Architecture + City Form

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Haya Alnibari / Louis Bae / Zahra Bagheri / Charles Bennett / Kevin Bilics / Brandon Bortoluzzi / Elisaveta Boulatova / Chelsea Campbell / Remi Carreiro / Tiffany Cheung / Jaehyung Chun / Alessia Commisso / Ariel Cooke / Ailsa Craigen / Amanda Crisp / Steven De Boyrie / Mark De Souza / Demitri Delean /Kenan Elsasser / Mark Eyk


/ Michael Fik / Ti Fu / Valerie Gershman / Jaspall Gill / Jennifer Grant / Natalie Guerra / Dong Han / Leonardo Ho / Samuel Iun / Lily Jeon / Alireza Kabiri / Hovag Kara-Yacoubian / Naveed Khan / Suk Kim / Caeleigh Kinch / Maksym Komyshenko / Diana Koncan / Cornelia Kong / Yekaterina Korotayeva / David Kotewicz / Rachel Law / Jaiwook Lee / Yupin Li / Gary Luk / / Florence Ma / Michelle Martinez / Michael Mazurkiewicz / Mark Melnichuk / Nathaniel Mendiola / Parastoo Mossannen Mozaffary / Kayla Murrell / Teresa Mytkowski / Mahan Navabi / Carol Nguyen / Negar Pakan / Pritish Pathak / Aris Peci / Nazanin Pourali / Daniel Rosati / John Sirdevan / Kristen Smith / Tommy Surya / Marwa Tawfiqm / Nikolay Tikhovskiy / Minh Tran / Victoria Tsang / Danielle Van Ooteghem / Samuel Vandersluis / Stuart Vaz / Stephanie Wu / Anthony Youssef / Shahrooz Zayandehroodi / Amanda Zuliani

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ISBN 0-1850-2013-0



Cover Photo: NASA. “SS-32 Night time image of Valencia on the Mediterranean coast of Spain.� Photograph. International Space Station. Web. (accessed December 14, 2013




“Cities and landscapes are illustrations of our spiritual and material worth. They not only express our values but give them a tangible reality. They determine the way in which we use or squander our energy, time, and land resources.” –Leon Krier


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


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



















This collection of essays follows the narrative of urban planning and design through explorations in the architecture during four time periods revolving around CIAM. Pre-CIAM architecture preludes the creation of CIAM and gives context to what the members of CIAM were reacting to. Many new advances were made during this period such as the invention of elevators and use of steel, allowing for new expressions in architecture. Buildings were able to achieve greater vertical altitudes which redefined the cityscape and the urban environment. In turn, issues and challenges arose with these structures posing questions for architects and planners alike. The height of CIAM’s popularity coincided with the creation of some of the most iconic buildings in modern architectural history such as the Lever House and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The urban planning influences of CIAM are investigated through these works during the period of 1928 to 1959. The fall of CIAM came about with internal struggle of the members. Different ideologies hindered progress towards a common goal and the group was disbanded in 1960. Following the disintegration came a period of design of a more human scale from 1960 - 1979. CIAM principles were followed less strictly and changed to accommodate for design with more freedom. With 1980 came a contemporary era along with the realization of the unpredictability in urban growth and planning. Contemporary urban planning demands dynamic solutions to the ever-changing challenges of urbanism. Architecture during this period attempts to reconsider CIAM principles and find alternative solutions to mistakes made in the failures of modernism. Each definitive era centered around CIAM demonstrates a new step in the development and approach to the design of the urban world.


n the course of architectural history, few groups have been as influential as CIAM on the practice of planning. As a reaction to the Industrial Revolution and a response to the chaos of the “machinist age”, CIAM’s socialist principles introduced the world to a new era of urban planning. Following a period of rapid population growth, Europe began to undergo urbanization as people migrated to cities. Founded by a group of concerned professionals and led by Le Corbusier, the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne was a means to achieve functional and healthy cities. The impact they made resonates even today. CIAM principles dictated sets of rules which could be rationally and scientifically applied to urban planning. Zoning ideas of “The Functional City” prescribed the separation of different functions in urban life. These new concepts of how a city might be built were declared in documents such as the Charter of Athens in 1933 and came to define modern urban planning.

003 PRE-CIAM 005 AUDITORIUM BUILDING by Kenan Elsässer

011 THE RELIANCE BUILDING by Shahrooz Zayandehroodi


023 THE FLATIRON BUILDING by Samuel Vandersluis

029 CASA MILÀ by Michael Fik

035 THE EQUITABLE BUILDING by Alessia Commisso

041 WOOLWORTH BUILDING by Natalie Guerra

047 LA CITÉ MODERNE by Teresa Mytkowski

053 THE NEW FRANKFURT by Leonardo Ho

059 BARCLAY-VESEY BUILDING by Caeleigh Kinch


073 CIAM 075 HUFEISEN SIEDLUNG by Stephanie Wu

081 ROCKEFELLER CENTER by Charles Bennett

087 ROCKEFELLER CENTER by Amanda Crisp




117 860 - 880 NORTH LAKE SHORE DRIVE by Jaehyung Chun


129 THE LEVER HOUSE by John Sirdevan

135 THE LEVER HOUSE by Rémi Carreiro

141 THE SEAGRAM BUILDING by Marwa Tawfiq


by Carol Nguyen

147 INLAND STEEL BUILDING by Dong kyu (Dennis) Han

153 LAFAYETTE PARK by Mahan Navabi

159 AMSTERDAM ORPHANAGE by Jennifer Grant

167 POST-CIAM 169 MARINA CITY COMPLEX by David Kotewicz

175 FEDERAL CENTER by Daniel Rosati

181 THE WORLD TRADE CENTER by Brandon Bortoluzzi

187 LAKE POINT TOWER by Haya Alnibari


199 COMMERCE COURT WEST by Valerie Gershman

205 JOHN HANCOCK CENTER by Mark Melnichuk

211 JOHN HANCOCK CENTER by Amanda Zuliani




235 CANADIAN BANK OF COMMERCE COURT WEST (CIBC) by Parastoo Mossannen Mozaffary



259 THE POMPIDOU CENTRE by Kristen Smith







by Pritish Pathak


305 THE SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY by Nathaniel Mendiola

311 BIBLIOTHECA ALEXANDRINA by Michael Mazurkiewicz


323 MULTIMEDIA CENTER by Victoria Tsang



343 CENTURY TOWER by Cornelia Kong



361 100 WOZOCO APARTMENTS by Elisaveta Boulatova

369 TATE MODERN by Alireza Kabiri

375 SENDAI MEDIATHEQUE by Michelle Martinez


387 LONDON CITY HALL by Tommy Surya



by Jaiwook Lee

399 MAXXI MUSEUM by Anthony Youssef

by Yekaterina Korotayeva

411 30 ST MARY AXE “THE GHERKIN” by Nazanin Pourali

417 THE HEARST TOWER by Florence Ma

423 41 COOPER SQUARE by Ti Fu

429 DE CITADEL by Nikolay Tikhovskiy


441 DE ROTTERDAM by Steven de Boyrie

447 THE SHARD by Negar Pakan




The Industrial Revolution of the mid-19th century heavily influenced the urban environment. The new manufacturing methods that composed this revolution altered the city both in its form and systematic structure. The city became congested and a place of poor and unsafe living conditions. Developments in technology such as the elevator, artificial lighting and in-door plumbing allowed architects to envision an architecture that attempted to reach for the skies. By the beginning of the 20th century, architecture was growing both in height and surface area. Though many of the revolution’s resultant designs had negative consequences, they would challenge architects and planners to re-develop their principles reshaping the built environment. Prominent modernist architects would later come together to found the Congrès internationaux d’architecture moderne (CIAM). Led by Le Corbusier, the congress would eventually publish the Athens Charter in 1943. This charter would define principles relative to urbanism, architecture and planning. Consequently, CIAM has arguably become one of the major referential milestones in the interchange between architecture and planning. The following body of essays presents an investigation of the dialogue between pre-CIAM large-scale architectural projects and both CIAM and planning principles. As the projects presented preceded the foundation of CIAM, they can be seen as catalysts to the principles exhibited in the Athens Charter. These come from a variety and range of geographical locations, demonstrating the international influence of this revolution in design.

PRE-CIAM 1850-1927

AUDITORIUM BUILDING Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan 1887-1889 Chicago by Kenan Elsässer

Completed in 1889 and designed by architects Dankmar Adler &, Louis Sullivan, Chicago’s Auditorium Building was a part of a revitalization of the business district after the Great Fire of 1871. Designing function before form, Adler and Sullivan’s planning and design of the Auditorium Building foreshadowed concepts of the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) which placed importance on access to sunlight, views within the city, and open public spaces. The Auditorium integrated a theatre surrounded by a hotel, and a 17 story office tower into one structure. Its downtown location on Michigan Avenue, in the Central Business District and bordering Grant Park, was an ideal spot between outdoor open spaces and the dense business district. Neighbouring buildings consisted of offices, commercial buildings, hotel, and theatres, thus harmonizing well with the Auditorium building’s programs and location within the city. The building is an icon of high culture, to be available to all and accessible to the whole community of the business district. Because of proper planning and carefully though design that the Auditorium Building was able to contribute to the physical, social, and political contexts which surrounded it and made it a significant structure in the Pre-CIAM period.


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927


n icon of Chicago architecture, the Auditorium Building is a structure located in the heart of the city’s central business district. Designed by the architectural firm of Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan and completed in 1889, the Auditorium Building was commissioned by developer Ferdinand Peck and the Auditorium Association.1 After the Great Fire of 1871 had destroyed most of Chicago’s downtown including its industrial and commercial core, there began a rapid rebuilding of the city. By the 1880s, the downtown core had undergone an expansion of the central business district.2 with a new corporate landscape that began to gradually modernize the built environment. Prompted by the social challenges and labour unrest facing the city, Ferdinand Peck sought to improve the image of the city and its citizens by creating a large venue that would bring Chicagoans together in a cultural setting.3 A multiuse program was conceived that would combine a hotel, office spaces and a theatre into one building. The addition of the office tower/skyscraper portion of the Auditorium Building was an

Physical Context & Program The Auditorium Building, now Roosevelt University, is located at the north west corner of Michigan Avenue and Congress Street (extending west to Wabash Street) in the southern edge of the business district. The street layout of the business district was based on a grid system, which not only allowed for efficient pedestrian flows and circulation due to its linear paths, but also created square and rectangular shaped lots.7 The majority of buildings on these lots generated their forms as an extrusion of their lot lines which allowed for a maximum building area.

Figure 1 a. Perspective view of Congress Street

b. Solid - Street Wall


early manifestation of The Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) principles, as defined by Corbusier’s “vertical city”.4 The architects also ensured that the specific programs within the building were oriented to take advantage of sunlight, views of the city and green spaces. Sullivan’s statement, form follows function5, as seen in the Auditorium’s three separate programs foreshadows Corbusier’s concepts of dwelling, work and recreation as stated in the Athens Charter, 1933.6

The building heights in Chicago’s business district ranged between seven and ten stories and the buildings covered the entirety of their lot areas. The “bulk” (volume) of these buildings created an increase in population density, heavier traffic and congestion within the area. The repetition of these mid-rise structures created a “street wall” (Figure 1) effect along the west side of Michigan Avenue.8 Program types of business, cultural, and commercial uses, which had already been established in Chicago’s business district, influenced the Auditorium Building’s selection of programs (office tower, theatre hotel and retail spaces). What made the Auditorium Building unique was its mixed-use program – a theatre (4,237 seat), a hotel (400 room), an office block (136 offices), restaurants and a public observation deck, which provided views of the city.9 In deciding on the location of the Auditorium Building, Peck considered three separate sites along Michigan Avenue, but settled on the corner at Congress Street as it was legal and available.10

c. Void - Street View

Figure 2 a. Existing developments (1870)

Social, Political & Planning Contexts The Great Fire, which had destroyed nearly 18,000 buildings in the central business district, and the labour unrest of the 1886 Haymarket riots prompted Peck to help improve not only the reputation of Chicago and its citizens but also revitalize the growth of the business district by building a large public opera and making culture available to all.11 With its performance theatre/concert hall, the Auditorium merged the musical and cultural programs into the community, which attracted similar businesses to this area. This convergence resulted in the creation of Chicago’s Music Row.12 In the 1850’s, the Chicago business district was a dense district with the Chicago and West Michigan Railway running along Michigan St. toward the northern part of the city which brought many visitors and immigrants to Chicago.13 This contributed to the growth of visitors and immigrants which in turn, increased the population density of the business district. To compliment the dense district, the commercial spaces of the Auditorium, such as the hotel lobby, reading room, café and restaurant at the building’s street front not only generated valuable

b. New developments (1870-1885)

c. Auditorium Building development (1887)

Figure 3 Program locations in the Auditorium Building

revenue but also served a social purpose whereby the function of these programs encouraged social interaction. In relation to zoning and building heights, technology and construction methods used during the 1880s determined the height of buildings. At the time, Chicago did not have a formal zoning ordinance; public regulation of land use was adopted in 1923.14 007

PRE-CIAM 1850-1927

CIAM & Planning Influences Foreshadowing Corbusier’s notions of dwelling, work, and recreation, the Auditorium Building incorporated a hotel, which represented a temporary dwelling, an office tower for work, and a theatre as a form of leisure all into a single structure.15 CIAM followed certain principles of the Modern Movement that were already being implemented to some degree, before the inception of the Movement. These ideas placed importance on access to sunlight, views within the city and access to open green space16 and were noticeable in the planning of the Auditorium Building. During the design process for the Auditorium Building, Sullivan oriented the hotel along the building’s east side, the office tower on the west, and the theatre on the north side, nestled behind the hotel and tower. The theatre was placed at the northern most point on the lot as it had no need for sunlight. The offices and hotel rooms, on the other hand, had maximum access to sunlight especially along the southern

face of the building. (Figure 4.a) The theatre’s location blocked it from street noise and its program provided greater privacy. In regards to the orientation of the program within the Auditorium Building, the placement of the hotel along the southern portion of the building face, gave visitors clear views down to the retail spaces along Congress Street (Figure 4.b). In addition, Sullivan’s design of the office tower included a rooftop observation

Figure 5 Office building entrance is on Wabash St. Theatre entrance is on Congress St. Hotel entrance is on Michigan St.


