls and in front of the Julliard School). In order to encourage more public activity within the plaza, a restaurant was added to the location where an existing parking garage once was. Jane Jacobs criticised Lincoln Center for being “planned entirely on the assumption that the logical neighbour of a hall is another hall”, it should be surrounded by restaurants, bars, and shops. Diller Scofidio + Renfro, too, agrees that a space of one culture in a large urban city must be integrated with the community. The new restaurant is a bridge between the public street users and those

With the addition of this pedestrian bridge and the green-roofed pavilion restaurant, West 65th St is serves as a secondary entrance and enjoyable place to walk.

Figure 2 - The new pedestrian bridge and green-roofed restaurant improve West 65th st. on campus. The addition is topped off with a pavilion like green-roof. Users are able to climb onto the sod lawn roof from both the plaza and the street and enjoy the open space and seating. This addition gives the square a new potential – the integration with the public and the space as a destination. West 65th street, which locates the Julliard School and Alice Tully Hall, was the most underdeveloped part of the site. Critics found the buildings buried away from the central plaza and hard to find on 65th Street, the Milstein Plaza, was a wide bridge like platform that connected the Julliard School with the Lincoln Center Theatre. However, its existence made the street very shaded, cramped, and overall unwelcoming to guests, appearing like a tunnel formed by a highway crossing. During its renovation, the Milstein Plaza was appointed to abolishment and replaced with a much lighter, user friendly bridge [see figure 2.] With the removal of the parking garage, West 65th street was able to be narrowed to widen sidewalks and make the north side more usable for the public, rather than mimic as a service lane. Diller comments that the renovation of West 65th street was “utilizing optical, rather than physical needs”

Despite being off of Columbus Ave, Alice Tully Hall originally had a minor entrance with no true identity from the street. After redevelopment, the hall has a new identity as a gathering space and anchor to the campus. The building has been extended on the property towards Broadway and new entrances were created [see figure 3.] The new design features a 3 storey glazed entrance with two cantilevered spaces (a dance studio and ‘donors’ gallery, forming a sharp angle that match the intersection. A raised wedge-shape reflect the same form and provides seating under the overhang of the building for pedestrians to view activities in the building [see figure 4]. The renovation promotes public interaction with the activities of the center, as well creating an urban identity within the city. Lastly, Diller Scofidio + Renfro believed that good urban design was the result of public interaction with the buildings and activities going on. A design goal was to implement information and media throughout the campus to encourage public of all ages and knowledge to participate with the buildings. For example, LED lights were installed onto the plaza steps with information on performances happening at the center. The stairs were dematerialized and appeared lighter, as well as more welcoming. As well, LED informational walls were placed near restaurant pavilions and on the seating pavilion of Alice Tully Hall. Lastly, a new visitor centre was designed as a hub for civic and cultural activity. Diller Scofidio + Renfro took the challenge to revitalize Lincoln Center and make the center more urban friendly and diverse to the public of all ages. The firms goals were “to


â&#x20AC;&#x153;The ideas were to make the square more open, by bringing outside public activity into the site and exposing indoor performance activitiesâ&#x20AC;&#x153; Figure 3 - Lincoln Center after rennovation, including the expansion of the Julliard School

turn the campus inside-out by extending the intensity within the performance halls into the mute public spaces between those halls and the surrounding streetsâ&#x20AC;? The ideas were to make the square more open, by bringing outside public activity into the site and exposing indoor performance activities. The redevelopment by the firm, costing over 1.2 billion dollars, was well worth the investment. The square would become a destination for the public, with social gathering, and relaxation space and informational media hubs. Figure 4 - Alice Tully Hall features cantilevered form, glazed entrances, and raised sitting area.

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Bibliography Banerjee, Tridib and Loukaitou-Sideris Anastasia (2001). Companion to Urban Design. Routledge. (New York) Diller, E. & Scofidio, R. & Otero-Pailos, J.(2009). Morphing Lincoln Center. Future Anterior, Vol.6, No.1, pp. 84-97. University of Minnesota Press. Dimenberg, Edward (2013) Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Architecture after Images. University of Chicago Press Holtzman, Anna. (2004) Diller Scofidio + Renfro / Lincoln Center/West 65th Street Transformation / New York City. Architecture, pp. 53. Foulkes, Julia L. (2010). Streets and Stages: Urban Renewal and the Arts after World War II. Journal of Social History, Vol.44, No.2, pp. 413-434 Kolb, Jaffer. (2009) Alice Tully Hall Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The Architectural Review Samuel Zipp (2009). The battle of Lincoln Square: neighbourhood culture and the rise of resistance to urban renewal. Planning Perspectives, Vol.24, No.4, pp. 409-433




How does adaptive reuse benefit a community? How is the communities involvement in urban planning and building projects effective? What is New Urbanism and why is it important? In a time of massive redevelopment and constant change, one must ask, “how does this affect a persons idea of time, context, and place?” A community and its historical context should not be erased, however adapted, improved and reconfigured to meet the needs of the current generation and for the future. In doing so we are filling the gap in our urban fabric and improving the users experience, bringing new life to an otherwise run-down area in an urban setting. Successful communities today and in the past have considered these factors through diversity, history and walkability as major aspects in their planning. This essay looks specifically at the Wychwood Barns community centre project, located in Toronto’s Hillcrest neighbourhood. Wychwood Barns is a community and cultural centre consisting of 5 barns that were originally built as street car maintenance facilities. In 1913 property was purchased by the Toronto Transit Commission, and the first of an eventual five barns were constructed. Eventually the street car maintenance facilities became obsolete due to expansions at another nearby maintenance complex in 1992. In 1996 the abandoned property and buildings were transferred to the city of Toronto. Today Wychwood Barns is the result of successful urban design due

to its ability to exist as a catalyst for social activity, its respect for surrounding context, and its contribution to the New Urbanism movement. Although Wychwood Barns took spatial organization and design into careful consideration, it would not be successful without the context that surrounds it. This is one of the single most important aspects of Wychwood Barns and is the foundation to its thriving centre. Hillcrest is an upper middle class neighbourhood just south of St Clair Avenue West. The neighbourhood is know for its cycle friendly streets, close proximity to public transit, arts, culture and diversity which includes a high population of Japanese, German, Hungarian, Spanish and Greek speakers. Wychwood barns proximity to the busy strip of St Clair avenue west also makes it an easily accessible place. Hillcrest and its community is one of the main driving forces behind Wychwood’s success because of these factors. One of the first design elements that contributes to Wychwood Barns well being is its surrounding park space. If we look at many parks around the city of Toronto, they are often dull and underused. There is often a logical reason for such banality when it comes to parks. It does not matter how rich or poor a community is but rather how space is used and what kinds of activities the space holds. Many parks in the Toronto area have become victim to banality and under-use because they lack the ability to provide activity or are placed poorly in a community. When neighbours of the


they would” (Jacobs, 1961, P.90) People need a good reason to use these spaces. Wychwood Barn’s wide variety of activities and spaces makes its park space an attractive place to be. This includes farmers/brewery markets, music events, beach volleyball, a children’s play area and much more. Since the events are spread out through different times of the day, there are always people in or by the community centre. This well used space deters criminal activity, making Wychwood Barns a safe place to be.

Figure 1 Figure ground (2015) Hillcrest community came together to discuss the future of the barns, some where in favour of demolishing them in exchange for 100% park space while others wanted to keep the barns and use only the surrounding land for park. In the end a decision was made to re-purpose the barn and create a park around it. There are two reasons why this choice is much more desirable then the other. The first reason being that it brings diversity and activities to the park, and the second reason being that it makes for a safer neighbourhood. As Jane Jacobs said “people do not use city space just because it is there and because city planners and designers wish

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Figure 2 East facade

Secondly Wychwood Barns is a successful example of urban design because of its ability to communicate a story about its history and context. One goal that the architects focused on when re-purposing the barns was to be considerate of neighbouring buildings. In the early 20th century when Wychwood Barns were constructed, context and respect for neighbours were not considered. Instead the original architects and builders strived for functionality and efficiency. Residents that lived in Hillcrest before the Wychwood Barns renovations not only looked onto large expanses of facade but also onto a rail yard. Today one can see a drastic difference in how the barns and land were used in the past compared to the present day. With the rail yards removed and parkland introduced, the space becomes much more respectful of its context. The third element contributing to Wychwood Barn’s success is that it is an adaptive reuse project. There is a popular movement in 21st century urban planning known as “New Urbanism” The Wychwood Barns many

Vehicle Circulation Eyes on the Streets

Pedestrian Circulation

Figure 3 Circulation Diagram know today is a participant in this movement. New Urbanism is an urban planning and design movement which promotes walkable neighbourhoods containing a wide variety of housing and job types. This urban planning movement is based off of pre- World War II urban design practices when the automobile was considered a luxury and very few people owned them. Without the car, cities and towns needed to put commercial, residential, industrial and institutional occupancies close to each other. This made it easier to walk from one place to another. Those supporting the New Urbanism movement are often in favour of context appropriate architecture, mixed use spaces, adaptive reuse and regional planning for open space. These are the main principles with which Wychwood Barns bases its design off of. With adaptive reuse, one isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t simply reducing construction waste or preserving a neighbourhoods historic character, but is also preventing urban sprawl. By preventing mass clearing of older buildings, denser areas are created thus providing communities with more activities and less travel time. Adaptive reuse also has economic benefits. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The city needs old buildings. A good lot of plain, ordinary, low value old buildings, including some run-down buildings. If a city area has only new buildings, the enterprises that can exists are automatically limited to those that can support the high costs

of new constructionâ&#x20AC;? (Jacobs 1961, P.20) By reusing the barns, vendors, local artists and non profit organizations were able to benefit from their existence. When you look around the city of Toronto, you can see that only well established stores and companies can afford new buildings. These include establishments like Milestones, EB Games, H&M and more. Places such as your local coffee shop and

Figure 4 Figure ground (1947)


“There was this huge sense of community that was built up around it, and I realized that was why I wanted the building saved was this sense of community.” -(Roscoe, 2012) Beach Volleyball

Open Barn

Green Barn Community Barn Covered Street

Artists Studios

Children’s Play Area Children’s Play Area

The Meadow Off Leash Dog Area

Figure 5 Wychwood Barns Axo antique stores use older buildings, making older buildings important to a communities health.

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Furthermore Wychwood Barn’s main architect and client, Joe Lobko and Artscape paid close attention to the communities needs. Joe Lobko says “our job was to understand and analyse this building, this project, the place that was here already and let it speak to us as well so that rather then shoe-horning program into the building, it was critical that we let the building talk to us so that there was an iterative process that began between the ideas and the building itself and shaping those two things together. That was our primary role.” (Lobko, 2008)Even before the renovation of the barns, Joe Lobko saw the magic within the building. It was all about letting the building be itself and

then building upon the qualities it held. He envisioned Wychwood Barns as a communityminded project where everyone had input as to what kinds of potential the brownfield site contained. Architects and planners looked at how the community used the surrounding spaces and applied these uses to the new project. Even before the barns were converted, neighbours made good use of the abandoned site, Every winter, Hillcrest local, Peter MacKendrick would flood the field that sat adjacent to the barns so that children and adults could skate. This encouraged more people to use the land. Later on more community members got together and scavenged materials to build a bake oven on the corner of the

property. During the summer, every Thursday for the following 2 years the bake oven would be lit and people would come from all corners of Hillcrest to help bake pizzas and other edibles. “There was this huge sense of community that was built up around it, and I realized that was why I wanted the building saved was this sense of community.” says Cookie Roscoe; a local who helped contribute to the construction of the bake oven. The building not only had a positive affect on the locals, but managed to save 3 farms in the process due to its successful farmers market that had vendors selling out within the first 20 minutes of opening

In conclusion Wychwood Barns is an excellent example of urban design because it follows a few main principles. Its location is tight knit and thriving, the project is realised as a community minded vision, Wychwood Barns is an adaptable reuse project which holds historical value and community identity, the project is respectful of its neighbours, and finally Wychwood barns boasts multiple use space and diversity contributing to constant use and neighbourhood safety.

Bibliography -Campigotto, R. (2010). Farmers’ Markets and Their Practices Concerning Income, Privelege, and Race: A Case Study of Wychwood Artscap Barns in Toronto. Toronto: University of Toronto - Jacobs, J. (1961). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House. -Lobko, J. (2012, February 15). Artscape Wychwood Barns - Architect Joe Lobko (Online Interview). -Lobko, J. (2008, June 19). Artscape Wychwood Barns- Architect Joe Lobko (Online Interview). -Making New Tracks - Canadian Architect. (n.d.). Retrived Novemeber 6, 2015 -Roscoe, C. (2012, February 15). Barn Raising: The Community’s Role in the Creation of Artscape Wychwood Barns (Online Interview). -The 100-Year Legacy of Wychwood Barns. (n.d.). Retrived Novemeber 6, 2015




Over the past 15 years, large Latin American cities have undergone major urban renaissance. After years of social and political failure, action was finally taken as a direct response to the extreme conditions and crime rate in the unplanned or informal developments laced around cities such as Medellin, Colombia. Formerly known as the world’s murder capital, Medellin has been transformed through “social Urbanism”; innovative public architecture that is designed to heal socially broken barrios within cities, and make a difference at an urban scale (Batuman, 2014). More specifically, we examine the Library Park España project that took place in the Santo Domingo Savio Neighbourhood in Medellin’s North-East zone. Activist Architect Giancarlo Mazzanti took on this project with the support of Mayor Sergio Fajardo, in an attempt to boost community life through public spaces and change the image of Medellin. This project, through its overall use of social urbanism, relates to several planning approaches. Three planning approaches in particular were applied throughout the planning, progression and result of the Library Park España project: social planning, participatory planning, and architectural intervention; giving the city an icon and spirit or in other words, a new potential Genius Loci. Through basic City Beautiful movement and Garden City principles, the project promotes progression and change for the once gang and drug ruled city. It has contributed to real positive impacts for both the urban design discipline and its city’s well-being. The form of the building is very sculptural and unique to its site and it does not relate to its urban context within good reason. Crime rates have since plummeted and other similar projects are now being ensued all across the city because

of the success made of The Library Park España. The development of the informal settlements and expansive city growth played a huge role in the social divide of the city and its need for change. The city of Medellin had its industrial start with the gold rush in the early 1900’s. It was then further established with the growth and production of coffee, cotton, cigarettes, and chocolate as well as mining. It was also a manufacturing homestead for companies like Levis Denim, Toyota and Mitsubishi (McGuirk, 2014). For a time, Medellin was prosperous, however many factors initiated its industrial decline. Some of which were the rise of low-cost labour in Asia starting in the 1960’s, and the drop of coffee prices. Farmers and rural workers began moving closer into the city to find jobs. This large volume of migrants increased the ranks of Medellin’s slums; known locally as comunas (McGuirk, 2014). With the decline of traditional industry, civilians turned to the cocaine business. Organized crime became popular among the unemployed with the semi-militarized gangs and Pablo Escobar ruling the comunas. Dominated by drug cartels, the city’s poorest neighborhoods, just like Santo Domingo, were tormented by violence and fear (McGuirk, 2014)1. The effect of all of this was that the city was then left deeply segregated. It was not penetrable from the outside; a “no man’s land”, especially the northern comunas like Santo Domingo, which is situated atop dramatic hills and is not easily accessed. Due to the large volume of unplanned pattern developments and dramatic increases in crime, radical urban and architectural experiments were implemented by a



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Figure 1 Figure-Ground plan diagram showing the density of the informal settlement

Figure 2 Blue indicates the Library Park España within dense informal context

sequence of mayors (mostly Sergio Fajardo) and other civic leaders demanding change (McGuirk, 2014). They wanted to achieve this through the construction of new public spaces and civic buildings; Social Urbanism. This term was brought about by Austrian Planner Karl Brunner, who rejected beauxarts and modernism and their master planning ideas of designing from scratch. He believed in a “practice that recognizes what is already there decades before” (McGuirk, 2014). It is a phenomenon of architecture and public space being used towards social goals. The method of planning specifically used for the realization of the Library Park España is Social Planning. This approach, from the four positions of planning falls under Intervention-left, which looks to ensure equality by means of intervening with planned design solutions. Unlike the approach’s popular application to housing initiatives, the building and its site used Medellin’s civic movement of building educational spaces to tackle inequality. In addition, new parks and plazas are implemented as a support system to

address violence and give a chance for citizens to reconnect. They looked at the needs of the local society and placed that as priority; these needs were mostly free educational, cooperative programs and interaction spaces. They then designed an environment for them based on their needs as a community, which combined various related programs simultaneously, community oriented them and added landscaping and nearby access2 in order to ensure its use and equality. Although they had to create the site by rehousing 150 people, they did it within the Santo Domingo neighbourhood and subsidized them to build an extra storey on their house if they wished to (Hernandez-Garcia, 2013). Not only did the designers of this project analyze the social and economic situation of the citizens, they also turned to the citizens themselves through participatory planning. “We had a specific team that combined architects, urbanists, social workers,

communications people, lawyers and a leader […] that guy worked with the community keeping the project on the agenda. We also had imagination workshops every month, with children trying to think about how to make a park.”(Echeverri as cited by McGuirk, 2014). This group of people became their design and planning guidelines for what the building and its site should provide. It created an expectation among the community that now had to be delivered; which by defining the design as a team, motivated the designers to create a solution as well as motivated the citizens to believe in their leaders. In Addition to the very significant social aspect of this project, the site and context were huge drivers in the outcome of the building. Three monolithic rock-form towers project over Medellin’s valley. These forms look highly modern against the backdrop of the communas. With its angular chiselled façade and dark stone cladding, the Library Park contrast with the character and language brought about by the layers of cheap concrete construction, with red brick and colourful paint. This was all intentional through architectural intervention. Along with the other social urban projects done in the city, this building was meant to fit its context, yet demonstrate a world class level of architectural design and futuristic style so that it may promote a new progression towards prosperity for the city. The Library Park España in particular was meant to create an icon for the city; a piece of architecture that defines the city on its own through its community based program, its scale, and its modern form. Since this project’s urban context is informal and expendable, the form of this building roots itself into Medellin’s natural landscape. This makes it significant to its city, where the form would persist throughout time. At a small scale, the Library Park España captures the new spirit of community, knowledge and prosperity in Medellin; it’s new Genius Loci (Rossi, 1982).

This project was completed in 2007, which is quite recent in the timeline of modern radical social planning and redevelopment3. Despite this, the project embraced the basic ideas of two planning movements from the late 1800’s to 1900’s; the City Beautiful movement and the Garden City movement by Ebenezer Howard. At its core, the qualitative definition for the City Beautiful movement is that with the promotion of beauty, came moral and civic virtues among an urban population. It is believed that beautification could promote harmonious social order which would then increase the quality of life for its inhabitants (Springer, 2013)4. This is to say that with beautiful environments comes a well- behaved and coherent society. This idea is applicable to the Library Park España, where at a small scale,

Figure 3 Diagram of scale and syle difference between context and Project


“This is to say that with beautiful environments comes a well- behaved and coherent society.”

Cab l

Urban Greenery

eC ar A cce ss

Unique Forms

Figure 4 Movements of planning demonstrated through style, greenery, and accessibility a modern and unique building and landscape was introduced to change the attitudes of the citizens. Since the crime rates and gang violence have dropped significantly, it could be said that this building’s beauty and its landscape, along with a few other projects similar to it, did in fact change the social order for Medellin. The Garden City movement strives for accessibility and proximity, along with green breaks or “greenbelts” throughout the city. Even at such a small scale, the Library Park España incorporates a large span of greenery to its park and was built with the intention of being in very close proximity to the cable car. Through Social Urbanism and intervention, the project’s bold and natural aesthetic gestures fulfils the ideas of both of these historical urban planning movements.

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The city of Medellin has been undertaking

numerous programs and projects in informal developments in order to integrate them physically and socially into the urban fabric (Hernandez-Garcia, 2013). What makes this project stand out in particular, is its scale, unique form, proximity and landscaping. It has demonstrated that at a small scale, successful design and planning could be achieved through principles of historical planning movements like City Beautiful and Garden City. Through the planning approaches of Social Planning, Participatory Planning and Architectural Intervention, the Library Park España was able to change not only the quality of life for its city, but changes the way Urban Planning is examined and executed in Latin America. It is now a reference for urban planning solutions on inequality (Fajardo as cited in McGuirk, 2014). The project has won various prizes such as the Curry Stone Design Prize, and Harvard’s

Green Prize in Urban Design, as well as hosted the 2014 World Urban Forum. Despite the criticisms on the increase in costs (for property and quality of life) of the changes that came with social urbanism, the important contribution to quality of life and city image for the slum helped

that came with social urbanism, the important contribution to quality of life and city image for the slum helped renew an image and ultimately save lives.

Footnotes 1

Between 1990-1993, more than 6000 people were being killed each year in this city alone, 15 years later, this dropped by 90% (McGuirk, 2014).Behind these statistics are the major urban and architectural projects that got them to these numbers today.


A cable car was implemented as an addition to the Metrolink as a way to get up the steep hill (Velez, 2011)


This is referring to the radical projects by CIAM and its followers, with big ideas about modern social planning. In contrast to North America, Latin America’s economies are relatively stable, demonstrating a steady progress and great growth with progressive politics and urban experiments as a solution for their slums (Castro, 2011), which differs from the post war modern development solutions of the past.


This information was retrieved from the lectures of Professor Joseph Springer from The Ryerson University Urban Planning Program

Bibliography Batuman, B., & Baykan, D. (2014). Critique by design: Tackling urban renewal in the design studio. Urban Design International Urban Des Int, 199-214. Carmona, M. (2003). Public places, urban spaces: The dimensions of urban design. Oxford: Architectural Press. Castro, L., & Echeverri, A. (2011). Bogotá and Medellín: Architecture and Politics. Architectural Design Archit Design, 96-103. Eugenia González Vélez, M., & Carrizosa Isaza, C. (2011). Los pactos ciudadanos y el Parque Biblioteca España de Santo Domingo Savio. Entre La Planeación Urbana, La Apropiación Del Espacio Y La Participación Ciudadana, 117-140. Hernandez-Garcia, J. (2013). Slum tourism, city branding and social urbanism: The case of Medellin, Colombia. Journal of Place Management and Development, 43-51. McGuirk, J. (2014). Radical cities: Across Latin America in search of a new architecture. Verso. Rossi, A., & Eisenman, P. (1982). The architecture of the city. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. Springer, J. (Professor) (2013). Class Notes. PLG100. Lecture conducted from Ryerson University, Toronto.




Since the 1930s, America has attempted various methods to address housing for poor citizens. Beginning with the Urban Renewal movement, public housing today has come a long way since its first shaky inception. Although the intention of public housing is positive, this fact is quickly masked by its negative connotations. The number of failed housing projects is only an interregnum in the overall discourse of the urban renewal period, yet they have left lasting scars in the public’s mind. Contrary to some belief, the root cause of many failures was not necessarily the architectural design, but rather a combination of the social, political, economical, and racial issues of the time. Nonetheless, urban design had played a part in perpetuating these issues by allowing them fester in the environments the architects created. Modern public housing has sought to learn from past mistakes by creating designs that are more sensitive to the context and needs of the residents. Tassafaronga Village, in Oakland, California, is the success story of public housing. It is a strong example of how far architects and planners have come in terms of designing for the low-come sector. The following essay will use Tassafaronga Village as a case study to illustrate the positive impacts of contemporary urban design strategies. Aspects to be discussed are mixed-income communities; exterior form and aesthetic, as well as permeability and street-scape. Although neighbourhood revitalization strategies alone cannot change the social inequalities of society, Tassafaronga Village demonstrates that good urban design ultimately comes down to the ability to integrate public housing into the surrounding context at multiple levels.

To rectify past public housing mistakes, the American government requires mixedincome residency for all new redeveloped public housing projects. Initial housing projects in the 1950s expressed extreme segregation both in terms of race and income. This was in part due to the prejudicial society and racial zoning of the time. Zoning was initially used by city planners to prevent industrial expansion into residential areas. However, white middle-class citizens were simultaneously using zoning as a tool to “exclude undesirable groups from entering their communities and to prevent the spread of slums into upscale neighbourhoods” (Ross & Leigh, 2000, p. 372). There was a belief that public housing would deteriorate any neighbourhood it was imposed on. For many low-income, African-American families, high density public housing was the only means they could afford. Zoning confined public housing to neighbourhoods within the city core, making moving into the “upscale suburbs all but impossible for lowto middle-income residents, who [were] disproportionately racial minorities” (Ross & Leigh, 2000, p. 372). In addition, “stringent income eligibility guidelines [ensured] that only the poorest individuals [resided] in public housing” (Zielenbach, 2000, p. 95). Thus, racial minorities were forced to stay within the city core, resulting in extreme over-crowding and unsanitary conditions. Contemporary society has taken a more positive attitude to public housing. Racial zoning is illegal; today’s zoning bylaws see a greater attempt to integrate the low-income population into the greater community. Tassafaronga Village was


other higher income households.

Figure 1 The housing project borders on the edge between an industrial neighbourhood (purple) and residential neighbourhood (yellow)

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originally comprised of 87 public housing units on a 5.5 acre site. The site was later expanded to include an abandoned industrial site and an abandoned pasta factory. This expansion allowed the project to link to a school and library on site, thus completing the street grid (see Fig. 3 and 4). The past factory was renovated into housing lofts, offering residents a third housing typology; multiple typologies encourages users of different incomes to move into the neighbourhood. Previously a brownfield site where a decrepit public housing project one stood, Tassafaronga repairs the rundown urban fabric by creating a connection between the residential portion on one side of the site and the industrial usage on the other (see Fig. 1). Moreover, revitalizing a brownfield site improves the quality of the neighbourhood overall, making the project a valuable asset to the community, rather than a liability. Residents have easy access to a public library, a local school, a city park, and a community centre; thus low-income citizens are able to interact and engage with the greater community and

Public housing has a reputation for appearing cold, run-down, and cheap. In the 1940s, city officials were clearing slum neighbourhoods in an effort to eliminate urban blight. Once the slums were cleared, the city faced the problem of housing the large number of displaced poor residents in a manner that was both convenient and cost-efficient. The solution came in the form of high-rise towers; the first public housing projects were designed as Modernist superblocks. These commonly consisted of towering apartment buildings in the shapes of X’s or Y’s, organized onto a rigid grid completely separate from the surrounding context (see Fig. 2). This isolated the housing projects; they “aggressively called attention to [themselves] in the midst of a more conventional urban or suburban setting” (Mallach, 2009, p. 65). In order to make the units affordable, developers “made use of mass production techniques, uniform design, and prefabricated components” (Bennet, Smith, & Wright, 2006, p. 265). However, due to a lack of federal housing funds, the buildings were often poorly constructed and downgraded in material finishes. The high concentration of poverty-stricken residents, in conjunction with a lack of building management, created

Figure 2 Pruitt Igoe, an infamous Modernist housing project, isolated itself from its context in both scale and form

Figure 3 Figure-ground after construction (1:15000) a breeding ground for vandalism and crime. All these factors fuelled the stigma around the appearance of public housing. Tassafaronga is a huge step forward from the past. In an interview, architect David Baker stated that the firm “scrambled to make sure [Tassafaronga] was not a homogeneous project” (2012, p. 160). The multiple buildings typologies allow the project to knit itself into the existing fabric, rather than being seen as one gigantic unit imposed onto the site. Contrary to the beliefs of early architects, most lowerincome families are “no more drawn to living in an exhibitionistic architectural statement than other Americans” (Mallach, 2009, p.65). By having each home slightly distinct, it allows each household to have a feeling of connection to the village, while still being an individual within the greater scope of the neighbourhood; this creates integration in a social sense. Also, instead of demolishing the abandoned pasta factory on the site’s edge, the firm converted the spaces into residential lofts and a medical

centre, incorporating the industrial border of the site into the project’s design. In addition, the abundant use of colourful cladding creates a friendly, welcoming atmosphere not seen in the austere concrete blocks of the 1950s; this further integrates the project into the neighbourhood. The Modernist super-block has taught planners and architects the importance of making the housing project permeable to the surrounding neighbourhoods. The village is a cluster of buildings with multiple green spaces and circulation paths creates permeability, and is another method of integration into the existing fabric. Early housing projects had too much unprogrammed green space; living in high towers disconnected residents from the street level, and most of this open space was largely wasted. In addition, it became “a primary site of muggings and assaults, especially at night” (Zielenbach, 2000, p. 94). Rather than using open space as a divider between the housing project and the adjacent


“good urban design ultimately comes down to the ability to integrate public housing into the surrounding context” Figure 4 Figure-ground before construction (1:15000) context like an island, Tassafaronga uses smaller, programmed green spaces as a way to animate the street level and encourage a flow of users into and out of the complex. All the buildings face a public amenity space, creating “eyes on the street” (Jacobs, 1961, p. 56). The private streets are treated as public throughways, bringing in users outside of the village. The community centre and medical centre on site give outside users a reason to come to the village, encouraging the project to be seen as an extension of the surrounding amenities. Thus, green spaces, public resources, and circulation paths open Tassafaronga up the city and create a stronger sense of community on a whole. One of the initial challenges of the site was street traffic. While the architects wished to increase foot traffic through site and enliven the streetscape, the traffic conditions at the time were not favourable. Trucks and fast-moving cars that previously dominated the streets were dangerous to families with small children. The architects narrowed the streets and raised intersections to

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slow cars to a crawl. Signs prohibiting trucks to use the streets were also installed. This created a safer environment for children to play in the streets, while maintaining a circulatory connection between the housing project and the outside world (see Fig. 5). Urban renewal cannot solve the social ills of the city. It can, however, “increase the safety of an area, enhance its appearance, and make it a more liveable place for its residents” (Zielenbach, 2000, p.4). Tassafaronga village demonstrates the positive modern design strategies that serve to weave a public project into the site and context, creating an new and enriched cohesive whole. Integration of low-income households both on the physical level and social level is what allows a city to thrive. There is strength in diversity within a population. While past public housing mistakes still resonant today, urban planning has propelled forward, and has immensely improved the lives of others, which is the ultimate value of the urban renewal discourse.

Private Public Streets - safe for children - on-street parking and speed restrictions - reconnects site with greater context Active Edges - entrances face the street, connecting the community with the streetscape Village Squares -mulitple green spaces behave as semi-private gathering spaces - clusters of townhomes have multiple exposures

Figure 5 Urban design strategies used on site Bibliography Blazwick, I. (2000). Tate Modern: The handbook. Berkeley [Calif.: University of California Press. Cerver, F. (1996). City planning: Urban architecture. New York: Arco Editorial. Dean, C., Donnellan, C., & Pratt, A. C. (2010). Tate Modern: Pushing the limits of regeneration. City, Culture and Society, 1(2), 79-87. Hall, P. (1988). Cities of tomorrow: An intellectual history of urban planning and design in the twentieth century. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Handy, S. L., Boarnet, M. G., Ewing, R., & Killingsworth, R. E. (2002). How the built environment affects physical activity: views from urban planning. American journal of preventive medicine, 23(2), 64-73. Jacobs, J. (1961). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Vintage Books. Mumford, E. (2000). The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.