Figure 4 a. The offices and hotel were arranged to have access to sunlight. b. The hotel along Congress St. have views of the retail spaces along the street. c. The observation deck provides views of the city. d. The hotel was located not only along Congress St. but on Michigan St. to provide htoel users with views of Grant Park

deck, which offered users outdoor space and the views of the city. (Figure 4.c) Since the hotel was positioned on Michigan Avenue, all of the hotel spaces along that side had views of Grant Park, a large open public park (Figure 4.d). For circulation purposes and to create a separate identity for each of the three main programs and to connect them to their surrounding contexts, the entrances were located on separate building faces. By locating the hotel’s entrance along the building’s eastern face along Michigan Avenue, hotel users had direct access to Grant Park. In comparison, the entrance to the business offices was situated on the western face of the building along

Wabash Avenue allowing office workers to enter and exit directly from the centre of the business district. Finally, the office tower marked the entrance to the Auditorium with its threshold located at the base of the tower on Congress Street. This entrance took prominence over the other two programs with its monumental tower. (Figure 5) In relation to the surrounding building context, the Auditorium Building shared a similar building height of 10 stories, as the adjacent buildings. Le Corbusier suggested the increase of population density within downtown urban centres by building a city vertically rather than horizontally.17 Adler and Sullivan foreshadowed this notion by exceeding the height limit of skyscrapers if the time and by building a 17 story high office tower, generating an even greater density for the area it held.

relation to physical, social and political contexts around its site have paved the way for future developments to pursue these methods and further develop and improve the city of Chicago.

In Conclusion The Auditorium Building remains as a notable landmark of Chicago, connecting the city’s Central Business District through careful planning, arranging and designing. After the Great Chicago Fire, renewal was in progression and notions of new development for the business district took into consideration access to light, views in the city and open parks and spaces. With forward thinking, the architects of the Auditorium Building built vertically, increasing density while maintaining smooth circulation among program users. I believe that Adler and Sullivan have successfully foreshadowed the planning & design notions of the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne through the Auditorium Building. The careful planning of the building, its design in 009



3.  4.

5.  6.  7.

8.  9.

10.  11.

12.  13.


15.  16.  17.

Siry, Joseph. The Chicago Auditorium Building: Adler and Sullivan’s architecture and the city. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002. : 136 Clague, Mark Allan. Chicago counterpoint: the Audoritum Theater building and the civic imagination. New York: University of Chicago Press, 2002. 230 The Historic American buildings survey. Washington: U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, 1936. : 12 “The Athens Charter.”. (accessed November 2, 2013). Sullivan, Louis H.. The tall office building artistically considered. University of Chicago Press: New York, 1922. : 408 The Athens Charter. Nouv. ed. New York: Grossman, 1973. : 7 Siry, Joseph. The Chicago Auditorium Building: Adler and Sullivan’s architecture and the city. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002. : 126 Sullivan, Louis H.. The tall office building artistically considered. University of Chicago Press: New York, 1922. : 3 Siry, Joseph. The Chicago Auditorium Building: Adler and Sullivan’s architecture and the city. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002. : 23-26 IBID : 127 “Auditorium Theatre: The Creators.”. pages/home/education/chicagos-landmark-stage/the-creators.php (accessed November 3, 2013). Mays, Arthur Beverly. The determining factors in the evolution of the industrial arts in America. Milwaukee: Bruce Pub. Co., 1926. : 489 Harwood, Buie, Bridget May, and Curt Sherman. Architecture and interior design from the 19th century: an integrated history, volume 2. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009. : 539 “The Athens Charter.”. (accessed November 1, 2013). The Athens Charter. Nouv. ed. New York: Grossman, 1973. : 7 IBID : 53-63 IBID : 64-65

FIGURES 1.  Fenestration Textures from: “Roosevelt University -”. (accessed October 25, 2013). 2.  Base image from: “chicago auditorium from HABS - a photo on Flickriver.”. (accessed October 25, 2013). 3.  Base image from: “Great Buildings Drawing - Auditorium Building.”. Auditorium Building. cgi/Auditorium_Building.html/Auditorium_Bldg_Plan.html (accessed October 25, 2013).

PHOTOS 1.  “Exam 1.” Art History 3630 > Hershberger > Flashcards >. http://www. (accessed October 25, 2013).


PRE- CIAM 1850-1927

THE RELIANCE BUILDING Charles B. Atwood of Burnham and Root 1890-1895 Chicago, Illnois by Shahrooz Zayandehroodi

The Reliance building is located on the corner of Washington Street and North State Street in Chicago Illinois. The great fire of 1873 opened the opportunity to redefine the Chicago Loop. Designed by architect John Root of Burnham and Root architectural firm in 1890, the Reliance building was later completed by head designer Charles B. Atwood in 1895 after John Roots sudden death in 1891. With the foundation and base built already, Charles Atwood reimagined the design create a vertical community that shared the values of the Commerical CLub of Chicago planning committee. The principles of modulaity, functionality, and innovative systems foreshaodwed the values embraced by CIAM in the 1930’s. The 16 story skyscraper towered responded to economical, social and cultural issues in Chicago in the 1890s. The terracotta facades hung from the internal structural steel skeleton which was a precursor to the curtain wall systems of the 1950’s-60. This essay will showcase an analysis on the influence of the Reliance building with reference to the anticipation of CIAM including its impacts on urban density, and a new generation of ideas for city planning. 011

PRE-CIAM 1850-1927


he 1890’s was an experimental decade of development and innovation for the city of Chicago. The Great Fire of 1871 encouraged commercial redevelopment with the clearing the majority of downtown loop of homes and stables. The Commercial Club of Chicago was organized in 1877 that included an elite group of successful Chicago businessmen to replan and invest in the local development of the new city. The values of the organization would lead eventually to the documentation of the first official Plan of Chicago in 1909. The influence of this organization would later impact the organization of the International Congresses of Modern Architecture in 1928 lead by Le Corbusier and others. The plan was to implement a blueprint for the future growth and development of the entire Chicago region. The members were interested in combining commercial prosperity of the city and pleasant areas to live and work. In the 1890’s alone, its population increased by 600,000 to a total of 1.7 million people. Investment into the infrastructure was made to adopt the elevated street rail lines to help activate the downtown core and alleviated congestion. Architect Daniel Burnham`s showcase of the World’s Columbian Exposition was held in 1893 to commemorate the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus as well as to celebrate the revitalization of Chicago as a world class city.1 THE RELIANCE BUILDING A great example of architecture that manifested the planning principles of the commercial club of Chicago was the Reliance Building. The 16 story commercial office skyscraper is located at the north-west corner of Washington Avenue and State Street. The project 012

began construction of the first floor in 1890 designed by John Root of Burnham and Roots architecture firm. Due to his sudden death, the completion of the building was done by Burnham’s new partner, Charles B. Atwood in 1895. A small lot was purchased in the core of Chicago by William Ellery Hale with the vision of maximizing profits of a tower. The plan for the Reliance Building was consistent with the growing principles of the Commercial Club and the new Chicago school of architecture, which demonstrated a focus on addressing the function of the building instead of the exterior formal design.2 THE PHYSICAL CONTEXT The city would begin to relocate industries outside the downtown core loop and develop State Street as the commercial hub after the great fire of 1871. The Reliance building was a strong addition to the intersection of Washington and State Street. One of the requirements of the commercial club of Chicago was to promote civic beauty and social unity. Towering over the adjacent 4-5 story buildings along the street, the building became the focal point of the community and a international landmark. At the same time, the club members supported the paving of streets and cleaning of sewage and garbage waste off the streetscapes within the central business district known as the Loop. The vibrant intersection was steps away from the new elevated streetcar transit system, Michigan Boulevard and the Chicago Railway. The corner intersection was conducive to the increase in pedestrian traffic and social interaction within the city. An important principle for the commerical club was to provide adequte retail space on the ground floor. The Reliance building ground floor was

Figure 1 Reliance Building Program Diagram

designed to have large glass windows to illumanit the retail interior onto the sidewalk. The entrance was oriented on both streets to increase the flow of human traffic and interaction among the intersection. Furthermore, the plan associated several stories dedicated to smaller occupants, with larger offices for doctors and other professionals on the top stories. John Welborn Root described the planning process regarding the office arragements in the Reliance building in his book, A Great Architecture Problem.3 How to so arrange the building upon its lot that every foot within it shall be perfectly lighted, and all spaces which would be dark thrown out. This has been found to be in Chicago not more than twenty-four feet, assuming the height of the story to be about eleven, and the window to be placed close to the ceiling, the average street width being assumed. This fact will, of course, dictate in

Figure 2.1 Chicago 1910

general our depth of offices.4 The large glass windows were not only to allow for free natural lighting and ventilation. Chicago was built on a reiver bank that flowed into Lake Michigan. The swampy soil conditions made it not suitable to build with a heavy distrubution of weight on a small piece of land. The project concentrated on reducing the weight of the building by introducing a light steel structure with wider spanned columns to distribute the load evenly. The facade of the building was chosen also to reduce the loads on the soil compostion. The choice to hang thin terrocotta panels off the structure allowed for the building to be cleaned regurally to maintain its light asthetic equality. The building materialty emphasized the the 200 foot height structure while balancing the economic and environmental impacts on the context. 5 SOCIAL-CULTURAL CONTEXT Between 1880 and 1890, the city’s population more than doubled to over a million. Planning became crucial to the survival of Chicago’s economic growth for future generations. The

Figure 2.2 Chicago 1888

planners worried that the quality of life would be lost if not address quickly and businesses would move further west and relocate. When the group of planners organized to develop the plan of Chicago lead by Daniel Burnham, the message of conservation clearly identified the goals of the planning commission.6

Chicago is no longer expansion but conservation, quality rather than quantity of life. Time and again, it declares that a city’s social, cultural, and financial well-being are inseparable.7 The growth in steel manufacturing had a major impact in the increase in population of Chicago. Many Immigrants would travel from around the world to enjoy the prosperity and democratic freedoms that America had to offer. The majority of the immigrant population was from England, Germany and Ireland. Residents demanded to receive better living conditions and the middle class unified against the elite. The diverse ethnic outlooks of Chicago’s immigrant population forced legislation revisions and put pressure on government officials to improve the cities streets. The city

Figure 2.3 Chicago 1877

became organized with more roads which resulted in more intersections for communities to congergate. In terms of construction of the 16 story tower, the steel frame was finished in 12 weeks. A protected scaffolding system was built over the sidewalk to help allivate pedistrain traffic and improve the safety of the public walking under the construction site. The Reliance Building provided economic opportunity for new business from a wide diversity of cultures and religions under one roof. Tenants were allowed up on New Years Day in 1895 after an 8 month speedy construction process. The vast height of the reliance building created a vertical community within the envelope that allowed the opportuntity for new bussiness to grow and succeed. HISTORY OF IDEAS The ideas of Chicago planning and architecture in the 1900’s helped shape the principles that le Corbusier and others would implement in the theories for the modern movement in the 1920s. The Commercial Club’s most striking achievement was its support and publication of Daniel Burnham’s Plan of Chicago (1909). Daniel Burnham developed his famous city beautiful principles to make Chicago the Paris 013

PRE-CIAM 1850-1927

of America. His concept explored wider boulevards, with long promenades that connected significant land landmarks to each other. Having a separation of class, space and function were strong principles for City Beautiful. Even though his plans for Chicago did not become a reality, his theories were further investigated by architects such as Le Corbusier and Mies Van De Rohn. The ideologies of modern densification of architecture, landscaping and urbanism were at the forefront of the development of CIAM. Using architecture as a political, and economic driver, the Reliance building became an antecedent to the 20th century skyscrapers.8 The typology of a skyscraper is the combing balance of economic resources and human needs. In the 1890’s in Chicago, the main focus was how to maximize multiple rental tenants through height and bulk while lighting and structure and improving the commerical growth. The focused construction of the loop with the Reliance building proved to balance the density, bulk and transparancy very successfully. The modern movement is a result of a history of ideas that have evolved over decades and the needs of the world change. Innovation and efficiency were concepts that Daniel Burnham had been focusing on during the construction of the Reliance building. The Reliance building exemplifies themes of modularization, efficiency, densification and optimized natural light. All four themes are relevant when comparing the values of CIAM and the modern movement. The terracotta panels were a response to an environemtal and economic concern that advanced the speed of construction while reducing the weight 014

Figure 3 Typical Floor Shading Diagram

of the structure. The light weight steel frame structure allowed for wider spanning columns which resulted in maximizing the floor plate office areas. The grid was spaced out persicly to allow interior flexiblity in a column free office environment. The innovation of the high speed elevators helped tenants get to their offices fasters and safer than ever before. The elevator core also helped with fire protection to the adjecent buildings on State and Washington Street.9 The terracotta panel system, maximized floor plates, high speed elevators and Chicago windows are elements of the design that have been informed by the context and the planning partners of the commercial club of Chicago. The Reliance building would forshadow the opportunities for skyscrapers in the 20th century moving forward. 10 CONCLUSION The Reliance




appropriate building built during the context of the 1890’s. The innovative approach to the sites density and choice of light materials created a balanced relationship to the surrounding community. At a time of great growth and prosperity, it’s appropriate to look forward in history and anticipate what the context will shape into the future. The designers and planners of Chicago were able to understand the opportunity to implement a new typology to the city and push society forward with great buildings. Under the framework pressures of the 1890’s, the organization of the Reliance building improved the quality of life for the tenants and surrounding community.

NOTES 1.  Cynthia R., Field . The Encyclopedia of Chicago, “Burnham Plan.” Last modified 2005. Accessed October 18, 2013. 2.  Condit, Carl. The chicago school of architecture. Chicago: The university of chicago press, 1964. 3.  Bach, Ira. Chicago on foot. Chicago: j.Philip Ohara inc, 1973. 4.  Commission club -Marie Wirka, Susan . The Encyclopedia of Chicago, “Commercial Club of Chicago.” Last modified 2005. Accessed October 22, 2013. pages/2207.html. 5.  Fazio, Michael, Marian Moffett, and Lawrence Wodehouse. Buildings across Time. London: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2009. 6.  Vincent , L. Michael. The Encyclopedia of Chicago , “Commerical Buildings.” Last modified 2005. Accessed October 21, 2013. http:// 7.  Janice L., Reiff. The Encyclopedia of Chicago, “Chicago’s Social Geography.” Last modified 2005. Accessed October 25, 2013. http:// 8.  Schuzle, Franz, and Kevin Harrington . Chicago`s Famous Buildings. Chicago: The university of chicago press, 2003. 9.  Leslie, Thomas. University of Cambridge, Department of Architecture, “Buildings without Walls’: Curtain Wall Development in Chicago Architecture of the 1890s.” Accessed Novemeber 6th, 2013. http:// 10.  Sinkevitch, Alice. AIA Guide to Chicago. Florida: Harcourt Brace, 1993

FIGURES 1.  The University of Chicago Library, “Before and After the Fire: Chicago in the 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s.” Accessed November 2, 2013. 2.  Chuckman, John. “Earlyfrom skyscrapercity site.” Chicago Nostalgia. CHuckman Photos on Workpress, 12 10 2010. Web. 25 Oct 2013. < photo-chicago-reliance-building-32-n-state-early-from-skyscrapercity-site.jpg>


Lee W, Nelson. INE tours, “VACATION TRAVEL DESTINATIONS.” Accessed November 4, 2013. images/Arch/Reliance_3177.jpg.