The New Academic Building at 41 Cooper Square towers over the neighbouring low rise buildings where Cooper Square and 3rd Avenue merge, on the lot between 6th Street and 7th Street. The building is situated amongst many integral buildings such as the Ukrainian Museum, St. Georges Catholic Church, the Schevenko society, and a handful of Ukrainian restaurants that reflect the influx of “tens of thousands of Ukrainian [immigrants]” that came to the city between the start of the 20th century and the end of the Second World War. (Fodor, 2015) The area is referred to as ‘Little Ukraine’ or the ‘Ukrainian East Village,’ and it is an area rich with diversity and heritage. Such diversity (along with a direct connection to many public transit routes) has caused the land to increase in value. The construction of the New Academic Building came after much protest by the Ukrainian residents in the area, and its presence alone is a symbol of impending gentrification of the East Village. The building was designed to reflect the energy of New York, responding to New York City as a whole, as well as its immediate context at grade. Cooper square has been described as an area where “students, tourists, and teenagers mill around, wolfing pizza, drinking cheap beer, or skateboarding,” (Dunford & Rosenberg, 2012) thus providing the building a perfect opportunity with which to enhance the quality of its immediate context at grade. Though the design has good intentions as to how it responds to its urban context, the building falls short of its potential. While the New Academic Building implements successful urban design elements that

merit notice, the overall structure is more detrimental to the urban quality of the area than it is helpful. The New Academic Building is the larger of two buildings comprising the entirety of the small Cooper Union campus in the East Village. The other is the Foundation building across the street. The dynamic contemporary structure of the new Cooper Union building replaced the deteriorating Hewitt Academic Building in 2009, an attempt to invigorate the area with a renewed sense of “character, culture and vibrancy.” (Morphodepia, 2009) Before Morphosis was selected to design the building, the Cooper Union had already intended to create a stronger connection between the two structures, applying for a zoning change that would allow the engineering building for the Cooper union to replace the current two-storey Hewitt building. This zoning change was eventually approved by the city and it allowed a building “roughly equivalent to the colleges most identifiable structure” (Gonchar, n.d) to be cater-cornered to it (Figure 1). Thom Maynes design intended to evoke the manifestation of the school and the city. Similar to the previous Hewitt building, the NAB appears rectilinear in plan and is constructed along the property line, thus leaving the city grid intact (Figure 2). In an urban approach similar to the Portland city grid, the New Academic Building helps define the scale of the city grid as it takes up the entire block. The building remains sensitive to the city grid in plan,






Figure 1 Result of zoning change at 41 Cooper Square (1) Foundation building (2) New Academic building (3) Hewitt Academic building but becomes very expressive in section. In this way, both the overlying order of the city, and the “incredible intensity [of the New York]” environment can be maintained. (Mayne, 2014) The ‘genius loci’ of the East Village is the product of a pattern planning approach to the area of Manhattan, one that has developed over the last century of city planning. The flush facades along each lot frontage, the wash of brown and beige colors, brick and brownstone materiality, rectilinear windows, and store front glazing at grade all contribute to the overall language of the Manhattan vernacular. Due to recent attempt to revitalize the area, a discourse is slowly developing between the old pattern

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language, and new expressive contemporary structures in the area, including NAB. The Cooper Square site is “increasingly lined with smart, contemporary buildings” (Fodor, 2015) and impending gentrification in the area can be observed in the expressive glass facades of buildings such as 445 Lafayette Street, and the Cooper Square Hotel. Though an expressive rain screen facade hides its glass box, the new Cooper Union building is informed by these high-rise additions to the area and helps articulate the contemporary pattern planning of the East Village. (Figure 3) In the same way the building has been informed by the city as a whole, it remains a product of its immediate context. The form of the building itself is articulated to respond to the site, as three of the four façades remain flush with the orientation of surrounding building and streets. The most prominent façade faces the park, expressing a concavity to Cooper Park across from the building, and gesturing towards the foundation building. This articulation is described by Mayne as a being a “receiver of the force of the landscape… accepting the force of the city.” (Mayne, 2010) The northwest corner of the structure was designed to be sensitive to its neighbouring heritage building through the building form; the building envelope pushed into the building at grade further opens the ground plane for pedestrian circulation. Similar responses to the surrounding built form can be seen in the articulation of the glazing throughout the building envelope. The most prominent (and polarizing) opening appears on the west side of the building, an attempt to relate the building to the park, along with the foundation building (as seen in the heightened perforation of the façade on the northwest corner of the NAB). In a less dramatic way, the design of a hexagonal glazed opening is oriented on the east facade in an attempt to display sensitivity to the adjacent Ukrainian School. The building interacts with the streetscape at grade, but equally important is the interaction of its built form with the site. In

a further attempt to integrate the building with life on the street, the building lifts off the ground on angled concrete columns. The columns are informed by the “dynamism and tension” of the Manhattan streets, but paradoxically designed to inform social cohesion at the base of the building. (Mayne, 2014) Raising the building from the street allows the building to open up at grade, which accounts for visual connection in and around the building. A paradox exists within the design of the New Academic Building, as it provides both a positive and negative impact on its urban environment. Perhaps one of the largest culprits for this is the forward thinking design methodology incorporated in the building. The NAB was designed to be compliant with economic standards within the city, and was the “first academic building in New York to receive LEED platinum certification.” (Yudelson & Meyer, 2013) Reduction of the urban heat island effect is one of many positive impacts the building will have on the city. But while the building acknowledges many ways to integrate environmental strategies, it completely neglects the relationship with the Cooper Park at grade. Though the building introduces glazing on the west side, there is no connection to the park (or any other green space) at grade. Its failure to connect with the city’s urban space shows a lack of forward thinking and urban planning. Though it postdates the construction of the New Academic Building, XYZ Studio is working to revitalize the urban design of the Cooper Triangle at Cooper Square and Astor Place, which further contrasts the NAB’s inability to relate to its context at grade. Additionally, the New Academic Building paradoxically places emphasis on social cohesion. Thom Mayne explains his design is a product of “social pedagogy,” where elements like skip-stop elevators and an exorbitant atrial stair contributes to the overall idea of a “vertical piazza.” (Mayne, 2014) Internalizing the social interaction of the building produced ignorance to the importance of social cohesion

on the street. Rather than focus on an external piazza benefiting the community, the building prioritizes an internal piazza benefiting the school, to the detriment of the site’s urban quality. The design of the New Academic Building’s design is riddled with good intentions that miss the mark on an urban planning scale (Figure 4). For example, a green terrace is implemented in the setbacks of both the north and east side of the building, and has become typical of contemporary additions to the area. Unfortunately the design of the NAB’s terrace is far higher and oriented away from public domain, disallowing any connection between the terrace and the street. Though the east side of the site provides the public with rentable bike racks as a positive addition to the buildings urban design, the buildings disruption of the Ukrainian School’s connection to the park is discouraging. The hexagonal glazing unit on the east side of the building helps give back to the Ukrainian school, now shrouded in the shadow of the New Academic building for half the day. That being said, the new structure at 41

Figure 2 East village figure ground


“Internalizing the social interaction of the building produced ignorance to the importance of social cohesion on the street” 445 LAFAYETTE STREET 41 COOPER SQUARE COOPER SQUARE HOTEL


3R E




OO /C Figure 3 Contemporary pattern planning as a result of gentrification and zoning changes













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Figure 4 The building employs strategies that yield both positive and negative results on the urban plan

Cooper Square does not provide a meaningful and productive solution to the negative impact it has on the school beside it. The New Academic Building at 41 Cooper Square is located at a site brimming with potential for urban design, but its underutilization of urban design makes the NAB a disappointment. The building was created to revitalize the area, instil a renewed sense of character in the east village, and pay

homage to its context on the level of the city and the site. Due to it’s inability to adequately enhance or respect the current urban fabric of Cooper square, the New Academic Building’s attempt to create a positive impact on the neighbourhood has done little more than symbolize inevitable gentrification and the demise of the genius loci of the Ukrainian village.

Bibliography 41 Cooper Square. (2009, February 22). Retrieved November 6, 2015, from projects/41-cooper-square Architecture Meets Science Fiction at 41 Cooper Square. (2009, December 4). Retrieved September 2015, from


Bloomberg, M. (n.d.). PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from Dunford, M., & RosenBerg, A. (2012). The Rough Guide to New York City (13th ed.). New York City, New York: Penguin. Gonchar, J. (n.d.). 41 Cooper Square. Retrieved September 24, 2015, from http://archrecord.construc Mayne, T. (May 6, 2010) Thom Mayne: I wanted to produce something off [video file]. Retrieved from Mayne, T. (January 14, 2014) Building an Urban Campus | The New School [video file]. Retrieved from https:// Fodor (2015). New York City 2016. New York City, New York: Fodor’s Travel Publication. Ouroussoff, N. (2009, June 4). The Civic Value of a Bold Statement. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from Proposed Cooper Union General Large Scale Development Plan. (2002, April 1). Retrieved November 6, 2015, from Reconstruction of Astor Place and Cooper Square. (2011, January 6). Retrieved November 6, 2015, from tion_to_CBs_2_and_3.pdf Trotter, M. (2009). Get Fit: Morphosis’s New Academic Building for the Cooper Union.Harvard De sign Magazine. Yudelson, J., & Meyer, U. (2013). The world’s greenest buildings: Promise versus performance in sus tainable design (p. 288). New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis




As one of the most influential voices in urban planning theory, Jane Jacobs espoused the idea of a multi-layered vibrant city over the sterile organized rationality of modernist planning. A vocal critic of the “Decentrist” planning approach and its Garden Cityesque efforts to disperse the populations and enterprises of large urban centres into smaller separate settlements, Jacobs (1961) identified four “generators of diversity” (p. 143) necessary for a city to sustain its urban life and culture. These four generators are: mixed primary uses; small blocks; population density; and aged buildings. After the failure of rationalist planning to solve the economic and social problems of postwar cities, the influence of these principles resulted in a new form of urbanism in the city of Vancouver, BC that makes use of a number of Jacobs’ theories. Eponymously dubbed ‘Vancouverism’, this approach combines residential high rises and low-rise infill with a pedestrian-oriented streetscape and a network of linked waterfront parks, all within a continuous urban network (Walsh, 2013, p. 23). Although this trend towards a highly-dense yet livable city seems to meet Jacobs’ requirements, it also defies several of her other principles. One of the best examples of this contradiction can be found in Vancouver’s single largest mixeduse development, Concord Pacific Place, which has simultaneously become a major promoter of Vancouverism as well as an example of its drawbacks. This essay seeks to explore how the conception, evolution, and execution of Concord Pacific Place by Vancouver planners and its private developer reacted to Jacobs’ theories and contributed to

the current model of Vancouverism. Concord Pacific Place owes its current existence to the influence of several local factors: Expo ‘86; the early 1980s recession; major changes in the British Columbia provincial government’s economic and land development strategies; and the introduction of pro-Asian immigration and investment policies (Wiley, 2012, p. 202-203). Originally a railway yard, the land was acquired by the province in 1980 to host Expo ‘86, a major transportation exposition that would simultaneously celebrate the centennials of both Vancouver and the Canadian Pacific Railway. Afterwards, the land was to be redeveloped for residential and office use in response to the growth of an inner-city population of young professionals, the sharp decline of Vancouver’s industrial waterfront, and the parallel growth of a downtown-based service-oriented economy (Punter, 2003, p. 187). However, the recession triggered significant changes in the province’s economic policies and led to its exit from major building projects. In 1987, it announced its intention to sell False Creek North to a single private developer, believing that dealing with only one developer would streamline the redevelopment process. Meanwhile, the upcoming return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 prompted its entrepreneurs to look for foreign investments to shelter their capital. This coincided with the province’s desire for a foreign bidder for False Creek North since local developers were deemed too risky as a result of the recession (Wiley, 2012, p. 217-218). Ultimately, billionaire real estate magnate Li Ka-Shing and his company, Concord Pacific


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Figure 1 False Creek North (1989)

Figure 2 False Creek North (2015)

Developments Corporation (CPDC), won the bid for False Creek North. Li already had a reputation as a trendsetter (Walsh, 2013, p. 573), something the provincial government considered in the idea that the property’s sale to CPDC would stimulate massive Asian investment in Vancouver real estate (Punter, 2003, p. 194).

by-side in a series of weekly meetings, thereby ensuring that everyone was on the same page throughout the entire planning process. Furthermore, the results of these meetings were presented at informal public meetings and workshops, thereby allowing the general public and community interest groups to also participate in the planning process (Chau, 2008, p. 41). This inclusion of the surrounding community in the planning process employs Jacobs’ proposal that local expertise is better suited to guiding community development due to their innate knowledge of the reallife functioning of the particular district - something that prescribed government planning and development policies may not consider in their design. Not only did this ensure a high level of public satisfaction with the project, but it allowed the planners and developer to create a more successful design.

This movement towards privatization forced Vancouver’s Planning Department to revise its previous method of dealing with developers; if the planners’ aspirations of a livable city were to be realized, cooperating with developers instead of enforcing a strict agenda was essential. This was achieved through the establishment of an innovative two-part system of Development Cost Levies (DCL) and Community Amenity Contributions (CAC). Although the DCLs applied to all new developments, a separate CAC fee pertained to special cases like Concord Pacific Place where a developer applied for rezoning. This created a new process that became one of the key components of the execution of Vancouverism: developers made concessions to the City’s interests in exchange for other tradeoffs that would increase the value of their projects (e.g. higher permitted densities). Additionally, the implementation of a new cooperative planning process between the City and CPDC had a significant influence on making this relationship as smooth as possible. Spearheaded by architect Stanley Kwok, the head of the CPDC development team, this approach allowed both parties to work side-

The result of this process was the Official Development Plan for False Creek North (1989). Created to guide Concord Pacific Place’s design approach, it outlines several “Organizing Principles”, such as “Integrate with the City”, “Create Lively Places having Strong Imaginability”, “Create Neighbourhoods”, and “Plan for All Age Groups” (p. 5-6). These tenets align with Jacobs’ theories - a source which Larry Beasley, the co-director of Vancouver’s Planning Department during this era, cited as an influence on his urban thinking (Chau, 2008, p. 83). For example, the first organizing principle, “Integrate with the City”, seeks to connect Concord Pacific with the rest of

planned development, the designers have attempted to artificially stimulate an active streetscape through the incorporation of amenities such as parks and neighbourhood gathering places integrated with commercial and residential uses. Moreover, the specified presence of families and children in the development - 25% of all residential units in the project are geared toward families - was used as a further generator of diversity for the project by giving it additional primary uses in the form of schools, daycares, and other facilities. In this case, the planning has translated effectively into reality - the presence of families and children of various ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds has positively contributed to the diversity of Concord Pacific (Chau, 2008, p. 51).

Vancouver through the extension of the city’s street network on the site. Although these block sizes are much larger than the ones of the surrounding city, many of them are cut across with lanes or landscaped pathways to provide pedestrians with multiple routes of travel, thereby increasing interaction between different areas of the development. However, unless these lanes provide reasons for people to use them frequently (e.g. the presence of a variety of buildings and uses that promote an active streetscape), they will remain stagnant. The ODP attempts to mitigate this through the following organizing principles: “Create Lively Places”, “Create Neighbourhoods”, and “Plan for All Age Groups”. The first two principles emphasize pedestrian-scale design, with provisions for multifunctional open spaces, neighbourhood gathering/activity places, and the accommodation of a diverse range of people. The last principle places particular importance on the City’s goal of accommodating families with young children. As Concord Pacific Place is an entirely master-

However, despite the fact that several of Jacobs’ ideas are represented in the form of mixed primary uses, pedestrian permeability, and the inherent population density that accompanies for-profit residential developments, this


OCCUPANCY TYPE Mixed Primary Uses

Commercial Residential Institutional

MAJOR ROAD Extension of Street Grid

PEDESTRIAN PATH Multiple Paths of Travel

Figure 3 Influence of Jane Jacobs’ urban planning principles in Concord Pacific Place


“Although this trend towards a highly-dense yet livable city seems to meet several of Jacobs’ requirements, it also defies several of her other principles.”



Figure 4 Typical building massing in Concord Pacific Place (Point Tower and Row House)

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“systems-approach” to urban planning causes many of the project’s spatial strategies to operate on a city-scale (Wiley, 2012, p. 241). This is a sharp contrast to the human-scale planning favored by Jacobs, who cited neighbourhoods like Boston’s North End as an example of a vibrant urban community. Whereas these kinds of communities had the opportunity to develop slowly through smaller planning interventions, Concord Pacific Place was rapidly developed according to a single plan, resulting in a “squeakyclean sense of control” over its streets and spaces that lacks the “messy vitality” of organicallyevolving urban neighbourhoods (Berelowitz, 2005, p. 115). This sense of a pristine, almostuntouchable atmosphere also extends to the built forms of the development. Although the local building typology of spaced point towers surrounded by row house enclaves and green space manages to balance high densities with the preservation of a traditional urban streetscape,

it has become ubiquitous to the point of being formulaic. Despite being designed by different architectural firms, many of these buildings share a sameness of architectural style and materiality, thereby resulting in an overall collective effect that is the opposite of urban diversity (Berelowitz, 2005, p. 115). Another flaw of Concord Pacific Place is its failure to meet one of Jacobs’ primary generators of urban diversity: the need for older buildings. So much new development has happened so quickly that buildings have not been able to depreciate enough to permit enterprises unable to support the costs of new construction. As these costs must be paid off through high rents, only well-subsidized institutions or well-established, high-turnover businesses can afford to operate in these spaces, thereby diminishing the development’s diversity and vitality. A similar parallel can also be found in the demographics of Concord Pacific’s

residents. Despite the planners’ requirement that the developer allocate sites for affordable housing (comprising 20% of all residential units), many of these were never built due to lack of funding from the province - provisions for the costs of social housing was never factored into the sale price of the land to CPDC (Chau, 2008, p. 47). Additionally, the high demand for waterfront Vancouver real estate has resulted in almost-prohibitive property values, causing Concord Pacific to mainly cater to a narrow segment of the population in terms of age, socio-economic class, and ethnicity (Wiley, 2012, p. 245). Overall, despite its flaws, Concord Pacific Place is undoubtedly a major part of Vancouver’s urban revitalization. From a planning perspective, the process of its development and execution has provided a

model for future projects of Vancouverism: the negotiation of public amenities for rezoning and CAC fee concessions; a cooperative and inclusive planning process; and the ‘livable city’ combination of residential high-rises and low-rise townhouses surrounded by pedestrian-oriented streetscape and linked waterfront parks. Although Concord Pacific Place is certainly influenced by Jane Jacobs’ theories and implements several of them, a combination of local factors and developer interests caused it to deviate in significant ways from her original vision of a diverse, vibrant city. However, Concord Pacific Place still serves as a significant denunciation of the inevitability of decline in the North American inner city (Berelowitz, 2005, p. 115). Jane Jacobs would have been proud.

Bibliography Berelowitz, L. (2005). Dream City: Vancouver and the Global Imagination. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre Ltd. Print. Chau, M. (2008). The planning and negotiation process : its contribution to Concord Pacific Place (Master’s Thesis). Retrieved from cIRCLE, University of British Columbia Library ( City of Vancouver (1989). Official Development Plan for False Creek North. Retrieved from City of Vancouver website: Jacobs, J. (1961). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House Inc. Print. Punter, J. (2003). The Vancouver Achievement: Urban Planning and Design. Vancouver: UBC Press. Print. Walsh, R. M. (2013). The Origins of Vancouverism: A historical inquiry into the architecture and urban form of Vancouver, British Columbia (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from DeepBlue, University of Michigan Library ( Wiley, D. (2012). House as City: Re-constructing Vancouver’s urban imaginary in master-planned neighbourhoods, South False Creek (1976-1986) and Concord Pacific Place (1990-2000) (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations Publishing (NR89308).




Modern planning is emphasizing the importance on the way that buildings in our cities relate to their contexts, their effects on the local communities and the sustainability of our cities. However, it seems like there are more and more developments in our cities that neglect their surroundings, ignore their communities and that are indifferent to the future of our cities. Adaptive reuse is becoming progressively more frequently used in projects that are in the urban environment because it addresses the aforementioned issues. This paper will examine the adaptive reuse of Artscape’s West Queen West, an old warehouse that was transformed into 22 artist live/work spaces, and the effects it has had on Toronto at a citywide, neighbourhood, and immediate scale. To illustrate the impact of 900 Queen St. W. at these scales, this essay will examine how it became Toronto’s first officially zoned artist live/work project, the catalytic effect it had on the revitalization and development of what used to be a run-down neighbourhood into what is now the incontestable epicenter of contemporary art in Toronto, and the influence it has had on its neighbouring buildings which followed in the steps of West Queen West and also decided to maintain the heritage and character of the neighbourhood by undergoing an adaptive reuse. Artscape’s West Queen West is not only a success in improving its own neighbourhood but it became a precedent in the way that it pursued an innovative approach to planning tools that has since affected many other projects in Toronto.

To understand Artscape’s West Queen West, it is imperative to comprehend what adaptive reuse is. Adaptive reuse is a revitalization strategy that applies a sequence of associated procedures to plan for, buy, manage and reuse leftover or vacant real estate (Bullen & Love, 1983). A critical attribute of projects undergoing adaptive reuse is that the existing building or land that is being revitalized had a former use that is no longer adequate in that location or in that type of building, thus adapting the space will maximize the potential value of the real estate. Adaptive reuse includes the alterations to a building that are completely aesthetic and are created while maintaining its heritage, character and structure. Artscape’s West Queen West is located at 900 Queen St. West in Toronto, between Trinity Bellwoods Park and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. This area is what is now the heart of the “Art + Design District”. At the time the project began, the area had a reputation for crime, drugs and prostitution, and was full of old derelict buildings. The project is a redevelopment of the 35,000 square foot, three-storey Executive Stereo warehouse that had been formerly used for industrial uses such as an auto parts warehouse and a cannery (Artscape, n.d.). Artscape, a non-profit urban development organization that makes space for creativity and transforms communities, initiated the revitalization. Their work consists of bringing creative people together in real estate projects that serve the needs of the arts and cultural community and advance public


As technology evolved, industries required more modern facilities on properties where expansion could easily occur and new technologies could be easily adapted. The advances in technology, improvement of vehicular infrastructure and trends in development caused the increase of surplus and vacant industrial buildings situated downtown.


Figure 1 Figure-ground from 1913 policy. The adaptive reuse of 900 Queen St. West created affordable work/live spaces for 22 artist-led families, five work studios, a gallery and a garden with a community bake oven. West Queen West was completed in 1994 and designed by Joe Lobko of DTAH. The building is owned and operated by ArtScape non-profit Homes Inc. under the terms of a social housing agreement with the City of Toronto that provides a mix of market and rent-geared-to-income tenancies.

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900 Queen St. West was a response to the situation of the area that was at a decline in the 1990s. The reason for the decline can be traced back to the industrial era. The industrial revolution sparked a development of industrial buildings that were clustered near major transportation routes in Toronto, such as the harbour and the railway (Bullen & Love, 1983). As a result of the growth of motor vehicle use and the improvement of road networks in the mid twentieth century, industries spread outside of city centers and workers had the opportunity to live in the outskirts where land was inexpensive and could travel to their workplace by vehicle.

Neighbourhoods located in the western part of Queen St. West contain underused and vacant industrial spaces because zoning regulations and building codes restrict any kind of other uses such as residential developments (Figure 1). Due to the shrinking market for industrial and commercial uses, warehouses are often sub-divided and leased as artist studios at low rates (McDonough & Wekerle, 2011). The high cost of living and rent caused many artists to illegally move in to these studios with their furniture and install plumbing in order to make the space habitable. In the 1980s the city of Toronto began cracking down on these illegal work/live units and deemed them unhealthy and unsafe. There was a concern that expensive costs of living were pushing artists out of Toronto’s downtown and Toronto’s zoning was preventing artists from living in neighbourhoods that were known for their artistic residents. West Queen West was Artscape’s answer to the problem. Artscape’s concern with the issues that artists were facing resulted in a proposal that stressed the need to create a new zoning category, which would give artists the opportunity to live and produce art in the neighbourhoods where artists gathered. Through a long process, Artscape convinced provincial and municipal officials that artists had different spatial requirements than those of regular apartments. The spatial requirements for a bachelor apartment was around 450 square feet, but an artist live/work unit would require a much greater open space that was adequate for the production of art. Many artists were living in poverty and were in need of affordable housing, they simply could not afford such large spaces at market value (Ley, 2003). Other spatial requirements included adequate

ventilation, abundance of natural light and high ceilings. The result was the creation of a new plan for both “live/work” and “artist live/ work” zoning. 900 Queen St. West became the first officially zoned artist live/work project in Toronto. In her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs (1961) explains the importance of diversity and a mixture of uses to the success of cities. According to Jacobs’, neighbourhoods “must serve more than one primary function […] These must ensure the presence of people who go outdoors on different schedules and are in the place for different purposes, but who are able to use many facilities in common”. Diversity is important in the city because it ensures that areas always have people on the street who contribute to the local street life, economy and have eyes on the street, which makes areas safer. For example, if a developer bought out a series of blocks and developed a series of condominiums, which would be rather inactive during the day when residents would be working, and at night when they would be sleeping. There would be the potential for crime or vandalism on the street because of the lack of people present on the street. Areas with diversity thrive because there are many attractions that ensure that people will be present. Jacobs’ theory directly relates to 900 Queen St. West. Before the development, the area used to be a rundown neighbourhood full of vacant warehouses and marginal retail uses. The street life was poor because of the City’s zoning that restricted many of the properties in the area to industrial uses and the area developed a reputation for prostitution and drug dealing (Catungal, Leslie & Hii, 2009). With the revitalization of West Queen West, a new use was brought into the area. Not only was a residence created but also the artist studios ensured to bring people and economic benefits into the area while sustaining the arts, culture, diversity, heritage, and maintaining the built fabric (Figure 2). The community oven became

a place where members of the community would gather on a regular basis and connect. Local developments such as the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and The Theatre Centre, proved that 900 Queen St. West was a catalyst that sparked the revitalization and development of the area into what is now the epicenter of contemporary art in Toronto (Figure 3). Another example of how the revitalization of West Queen West is a good example of urban design is through its relationship with the street. There is a small open space on the eastern side of the building that used to be a car sales lot prior to the redevelopment (Artscape, n.d.). Instead of expanding the building up to the property line like most developments, Joe Lobko landscaped this empty lot on West Queen West (Figure 4). This garden improved the quality of the pedestrian realm and created an inviting space for passers-by to rest. The natural garden served as an escape from the busy streets. Residents would later use the landscaped area as a canvas and create a garden that was fashioned with rubble gathered from


Figure 2 Figure-ground from 2015


“Artscape’s concern ... stressed the need to create a new zoning category ... [in order to] to live and produce art in the neighbourhoods where artists gathered. ”


Figure 3 West Queen West contributes to the area’s diversity the resurfacing of the streetcar track beds nearby. The garden also offers a place to hold events and community gatherings. The adaptive reuse of 900 Queen St. West has had advantageous economic and social benefits. Older buildings have a historical connection with the neighbourhood in which they are situated because they had a specific purpose and relationship with the people in that neighbourhood. According to Wilson (2010), “older buildings have the ability to provide character to an area and create a ‘sense of place’; acting as a link to the past”. By revitalizing the existing building and its important features, Joe Lobko, managed to sustain the diversity of building types in the community. Improving the appearance of old derelict buildings helps reduce the crime rate and vandalism in the area.

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Economically, adaptive reuse increases a property’s value. This is beneficial because it can increase the desirability of an area to property

buyers and also increase the property tax for that site, which in turn generates money for the municipality (Stratton, 2000). After the completion of the transformation of West Queen West from an old warehouse into 22 artist live/work spaces, other buildings in the neighbourhood decided to follow in the steps of 900 Queen St. West and decided to maintain the heritage and character of the neighbourhood by undergoing an adaptive reuse as well. A few good examples include the adaptive reuse of Candy Factory Lofts by Quadrangle Architects, which is located directly across the street from 900 Queen St. West, as well as the revitalizations of the Gladstone and Drake hotels. Due to the fact that the area underwent a revitalization that started with West Queen West, the value and desirability of the area greatly increased. In the words of Jane Jacobs (1961), “Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings”. Adaptive reuse

Figure 4 West Queen West and garden seen from Queen St. W. with Candy Factory Lofts across can be applied to any type of existing building, from places of worship to industrial buildings with a transformation that can vary just as significantly. By examining the effects that 900 Queen St. West had on the city at different scales, an important lesson has been learned. Wherever there is an old abandoned building

present, there is also an opportunity present that can address the issues of buildings relating to their contexts, their relationship with the communities they are located in, as well as their contribution to the sustainability of our cities’ futures while maintaining strong links to their heritage.

Bibliography Artscape West Queen West Case Study. (n.d.). Retrieved October 2, 2015. Bullen, P., & Love, P. (1983). Adaptive Reuse of Heritage Buildings. Structural Survey, 411-421. Catungal, J., Leslie, D., & Hii, Y. (2009). Geographies Of Displacement In The Creative City: The

Case Of

Liberty Village, Toronto. Urban Studies, 1095-1114. Jacobs, J. (1961). The death and life of great American cities. New York, New York: Random House. Ley, D. (2003). Artists, Aestheticisation And The Field Of Gentrification. Urban Studies, 2527-2544. McDonough, A., & Wekerle, G. R. (2011). Integrating cultural planning and urban planning: The challenges of implementation.Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 20(1), 27-51. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.lib. Stratton, M. (Ed.). (2000). Industrial Buildings Conservation and Regeneration. New York, NY: E&FN Spoon. Wilson, C., & Kingston, O. (2010). Adaptive reuse of industrial buildings in Toronto, Ontario evaluating criteria for determining building selection. Kingston, Ont.: Queen’s University.





Planned as a clean break from the past, the Conjunto Urbano Nonoalco Tlatelolco of 1964 sought to ameliorate living conditions in Mexico City through its modernist utopian design. The following paper will begin with a brief narrative on the history of the area, before moving into a discussion on the architect Mario Panì’s reasons for generating social housing cut off from this past. The following sections will look specifically at how the focus on modernist functionality physically and historically isolated the project, resulting in a negative effect of the complex and its detached nature on the surrounding core, and, as an extent, the current planning of the historic district of the city. “It is a common jibe in Latin America that the countries which most glorify the past are the ones that have no future.” - Newson, Linda & King, John. p21 With a current population of over 20 milllion, Mexico City is the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere, and the most populous Spanish-speaking city in the world (Nunez, p5). Sitting on layers of history and violence, the city is a synthesis of over six centuries of culture and infrastructural development. For over two millennia, pre-Hispanic Indigenous civilizations have both fought and merged in the area, the largest and most influential of their cities being Tenochtitlan. Settled by the Aztecs in 1324, it merged with the nearby city of Tlatelolco a few years later, forming the base for the Mexico City known today (Newson, p23). Centrally planned with two main temples as nodes (Newson, p31), it was

outside the temple of Tlatelolco that the final battle between local forces and the Spanish colonial forces was fought and lost in 1519. This violent conquest resulted in the addition of Baroque-style churches, towers and plazas around or on top of the original city, adding to it while maintaining the centralized framework (Newson, p40). The next layer, like the previous, began violently, this time with the Mexican War of Independence in 1810; external strife involving an occupation by the French coupled with the ‘social agitation’ due to implications of this power struggle resulted in migration from rural areas into the capitol as well as an inundation of European immigrants (Almandoz, p143). This massive urbanization meant that by the end of the nineteenth century Mexico City was the third largest city in Latin America. At the time described as a “city of workers”, a high market for labor and heavy industry continued to attract more to the growing city. It was calculated that between 1900 and 1921, twenty to twenty five percent of the population was comprised of workers living in vecindades, or inner-city slums around the downtown historic district of the city (Almandoz, p151). This combination of economic growth and slum development resulted in a political focus to physically separate the poor and the rich, with new effort from professionals to “civilize and modernize” the historic downtown area (Sanyal, p197). These professionals were directly inspired by the French urban experience, as the majority of the higher class would have studied there, in no small part due to the previously mentioned


to be formed, one that mirrored that of the high modernist rationality of the era. Following in the path of other modernist urban renewal projects, Paní sought to create a new future with his architecture; however in isolating the complex physically and historically, he served to trap the area in the past. “Eyes which are turned away from dead things are already looking forward… Eyes that see, persons with knowledge they must be allowed to construct the new world.” - Corbusier, p5

Figure 1

Before Development

Figure 2

After Development

French occupation. This exposure to the French planning and architecture promoted the use of science and rationality to generate a ‘new society’; segmented land use, formal plans and elite-funded investments were all European trends that carried through to the Mexican planning ideology (Sanyal, p198). Significantly, many of these young professionals connected strongly with the intellectual platform of the budding architect le Corbusier (Sanyal, 206), whose urban design plans for Paris broke from the messy historic core of the city, and looked to a new and productive future (Corbusier, 9). The most influential proponent of Corbusier’s methods in Mexico during the mid-twentieth century was the architect Mario Paní, who, like Corbusier, sought to forge a new future for his city. In his vision, the smallscale commerce historically associated with the founding of the city, Spanish development and resulting “low” street life of trade and vending was no longer of importance; a new future was

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By the mid 1960’s the municipal government had agreed on both the necessity and location of a social housing complex, whose purpose was to rinse the core of disordered street life in the name of modern cleanliness, while improving the lives of lowincome inhabitants with the virtues of modern design. The plan called for 102 residential towers, with heights between four and twentytwo stories, placed in large blocks surrounded by plazas and greenery, in close accordance with Corbusier’s “Tower in the Park” model (Reed, 2015). The openness at grade provided a pedestrian focus; Paní’s design imagined a ground level, activated by pathways and parks, and separated from the bustling car world outside. Combined with the inclusion of schools, hospitals, stores and other services on this path system, an independent ‘city within the city’ was formed (Castillo, 2015). Paní’s design for the residential area to function as a complete “living ensemble” had double edged results: the multi-purpose essence offered a variety of activities and services within walking distance, while also giving the area no need to interact socially or economically with the rest of the city. Children could go to and from school and the theatre without ever leaving the complex, and, perhaps more importantly, few passers-by would ever have reason to come in. The area was completely self-contained; centripetal in its

Conjunto Urbano Nonoalco Tlatelolco

Guerero Neighbourhood

Figure 3 Diagrammatic elevation of the site in relation to a surrounding neighbourhood; the change in height on main streets forms an “urban profile”, dividing the complex from it’s context. design (Castillo, 2015). In terms of its formal composition, Tlatelolco’s buildings differ from the uniform massing proposed by Corbusier, and are organized with varying heights corresponding to the activity at grade; those closest to transit terminals, pedestrian zones and green spaces maintain low massings, while those lining major roads around the perimeter of the complex, most notably along Reforma Avenue, are the tallest. This was also done centripetally, to provide the best quality at grade to those within the complex while maintaining an “urban profile” to the surrounding streets. In addition, the plan does not respond to the centralized layout of the rest of the city; the ‘centre’ of the area is the Zocalo, and through its scale and internal grid, the complex does not fit into this framework. This, again, creates a barrier between the complex and the city. By intentionally turning its back on the street through its form and lack of response to the scale and layout of surrounding neighborhoods, Tlatelolco “is then an island, with great buildings in the middle of a area that was never further revitalized. It is like a monument to a frustrated utopia” (Castillo, 2015). “It seems that every step, or every historic moment, is questioning this utopia that [the architecture of Tlatelolco] has tried to represent.” - Castillo, 3:13

As aforementioned, the building of Tlatelolco formed part of a larger municipal movement to eliminate the ‘uncivilized’ lowincome aspects of the core, and relied heavily on function-based modernist methods to implement this change (Newson, p61). Similar to how le Corbusier’s Ville Radieuse plan for Paris did not find the historic fabric of Paris worthy of maintenance or reference, Paní’s plan for Tlatelolco did not look to ‘add on’ to the existing context; an interventionist approach was taken, which looked to transform the very nature of the context through the functional density of the architecture. The most evident example of this can be seen in how historic aspects of the site were addressed within the complex itself; although unknown to the architect when the project was announced, the site includes both the colonial parish church of Santiago Tlatelolco as well as the ruins of the Temple of Tlatelolco. It was made clear by Paní that these ancient structures were not to fit into his modernist plan, and that their removal would better clear the way for the development. However their protection by the government resulted in an unhappy compromise - their incorporation into the complex in the form of “some kind of archaeological park” between his modernist towers (Castillo, 2015). These historically important structures


“The ability to change function and develop character that are present in the historic neighborhoods around the site are lacking in the function-based Tlatelolco, whose quality is incapable of anything but decline over time.”

Figure 4 The addition of a public museum on a main road forms a connection between the ancient artifacts within the complex and the historic districs surrounding it

can be seen as what Rossi calls “urban artifacts”; more than simply physical objects in the city, these historic entities are embodiments of all its history and the resulting culture (Rossi, 29). The value of these artifacts is closely linked to “their quality, their uniqueness” that comes from their history; in Rossi’s words, they are what constitute “l’âme de la cité”, differentiating it from others (Rossi, 32). The modernist approach to planning taken in this case does not address the value of these artifacts. Looking to forge a new future through design meant that the historic ‘soul’ in the site was not as important as the newest modernist layer. Paní’s incorporation of the Temple of Tlatelolco and Church of Santiago as parks, instead of as standalone artifacts, renders them inferior in his plan to the modernist towers that surround them. In this purposeful severance from the past, the complex cuts itself off from the history of the city, thereby isolating itself within it.

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In terms of form, Rossi suggests that architecture should be designed with

permanence in mind, to allow buildings to develop quality within the city. Therefore designing for function alone is naïve, as it gives architecture no autonomous value other than from its’ original function, which to be permanent must surely change over time (Rossi, p46). An example of this can be seen in the popular vernacular buildings that make up the surrounding historic neighborhoods. Narrow two-story shops and dwellings that come to meet the sidewalk without setbacks, these simple buildings have evolved from houses built during the viceroyalty. Individuality is incorporated, as façades are highly colored and ornamented with unique doors and balustrades, reflecting the identity of its’ residents or the current use of the building (Almandoz, 149). To this end, these streets are both constantly changing yet grounded in the past – it is this stillness of form and fluctuation of function that Rossi identifies with a permanent, quality developing architecture that can be read as part of the past and future of the city. In contrast, Tlatelolco focused on Corbusier’s modernist notion of functionality

based on the principles of density, greenscapes at grade and the division of functions, all of which can be readily observed in the plan of the complex. The only value of these buildings comes from their function, which is dubious at best as living conditions there remain “far from perfect”, with the entire complex being “under a virtual curfew at night” due to high crime rates and limited police presence (Reed, 2015). The ability to change function and develop character that are present in the historic neighborhoods around the site are lacking in the function-based Tlatelolco, whose quality is incapable of anything but decline over time. After a few other urban renewal projects (later described as “ruthless destruction [of historic areas]… in fits of technical barbarism”) were undertaken in the downtown area, the public began to decry “the destructive consequences of these urban modernization plans” (Newson, 62). The relatively poor populations in the historic neighborhoods, who were unwilling to give up their traditional activities and the advantages of living, producing and selling from the same building, initiated the movement against urban renewal just after the completion of Tlatelolco in the mid-1960’s. The “decades of residence, commerce, and culture, not to mention a clear

social identity… strengthened their resolve and solidarity to protect their downtown spaces”, giving them a strong political presence, hamstringing local authorities from enacting further modernist visions (Sanyal, p216-217). Thus, a new era of planning began, one that places a focus on “rescuing” the historic center, and protecting it from further destruction (Sanyal, p218). Within the complex, this backlash against modernist isolation can be seen in the incorporation of the Museo de Sitio de Tlatelolco, a museum celebrating the history of the site and the city. It was situated between the Temple and the main road, forging a connection between the ruin and the rest of the city, and therefore relieving some of the isolation that the residential towers had previously created. Paní was certain that his utopian modernist vision for Tlatelolco was to be the new future, that his design was capable of paving the way forwards. But in neglecting the past, and not allowing his buildings to develop quality in the future, he isolated the area to a set moment in history.

Bibliography -Almandoz, Arturo. Planning Latin America’s Capitol Cities: 1850-1950. London: Routledge, 2002. Print. -Castillo, Jose & PRODUCTORA. “Tlatelolco: Mario Panì.” México Conaculta. n. pag. Web. 18 September 2015. -le Corbusier. 1964. When the Cathedral Were White. McGraw-Hill Paperbacks. Print -Newson, Linda & King, John. Mexico City: Through History and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print. -Núñez, Fernando. Space and Place in the Mexican Landscape: the Evolution of a Colonial City. USA: CASA, 2007. Print. -Reed, Drew. 2015. The tragedies of Mexico City’s Tlatelolco housing complex – a history of cities in 50 buildings, day 31. The Guardian. n. pag. Web. 28 October 2015. -Rossi, Aldo. 1982. The Architecture of the City. USA: The MIT Press. Print. -Samyal, Bishwapriya. Comparative Planning Cultures. New York: Routledge, 2005. Print.




The Monadnock Building sits at the south loop of Chicago, Illinois, where it was once one of the most dreaded buildings ever created. Considered utilitarian and strategic in design at a time when aesthetic driven city reform movements were taking place, it divided its critics and the civilians alike with the plain honesty of its facade. In every sense one of the earliest skyscrapers of its time, detractors criticized the shift of style of aesthetic from the aforementioned. When it was first built, it was nothing short of an abomination, with a complete disregard given to fabric, circulation, and the massive shadow it projected over the surrendering cityscape. The most important understanding from the Monadnock Building is that context changes, and with it, the effect that a building creates changes. The effect a building has on its urban environment will never remain the same; in fact, the life span of a building in urbanity is significantly reduced. This essay will look at the early successes and failures of the Monadnock Building, and then look at the change of the building based on the changing urban environment in Chicago. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The importance of the School of Chicago is threefold. The job of the office building was here approached with a perfectly open mind and the functionally best solution found. The traditional building technique offered itself to fulfil the needs of the job and was at once accepted.â&#x20AC;? -Pg. 38, Pevsner In urbanity, there is always a type of supply and demand; as industrialization and

commercialization was steadily developing in the great cities in United States such as New York, what was Detroit, and Chicago, there was calling for more business oriented typologies and zoning. The contrasts between the aforementioned supply and demand and the call of suburbanization and acts of urban renewal in other towns, cities, and town-cities are major. These great cities found their qualifications; it allowed skyscrapers, a different aesthetic, and a new way to look at architectural design. Chicago, was just beginning to develop its now praised infrastructure and highly regulating grid. in 1893, when the Monadnock Building was first erected, there was no business or historical district that the south loop has now turned into. The Monadnock was a lost, unornamented, purely functional office building in a district full of mixed-use, ornamented, and gargoyle protected buildings. Chicago experienced an exponential growth economically during the late 19th century. The Great fire of 1871 was the start of the urbanization of the south loop in Chicago. Chicagoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s land became very cheap around the south loop, which was pivotal in reorienting the centre of the city in the downtown, close to the newly built subway terminals. This was an important period in the reconstruction and rebuilding of many buildings destroyed by the fire. Burnham & Root were commissioned the Monadnock in 1893. Burnham & Root, a relatively new and fresh architectural firm, had


Capitalism and its organization have an obvious connection to the Burnham & Root building: the grid-like elevations and the skeleton frame had a systematic effect, a big organization composed of many individuals: “The limited liability Corporation, a kind of joint stock Company, was the mechanism that made this possible” (Pg.31, Deamer). This style would become popularized by the term the “Chicago School”: which is a formula that describes similarly skeleton-framed Burnham & Root buildings. “Chicago School” also produced a “Chicago Construction” with it, different fireproofing, foundation systems, prefabricated sizing, all which had economic benefits in resulting in a cheaper cost. “Chicago School” introduced not only a new aesthetic, but a top-down reorganization of trades, and traditional building methods.

The neighbourhood of the south loop which emerged largely after the colonization of the downtown and the shifting of the city square southward were rich in culture and views, a popular city in the 1900’s Americana. The closeness to the Chicago River, before becoming the pollution and heavily invasive species populated swamp, gave a very important quality of life streaming through the city. “The River [The Chicago River], as well as the more immediately prominent lakefront to the east, structurally helps to establish those geographic conditions that produce significant social, cultural, ecological, and urban morphological consequences.”- Pg. 60, Koval The strict grid of Chicago, it seems, would be a prison-like experience, yet the streets were maintained very well with a good unofficial


ideas for the urban scale that were free from historical and European influences. With both a business background from being married to wealthy families, they had an extensive knowledge of economy and autonomy; they started a type of architecture in which office buildings today still retain a little of their influence. A speaker, at different volumes for the rise of capitalism.

These ideas were hated, abhorred when people first set eyes onto them, but were slowly adopted about a decade afterwards and embraced and celebrated during the roaring twenties. The Monadnock Building was a testament to Capitalism, a celebration even, of the economic growth in Chicago. Chicago has always been a test-ground for many different urban planning theories. It has been debated for many academics in urban planning just what is considered urban with different scales complicating our idea of it. Many will talk about the qualities of a urban jungle, with a little adlib and elite nefariousness, but population density has always been a factor. Chicago is composed of neighbourhoods. It has always followed the Regional Planning proposal to some degree, because of its denseness, a master plan has never been effective in its treatment of its neighbourhoods. “…to be true, architecture must normally express the conditions of life about and within it, not in a fragmentary and spasmodic way, but in the mass and structure” –John Wellborn Root.

deadborn st


Historical 1950s Figure-Ground map of the Monadnock Building RED denotes the subway transit system

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zoning system that allowed several distinct districts to emerge. This unofficial zoning system was one that spoke of a vernacular without motifs, a type of vernacular canonized by the shared characteristics of the emerging business centre in the south loop, the skeleton frame, the undecorated masses, the simple glazing and the unanimous agreement that this building was surely an office building. The transition from being a dreaded office building to what is now a celebrated piece of history which still houses many businesses and people is not clear in the duration, how long it took for it to get recognition, but it was during the roaring twenties, the height of capitalism that the Monadnock Building started to be appreciated.

an impact that was metropolitan, changing its surroundings before accomodating for its own changes in terms of urban planning. The Monadnock is now very successful in its design; however, there are other factors in its success: by now Chicago has exploded with urbanity, capitalism and its establishment of itself as a developed city, with its increased zoning requirements and better planning, the maintenance kept by the buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s managers, and the preservation of the business district. By this time, Burnham & Root had already pretty much made Chicago their city by building successors to the Monadnock, such as the Heyworth Building and the Rand McNally Building. By the time of their death, they had done so much in Chicago, that they couldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve opened their own theme park, pardon the jargon. The downtown core improved along with Chicago, the parks were now actually planned and designed for, and zoning became a very important tool in the regional city method popularized by Patrick Geddes.

The urban context changes, and with it so does the building itself. The effect a building gives will always be subjective, and the urban context around it is a huge decider of how successful it is. The Monadnock Building did not interact well with the public domain, having no relation to the street, poor consideration of noise, and gating issues. These were solved, but in an urban planning context, Burnham & Root failed to anticipate these problems until later successors and the breaking off from the completely rigid grid in Chicago. The Monadnock had





Current Figure-Ground map of the Monadnock Building


“Chicago has always been a testground for many different urban planning theories.”

Axonometric Diagram of the District - 1890s The Monadnock is far from being the 1890s predecessor to the Bilbao; it did not inspire a culture behind it, it did, however open the conversation for modern architecture, one free of historical and European influences, in one of the great cities of America. Design-wise, it was successful to the program addressed, and its longevity is the proof of Burnham & Roots dogma at work in high functionality and efficiency. This too shall pass: what is material will not last, they exist temporarily. The Monadnock Building is a testament that good material things last longer, though the degree of success in its approach to the urban context

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is debatable based on the era one mentions it in. Burnham & Root’s legacy of the “Chicago School” is undebatable, and their dogma still plays a central part in the architectural process, as they were one of the first theorists in modern architectural theory. Today, the Monadnock Building stands at the centre of a highly successful business core, in the experimental playground of urban planning. “The rapidity of Chicago’s growth is apparent from the window of the railcar… it may just overtake New York one day...” (Pg.6, Bruegmann).


Bruegmann, R., & Chicago, I. (1985). A Guide to 150 years of Chicago architecture. Chicago, Ill.: Chicago Review Press. Deamer, P. (2014). Architecture and capitalism: 1845 to the present. London: Routledge. Giedion, S. (1967). Space, time and architecture; the growth of a new tradition. (5th ed.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Hines, T. (2009). Burnham of Chicago: Architect and planner (2nd ed., pbk. ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Korom, J. (n.d.). The American skyscraper, 1850-1940: A celebration of height. Koval, J. (2006). The new Chicago a social and cultural analysis. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Pevsner, N. (1968). The sources of modern architecture and design. New York: F.A. Praeger. Saliga, P. (1990). The Skyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the limit: A century of Chicago skyscrapers. New York: Rizzoli.




Urban renewal projects of the modernist era, have come to be known as some of the greatest failures of architecture. These projects suffer from grand planning schemes that attempt to solve a city’s social problems, but end up forgetting the human element the project should be serving. Many years have passed since the height of modernism, and with the majority of these projects classified as failures, some projects, like Lafayette Park in Detroit, Michigan, stand out as hopeful examples that not everything about the modernist and urban renewal movements was a loss. The improvement Lafayette Park brought over the previous neighbourhood of Black Bottom can be seen by analyzing its relationship to the city of Detroit, its internal relationships amongst the elements that make up the neighbourhood, and how it compares to failures of the modernist era, like Pruitt Igoe. With planning focused on decentralization and landscape urbanism, Lafayette Park has proven itself to be one of the few successful attempts of urban renewal in North America. The way Lafayette Park relates to its surrounding context and the city of Detroit stems from a need to improve the slumridden neighbourhoods surrounding the central business district, beginning the process of improvement. After WWII the city saw the need to improve the neighbourhoods surrounding downtown Detroit. “[T]he downtown area had become increasingly hemmed in by dilapidation and blight.” (Ferry, 1968, p. 375), with the neighbourhoods to the east being the best candidates for improvement. Here existed Black Bottom,

(Fig.1) previously occupying the site of Lafayette Park. The site was populated with low-income African-American residents who moved up from the south looking for work in the factories of Detroit. The city saw this area as ripe for redevelopment, as it was classified as a slum. By 1946 a plan for the clearance of 129 acres of slums was put in place. Diversity of ethnicity and income were seen as the solutions, where “creat[ing] a unique project in order to lure suburbanites back into the city,” (Ferry, 1968, p. 375) was the key. By clearing the slums and bringing back in the middle class, “Lafayette Park became an attractive, well planned community that exhibited potential for racial integration,” (Thomas, 1997, p.80) thus removing the blight attached to the central business district. Once the social aspects had been studied, the next step was to determine how the layout and planning concepts would relate to the city of Detroit. Developer Herbert Greenwald called upon architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and urban planner Ludwig Hilberseimer for the design of Lafayette Park. Here, Hilberseimer utilized his concept of the settlement unit. The concept was heavily influenced by the Garden City, Radburn Plan, and the Broadacre City with modernist planning and international design principles also playing a significant role. Hilberseimer’s major idea behind the concept was decentralization from the city, believing “the decentralized city would combine the advantages with those of a metropolis. The metropolis can be located in the landscape. With its parks


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Figure 1 Original layout of Black Bottom

Figure 2 Current layout of Lafyette Park

and gardens it can, indeed, become part of the landscape – urbs in the horto – the city set in the garden – Chicago’s old motto can become reality again.” (Hilberseimer in Waldheim, 2004, p.95) Decentralization was achieved by limiting access of automobiles to the site, and using landscaping to create separation from the surrounding areas. This separated Lafayette Park enough to create a space that did more than serve the downtown core, it served the people of the neighbourhood, improving over the well-being offered by Black Bottom. Through decentralization and diversification, the relationship of the site to downtown Detroit has improved. Before it was a site that was segregated and deteriorating. A new breathe of life has come into the site, improving how the neighbourhood served the city, and laying the foundation for its planning (Fig. 2).

to form a coherent organization that serve the wellbeing of the residents in the neighbourhood. The mixed height housing of Lafayette Park is crucial in its success as it allows the neighbourhood to serve a variety of social classes and incomes, minimizing segregation. Hilberseimer’s settlement concept, called for three housing types consisting of (highest income to lowest) single storey courtyard houses, two-storey town houses and slab apartment buildings. (Fig 3)By “[i] ntegrating high-rise apartment slabs with lowrise family housing [Hilberseimer], aligned the buildings north-south and proportioned the spaces around them to provide comparable solar access.” (Constant in Waldheim, 2004, p.95) By planning all residential units to have equal access to daylight and public space, Hilberseimer was able to serve everyone equally, aiding diversity and improving wellbeing.

Lafayette Park is made up of a variety of concepts and elements that come together

In order to preserve the landscape and

the privacy of the neighbourhood, automobile access is limited, allowing for public spaces to better serve the residents. In Lafayette Park the automobile is meant to be nothing more than a connection to the city. This is evident in the fact that automobile access is limited to the outside of the superblock and is only penetrated by culde-sacs providing access to low rise housing, cutting down on traffic and opening up the site. The neighbourhood “accommodate[s] the automobile without interfering with pedestrian routes at Lafayette Park, [by] provid[ing] the low-rise housing units with surface parking lots, which Caldwell depressed into the ground to minimize their visual impact. Mie’s parking structure for the apartment slabs is not only sunken below grade, but topped by a garden/ recreation space, thus ensuring that the automobiles are kept discreetly out of sight.” (Constant in Waldheim, 2004, p.107-8) With the impact of the automobile minimized, the concept of decentralization is strengthened, and allows for the landscape of the site to become the driving element behind the structure of neighbourhood.

Hilberseimer’s settlement unit concept relied heavily on the landscape of the site to act as primary framework for its layout and design of the area. The site is bisected by a central park that acts as the major circulation and gathering space for the residents in the neighbourhood. The landscape architect, Alfred Caldwell, planned walking paths running through the central park and other public spaces to connect all the dwellings in the neighbourhood, improving the circulation and connecting the units (Fig. 4). He lined the paths and exterior of the site with vegetation in an effort to separate the neighbourhood from the downtown core, as well as demarcate the private, semi-private, and public areas. Besides demarcation, the vegetation plays a huge role in the tone Caldwell designed, the Midwestern Prairie, “[t] he abundance of trees and shrubs, especially in the townhouses, attracts migrating birds and other animals such as squirrels, rabbits, possums and the occasional fox.” (Aubert, 2012, p.126) The prairie and the modernist styles don’t seem to blend well in theory, but here, they complement the other’s short comings, with modernist planning providing

Figure 3 Housing Diagram - slab tower apartments (red) low rise houses (black) park (pink)


â&#x20AC;&#x153;The elements included in Lafayette Park and how they relate to one another reflect the diversity of the residents.â&#x20AC;?

Figure 4 Circulation Diagram - walking paths (red) automobile roadways (black) park (pink) a rigid structure, and the prairie landscape softening the structure. The elements included in Lafayette Park and how they relate to one another reflect the diversity of the residents. By having this focus on vegetation, diverse housing and decentralization, Lafayette Park successfully improves upon the previous living conditions of Black Bottom, creating spaces that embrace diversity and foster community.

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The design of Lafayette has been recognized as one of the few examples of the good urban planning that came out of the modernist movement. With so much of modernism resulting in failure, a comparison with the most notorious example of failed urban

renewal, the social housing project Pruitt Igoe, located in St. Louis Missouri, should reveal what Lafayette Park did correct. By focusing on the urban planning aspects of both projects, the largest differences between the two projects are vegetation and housing. As has already been stated, Lafayette Park uses the landscape as the driving force in the design, with buildings placed sparsely throughout leaving dedicated open public space. Pruitt Igoe is composed of apartment slab towers and very little in the way of vegetation and properly designed public spaces. Building off of this, the site provides little seclusion from transient traffic. Where Lafayette Park is semi-private in nature, Pruitt Igoe offered no sense of community nor a sense of safety and security. It was this separation from the city that created a community within

Lafayette Park, and the vegetation that created enjoyable spaces. The organization and types of housing between the two projects differ greatly. Pruitt Igoe has “33 identical apartment blocks, containing over 2,800 apartment units,” (Hall, 2014, p.285) organized evenly throughout the site. With no diversity in housing the site offered little hope of being capable of having mixed income and social class population. Because Lafayette Park offers a whole range of housing possibilities, many people from many different groups can live within the same neighbourhood. Having this diversity is important to the success of an urban renewal project as it prevents segregated zoning. This is proven years later through the fact that it has residents of “greater racial, ethnic, and class diversity than both the city [of Detroit] and the surrounding suburbs.” (Waldheim, 2004, p.22) Hilsberseimer described the problems with projects like Pruitt Igoe by saying “The repetition of the blocks resulted in too much uniformity. Every natural thing was excluded: no tree or grassy area broke the monotony… the result was more a necropolis than a metropolis, a sterile landscape of asphalt and cement, inhuman in every aspect.” (Hilberseimer in

Waldheim, 2004, p.97) Hilberseimer stated these problems in 1930, before Pruitt Igoe was even conceived. The fact that Pruitt Igoe embodied these problems and failed, shows that Lafayette Park’s attempt at urban renewal was clearly the correct one. Hilberseimer’s focus on decentralization and structure through landscaping, has proven Lafayette Park to be an excellent example of successful urban renewal. By understanding how it relates to the city of Detroit, the relationships between neighbourhood elements, and its success in areas where other projects failed, one can see what was done in order to achieve what many other planners could not, successful urban renewal. Planning and urban renewal have been criticized as creating in authentic spaces that do not cater to the human element. What Lafayette Park proves is that when you create diverse layouts, designed for social integration and diversification, as opposed to social organization, the results can be a strong community that serves its residents.

Bibliography Aubert, D. (2012). Thanks for the view, Mr. Mies: Lafayette Park, Detroit. New York: Metropolis Books. Ferry, W. (1968). The buildings of Detroit; a history,. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. Hall, P. (2014). Cities of tomorrow: An intellectual history of urban planning and design in the twentieth century (4th ed.). Oxford: Wiley Blackwell. Larice, M., & Macdonald, E. (2007). The urban design reader. London: Routledge. Thomas, J. (1997). Johns Hopkins University Press. In Redevelopment and race planning a finer city in postwar Detroit (Paperback ed.). Baltimore: Wayne State University Press. Waldheim, C. (2004). CASE--Hilberseimer/Mies van der Rohe, Lafayette Park Detroit. Munich: Prestel Publishing.





The city of Halifax has endured through a long and contentious history. The land which it occupies has been fought over and traded countless times by the colonial powers that settled much of the continent. It has proven its value time and time again as a strategic port city that was once used as the gateway to the New World through the St. Lawrence River and into the Great Lakes. Trade goods flow through its ports as rapidly today as it has done since its establishment. Halifax stands a prosperous city finding wealth from its ports, shipbuilding industry, various government and defense industries as well as its historic Dalhousie University in the heart of the city. For its level of wealth, one might expect to find a large population thriving amongst a beautiful city filled with landmarks from times past, a city lined with civic buildings and its populace bursting with civic pride. And indeed many Haligonians take pride in their city, celebrating its rich history highlighted by its many surviving landmarks including the historic Halifax Harbour as well as the city’s Citadel which is situated atop a hill in the middle of the city. However, visitors to the city may be surprised to find the absence of public gathering spaces and civic buildings. For decades, the city of Halifax yearned for a civic gathering place, a place for citizens to share knowledge and to learn from one another, but has had unfortunately been met time after time with a lack of motivation for community investment. This all began to change, however, in recent years and finally in 2014, after almost three decades of contention a new Halifax Central Library was opened, built to be one of the many cultural hubs in the city. The Halifax Central Library stands

amidst a whole host of historical and civic landmarks. It stands in full view of the significant Halifax Citadel which towers over the city, and the historic Halifax Harbour. A result of tireless decades of negotiations from the city authorities as well as an international design competition, the library stands as a testament to a renewed season of commitment to civic pride in the city of Halifax. From its inception, the library has asserted a strong focus on engaging with the community, to discover and cater to their needs and desires of creating an ideal civic gathering place. Many consultations were held with the public which consistently expressed a strong desire for a welcoming and accessible space that would be available to all and for all. The current facility features an auditorium performance space that seats up to three hundreds guests, two cafés including one with access to a rooftop patio, several gaming stations, music studios, entire floors dedicated to housing adult literacy programs and youth facilities, a First Nations reading circle, and several boardrooms that are open for public use. The fifth level consists of a cantilevered glass room, colloquially known as the “Halifax Living Room”, which provides visitors with sweeping unhindered views of the entire city and all its landmarks. Furthering the concept of connectivity, a large atrium was implemented at the core of the building and is traversed by several stairs and bridges to connect each of the building’s five storeys, each of which provide specific facilities to serve different age groups. This allows for visual connectivity throughout the building, physical connectivity through ease of travel, and social connectivity, giving all the visitors of the library a sense of united community.


building of Dalhousie University along Spring Garden Road; a twenty-one meter setback which allowed for a sizable public square to be planned in front of the building. Additionally, the library was designed with a maximum height of twenty-seven meters so as to not block or draw attention away from the nearby Citadel (HOK, 2015, pg. 19). From the start, the intent of the library has always been about connectivity and bringing the city together, both visually through its forms and socially through providing a welcoming and comfortable place for community and civic interaction.

Figure 1 The site of the library in 1989 as a parking lot for Dalhousie University.

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From the exterior, the library is affectionately recognized by the populace as resembling a stack of books. While this was part of the intent of the architects, its twisting form stems from a much more complex and interconnected source. As is the case with many other historic cities throughout Canada and the United States, Halifax adopted a grid system to lay out its city. While efficient and democratic, the grid often brings with it a sense of monotony. In order to combat this, the architects at Schmidt Hammer Lassen, in cooperation with local architectural firm Fowler Bauld & Mitchell, designed a series of stacked forms rotated at various angles to align with the very few number of diagonal axes that ran through the city. This is most apparent in the positioning of the fifth level which incorporates a large glass cantilever that highlights the axis which connects the Halifax Citadel and the Port of Halifax, two of the most significant landmarks in the city (Figure 4). Less apparent is the fact that the library is situated upon the extrapolated intersection of Queen St., which leads from the Halifax Citadel, and a pedestrian path leading from the old library. The site of the building was planned and setbacks were established to align the façade of the building with the façade of the School of Architecture and Planning

The Halifax Central Library stands as a beacon of civic pride and community engagement. This was not always the case as the previous central library of Halifax, the Spring Garden Road Memorial Library, did not represent much for Haligonians to be proud of. For a while after its opening in 1951, the Spring Garden Road Memorial Library served its community well. However, as it continued to operate, it became more and more apparent that certain facets of the design would not be able to accommodate all guests. As the city began to receive more and more complaints about the library, the local architectural firm of Duffus Romans Kundzins Rounsefell was contacted in 1987 to perform a feasibility study on the library to recommend a future course of action, whether to renovate, expand or demolish. The city wanted to know if it was feasible to expand the building but retain the outer façades due to a perceived sense of public and architectural importance. The study found the spaces in the library to be “self-contained and inflexible” (p. 2) due to the large central staircase which isolated the rest of the library into distinct wings, and noted that the “study space and comfortable reading areas [were] … the focus of serious public complaint,” adding that the “services [were] cramped and overcrowded”, (p. 7). Additionally, the original building could only offer 3594 m2 of total floor area which was deemed insufficient for the community it meant to serve. Visitors cited many complaints that were especially focused on the building’s poor accessibility, with many

staircases and inadequate elevators. A separate report conducted by A.J. Diamond, Donald Schmitt and Company in 1997 determined that renovating the original building would not “result in significant cost savings, and would create a facility that is less efficient than a completely new Central Library building,” (p. ii). In light of this, the city conceded that the original building was infeasible to maintain and began considering the construction of a new library building on another site. In 2004, the nearby Halifax Infirmary was demolished which provided the city with an opportunity, one which they seized in June of 2007 when they approved the site for the construction of a new Halifax Central Library building. As do many other properties across the city of Halifax, the land on which the Halifax Central Library currently stands has a storied history. The current site of the library was once a part of a larger property known as “Governor’s Farm”. Archeological excavations have discovered structural remains of previous buildings ranging from the mid-eighteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. In 1800, the property was transferred to the government and a house was built on the site for the Commandant. This house was known as “Bellevue” and served as the official home for the Commander in Chief of the army from 1801 to 1906. Over time the property changed hands several times and was last expropriated in 1955 by the Nova Scotia Technical College, which tore it down and converted it into a parking lot (Figure 1). Upon gaining approval from the city council for the design of a new central library, a committee was formed to carry out the project. Exhaustive public consultations were held in order to gauge public interest and concern. These took the form of monthly public meetings, soliciting various focus groups and reviewing survey responses. Even at the introductory meeting, there was a strong sentiment and overwhelming public support for the construction of a new central library. These public

meetings saw the agreement of an overarching theme for the library to aim to facilitate a Partnership of Learning and Culture and produced several Guiding Principles for the design of the library. The Principles called for the design of a prominent civic landmark that could serve as a catalyst for an economic revitalization of the downtown core, a landmark that was to be accessible and available to all in order to facilitate civic and social interaction within the community, as well as the exchanging of knowledge to lead to learning and personal growth. Additionally, the design was to be adaptable so that it could continuously meet the changing needs of the community and accommodate new technologies (Halifax Regional Council, 2008, p.3). Judith Hare, the CEO of the Halifax Public Libraries organization at the time, assessed the public opinion and accordingly called for the design of the library to be one “that would contribute to the economic well-being of downtown—an accessible, adaptable resource center that would continue to meet future needs,” (as cited in Broome, 2015)

Figure 2 The library (bright green) as it stands today, diametrically opposed to the original Spring Garden Road Memorial Library (pale green).


â&#x20AC;&#x153;the library stands as a testament to a renewed season of commitment to civic pride in the city of Halifax.â&#x20AC;?

Figure 3 The current library site offers sweeping views of many of the historic and culturally signifcant landmarks of the city including the Halifax Citadel and Georges Island. After several years of public deliberation and discussion, the designs of local architectural firm Fowler Bauld & Mitchell were selected, who decided to partner with the larger international firm of Schmidt Hammer Lassen of Denmark, which had an extensive portfolio of library design. They also welcomed the dean of the Faculty of Architecture at Dalhousie University, Christine Macy, to their team to contribute as an urban design strategist (The Creative Class Group, 2010, p.16).

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The Halifax Central Library building stands as a testament to civic pride and community involvement. Before its inclusion into the city, Halifax boasted many historic landmarks but they were scattered and in constant competition for attention. The city

needed a building to connect these landmarks, to abolish the competition and instead establish a sense of unity. The architectural firms behind the design of the new Halifax Central Library sought to accomplish this while also creating a civic space for people to gather and exchange knowledge. This was no longer possible at the old central library as it was unwelcoming and inaccessible, which excluded certain portions of the community. The old library could not meet the needs of the community any longer and the citizens of Halifax yearned for a new library. The new Halifax Central Library represents a place where people can gather and learn from one another, exchange knowledge and grow together.













Figure 4 The library is situated along one of the few diagonal axes in the city, between the Halifax Harbour and the Citadel. Bibliography New Halifax Central Library / Schmidt Hammer Lassen Fowler Bauld & Mitchell. (2014, December 15). Retrieved from Broome, B. (2015, March 1). Halifax Central Library. Retrieved from projects/Building_types_study/civic/2015/1503-halifax-central-library-schmidt-hammer-lassen.asp The HOK Planning Group. (2008). Halifax Central Library: Buidling Program and Space Requirements. Retrieved from Duffus Romans Kundzins Rounsefell Limited. (1987). Halifax Memorial Library: Building Feasibility Study. Retrieved from A.J. Diamond, Donald Schmitt and Company. (1997). Central Library Project: Study for the Halifax Regional Library. Retrieved from (n.d.). HRM â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Central Library: Historic Background. Retrieved from assets/central-library/pdfs/HRM-Central_Library_Brief_Background_for_Tender.pdf Halifax Regional Council. (2008). Halifax Central Library - Building Program and Space Requirements Report. Retrieved from The Creative Class Group. (2010). Halifax Regional Municipality: Halifax Central Library Project. Retrieved from Barber, L. B. (2013). Making meaning of heritage landscapes: The politics of redevelopment in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Canadian Geographer / Le GĂŠographe Canadien, 57(1), 90-112. doi:10.1111/j.15410064.2012.00452.x Historic buildings in Halifax urban design. (1972). Halifax, Nova Scotia: Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia. Sandalack, B., & Nicolai, A. (1998). Urban structure, Halifax: An urban design approach. Halifax, Nova Scotia: TUNS Press. Akins, T. (1973). History of Halifax city Illustrated with maps and engravings. Belleville, Ontario: Mika Pub.