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927

THE MONADNOCK BUILDING Burnham & Root and Holabird & Roche 1891 - 1893 Chicago, Illinois by Minh Phat Tran

In 1928, Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) was founded by famous architects of that period of time, changing the architecture world with new principles and understanding known as Modern Movement. Early adaption of architectural projects to new urban designs is shown clearly in the period of Pre-CIAM, from 1850 to 1927. It was when architect started to invent new solutions for existing limits, such as height, coming from current social, political and historical issues. This paper will examine Monadnock Building by Burnham & Root and Holabird & Roche, started in 1891, to show the gradual changes into Modern Movement 6. This office skyscraper consists of two parts; the North half of the building was built with typical techniques of that time, heavy load-bearing masonry, while the South half was built with steel frame construction which became a new technique to construct skyscrapers. During this period, architect realized that by using cast iron, the building can be higher and using spaces are maximized which could be an effective solution for dramatically increasing population and congestions in big cities. This also implies the appearance of new skyscrapers in modern cities. The design of Monadnock Building was said to be too simple and did not have enough ornament. Also, although building going higher was to solve the need in living spaces, they casted massive shadow on street, preventing natural light into the urban public spaces. This is the reason for CIAM to be found and cooperate all new design principles to improve cities urban landscape.


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reCongrès International 1 d’Architecture Moderne (1850 – 1927) was when new concepts in urban planning ,such as having height restriction and setback, begin and it clearly shows how the cities were gradually changed, especially Chicago1. Development of industrialization led to appearance of new building typologies such as skyscrapers which causes vibrant changes to urban environment. CIAM focuses on how architecture improved human living conditions and contribute to urban planning in many aspects, which were economic, political and historical. INTRODUCTION Pre-CIAM was the period about how all urban design issues changed the way cities operate were took into consideration and directed to decisions of CIAM. Monadnock Building was designed by Burnham & Root and Holabird & Roche and became one of tallest commercial building in Chicago at that time. It locates at 53 Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois and contained two parts, which were built at different time. North side of the building

Figure 2. Monadnock Building Elevation 1


was finished in 1891 followed by the south half of the building finished in 1896. The building cost in $2.5 million2. North part of the building was first proposed with neoclassical style with ornamented windows; however, it was rejected by the owners, Peter Brooks, since it did not fit the commercial purpose of the building. The north part of the building was a stone and brick structure joining with steel structure of the south part. Monadnock building was the first building using steel frame construction, a new application that gave new freedom in building height. It was one of the examples showing current building height limit in Chicago. Overall, Monadnock building has become of the significant Chicago landmark. The idea of having the building at such location is to spread over the wealthy of Chicago financial district to surrounding area, especially to the South. It was the tallest and unique to draw people from more dense area to underdeveloped South Chicago. Design principles of Chicago office spaces focused on the simplicity of building form was to express the economic power of a financial high-rise3; Monadnock was an obvious example. One of CIAM design

principles was height restriction but Monadnock Building rejected it and more concentrated on financial aspect. MONADNOCK BUILDING While Monadnock building project was still on paper and discussed, its site was underdeveloped in term of building density4. After the Chicago Great Fire, people focused on rebuilding Chicago’s business district5 which was at the far North of Monadnock building. Most of important buildings concentrated at Chicago’s business district. However, the surrounding area of Monadnock building was nothing but one storey huts and warehouses. Poverty and sanitary were the main problem in this area because of tremendous increase in population. During 1800s, population of Chicago rapidly increased because modern city attractions such as restaurants and other services and Chicago became one of the largest cities of that time. Poor people moved to Chicago and they lived in bad living conditions causing social problems such as diseases, poor sanitary and pollution. As a result, people thought that it would be unreasonable to build the building at such location. However, Chicago did not focus on urban planning to solve these issues until Daniel Burnham’s City Beautiful Movement proposal for Chicago. A long with industrial revolution and expansion of downtown area, transportation of Chicago also improved. There were railroads and subway so that people could commute from suburban areas. The streets were paved as the bicycles appeared on the street and these modern transportations started to replace horses or horse carts. The essential of housings and residential spaces in Chicago, along with industrial revolution, led to appearance of first

Figure 3. Context changes 1898 and 2013

skyscrapers. After the fire, Chicago construction material was mostly bricks and stone for fire safety building codes so it is understandable why Monadnock was built with stone and bricks6. CONTEXT

Chicago Population Growth 1,800,000 1,600,000

The result of Monadnock building become a skyscraper was that it located on a narrow lot but its owner was very ambitious about its economical profits. After the Chicago Great Fire, downtown Chicago area was powerfully invested to rebuild its business district because they realized about the needs of residential and services spaces in downtown Chicago after the disaster7. The building was first questioned by Peter Brooks about its financial potential because of its location, south of Chicago business district, was underdeveloped8. Nevertheless, Root realized that the wealthy from business district would soon expand to the south and north because it was limited by Chicago River on the west and railroad system on the east. People concentrated living along Chicago River and main streets. Until the surrounding was bloomed with new buildings and Peter Brooks was pleased with the design, Monadnock building was official built to have 16 storeys used as a commercial building. The building preliminary design had 12 storeys

1,400,000 1,200,000 1,000,000 800,000 600,000 400,000 200,000 0 1850




Figure 4. Population Growth in Chicago during Pre-CIAM period

because of Chicago’s height limit, which is 133 meters8. Root proved that the brick building could be built higher for more rental spaces and the proposal of 16 storeys was quickly approved by the city. Monadnock building was example showing the adaption of construction industry to new technology. Steel frame construction was used to build the South part of the building. The North

part did not have any ornament details not because it would cost more money but Peter Brooks wanted the building to have more sense of modernity and simplicity of a commercial high-rise.


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927

According to Le Corbusier’s ideas during CIAM period, industrial Revolution caused chaos to American cities urbanism and Chicago planning was the proof for this idea9. Foremost, Chicago swiftly development and appearance of rural communities in downtown area caused weakening in living conditions. When the population became too dense, especially with immigrants and poor class, it is hard to maintain the hygienic of the city. People produced untreated waste. Streets were always filled with people and vehicles causing air pollution. Circulation around cities was created by local communities without any regulation and traffic control from the city. After the Great Fire, Chicago was planned into grids based on land surveys system and more focused on transportation than circulation. This method created unwanted paths such as alleys where all rural communities were and all crimes took place. Chicago lacked of safety that a modern city should have. These issues were discussed in CIAM to come up a principle for modern cities that a city should have walkable streets for habitants. Habitants should feel safe when they participated. CHICAGO URBAN PLANNING AND ZONING ISSUES The goals of CIAM were to bring down building height, unify cities landscape and make building more related to cities habitants. In Chicago during Pre-CIAM, overly concentrated density demanded high supply in office spaces and housings that were the reason for appearance of skyscrapers in downtown Chicago. When high-rise goes up, it prevented ground level spaces from having natural lights. It made the Chicago streets became so 020

gloomy and the skyline of Chicago downtown become chaos with many different heights. Consequently, Chicago enforced regulations to building height of 10 storeys to create a unity for the urban landscape. However, high demand for living spaces was unsolved and economical profits in the society were still the priority. CIAM design principles were the balance between economical, social and historical aspects11. Wealthy of a city should go along with the urban and landscape beauty. Monadnock building was an illustration that building could exceed the height limit. The proposal for 16-storey commmerical building was accepted with ease by Chicago10. Chicago also regulated setback of buildings to urban landscape. However, Monadnock building was not concerned with building setback because the site was still underdeveloped and the main purpose was the maximization the economical profit. That is to says, in Pre-CIAM period, regulations in urban planning was not taken seriously. It seems that new buildings

Figure 5. Monadnock Current Location and Surrounding Context

in Chicago downtown in this period was built based on individual profit of buildings themselves, not in a large scale consideration to cities urbanism. Therefore, as one of the architects designed early Chicago skyscrapers , Daniel Burnham proposed City Beautiful Movement to have redesign current conditions of the cities. CONCLUSION

political aspect and its architecture was lacked of historical and urban planning values. Grid street network lead to social issues. Monadnock building has minimal ornament and simplicity in its design as first steps in modern architecture era. It also shows the adaption of architecture design to the growth industrial industry. In conclusion, Monadnock building only succeed in economical goal of CIAM that leads to more problems in the Chicago society.

From Monadnock building, it can be seen that this period was the pre-amble of CIAM period. It reflected issues that modern cities were experiencing from strong growth of industrialization and infrastructure. Although cities started to have regulations about zoning and setback, there were insignificant changes. Moreover, City Beautification is not only about cities’ urban landscape but also about its wealthy. However, Chicago only focused on financial and

Figure 6. Simplified Chicago Grid Planning

Figure 7. Chicago Planning Based on CIAM Design Principles, City Beautiful Movement


NOTES 2.  “Chicago in the 1890s.” Chicago in the 1890s. http://www.lib.uchicago. edu/e/collections/maps/chi1890/ (accessed October 25, 2013). 3.  “DePaul University Center for Urban Education.” DePaul University Center for Urban Education. (accessed October 24, 2013). 4.  Domhardt, K. S. (2012). The garden city idea in the CIAM discourse on urbanism: A path to comprehensive planning.Planning Perspectives: PP, 27(2), 173-197. doi: 5.  Hoffmann, D. (1967). John root’s monadnock building. American Society of Architectural Historians.Journal, 26(4), 269-277. Retrieved from docview/55803229?accountid=13631 6.  Keohan, T. G. (1989). Preserving historic office building corridors: The monadnock building, chicago, illinois. Preservation Tech Notes, (-8), 8. Retrieved from 7.  “Monadnock Building/Location.” Monadnock Building/Location. http:// (accessed October 25, 2013). 8.  Randall, Frank A.. History of the development of building construction in Chicago. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1949. 9.  “The Chicago Fire of 1871 and the ‘Great Rebuilding’.” - National Geographic Education. (accessed October 25, 2013). 10.  “The Great Chicago Fire and its Influence on Urban Thought.” Resonating Education Experience. the-great-chicago-fire-and-its-influence-on-urban-thought/ (accessed October 25, 2013). 11.  “modernist architecture A Database of Modernist Architectural Theory.” modernist architecture A Database of Modernist Architectural Theory. (accessed October 24, 2013). 12.  “the Commission on Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmarks.” the Commission on Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmarks. (accessed October 25, 2103).

FIGURES AND PHOTOS 4.  “Monadnock Building Images.” Monadnock Building Images. http://2. (accessed November 11, 2013). 5.  “Monadnock Building/Location.” Monadnock Building/Location. http:// (accessed October 25, 2013). 6.  Minh Phat Tran 7.  Minh Phat Tran 8.  “Google Maps.” Google Maps.,0,14155991577389203540&ei=SC59UvPxNKLAyAHUmIHoCw&ved=0CJoBEPwS (accessed November 8, 2013). 9.  Minh Phat Tran 10.  “The Wall Street Journal.” The Wall Street Journal. (accessed November 8, 2013).


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927

THE FLATIRON BUILDING Daniel Burnham 1901-1902 New York City by Samuel Vandersluis

The Flatiron Building in Manhattan, New York was an immensely influential building in its time, and was the catalyst in the rebuilding of the Flatiron District in Manhattan. At the time of its construction the area of Broadway and Fifth Avenue was a high class shopping district, but was overrun by unwanted industrial tenants. The Flatiron Building was zoned to have expensive retail stores on the main floor and exclusive office units on every other floor, and marked a boundary for encroaching industrialists. It serves as a landmark at the beginning of the shopping district, and set the standard for the renowned Fifth Avenue strip. The dense office spaces exhibit CIAM values with the optimized natural lighting, density and economic floor plan. The Flatiron Building was an economic machine at the time, and brought new business into the area. CIAM principles states that a dense urban form should be accompanied by adjacent open space and good means of circulation, which justifies the bold footprint of the building. The building is structured to be a vast extrusion from two main boulevards, and has access and views out to Madison Square. The streamlined form of the Flatiron building was a result of the innovative iron form, and the elegance of the building inspired a new typology of skyscrapers in Manhattan.


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927


t the site of the intersection between two of the most prominent thoroughfares in Manhattan, Broadway and Fifth Avenue, a small triangular site south of Madison Square Garden garnered high real-estate interest and value. When the site was put up for sale in 1901, many developers and real-estate companies such as the Fuller Company sought to buy the attractive piece of real-estate.1 The Fuller Company was named after George Fuller, an architect who conceptualized the modern steel structured skyscraper. He created his legacy in 1882 as a construction management company, and hired architects such as Daniel Burnham to work for him.2 At the time of his death (1900) his company was handed to his son-in-law, Harry Black. He bought the triangular site for 2 million dollars, an unprecedented amount for a site of that size, and ordered the construction of the Fuller Company headquarters on the site.3 The design was commissioned to Daniel Burnham, who from 1901-1902 designed and built a modern BeauxArts style skyscraper as an allusion to his City Beautiful Movement ideas. The building was a modern innovation due to the bold economic form that allowed for high density offices spaces with exposure to natural light, ventilation, and views to the Manhattan skyline. It was a modern machine that incorporated Fullers notions of steel skyscraper structure to create an economical solution in a commercially intense area of New York. SITE CONDITIONS The district around Madison Square Garden throughout the nineteenth century attracted hotels, high-end retail stores and rich customers.4 Fifth Avenue was named “The Ladies Mile”, and was 024

the commercial center of Manhattan at the time. Madison Square Garden was a very popular park and arguably “the epicenter”5 of the dense, quickly growing area. However a shift in building use began to occur towards the end of the century. Old residential buildings were demolished, and new lofts that took up the maximum site footprint were built in their stead. Because the manufacturing district was so successful at the time, “the area was changing into a wholesale manufacturing districtclothing manufacturers and sweatshops occupied the hundreds of lofts on the street side”.6 High-end stores began to move uptown as the manufacturing district in New York encroached upon the area. The site was now a conglomeration of mixed use, and attracted a wide variety of users.7 Although the site sustained high pedestrian and vehicular traffic along Broadway, Fifth Avenue and Madison Square Park, it was no longer the grandiose shopping district of the past, but rather another district overrun by unwanted crowding. Burnham recognized the potential to “boost the neighbourhood back to its former splendour”,8 and designed a mixed use building with retail on the first floor and offices on the remaining

Figure 1 The relative density and height of the surrounding buildings at the time the Flatiron Building was constructed

Figure 2 Solid void diagram of the surrounding site in 1889

21 floors. The building tied into the shopping district with the retail on the first floor, and the economically planned office spaces were in high demand due to the location to the manufacturing district, retail, and strong transportation connections.

urbanism should be a response to the economic and social revolution of the city machine, and the Flatiron building was a response to the shifting economy of Manhattan, although in CIAM theory it was a limited response to the social environment of the city at the time.

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONTEXT CIAM: DENSITY At the time the Flatiron Building The Flatiron Building was one of the was constructed, Manhattan was densest buildings in Manhattan at the in the midst of a large construction time it was built, and set the pace for boom. Developers would buy land and skyscraper construction of the future. develop buildings that could generate CIAM principles state that the density Figure 3 The Flatiron Building was built with large amounts of capital, and would of a city core is important for a modern repetitive offices around the core, which watch as the property value of the site city, and the density of Manhattan was resulted in good daylighting and ventilation grew.9 The attitude of the downtown a “point of reference for Le Corbusier’s area was to build for economy at the ville Contempoire”.13 However, as many expense of social ideals. Buildings areas of Manhattan failed to address, were developed with minimal setback, the high density must be combined and the advent of steel structure meant with parks and nature to create better that high density could be achieved living conditions. In the case of the on any site. There were no zoning Flatiron Building the adjacent Madison regulations prior to 1916 in New York, Square Park provides the building with which meant that setbacks, height close proximity to nature, and justifies restrictions and land use were left to the density and bulk of the project. the client and architect to decide.10 The density of the Flatiron Building The architecture team for the Flatiron was modeled closely by subsequent Building only had to submit a building Manhattan skyscrapers, and became permit to New York City Hall, and in turn what CIAM intended, “a better society the municipal government approved for all”.14 The building was Beaux Arts the permit after which the building due to the heavily ornamented facade, could be constructed.11 Because the site was so expensive, the Fuller Company wanted to see a return on investment quickly, and did so by planning the building as efficiently as possible, while still attempting to fit into the quickly changing site. The shifting city would have benefitted from zoning in the area to stem the growth of different sectors and stop the movement of the shopping district uptown. The site at the time experienced a “virtually insatiable demand for offices and retail space”,12 which justified the 21 stories of office space. CIAM states that Figure 4 Solid void diagram of the site as it exists today 025

PRE-CIAM 1850-1927

however CIAM states that “capitalist Beaux-Arts buildings hindered social reorganization”.15 The building was essentially a mix of architectural languages: it was advancement to society due to its density and economy, but a hindrance in terms of its political order and Beaux Arts facade. CIAM: ECONOMY Upon the completion of the building in 1902, the office and retail spaces were immediately inhabited. The building was successful, and the community reaction towards the interesting slim, triangular form was favourable.16 This shows the importance of a buildings location and how it responds to sites conditions economically and socially. The connection to transportation and the park definitely benefitted the building, which is a reference to CIAM ideas concerning a cities efficiency and density in relation to nature. The buildings area still received critique from CIAM advocates, namely Le Corbusier. Le Corbusier stated that he opposed the “bristling skyline and density of Manhattan to the calm and spacious openness of his City of 3 Million”,17 which shows that the architecture of filling individual plot footprints with a building that seems out of context is an undesirable CIAM social approach to building bulk and density in the city. The Flatiron Building gave little consideration to its neighbours, and would have been a favourable proposal in a less dense site, but the capitalist response in the area was critiqued. CIAM: POLITY AND SOCIETY The capitalist approach of the developers of the Flatiron Building was an attitude shared by the entire city, but in the end was the main reason congestion and living conditions 026

reached such a low in Manhattan. Buildings failed to relate to a human scale and any traces of nature were left out of the city, which by CIAM standards are a failure in city planning.18 The Flatiron Buildings main success was the mixed use development that helped rejuvenate the site and mark a new beginning to the Ladies Mile, yet its density and bulk in relation to the surrounding context was overwhelming and only contributed to the undesirable living conditions in the area. It is the role of a designer to “choose between two tendencies, to extend or contract the city.”19 By taking a capitalist approach and extending the city in already overly dense part of the city, the project failed to respond socially and politically in the area. However, community response to the building was positive and the building was a catalyst in rebuilding the Flatiron District rather than degrading it.20 There are many different things that made the Flatiron Building unique, and the attitude of Manhattan was to love the idea of the potential of the modern skyscraper. As Rem Koolhaas states in his Manifesto for New York, there are

Figure 5 The economic layout of the Flatiron Buildings floorplan.

“three major breakthroughs coexisting on Madison Square: the multiplication of the Flatiron, the lighthouse of the Metropolitan, and the island of Madison Square Garden”.21 Although the building failed to exhibit key CIAM ideas, because of the nature of its surroundings it was still widely accepted as a social catalyst, an exhibition of new possibilities, and a point of reference for future Manhattan skyscrapers.

This illustrates the unique attitude on Manhattan as a city that thrives off of economy and close proximity, and the theory of efficiency behind the Flatiron Building instigated the subsequent built nature of New York, and was a precursor to CIAM’s conception of skyscrapers in the Functional City.

CONCLUSION The Flatiron Building did end up rebuilding the area to its former grandiose, and relates to the context of its surroundings successfully in many different ways. The downtown area at the time was dense, and the added density of the Flatiron Building added to congestion and was against CIAM ideas, however it exhibits the type of vertical density that Le Corbusier strives for in his abstraction of the Contemporary City. The economic layout and form of the building was an innovation that inspired, and the exposure to natural light and ventilation was a CIAM ideal that made the building highly desirable. In this rare but fortunate instance, the economic footprint and sheer height of the tower resulted in a very elegant and streamlined skyscraper which became a noticeable and loved landmark in Manhattan. This in turn illustrated the importance of a buildings presence and intrusion to a site in relation to its users, an idea that the capitalist developers of Manhattan continuously compromised. The relation of the building to the park and transportation in terms of its mixed use was a successful idea that preceded CIAM ideas of mixed use development. The capitalist structure and Beaux-Arts styling did not hinder the social order as CIAM dictates it should, but rather benefits the area. 027

NOTES 1.  Alexiou, Alice Sparberg. The Flatiron: the New York landmark and the incomparable city that arose with it. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2010. 2.  Ibid 3.  Ibid 4.  Ibid 5.  Gray, Christopher, and Suzanne Braley. New York streetscapes: tales of Manhattan’s significant buildings and landmarks. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2003. 6.  Alexiou, Alice Sparberg. The Flatiron: the New York landmark and the incomparable city that arose with it. 25 7.  Ibid 40 8.  Stern, Robert A. M., Gregory Gilmartin, and John Montague Massengale. New York 1900: metropolitan architecture and urbanism, 1890-1915. New York: Rizzoli, 1983. 166 9.  Alexiou, Alice Sparberg. The Flatiron: the New York landmark and the incomparable city that arose with it. 41 10.  Ibid 11.  Ibid 12.  Ward, David, and Olivier Zunz. The Landscape of modernity: essays on New York City, 1900-1940. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1992. 13.  Stern, Robert A. M., Gregory Gilmartin, and John Montague Massengale. New York 1900: metropolitan architecture and urbanism. 307 14.  Mumford, Eric. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000. 20 15.  Ibid 21 16.  Alexiou, Alice Sparberg. The Flatiron: the New York landmark and the incomparable city that arose with it. 17.  Dunnett, James. “The City Without Streets.” Le Corbusier and the City Without Streets. (accessed October 12, 2013). 9 18.  Mumford, Eric. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000. 19.  Ibid 79 20.  Nash, Eric P., and Norman McGrath. Manhattan skyscrapers. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. 21.  Koolhaas, Rem. Delirious New York: a retroactive manifesto for Manhattan. New ed. New York: Monacelli Press, 1994. 79

PHOTOS 1.  Koeller, Kris. “The Flatiron Building.” Manhattan, New York. September 14, 2012.


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927

CASA MILÀ Antoni Gaudí 1906–1912 Barcelona, Spain by Michael Fik

Ildefons Cerda’s 1859 plan of Barcelona’s Eixample district focused on the expansion of the old town following the demolition of Barcelona’s enclosing walls. The plan responded to the surging population, unhygienic living conditions, and the need for economical residences. The plan is composed of thoroughfares and residential blocks, configured in a manner that permits visual corridors, ventilation, circulation through the streets, while promoting health and commerce through the integration of gardens and shops. The economic growth, due to the thriving construction sector, in combination with the Catalan Renaissance of the 19th century that saw the revival of Catalonian art and culture, prepared Barcelona for Antoni Gaudi’s Catalonian masterwork of 1910. Gaudi’s Casa Milà conforms to Cerda’s plan but distinguishes itself in the homogeneous district as an architectural solution of a multi-family residence that is both a solution as well as an exploration of the principles of light, ventilation and permeability, principles that are prevalent throughout the urban context. Gaudi’s success can be attributed to the several methods with which the building references the social history, the religious history, and physical context of Barcelona, through architectural expression. Casa Milà, as an integral component of Cerda’s plan, was an early indicator of the possibility of effective urban planning. The realization of Barcelona as a functioning yet aesthetically captivating major European city preceded and greatly influenced the ideas that were to emerge out of CIAM.


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ntoni Gaudi’s Casa Mila is a Catalonian masterwork – and it is as appropriate as an architectural project in Barcelona as it is iconic. Although Gaudi was a deeply devout Catholic, Casa Mila was a secular project (in fact, his last secular project) and it resonates numerous conflicts and circumstances of the context of early 20th century Barcelona. Following the War of Spanish Succession, the Nueva Planta decrees of the early 16th century condemned Catalonian culture and prohibited the people of Spain from practising Catalonian language, culture and traditions. This cultural suppression continued up until the Renaixenca (Catalan Renaissance) of the 19th century during which the Catalonian language, traditions, and ideologies were restored and flourished 1. Casa Mila embodied the spirit of Renaixenca 2 and was commissioned by the wealthy developer Pedro Mila and his wife, Rosario Segimón Artells who wanted a low-rise multi-family residential building to which they can occupy the ground floor and rent out the remainder of the building 3, as was standard in the residential district of Barcelona

Figure 1 Barcelon’s Eixample District by Air


in accordance with Ildefons Cerda’s 1858 plan, which Casa Mila conformed with. Gaudi also demonstrated his loyalty to Catalonian culture through the use of Catalonian limestone and employment of local craft and trade traditions. Furthermore, Barcelona’s vibrating coastline, Mediterranean light and shadow, as well as the landscape of the sea’s cliffs are referenced in Casa Mila’s form, materiality and tectonics 4. Casa Mila remained true to the Modernista style that was dominant in Barcelona. The building was constructed from 1906-1910 and the period saw substantial architectural development and a distinct definition of Barcelona’s distinct residential quarter, to which Casa Mila contributed 5 . Although Casa Mila was part of the movement that greatly influenced the ideas that were to emerge out of CIAM, Gaudi demonstrated that a building can effectively respond to a neighbourhood’s context and conform to a city’s master plan while being completely original and provoking.

PHYSICAL CONTEXT In 1858, the Catalonian civil engineer, Ildefons Cerda, formulated a comprehensive urban plan that shaped Barcelona. Cerda’s Plan of Barcelona’s Eixample district – translating to expansion – followed the demolition of Barcelona’s defense walls and was an expansion of the old town. It was a response to a surging population, unhygienic living conditions, and the need for economical residences. The plan consists of primarily wide, open thoroughfares, equipped with sewers and services, arranged in a uniform grid of 110m square blocks, and are diagonally intersected. The blocks have chamfered corners to allow wider angles at intersections for light, ventilation and ease of transport. The blocks incorporate garden courtyards, low-rise, multi-family residential buildings, with occasional shops and offices 6, 7. Casa Mila was constructed in Barcelona’s residential quarter, occupies 1,325m2 of the southwest corner of Calle de Provenza and looks onto the Paseo de Gracia. It is a block south of Avinguda Diagonal, the principal traffic avenue that bisects Barcelona. With the exception of Calle de Provenza, traffic flows both ways on all the surrounding streets. The broad sidewalks provided ample space for heavy pedestrian circulation, and the neighbourhood became desirable locations for merchants, due to the high traffic levels 8. By 1897, “Barcelona became a flourishiBy 1897, Barcelona became a flourishing industrialized city with clear, distinct residential districts clearly separated from areas dedicated to trade, leisure and industrial production 9. The city followed the gridiron with a network of varying street types. The building itself is an extrapolation of the principles of light, ventilation and permeability, principles

Figure 2 Zoning Diagram of the Eixample District ca. 1891

that are prevalent throughout the urban context. The two courtyards provide light and natural ventilation through the building down to the ground floor. Corridors and staircases are situated around the light wells and these spaces are common to the residences. The entire ground floor was originally the flat of the Milas, whereas twenty units for rent occupied the remaining four floors. An attic floor served as a common utility space and the roof acted (and still acts) as a sculptural architectural feature with several sculptures incorporated onto the roof 10, 11. SOCIAL, POLITICAL, CULTURAL AND PLANNING CONTEXTS Civil Engineer, Ildefons Cerda was hired by the Spanish Ministry of Development to develop a plan for Barcelona to address the poor living conditions of the 1850s that saw a population density of 890 people per hectare (2,200 people per acre) 12 and a population that was growing. He formulated a new type of city that was based around buildings for dwellings that were tall, multi-family, ventilated, exposed to sunlight, and had easy access to thoroughfares and public spaces 12. With the revival of Catalonian Culture during the Renaixenca, came an increase in agricultural production,