The Industrial Revolution was one of the most important eras in history where technological advancements spread all over North America. Not only did life begin to get easier, but it opened up newer possibilities and opportunities in architecture, allowing for the structural innovation of the skyscraper. For example, the invention of steel and cast iron made the construction of taller buildings possible with a lot more glazing for lighting and views, elevators in tall buildings to travel up those heights as an alternative to walking up so many storeys, and plumbing systems for comfortable efficient services higher above ground as opposed to only being on ground level. There are countless more creations, each discovery working together and resulting in this architectural advancement in high demand by society. The Arts and Craft movement was one of many movements during that time. Unlike the others that supported the Industrial Revolution, it was a rebellion and response to it, bringing change through the mechanization of industry, agriculture and transportation. Before this evolution in life, craftsmen would dedicated a lifetime to creating something beautiful, completely evident in the final product – hard work, patience and creativity were key, which is exactly what society appreciated. Unfortunately, due to the process of mass production as a result of the Industrial Revolution, craftsmanship began to fade. This movement understood the beauty of technological advancements and was not

striving to reject the machine, but instead encourage it to be mastered by the people – essentially, industry growth and factories had developed to the point of urbanization in cities, thus the Arts and Crafts movement was about trying to minimize the effects of urbanization. A solution for the response of the Arts and Crafts Movement proposed by Ebenezer Howard, was the infamous Garden City. Revolving around the concept of conurbation, where a region is comprised of several towns/cities connected by highway systems, it endeavored to solve the qualities of urban life. The Three Magnets was the basis of Howard’s ideologies, where one magnet represented the advantages and disadvantages of a town, the second magnet represented the advantages and disadvantages of a country, and the third magnet represented the idea of both a town and country. This was the basis for the concept of the Garden City– combination of the amenities of the urban style with ready access to nature, similar to that of the rural style (Hall, 1988). Habitat 67, designed by Moshe Safdie, was an experiment for the Garden City approach. People wanted the qualities of living within a quality countryside house in small intimate community, while simultaneously having the all the amenities of a great metropolis – essentially, privacy in a rich, social setting (Ewald, 1967). After years placed into Safdie’s work, studying housing conditions in cities and country side, he accomplished the merging of suburban and urban dwelling


movement in the preservation of the industry, Habitat implements a mass production process in the construction of the building (Figure 1). By taking each repetitive volume, similar to the idea of apartment-style rooms being repetitive, and arranging them to produce approximately 15 different living units of 1 occupant to 4, it now has the quality of a suburban house, each unique and individual to one another. The response to the Arts and Crafts Movement through the mass production of housing is very clear.

Figure 1 Mass production of volumes into one structure through several technical components (such as lighting and structure), social components (such as community relations), and environmental components (such as nature integration). The first component that helped Habitat 67 in creating a harmony between city apartment living and country house living, involves some of the technical components, such as lighting and structure. First of all, what creates a desirable comfortable living space, is proper natural lighting. Moshe Safdie surveyed a variety of apartment types in the urban setting and realized that sun light was vastly limited to only areas surrounding windows. This lead to his decision to add larger floor-to-ceiling glazing as well as having no walls on the interior to bring more light in. Secondly, housing typologies beyond the city tend to have the impression of a liberating, unrestrictive geometric structural form, compared to standard buildings throughout the city. As part of the Arts and Craft

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The second component that helped Habitat 67 in creating a harmonious relation between urban living and rural-suburban living involves the social components, such as location and community interaction. The idea of community relates to the people and it differs in an urban environment compared to a rural environment. Habitat not only has an urban-rural macro relation to the city of Montreal, but also has an urban-rural micro relation within the building design itself. A high-density building on the outskirts of a city has never been the norm in the past, and continues to be unconventional today. The intention was to affect the growth of the city of Montreal, acting as a catalyst to accelerate the redevelopment along the waterfront (Ewald, 1967) (Figure 3). On a smaller scale, Habitat itself had a way of life within the building â&#x20AC;&#x201C; almost like a city within a city. Moshe Safdie noticed the absence of a front yard in most urban settings, resulting in a lack of transition from outside to inside that was normally found in rural conditions. Despite the presumed insignificance of this detail, it would appear that people often appreciate transitions such as these. Each dwelling block may be structurally connected to each other with high tension rods, steel cables and welding, but they are also socially connected by a street-like circulatory path (â&#x20AC;&#x153;ArchDailyâ&#x20AC;?, 2013). This outdoor street now fills the void of those forgotten thresholds in urban settings and enhances the countryside house aspect of the building.

The third and last component that aids Habitat 67 combine urban living and rural-suburban living is the environmental component, such as nature integration. This idea is related to the process of landscape urbanism, where nature is added within the city or design is integrated with it, instead of cutting it out completely for man-made

objects. Safdie realized that people did not appreciate the lack of green within the urban environment and that nature tended to improve peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s moods, provide fresher air (which cities desperately need) and attract a lot more life (animals or humans). Habitat 67 responds to this urban dilemma and attempts to form itself around nature. Each volume was intentionally organized in such a way, where



Figure 2 As the building curves along the site, it provides space for vegetation. The image shows how the bulding is integrated with nature.


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Figure 3 Habitat acted as a catalytst to density growth along the waterfront.

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the building steps back each level up to create an opportunity for the roof of every block to become the outdoor patio/roof garden for the house above. Not only that, but the building as a whole is arranged as an organic wave on the site, where each indent of the building becomes an open green space – essentially the “front yard” of the building, giving that house-like aspect to the building (Figure 2). The design intent was very clear in revolving around nature, which made the tenants extremely satisfied. Habitat 67 wasn’t perfect, but it was an experiment for the Garden City approach, merging the concepts of suburban-rural and urban dwellings all into one single design

through technical, social and environmental components. Although the Industrial Revolution opened doors to the future, it also began closing doors to the past, creating problems for people when it boiled down to production. The people were forced to respond to this dilemma, resulting in the Arts and Craft Movement, which later on resulted in the birth of the Garden City – a solution to the Arts and Craft response. Moshe Safdie’s design for Habitat 67 has been considered both a success and failure. Architecturally, those considerations may apply, since it was an experiment during the time and things obviously didn’t go according to plan, such as

construction and maintenance costs that went over budget. However, from an urban design vantage-point, the building seems to have been more of a success. The doors that Habitat 67 has opened for todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s society, has helped evolve what architects and urban designers can do and should consider in design, which is worth a lot more than just an aesthetically beautiful building. This is how planning and/or urban design informed the conceptions and executions of Habitat 67.

Bibliography AD Classics: Habitat 67 / Moshe Safdie. (2013, July 20). Retrieved September 25, 2015, from Ewald, W. (1967). Environment for Man: The Next Fifty Years. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press Hall, P. (1988). Cities of tomorrow: An intellectual history of urban planning and design in the twentieth century. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Safdie, M. (1971). Beyond Habitat (- 2. printing. ed.). Montreal: Tundra Books Safdie, M., & Kohn, W. (1996). Moshe Safdie. London: Academy Editions ;. Safdie, M. (1996). Moshe Safdie: Buildings and projects, 1967-1992. Montreal: Published for Canadian Architecture Collection, Blackader-Lauterman Library of Architecture and Art, McGill University by McGill-Queenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s University Press.




The Ford Foundation Building was an office building designed by Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo Associates for the Ford Foundation Corporation. The design aimed at fostering a sense of community, which was a mandate shared by the architect and the corporation. The building is located at East 42nd street and Second Avenue in Manhattan, New York. It shares the same street with the Chrysler Building, Times Square, and the United Nations (Berstein, 2007). The project was initiated in 1963 and finished in 1967 (Shepherd, 2002). The essay aims to argue that the Ford Foundation Building is a contextsensitive work with a set of conscious design decisions that responded to the surrounding urban environment. The implications of planning tools and the urban context on the building form will be closely examined. Furthermore, the essay will draw relationships between the building and major planning ideas around the time, to demonstrate that the building was both a product of its time and a revolutionary proposal. Finally, the legacy of the building on the subsequent discourse in planning and urban design will be investigated. The form of the Ford Foundation Building was shaped by the New York City zoning code. The land was previously zoned for residential use, and was later amended to commercial use for the development (Figure 1&2) (The City of New York, 2011). The allowable building envelope on the site measured 180 feet by 180 feet by 200 feet. The building can reach 160 feet above the sidewalk before step-back is applied (Figure 3). A typical office building would have taken up the entire allowable building envelope to maximize spatial efficiency. In contrast,

Figure 1 Neighbourhood prior to building

Figure 2 Neighbourhood post building




180’ 180’

Figure 3 Building Envelope vs. Actual Building architect Roche used the cubic envelope as a starting point and divided it up using a six-foot modular. He arranged the offices in an L shape which wraps around the perimeter from the northeast corner to the southwest. The rest of the space was dedicated to an enclosed central garden, accessible to the general public, which extends twelve storeys above ground forming an atrium (Figure 4). All offices have a view into the atrium, as well as a strong visual connection to other employees in the building. The atrium is fully glazed on all sides; its Cor-ten mullions and rails deemphasize the mass of the building. From the street at certain angles, the boundary between private and public seems to disappear, inviting passerby to enter and enjoy the tranquility (Pelkonen, 2011). The façades facing 42nd and 43rd streets are set further back from the lot line, giving pedestrians more breathing room as they walk by.

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Aside from legal restrictions, the building was also defined by the context and history of the surrounding neighbourhood. To start, the main entrance to the building and the garden is located on the north façade, fronting 43rd Street, a decision favoured by the client for privacy and noise protection (Caan, Currey,

Figure 4 Formal Options as Presented to the Client (Adapted from Pelkonen, 2011) Hicks, Marvel & Walker, 2008). The walls of the first two storeys are recessed back from the building face by ten meters. The third and fourth floor gradually projects back into place. This gesture makes the entrance to the building more inviting, leaves more room at the ground level, at the same time creating a niche condition suitable for momentary pauses (Figure 5) (Pelkonen, 2011). Meanwhile, its back façade on the south was given equal consideration. The building sits in the Tudor City residential neighbourhood, and the Tudor City Complex stands directly across from the Ford Foundation on 42nd Street. The residential complex was one of the most successful early urban renewal projects in New York, as well as the first residential skyscraper community in the world. The towers are characterized by its red brick skin and limestone at the base, and terra cotta ornaments at the top (City of New York, 1988; Nash, 2005). Roche responded by using visually similar materials of red granite and Cor-Ten steel, as well as by not building to the maximum allowable height to lower the building’s visual impact (Shepherd, 2002). The positions of the garden and the full-height granite walls were coordinated so that only the garden and the glass atrium are prominent





42 ND




Figure 5 North facade treatment

Figure 6 South facade treatment

when viewed from the residential units. The glazed façade is set back behind the granite walls, further diminishing its presence (Figure 6). Additionally, to the immediate east of the building is an elevated park of Tudor City. The position of the atrium masks the existence of offices when viewed from the park. The glazed east façade understates the volume of the building by reflecting the surrounding trees and the buildings beyond (Figure 7).

the existing urban conditions was heightened by Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published two years before Roche started conceptualizing the building. The Ford Foundation Building exemplifies this awareness with its toned down material palette and dematerialized glass atrium. Its exterior appearance grounds it in the specific neighbourhood. The subsequent return to viewing the city from a human scale, rather than from a master planning perspective, generated urban design responses that actively engaged with the streetscape. In the Ford Foundation Building, this is manifested in the setback, transparency, and the carving of the building form at ground level. The building “ties in” to the street through its public garden, as advocated by Jacobs (p.395). The sensitivity to ground level treatment eventually permeated into zoning and guidelines around major cities within the next few decades.

With its context-sensitive characteristics, the Ford Foundation Building can be classified as a product of early Post-Modernist urbanism. It is an embodiment of the new awareness of contextual response that many master plans and projects in the Modernist movement lacked. This can be discussed in light of planning in New York City, led by Robert Moses through a top-down approach from the 1940s to 1960s. The speed of development and the need for space and progress swept through Manhattan, without adequate consideration for its existing urban fabric and self-formed inner communities. Citizens began to protest against the destruction of their neighbourhoods, and the final trigger was the Manhattan Expressway, with its lower portion cancelled due to protests led by Jane Jacobs in 1962 (Hall, 2014). The awareness of respecting

The concept of “community”, found in the Ford Foundation Building and common in Roche’s other work, could also find its parallels around the 1960s. It is documented that Roche drew influences from Peter Drucker, the first modern management theorist, the idea that “an enterprise is a community of human beings”, which was published in his


“From the street at certain angles, the boundary between private and public seems to disappear... ”

Figure 7 East facade as viewed from park (taken September 1, 2015) book in 1954 (Pelkonen, 2011, p.103). Aside from advancing the community spirit within the company, the architect went a step further to convince the client to allow public access to the garden to serve the larger urban community (Shepherd, 2002). The consideration for the urban community may also be connected to the writings of Jacobs. The building acts as a public space that gathers people from adjacent places, and becomes a point of interest that enlivens the street neighbourhood. It “intensifies the fabric’s complexity”, and together with other parks and squares, have the potential to foster a selfgoverning district or neighbourhood that has its own “functional identity” (Jacobs, p.129). The provision of a public garden inside the Ford Foundation Building is also linked to the regulatory framework of New York City at the time. First introduced in 1961, the incentive zoning system encouraged privately owned public space (POPS) by granting developers additional floor area when they provide public space on their private lot (Botsford, Nemeth & Schmidt, 2011). Although receiving density

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reward was not the purpose of the atrium in the Ford Foundation Building, it is plausible that Roche was influenced by the proliferation of POPS across New York City, and created the building as one of the earliest products of this framework. The requirements of the system have been revised numerous times, with the largest amendment in 1975, to improve the quality of public spaces and amenities within (Botsford et al., 2011). Roche acknowledged that the Ford Foundation Building had influenced the details of these subsequent revisions (Shepherd, 2002). The POPS system remains effective in New York City today and continues to shape public spaces in new developments. The generously sized garden exemplifies the architect’s passion for the theme of architecture and landscape. Roche envisioned the garden as an escape from the highly congested streets of Manhattan, where citizens can “rest, meditate, or eat their luncheon” (Pelkonen, 2011, p.134). Roche attributed this thinking to Freud who said “human

beings need to have a relationship to nature” (Pelkonen, 2011, p.140). When viewed in a broader context, one can draw parallels between Roche’s passion for nature and the American dream of living closer to nature. This desire can be satisfied by the early suburban communities which take living into the countryside, or it can be achieved by bringing nature back into the city (Hall, 2014). One equivalent example is Paley Park, completed in 1967, in which natural elements such as water and vegetation are brought back closer to people (Botsford et al., 2011). These urban landscapes responded to the increasing concern of noise, traffic, and monotony of the big city living as a result of rapid urban developments. The Ford Foundation Building was also one of the first “green” buildings in Manhattan, coinciding with the growing interest in sustainability at the time. It employed two simple strategies: rainwater irrigation and natural lighting, which altogether with its lush greenhouse garden,

initiated the era of sustainable buildings (Caan et al., 2008). Soon, sustainability fully spread its influence in architecture and urbanism, and has remained an active factor shaping modern cities ever since. In conclusion, The Ford Foundation Building is a context-sensitive architecture and employs various urban design strategies to be integrated into the urban context. It can be classified as a Post-Modernist building where context and pedestrian experience are just as important as the architecture. It emphasizes the importance of urban communities and public spaces, both of which were prevalent themes in planning at the time, and continue to exercise their influence today. The building contributed to the discourse of the relationship between landscape and city, demonstrating the possibility of the coexistence of nature and architecture in a dense urban setting.

Bibliography Berstein, F. (2007). 40-year watch: Ford Foundation HQ, 320 East 43rd Street, by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo Associates, 1967. Oculus, 69(4), 45. Botsford, E., Nemeth, J. & Schmidt, S. (2011). The evolution of privately owned public spaces in New York City. Urban Design International, 16, 270-284. Caan, S., Currey, M., Hicks, S., Marvel, J., & Walker, P. (2008). The Ford Foundation: Rediscovered masterpiece. Metropolis, 28(5), 90-104. Hall, P. (2014). Cities of Tomorrow. Chichester, UK: Wiley Blackwell. Jacobs, J. (1992). The death and life of great American cities. New York, NY: Vintage Books. Nash, E. (2005). Manhattan Skyscrapers. New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press. Shepherd, R. (2002). Structures of our time: 31 buildings that changed modern life. New York, NY: McGrawHill. Pelkonen, E. (2011). Kevin Roche: Architecture as environment. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. The City of New York. (1988). Tudor City Historic District. Retrieved November 1, 2015, from http://www. The City of New York. (2011). Historic Zoning Maps. Retrieved November 1, 2015 from html/dcp/html/zone/zh_historical_maps.shtml




1111 Lincoln Road is a mixed used parking garage located at Miami Beach, Florida. It is situated at the western end of Lincoln Road’s eight block promenade that runs perpendicular to the waterfront. The developer, Robert Wennett, saw the potential of the site and decided to commission the internationally renowned Swiss architecture firm, Herzog & de Meuron, to design the building as part of the urban redevelopment masterplan. Programmatically speaking, the firm was asked to design the mixed used parking garage to serve as an extension of the old SunTrust Bank. Its purpose being, to continue the outdoor shopping mall along Lincoln Road - expanding and replacing the surface parking lot that was previously on site. Originally, the developer had no intention of demolishing any of the existing buildings, therefore drawing inspiration from the historical context of these building became important to the scheme. It occurred early in the design process between the development and the firm that designing a typical garage was not an option, instead, it had to be a defining piece of architecture that would help to rebrand the area it’s situated on. The building reacted to the site on both the micro and macro scale, where it sensitively integrated itself into the existing environment and was able to enhance the pedestrian experience while keeping the original intended program of the site. 1111 Lincoln Road is located on a site that is rich in historical and architectural context that dates back to the 1960s. Historically, Lincoln Road was envisioned to be the counterpart of Fifth Avenue in New York for the Miami Beach area. Fifth avenue

in New York is an upscale shopping district, encouraging many tourists and shoppers. For this goal, Morris Lapidus was commissioned in the 1960s to redesign Lincoln Road as one of the North America’s first open-air pedestrian shopping malls. During that time, there was a popularity of the International Style known as Tropical Modernism that originated in equatorial regions that ranged from Hawaii to Brazil (Dispenza, 2011). The architectural style represented the adaptation to the local climate, which usually creates architecture with an open plan and consists of merely a roof with minimum exterior enclosure, resulting a clear expression of the building’s structural elements (Dispenza, 2011). Lapidus was able to establish the modernist style in the Miami Beach with his own language, which was a more flamboyant and sensual approach, favouring curves over linearity and ornamentation over austerity (Dispenza, K. 2011). After designing numerous iconic hotels along the beachfront, Lapidus was then asked to design the outdoor shopping mall along Lincoln Road. The road was closed off to traffic from Washington Street to Lenox Avenue and became one of the nation’s earliest outdoor pedestrian malls, completed with gardens, fountains, and shelters. Some of the trademark elements of Lapidus’s architectural style still exist along the route till this day, making it significant architectural context that should be addressed by future developments, including the parking garage. During the 1990s, Lincoln Road was renovated as a part of the South Beaches revival project. The street enjoyed its renewed success with the influx of numerous new shops,



Figure 1 Figure Ground restaurants and other attractions, creating and extending the unique pedestrian experience from Washington Street to Alton Road (Broome, B. 2010). Later on, the street gained a new unintended condition. The pedestrian experience of Lincoln Road was guarded by the massive Brutalist bank. The Suntrust bank at the head of Lincoln road featured a typical 1960s-era defensive stance, a condition that does not serve well as the entrance to the outdoor shopping mall (Broome, B. 2010). This was able to create a condition where people did not want to enter the pedestrian oriented shopping mall. In 2005, the developer, Robert Wennett, decided to purchase the SunTrust brutalist bank building and began seeking ways to solve the urban problem (Malone, D., & Peiser, R. 2014). Wennett saw the urban condition as an opportunity, the outdoor pedestrian mall underwent a tremendous growth in the late 1990s after its renovation and the opening of large number of national chain retailers, and it resulted in the change of the demographics in the area with its consumers becoming more sophisticated. He believed that there should be something that should support the change in tenants and offer a gateway that can serve as an entry into the pedestrian road.

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To realise his vision, instead of demolishing and redeveloping the SunTrust building, Wennett decided to rebrand it by hiring the internationally renowned Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron to design a parking garage that would rework the bank building and integrate it into its pedestrian friendly surroundings. During an interview with Herzog & de Meuron, they stated that â&#x20AC;&#x153;A car park is a public facility, like a train station or an airport, where people change from one mode of transportation to anotherâ&#x20AC;?, rather than a singular functional traffic equipment, both Wennett and Herzog & de Meuron wanted to create a multi-functional gateway that would act as an extension of the public mall and the defining piece of the redevelopment (Killory, C. 2012). Wennett did not wish for any demolishment of any existing building and structures along the block, which meant the designers have to make references to the roadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s historic and architectural context, most notably the context left behind by Morris Lapidus and his unique approach to Tropical Modernism. The parking garage aspect of the building, which is situated at the upper

floors, is constructed exclusively of concrete, staying true to the parking garage typology, while the first two storeys is glazed and houses numerous retail tenants that provide street-level continuity with the retail strip along the SunTrust building as well as rest of the outdoor shopping mall of Lincoln Road. (AU, 2010) The parking garage was designed to have strong architectural relationship with the Miami Tropical Modernism that was preestablished on the site. Herzog & de Meuron’s approach was to create a parking garage that was very expressive in its structural form. They used a structural system that calls for broad and irregularly shaped structural columns that support the floor decks, that which is tapered at the edges and are offset from one another avoiding a flushed formation in elevation (Killory, C. 2012). Exterior walls were also replaced by steel cables to allow for the structure of the building to freely speak undisturbed and provide a strong visual essence in the prominent location. They also varied the floor heights provide a variety of spatial experiences throughout the building and by increasing the overall height, it balanced the brutalist scale of the adjacent SunTrust office building (Killory, C. 2012). The result was a variable single-, double-, and triple-height skeleton that had a dramatic street presence and allowed a variety

“A car park is a public facility, like a train station or an airport, where people change from one mode of transportation to another, rather than a singular functional traffic equipment, it should act as an extension of the public mall and the defining piece of the redevelopment.” - Herzog & de Meuron of other functions within the building (Malone, D., & Peiser, R. 2014). In contrast to the heavylooking mass of the adjacent brutalist building, 1111 Lincoln Road is an elegant collection of concrete ramps, slabs and columns that speaks to the flamboyance of the Miami Tropical Modernist style (Dispenza, K. 2011). Herzog & de Meuron believed the people of Miami would embrace an idea of openness




Figure 2 Building in relation to rest of Lincoln Road Mall



Figure 3 Adjacent Context and loved the idea of making parking your car a beautiful as well as functional experience. Clearly, 1111 Lincoln was a design-driven, experience-driven and a context-driven project, it is intended to serve as an extension of the public mall rather than a purely utilitarian parking structure. It is able to create a strong and distinctive place, while allowing equally strong and distinctive developments to happen there in the future. It doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t draw lines between its elements, between the different people who have helped make it, or between itself and its surroundings. So the end result is not just a parking garage for its surroundings, it can be a place where people exercise and scale its stairs and ramps. It can be a studio where yoga practitioners taking in the expansive view from the seventh floor, and it even be a wedding venue where party-goers attending event can

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exploit the magnificent panoramic view across Miamiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Art Deco District (Malone, D., & Peiser, R. 2014). The 1111 Lincoln Road project represents strength as a visionary approach to urban redevelopment, that is opposed to an example of a new building typology. It combined a range of unorthodox mix of program and uses and by doing so, Wennett and Herzog & de Meuron have not only transformed the building that it was meant to redevelop, but also transformed the surrounding Lincoln Road Mall and create new appeal to its new demographics. It is unlikely that this particular combination of uses and design will be suited for many other locations, but the innovative approach to reimaging the urban context, and the visualisation of the people who will use it should be studied upon.

Figure 4 Relation to the Street

Bibliography 1111 Lincoln Road. (2010, September 1). Architecture Urbanism. Dispenza, K. (2011, February 21). Urban Redevelopment: 1111 Lincoln Road. Retrieved September 26, 2015, from Broome, B. (2010, June 1). 1111 Lincoln Road. Retrieved September 26, 2015, from http:// Killory, C. (2012). 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, Florida. In Details, technology, and form. New York City, New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Malone, D., & Peiser, R. (2014, September 12). The Making of Miami Beachâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mixed-Use Garage. Retrieved September 23, 2015, from




After World War II, New York City became one of North America’s greatest cities. During the 1950’s, it began to increase in population and the economy was prospering, resulting in the development in core areas of New York. Many buildings were built during the mid-twentieth century and inspired by movements such as modernism and post-modernism. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, located on 1071 5th Avenue, was the first building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Commissioned in 1943 and not built until 1959, this building became a heated topic of discussion between the relationships between art, architecture and people. Unfortunately neither Solomon R. Guggenheim nor Frank Lloyd Wright lived long enough to see the building open to the public (Guggenheim). The following will describe the impact and relationship of the Guggenheim Museum to the broader urban fabric of New York as well as the pedestrian interface with the immediate built form. New York has been, and to a degree, is still iconized as the city of financial accomplishment (Boyer, 1990, p.50). Among vernacular architecture of the international style, ornamented neo-classical and post-modernist buildings that remark Johnson’s AT&T, is Frank L. Wright’s Guggenheim which is categorized by him as “organic architecture” (Stoller, 1999, p.22). Due to the fluidity of the façade and the curved massing, it differentiates itself from neighbouring buildings. The museum interrelates with pedestrians’ field of vision and directs their attention to key aspects of the building. The museum has been referred to as a monument and an art piece of Wright’s that

defines the city rather than the city conforming the building to its surrounding or urban context. To understand if the museum was a good approach to urbanism and architecture, the development of Manhattan, New York shaped the monolithic character that allowed the Guggenheim to stand out. The museum challenged existing ideas of the urban scale where a building interacts with people rather than becoming an obstruction. Above all, the Guggenheim successfully identified a new possibility of architecture. As New York’s famous Wall St. financial market booms, large corporate complexes inspired by the international style such as, Mies van der Rohe’s modernist approach to architecture, dominate the skyline of New York. Manhattan’s property contains some of the most expensive rents and property values in the world and clearly defines a geographical economic advantage (Coe, Kelly, Yeung, 2007, p.25).New York could be recognized as the capital city during the twentieth century for taking the lead and innovation in almost every aspect of a functional city (Boyer, 1990, p.49). A more historic period of the development of New York’s city plan was the “Commissioners’ Plan of 1811” that exposed Manhattan into a grid pattern with no hierarchy (Schuyler, 1986, Ch.1). Later, in 1853, New York City adopted a centrally located park designed by Olmsted and Vaux (Figure 1)that began construction in the late 1850s (Schuyler, 1986, Ch.5). Parks are an important aspect and character for a city where people have the opportunity to migrate and spend time for leisure. Parks do not always turn out to be successful, but an organized park that has been planned


Figure 1 19th Cent. Plan“Plan of 1811” (davidrumsey) Figure 1 Manhattan’s

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have to the nearby shores and and wellaccess with accordance towater the city planning while maintaining the increasing automotive pedestrian movements creates places of intertraffic longitudinal the island for access. But est (Jacobs, 1961,to p.107). Olmsted’s Central during the beginning decades of the twentieth Park in Manhattan, New York was inspired by century, Lewis Mumford best in his the visionary movementdescribes of the “Garden City” famous column called Sky Line, “New York… where revival gothic and neo-classical forms hasbegan beento refurbished lately in suchinspired a number sprout, predominantly by of Ebenezer spots thatHoward one can (Beevers, hardly keep pace with The 1988, p.158). thepattern changes”(Mumford, Simultaneously, of the grid was230). master planned to have other forms of social movements began access to the nearby water shores whiletomainappear once New York was defining new longitaining the increasing automotive atraffic standard of social class, gentrification trends the tudinal to the island for access. But during became more frequent and distress between beginning decades of the twentieth century, political and oppositional movements Lewis Mumford describes best in hisbegan famous such as “forms of urban development” (Mayer, column called Sky Line, “New York…has been 143). New York wasinbecoming a commercial refurbished lately such a number of spots powerhouse displacing the pace urbanwith context and that one can hardly keep the changa geographical strategic centrality of power es”(1998, p.230). During these developments, (Hamel, Mayer, 8). Many diminsocial movements begansituations to appearofonce New ishing the urban context and language of York was segregating different standardsa of socity happen when corporatetrends companies claim cial class. Gentrification became more more importance over society’s personal frequent and distress between political opinand ionoppositional of a building’s importance. Thefor Pennsylmovements tensed a response vania Station protest is one example good to a lack of responsibility of urban of developurban context that was replaced by corporate ment (Mayer, 2000, p.143). New York was bebuildings. coming a commercial powerhouse displacing

Many architects of the twentieth century began to notice the importance of the urban context andspaces a geographical strategic master planning urban as a vital comcentrality of power (Hamel, Mayer, 2000, p.8). ponent for their design with the inspiration on Many situations of diminishing theHoward. urban a new master planning technique by context andvery language of a city happen when This became clear later in the twentieth corporate claimofmore importance century aftercompanies the demolition the Pruitt over society’s of a building’s Igoe complex inpersonal St. Louis.opinion Responding to the importance.context The Pennsylvania Station protest surrounding became an important is one example of goodreactions urban context that was benefactor in successful from the replaced corporate buildings. public. The by minimalistic approach was slowly Many of the twentieth diminishing backarchitects to the vernacular (Krier, century began1071 to notice thewas importance of 67). Previously, 5th Ave the location planning urbanSociety spaces Asylum as a vitalfor comof master New York’s Magdalen ponent in their design with the inspiration women who at times volunteered for rehabil- on a newoften master planning technique by Howard. itation from prostitution. In 1917 the This became verychanged clear later in theto twentieth Magdalen Society its name Inwood century of to theanPruitt House andafter laterthe solddemolition its property agency Igoe complex in Louis. Responding to the (Thompson), which beholds the location context became an important of surrounding the Guggenheim Museum. benefactor in successful reactions from the Frank Lloyd Wright was a famous public. in The minimalistic was slowly architect America when approach he was commisdiminishing back the vernacular (Krier, sioned to design the to project of the Gug1998, p.67). Previously, 1071 5th was genheim Museum. Movements suchAve as the the location of New York’s Magdalen Society Garden City movement, Italian Futurism, Asylum forfor women, who atsuggested times, volunteered and his love automobiles that rehabilitation often from prostitution. hisfor designs were partially inspired from the In 1917 the Magdalen Society changed its name

street context and the park. Its organic form responds better to the natural environment than the built context surrounding it (Figure 3). The walls of the Guggenheim entrance are curved inwards to create interest with the people passing by creating a void similar to the Garden City park plans, where people are invited into bends and turns luring them further in (Figure 2). As Wright describes himself, “The eye encounters no abrupt change, but is gently led and treated as if at the edge of the shore watching an unbreakable wave” (Stoller, 1999, p.30). The exterior expression of the building hides its structural components and tectonic joints are hidden to allow the eye to move with the curve. After the completion of the building, over 500 renowned leading architects in America considered the Guggenheim, “as the eighteenth wonder of American Architecture” (Stoller, 1999, p.4). The Guggenheim became a monument to the city of Manhattan. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is noticed as good architecture by average people and the professional architects as well. The museum also displays good urban design

position betwe defines the urban and architectural fabric of the city. (see Figure 3). The Solomon Guggenheim Museum has been described as a contemporary work indifferent and independent of contemporary art work (Stoller, 1). Many artists claimed the building lacked thought in designing the gallery spaces and that it was unfit for the title as a museum of art (Stoller, 5). Yet it was estimated that %40 of visitors came to see the building while only %5 came to visit the art displayed (Stoller, 5). The building responded well in a personal opinion with the street context and the park. Its organic form responds better with the natural environment than the built context surrounding it (see Figure 3). The walls of the Guggenheim entrance are curved inwards to create interest with the people passing by creating a void similar to the Garden City park plans, where people are invited into bends and turns luring them further in (see Figure 2). As Wright describes himself, “The eye encounters no abrupt change, but is gently led and treated as if at the edge of the shore watching an unbreakable wave” (Stoller, 30). The exterior expression of the building hides its structural components and tectonic joints are hidden to allow the eye to move with

to Inwood House and later sold its property to an agency (Thompson), which now beholds the location of the Guggenheim Museum. Frank Lloyd Wright was a famous architect in America when he was commissioned to design the Guggenheim Museum. Movements such as the Garden City movement, Italian Futurism, and his love for automobiles suggested that his designs were partially inspired from the automotive industry (Drexler, 1962, p.106). Wright openly admitted that he awaited the moment to have the opportunity to design this typology, “I am so full of ideas for our museum that I am likely to blow up or commit suicide unless I can let them out on paper”, (Stoller, 1999, p.10). The design of the Guggenheim strongly resembles that of Wright’s never realised project, Gordon Strong Automobile Objective and Planetarium for Sugar Loaf Mountain, where it spirals to the top similarly like the museum (Drexler, 1962, p.107). Many people came to love the results of the museum and many skeptics arose as well. Boyer calls for the return of aesthetical properties of a city by avoiding the monolithic language like that of a communist city characterised as, “plain… conformity and mediocrity”, (1990, p.53). Boyer continues to say that, “city planning lags far behind the architectural changes occurring within our cities”, (1990, p.53). The Guggenheim presents a strong juxtaposition between neighbouring buildings and defines the urban and architectural fabric of the city (Figure 3). The museum did not conform to the property such as other buildings have (Figure 4). It responded with pedestrian movement on the street and respected Manhattan’s city plan (Figure 2). The Solomon Guggenheim Museum has been described as a contemporary work indifferent and independent of contemporary art work (Stoller, 1999, p.1). Many artists claimed the building lacked thought in the design of the gallery spaces and that it was unfit for the title as a museum of art (Stoller, 1999, p.5). Yet it was estimated that 40% of visitors came to see the building while only 5% came to visit the art displayed (Stoller, 1999, p.5). The building responded well with the

because it is fluid and “mono-materialistic”, creating no awkward instances. It did not disrupt the master plan of the city yet merged together and proposed a different solution to the vernacular and common urban fabric.