Figure 3 Cerda’s Plan.

commercial and economic stability, a significant increase in construction and the growth of industry. The growing labour force coincided with an increasing middle class which demanded sufficient neighbourhoods to live in. By the end of the 1880s the population had stabilized and Cerda’s scheme for the new neighbourhood of the Eixample, in which Casa Mila is located, was beginning to be recognized. Furthermore, the Modernista style was becoming popular as it became associated with the idea of progressing towards the

future 13 and the revival of Catalonian art and culture, prepared Barcelona for Gaudi’s Casa Mila. The building was appropriately designed as a six-storey, multi-family dwelling in residentially zoned neighbourhood, in accordance with Cerda’s Plan. However, the project was halted because it exceed the maximum allowable lot coverage of 70% and permitted height of 22m but after the owners payed a 10,000 peseta fine to argue the matter, Casa Mila was certified as a monument and was not strictly bound to municipal laws. The 031

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permit was issued in July of 1910 and the project was completed by October of 1912 14, 15. CASA MILA, CERDA’S PLAN & CIAM Casa Mila, in agreement with Cerda’s Plan, preceded the formulation of the 1943 guidelines of CIAM’s Athens Charter by several decades. In fact, Barcelona was one of the 33 cities that were observed during the studies 16. The project as a part of the whole of Barcelona undoubtedly influenced the concepts that were to emerge out of CIAM. The strength of Cerda’s plan emerges from the use of a regular, orthogonal, grid as a means of creating streets and residential blocks with openings to create a network of circulation. Furthermore, the sums of multiple blocks consolidate to make distinguishable districts of residential, business and recreational uses 17. In the Eixample, regular blocks were implemented around the city’s existing core. Dwelling units occupy most of the city, with parks and public spaces implemented in strategic locations, as well as the courtyards of some of the blocks. The workplace was separated from the blocks to the north of the city with the industrial district where factories were situated as well as within the blocks with markers and shops. This organization coincides with the Le Corbusier approach to urbanism in the Athens Charter: “77 The keys to urbanism are to be found in the four functions: inhabiting, working, recreation (in leisure time), and circulation.” 18 Cerda’s Plan also addressed the problems of traffic, overcrowding, and unsanitary living conditions that were prevalent in the 1850s. The growing population and increasing density associated with it resulted in a city where the majority of people were crammed 032

Figure 4 Figure Ground Plan of 1891 Barcelona

into six-storey building that faced onto narrow 4-8m streets that lacked order. Daily life was made tedious with congestion, confusion and poor hygiene. The new plan saw the ratio of streets double, increase the standard width to 20m, share road use between carriages and pedestrians, and integrate utility distribution networks within the streets (water, sewer etc.). Furthermore, the proposed underground railway system realized the possibilities of technology in linking the expansion of the city that was six times larger than the existing city 19. Although Cerda was responding to traffic off carriages and people and Le Corbusier proposed a separation of pedestrian and vehicular circulation and had total disregard for existing neighbourhoods, Cerda’s approach, for the most part, concurs with Le Corbusier: “80 The new mechanical speeds have thrown the urban milieu into confusion, introducing constant danger, causing traffic congestion and paralyzing communications, and

jeopardizing hygiene” 20. Cerda’s Plan originally permitted the construction of buildings with a maximum height of 18m and a lot coverage of 50%. The plan was first was amended to allow for 70% lot coverage in 1865 and a maximum height of 22m in 1891 21. Originally the plan suggested a larger allocation of open park spaces but it was amended after Cerda’s death to allow for more buildings. Nonetheless, the consistent height established a framework across the city. Not only did this height regulation unify the aesthetics and typology of the city, but in conjunction with the design of the block, it significantly contributed to dispersing the density of the existing city into the expansion. Furthermore, height was used to establish a typology of entrances and passages, in fulfilling the objective of permeability. Blocks utilize several variations of the passage including the door, arch, corridor, fracture and respond to the topography with rises and falls within the passages 22.

Cerda and Gaudi used the dimension of height to frame the open spaces around Casa Mila and subsequently reduced the impacts of density and congestion. Similarly, Le Corbusier acknowledged the importance of height: “82 Urbanism is a three-dimensional, not a twodimensional, science. Introducing the element of height will solve the problems of modern traffic and leisure by utilizing the open spaces thus created” 23. Finally, Cerda and Gaudi’s ideal of using the dwelling as a starting point for design also coincided with Le Corbusier’s guidelines of CIAM. In Eixample, each 100x100m block is designed for two-rows of multi-family housing overlooking the street or the inner courtyard. The street acts as the public realm where as the interior court allows for more privacy. The blocks permit for the buildings to receive sun, daylight, ventilation, a view of the street, and overall healthy living conditions 24. Casa Mila improves upon the intention of healthy living conditions with the implementation of an 8-shaped floor plate and 2 interior courtyards within the building. Dwelling units receive light

Figure 5 Figure Ground Plan of 1933 Barcelona

and ventilation from the windows on the exterior perimeter of the building, where as the corridors and public spaces receive it from the light wells from the courtyards 25. Each district (10 x 10 blocks) had a park at either end, so the nearest park was within less than a kilometre from any given dwelling units. Although Le Corbusier was opposed to mixed-use development, the integration of shops and restaurants within the blocks in Cerda’s Plan allows for proximity to employment 26. The combination of these elements would surely influence Le Corbusier in his observations of Barcelona and in the Athens Charter he would reinforce them in his conclusions of CIAM: “89 With this dwelling unit as the starting point, relationships within the urban space will be established between habitation, work places, and the facilities set aside for leisure” 27. CONCLUSION Casa Mila is a triumph of modernism that along with the rest of Antoni Gaudi’s Catalonian masterworks, contributes to the vibrant atmosphere of Barcelona’s

Eixample district and the city’s international status as an architecturally diverse and complex urban landscape. Gaudi’s success can be attributed to the several methods with which the building references the social and cultural history of Catalonia through architectural expression. As an integral component of Ildefons Cerda’s plan, Casa Mila was an early indicator of the possibility of monumental architecture in response to urban planning. The building fits in with urban scheme yet separates itself from the homogeneous district as an exceptional architectural solution of a multi-family residence. The 19th century saw Barcelona overcome poor living conditions with the use of urban planning. The economic prosperity brought forth by the industrialization of Barcelona saw a revival in Catalonian Culture which allowed Gaudi ultimate architectural freedom in delivering this project. Barcelona and Cerda’s Plans were studied when Le Corbusier was formulated the concepts of CIAM. It is apparent that he was influenced by the organization of the city based on function, the need to minimize congestion and poor living conditions with a functional network of streets, the need to effectively use the third dimension of height, and need to begin the urban design process by resolving the dwelling unit in relation to the work and recreational areas of the city, that are characteristics of Barcelona. The city was a functioning yet aesthetically captivating major European city that greatly influenced the ideas that were to emerge out of CIAM. Casa Mila is most definitely appropriate to Cerda’s Plan and in addition to being visually captivating and historically significant to Catalonian culture, the project is also a testament to the urban context of early 20th century Barcelona. 033

NOTES 22.  Encyclopedia of 20th Century Architecture: Volume 2, A-F, s.v. Casa Milá. 23.  Eusebi Casanelles, Antonio Gaudi: A Reappraisal (London: Studio Vista, 1967), 79. 24.  Encyclopedia of 20th Century Architecture: Volume 2, A-F, s.v. Casa Milá. 25.  Jeremy Roe, Gaudi: Architect and Artist (London: Parkstone, 2006), 100. 26.  Encyclopedia of 20th Century Architecture: Volume 2, A-F, s.v. Casa Milá. 27.  Feran Sagarra, Ildefons Cerdà. Barcelona city design and public health (Barcelona: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, 2011). 28.  Government of Catalonia, Cerda – English (Barcelona: Spain, 2008). 29.  Teresa M. Sala, Barcelona 1900 (N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2008), 12-13. 30.  Mirela Freixa and Joan Molet, Barcelona 1900 (N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2008), 76. 31.  Jeremy Roe, Gaudi: Architect and Artist (London: Parkstone, 2006), 102. 32.  Eusebi Casanelles, Antonio Gaudi: A Reappraisal (London: Studio Vista, 1967), 80, 81. 33.  Government of Catalonia, Cerda – English (Barcelona: Spain, 2008). 34.  Mirela Freixa and Joan Molet, Barcelona 1900 (N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2008), 76-82. 35.  La Pedrera Educaio, Chronology of La Pedrera (1906-2006), (Barcelona: Spain, 2008) 36.  - Walking through Cerdà’s plan. (2012). 37.  Le Corbusier, Athens Charter (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973). 38.  - Walking through Cerdà’s plan. (2012). 39.  Le Corbusier, Athens Charter (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973). 40.  Government of Catalonia, Cerda – English (Barcelona: Spain, 2008). 41.  Le Corbusier, Athens Charter (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973). 42.  - Walking through Cerdà’s plan. (2012). 43.  Ibid. 44.  Le Corbusier, Athens Charter (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973). 45.  Government of Catalonia, Cerda – English (Barcelona: Spain, 2008). 46.  Eusebi Casanelles, Antonio Gaudi: A Reappraisal (London: Studio Vista, 1967), 80. 47.  Government of Catalonia, Cerda – English (Barcelona: Spain, 2008). 48.  Le Corbusier, Athens Charter (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973).

FIGURES 11.  Alhzeiia. “Barcelona’s Eixample District by Air.” Flickr, 2007. 12.  CCCB & Diputació Barcelona. “Bylaw evolution from 1863 to 1986.” In Cerdà and the Barcelona of the future. Gencat, 2012. Documents/Arxius/doc_38235229_1.pdf 13.  Cerda, Ildefons. “Original Design for Barcelona’s Eixample and Port, 1859”, In Barcelona 1900. (N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2008), 16. 14.  Michael Fik. “Figure Ground Plan of 1891 Barcelona”. Based on: CCCB & Diputació Barcelona.“Barcelona, 1891, the Extension.” 2013. 15.  Michael Fik. “Figure Ground Plan of 1933 Barcelona”. Based on: CCCB & Diputació Barcelona.“The Eixample Already Consolidated in 1933.” 2013.

PHOTOS 1.  Blogspot. Casa Mila, Gaudi - Barcelona.


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927

THE EQUITABLE BUILDING Ernest R. Graham of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White 1912 - 1915 New York City by Alessia Commisso

The Equitable Building by Ernest R. Graham is a strong representation of a man’s desire to build “tall” and was at the forefront of innovation for its time. It stood 38 storeys tall and was comprised of 1.2 million square feet of rentable space. The building’s materiality – gray granite, glass, and iron – as well as its ornamentation, ground level promenade and massing paid homage to the original building, which was destroyed by a fire in 1912. Due to its bulk, Graham pulled in two sections of the building to allow for the penetration of light, creating an H-shaped massing. However, not only was the building a major cause of the introduction of the 1916 Zoning Resolution but it also helped shaped the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) ideas of a Functional City. Despite the controversial nature of the building, it stands as an icon, strongly representative of the era in which it was built. Consequently, what was once an unmistakable skyscraper in the 1915 Manhattan skyline now stands in relative height with the modern skyscrapers of today.


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927


t the beginning of the 20th century, New York City was undergoing many changes. The city was expanding, buildings were getting taller, and there was little regulation to guide the shaping of the city. A devastating fire in 1912 destroyed the original Equitable Building, which opened its doors in 1870. Standing at seven stories tall and constructed from a lightweight and fireproof steel frame, it housed the city’s first public elevators and was considered the first skyscraper. Ernest R. Graham began his career at Burnham and Root in Chicago as a draftsman. He assisted in both the 1893 World Columbian Exposition and the 1909 plan of Chicago. When Daniel Burnham passed in 1912, he took the initiative and founded the successor firm Burnham, Anderson, Probst & White. Louis Horowitz, assistant to Thomas Coleman du Pont, contacted Ernest Graham to design the new Equitable Building for the Equitable Life Assurance Society and construction began mid 1914. The building was commissioned for $10 million by Thomas Coleman du Pont who became the sole financier.1 The

president of the Equitable Life Assurance Society wanted a monumental building. Looking for the most profitable solution, they decided to build the largest building that would fit on the site. The design emphasized stature and solidity by adapting the Beaux-Arts planning principles.2 CONTEXT The Equitable Building covers an entire city block. Spanning from Cedar Street to the north and Pine Street to the south, and Broadway to the West to Nassau Street to the east, the building has a footprint of almost an acre. The building stands 38 storeys tall and is comprised of 1.2 million square feet of rentable space. Its materiality – gray granite, glass, and iron – as well as its ornamentation and ground level promenade pay homage to the original building. Connecting the building’s two main entrances, off of Broadway and Nassau Streets, is a main corridor, which also acts as a promenade. This corridor helped minimize the effects of the building on pedestrian circulation around the site. The exterior of the building is clad in light gray granite, and

Figure 1 Manhattan Skyline - building bulk comparison


is inspired by neo-classical architecture. This is evident in the Corinthian pilasters, carved granite fruit swags, eagles and relieving cornices. With a flat roof and no setbacks, the building’s massing has a strong impact on the streetscape.3 Graham designed an immense building and the public was not enthusiastic. In fear that the building would block light from adjacent buildings, the public proposed two new plans – one which included a public park and the other which subdivided the site – however; these options did not make it past the proposal stage.4 With new building technologies allowing for the construction of taller and bulkier buildings, the Equitable Building became a prime example for the danger of unregulated development. The planning of the building was easily accepted due to the lack of zoning regulations – up until this point, a code only existed to govern the height of residential buildings.5 However, the building contributed to the introduction of the 1916 Zoning Resolution because its lack of setbacks caused it to completely block light to some buildings and cast permanent shadows on others. The Equitable Building was the last skyscraper to be built before the introduction of building resolutions.6 1916 ZONING RESOLUTION Where as most buildings are designed in conjunction with a city’s official plan and regulations, the Equitable Building helped lay the foundation for the planning and zoning process in New York City. With the rise of taller residential buildings in the later part of the 19th century, New Yorkers began to protest the loss of light and air at street level. This resulted in the Tenement House Act of 1901, which introduced a


height restriction on buildings. New York was well on its way to becoming the financial centre of the country and this demanded more office space. Casting a seven-acre shadow on the city, the erection of the Equitable Building proved there was a need for control of building heights and forms. This resulted in the nation’s first comprehensive zoning resolution. The 1916 Zoning Resolution was a simple document, which helped allow light and air to penetrate to the streets. It not only established restrictions on height and setbacks but also designated residential zones. It led to the construction of the iconic point towers we see today and it came to define the city’s business districts. The zoning resolution was constantly being amended to account for large changes in both the population and land use which was caused by immigration waves, the introduction of mass transit routes, government housing and development programs, and most importantly the advancement of technology – resulting in new building techniques and a spike in automobile usage.7 This Zoning Resolution became a model for other urban communities around the United


Figure 2 Zoning boundaries as of 1914 in New York City

20 stories or more

10 to 19 stories

Under 10 stories

Figure 3 Surroungding Building Heights


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927

States who seemed to be facing similar issues. RELATIONSHIP TO CIAM

The Equitable Building was constructed thirteen years before the first CIAM movement in 1928. Although it was not shaped by the principles expressed by the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne, it played an important role in the formation of them. Similarly to many of the buildings of the era, the Equitable Building lacked the connection between building and man. It pushed the boundaries of what was possible and its size and finishes gave the feeling of grandeur to both its users and passersby. Its controversial nature sparked many conversations over whether the project was appropriate or not. It pushed architects and planners to rethink their existing strategies and to strengthen the ones being planned. Not only did it help shape the CIAM’s principles for a functional city but it also informed the 1943 Charter of Athens. CHARTER OF ATHENS Two such principles that the Equitable Building informed are tenets 82 and 87. Principle 82 in the Charter of Athens states, “Town planning is a three-dimensional science, not a twodimensional one. By introducing the element of height it will become possible to solve the problems of modern traffic and of leisure, through utilizing the free spaces thus created.”8 It is expressed that successful city planning incorporates sufficient space, sun, and ventilation. This tenet relates to the floor space ratio – by increasing the height of a building and decreasing its footprint, its density can be maintained. A smaller building footprint allows for more public green space and less congestion. The height and bulk of the Equitable 038

Figure 4 Building Setbacks The diagram on the left shows the massing of the Equitable Building as it was built. The diagram on the right shows the what the massing of the Equitable Building would have had to have been if the Zoning Resolution was put in place before its construction. Setbacks greatly affect the massing of a building.

Building helped inform this principle by demonstrating the negative planning effects such an immense massing has on its surroundings. Principle 87 states, “For the architect concerned with the tasks of town planning all measurements must be based on the human scale.”9 The Equitable Building “exploited its site as no building had before”.10 For purely economic reasons, it was built straight up from the extents of its boundaries. Not only did it cast shadows on all the surrounding buildings, but it also completely ignored the human scale the building shows no relation to man.11

CONCLUSION The Equitable Building is a strong representation of a man’s desire to build “tall”. It was at the forefront of innovation and helped shape the CIAM’s principles for a functional city. Ernest R. Graham designed a remarkable building that still provokes intense conversation when asked if the project was conceived and built appropriately. From an economic and aesthetic standpoint, the building was extremely successful. It strongly affected the social and political contexts of New York City. However, it sacrificed its relation to the street with its lack

of setbacks and monolithic massing. In an era with little means of building regulations, it pushed the pre-existing limits set by its neighbours. The building was regarded to have a negative impact on its surroundings, however it led to the improvement of the city and many more to follow.

Figure 5 7acre shadow cast by The Equitable Building


NOTES 1.  Korom, Joseph J.. The American skyscraper, 1850-1940: a celebration of height. Boston: Branden Books, 2008. 2.  Santoro, Lisa. “The Equitable Building and the Birth of NYC Zoning Laws.” Curbed New York, March 15, 2013. archives/2013/03/15/the_equitable_building_and_the_birth_of_nyc_ zoning_law.php (accessed October 22, 2013) 3.  Korom, Joseph J.. The American skyscraper, 1850-1940: a celebration of height. Boston: Branden Books, 2008. 4.  Chappell, Sally A. Kitt. “A Reconsideration of the Equitable Building in New York.” JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIANS 49, no. 1 (1990): 90-95. 5.  Stern, Robert A. M., Gregory Gilmartin, and John Montague Massengale. New York 1900: metropolitan architecture and urbanism, 1890-1915. New York: Rizzoli, 1983. 6.  “New York Scrapers – Additional Info I.” New York Skyscrapers – Additional Info I. (accessed October 22, 2013). 7.  “Zoning - New York City Department of City Planning.” Zoning - New York City Department of City Planning. subcats/zoning.shtml (accessed October 20, 2013). 8.  MacBurnie, Ian. “Urbanization, Regulation & Design: Part 1.” Class lecture, PLX 599 - The Human World from Ryerson University, Toronto, September 11, 2013. 9.  Ibid. 10.  White, Norval. A.I.A. guide to New York City. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968. Print. 11.  MacBurnie, Ian. “Urbanization, Regulation & Design: Part 1.” Class lecture, PLX 599 - The Human World from Ryerson University, Toronto, September 11, 2013.

FIGURES 16.  Detroit Publishing Company. New York circa 1915. http://www.shorpy. com/node/12949. (accessed October 18, 2013) 17.  Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. “Postmodernization, or the Informatization of Production.” In Empire, 280-303. Cambridge, Harvey, David. “Modernity and Modernism.” In The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change, 10-38. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1990. 18.  Zoning, Manhattan 1914. before-woolworth-early-towers-of-lower.html (accessed October 20, 2013). 19.  Equitable Builidng New York. Lobos/Article.php. (accessed October 18, 2013) 20.  Map taken from Scholars Geoportal. (accessed November 22, 2013)

PHOTOS 1.  Equitable Building (King’s View of New York). 2010. photos/nycdreamin/4527741483/. (accessed October 18, 2013)


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927

WOOLWORTH BUILDING Cass Gilbert 1913 New York City by Natalie Guerra

Designed by architect Cass Gilbert in 1913 New York City, the Woolworth Building is considered one of the most renowned commercial skyscrapers to date. The structure, which was the tallest in the world upon completion, became a model for both economic and architectural success for skyscrapers constructed during the building boom following World War I. Tall office buildings were generally uncommon before the mid-1920’s, allowing the Woolworth Building to influence many developments that would eventually transform the city of New York. The skyscraper integrates modern principles with elements such as ornamentation that are characteristic of the neo-Gothic style, helping to formulate the ideas that would later develop throughout the CIAM era. Factors of zoning and building setbacks had little to no impact on the design process of the steel skyscraper, as Gilbert’s primary focus was on responding to the client’s desire for a powerful structure which would surpass any other of it’s time. Major changes to the plan were altered only to increase its overall height, and to occupy the entire site in order to maximize economic success, frontage along Broadway, and proper proportions with the remainder of the building. This paper will provide an in-depth analysis on the influence of the Woolworth Building with reference to CIAM and 20th century urban developments, including an exploration of New York before and after the structure was introduced.


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927


uilt in 1913 New York City, the Woolworth Building designed by architect Cass Gilbert is considered one of the most significant commercial skyscrapers to date. Constructed for the headquarters of client Frank Woolworth’s renowned business corporation, the building is a symbol of monumental success for both the client and architect. The Woolworth Building is considered to be one of the earliest influences on skyscraper developments, which were relatively uncommon until the mid-1920’s. The building is ‘the most successfully realized structure of the eclectic era’, incorporating historical elements with new, modern principles that ‘seemingly anticipate the setback designs of the Art Deco skyscrapers’.1 These historical elements include ornamentation and gargoyles characteristic of the neoGothic style, integrated with modern aspects such as height and structure that helped influence the development of CIAM ideas. Evidently, ‘the Gothic style of architecture influenced early skyscraper architects such as Gilbert, because it was the only historicist style that emphasized height and verticality’.2 Attention to these aspects also

Singer Building 187m

New York 1908

New York 1913

Figure 1 Comparative analysis of height


PROJECT DETAILS Located in the heart of Manhattan, the Woolworth Building stands over 240 meters tall between Park Place and Barclay Street, across the western side of Broadway Avenue. The building maximizes area on site in order to benefit both economically and proportionally with the monumental height of the tower above. Located directly across Broadway is City Hall Park, allowing pedestrians to enjoy full, unobstructed views of the building as they approach the site. Traffic along Park Place moves in either direction, while Broadway and Barclay are both one-way streets.

Woolworth Building 241m

Metropolitan Life Tower 213m

New York 1909

influenced the use of a steel structure for the project, a modern integration that would allow the building to rise to new proportions as the tallest in the world. These progressions significantly advanced the project to effectively reflect Woolworth’s corporate empire, succeeding both architecturally and economically. The Woolworth Building was a unique response to 20th century urban developments, helping to influence the architecture and planning of New York together with the introduction of CIAM ideas.

Bank of Manhattan Building 283m

New York 1930

Chrysler Building 319m

New York 1930

Broadway Avenue is the main point of access into the building, and is a busier street with a greater flow of cars and pedestrians, complete with a bus stop located on site. ‘Woolworth saw commercial potential in the site to allow the building to act as an advertisement of the greatness of his company, with endless possibilities to produce income’.3 The corporate headquarters of the F. W. Woolworth Company occupied only 1.5 floors of the 57 total upon completion, and the remainder of the skyscraper was rented out to other commercial occupants to capitalize on the opportunity for economic return achievable through rentable space. While a building of this size and level of detail can be considered unnecessary for the company headquarters, it was designed as a representation of the client himself and of his corporate empire. The lobby is considered ‘one of the most spectacular publicly accessible spaces in New York, and is a luxurious space richly decorated to reflect the several major corporations that had a presence within the building’.4 Woolworth wanted to achieve monumental success through a monumental structure, ultimately developing the Woolworth Building as a reflection of his personal achievements. PLANNING CONTEXTS It is evident that the Woolworth Building was the successful model for skyscrapers that would develop in the building boom following World War I. Location of the site is a major contribution to the overall success of the building, as the adjacent park space allows ‘the building’s entire bulk, not just it’s upper portions, to be visible and appreciated from a distance’.5 The skyscraper was intended to be the tallest in the world, as Gilbert was not subjected to building

M1-5 M1-5

C6-1 C6-1

C6-4 C6-4 M2-3 M2-3

C6-4 C6-4 C5-3 C5-3

C6-6 C6-6



Figure 2, Figure 3

by-laws that typically limit architects to certain setbacks or height restrictions. Instead, the Woolworth Building was a response to the client’s desires for a practical, economic office tower that would have a commanding presence across the city. ‘The monumental size of the building demanded and received unprecedented treatment to both the interior and exterior elements, resulting from Gilbert’s convictions regarding the proper approach to public spaces’.6 The massive base of the structure occupies the entire site across Broadway Avenue, while the narrower tower above sets back from Park Place and Barclay Street as it progresses upwards. The first zoning regulations were introduced approximately three years after completion with the 1916 Zoning Ordinance, allowing the Woolworth Building to influence the development of these new guidelines. Implemented across New York, ‘it imposed height and setback limits, distinguished between residential and industrial districts, and ultimately prevented large scale buildings from blocking natural sunlight to adjacent properties’.7 These by-laws regulated developments and skyscraper construction across the city, resulting in a functional and effective urban environment. The structure is an effective response to existing urban

Zoning boundaries in New York 1916 & 1961

C6-3A C6-4


C6-4 C5-3 C6-2A

R8 C6-9


Figure 4 Current zoning boundaries

conditions, having a significant impact on the development of skyscrapers and modern ideas. CIAM LM While early office buildings were limited in height to a maximum of six stories, advances in technology and innovation have since allowed for many new significant opportunities. The progression of the skyscraper can be

attributed to ‘the development C5-3 of steelcage construction, the perfection of the elevator, and increasing land costs’.8 The Woolworth Building took on the image of the New York C6-9 skyscraper, inspiring a series of principles that would be followed by later developments. ‘The historically inspired style of the building would eventually be abandoned and replaced with the International Style of architecture based on new 043

IA PRE-CIAM 1850-1927 MU





































functionalist and modernist Building was constructed yearstheories’, before though it’s modern elements would the 1928 introduction of CIAM principles, remain prevalent.9 These theories were set in motion by Le to Corbusier and organization’s approach architecture other CIAM architects, who aimed to and planning. transform the urban environment into a unified whole. Although the Woolworth HISTORICAL VERSUS MODERN Building was constructed years before CIAM realized the potential for a the 1928 introduction of CIAM revolutionary skyscraper city, principles, drawing it is believed to approaches have influenced the upon the design of early organization’s approach to architecture and planning. these ideas. The Woolworth Building is considered one of the most successful HISTORICAL VERSUS MODERN early skyscrapers from social, economic, realized the potential and CIAM technical standpoints, allowing for it toa revolutionary city, drawing be a model for skyscraper the concepts that CIAM upon thewanted designtoapproaches of early architects express through this office towers and further expanding movement. The building ‘represented the upon these The styles Woolworth fascination with ideas. the historical that Building is considered one architecture of the most marked American commercial successful early skyscrapers from social, in the early 1900s, but it also pointed economic, and technical standpoints, towards the skyscraper cities that would allowing it second to be half a of model for the emerge in the the century’ .10 concepts that CIAM architects wanted The historical elements of the Woolworth to express through The Building relate to itsthisneo-Gothic building ‘represented the fascination of architecture complete with heavy with the and historical styles that marked sculpture ornamentation, while the American commercial architecture in the modern elements relate to the building’s early 1900s, but it alsoand pointed towards in height, steel structure, advances the skyscraper cities that would emerge building techniques. Le Corbusier was one 10 themain second half ofresponsible the century’. The ofinthe architects for the historical elementsto of the Woolworth shift from historical modern, believing Building relate to its neo-Gothic style of architecture complete with heavy sculpture and ornamentation, while the modern elements relate to the building’s PLANNING PRINCIPLES height, steel structure, While the design of and the advances Woolworthin building techniques. Le Corbusier was Building was free from any regulations one of the main architects responsible when considering the site and for the shiftcontext, from historical to modern, surrounding it is evident that believing that these new principles would reflect a more effective approach principles relative to CIAM. It is believed to city planning. that ‘the CIAM model of the masterplanned city represents the ultimate PLANNING PRINCIPLES expression of modernist, future-oriented While the design of the Woolworth planning’, taking into consideration the Building was free from any regulations development of skyscrapers as one 044

















when considering siteof and of the most important the aspects the 11 surrounding it is evidentBuilding that the American city.context, The Woolworth exemplified planning isbuilding a powerful structureseveral that underwent principles relative to CIAM. It is several stages of development believed in order that ‘the the CIAM model of the to achieve client’s desires on amastersocial, planned city the scale. ultimate economic, andrepresents technological It expression of modernist, future-oriented planning’,intaking into consideration the building the world, decorated using development of skyscrapers as one luxurious materials, and an innovative of the most important the structural system that aspects would ofbring 11 American city. Woolworth Building skyscrapers into The a new light. ‘Structural is a powerful underwent advances meantstructure that withthat relatively thin several stages of development in order walls and an increase in overall height, achieve the client’s desires a social, atoproperty developer mightongenerate economic, and technological scale. It was specifically planned to be the tallest expensive real estate’ .12 Woolworth and building in the world, decorated using Gilbert designed the Woolworth Building luxurious materials, and an innovative as a successful integration between old structural system that would and new ideas, serving as a transition bring from skyscrapers into ainto new alight. historical theories new,‘Structural modern advances meant that with relatively thin style of architecture. walls and an increase in overall height, a property developer might generate INFLUENCE OF SITE maximum profit from a small area of The Woolworth Building was developed very expensive real estate’.12 Woolworth along one of the busiest streets in New and Gilbert designed the Woolworth York City, across the street from a largeBuilding as a successful integration scale park. The site location at a prime