Figure 1 Guggenheim Plan


Figure 2 Ground plan of Guggenheim


“Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as the Eighteenth Wonder of American Architecture”

Figure 2 Urban Context Figure 3 Urban Context

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because it interacts with the streetscape and the people’s interest. It is not a mere arbitrary commercial stamp blinding people with ads and billboards as in Las Vegas. The museum creates a place where people are encouraged to migrate and spend time. The form of the building also interacts with the corner intersections of 5th Ave and E 88th Street and 5th Ave and E 89th Street, where the building façade bends around the corner. There is nothing extravagant about the Guggenheim because it is fluid and “mono-materialistic”, creating no awkward instances. It did not disrupt the master plan of Manhattan but offered a solution, a different approach to the vernacular context and a focussed relationship at an urban level. At a macro scale, the Guggenheim stands out and presents itself with importance with its ability to break from conventional architecture.

Figure 4 Current building footprint of Guggenheim and neighbouring buildings

Bibliography Beevers, R. (1988). The garden city utopia: A critical biography of Ebenezer Howard. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Boyer, M. (1990). The return of aesthetics to city planning. Society, 49-56. Coe, N., & Kelly, P. (2007). Economic geography: A contemporary introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub. Guggenheim. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from Hamel, P., & Mayer, M. (2000). Urban movements in a globalising world (p. 221). London: Routledge. Jacobs, J. (1961). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Krier, L. (1998). Architecture: Choice or fate. Windsor, Berks, England: Andreas Papadakis. Media Information. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2015, from luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1 Mumford, L., & Wojtowicz, R. (1998). Sidewalk critic: Lewis Mumford’s writings on New York. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Schuyler, D. (1986). The new urban landscape: The redefinition of city form in nineteenth-century America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Stoller, E., & Goldberg, J. (1999). Guggenheim New York. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Thompson, Cole. “Inwood’s Old Magdalen Asylum”, My Inwood” Wright, F., Drexler, A., & York, N. (1962). The drawings of Frank Lloyd Wright. New York: Published for the Museum of Modern Art by Horizon Press.


Europe Europe’s rich cultural diversity has generated monumental and influential thinking for centuries, even millennia. Countless ideas of literature, art, and architecture has since been translated and implemented to different parts of the world, and has been engraved in various societies around the globe. The architectural influence of Africa brought in another approach to world’s culture, architecture and urbanism. With a rich history and a wide variety of natural and cultural environment, the continent acts as a great site for innovation and discovery. In this section, we explore further into different regions within Europe and Africa – their respective architecture and urban design. The architectural values such as form and materiality will be compared to the site’s cultural, built, and human context, offering research, analysis, and insight on various architectural projects and their level contextual response. We hope to illustrate their position in their respective neighborhoods with supplemented visual graphics to help highlight some of the critical architectural moments in the built work and their relationship to the essence of the site. The rigid grid system of Barcelona, grand axial gestures of Paris, and the dense plan of Venice are just a few examples of the diversity of urban design strategies present in Europe. In contrast to Africa, where traditional as well as modern architecture is developing in a completely different social, economic and urban setting. Less rigid, close to nature and very culturally diverse African urbanism represents a different vision on the built environment, and is an extremely interesting and important area of study. The following essays will showcase and analyze the layers of historical and cultural values of the two continents and draw a conclusion on the level of interactivity and dialogue between the architecture and the urban planning.

Centre Georges Pompidou Agostini, Marin

Buisinesshouse Geltenwilenstrasse Arce, Fernando

La Grande Arche de la DĂŠfense Chahng, Jae Young

The Guggenheim Chong Elizabeth

The Shard

Chung Matthew

Central St Gills Court Friesen, Michelle

Borneo-Sporenburg Goveas, Amber

Liverpool One Hachimi Eyad

Tate Modern Michael Hankus

Imagine Institute

30 St Mary Axe

The ReichStag

The Seven Sisters

Jang, Min Jeff Jantizi, Madi

Palais Garnier Joyce, Benjamin

Ara Pacis Museum Kim, Jinwoon

Oslo Opera House Krawczyk, Magdalena

20 Fenchurch Street Lau, Matthew

Sumatrakontor Nicholson, Blake

La Sagrada Familia Oliphant, Adam

Fondation Cartier pour lâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Art Contemporain Shin, Myoung Emily

30 St Mary Axe Skidmore, Tyle

Stone, Freedom

Terentii Cristina

Helsinski University of Technology Teyouri, Mohammadamir

Rotterdam Central Station VanNiekerk, Sebastian

Almere City Centre / Master Plan York, Brant




May of 1968 was a delicate month for France. Student’s rebellion started in Paris and quickly spread all over France. A year later, George Pompidou became the President of the French Republic. He was involved in the reevaluation of Paris’ Identity as a cultural center in Europe but most specifically the modernization of the city. In 1970 George Pompidou announced an international competition for a modern art museum which will be known as Centre Pompidou. The construction lasted seven years and the Centre was open to public in 1977. It is located in the 4th arrondissment on the east side of the Les Halles in the area known as Plateau Beaubourg (Architectural Magazine, 1977). In the past, Plateau Beaubourg was a mixed area of small workshops and low-rent degraded housing. The area also was known for the problems with prostitution and high rate of tuberculosis. In 1930s the houses were demolished and the site was under a restricted act of no further expansion till it became a parking lot space for the food markets on the west (Inam, 2014). The winning proposal was designed by two architects, Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. They both were at the first steps of their carrier and did not have much popularity (Architectural Magazine, 1977). The proposed design was seen by the architects as an “activity container mixing a number of cultural forms an attracting swarms of people, from foreign tourists to local residents” (Sutcliffe, 1993) soon after the construction the museum becomes a magnet place where the culture was offered to the masses. The main purpose was to express in some way

the democratization of the culture in response to the student riots and their requisitions for freedom. The winner’s response was with this iconic transparent design that manifested the “exchange between power and the masses” (Proto, F. 2005). In an interview for Dezeen magazine Rogers talks about the student’s protests and the political unrest in Paris at the time “It looked as though there would be a revolution. In fact, it didn’t happen. But we captured some of it in the building” (Fairs, M. 2014, p.188). Although the site was part of a large disputable between the public and the authorities prior to its construction, the Centre Pompidou would not only become a modern landmark for Paris but would spark urban regeneration of the old part of the city of Paris and especially Plateau Beaubourg. It would offer a unique and divers programming that naturally extend the pedestrian into essential parts of the design (Inam, 2014). Plateau Beaudourg was part of the old city and was highly sensitive to the public because of its historical value but the state authorities were in seek of change on this part of the city of Paris. Regardless to the public interest the Halles on the west of Plateau Beaubourg went under development scheme sometime prior to the year President Pompidou announced the international competition for the cultural center to be built on the Plateau Beaubourg. This area in the heart of the city was to be redeveloped in accordance with the new regional growth

Figure 1 The west facade strategy (Sutcliffe, 1993, p.168). Being the medieval core of the city the authorities saw it as a possibility to finally transform one of the oldest parts of Paris. It was the right opportunity to modernize the area by creating additional investment in order to regenerate the nearby streets. Conservationists and intellectuals that were against these actions considered the Halles fabric a major historical site. The opposition voice reached the politicians and the media during 1966 and the loss of low-rent housing and the artisanal trades in this area become a major concern during a spring session in city council at the same year. It was clear that authorities wanted to reevaluate the area to create additional profitable density without acknowledging its historical value. After six years of attempt from the authorities it was a visible counter reaction toward the implementation of modern architecture in the area (Sutcliffe, 1993, p.177). There was an exception to this opposition with the case of the Pompidou Centre. The authorities applauded the initiative while the Halles was under continues disagreements (Sutcliffe, 1993, p.180). Even though the construction of the Pompidou Centre was mainly accepted there were some critical views about the new proposal. The main focus of critics was in the design. The pipes and the ducts that cover most of its façade are considered aggressive and vandalistic and do not fit in the old urban grid of the neighborhood. Some compared the massiveness of the building with a battleship or oil refinery. There were some other crit-


ics about the administration of the funds and more specifically how these funds were invested into a single monolithic structure instead of being administrated into multiple projects around the city. (Inam, 2014) The Centre Pompidou helped regenerate the urban quality of the areas around the Plateau Beaubourg. The size of the new museum did not occupy the entire block. The architects considered to build only half of the block creating a plaza on the other side of the site. Through a recorded discussion at the initial design statements from the architectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s team it is mentioned that the building acts as an urban machine and the plaza works as a catalyst between the surroundings and the building. Part of the plaza ramps down imitating an outdoor theater ramp. The architectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s team suggested that the building should be read as a dynamic part of the city rather as a monumental static building (Architectural Design, 1977). This building triggered a large scale revitalization of the urban area. The Centre attracted many tourists, visitors and Parisians around and consequently the private and public investment grew intensively in the surrounding buildings being this in small retail or residential buildings. The design of the plaza created new social areas where people meet, see and participate in street performances (Inam, 2014). Another feature well thought by the designers was the diversity of the programs around the building and the programs in the building. At the same

time that permanent gallery visitors are moving through the building many students use the library services for study purposes. Also both Parisians and tourists use the external circulation to reach the terrace as a high point to overlook through the city roofs canopy. This is also a way to connect the public with the surrounding neighborhood (Inam, 2014). Another public inviting feature close to the site is the Srevinsky fountain that is located on the south side between the Centre Pompidou and the Eglise St. Merri. There are different colorful sculptures in the fountain by Jean Tinguely and Nicki de St. Phalle. The Fountain attracts different ages that share the seats or interact with the water during warmer months. It is clear the presence of the Center Pompidou improved the urban revitalization of the neighborhood by the attracting the public and this resulted in a growth of economic activity around the Beaubourg area (Inam, 2014). The flexibility and the diversity of the program of the Centre Pompidou successfully created a unique interaction with the public realm extending it to the interior and providing visual relationship between the interior and exterior realms. The transparent glass and steel façade on the west of the building allows the street pedestrian to see through the building toward the plaza on the other side. This gives a sense of connectivity felt form the street (Inam, 2014). There are eight levels and each with 81000 square feet. There is a permanent and a temporary gallery as well as the public library. There are two conference spaces, two cinemas and one gallery for children. The Center had one million visitors in the first week and fifty million in the first seven years. The visitor’s attraction to the site was unpredicted. The Center was designed for a capacity of 7000 visitors per day but has exceeded its capacity to three times that number. The external escalator gives clear access from the north side walk to the rooftop terrace without any interruption making possible for


Figure 1 The site plan before and after the proposal. anyone to admire the view of the city (Inam, 2014). It also works as the key concept of the Centre’s design. This exterior vertical pedestrian movement passes through each floor and allows the pedestrian to approach each floor they want. “It was considered and important aspect

“Soon after the construction the museum becomes a magnet place where the culture was offered to the masses.” Figure 1 The pedestrian realm is shown in light blue. of the overall concept of the Live Center of Information that this pedestrian movement and activity, which normally occurs in the building, should be expressed for all to see and also how the building is being used” (Architectural Magazine, 1977).The Centre Pompidou created is a building that created a vital urbanism

into to the historical part of Paris. It generated social context for a diverse a public and provided quality in Parisian in everyday bases. This was due to the unique circulation through its diverse program that gathered different ages around the building.

Bibliography Sutcliffe, A. (1993). Paris: An architectural history (p. 221). New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Proto, F. (2005). The Pompidou Centre: Or the hidden kernel of dematerialisation. The Journal of Architecture, 10(5), 573-574. Retrieved from Inam, A. (2014). Beyond Intentions: Consequences of Design. In Designing urban transformation (First Edition ed., pp. 125-131). New York, New York: Routledge. Centre pompidou (1977). Architectural Design Magazine. Fairs, M. (2014). Richard Roger. In Dezeen book of interviews (2nd ed., Vol. 1, p. 188). London, England: Dezeen Limited.





The promise of living in an urban area holds many incentives for people, namely those who emigrate from rural districts in search of greater economic opportunities. Factors such as shortened travel times (due to walkability) and the availability of varied goods and services within vicinities are prized qualities that these high-density areas promise. In order for cities to effectively yield such services for dwellers, cities must function as organisms. Like the mitochondria that yields the energy which allows for the larger cell to thrive, urban regions can be seen to contain their own mitochondria – here as individual buildings; these can be either generators of lively metropolises or regions of urban blight. Architectural theorist Aldo Rossi summarizes the importance that individual structures have on an overall city; when writing about the experiential ramifications that certain structures impose onto people’s lives, he states that “all these experiences, their sum, constitute the city. He adds, “It is in this sense that we must judge the quality of a space” (1931, p. 29-32). This qualitative aspect can be common in everyday situations, for instance, the road blocks experienced when rushing to an appointment in an unfamiliar location. You’re running late for an appointment. You’ve done your research; you know the major intersections and side streets. The location of the building is not the problem. You’re finally off the bus and on the intersection. As you try to orient yourself, you

realize that you can’t distinguish the buildings. Most of them look very similar and it becomes increasingly hard as you’re unable to establish where one ends and the other begins. At this point you’ve spent at least a few minutes trying to get oriented. Finally, the building is visible. You walk towards it, but you start panicking as you realize that the entrance is nowhere in sight. By the time you’ve arrived at your destination, you are left with the residual feelings of stress from the ordeal. The disorientation that comes with navigating an unfamiliar urban landscape is not new to anyone. What then, differentiates a place that enhances our experiences from one that leaves us feeling lost? To help answer this question, we can look at an architectural style that purposefully stands out as part of its guiding philosophy. With its inherent ideals of minimalism and universality, the social-economic and experiential implications that modernist architecture has on an urban community can be used to understand the urban implications that buildings adopting this style propagate onto their context. Thus, the necessity for a symbiotic relationship to exist between built form (or morphology of the building, including shape, detailing and tectonics) and context becomes evident. The context includes the sidewalks, streets and buildings adjacent to or within the vicinity of the structure. Within this symbiosis, it is argued that variety in buildings is essential for the generation of life within commu-


stance, is a row of residential buildings that are of Romanesque styling, while on the North lies a restaurant vernacularly styled after a Swiss chalet. With its ostensible features evident, how does the Buisinesshouse - as a stand-alone modern structure - affect its more traditional surroundings? For this, we must come to an understanding on the effects that planning for autonomy in buildings has on a community.

(Figure 1): 500m Radius from Project’s Centre nities; this is based on the age and use of the structures which surround them. For this, the importance of diversity regarding varying ages of buildings and their uses is also noted. As a building that stands out architecturally from its urban context, the Buisinesshouse at Geltenwilenstrasse Street in St. Gallen Switzerland is ideal in our analysis of buildings as autonomous generators within a city. St. Gallen, like many other cities within Switzerland, is small compared to those of other countries. Located near the North-Eastern corner that borders Germany, and boasting an urban population of 65.6%, compared to 63% in Bern (the capital), this city has obvious urban prominence within the country. The main form of transportation to and from the city is by train (Bleicherstrasse, 2010) . Within, bus routes are extensively provided. Situated at the end of a peninsula-like block, the eminence of the Baumschlager and Eberle designed building is evident. Its modernist styling sets it apart from its neighbours to the North and East sides and for purposeful reasons; in its design, the architects note that the heterogeneous buildings in the immediate vicinity had no intact architectural substance that might have been taken as a point of reference (Nerdinger, 2007); on the East, for in-


Danish architect Jan Gehl wrote that modernism and its related architectural trends have gradually shifted focus from the interrelations and common spaces of the city to individual buildings, which in the process have become increasingly more isolated, introverted and dismissive. This, he adds, “Created cities where people became more like second-class citizens” (2010, p. 3). The origins of this phenomenon can be traced back to the shift in the urban planning paradigm that resulted from industrialization, which changed the way we plan and build cities. Cities were no longer being built as organisms, products of community-driven pattern planning. Their structures were given individual identities which exemplified a desensitisation of context and lack of community. These master-planned metropolises, according to professor of Sociocultural Anthropology James Holston, was the ultimate political achievement of the modern movement (p. 250, Cities of Tomorrow). The Buisinesshouse, in a way, can be viewed as by-product of this shift in paradigm. To understand this shift, we can look at the building’s morphology. A prominent feature of the Buisinesshouse is its monolithic appearance. Appropriately dubbed the “Monolith in a Network of Pillars” by its architects (Nerdinger, 2007) the building’s imposing character is heightened by its modernist architectural styling and its contrasting qualities to that of the surrounding Romanesque buildings (see figure 2). The only exterior feature connecting it to these buildings is its height (approximately eighteen metres). The visual differences continue when viewing the roof typologies in plan. The Buisinesshouse sports a flat roof whereas the majority of build-

(Figure 2): Patterns in Morphology ings within a five kilometre radius have pitched roofs (see figure 3); these exclude an apartment building and warehouse to the immediate West of the building. Further, where the majority of the surrounding buildings contain ornamentation in their facades, the Businesshouse is devoid of any facial embellishments. According to its architects, the rationalist façade style was made to contrast the decorative facades of the Romanesque buildings through its employment of a “reduced style with rhythmic window patterns” (Nerdinger, 2007, p. 22). These design decisions have also created implications when relating to the pedestrian scale. For instance, in allowing for a continuous pattern of fenestrations, the architects created an ambiguity with regards to the location of the entrance. According to Christopher Alexander, “placing the main entrance, and making it discernable to pedestrians, is perhaps the single most important step you take during the evolution of a building plan (1977, p. 541). Ignoring this principle can create an unnecessary confusion at ground level that can pose annoyances for people who travel to the building. Within a city, streets are significant contributors to the human experience. Gehl, in his book “Life Between Buildings”, notes that streets and squares have been the basic elements around which all cities were organized throughout history. He adds that the width of

streets can be determinants of either a lively space or dull corridor for people passing through. For instance, a four metre wide street in Copenhagen permits a comfortable flow of fifty to sixty pedestrians per minute, while a twenty-four metre wide street in suburban Toronto creates an “unbridgeable void between the houses” ( 2011, p. 90). Moreover, the width of a street can contain implications relating to the geographical and climactic conditions of

(Figure 3): Roof Morphology: Flat vs. Pitched


“the Buisinesshouse alludes to Rem Koolhaas’s City of the Captive Globe. ”

February 1, 2014

11 am June 1, 2014

1 pm

3 pm

5 pm

11 am

1 pm

5 pm

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(Figure 4): Shadow Conditions in Geltenwilenstrasse St. a city. Gehl states that in northern European countries, “small spaces with tall buildings mean dark and sunless spaces”. In the north, both light and sun are highly valued qualities (2011, p. 92). The width of Geltenwilenstrasse St. is approximately eighteen metres. This width, along with the height of the Buisinesshouse and its surrounding buildings (also of eighteen metres) creates a space that effectively blocks out sunlight throughout most of the day. The only times when the sun is able to penetrate is around 1pm during both February and June; figure 4 shows a sun study of the site on a given summer and winter day.


Being situated entirely within a city block that can be likened to a peninsula (it’s surrounded by streets on all sides), the Buisinesshouse alludes to Rem Koolhaas’s City of the Captive Globe. Here, the idea of the coexistence of different ideologies within the same area is depicted. The graphite illustrates

an imagined grid of Manhattan where plots of land contain uniquely styled buildings that don’t relate to others on adjacent plots; one plot can contain a large modernist skyscraper, for instance, while another Victorian row houses. This depiction nicely illustrates the concept of de-contextualization. One way, however, in which the Buisinesshouse does respond to a dialectic relationship with its surroundings lies ironically in the building’s autonomous qualities. According to theorist Jane Jacobs, the need for mixed primary uses along with the need for buildings to be of a variety of ages is essential for propagating vitality within a district (1992, p. 152). In short, Jacobs maintains that cities should have mixed functions to ensure that people were there for different purposes, on different time-schedules, but using many facilities in common. Also, there should be a mix of differently aged and conditioned blocks, including a significant

share of old ones. (1992, p. 259). In conclusion, the Buisinesshouse at Geltenwilenstrasse Street typifies the autonomous qualities of a modernist building situated in a vernacular setting. The social-economic and experiential implications that this building imposes onto its urban context is evident in its exuding the modernist ideals of minimalism

and universality. Furthermore, the impact that the building’s autonomous character has on its urban context becomes evident when analyzing the morphology and arrangement of its design features. The shape, height, and detailing of the structure create a unique situation that can catalyze either beneficial or detrimental ramifications for the overall environment, including its primary protagonists, the pedestrians.

Bibliography Alexander, C. Ishikawa, S. Silverstein, M. (1977). A pattern language: Towns, buildings, construction. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Benson, G. C. S. (1972). The politics of urbanism: The new federalism. Woodbury, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. Bleicherstrasse, M.G. (2005-2010). Switzerland’s 26 Cantons: Basic statistical data on Switzerland’s cantons. Retrieved from swiss-federal-states-cantons.html Frampton, K. (2007). Modern architecture: A critical history. New York, NY: Thames & Hudson Ltd. Gehl, J. (2010). Cities for people. Washington, DC: Island Press. Gehl, J. (2011). Life Between Buildings; Using Public Space. Washington, DC: island Press. Giovannini, J. (1997). Alpine rationalists: The austrian duo of carlo baumschlager and dietmar eberle adapt modern forms to regional traditions. Architecture, 84+. Academic OneFile. Web. 13 Sept. 2015. Jacobs, J. (1992). The death and life of great American cities. New York, NY: Vintage Books Edition. Nerdinger, W. (2007). Baumschlager – eberle 2002 – 2007: Architecture people and resources. New York, NY: Springer Wien. Rossi, A. (1931). The Architecture of the City. (1982). Chicago, Il. and New York, NY: The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies respectively. Swiss Statistics: Regional Data. Neuchatel (2015): Swiss Federal Statistical Office. Retrieved from




Starting from the mid-19th century, Paris has been undergoing a major redevelopment. Around the mid-20th century, President François Mitterrand proposes a program known as Grandes Operations d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme or Grands Travaux which encourages modern architectural designs along the historical axis named Triumphal Way to promote Paris as the capital of France. Through the analysis of relationship between Triumphal Way, la Defense and Grande Arche de la Defense whether they are complementing the contemporary urban landscape is shown. The Historical Axis, also known as “Voie Triomphale” or “Triumphal Way” is an axis stretching out from the centre of Paris at an angle of 26°, illustrating the course of the Sun from its rising in the East to its setting in the West (Figure 1). The axis is more than just a sequence of continuous streets; the axis represents a linear connection of renowned monuments and districts located in Paris, starting from the Louvre to the business district of la Defense. The axis demonstrates a delicate alignment of major architecture projects in Paris. After the First World War, numerous ideas are brought in to design the axis, and in 1931, the city of Paris initiates a design competition to redesign the streets of the axis to make them extend from the centre of the city to the district of la Defense. Many designs mainly focus on the development of high-rise buildings along the axis. However, because tall buildings will obstruct the views of the Arc de Triomphe, only trees and mid-rise buildings with regu-

lated height are placed around the axis. The winning entry of the competition as well as numerous other projects consider the district of la Defense as the focal point to rival the Place de l’Etoile. Evenson describes the winning entry by Bigot: “the scheme of Bigot focused on the Rond Point de la Defense.… Statue of victory proposed by Bigot for the Rond Point de la Defense.… Thus the Rond point de la Defense might be envisioned as a focal point to rival the Place de l’Etoile” (Evenson, 1979, p. 46-47). This illustrates the initial identification of the significance of la Defense and its potential importance to the city of Paris, as well as the connection with la Defense and the city of Paris through Triumphal Way. As a result, during the redevelopment of Paris after the First World War, the redesign of the historical axis of Paris leads to future development of the business district named la Defense. The business district of la Defense was originally a suburb area located adjacent to the Seine River. Lang (2005) explains that the origin of the name la Defense of the business centre comes from the statue ‘la Defense de Paris’, constructed in the area in 1883 to commemorate the Franco-Prussian War. As the redevelopment of the city of Paris progresses, the suburb site starts to grow as a major business centre along with the city. In 1950, four different types of zoning are proposed by the municipal council, with regulations on buildings, land use and zoning. The four zones include business zones, government


zones, university zones, and zones for industry. Following in 1953, studies on open space, reinvigoration of slums and street works have started, and during this time a new space for office area is recognized to be needed in Paris, leading to the initial foundation of a new business district just outside of the city boundary. Originally the zoning for la Defense include only the office spaces, however apartment complexes are added in order to establish a balanced neighbourhood. In 1956, the new business district undergoes a large-scale redevelopment program characterized by quick expansion of office spaces after the Second World War. In addition, as the district starts to grow as a business centre, major transportation infrastructures and commercial shops are placed in the area. Evenson explains â&#x20AC;&#x153;As the scheme was planned the government would control the project and build the complex infrastructure of transport lines, auto routes and underground Figure 1 Triumphal Way

Underground Transportation Entrance

Pedestrian Deck (Triumphal Way) Underground Mall

Underground Bus Terminal


Underground Vehicular Tunnel Subway Underground Parking


Figure 2 Transportation Infrastructure

parking. Individual buildings which included offices and apartment housing would be privately designed and constructedâ&#x20AC;? (Evenson. 1979, p. 186-187). This illustrates the need of public transportation system in the business district to provide accessibility to the site as well as the need of privately owned buildings to invigorate the area. By 1956, numerous highrise office spaces have been constructed in the vicinity of la Defense, and the government and private developers rehoused about 25,000 people and demolished over 9000 dwellings and a few hundreds of industrial factories in the process of transforming the district into a business zone (Lang, 2005). Therefore, a new business district has been growing and at the same time multiple layers of various infrastructures are constructed in the area along with the development of la Defense. While la Defense transforms from a suburb into a business district, various infrastructures are built in the area. Large-scale infrastructures are one of the major significances that distinguishes la Defense from other dis-

Underground Transportation Entrance

Figure 3 Transportation of La Defense

tricts of Paris. A major focus in planning of the site is to provide a thorough system of public transportation, which includes suburban bus and railway system, extensions from RĂŠseau Express RĂŠgional (RER) as well as local buses (Figure 2). The transportation network is organized in a way that the central Triumphal Way deck remains vehicle-free and the vehicular transportation takes place around the periphery of the district (Figure 3). Government officials then recognize the high cost that is required to build such complex and profound transportation system as well as other infrastructures. Hence the site is re-planned to provide higher vertical density, increasing height limitation of office towers in the district of la Defense in order to gain greater revenues from private builders. Allowing high office towers in such a small district results in relatively low building height in the rest of the city because high density is no longer needed in other places, which avoids chaotic city planning such as that of New York City; by effectively concentrating high buildings in one area and allowing the rest of the city to be able to receive a lot of natural light without shades from tall structures. However, due to the typology of office buildings, the district is visually controversial with tall box towers in contrast to low-rise delicate buildings in other parts of Paris. Hence the construction of large scale multi-layer infrastructures allows the district to have high towers in the area, which brings financial benefits, but it is highly controversial aesthetically with tall bulky office towers. Being controversial on the aesthetics, la Defense still emphasizes its monumental nature. The key conceptual approach to the redevelopment of la Defense originates from the historical axis; by sitting on the axis, the district is a major part of the monumental stretch. Along with the Triumphal Way, the Grand Arche de la Defense, a tesseract-shaped 35 storey office building by Johan Otto von Spreckelsen and Paul Andreu, dominate the surrounding urban


“The Grand Arche de la Defense, the tesseract-shaped office building dominates the surrounding urban context through its symmetrical geometry”

Figure 4 Figure ground diagram of La Defense in 1960 (left) and in 2015 with Grand Arch (right) context with its symmetrical geometry. The Arch is a major element of the Grands Travaux program by the president Francois Mitterrand, which architecturally represents Paris as the centre and the capital of France (Short, 2004). The Arch is a winning entry of a design competition held on behalf of President Mitterrand, and its strong geometry of hypercube grants the structure a name of Grand Arch of la Defense. The cube partially terminates the Triumphal Way, sitting in the middle of it, becoming a rival to the Arc de Triomphe located on the other edge of the historical axis. Looking at the district from the centre of Paris, the Arch and office towers located in la Defense immediately capture the attention through tall height and international architectural style of structures. Such strong differentiation in architecture of la Defense and the vicinity of Paris provides an impression of dense building forest located at


the end of the Triumphal Way. Today the Arch is a major tourist attraction in the business district, and its existence assists further economic expansion of la Defense. Whether la Defense and the Grand Arch are successful in the urban design point of view is controversial. The surrounding open space around the district and the cube have poor connection to the buildings. The central pedestrian deck offers little attraction to people (Figure 4). Lang states “the deck at la Defense was improved considerably when sculpture was added to it, but well-designed open spaces (in terms of size and what surrounds them) have no need for much in the way of added elements” (Lang, 2005, p. 143). In addition, despite the fact that the district is fairly free of smoke due to having vehicular transportation around the outskirts of the district, the Grand Arch roof deck and

office building rooftop terraces possess difficulties to use in winter and summer due to extreme temperature. On the other hand, the district has been adding art galleries and shopping stores in order to create an open-museum atmosphere, attracting pedestrians to the Triumphal Way deck. La Defense and Grand Arch’s effect of drawing public interest in the area is successful in the perspective of business and commerce. Top 20 corporations in France are located in the district and in 2000, over 130,000 people worked for 3,600 companies, which signifies the financial development the district has gone through. Thus, it is debatable whether the business district of la Defense and Grand Arche de la Defense are successful architecturally in creating a comfortable environment for pedestrians and users of the site but the district and the cube office building are successful in improving economy of the city by producing

jobs and drawing business into the area. In conclusion, the sequential development of Triumphal Way, the business district of la Defense and the construction of Grande Arche de la Defense lead to numerous results. In the planning point of view, la Defense and its tall office towers create poor open space and t have insufficient connection with surrounding built context. In addition, the central Triumphal Way pedestrian deck has limited pedestrian attraction. On the other hand, Grande Arche de la Defense creates tourist attractions that catalyse the financial growth of the district. Thus the development of la Defense and the erection of the Arch are successful in creating financial benefits by providing space for offices and attracting tourists as well as allowing further expansion of the district.

Bibliography Lenne, L. l. (2013). The Premises of the Event. Formakademisk, 6(4), 1-27. Collard, S. (1996). Politics, culture and urban transformation in jacques chirac’s paris 19771995. French Cultural Studies, 7(19), 001-31. doi:10.1177/095715589600701901 Short, J. R. (2004). Global Metropolitan : Globalizing Cities in a Capitalist World. Florence, KY, USA: Routledge. Retrieved from Jodidio, P., & Andreu, P. (2004). Paul Andreu, architect. Basel, Switzerland: Birkhäuser. Lang, J. (2005). Urban design. Oxford: Elsevier/Architectural Press. Evenson, N. (1979). Paris. New Haven: Yale University Press.,. (2015).




Leading up to the late 1980s in the city of Bilbao, Spain, pollution and crime dominated the abandoned industrial area of Basque, where steel mills were out of business and shipyards that once distributed goods and services were now deserted. At this point in time the city was determined to engage in a redevelopment program for the city. A new master plan with innovative ideas was put in place along with a set of strategic guidelines that would improve upon the overall quality of life. By adding characteristics such as flexibility, functionality, and a hierarchy in the Basque region would create a healthy and competitive advantage from a national and local perspective among the global economy, tourism and local businesses (Marshall, 2001). The new guidelines aimed to create a new identity for the city of Bilbao and the area of Basque. By nurturing the city’s environment and focusing on the functionality and socioeconomic conditions in the area, it has lead to the development of innovative designs such as the Guggenheim in Bilbao. The initial notion to restore the city was to map out ‘key opportunity’ sites that had the potential of bringing societies together and creating a sense of community (Rodriguez, 2001). 1997 was a defining turning point for Bilbao from the moment the Guggenheim opened its doors to the public. It had carefully followed the new strategic guidelines laid out by the master plan and had exceeded its expectations. This is also shown through analyzing the socioeconomic conditions and the many relationships formed with the built environment that have made this project successful and is what sets Bilbao apart from other areas

trying to revitalize and restore their cities. Results from following this master plan has contributed to the Guggenheim’s success by providing a solid framework created with the new guidelines. Known for pollution and political violence before the 1980s, the Basque region in Bilbao, Spain was one of the first areas chosen to be revitalized. With many potential opportunities that could strengthen the area culturally and economically, the neighbourhood of Abandoibarra in Basque would soon be transformed with the new guidelines set out by the master plan (Rodriguez, 2001). The ultimate goal was to create a new identity for Bilbao by changing major forms and functions to fit in with a more flexible urban policy. Many cultural facilities were added in order to create more diversity, evoke more development in the area, and create and a new image. Introducing the Guggenheim fit in with the idea of inviting more emblematic projects into the guidelines and urban policy of this new master plan by changing the form and scale entirely. Other major changes to Abandoibarra, a prime site along the waterfront of the Nervión River and full of abandoned industrial ports and shipyards was torn down to create more green spaces. These areas help the neighbourhood both spatially and economically, providing a communal space for city activities and attractions all year long (Karlson, 2012). The location of the Guggenheim museum was intentionally placed in this area as it has a large waterfront and is in close proximity to the



Figure 1 Figure-Ground Map Before the Guggenheim was Built 1:20000

Figure 2 Figure-Ground Map After the Guggenheim was Built downtown area. Waterfronts, holding the most important opportunities for revitalization and redevelopment are often forgotten since they are usually noticed as the constraint or perimeter of a city. This area had the most significant change and the most successful revitalization as it removed the constraints that the river created and integrated a more accessible path connecting both sides of the river, increasing more cultural and business opportunities. Some of these bridges and paths created over the Nervión River have become main gateways into Bilbao, Spain. Another opportunity the waterfront provides is being able to express the


city’s urban features from its skyline, visibly seen from the north side of the Nervión River and from the gateway into Bilbao. These new development changes formed by the master plan have created many competitive advantages for the city. In order to establish a new icon for Bilbao it is important to keep in mind that improving on the economic factors are just as essential as changing the aesthetic appearance of the city (Marshall, 2001). The new strategic plan focusing on form and functionality has created a basic structure for Bilbao to grow into and inspire many influential buildings such as the Guggenheim. The dense history of factories, steel mills and shipyards is still seen today through the remnants of metal developed into the revitalized community along the waterfront. The city, which depended on this area for their economy, imported and exported goods and services, as well as provided work for locals. Architect, Frank Gehry connects the Guggenheim with the history and culture that is prevalent in the Basque region by using titanium as the dominant material for this museum. The sensitivity of the environment has been reflected in the river along the waterfront and through the unique and dramatic curvilinear forms of the building. The Guggenheim’s reflection in the water allows the boundaries of the city to blur, as the Puente de la Salve, a main gateway to the city is incorporated into the design of the museum (www.guggenheim. org, 2015). By focusing on functionality as the first priority, it allows the design to pay attention to the details of creating this strong relationship of integrating a major highway into the infrastructure. This bridge, connecting the city of Matiko to Bilbao overcomes physical and social boundaries to the city, an essential transportation route that has influenced subway systems and other bridges to follow suit. This connection made within the design emphases the importance of the new master plan, and how planning around function and social

characteristics can lead to creating these vital connections to the city (Crawford, 2001). On a smaller scale, the Guggenheim in Bilbao has achieved high popularity from the unique forms and programming around the building, which has lead many tourists and locals to visit. The idea of how people experience space has become a new topic of discussion in successful designs. How and where certain functions are placed has a lot to do with the experiential aspects, as well as following human movement. The layout of the museum has a very humanistic design and is attentive of how visitors approach the building and where they would inherently conglomerate. People are also naturally attracted to certain spatial patterns such as the freedom and flexible design of the curvilinear titanium forms shaped by the physical environment (Gospodini, 2001). The connections made between the museum and the new master plan, as well as the museum and the immediate context make the difference between cities that are ineffective and those that form communities and are successful on all social

and economic aspects. A critical component of urban regeneration is the cultural development within a city. It is the cultural facilities that transform societies and create diversification among building typologies, as well as people. The idea of creating a new image and improving the quality of living for citizens in Bilbao are all a part of the plan set out by the revitalization project, which has lead to the creation of the Guggenheim (Baniotopoulou, 2001). The placement and decision to commission Frank Gehry was very strategic, as Bilbao is now seen as a major competitor in the global market, while also improving on social groups, the economy and the government. The amount of success this museum has brought is predominantly noticed in the growth of population, shops and the city. Although the economy has been at a high and steady pace since 1997 when the doors to the Guggenheim opened to the public, it is important for the city to keep this momentum of tourist attraction by looking closely at the so-

Figure 3 Integrating the built environment into the design of the museum


“The layout of the museum has a very humanistic design and is attentive of how visitors approach the building ...”

process. The city’s major icon, the Guggenheim was formed through the new master plan from a small schematic design on paper to the finishing touches of the titanium cladding. By incorporating the natural and built environment of the city into the new framework, and focusing on the functionality of spaces and socioeconomic conditions have exceeded the expectations that were set at the start of the project. The change in spatial and flexible qualities of the master plan is mimicked in the Guggenheim to improve the quality of life. Bibliography

Old Strict Master Plan

New Flexible Master Plan

Figure 4 Comparing flexible spatial movements before and after the new master plan cioeconomic conditions of Bilbao. By keeping in lines with the new master plan and opening more spatial opportunities within the area will accommodate for the new population of tourists and new residences in the area (Gomez, 2001). Not only was the placement of the museum strategic, Bilbao was chosen to be revitalized on a macro scale, forming a European ‘hinge-point’ with Donostio-San Sebastian and Vitoria-Gasteiz, other cities in the Basque region creating a strong force to participate in the global economy. By grouping with other major cities in Spain, they have created a dominant presence gaining more attraction and more development such as roadways, railways, airports and seaports, leading towards more opportunities for more diversification (Marshall, 2001).


The ability to put cities on a map is a strategic marketing strategy, seen through the changing socioeconomic realities before and after the Guggenheim opened its doors to the public. It is these factors that need to be kept a close eye on in order to keep this economic growth at a steady incline.

Baniotopoulou, E. (2001). Art for Whose Sake? Modern Art Museums and their Rolein Transforming Societies: The Case of Guggenheim Bilbao. Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies. Retrieved 2015, from http://www.jcmsjournal. com/articles/10.5334/jcms.7011/ Crawford, L. (2001, September 4). Guggenheim, Bilbao, and the ‘hot banana’ The Financial Times. Retrieved 2015, from and-’hot-banana’ Gomez, M., & Gonzalez, S. (2001). A Reply to Beatriz Plaza’s ‘The Guggenheim-Bilbao Museum Effect’ International Journal of Urban and Regional Research Int J Urban & Regional Research, 25.4, 898-900. Gospodini, A. (2001). Urban Design as a Means of Urban Tourism Development. In Urban Design, Urban Space Morphology, Urban Tourism: An Emerging New Paradigm Concerning Their Relationships (Vol. 9). London: Carfax Publishing. History. (2015). Retrieved 2015, from Karlson, C. (2012, March 2). Rotch Research:: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Retrieved 2015, from Marshall, R. (2001). Remaking the image of the city: Bilbao and Shanghai. Waterfronts in Post- Industrial Cities (pp. 53-73). New York: Spon Press. Rodriguez, A., Martinez, E., & Guenaga, G. (2001). Uneven Redevelopment. In European Urban and Regional Studies (pp. 161-178). London, CA: SAGE Publications.

Comparing the state at which Bilbao was in during the 1980s to the present has such a dramatic change that it has become a popular case study focusing on the economy and cultural changes. Through the intensive new master plan that was set in place during the early 1990s has lead Bilbao to a success on a national level, being a role model for cities that are also going through an urban revitalization




Present day London has seen a drastic shift from its once historically influential manifestation to an increasingly contemporary state of existence. The intended urban positioning of the Shard has proven to be at the forefront of this revolution. Renzo Piano, one of the most well-known sought after architects of the modern age, designed this world renowned building, which assisted in London’s period of transition. His design is among a small handful of contemporary works in London and has been instrumental towards modernisation in the city. The Shard is exceptionally designed in regards to its tectonics as well as its formal composition, but perhaps one of its most impressive attributes is its ability to instil change in the light of the city’s planning. Urban design in this regard, is not composed of architecture that stands alone in vast emptiness, but instead requires a relationship with other forms, buildings and spaces that it is connected to and surrounded by. Therefore architecture is more than just a reaction to the human environment but an interaction with what is already built and what may be developed in the future. The Shard building provides a multifold reality of these relationships as it has the ability to connect with the human realm and urban environment simultaneously. Piano’s design is particularly influential due to its ability to revitalize the heritage of its site while still generating positive redevelopment that assists in its period of transition. In essence the Shard has become not only an unparalleled piece of architectural beauty, but has also established itself as a symbol of urban change and revitalization within the City of London.


In comparison to its immediate context and in relation to the city’s infrastructure as a whole, it is clear that the Shard

remains one of few buildings to utilize contemporary design. It is located directly above London Bridge Station and is the tallest building in Western Europe (Denison, 2012). Its impressive height and form contribute to its worldwide recognition and assists in the transformation of the London skyline. The overarching intent behind the design of the building is to create a “vertical city” in one of London’s most heavily traversed areas, and is done so by accommodating a variety of programmatic uses that consist of residential, commercial, and office type spaces. This, therefore, helps generate an upsurge of human interaction in a context that thrives so greatly on the social and economic impacts of human ubiquity. In spite of the buildings present day success, architect Renzo Piano had no initial interest in commissioning the project due to his dislike of tall glass structures . However, with time, Piano proved to be truly inspired by the historical influence of the London Bridge Station and used this as motivation to create something exceptional. He was particularly influenced by the power of the railway from an urban sense and was fascinated by the possibilities and advantages it would inflict on his future design. Additionally, Renzo Piano coordinated his design such that it would “respond to the urban vision of London Mayor Ken Livingstone and to his policy of encouraging high-density development at key transport nodes (Renzo Piano Workshop, n.d).” Therefore, from an urban scale, the design aimed to preserve the history of the site while in tern expanding and regenerating that which was pre-existing. The area that the Shard currently occupies is historically rich and dynamically populated. London Bridge transit station, which is situated directly below, is one of


the busiest transportation hubs in all of London and has established itself as the “the omnipotent, all-knowing, unassailable hub of the [city]” (Watson, 2004). Up until 1750, it was the only bridge that allowed direct passage across the River Thames and is therefore an integral part of London’s heritage. The Bridge itself as well as its surrounding context has been the junction of countless revolutionary developments that date as far back as the pre-Roman period (Watson, 2004). The construction of the Shard is just another phase of redevelopment in the area and is significant because it has been realized at the forefront of contemporary London. “It is the conspicuous centerpiece in the high-profile regeneration of the station and the surrounding historic district of London Bridge, which marketeers are busily rebranding London Bridge Quarter (Denison, 2012).” Prior to the buildings completion in 2012, the area, which is now referred to as LBQ, was occupied by a building called the Southwark Tower. The building was eventually destroyed in order to accommodate the railway re-developments that exist now, as well as in an attempt to push for more high-density urbanization as was previously mentioned by the mayor of the city. Currently, the station houses bus and train terminals that tend to about 54 million passengers each year although prior to the Shard’s opening, it was used by far less people. This is because a large percentage of the program at grade was designed as a redevelopment of the stations general concourse. As a result, the Shard also constitutes itself as the stimulus for much of the regeneration of the surrounding

area as well (Denison, 2012). In essence, “the Shard is extremely well served by public transport [and inevitably becomes a precedent of] sustainable travel” (Parker, 2013). More importantly, the building is able to prompt more human interaction and in tern generate a more stable economic and social environment. Ken Livingston, who has previously been mentioned in this paper, is one of the most significant figures assisting in the completion of the Shard and the evolution of urban design in Britain as a whole. Although no longer in power, Ken participated in the United Kingdom general election in 1987 and was associated with the campaign labelled “the looney left”. The label was directed at the policies and actions of some Labour Party controlled inner-city local government authorities, and some Labour Party politicians (Hatherley, 2013). Their significance in this paper comes from their actions and arguments towards the future of urban

design in the 1980s. Community architecture as they called it, was one of their main enthusiasms as it described a way of building that based itself on the “human scale” and the “building vernacular”. Therefore, in cities such as London this meant continuing the trend of low-density development, which in fact, is the exact opposite of what was accomplished with the Shard. The Shard was later realized as a manifestation of a new act called “A New London” which was idealized in 1992. This manifesto suggested a new type of urban design that included a mix of building uses, wider streets, more public spaces and a form of construction that was much more dense (Hatherley, 2013). This meant buildings that were taller and much more expressive in terms of form and materiality. All of these modern urban guidelines have been manifested in the design of the Shard. The building is arranged on the site such that it is able to provide a great amount of public space to the northeast end of the area. In addition, the organization of the exterior and below grade elements allow for very distinct circulation venues that are essential in directing pedestrian traffic to and from the station. Programmatically, the building also adheres to being of mixed use and embodies a material palette that relates much more with the modern movement. In saying this, London is just at the forefront of shifting from its historic aesthetic to the contemporary aesthetic and buildings like the Shard are indicative of this transformation.

“Twelve years later and out of power, Livingstone still evidently sees the Shard, like the Olympics, as one of his triumphs; as a more apparently inclusive and public-spirited skyscraper than most (Hatherley, 2013).” It is evidently clear that London, along with many areas of Great Britain, is in the midst of a dramatic change in urban design. We are at a time where the historic aesthetic is still much more dominant although traces of the “new” contemporary aesthetic are refreshingly fragmented. The Shard building by Renzo Piano is one of these fragments. It is among a small handful of contemporary works in London that is just beginning to push the boundaries in terms of architectural and urban design. It is beginning to originate a new set of rules in urban design that may some day displace the old. In spite of this, it is hard to just neglect what is pre-existing because there is a line of heritage that follows. The Shard is a great precedent of the preservation of heritage. Being situated in a site that has so much history, it would be improper to disrespect it. Instead, the Shard does a great job of preserving the deep historical roots of the site while continuing to serve as an icon of urban change.

Figure 1 Relationship between new and existing

Figure 2 London Skyline analysis



“...from an urban scale, the design aimed to preserve the history of the site while in tern expanding and regenerating that which was pre-existing.”

Bibliography Baird, D., Thurston, M., Triggs, C., Corrigan, H., & Samaras, S. (2011). Delivering london 2012: Structures, bridges and highways.Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 164(6), 23-29. Retrieved from Denison, E. (2012). London Bridge/ The Shard. Architectural Design - London (Re)generation, 82(1), 22-27. doi:10.1002/ad.1343 Fraser, M. (2012). The Global Architectural Influences on London. Architectural Design - Lon don (Re)generation, 82(1), 14-21. doi:10.1002/ad.1342 Hatherley, O. (2013, February 12). The Shard: Beacon of the left’s skyline. Retrieved September 25, 2015, from city-leftwing London Bridge Tower. (n.d.). Retrieved September 25, 2015, from ject/58/london-bridge-tower/ Parker, John, MA, CEng,M.I.C.E., M.I.StructE. (2013). Engineering the shard, london: Tallest building in western europe.Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 166(2), 66-73. Retrieved from

Figure 3 Figure Ground - Early 1900s


Figure 4 Figure Ground - Present Day

Watson, B., Bringham, T., & Dyson, T. (2004). London Bridge: 2000 Years of a River Crossing. Retrieved September 30, 2015, from Ryerson University Library Archives.




The St. Giles Court Mixed-Use Development is located in the heart of the City of London between Covent Garden and New Oxford Street. Renzo Piano Building Workshop designed the development in collaboration with Fletcher Priest Architects, Stanhope developers, and Legal and General’s investment management company to create a mixed-use development with a public court space. The site’s surrounding context contains three conservation areas and various key landmarks such as The British Museum, Center Point, The Church of St Giles, and Covent Garden. This mixed-use development is comprised of offices, apartments, subsidized living, cafes, restaurants and offices for high end clients such as Google. Collectively, the different sections of the development frame a lively public square, highly contrasting the pre-existing and closed off government building that was previously located on the site. The maximized circulation, accessibility, natural lighting, reference to the historic culture, and regeneration of the area has brought life into a forgotten part of London’s urban fabric. It is from the amalgamation of design and urban planning that Central St Giles Court has rejuvenated a destitute area in Central London, and became a catalyst for change in the city. The strategic location of St Giles in reference to the center of the city provided an opportunity to create linkage to the surrounding attractions and heritage context. Central St. Giles, while not located in a conservation area, is adjacent to three others, and had to reference their importance along with the surrounding landmarks of the city.

To the north is Bloomsbury, characterized by its 3 to 4-storey Georgian terrace houses, and with the British Museum as a key landmark at its core (Manns & White, 2014, pg. 107). To the south lies St Giles Street, part of the Convent Conservation Area, and dominated by the 18th Century Church of St Giles (Planning Brief, pg 3). Lastly, to the south west is Denmark, known to be the last street in London where the original 17th century terraced buildings have survived on both sides of the street, distinct through their brightly coloured shop frontages (Manns & White, 2014, pg. 107). St. Giles follows the London Plan as its central location is outlined as an area for strategic development in The Central Activities Zone (CAZ). The objectives of the plan were to accommodate London’s economic and population growth while strategically incorporating green spaces, accessibility, sustainability and social inclusion to improve the overall quality of life (London Plan, pg. 51). The design of St Giles was to reference and enhance the architectural language of the site and establish a new public realm to the neighbourhood as an important physical and visual link between the Convent Garden and British Museum. This was in response to the PPG 15 national planning policy guide (now known as NPPF), which dictated that due to the sites proximity to the conservation areas the development must provide a modern, high quality design to respond to the area’s historic interests, provide a backdrop for the conservation areas, and enhance the spatial character of the locality (Manns & White, 2014, pg 113).


objectives. From the reference of the Denmark Conservation Area’s distinctive style, Piano derived the vibrant facade as reference to the brightly coloured shop frontages. Each of the colored facets was chosen to respond to the various conditions around the site by adding to the visual vitality of the area, and to articulate the site boundary (Manns & White, 2014, pg 108, 111). The physical expression of the building to the surrounding area through the colouration, relation of form, and permeability of the site referenced the distinctive culture of the area, and created a well integrated design.



Figure 1Pre-development figure-ground The design objective of Central St Giles was to emphasis the public realm, not only to provide a physical link to the surrounding context, but to allow a direct visual link to an interior court space as to facilitate circulation and enhance public safety with the open public space at the ground level. Due to the various scales, typologies and appearance of the surrounding buildings, there was no solid framework for how the development was to be designed, as the development was not located within the Strategic Viewing Corridors that restricted the heights of new developments in London (Planning Brief, pg. 6). While there were tall buildings adjacent to the site, such as Centre Point and nearby modern office developments, the surrounding conservation areas incorporate smaller buildings at a domestic scale (Manns & White, 2014, pg 111). The design sought to mediate between the two scales, slightly taller than the St Giles building it replaced and some of the nearby historical buildings, but also establishing an appropriate median to the urban and architectural design

The location of St. Giles Court was once located in one of the worst slums in London, known as “The Rookery” in the late 1800s. This was part of the “great horseshoe” of slum housing around the City of London, which was enticing to philanthropic companies to tear down rookeries and replace them by model tenement blocks. However, these blocks were hated for their overbuilding, lack of greenery, and grim facades (Hall, 1988, pg. 18). This would later lead the inhabitants of the city to look at Ebenezer Howard’s garden-city idea with enthusiasm, urging park and conservation area’s to become a prominent in the planning of the city. The pre-existing office development of St Giles Court had similar design problems as a government building for the Ministry of Supply and Defense erected in the 1950s. The building caused social problems due to its lack of accessibility through the site and inactive frontages through a series of linked brick blocks of six to eight storeys high, arranged in an S-shape around two inner courtyards to which there was no public access. The high proportion of dead frontages with no through routes on the large site block of the original St Giles Court facilitated the area to become a magnet for crime, prostitution and the homeless (Manns & White, 2014, pg 107). Due to the social issues caused by the design flaws of pre-existing government building, the key objectives of Piano’s design was to realize the potential of the site as an Area of Inten-

sification (AfI). This was achieved through the integration of the public realm, implementing a mixed-use development, and responding to the heritage and context of the area. The new design broke up the solid geometry of the pre-existing building into a series of smaller volumes and created key public access through the site. The development itself is split into two parts, with the smaller block on the West comprised of equally divided residential and affordable housing, and the main u-shaped block on the East giving the appearance of several smaller buildings comprising of 40,000 sqm of prime office space with high quality restaurants at grade (London’s Contemporary Architecture, pg 223). The site’s proximity to the central core of the city also placed the development in the Council’s Clear Zones Area and Congestion Charging Zone, which both aimed to reduce the overall traffic congestion of the area and improve the pedestrian and street environment (Planning Brief, pg. 6). The design adheres to these guidelines by allowing 27% of the site’s area to be dedicated as open space for the ground floor retail, courtyard and pedestrian linkages. The central plaza offers a great deal of natural light, transparency and openness with the building appearing to ‘float’ on glass bases (Powell, 2011, pg. 316-17). The outer walls of the development reinforce the existing street wall, but provide clear permeability with the elevated building facade with glazed storefronts and with added public accessibility routes. The incorporation of permeability with an open interior courtyard on the site enhances the public realm and responds to the idea of open green spaces within the city as outlined by CIAM and the Athens Charter. It is from the linking to the attractions and surrounding context to every facade of the building to which Central St Giles has itself become a place to live, visit and work. The goal of the Central St. Giles Court design was to implement a mixed-use development in the center of the city, and restore a destitute area that was surrounded by brick buildings from the early 1960s. The previously enclosed government institute that

once stood at the site provided little physical or spatial significance to its surrounding context. The complex was inwardly focused and provided inactive frontages for pedestrian travel which ultimately facilitated crime and antisocial behavior (Manns & White, 2014, pg 107). The London Plan identified the Tottenham Court Road Area, for which St Giles is part of, as an area in need of improved public transport accessibility which would provide additional residential and commercial opportunities in the form of mixed-use developments (London Plan, pg 73). Improved pedestrian routes link the neighbouring areas of Central London which facilitate the major attractions for visitors, along with creating a safe and open public space (Planning Brief, pg 10). Central St. Giles Court is located in the Central Activities Zone (CAZ), which is noted as an area of economic, administrative, cultural and retail in the core of the city. The London Plan defines this area to have a priority for improved retail for the residents, workers and visitors of the West End. The development of


Figure 2 Post-development figure-ground


“create a development that brings heart and soul into a forgotten part of Central London’s urban fabric.” - Renzo Piano

successful in supporting the environmental, social and economic objectives in the Central Activities Zone. Therefore, the St Giles Court development is an example of how design quality can be improved when responding to key urban design conflicts and impacting the social, economic and cultural nature of a city. The St. Giles Court development demonstrates how an amalgamation of architecture and urban planning can rejuvenate destitute areas and become a catalyst for change in the urban environment.

Image 1 (Cover) Image of exterior, sourced from Manns & White Figure 4 Section depicting natural lighting

Bibliography Figure 3 Plan showing pedestrian access through the site the CAZ ensures that strategic and local needs are met, while not compromising the residential neighbourhoods or distinctive heritage environments (London Plan, pg 71, 73). This ‘island site’ accommodates approximately 4,000 workers for companies in the media and technology sectors, such as Google, has created a unique new business quarter and a catalyst for significant regeneration of the wider area. The St Giles area has since grown to facilitate many future retail opportunities from the previously underperforming area. The outcome of improving the environmental and public realm has greatly influenced the commercial potential in the area and created a thriving area for business and public networks (Evaluating Future Retail, pg. 40, 3).


Therefore, the response to both heritage

and design guidelines, created a clear framework for designing Central St Giles and for it to become a key aspect in London’s urban fabric. The design responds to the specifics of the site and its context to create a safe and lively environment for the public. The first major aspect of this project was to respect the cultural and historic elements through the physical expression of the form, facade and vitality of the area. The second design aspect was to create an accessible building for which pedestrians have a physical and visual connection through the site via a glazed public ground floor, access routes and a central court space. The final design aspect was to diversify the neighbourhood such that it would have a varied program and allow a secure and lively environment throughout all parts of the day. It is from these design and planning solutions that the development is

Image 3 Interior courtspace, sourced RPBW

Allinson, Ken, and Victoria Thornton. London’s Contemporary Architecture. 6th ed. New York, New York: Routledge, 2014. 223. Central St.Giles Court mixed-use development. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2015, from http://www. “Evaluating Future Retail Opportunities in the St Giles Area.” GVA Grimley Limited, 1 Oct. 2012. Web. 23 Sept. 2015. <>. Hall, P. (1988). Cities of tomorrow: An intellectual history of urban planning and design in the twentieth century. (pp. 18-19). 4th ed. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Manns, J., & White, J. (2014). Kaleidoscope City: Reflections on Planning and London (pp. 106-113). Birdcage Print. Planning Brief For St Giles Court. (2004, July 1). Retrieved September 22, 2015 < ccm/content/environment/planning-and-built-environment/development-plans-and-policies/supplementary-planning-guidance/file-storage-items/st-giles-court-planning-brief/?context=live> Powell, K. (2011). 21st Century London: The New Architecture (pp. 316-317). Merrell. “The London Plan.” Greater London Authority. 1 Mar. 2015. Web. 22 Sept. 2015. < sites/default/files/London Plan March 2015 (FALP) - Ch2 London’s Places.pdf>.




In 1993, urban design architecture firm West 8 undertook a project in the eastern docklands of Amsterdam, called Borneo-Sporenburg, which depicts the major urban transformation of two peninsulas. The project follows the ‘compact city’ phenomenon; an urban design theory that integrates high density housing into a mixed use development. The ideal product was to overcome the social disparities typically associated with this type of housing, as well as encouraging healthy transportation choices, integrating the development with the public realm, and maintaining the existing urban fabric of its waterfront site. Borneo-Sporenburg addresses these factors, while also maintaining flexible zoning conditions in regards to social, environmental and economical issues. The final solution presents organized housing in a compact arrangement of plots and smaller streets, to produce higher densities. In this sense, West 8 successfully created a precedent for high density living that satisfies all the demands of urban life while creating distinct structures in a unified whole. Borneo Sporenburg is the first experiment of its kind in the Netherlands. Architecture firm West 8 was chosen to design a demanding masterplan which would contain a large number of distinct individual homes and apartment blocks, that would work together as a unified whole. Over 100 local and international architects were involved in the design of the housing units; the outcome reflects a sense of the local character of the neighbourhood, and also fulfills the modern household’s basic needs. The project demon-

strates a sustainable framework of residential diversity, density and affordability (West 8, 2009). Over the past 25 years, densities in the city of Amsterdam have increased, housing differentiation has grown, mixed-use and conditions of public spaces have improved, and more amenities shape the identity of the waterfront and surrounding urban areas. New projects are continuously evolving, in order to expand the capacity of the city’s thriving infrastructure and create smart, sustainable growth. The City of Amsterdam states that Borneo-Sporenburg is a powerful model for the future of this type of high density urban design. This residential neighbourhood in the Eastern docklands is one of the most authentic and prosperous housing initiatives commissioned by the city and funded by its national government (City of Amsterdam, 2014). Between 1996 and 2000, the two peninsulas surrounded by harbour’s natural landscapes and canals were remodelled into a high-density area containing 2500 homes inspired by Dutch architectural culture and small village communities (West 8, 2009). The success of this housing development is attributed to its well planned execution; The architects were able to achieve an effective urban design by planning at different scales – local, sustainable, contextual, and societal, in order to shape the public realm in this setting. At the preliminary design level, West 8 undertook intensive site analysis in order to gain knowledge of the key urban elements


In the streetscapes of row-houses, West 8 implemented several different sustainable strategies that follow Amsterdam’s city planning guide. Compact housing and narrow streets provide a sense of safety for children and families; there are sidewalks, energy-efficient streetlamps, bicycle and vehicle parking, as well as direct access to the boardwalk and waterfront. Some homes face the canals and have waterfront access, and several bridges accommodate pedestrian and cycle traffic. A typical single-family home in the development contains spaces for bedrooms, living, bike storage, garage, and private roof-top terrace, with ample space for sidewalks and foliage (West 8, 2009).




Figure 1 Amsterdam Before & After Borneo of the existing and future proposed context, as well as the main opportunities and constraints affecting the site. The planners had to ask the question: how can a neighbourhood be integrated at an urban level; one that is already eminent in Amsterdam’s dense metropolis? The approach to their response started with a general main goal - creating a sustainable, compact city. Enhancing greenspaces, developing access and connectivity, maintaining historic qualities, and reinforcing a sense of place were among the architects design response (Koster, 1995, p25). Through this method, West 8 demonstrated successful integration with the public realm and surrounding natural environment of the waterfront site. They took into consideration the relationship between people and greenspace, while encouraging healthy transportation choices and maintaining the existing urban fabric. The previous function of the docklands - commercial vessel mooring continues to be utilized along the waters edge. 0




Privacy is a basic need of living, yet in high density housing, it is important to enforce a sense of community among inhabitants in order to avoid social disparities. This was achieved through the use of community spaces. In several instances, public street corners were widened, and open spaces were applied, with seating and greenery, creating inviting spaces alongside busy streets and sidewalks. Additionally, the boardwalks adjacent to the water were left available for resident or public access, and bicycle paths were integrated into the street. The architects maintained a grid system, with narrower streets and sidewalks, and smaller setbacks, to encourage pedestrian traffic while still making use of as much buildable area as possible (Koster,1995, p26). Architect Rudy Uytenhaak states that “built density is the source of a loss of natural quality. The role of urban and architectural design is that of neutralizing this effect by eliminating oppressive spatial configurations and generating diversity through the design. Without sufficient quality, density does not work – it even becomes dangerous” (Uytenhaak, 2013, p21). Essentially, as population density rises, there is greater potential for social conflict. Public trends dominant in dense

urban areas often include high/low income gaps, childless couples, and lack of community living, all of which can be reversed through the application of function design strategies and a specific, yet cultural approach to urban living (Hofstad & Hege, 2012, p145). This being said, is social housing compatible with dense urban areas? West 8 recognized the statistic of social conflict as a preliminary design challenge, and was able to overcome potential issues at an early schematic stage. A school and a house for senior citizens have been integrated to the area, while 30% of the dwellings are subsidized social housing (West 8, 2009). Although the row houses are of similar form and configuration, the different local architects worked with West 8 to create diversity among uniformity, and each house contains a composition of immensely varied spaces. The organization of built environment alleviates social segregation, making it an example of both good architecture and urban design; the lack of hierarchy between dwelling units offers a sense of social equality among residents, further disbanding potential segregation, and enforcing positive interaction between the individuals and the environment as a unified whole.The arrangement of houses and spatial complexity of the urban vitality offers a dense, expansive experience in its metropolitan setting. The development promotes sustainable mixed-use functions to fulfill local needs, commercial requirements and urban design aspirations, creating a healthy urban neighbourhood. Borneo-Sporenburg includes a “balanced relationship between repetition of individual dwellings, roofscape, and scale of docks”, as well as “three immense commercial blocks that become landmarks in vast expanse of houses” (West 8, 2009). Unused land in cities can cost its residents unnecessary amounts of money; the design reduces the need for expensive infrastructure by clustering homes and the three public use buildings in the same vicinity. This strategy creates an emphasis on sustain-

able practices at all levels of urban design; for instance, in this high density area, people feel more inclined to walk, bike or take public transit, as buildings and services are within a closer radius (Abrahamse & Buurman, 2003, p41). Borneo-Sporenburg follows Amsterdam’s rapidly growing smart city movement. The location of the docklands is particularly suitable for wind-based sustainable energy. As the average constant wind speed is 23 kilometers, locally generated wind energy is easily available to a majority of the residences and public buildings (City of Amsterdam, 2014). The development also obtained locally resourced materials in its conception and construction. Additionally, the planners promoted existing greenspaces and reduced pollution through healthy living, and encourage the future adaptive growth at the scale of a high density lifestyle. The project maintains the urban ‘compact city’ idea, which is primarily emphasized in european countries, and is predominant in









Figure 2 A Mixed-Use, Compact City


“The key to the sustainable future of high density architecture is achieved by generating built environments capable of adapting to growth”

was strongly oriented to the private realm by incorporating separated patios and roof gardens (Hoppenbrouwer & Louw, 2005, p124). The new designs incorporate both private spaces for individual families, as well as open, public areas. By repeating this typology in a wide variety of dwellings, and with maximum architectural variation, an expressive street elevation achieves prominence with a focus on the individual in the community setting. At a larger scale, a balanced relationship exists between the repetition of the individual dwellings, the roofscape and the large scale of the docks. The three public-use blocks become distinguishing features in the vast expanse of homes. The design of Borneo-Sporenburg creates a positive impact on docklands, making use of streets that connect the development with the outlying city, and creating homes which become a series of dynamic public realms. The growth of cities is necessary. Inade-

quate use of land in cities can cost its residents large amounts of money. At the same time, it’s possible to grow in a smart way, by densifying without altering the city’s cultural and historical heritage or the quality of life. In Amsterdam, a debate on the increasing crowding in the city has been going on for quite a while. Retaining good balance in the city and maintaining the visual aspect of Amsterdam’s growth has yet to begin (City of Amsterdam, 2014). Densification and compact building development have a lot to offer to Amsterdam, and Borneo-Sporenburg is a primary effect of the city’s evolution. The neighbourhood presents a comprehensive demonstration of a compact, sustainable environment which is well integrated into its natural realm. It’s built framework presents countless communicative opportunities within each perspective, and its urban context facilitates an active connectivity that is spatially complex in all directions.


Figure 3 Integrated Public Realm Amsterdam’s city plan. It promotes a high density lifestyle while maintaining infrastructures within a walkable distance. Borneo-Sporenburg integrates these ideas into their complex masterplan, mostly through the optimization of land use through densification and integrated functions. In creating continuous clustering and concentrated urbanization, West 8 combines mixed-use spaces and services with concentrated amenities, public services and economic uses in the vicinity of public hubs (Hofstad & Hege, 2012, p104).


Zoning must evolve to reflect the current societal values, environmental issues and economical/sustainable housing in an area. A flexible zoning framework should support the future development of the evolving urbaniza-

tion process and changing social demographic. The key to the sustainable future of high density architecture is achieved by generating built environments capable of adapting to growth. These models will be flexible, renewable, adaptable and capable of transformation and self-redefinition in relation to context changes (Ryu, 2009, p6). Borneo-Sporenburg follows this concept in its continually evolving urbanization process. While the row house is the only housing type present, there is drastic variation within each unit’s architectural composition. For a new interpretation of the traditional Dutch canal house, West 8 suggested differing varieties of three-storey, ground-accessed houses, deviating from the usual terraced house, which

Abrahamse, J & Buurman, M. (2003). Eastern Harbour District Amsterdam: Urbanism and Architecture. Rotterdam: NAi Publishers. City of Amsterdam. Making Amsterdam: The Department of Urban Planning and Sustainability. (2014). Web page. Retrieved from ruimte-economie/ruimte-duurzaamheid/ruimte-duurzaamheid/making-amsterdam/. Accessed 4 November 2015. Hofstad, Hege, H. (2012). Compact City Development: High Ideals & Emerging Practices. European Journal of Spatial Development. Oslo: Nordregio. Hoppenbrouwer, Eric & Louw, Erik. (2005). Mixed-use development: Theoryand practice in Amsterdam’s Eastern Docklands, European Planning Studies. Delft: Routledge. Koster, E. (1995). Eastern Docklands. Amsterdam: Architectura & Natura. Ryu, M. (2009). Cohension and Flexibility in Urban Design Process in Amsterdam. Delft: Delft University of Technology. Uytenhaak, R. (2013). Cities Full of Space, Qualities of Density. Amsterdam: 010 Publishers West8. Borneo-Sporenburg. (2009). Web page. Retrieved from selected_projects/borneo_sporenburg/. Accessed 4 November 2015.