Figure55Present-day Present-daycontext context surrounding Figure surrounding the Woolworth Woolworth Building. Building. The Thesite siteisislocated located the between Park Place and Barclay Street, between Park Place and Barclay Street, along Broadway BroadwayAvenue. Avenue.Across Across Broadway along Broadway CityHall HallPark, Park,aapublic publicgreen greenspace space isis City with significant pedestrian traffic. Existing Existing structures nearby are primarily high rise structures nearby are primarily high rise commercial towers. commercial towers.


area of lower Manhattan allowsserving for a between old and new ideas, as a transition from historical theories that able to experience the building into aare new, modern style of architecture.

architecture responded existing People werethat becoming ‘moretothan just urban conditions, while progressing observers; they had become active forward andin setting a social, new level of participants a modern spatial, standards for future developments. and visual dynamic which involved the urban surroundings in complex ways’.14 CONCLUSION The site and surrounding context were Designed by architect Casssuccess Gilbert significant factors in the overall in 1913, the Woolworth Building was of the building, an aspect emphasized throughout CIAM principles. Relative City thedevelopments. The skyscraper to Woolworth Building, CIAM achieved monumental success as the introduced new approaches to planning tallest building in the that world at the time and architecture responded of completion, setting an example for to existing urban conditions, while future developments across the country. progressing forward and setting Woolworth a‘The new level of Building’s standardscontradictory for future architectural hybrid of Gothic ornamental developments. features and technologically advanced steel-framed engineering calls attention CONCLUSION to Designed the advances of the modern urban by architect Cass Gilbert 15 experience’ . The skyscraper brings in 1913, the Woolworth Building was a contribution sequence to of New elements atogether significant York that emphasize old and ideas, a City developments. Thenew skyscraper WA similar to success characteristic that developed achieved monumental as the RR EN by thebuilding CIAM organization The tallest inST the worldinat1928. the time DW AY AV E














visitors that allowed Woolworth to see the INFLUENCE OF SITE commercial potential of Building the skyscraper’s The Woolworth was location an inevitable means of developedas along one of the busiest advertisement for York his business’ .13 The park streets in New City, across the allows building street visitors from aapproaching large-scale the park. The to a clear of area the of structure sitehave location at aview prime lower from top to allows bottom,foran aopportunity Manhattan constant often unachievable streamconsidered of traffic and pedestrianswithin that the dense, congested the streets of the are able to experience building in city. People were becoming ‘more than its entirety. ‘It was this constant flow just observers; had become active of visitors thatthey allowed Woolworth to participants in a modern social, of spatial, see the commercial potential the and visual dynamic involved the skyscraper’s locationwhich as an inevitable urban in complexforways’ .14 means surroundings of advertisement his 13 The site and surrounding context were business’. The park allows visitors approaching the building to have of the building, aspect emphasized a clear view ofanMthe structure from UR RA Y throughout CIAM principles. Relative to top to bottom, an opportunity often ST the Woolworth Building, CIAM introduced considered unachievable within the new to planning and dense,approaches congested streets of the city.



Woolworth Building wasananexample appropriate of completion, setting for modeldevelopments of early 20th century architecture, future across the country. ‘The Woolworth Building’s contradictory socially, economically, technologically architectural hybrid of and Gothic ornamental through new Although it was features and innovations. technologically advanced constructed engineering before zoning steel-framed callsregulations attention were the city, the to theimplemented advances of across the modern urban experience’.15 The skyscraper brings conditions aaided in the development of together sequence of elements the 1916 Zoning Ordinance. It is therefore that emphasize old and new ideas, a evident that the impact thedeveloped Woolworth characteristic similar toofthat Building together with the introduction by the CIAM organization in 1928. The of CIAM principles driven Woolworth Buildinghas wasultimately an appropriate America into a new, modernistic style of model of early 20th century architecture, architecture. influencing future skyscrapers to succeed socially, economically, and technologically through new innovations. Although it was constructed before zoning regulations were implemented across the city, the influence of the structure on existing conditions aided in the development of the 1916 Zoning Ordinance. It is therefore evident that the impact of the Woolworth Building together with the introduction of CIAM principles has ultimately driven America into a new, modernistic style of architecture.

































Figure77Physical Physicalcontext contextbefore before construction the Woolworth Building Figure construction ofof the Woolworth Building


NOTES 1.  Nash, Eric P., and Norman McGrath. Manhattan Skyscrapers. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. 2.  Ibid. 3.  Sutton, Philip, and Stephen A. Schwarzman. The Woolworth Building: The Cathedral of Commerce. April 22, 2013. blog/2013/04/22/woolworth-building-cathedral-commerce (accessed November 22, 2013). 4.  Dolkart, Andrew S. “The Architecture and Development of New York City.” Columbia University. 2003. http://nycarchitecture.columbia. edu/0242_2/0242_2_fulltext.pdf (accessed October 24, 2013). 5.  Landmarks Preservation Commission. “Woolworth Building.” Neighborhood Preservation Center. April 12, 1983. (accessed September 13, 2013). 6.  “Woolworth Building - Designation List 164.” Landmarks Preservation Committee. April 12, 1983. (accessed November 22, 2013). 7.  Young, Michelle. Untapped Cities. July 12, 2011. http://untappedcities. com/2011/12/07/how-zoning-shaped-the-new-york-skyline/ (accessed October 24, 2013). 8.  Landmarks Preservation Commission. “Woolworth Building.” Neighborhood Preservation Center. April 12, 1983. (accessed September 13, 2013). 9.  Ibid. 10.  Fenske, Gail. The Skyscraper and the City: The Woolworth Building and the Making of Modern New York. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2008. 11.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960. Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000. 12.  Sutton, Philip, and Stephen A. Schwarzman. The Woolworth Building: The Cathedral of Commerce. April 22, 2013. blog/2013/04/22/woolworth-building-cathedral-commerce (accessed November 22, 2013). 13.  Ibid. 14.  Fenske, Gail. The Skyscraper and the City: The Woolworth Building and the Making of Modern New York. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2008. 15.  Ibid.

FIGURES 21.  Based on: SkyscraperPage. (accessed November 22, 2013). 22.  Based on: Use District Map Section No. 12. March 6, 2008. http:// (accessed October 24, 2013). 23.  Based on: “Zoning Maps and Resolution.” City Planning Commission The City of New York. 1961. (accessed November 08, 2013). 24.  Based on: The New York Planning Commission. Zoning Map. 2013. (accessed October 24, 2013). 25.  Based on: Google Maps. n.d. (accessed November 08, 2013). 26.  Based on: Lower Manhattan Residential Buildings. 2011. Use District Map Section No. 12. March 6, 2008. nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=1770296&imageid=1637981&total=1&e=w (accessed October 24, 2013). (accessed October 24, 2913).

PHOTOS 1.  Woolworth Building. August 21, 2006. File:WoolworthBuilding.JPG (accessed October 24, 2013).


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927

LA CITÉ MODERNE Victor Bourgeois (architecte), Louis Van der Swaelmen (landscape) 1922-1925 Sinte Agatha-Berchem, Belgique by Teresa Mytkowski

Cité Moderne was constructed in 1922 in Sinte Agathe-Berchem, a district in Brussels, Belgium. Preceding the industrial revolution in Europe, there was a shift in urban planning from Medieval congestion leading into the modern era. In Belgium there was already a radio-central focused urban plan where all access roads led back to the countries core, its capital. It followed Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City, where the center was more populated and the outer core was zoned in quarters for Industrial, Civic, Agriculture, Commerce, etc. Sinte Agathe-Berchem was zoned as the industrial quarter and held factories and living quarters for the working class. At the time housing was spread in congested quarters and left unsanitary for living. La Cité Moderne came during a time where change was welcomed. It was conceptualized as a place to give a sense of solidarity to its citizens. Co-op social housing was given to solve the housing issues and inclusivity to Belgians. The Architect Victor Bourgeois shared in ideals of modernism that were social, functional, and hygienic with the intention of creating salubrious living. Before the birth of CIAM, this project was one of the preambles considered to be in the new modern style for public housing. It reinforced urban planning principles of radio central and spatial planning of Garden City. The architecture is avante-garde cubist style with minimal ornamentation that allowed for standardization of materials and an economically affordable design. The housing aesthetics changed along with the changing urban landscape. La Cité moderne exemplifies the new generation of housing for the working class, and new ideals for city planning that became precedence reviewed by the CIAM organization.


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927


ité Moderne is social housing designed in the Northwest side of Belgium, for the municipality of Sinte Agathe-Berchem. The structure and complex planning encapsulates the social changes happening all over Europe at the time of conception. With new technologies and cities changing towards a new modern world, there was a sudden shift in the way urbanity was planned. For the first time urban planning became a subject with meticulous study. Before Europe and America became introduced to CIAM, and the theories of LeCorbusier, the Architect Victor Bourgeois explored new technoology, styles in International Style or ‘de Stijl’. Cité Moderne initiated the development of affordable housing, standardization, organization of streets and functional city. UNDER THE REIGN OF KING LÉOPOLD II (1850-1909)’ To understand how Cité Moderne

Figure 1 Concentration of Population Growth in Bruxelles from 1850 to 1930. Used in V.Bourgeois presentation in 1933 CIAM II.


foundations’ came to lay in Sinte Agatha-Berchem, it is first to understand the roots of Brussels. The soil beyond recants a story of a country that is an agglomeration of cultures, established as the three regions of Wallonia, Brussels and Flanders. Among these are three linguistic communities of Flemish, German, and French. The capital Brussels has been the center for centuries due to peasants setting up living close to royalty. The city grew, population swelling from its core. The urban planning has been influenced by spatial planning from the Netherlands and the principles of Garden city, preponderantly following radio-central planning. During the late 1800s, under the rule of Léopold II, who aimed to preserve 7,500 ha (including 1,000 ha of public gardens) in the capital. The king devised goals for city planning of Brussels and the surrounding districts1 : 1. Cleaning up of the poor areas in the centre and improving communications between the poor and the upper districts of the city. 2. Construction of large access roads between the city and the surrounding countryside to allow the harmonious development of the outskirts. 3. Protection of landscapes and the creation of a belt of parks around Brussels. 4. Contributing to the prestige of the capital and its royal functions by building or enlarging public buildings. Hence King Léopold began the early intentions of city planning in response to urban sprawl. Sinte Agatha-Berchem belonged to the Industrial quarters of Belgium (see figure 2). Industrial revolution began in Brussels earlier than most countries on the continent because of its prime location to trade textiles,

brick and tile with its neighbouring countries. In effect, it developed “wild housing” or ‘anti-urban’ attitude where workers suddenly developed their own living dwellings in deplorable conditions anywhere without authority. In effect, there was no sanitation and urban congestion began to threaten the health and self preservation of the Elite (Catholic and Liberals) in two ways: Health with reported cholera outbreaks in 1832, 1845, and 1866, and second the threat of secularization, social unrest and rebellion2. To keep the remaining population docile and working, “The 1889 law prevented the construction of large quarters for workers and fostered the dispersal of the working class….. Support [was given to working class] by giving social loans linked to savings, housing became a matter of individual initiative and do-it-yourself implementation” (De Decker 1996). Laws had to be put into action to regain control once more in the outskirt lands of Belgium. First roads were connected with a central gravitation towards Brussels giving access, King Leopold’s third goal. The next was to spread population in low density dwellings for healthier environments and compliant citizens. By giving Belgians housing to own for themselves kept them from migrating and stabilize the countryside. In scattering them the Reign avoided uprising but created dispersed implantation of dwellings called ‘ribbon development’. The country side was now beginning to take shape as part of the countries’ overall fabric which produced more work and needs for housing. THE CATALYST OF WAR It is recorded that prior to the Great War of 1914-1918 the population of the municipality was at 3,5003 and

general economy was low. These years produced depression, and vituperative attitudes towards living conditions. The world all over was going through a vicissitude. Author Romain Rolland wrote, “During a time of social and moral decay… there was a need to awaken the fire of the soul slept in the ashes.” (Rolland, pg 15) 4 In saying this, with every hardship of life there is due course for change. The city adopted three sustainable policies much like Léopold II’s goals: “(a) policies to keep workers out of the cities; (b) policies to promote home ownership to discipline the masses; and (c) the very absence of a spatial planning policy facilitates sprawl.” (De Decker 2008, 157) Government was beginning to facilitate regulation to the ribbon sprawls happening in the outskirts of Belgium by introducing ‘spatial planning’ and Garden city in 1919. In the same year the ‘Societé Nationale des Habitations à Bon Marché’ formed on the initiative of socialist reformers present in the government. Within this society, Georges Rens founded the concept of social housing where metropolis and nature are symbiotic.

La Cite Moderne Complex









KEY PLAYERS In 1919, Victor Bourgeois worked with the ‘Societé Nationale des habitations à Bon Marché’ as well to resolve the housing problem in Brussels. He returned to Sinte Agatha-Berchem 1922 to work on “La Cité Moderne”, a co-operative society. His approaches were humanitarian in that he wanted to design housing that is affordable yet worthy to live in. Victor had previously studied the social views of Tony Garnier, the aesthetics of de Stijl /Frank Lloyd Wright, and rationalism of Henry Sauvage5. He wrote polemic writings with his brother Pierre in their


Figure 2 Second official Plan of Brussels during 1865 constituting different zoning areas following a garden city type plan with segregrated uses. All cities are connected back to the centre of Belgium.