â&#x20AC;&#x153;Liverpool ONEâ&#x20AC;? is a prominent shopping, residential and leisure complex in Liverpool, England. This project involved the redevelopment of 42 acres of under used historical site to make more offices, public open space and circulation improvements (Littlefield, 2009, p14). By densifying the area it has significantly increased the local economy as well as lifted Liverpool into one of the five most popular retail destinations in the UK. Liverpool ONE is the largest open air shopping centre in the United Kingdom. The project began development in 1999, and was referred to as the paradise project. The city of Liverpool challenge developers for international developers as a part of the ambitious initiative this tender to encourage people to visit. The urban design was handled by BDP (Littlefield, 2009, p14). They were responsible for creating an integrated space that can accommodate the distinct 40 new buildings as well as the features found in the urban space. All the components are brought together to make what is now known as Liverpool One. It is one of the more contemporary examples of urban design that respects the pedestrian as well as integrates its self in with the surrounding architecture. The urban space is used by the pedestrians to circulate the retail spaces. This allows the buildings to have as much as four frontages which inherently allows the retails space to open up on to pedestrian streets. There is also a relationship between the urban design and the history. This allows the urban context to tell a story about how this site was developed in relationship to its history and how they

used various traditional planning strategies to make this a successful project. There are many conditions that define what good urban design is. Some of these conditions include a space becoming a place, building on the past, connecting to the landscape, and focus on the people and not the car. These conditions are areas of weakness in the past and as a result designer have learned how to treat these conditions when designing new urban spaces like in Liverpool one. By turning a space into a place you are turning the spaces into programmed areas that have a designated purpose (Good Urban Design). This helps enrich the space and the ground levels of the architecture that is responding to it. In many cases, what use to exist in the past can define certain conditions such as the culture of the site, or maybe the typology that is preferred in this area. In the past, Grid design has completely neglected the landscape and cultural presence of an area causing many odd conditions throughout the city. By integrating the purposed grid within the landscape allows a city to requires less services making it more feasible and an interesting landscape to design for. The landscape can also be a method in understanding the different ecological elements that can be attached to the architecture. Most importantly spaces need to be designed to be more people friendly and less around the car. By doing this it encourage the pedestrians to walk, which is healthier for them and the cities that they live in (Good Urban Design).

The area of influence was the Para-


Paradise Street

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Figure 1 Historical Context


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In this complex, the designer used various techniques to relate to the historic site and to create pockets of public open space. One of these strategies is using the pedestrian streets intersect to create small public spaces. Examples of this can be seen when looking at the public space that is defined by Manstry Line and College line (figure 3). Jefferson plan is referenced as they both identify their pubic space by hollowing out the intersections. There are also some situations where the architecture

S. Jo

dise Street and South John Street as they were the main methods in which people could circulate through these spaces. These historic streets were a foundations to the kind of qualities that the new rebuilt streets needed to resemble because the city wanted to maintain the historic frontage that stood in its place. This resulted in the bay rhythm when it comes to the street frontages. Also that is why some of towers are set back as a method of respect to the history of the site as well as to maintain a pedestrian friendly elevation (Littlefield, 2009, p24). The project also accommodated the streets surrounding it by connecting them and making it more accessible from all sides of the site. The project also implemented accessibility design strategies as a result of the zoning by laws.

is molded to create public spaces. Examples of this can be seen when looking along the south end of south John street were the eastern building warps to create a wider pedestrian street to allow for potted vegetation as well as seats for people spent time in this specific spot (Figure 3). There are also Situations where the architecture is molded at the intersection to allow for a unique condition. This can be seen when looking at the intersection along Paradise Street were the two buildings form a semicircular void (Littlefield, 2009, p57). Another condition that one can see is the use of mass versus void spaces to create shifts in the pedestrian street. Architecture can also be used in framing a space, this can be seen when looking at the public park space located on the west side of the site. This small park relates to canopy on the east side and the building to the north to frame it when it relates to the road on the west end of the site (Littlefield, 2009, p63). The park is sloped down toward the street to connect to it. There is also a water feature along the south end of the park that relates to the path located on the south of the feature (figure 3). Connected to the park is another pedestrian path that uses a node to node system that contrasts the grid system used in Liverpool ONE. The first

“Liverpool ONE has used a combination of various techniques that designers have been developing over the last couple of centries.”

Public Space Park Space Circulation

Figure 3 Circulation and Public Space diagram node is at the cone stairs that connects complex to the park and is located at the east end of the park. Where as the second node is the queen Victoria monument were the space opened up yet again to another public space which has a lot of historic value (Littlefield, 2009, p52).



Figure 2 Figure Ground


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The street furniture that is used in Liverpool ONE is combination of elements that are an extension of architecture and a reflection of the sites slope. This element is shown in south John street canopies become an extension of the architecture. They are primarily made from steel and glass which is a direct reflection to the buildings elevations. There are also bridges that connect the second floor public streets that can also act as shading devices for those on the first level. The architecture’s grid also influences the location of the trees

and seats throughout complex. This can clearly be seen on the North end of south John street were the trees are mimicking the columns in the architecture. They also decided to go with deciduous trees as they can provide shade during the summer months and allow the sun to warm up the space during the winter months. As for the Seats they have been integrated with the stairs or the shading devices in the public spaces to create a comfortable environment for the pedestrian. A good example of this can be seen when looking at the cone stairs that are located at the east end of the park. They use a combination of the large steps for the seats and standard sized steps to make up the stairs. As a conclusion, the design of Liverpool one is considered to be very successful from a micro to a macro scale. Their success


in this project has come from the designers understanding and using a combination of the various techniques designers have been experimenting with for a couple of centuries. It was also important for this site that they respected the site’s heritage by using some the qualities such as the width of the store fronts and the height of the podium space. This can accommodate for natural lighting to enter the pedestrian street. It also make the tower component more private as it contains offices and residences. It also manage to utilize the entire land by programming every area and giving it a purpose. This resulted in various strategies in laying out the pedestrian street. This resulted in giving every street a special quality that can associated with a different planning technique.

Figure 4 Cone Stairs

Bibliography Daramola-Martin, A. (2009). Liverpool one and the transformation of a city: Place branding, marketing and the catalytic effects of regeneration and culture on repositioning liverpool. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 5(4), 301-311. doi:10.1057/pb.2009.19 Littlefield, D. (2009). Liverpool one: Remaking a city centre Wiley. Parker, Charlie, and Catherine Garnell. “Regeneration and Retail in Liverpool: A New Approach.” Journal of Retail and Leisure Property J Retail Leisure Property 5.4 (2006): 292-304. Web. Lowe, Michelle. “The Regional Shopping Centre in the Inner City: A Study of Retail-led Urban Regeneration.” CURS Urban Stud. Urban Studies 42.3 (2005): 44970. Web. “Regeneration beyond the City Centre.” Urban Regeneration in the UK (2008): 140-60. Web. Top 10 Indicators of Good Urban Design. (2010, October 11). Retrieved November 5, 2015. (n.d.). Retrieved November 6, 2015, from LiverpoolOne_02_710x500.jpg




The Tate Modern museum has its foundation tracing back to 1891 when it was conceived as a power station. It was in operation until it’s decommissioning in 1981 and it was not until the year 2000 that the architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron reimagined this unused urban obstruction. Their redevelopment was not exclusive to the building itself as it also focused on the surrounding area and its relation; thus, affecting the overall masterplan of its region. Their response to the site echoes that of the Anarchist Tradition theory proposed by Patrick Geddes. Similarly, The Tate Modern responds to the ideologies established by the CIAM movement in and interesting fashion: both reflecting some of their ideologies while rejecting others. Likewise, the Tate Modern embodies some of the proposed concepts from an unadapted redevelopment plan concluded from the 1914 RPPA meeting. The building also serves as an advocate for the tenets of Jane Jacobs. The Tate Modern museum was successfully redeveloped from a relinquished power station into a thriving art and entertainment center that responded to the changing needs of the city. Ultimately, transcending itself further by directly linking itself with the City’s changing urban culture and needs. The original building was designed by architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in the late 1940’s. Being built as a power station, the primary design was focused on solely fulfilling its function with little consideration to the surrounding context and public space. It was constructed despite the local opposition. With its closure in 1981, the building had become a brooding element in the region, impairing the redevelopment of the surrounding area and serving no one but the immense decommission turbines, boilers and ancillary equipment it housed.

Removing this machinery revealed very large and versatile spaces. Its grand size and monumental figure sparked the interest of the Artist Trustee of the Tate Gallery in the early ninety’s when they sought to expand their exhibition. The architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron won the competition through their proposal that recognized the potential of the structure and looked upon it as an entertainment space itself rather than a shell for one. Herzog stated that “It was conceived as a power station, which is a technical building—it’s a machine rather than a building. It was not meant to be public, it was not meant to be for people. It was unpublic. And we had to literally reverse that.”(Hezrog, 2001) They had carefully ensured that it fulfilled its function as a gallery, while serving the public realm. To accomplish this, the landscape surrounding the building was a pivotal element; linking it with its site. The landscaping was designed later on by VOGT Landscape Architects who merged the concept of the private garden and public space together. (See Figure 4) The garden extends along the river, using birch trees to frame views and define spaces. The pathways are laid out with soft gravel to serve as a visual extension of the Riverbank and to blend the plaza with the lawns. The landscaping generates a threshold and creates a space that becomes a natural oasis for the region, providing unhindered circulation for pedestrians and cyclists. Studying this building from an architectural standpoint illustrates how a building can be completely reimagined to serve a function that is very different from its original intention. With the predicted focus of future architecture being on restoration projects, The Tate Modern is a valid precedent of adaptive reuse that also enters the realm of urban design.


year. The true accomplishment of the building lies beyond its success as a gallery but as an urban initiator that spawned the interest and redevelopment of the fruitful district. Its creation had greatly benefitted the local economy, and created several jobs for the people in the area as well as newcomers. Furthermore, hotels, residences and other entertainment typologies in the area had increased greatly in presence.

Figure 1 Figure Ground

The restoration of this project went beyond just the architectural component: the site’s historical context greatly influenced how the building should respond appropriately. Before becoming one of London’s largest industrial cores in the 18th Century, it had been an entertainment district and residence for a large community of booming artists. This rooted history, along with the growing population and increase of residential buildings in the area required that this area needed to advance with it; it had to understand the past in order to move forward. The architects desired to provide a public entertainment hub and social nexus it needed. Likewise, the north segment of the South Banks is mainly devoted to entertainment purposes. Most notably, the north segment is home to the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral lies, directly opposing the power station. It was crucial to have these monumental buildings speak a cohesive language and have the gallery compliment the famous cathedral. The Tate Modern proved to be an outstanding gallery for the display of modern art, attracting more than five million visitors in 2012, the Tate Modern has become Britain’s third largest tourist attraction in less than one


Perhaps its influence is most evident by the construction of the iconic London Millennium Footbridge that connects both sides of the River Thames and forms a visual axis that frames St. Paul’s Cathedral. (See Figure 2) Due to the increased activity caused by the regeneration of the Bankside, it was necessary to connect both sides of the river. The Tate Modern exhibits the ideology of Patrick Geddes’s Anarchist Tradition where he proclaims “the region [is] more than an object of survey; it [provides] the basis for the total reconstruction of social and political life” (P. Hall, Cities of Tomorrow p 157). Currently, the Tate Institution is erecting a new building on the south side of the gallery for an expansion and to respond to the new vital desire for learning and social functions both for the gallery and the city. (See Figure 3) It further aims to consolidate the building with the city’s urban fabric. The Tate Modern has had benign impact on its site and created the much needed paradigm for public interaction within the city.

The CIAM movement was the most

Figure 2 The Millennium Bridge

well-known organizations of what was often referred to as the ‘Modern Movement’ in architecture. Composed of thirty-eight prominent architects; together they established, tested and finessed their theories on architecture and urban planning. They sought to reenvision cities based on the modern movement principles and focused on several domains of architecture including landscape, urbanism, and even industrial design. Their concepts published in the Athens Charter greatly influenced city planning, specifically being adopted in the restoration of cities following World War II. The Tate Modern building adapts some of the ideologies proposed by the organization, while rejecting others. A core concept of the CIAM movement was a clearly defined city zoning. This notion has been fundamental in several theoretical city plans such Ebenezer Howard’s The Garden City, and Le Corbusier’s The Radiant City. These schemes envision a city where its area is clearly divided and designated to a specific building typology. Several cities worldwide have adapted this system, including London. London adapts this on both a micro and macro scale as the city zones itself as well as individual regions: for instance, the North and Northwest being residential, and the Southern part serving industrial. Likewise, the South Bankside where the building is nestled embodies this practice and designates its area primarily to industrial and commercial typologies. The Tate Modern being an entertainment structure goes against its determination to serve an industrial purpose. The site’s context changed over time and grew to require an entertainment district, which the gallery answered. This entire action also reflects the adaptability of pattern planning against the predetermined master planning approach to a degree. While both concepts require multiple buildings to accomplish their goals, the Tate Modern tackles this on the micro scale and seeps into the macro by influencing the grow of its context based on the needs it generated. On the other hand, the CIAM movement discussed the importance of monumentality and traffic control;

both which the Tate Modern showcases. Its monumentality creates the dialogue between it and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Its catalytic location within its context, connects the various circulatory pathways; ultimately, forming a threshold for Southern London. On the contrary, the Tate Modern reflects the ideas on Historic Heritage that CIAM published in the Athens Charter. In it claims that buildings with heritage value should not be erased if their conditions permit health and living. The decision to revive power station allowed Herzog &de Meuron to capitalize its monumental form, by-pass zoning and regulations and influence the future of the site to be influenced by redevelopment, rather than building from scratch. Jane Jacobs was pivotal 20th Century figure and activist who greatly critiqued and influenced urban planning conventions. She advocated for diversity within the city, focusing on the people themselves and responding with change. The Tate Modern has grown to become an advocate for her proposed dogmas. Jacobs frames the sidewalk as a central tool in cultivating the order of the city. Tate Modern utilizes an extended sidewalk to draw people into its landscaped environment and connect it with the city. The museum’s park which serves as a social hub for the area also advocates her doctrine of having ‘eyes on the street’ that form a safe environment. The most pertinent tenet of Jacobs’ was her belief in city development re-

Figure 3 The Gallery’s Expansion Building


“It was not meant to be public, it was not meant to be for people. It was unpublic. And we had to literally reverse that.” - Herzog

Figure 5 Zoning of the region Figure 4 The Landscaped Area volving on repurposing buildings rather than demolishing and creating ones in their place. The Tate Modern museum successfully emulates the theories brought forward by one of our times greatest urban activists. The Tate modern is an example of successful architecture and good urban design. It emulates the theories of urban planning proposed by Janes Jacobs, approaches its site through the mindset of Patrick Geddes, and reflects the ideologies established by the CIAM movement where appropriate. The redevelopment project sparked growth in the region, drastically improving its population, economy and social climate. Choosing to redevelop it rather than demolishing it, permitted Herzog


Bibliography & de Meuron to utilize its monumental form to strengthen its significance and connect with St. Paul’s Cathedral, by pass certain zoning and by-law regulations, and influence future redevelopments in the region to follow its steps. With the future of architecture predicted to focus itself primarily with the restoration of buildings and infrastructure, the Tate Modern serves as a valid precedent for the design of both good architecture and good urban design.

Blazwick, I. (2000). Tate Modern: The handbook. Berkeley [Calif.: University of California Press. Cerver, F. (1996). City planning: Urban architecture. New York: Arco Editorial. Dean, C., Donnellan, C., & Pratt, A. C. (2010). Tate Modern: Pushing the limits of regeneration. City, Culture and Society, 1(2), 79-87. Hall, P. (1988). Cities of tomorrow: An intellectual history of urban planning and design in the twentieth century. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Handy, S. L., Boarnet, M. G., Ewing, R., & Killingsworth, R. E. (2002). How the built environment affects physical activity: views from urban planning. American journal of preventive medicine, 23(2), 64-73. Jacobs, J. (n.d.). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Mumford, E. (2000). The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 1. 2012-13 is a year of success and worldwide development for Tate. (2013, January 6). 2. Changing City Landscapes: How a London Power Station Transformed into the Tate Modern. (n.d.).



Architecture and urban planning are inseparable components in city building. Together, they shape how we occupy the urban context. The design of the public space has an immeasurable impact on how we perceive, understand, and act in space. The built results of architecture and urban planning that define the city not only affects us physically, but enters into our mental environment and frames our everyday activities. As Pierre Couperie eloquently phrases, “Every society takes its form, in the true sense of the word, through architecture, which, be it monumental or commonplace, cannot be separated from the urban framework which is embellishes, defines, and submits to all at once” (Couperie, 1968). This essay will examine

Imagine Institute’s relationship with the historical, cultural, and built context as well its subsequent impact on the public’s perception and use of the space generated by its massing. Through comparisons and analysis, Imagine Institute presents itself as a well-situated project, responding to the various contextual responsibilities and fuses itself with the surrounding built form with appropriate massing and material considerations. The design decisions have further implications on the public space and the activities that occupy and define the character of the streetscape. Imagine Institute, designed by Jean Nouvel and Valero Gadan Architectes, is a hospital and a medical research facility


251 Figure 1 Site Plan (1:10,000)

architectural aesthetic. This is evident in his portfolio; no two of his works are similar. Every project employs a unique massing and materiality that is suitable for the context. Nouvel aims to emphasize and articulate the key architectural elements appropriate to the site instead.

Figure 2 Site Plan (1:2,500)


located in Paris, France. Completed in 2014, the 19,000m2 facility situates itself in a dense Parisian neighborhood. (Figure 1) Paris has a defining character in its architecture and urban design. The spacious boulevards, warm brick materiality, and the mansard roofed midrise residential buildings are easily recognized around the globe. (Figure 2) These gestures were designed and executed around the 19th century, Georges-Eugene Haussmann being a big leader in this movement. “[Haussmann’s] Paris remains the template of the city, his boulevards control the flow of traffic and commerce, his apartment buildings house the overwhelming bulk of those able to live in the center of Paris … the general look of the city is beholden to Haussmann” (Jordan, 2014). Because of this rich historical and cultural context, as well as the sheer magnitude of Haussmann’s plan imposed on Paris, there is tremendous amount of pressure and responsibility on new constructions to adhere to the key characteristics of Haussmann’s architectural template. Imagine Institute does not try to replicate this template. Rather, it imbues certain qualities generated by Haussmann’s built works. Marco Casamonti, describes Jean Nouvel and his outlook on context: “[Nouvel’s] buildings are the result of an encounter between personal poetics centered on the perception of the sense and the value of a place whose value and characteristics can be gathered and heightened” (Casamonti, 2009). Nouvel is clearly not interested in generating a particular

Comparing typical Haussmannian constructions to Imagine Institute, some massing similarities are apparent. Imagine Institute incorporates an internal courtyard, hints at the mansard roof condition, and continues the street wall from the existing buildings. Furthermore, the overall height of the building is carefully organized to have a visual continuation from the surrounding buildings. (Figure 3) The implied mansard roof is a perfect example of how Nouvel heightens the value and characteristics of a place, as discussed above. The designers understood the importance of continuing the formal language, but rather than to explicitly reproduce the iconic mansard roof condition, they have transformed this into a mental and intellectual exercise. By implying the mansard roof, they gain architectural freedom in design. They still successfully make connections and establish an architectural dialogue between the built context and Imagine Institute, but designers push the boundaries on the site’s intellectual capabilities and character. Clearly, this is an intentional massing consideration by the designers to further establish a cohesive formal language in the context. Figure 3 shows an axonometric diagram of the project in its immediate context. The lack of materiality articulation on the illustration further showcases the robust formal relationship between Imagine Institute and its neighbouring buildings. Ignoring the textural and colour considerations and only focusing on the massings, it can be clearly understood Imagine Institute’s apt formal integration into the site. Because the project captures the essence of the Haussmannian architectural form (courtyard, building height, and mansard roof), one can still understand and perceive the visual and formal dialogue between Imagine Institute and the Parisian context, although they employ contrasting materiality. Even though Imagine Institute is a fully glazed structure and the surrounding Haussmannian buildings are cladded in brick, some similarities can still be drawn. Take the

graphic overlay pattern on the windows for example. The architects reasons that “the graphic theme of cellular imagery … give an impression of ‘windows’ at different scale” (Nouvel 2014). Again, the proportions and sizes of the Haussmannian windows were not directly replicated; they were implied. (Figure 4). The cellular overlay graphic achieves two major conditions: it helps to communicate the internal program of the building as well as to break down the façade visually. The graphic façade treatment almost acts as a signage for the building. Rather than to install an explicit banner underlining the building’s purpose and use, an implicit method was used – this overlay also adds to the unique aesthetic character of the building. Looking at figure 4, it can be easily understood how the cellular imagery breaks down the immense glass façades into manageable sections of glazing. Even the smaller details of window mullions are worth noting. The windows are frames in pronounced black mullions. Although there are countless other ways of framing glass, and especially ways in hiding and concealing the glazing joints, the designers made a conscious choice in revealing the connections. The black mullions provide an apparent and contrasting visual grid against

Figure 3 Axonometric Diagram

the clear glass and opaque spandrel panels. (Figure 4) This gesture further breaks down the façade to similar proportions and sizes of the Haussmannian architecture in the surrounding context. Connections to the history and culture were established. Massing design and articulation of the glazing details further ground Imagine Institute to the physical context. But this effort and design endeavor should generate a more comfortable, thought-provoking, and meaningful public space. Brian Evans and Frank McDonald urge in Learning from Place “Any place is better than the place which invites no response, which breeds indifference” (Evans & McDonald, 2007). After all, the purpose behind architecture and urban planning is to serve people and activities. In other words, while the massing and material considerations help to situate Imagine Institute in its historical, cultural, and built context, it is crucial to examine its implications on the human context and behavior. Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language is a compilation of architectural and urban planning elements and guidelines of achieving a successful design. In the Pedestrian Street section, he writes “the simple social intercourse created when people rub shoulders in public is


“the designers push the boundaries on the site’s intellectual capabilities and character”

Figure 4 Elevation Comparison one of the most essential kinds of social “glue” in society.” (Alexander, 1977). He further elaborates on this point by stating “[this glue] is missing in large part because so much … movement is now taking place in indoor corridors … instead of outdoors” (Alexander, 1977). It is clear from his writing that Alexander focuses on the streetscape. Although Imagine Institute does not employ a grand gesture to frame or shelter the sidewalk, it addresses this public space with a reveal condition on the first floor, as well as marking the ground floor elevation with a material differentiation. (Figure 5). This further helps to define the character of the exterior open space on the ground floor.

Similarly to Alexander, Jane Jacobs, a renowned activist in urban planning, also subscribes to the idea of creating a more vibrant and safe public streetscape. She also discusses the activities and the life of the sidewalk in The Death and Life of Great American Cities. She emphasizes that there must be “eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the streets” (Jacobs, 1961). By having people view onto the streets from buildings and exchanging glances while walking on the streets, this ensures safety between the users, which subsequently promotes healthier and more vibrant uses of the sidewalk. In the case of Imagine Institute, due to the fully glazed facades,

there are ample views governing the sidewalk. (Figure 6). Even at night, the building illuminates the public realm, offering additional light and presence onto the public space. Jan Gehl also comments on the importance of human interactions on the street. In his book, Life Between Buildings, he writes, “Experiencing other people represents a particularly colorful and attractive opportunity for stimulation. Compared with experiencing buildings and other inanimate objects, experiencing people, who speak and move about, offers a wealth of sensual variation” (Gehl 2006). As stated above, Imagine Institute being a fully glazed building offers plethora of opportunities for viewing one another. People and their movements are always being exposed from the sidewalk to the interior of the building. By allowing these exchanges of views to talk place, this encourages conversations and interactions which contributes to the overall life of

the public space. From analyzing and highlighting certain examples in Imagine Institute, it becomes clear how the urban context has framed and influenced the architecture. The massing and the material choice have strong relationships to the historical, cultural, and physical context. Furthermore, this project engages the public with minute formal gestures. Most importantly, while this project responds and conforms to the contextual pressures, it still challenges the architecture and urban design of the area. By implying and imbuing certain elements and qualities, such as the mansard roof and the Haussmannian windows, this project propels the intellectual limit. This project refuses to stay stagnant and continually shapes, defines, and transforms the Parisian context and its users.

Bibliography Alexander, C. (1977). A Pattern Language. Oxford University Press. Andersen, W. (2008). Paris as a great functional space: Spatial urbanism and plug-in architecture in the 1960s. The European Legacy, 13(6), 753-759. doi:10.1080/10848770802358146 Casamonti, M. (2009). Jean nouvel(1st ed.) Motta. Couperie, P. (1968). Paris through the ages: An illustrated historical atlas of urbanism and architectureG. Braziller. Evans, B., & McDonald, F. (2007). Learning From Place. RIBA Publishing. Jacobs, J. (1961). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Vintage. Jordan, D. P. (2015). Paris: Haussmann and after. Journal of Urban History, 41(3), 541-549. doi:10.1177/0096144215571567 Gehl, J. (2006). Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space. Island Press. Jukic, T., Cvitanovic, M. S., & Smokvina, M. (2010). Visions of city development in the early 21st century: Comparison of urban planning procedures: Paris, london, helsinki, Amsterdam/ Vizije razvoja gradova pocetkom 21. stoljeca: Usporedbaplanerskih postupaka: Pariz, london, helsinki, amsterdam. Prostor, 18(2), 384. Kirkland, S. (2013). Paris reborn: Napoléon III, baron haussmann, and the quest to build a modern city (Firstition. ed.) St. Martin’s Press. Murdock, J. (2008). Jean nouvel wins 2008 pritzker prize. New York: The McGraw-Hill companies, Inc. Papayanis, N. (2006). César daly, paris and the emergence of modern urban planning. Planning Perspectives, 21(4), 325-346. doi:10.1080/02665430600892088 Potyondi, S. (2011). The discovery of the street: Urbanism, gentrification, and cultural change in early nineteenth-century paris Saalman, H. (1971). Haussmann: Paris transformed G. Braziller. Non Scholarly Sources


Figure 5 Section - Sidewalk Diagram

Figure 6 Section - View Diagram

Imagine Institute / Valero Gadan Architectes Ateliers Jean Nouvel. (2014, June 24). Archdaily Rinaldi, M. (2014, December 3). Imagine Institute by Ateliers Jean Nouvel and Valero Gadan Architectes. aasarchitecture Smisek, P. (2014, June 3). Medical Research Institute Stands Out by Fitting In. Retrieved from Frameweb



The Reichstag was built as the seat of der Bundestag (the German parliament), by Paul Wallot in 1884-1894 (Schulz, 2000). Choosing a location for the Reichstag was very different from choosing parliament buildings in other cities. For example, in Britain they would have used an old palace, and in America the parliamentary buildings would have been master planned, however in Berlin the city was already established, so this could not be done (Schulz, 2000). A site was chosen on the east side of Konigsplatz, next to the palace of Count Raczynski of Poland (Schulz, 2000) (Figure 1 & Figure 2). Berlin was fairly unstable politically, entering the Imperial Age (1900-1918) (Bonne, 2006), it was considered the capital city of Germany, but Germany was still under Prussian authority. There was no plan in place that would make Berlin look like a capital city, simply because Prussia did not want this, as it would lead to them losing power in Germany (Bonne, 2006). Not much precedent was placed on the idea of quickly reforming Berlin to look like a capital city, because all of the important political institutions of the city, which included the Reichstag, were already built in monumental splendor, with axial streets connecting them (Bonne, 2006), something which was already seen in many capital cities around


As a city, Berlin has undergone an incredible amount of political reform, and unrest over the years. With this came significant changes to the planning of the city. The Reichstag stayed the centre of parliament in this capital city, however the plan for its surrounding context changed drastically as the politics of the city shifted. There were many different plans for the design of the area surrounding the Reichstag, however very few were put into place, due to the ever changing politics in Germany. With each of these plans, the Reichstag became a symbol for the political identity of the city at the time.


the world. It wasn’t until the end of the First World War, and the beginning of the Weimar Republic (1918-1933) that real changes began to be discussed for the planning of the city of Berlin (Bonne, 2006). There was an overthrow of Prussia’s Conservative State Authorities, and Germany became a democratic country. This meant that the political community could now be fully integrated into the city, allowing Berlin to look like a true capital city (Bonne, 2006). This included a plan to place a “democratic square” in front of the Reichstag (Bonne, 2006), this would be a place where political event could take place. With this plan, the Reichstag would be a strong representation of democracy in Germany. Unfortunately the plan was never put into place, as Germany did not have the money to spend, post World War One (Bonne, 2006). In 1937 a new plan would be put in place for the city of Berlin, during the Third Reich (1933-1945), when the National Socialists seized power in Germany, and the Second World War began (Bonne, 2006). With Hitler in power, he took great interest in creating a new character for the city of Berlin, he believed that it was necessary to have a capital which would express a “strong empire that the magnitude of our victory deserves.” (Bonne, 2006). The city would exemplify wartime propaganda, using urban design to express Hitler’s power. Hitler appointed Architect Albert Speer as Generalbauinspektor der Reichschauptstadt Berlin (General Building Inspector of the Imperial Capital Berlin) to create a new plan for the city (Bonne, 2006). Speer’s rebuild of Berlin as Germania (Foster, 2000), would include a North-South axis through the city, 7km long and 120m wide, extending from one central train station to another. At one end of the axis would be a triumph arch, and at the other end there would be the Gross Halle des Deutschen Volkes (Great Hall of the German People), a


represent a singular power. This would be done by changing the scales, and making the parliamentary buildings even more prominent, showing the vast amount of power which this government had. Albert Speer said “The idea was that [visitors] would be overwhelmed, or rather stunned, by the urban scene and thus the power of the Reich.” (Bonne, 2006). This plan would show power and force. It disregarded the historical and physical context of the city, and created new monumental buildings. Once again, political reform made it so that this plan for Berlin could not actually be completed.

Figure 1 Figure Ground, Berlin 1871

Figure 2 Figure Ground, Berlin 1901 building 290m tall, which would completely dwarf the adjacent Reichstag (Bonne, 2006), making it a symbol of the power which Hitler had over the government (Figure 3). By dwarfing the Reichstag, which was a symbol of democracy, the Gross Halle des Deutschen Volkes would place little importance on democracy. This was similar to the type of planning which was happening in other cities, as a part of the city beautiful movement, with wide boulevards connecting important buildings, however it was more of a National Socialist version of this vision. Instead of expressing a unified government, as in Washington, DC, Germania would


During the post-war era and the beginning of the Federal Republic (1945-1990), Germany didn’t have a central government, so there was no need for a capital city. The major concern for Berlin was that 30% of its buildings were in rubble, including many significant buildings, like the Reichstag (Bonne, 2006). This central area of the city, where the Reichstag stands, is where the majority of damage occurred, which left this central area, with the majority of political buildings, free to be redeveloped (Elkins & Hofmeister, 1988). Another issue with Berlin was that after the war it had been split into four quadrants, between the allies, and was split between a communist east, and capitalist west, as a result of the cold war (Bonne, 2006). Architect Hans Scharoun was placed in charge of building matters, and he intended to bring government building into the centre of the city, where the east and west were divided (Elkins & Hofmeister, 1988). This was in an attempt to unify the two sides, using the ideas presented by the CIAM, to represent Berlin as a democratic city (Bonne, 2006). This redevelopment never happened, because of the growing tensions between the east and the west, and the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 (Bonne, 2006). The Reichstag was however restored (Bonne, 2006), and the wall was built directly beside it (Figure 4), placing the Reichstag on the West side of Berlin (Schulz, 2000). The Reichstag’s height, and proximity to the wall made it a symbol for the division of Berlin, and in East Berlin began to symbolise “unresolved issues of a divided German

Figure 3 Gross Halle des Deutchen Volkes in comparison to the much smaller Reichstag nation.” (Schulz, 2000). What the wall actually symbolised for the Reichstag, and all other buildings in close proximity to it, was the oppression created by a divided city (Hertweck & Marot, 1977).

While the Berlin Wall had been up, the capital had moved out of the city, to Bonn. In June of 1991 it was decided that Berlin would be reinstated of the capital of Germany, with the Reichstag as the parliamentary building again

An interesting mixture of planning styles was created through the division of Berlin. The capitalist west side followed a more conservative traffic pathway, by using a grid. There was a more modernist international style, inspired by CIAM (Bonne, 2006). While the communist east side of the city they took a more radical approach to planning, modelled after Joseph Stalin’s 1935 plan for Moscow (Bonne, 2006). This model included many monumental buildings, to signify the city as a capital (Bonne, 2006). This placed the Reichstag in a very interesting position, being right on the edge of these two dramatically different sectors of the city. This was particularly the case when the Berlin Wall came down on November 9th, 1989, and when the city was reunified October 3rd 1990 (Elkins & Hofmeister, 1988).

Figure 4 Figure Ground, Berlin 1962, showing the Berlin Wall intersecting the city


“...the Reichstag became a symbol for the political identity of the city...”

Figure 6 Inside Norman Foster’s dome, at the Reichstag (photo by Madison Jantzi) Figure 5 Norman Foster’s first design for the Reichstag (Bonne, 2006). The city was going to need to be renewed, so they held a series of city forums, where the people could discuss what changes they wanted to see made (Bonne, 2006). One thing which was to be changed was the Reichstag, so a competition was put in place to redesign it. The original competition brief cited the need for 33,000 sq.m. of programming, which meant that the building would need to expand (Foster, 2000). Norman Foster’s design would include a canopy covering the entire building, and expanding outwards over the river Spree (Foster, 2000) (Figure 5). However, at the same time there was a competition for a master plan of the surrounding area. The Internationaler Stadtebaulicher Ideenwettbewerb Spreebogen (International Competition on Ideas for the Urban Design of the Spreebogen), which looked to make the area surrounding the Reichstag a federal strip (Bonne, 2006). The competition brief stated: “The design should exhibit transparency expressing accessibility to the public and a sense of pleasure in communication, discussion and openness.” (Schulz, 2000), which would show them as a true democracy. This competition was won by Axel Schultes


and Charlotte Frank, and their proposal created a federal strip, which twice spanned the river (Schulz, 2000). This was also placed at a spot where the city had been divided by the wall, and would act as a way of unifying the east and west (Bonne, 2006), a buffer between the two very different urban fabrics. They put many of the parliamentary functions into buildings outside the Reichstag, creating an entire federal complex (Schulz, 2000). This meant that there would need to be a new competition to redesign the Reichstag, with the programming cut by 60% (Foster, 2000). Foster’s new design was much more sensitive to the site, taking the idea of transparency from the master plan, and applying to his building, by placing a transparent dome on the top of the building, where a dome had been placed on Paul Wallot’s original design of the building (Foster, 2000). This dome would also allow visitor to walk around, and get panoramic views of the city (Figure 6) (Foster, 2000), allowing them to see the difference between the east and the west of Berlin. This new building, and the surrounding complex has become a symbol for a unified Berlin, and a unified Germany (Schulz, 2000).

The Reichstag has been a symbol of many different things since its construction began in1884. It has survived many different political changes, and all of the ups and downs in Berlin. It has symbolised freedom, oppression, and unification, simply due to the importance of its surrounding context. The politics in Berlin had such a huge effect on the urban planning

in the city, and in turn had an enormous effect on how the Reichstag was viewed, and what it symbolised for the people of Berlin.

Bibliography Bonne, W. (2006). Berlin: Capital Under Changing Political Systems. In D. Gordon, Planning Twentieth Century Capital Cities (pp. 196-212). London: Routledge. Elkins, T., & Hofmeister, B. (1988). Berlin: the spatial structure of a divided city. London: Rout ledge. Foster, N. (2000). Rebuilding the Reichstag. Woodstock, NY: The Overlook Press. Hertweck, F., & Marot, S. (1977). The City in the City- Berlin: A Green Archipelago. Zurich: Lars Müller Publishers. Schulz, B. (2000). The Reichstag. Munich, Germany: Presterl Verlag.




The Palais Garnier or Paris Opera is commonly believed to be a highly successful building in terms of its monumental character and ornate design. The purpose of this essay is not so much to discuss its manifold architectural elements as it is to dig a little bit deeper into its urban design qualities. In order to properly analyse the building, within its given environment, it is expedient that the term urban design be defined and an understanding of the elements that determine its quality be understood. Urban design as defined by Professor Rene Biberstien, is “The process in which buildings and other elements are made to relate to one another in a complex urban setting to produce human environments.” (Biberstien, 2015, slide 15). To grasp the Palais Garnier’s original and current success, as well as its shortcomings and influences, it will be analysed through the lens of a number of urban design qualities. These indicators include a connectivity with history, space becoming a place, dialog with the landscape, environmental consciousness, equity and inclusivity, pedestrian focus, and consideration of future expansion or development (A Dash of Design, 2010). Based upon these criteria it will be evident that the Palais Garnier is a work of extraordinary urban design, but not without shortcomings. The first two indicative elements of a good urban design, namely a connection with history and a space becoming a place, are both interconnected and readily present in the Palais Garnier. To get a proper perspective of the strong connection that the Palais Garnier has with history it is necessary to view it from a macro scale, how the building is part of a larger urban planning movement within the city, and from a

micro scale, the building as designed within the public square. The larger urban planning movement which helps to contextualize both the building and the site is Haussmann’s redevelopment plan for Paris which he outlined in 1853 (Kirkman, 2007). Haussmann, although not an architect, was given his position by Napoleon lll and was responsible for reshaping the city. This was undertaken for many reasons but, a few notable ones being that “Napoleon lll was particularly aware of his need to publicly present a liberalized image of his regime” (Parker, 2013). He also wanted to address the poor living and working conditions that the medieval city presented with its narrow streets and poor lighting. He also wanted to plan in a way that would hinder the “conduct of street fighting and barricade building in the narrow thoroughfares of the old quarters of Paris” (Adcock, 29) that was so common among the “radical, militant working class” (Adcock, 29). Haussmann made a few considerable moves that have a direct impact on the urban design quality of the Palais Garnier. Although he did not design it, he held a design competition for the selection of the architect. One of the most obvious moves is how he superimposed a picturesque connection between prominent buildings in the city through the use of boulevards. To create a hierarchy and pronounce the buildings in the public squares to which the boulevards run, he had the buildings that made up the five story street wall be “constructed out of large stone blocks, adding to the simplicity of the structure and the lack of decoration” (Kirkman, 2007). This helped to accentuate the overly decorative, ornate and imposing facades of buildigs such as the Opera House. Architecture cannot be left wholly out of consideration. The young architect who won the competition in 1861 is Charles Garnier


Figure 1,2: Pedestrian and carriage arrival (Sveiven, 2011), who before this occasion was little known. The space making character of the opera house is intrinsically bound to the monumentality of the building within the square. What makes this monument so engaging and compelling is the contrast between the architectural expression of its façade and that of the street walls that direct one to it both physically and visually. The architectural façade treatment is an “example of Second Empire Baroque architecture whose stylistically eclectic revivalism combines motifs from Renaissance and Baroque architecture” (Mead, 1986, 46). As one approaches it, it can be perceived as “a building whose entire essence is an homage to the celebration of decadence, with the visual opulence it pronounces a prelude to the aural splendor of the lyric art it houses” (Parker, 2013, 2). Therefore, the Palais Garnier is very successful when it comes to having a strong connection to the past and a place becoming a space. When one comes into contact with this space they are compelled to appreciate the techniques and culture of a bygone era. As a monument, it almost demands worship, if not awe and reflection. While the situation of the building on the


site is of paramount importance to its success visually, it does pose a few practical problems which centre on the focus of the car over the pedestrian. The Boulevard Haussmann, Boulevard des Capucines, Boulevard des Italiens, Avenue de l’Opera, Rue Auber and Rue la Layette, among others, all flow around this the Palais Garnier. “On paper, the Opéra Garnier seems to crown a lively urban crossroads which in reality is so over-scaled and full of traffic that the avenues which cross it can neither differentiate themselves from one another or maintain the continuity they seem to so triumphantly uphold in plan. Like Times Square, Opéra is the city’s place of perpetual passing through, rather than gathering” (Miller, 2012). Because so many boulevards intersect on this one site, there is a considerable amount of traffic. This traffic isolates the opera house, giving it a kind of island feel which has negative ramifications for the pedestrian. First of all it makes access difficult and at times dangerous. The irony is that it is “has the rare privilege of sitting in a neighborhood specially designed for it” (Miller, 2012), but pedestrian movement between it and the surrounding buildings is very difficult. Figure 7 and 8 give visual explanation of this difficulty. More will be talked about the circulation through the surrounding space when the concept of inclusivity is addressed, but for the purposes of pedestrian sensitivity and programmatic connectivity, the opera house is less than exemplary. Although they are not overly related in terms of their essence, the environmental landscape and future development aspects of this project are also quite negative. The time period in which the Paris Garnier was designed was one where there was very little to infrastructural impact upon the environment. The focus was more on how the building was situated within the city, how it was connected by boulevards, dialogued with façade treatments, was able to facilitate large volumes of people etc. Similarly, because of the density of the urban setting and the nature of the program of the building there

is very little interaction with nature or greenery. Haussman’s plans required extensive demolition. Essentially, he tore through the city, destroyed many building and forced many people out of their homes to create his, and Napoleon lll’s vision. This was only possible because of the condensed power and immense resources he had at his power. His redevelopment is representative of a different political era. Even in modern day Paris the magnitude and scope of Haussman’s plan could not be achieved. Right now, and unchangeably so, the opera house is a fixed object in space and due to the geometric, size, and circulation necessities/constrains, future development is very unlikely. Therefore, unlike other good urban design it is not easily adaptable or able to interact in new ways with its site. When it comes to inclusivity there are a few layers that need to be unpacked, even from a historical point of view. The original reason for the site selection for this project was born out of safety concerns because of an “unsuccessful assassination attempt against Napoleon III in 1858 at the former opera house on rue Peletier” (Miller, 2012). This location was much more public and open and sought to avoid similar future problems. Originally the Palais Garnier was a place for the rich and people came there not only to enjoy art, but to be seen. It was a grand display of wealth, power and politics. In that regard there was an unbalance of inclusion, as there were many of the lower and middle class who were and not the target audience for which the building was designed. But on another level, within those coming to the opera house, there was a highly articulated approach to the penetration of people from the surrounding streets into the building. People coming to the opera house would form one of four categories: carriage ticket holders and carriage non-ticket holders, both of which would enter through the “carriage portico of the Pavillon des Abonnés in their carriages, get dropped off and move inside with their servants” (Shahram, 2014), as well as ticket holding

and non-ticket holding pedestrians who would enter through the grand vestibule. Although the Palais Garnier was originally designed for the affluent, it has since been transformed into a public space that can be used and enjoyed by any and every one. “Garnier’s Opéra, while unable to be extricated from its historical impetus, supersedes its appointed bounds, employing in its execution unprecedented materials and techniques to signal a divergence from the confines of tradition, and, in so doing, places the edifice in conversation with the more and more quickly evolving social situation of late nineteenth century France.” (Parker, 2013) In conclusion, the Palais Garnier is a success from an urban design perspective in that it embodies a strong connection with history and is has become iconic and representative of Paris city planning. It has also been transformed from a socially divided cultural interpretation to a setting that can be enjoyed and appreciated by all peoples. The only major faults lie in the density of traffic that physically and symbolically separate it from its surrounding program, and a lack of attention to environmental and landscape connection as well as future development. The lasting impact that Garnier has had, has inspired architects “to create monuments that would celebrate human greatness, inculcate worthy remembrance, and teach moral values.” (Kirkman, 2007), as his building, situated within a complex urban fabric, has done and continues to do.

Figure 3: Aerial perspective


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“A building whose entire essence is an homage to the celebration of decadence”

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Figure 7: Street conglomeration

Figure 8: Safe pedestrian areas

Bibliography Adcock, M. (n.d.). Baron Haussmann and the Rebuilding of Paris, 1851-1870. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from Biberstein, Renee. (2015). PLX 599: Lecture 2: Planning the American Landscape (Powerpoint slides). Kirkman, E. (2007). Haussmann’s Architectural Paris - Architecture in the Era of Napoleon III - The Art History Archive. Retrieved September 23, 2015, from

Figure 4: Current figure ground, Paris

Mead, C. (1986). Charles Garnier’s Paris opera and the renaissance of classicism in nineteenth-century French architecture. University of Pennsylvania, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. Miller, A. (2012, March 31). Opera Houses in the City, Part I: The Palais Garnier (English... Retrieved September 23, 2015, from Parker, S. (2013). A Temple of Pleasure, A Temple of Art: The Structural and Social Veneers of Opulence in Charles Garnier’s Paris Opéra. Retrieved September 23, 2015, from Shahram, S. (2014). Architectural analysis: A methodology to understand and inform the design of spaces. Retrieved September 23, 2015, from Sutcliffe, A. (1993). Paris: An architectural history. New Haven: Yale University Press. Sveiven, M. (2011, January 22). AD Classics: Paris Opera / Charles Garnier. Retrieved September 23, 2015, from


Figure 5: Intermediate stage Paris, figure ground

Figure 6: Pre-Haussmann Paris, figure ground

Top 10 Indicators of Good Urban Design. (2010, October 11). Retrieved November 6, 2015, from https://




Located in the heart of Rome adjacent to the Tiber River, Richard Meier constructed the Ara Pacis Museum to house one of the most monumental historical artifacts of Rome. Previously protected by Mausoleum of Augustus during the Mussolini era, the Ara Pacis exhibits much historical, political and cultural context. And this disposition to remain preserved applies to the city of Rome as well since Rome has not experienced construction of new structures within the Aurelian walls for over 60 years before the construction of the Ara Pacis Museum (Davey, 2006). Such pre-existing conditions of the site led to demonstrations and vandalisms interrupting the project several times during the construction phase. Many feared that the new development would potentially “ruin” the historical urban setting of Rome. However, despite the controversy and divided opinions from citizens and critics, the $24 million structure (Giovanni, 2006) became one of many significant symbols of Rome when it opened on April 21, 2006 (Conforti & Marandola, 2009). Today Ara Pacis Museum successfully contributes to the fabric of the city by connecting to the urban setting historically and politically, on a micro-level and on a macro-level. The museum is constructed on a history-sensitive site that is very difficult to work with. The site setting is negotiated poorly where it stands in an awkward wedge of the city between the via di Ripetta and the Lungotevere and it was in a historic urban context where there has been no new development within the Aurelian walls for over 60 years. (Giovannini, 2006). However, there was no question about encasing the Ara Pacis as it needed protection from weathering

and destruction. The Ara Pacis is a sacrificial altar built more than 2000 years ago between 13 and 9 BC by Augustus, the first emperor, following victories in Gaul and Spain (Davey, 2006). The altar was reconstructed under Fascist rule in 1937-38 from scattered fragments which were in foreign museums after it had been smashed into hundreds of bits, and housed in a simple building of glass, cement and travertine. This building that previously encased the monument was constructed under Mussolini, designed by Vittorio Ballio Morpugo in the 1930s. However, by the mid-1990s it was in need of repairs and the monument was to be housed in a proper structure not only to celebrate it but also to dismiss fascist associations – Italy’s painful past (Falconi, 2006). Given that this part of Rome had not experienced any new development and was seen as a “historic city,” Richard Meier being commissioned to design the new Ara Pacis encasement stirred up an enormous controversy, demonstration and vandalism. Despite the controversy, it was stated that a living city should ever be considered a museum is arguable, and that the center of Rome (or any other historic city) should remain untouched is simply wrong (Giovannini, 2006). Meier said to such negative criticism and controversy: “No one actually said they wanted a classical building but they were against a modern building. I don’t know what they had in mind” (Giovannini, 2006) and proceeded to construct the Ara Pacis museum, which took 11 years due to demonstration and anger. In the end, the construction was a successful one, and the design managed to fully contribute to the urban context in a positive manner.


the east of the building. (Meier & Celant, 2006). The different functions of the building inside and outside provide a connection to the public as well. The piazza collects visitors from various approaches and the Ara Pacis museum which is elevated with an open wide starway adjacent to a fountain that scales the altar up into the urban context. Visitors “learn the structure of the building through the experience of walking, discovering a sequence of spaces that mix grandeur and intimacy, transparency and opacity, spatial expansion and contraction.” (Giovannini, 2006). In addition, an outdoor roof terrace above the auditorium functions as an essential part of the circulation of the museum, where visitors can appreciate the views over the Mausoleum of Augustus to the east and the Tiber River to the west (Meier & Celant, 2006).

Figure 1 Ara Pacis Museum in its dense historic urban setting It creates a suspended, metaphysical atmosphere, where the changing of natural light scans the passage of time, and the city, beyond the glass of the brise-soleil, dialogues via the art with its ancient history, symbolized by the altar of Augustus, exposed like a gem in a crystal case. (Conforti & Marandola, 2009)


The Ara Pacis satisfies the urban context on a micro-level through various elements – materiality, form and functions. In relation to the materiality of the building, Ara Pacis Museum is housed by paneled walls in recycled white glass, cladding in Roman travertine and some in Richard Meier’s signature style of white paneled walls in concrete. Meier uses Roman construction tradition in his open-jointed slabs and slot-vented travertine which introduces the Ara from the entrance, shutting out daily noise and frenzy of the Lungotevere (Conforti & Marandola, 2009). At the same time he houses the Ara Pacis in

a way where it is displayed to the public with the utilization of glass. The ancient structure appears to be “flooded in daylight” but in fact, the light is much reduced in intensity by greyish low-e glazing and the horizontal louvres of translucent glass, making it possible to display it to the public without damaging the monument (Davey, 2006). The large panels of glass and the immaculate white colour are what caused a scandal since it seems to be a “convocation to the plaster and brick in the city” (Conforti & Marandola, 2009) However, the elegant tectonics and close attention to the joining of such materials display that it is possible to positively contribute to the historic setting without attempting to artificially blend in with the surrounding context by using the same materials – plaster and brick. In terms of how the form relates to the urban context, Richard Meier bisected the distance between the present center of the mausoleum and the original site, yielding a four-square urban grid that was used as a proportional frame to recognize the Piazza Augusto Imperatore to

In addition to responding to the urban context on a micro-level, the Ara Pacis successfully dialogues with the site in a macrolevel. The use of indigenous fine beige Roman travertine is one example (Meier & Celant, 2006). Another example is the massing of the building. The lot of the site is a long one along the length of the adjacent Piazza Augusto Imperatore and the massing is broken up so that it reflects the haphazard nature of Baroque Rome. Meier’s highly controlled design is, in a mathematical sense, measured and everywhere accountable to the order of the grid. Its repetitive but varied order and the rationalism of all its parts in relation to the larger whole make this building the direct descendant of architecture in the Roman Forum. Meier is known to break apart closed volumes so that his buildings are porous and open and behave as environmental sundials scooping light and projecting shadow. He designs by layering, applying modernist point, line, plane and volume on top of each

other, horizontally and vertically. In these respects, too, the building is remarkably Roman, because the original city no longer exists with its Euclidean forms intact, but as an archaeological and architectural palimpsest – as the sum total of all its layers” (Giovannini, 2006). Also, the low travertine wall on the site boundary traces the ancient curve of the Tiber bank (Davey, 2006). The building stands 13.5m high which is a similar building height as the adjacent buildings such as the Chiesa di San Rocco, Chiesa Rettoria San Girolamo Dei Corati a Ripetta, and the buildings to the north on Passeggiata di Ripetta. This long, singlestory glazed loggia elevates above a shallow podium and provides a transparent barrier between the embankment of the Tiber and the existing circular Mausoleum of Augustus, connecting the west and the east sides of the site efficiently. (Meier & Celant, 2006). This transparency allowed the seamless connection between the older structures to occur and for

Figure 2 Plan of the Ara Pacis and its adjacent Piazza Augusto Imperatore to the right


“Bringing contemporary architecture to central Rome, Richard Meier’s new home for Augustus’ Ara Pacis integrates classical principles with contemporary design.”


Figure 3 Before the construction

Figure 4 After the construction

the history to be uninterrupted, which is a tremendous success.

urban puzzle.

In conclusion Meier has succeeded triumphantly in constructing a modern building in a tight historically sensitive urban fabric of Rome where there is no other evidence of recent development. Meier responds historically and politically, and on micro and macro levels to engage with the surrounding. As mentioned by Giovannini, “Bringing contemporary architecture to central Rome, Richard Meier’s new home for Augustus’s Ara Pacis integrates classical principles with contemporary design” Meier’s design exceeds beyond the stereotype “modern building” and proved that the Ara Pacis museum functions both as a museum and as the keystone in an

Bibliography Conforti, C., & Marandola, M. (2009). Richard Meier. Milan: Motta. Davey, P. (2006). Pax romana: Richard meier triumphs in Rome, creating a new shelter and museum for ara pacis. EMAP Architecture. Falconi, A. (2006, April 21). Rome’s Ara Pacis museum reopens. AP Worldstream. Giovannini, J. (2006). High modernism at the altar of peace. Brant Publications, Inc. Meier, R., & Celant, G. (2006). Richard Meier: Museums : 1973/2006. New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications :.

Although one politician has already called for dismantling Meier’s building, a century from now visitors won’t be able to imagine Rome without it. Sensitive to its context yet self-possessed, the design earns its place in the dense metropolitan fabric through its complexity, and in the mystique of the city by contributing a new but complementary form of beauty. This is a structure that confirms the past of Roman building tradition while opening up to an architectural future. (Giovannini, 2006).




The development or redevelopment of a large amount of land requires both the success of the individual buildings as well as the full master plan. Sometimes these plans are more organic in their realization and allow for the creative talents of architects to envision the extent of their presence. Other times, they are rigid and must follow a clear set of guidelines. In areas such as brownfield sites, the regeneration of the land must be approached in more than one manner. The physical revitalization of the damaged earth must be accompanied with the social, economical and cultural characteristics of the new developments as well. The Oslo Opera House in Norway clearly defines these elements in a successful manner for the Fjord City Redevelopment Project. The opera house, one of the first developments of this renewal, has set a language for the further development of the site. With the fame of the cultural centre, the Norwegian capital of Oslo has greatly benefited in its continuing change towards a healthier city for its citizens. Understanding the importance of the Opera House as more than just an architectural marvel shows its important presence in the urban context and design of the neighbourhood. In 2000, the Norwegian government took initiative to redevelop a long strip of waterfront property in its capital of Oslo. The former industrial har-

bour front was to be regenerated from a brownfield site into vibrant mixed use neighbourhoods of over twelve kilometres along the shore. This initiative was called the Fjord City Redevelopment Project (Agency for Planning and Building Services, 2004). The land would create a stronger connection between the city core and the water front. The Waterfront Planning Office describes the aims for the waterfront, “We are thinking in an overall vision. We want to open up the waterfront areas for recreational, cultural, residential and commercial use, with emphasis on public access, public and private transport and sustainable development. In size, these areas are comparable to projects in Hamburg, Gothenburg, Stockholm and Copenhagen. Some of the waterfront areas are unique with their close proximity to the City Centre and to the main infrastructural provisions” (Agency for Planning and Building Services, 2004). In the project’s proposal, the effects of the new development would include a variety of different architectural forms and functions which would aid to the intentions of the pedestrian based city. The central Bjørvika neighbourhood, one of the fourteen redevelopment areas, currently homes the project of study by acclaimed architecture firm Snøhetta (Agency for Planning and Building Services, 2004). The area is heavy with



Secoundary Roads Train Lines Main Roads and Public Transportation Routes Underground Tunnel Transportation Routes 1:2000

Figure 1 Relation to the Fjord.

transportation routes. Among the busiest are the main train station, access to the airport, main roads and a underground tunnel (Tønnesen, A., Larsen, K., Skrede, J., & Nenseth, V., 2014). Therefore, the addition of pedestrian heavy attractions in the area has benefited the ideal intentions of the redevelopment. The project, the national opera house, therefore became a symbol of the new vision of the area. Creating a language for the designs of the rest of the area, the Oslo Opera House generated a level of complexity in identification of the surrounding context and outlined the extent of pedestrian movement on the site. The country believed that the location of a strong cultural centre, such as an opera, would bring attention to an area previously left unvisited. Even those who were are not enthusiasts of the opera can partake in the use of the building through its other func-


tions. The centre has become an icon to the Norwegian country and has attracted thousands of tourists from its completion in 2007 (Smith, A., & von Krogh Strand, I., 2011). Understanding that the fundamental benefits of an iconic national building are more than the recognition of the project but also the financial opportunities brought alongside with the fame. With an increase of tourism into the area, the neighbouring properties have gotten initiative to be bought out and developed by private investors (Smith, A., & von Krogh Strand, I., 2011). A previously undesirable sector of the city has boomed in the presence of the influx of people and opportunities available. Since ideally the government would not be able to fund the extent of the entire project, the opera house was strategically one of the first buildings to be built. The influx of attention brought to that area, as well as both architectural enthusiasts and regular tourists alike, enabled the government to seek aid in large development companies and land owners to invest in the projects. The popularity of the Opera House also paved the way for interest from renowned Scandinavian and European architects to propose designs for some of the lots in the master plan. For example, the portion of five high rise mixed use apartment building just north east of the Oslo Opera House known as Barcode was a joint design by architecture firms a-lab, Snøhetta, Dark Architects, and Solheim and Jacobsen. The contemporary modern approach of the opera house marked the style in which the mixed use towers follow. A porous ground level for the movement around the five building gives pedestrians easy access to the train station just north of the site. The varying heights and lengths of the buildings are also based upon the approach taken from the opera house in terms of promoting movement and visual interest to the fjord. Evidence of more designs influenced by the presence of the opera house

on site are the various other cultural buildings just east of the project. This added to the presence of the culturally centred neighbourhood around the Opera House. The design of the Oslo Opera House in itself is a fundamental aspect to the urban design strategy of the area. With aid from the Finnish architectural firm Snøhetta, a form was generated which would promote the pedestrian interactions around the site and within the building parameters. The publicly accessible roof and lobby of the building bring a new language to the typology of a cultural institute. Allowing the residence of the community and tourists access to these areas at any time of the day and any time of the year, the structure in itself becomes a public space similar to that of a park. The intention of the building was to enable the people of Oslo to reconnect with the Fjord (Agency for Planning and Building Services, 2004). This was done with the gentle slope of the roof merging into a platform connecting into the sea. Snøhetta writes about the Oslo Opera House’s design, “...Its low slung form became a link within the city rather than a divisive sculptural expression. Its accessible roof and broad, open public lobbies make the building a social monument rather than a sculptural one” (Snøhetta, 2007). Thousands of tourists and residence of the area gather on the roof of this building. The firm ensured that the design and material used for the roof would be accessible during all times in the year including the winter when heavy snow and ice damper the use of other public spaces. The connection of a good architectural building as well as a well planned urban element for the redevelopment of an unused industrial hub was crucial for the success of the Fjord City Redevelopment Project. The Oslo

Opera House was the exact type of project that was needed in the creation of a new district of that large of a scale. Serving as a new national icon for the country of Norway, the opera house paved the way for future progress of the site. Engaging the previously unused area of the city near the sea, the influx of tourism in the area promoted the migration of people, business and interest into the area and therefore gave the economic boom the redevelopment needed. The fame of the building, with help from the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta, also provided the committee in charge of the redevelopment interest from other known architects to design the remaining lots. The design of the project itself was a direct correlation to the idea behind the master plan. Promoting interactions between the sea and the people in publicly accessible spaces as well as the mixed use pedestrian areas was a new idea for the area previously known for its main transportation routes. Therefore, as one of the first projects built for the redevelopment, the Oslo Opera House defined the language and level of design needed to ensure the benefit of the changing stretch of sea side land.

Public Space 1:2000

Figure 2 Public space around Opera House


“The Oslo National Opera House is the keystone to the Fjord City Redevelopment Project. ”

Figure-Ground from 1917 1:2000

Figure-Ground for 2016 1:2000

Figure 3 Former industrial brownfield redeveloped for future occupancy at waterfront.

Bibliography Agency for Planing and Building Services. (2004). “The Fjord City”-The Plans for the Urban Development of the Waterfront. Retrieved from Hofseth, M. (2008). The new opera house in oslo - a boost for urban development? Urban Research & Practice, 1(1), 101-103. doi:10.1080/17535060701795413 Skrede, J. (2013). The issue of sustainable urban development in a neoliberal age. discursive entanglements and disputes. FORMakademisk, 6(1) doi:10.7577/formakademisk.609 Smith, A., & von Krogh Strand, I. (2011). Oslo’s new opera house: Cultural flagship, regeneration tool or destination icon? European Urban and Regional Studies, 18(1), 93-110. Tønnesen, A., Larsen, K., Skrede, J., & Nenseth, V. (2014). Understanding the geographies of transport and cultural heritage: Comparing two urban development programs in oslo. Sustainability, 6(6), 31243144. doi:10.3390/su6063124 (Tønnesen, A., Larsen, K., Skrede, J., & Nenseth, V., 2014) (Smith, A., & von Krogh Strand, I., 2011) (Hofseth, M., 2008)





In 2014, the skyline in the historic city of London in the United Kingdom was changed when the construction of a gigantic commercial skyscraper was completed. Located in London’s financial district, the building known as 20 Fenchurch Street, has been infamously nicknamed, “The Walkie-Talkie” because of its distinct shape, designed by world class architect Rafael Vinoly. Although Vinoly is known throughout the architectural community for innovative and unique designs, 20 Fenchurch Street is a clear example of problematic architecture being placed in a good urban fabric. Clearly, a world famous architect cannot always make the most knowledgeable decisions in urban planning. 20 Fenchurch Street subsequently shocks London’s urban planning, having a negative impact on its surrounding urban context; due to its dangerous effects on the surrounding urban landscape, overall awkward design, and being unable to give back to the city’s urban communities. Vinoly’s building, with its curved façade, materiality, and overall concept has been a subject of ridicule since its construction by world-wide architects and London citizens alike. It has a “top heavy form”, which appears to burst upward and out. In this space, a large viewing deck, bar and restaurants are included – however, to citizens on street level, this presents a critical issue. After construction, it was discovered that the sun’s rays shone directly onto the building, acting as a concave mirror – focusing dangerous levels of light onto the streets below (Mardsden, 2013). Being one of the tallest structures in London, along with the curvature on its south façade, 20 Fenchurch Street’s ability to harness the

sun’s beams was, and still is enormous. Located near the River Thames, the financial district of London is at all times a bustling business area occupied throughout day and night by workers, and hundreds of tourists (Allinson, 2006). The streets are always busy with pedestrians and vehicles. Unfortunately, the skyscraper’s “death rays” have hindered this flow of life in the urban fabric; since the heat, and brightness made it nearly impossible to withstand. Additionally, according to city records, the building’s joint developers, Land Securities, and Canary Wharf had “agreed to suspend three parking bays in the area which may be affected…” (Mardsden, 2013). Spot temperature readings at street-level read up to 91 to 117 degrees Celsius (Kasmira, 2013). Damage to parked vehicles and melting bodyworks of shops on street level have been reported due to the reflective beam of sunlight onto the street. Today, a permanent awning is installed on the south side of the higher floors of the tower to diffuse the sun’s rays. The architect Rafael Vinoly, also designed the Vdara hotel in Las Vegas, which is notorious for its similar sunlight reflectivity issues. According to the The Guardian, Vinoly admits to a number of design flaws, but further places the blame on global warming in London – “…When I first came to London years ago, it wasn’t like this…Now you have all these sunny days” (Wainright, 2013). Evidently, 20 Fenchurch Street has a subsequently negative impact on the surrounding urban landscape. Along with perilous solar rays shining down on life below, in 2015, it was reported that the building on 20 Fenchurch Street has had an unexpected impact on


Guardian claims, “It feels bloated, not elegant. It swells towards the top, in celebration of the fact that floor space gets more valuable the higher you go…but these new zones, fortified against tuck bombs by hefty bollards, are not life-enhancing…a straight up building with an arcade would the same thing better” (Moore, 2015). Evidently, the grossed-out nature of this building is a result of London’s preoccupation with iconic buildings, and money driven planning schemes. The headquarters of the Royal Institute of Town Planners stands two streets away. “It’s a daily reminder,” says one employee, “never to let such a planning disaster ever happen again” (Wainwright, 2015). 20 Fenchurch Street’s overall awkward design looms over the city of London, and is afflicting the urban fabric of the city in a detrimental way.


ligh t

Figure 1. Concave facade reflects rays

Figure 2. Fenchurch towers over London

wind strength at street-level. The downdraught from the building’s multi storeys is to blame for the influx of wind gusts (Ward, 2015). Employees at various Fenchurch establishments have reported that shop signs, trolleys, and even fellow pedestrians have been knocked over. One had said, “It has only really been windy since the Walkie-Talkie has been here…ever since they’ve completed it, the wind really picked up” (Ward, 2015). With the above stated, it is clear to see that 20 Fenchurch Street is a case of bad architecture in good urban design. Or more so, it is a bad urban response, resulting in poor architecture. The streets below are full of life, but due to poor architecture, planning and research it has proven to have a significantly adverse impact on the daily routine of life on street level. According to Emily Talen; planners, who are trained to think about how communities function – have ceded their role in urban design to architects – who are only trained to think about how buildings look (Talen, 2009). 20 Fenchurch Street’s architecture has become hostile to London’s urban setting.

community have insisted that being plopped on a site never intended for a tall building, 20 Fenchurch looms “thuggishly” over its low-rise neighbours. The tower was originally proposed to be nearly 200 meters tall, but after several meetings, the design was scaled down due to concerns about its visual impact on neighbouring St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. Even after the height changes, there was a public inquiry, due to the fact that many heritage groups were still concerned about its impact on the surrounding urban area. It is clear to see that even before construction had begun, 20 Fenchurch’s design seemed to have the city of London at ill-ease, surrounded by controversy – not only because of its aesthetics, but also because of its future urban impact in the city’s financial, and historical communities. Furthermore, Vinoly’s building had been voted winner of the Carbuncle Cup in 2015 (worst piece of architecture of the year), for being an eye-sore on London’s skyline, especially in the historical blocks consisting of the old architecture it overshadows (Powell, 2010). The shadows it casts blots out its elegant neighbours. Architectural journalist, Rowan Moore of The

Urban planners throughout the design


Insisting on being an iconic piece of London architecture, 20 Fenchurch boasts a “public” Sky garden – the highest park in the world. Placed on the widest and highest floors, the Sky Garden is seemingly the pure definition of greed. The higher one ascends, the richer and more privileged they must be. Through further analyzation, the Sky Garden is anything but a park – “eateries and boozeries take centre stage, the vegetation being a sort of sub-tropical fuzz at the edges” (Moore, 2015). For a “public” space it is not even accessible to passing by civilians on street-level, and in order to enter this space one must go through airport style security. The tower promised a green space for London’s people to gather and rest, however on opening day this proved wrong. Today, although many still visit the tower, there have been numerous complaints about what was initially promised in the Garden’s plans. For instance, its server is larger th