‘7 Arts’ magazine6 about the designs of rationalism, functionalism and neoplastic design. Victor shared in the new philosophy of simple design that ultimately allows for quick construction to meet the growing need of housing. Louis Van Der Swaelmen was the landscape architect. He designed other garden cities like Logis-FLoréal. He is well known for his use of civic

clusters like the ‘triangle’, ‘square’, and ‘horseshoe’. He creates landscape spaces for beauty and recreation. The benefactor of the project is George Rens whom is the president and founder. He dreamt up the project and philosophies of Cité Moderne in 1916. He expressed his love of nature and his philanthropic views of salubrious tenements through his poetry. All three men shared a positive attitude in creating housing that 049

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Figure 3 Central planning to the basilica and city centrum with main roads accessing these points and all roads lead into the main city area, essential aspect of a Garden City approach.




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Figure 4 Site Plan of Cite Moderne. Housing mixed with Green space creating another aspect of Garden City. The overall density is 20 people per hectare of space.


is open, natural and sanitary. CITE MODERNE: HOUSING The Cité Moderne was founded on March 23rd, 1922 and consists of 275 apartments. The houses and small apartment buildings are built in a avantgarde cubist style with no decorative motif. The house consists of sober spaces with square corners and flat roofs. Each property implanted in such a way that the light is best absorbed. The height of each building did not exceed 3 storeys. The idea was to spread density over land area. This residential area is the first example of this architectural style in Belgium. One may beg to ask how does aesthetics affect urbanity? The aesthetic was bound to the response of a growing population and regaining order of the counrtrysides. Due to urban sprawl the need for social housing emerged, the first idea of its kind in Belgium. Housing had to be erected swiftly, and the design inevitably became simplified for fast reproduction. This became the beginnings of standardization which is one of the quintessential values CIAM in later years. The overall planning was to create salubrious living with lighting, gardens and open spaces for tenants. The streets adjacent to main roads created a lull in traffic within the complex making it pedestrian friendly (see figure 3). The complex upholds the radio central plan on a micro scale relating back to two centers: the Basilica and the city centrum, see figure 3. Victor Bourgeois said, “It has the solution of the Garden District, constituting a kind of moving urban neighborhood and remaining in direct communication with the heart of the city which it depends. (Interview by P.-L Flouquet in “architectures 1922-52, Bruxelles, Editions Art et Technique. 1952) This means that the plan itself has

centers to connect to but as a whole the complex is connected back to the capital through arterial roads. VALUES OF CIAM AND CRITICISMS RECEIVED During the development of CIAM there was a heated debate about radio-concentric expansion versus a contemporary city. Le Corbusier’s first pamphlet for the Redressement Francaise (1928) established his advocacy towards his Plan Voisin in 1925. He made clear his hostility towards the garden city movement. In the work program for CIAM I; Corbusier talks about the standardization of housing, the use of new materials (ex. iron, concrete) and creating open green space. In some ways it restated the values of garden city, but Corbusier stresses the higher density in the center of cities while still allowing maximum space for greenery and transportation routes. Victor Bourgeois a friend of le Corbusier represented Belgium with Huibrechte Hoste, who was a socialist Garden City advocate influenced by De Stijl as well7. They were members in the groupe L’Equerre and presented Cité Moderne in the 1930 meeting at CIAM III. The urban concept was based off of Howard’s Garden City. Victor Bourgeois achieved a density of 20 habitants per hectare which provides ample green space, parks, and clean environment. In the interview with P.L. Flouquet (Strauven 2005), Victor describes that there presently at that time were two solutions looked at for dealing with social housing. They were done of garden city which spreads the density horizontally and second was Le Corbusier’s notion of ‘ville Contemporaine’ in that density extended vertically with 1000 people per hectare. In this case the fabric

in Sinte Agathe-Berchem had already the layering of a garden city due to its history. Regardless of Cité Moderne being completed as a garden city Victor also agreed with Le Corbusier’s ideas. It even though there was much debate between the two. It was a dialectal opposition of city planning methodology. To list part of CIAM’s mission was to address: 1. modern architectural expression, 2. standardization, 3. hygiene, 4. urbanism, 5. primary school education, 6. governments. ‘Societé Nationale des habitations à Bon Marché’ addressed these concerns earlier than CIAM with Cité Moderne. The principles relates back to the main objectives made by King Leopold II which was to improve the society and the environment Belgians lived in the first place. Victor Bourgeois was successful in introducing an economical modern design. The modern expression was a means of achieving functionality. It was the first of its kind to use new material as Corbusier mentioned that are essential in standardizing and creating open plans. The construction technique was experimental using standard sized formwork for concrete. This new process allowed a savings of 14% on the construction budget. The pricing for the tenants were extremely low for its time; Victor Bourgeois explained: “Thanks to the systematic use of standardized elements, the best housing markets was produced, costing 3000 francs per family and a little more 20,000 francs per individual dwelling.” (interview with P.-L Flouquet).8 The goal on making real estate accessible and affordable to the general public was achieved through standardizing techniques. Another Priniciple led by CIAM was to relate back to the user to

improve on equality. The designs of the facades were kept at human scale through sizing and materials. The layout were completely rationalized to insure adequate space per tenant advocating equality among all users, a socialist ideal. By adressing the human scale it became the precedents for developing zoning requirements such as setbacks, heights, and density. After this, Sinte Agathe Berchem

Moderne had accomplished most of these goals. Being the first in its kind for building social housing, in its style and in materials. This was able to be studied for its winning attributes that have been incorporated into the principles and goals of CIAM. The project achieved affordability through standardization and in effect developed a new modern architectural expression. It provided sanitary conditions by spreading out

Figure 5 CIAM dialectal debate with urban planning. The ideogram shows the dichotomy of solutions of Contemporary City and Garden City.

knows again a significant increase in population due in part to the Bourgeois urbanization of la Cite Moderne. Between 1920 to 1930, the population increased from 3,850 to 7359 people doubling its population. It showed that people were staying and creating families. The complex became successful because it was used and liked and later in 1959 expanded further with more units. CONCLUSION Belgium, like most of Europe, had already an imprinted urban plan from generations of different eras imposing their opinions on what a city should be. In the end it mattered to maintain principles of hygiene, progression, accessibility and so on. La Cité

residences and ample green space. Organized Roads to provide access and alleviate congestion. The project was completed as a Garden City and rejected the Contemporary City method of large tenements for housing. La Cité Moderne is noted for its anthropometric design, roads, and green spaces. The design was a response to industrial revolution and a preamble to the modern era.


NOTES 1.  King Léopold II Urban Development Programme Priorities, (Kelcey 2011) 2.  History of Sinte Agatha-Berchem Housing, (De Decker 2008) 3.  Evolution de la Population graph. ( 4.  Romain Rolland, a nobel prize winner in 1915 for the novel “Jean Christophe”, a character of Belgian extraction living through turmoils and outcomes of great revelations during the early 1900s. Rolland, Romain. Jean Christophe. Paris: A Michel, 1931. 5.  L’oeuvre Architecturale “La Cite Moderne”. Victor Bourgeois Interview by P. Flouquet. La Cite Moderne, p.19. edited by Hubert Catteeuw. 1997. 6.  7 Arts Magazine. Founded by Pierre and Victor Bourgeois 7.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, p. 25. 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 8.  Les Prix de L’Epoque. Victor Bourgeois Interview by P. Flouquet. La Cite Moderne, p.21. edited by Hubert Catteeuw. 1997. 9.  Les Jardine: “Soleil, Verdure, Espace”. Victor Bourgeois Interview by P. Flouquet. La Cite Moderne, p.21. edited by Hubert Catteeuw. 1997. 10.  Brusselse Wijken/ Les Quartiers de Bruxelles. Accueil des Françaises à Bruxelles. (

of European cities. New York: Springer, 2011. pp 131-170. 9.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 11.  Strauven, Iwan. Les frères Bourgeois: Architecture et plastique pure. Bruxelles: AAM. Archives d’architecture moderne, 2005. 12.  “Le Temps des Cites-Jardins.” In Un sieÌ€cle d’architecture et d’urbanisme: 1900-2000. Sprimont: Mardaga, 2000. 75-85.

WEBSITES 13. 14. 15.  “Les abattoirs et marchés de Cureghem : un espace public majeur à l’Ouest de Bruxelles-capitale | Ouez-Ab.” Ouez-Ab | Blog U21. http:// (accessed October 19, 2013). 16.  “Accueil — IBSA - BISA.” Accueil — IBSA - BISA. http://www.ibsa.irisnet. be/?set_language=fr (accessed October 20, 2013)

FIGURES 27.  Population Growth in Bruxelles. (Strauven 2005, 92). 28.  Second official Plan of Brussels (1865) overlaid with a current road map. “Les abattoirs et marchés de Cureghem : un espace public majeur à l’Ouest de Bruxelles-capitale | Ouez-Ab.” Ouez-Ab | Blog U21. (accessed October 19, 2013). 29.  Site Plan Urban Scale diagram. Teresa Mytkowski 30.  SIte Plan of Cite Moderne 1925, Reproduced by Teresa Mytkowski 31.  CIAM’s Dichotomy of Urban Planning. Teresa Mytkowski 32.  Perspective drawings. CIAM. Archive (Document COOPARCH)

PHOTOS 1.  La Cité Moderne Photograph @ Jehan D. Photography 2.  Place de Cooperateur photo. Strauven, Iwan. Les frères Bourgeois: Architecture et plastique pure. Bruxelles: AAM. Archives d’architecture moderne, 2005.

REFERENCES JOURNALS 1.  Bourgeois, V., [1897-1962.]. (1937). L’urbanisation pratique en hainaut :Le plan d’urbanisation et de verduration de la commune de hornu. Bâtir, 6, 1179-1181. 2.  De Decker, Pascal. “Facets of Housing and Housing Policies in Belgium.” Open Access, 2008: 155-171. 3.  Kelcey, John G. Plants and habitats of European Cities. New York: Springer, 2011. 4.  Moderne, Archives de l’Architecture. Victor Bourgeois 1897-1962. Bruxelles: Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Architecture et des Arts Visuels, 1971. 5.  Sinte Agathe - Berchem: la Evolution de la Population. http://fr.wikipedia. org/wiki/Berchem-Sainte-Agathe (accessed 10 16, 2013).

Figure 6 Project de La Cite Moderne, perspective drawings (document COOPARCH)

BOOKS 6.  Aubert, Nathalie, and Pierre Fraiture. “Modernity and Politics.” In From Art Nouveau to Surrealism: Belgian modernity in the making. London: Legenda, 2007. 59-61. 7.  Howard, Ebenezer. Garden Cities of Tomorrow. London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1902 8.  Kelcey, John G.. “Brussels by Sandrine Godefroid.” In Plants and habitats


photo 2: Place de Cooperateur. La Cite Moderne housing complex.

PRE-CIAM 1850-1927

THE NEW FRANKFURT Ernst May & Associates 1925-1930 Frankfurt am Main by Leonardo Ho

In 1925, the mayor of Frankfurt, Ludwig Landmann, appointed Ernst May as the City Architect and granted him access to machinery to appropriate land for residential redevelopment. The New Frankfurt program headed by Ernst May in Frankfurt, Germany during the years 1925-1930, was a mass social housing development of unprecedented scale. In this project, Ernst May combines principles of Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City in its devotion to create hygienic dwellings within a natural setting that is affordable and within proximity to the workplace with modern innovation in mass production and standardization of prefabricated parts. The 15,000 units completed under this program surpassed expectations and became a standard to be followed. The strategies and techniques implemented, established the International Style and the common practice of mass prefabrication. Underlying themes of this project were brought forth as one of the main areas of focus of CIAM 2.


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927


rankfurt at the end of World War 1, was left in a state of economic turmoil and social upheaval. Increasing housing shortages subsequent to the war entailed an urgency to provide assistance for lower income groups setting the stage for cityplanning reform and experimentation.1 Driven by the imperative for immediate mass production of low cost homes, the New Frankfurt movement undertaken in the mid-1920s reflected an endeavor to accommodate the needs of the masses with a focus on family dwellings. It was a large scale civic transformation where reshaping the city through the means of city planning excluded bureaucratic interventions that adhered to private interests.2 These developments led to the second congress of CIAM held in Frankfurt where the idea of creating the minimum dwelling to meet the greatest needs with maximum efficiency was adopted as the primary objective in response to social housing problems.3 PLANNING Careful attentions to the natural setting in planning to create settlements that optimized natural lighting and ventilation with access to gardening spaces, were recurring concepts found throughout the developments of the New Frankfurt movement. These themes which are reminiscent of Camillo Sitte’s planning principles and Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City ideals were adopted by Ernst May, the head of the movement who became influenced by these concepts as a student of Theodor Fischer and apprentice of Raymond Unwin.4 In order to carry out these goals, scattered sites along the urban fringe with opportunities for large-scale developments were selected.5 Financial costs also played a significant role in


the decision making process. Homes were to be built economically where only essential functions were included.6 SOCIAL-ECONOMIC CONTEXT Frankfurt was met with immense hardships after the war due to severed ties with the West. Many sectors before the war depended too heavily on foreign capital.7 Germany had become a leading industrial nation. However, the concentration of efforts in industrialization and technological advancement resulted in little or no progression in farming practices which led to a dependency on imported foods before the war. This left the nation incapable of supplying its own food locally.8 As refuges returned after the war, overcrowding and housing shortages became a huge problem with production of new homes less than 1%

that of prewar times.9 Interest rates on loans rose from 4.51% before the war, to 11.15% in 1929 which means an increase of almost 4 times in rent. This led local municipality to the realization that public authority must take on full responsibility of fulfilling this task without any involvement of private interests.10 For once, social aspects pertaining to the less fortunate mass was consciously placed at the forefront of consideration. Architects were united with social responsibilities in the quest to fulfill the needs of the most.11 POLITICAL CONTEXT The political setting provided a unique opportunity for the New Frankfurt movement – not only was the mayor familiar with modern planning concepts, he provided the architect with maximum authority, equipment

Figure 1 Single row housing, Donnersbergstrass, Bruchfeldstrasse Siedlung, 1926

Figure 3 Frankfurt kitchen

Figure 2 Development Plan

to appropriate land, and necessary funding to execute the plan without intervention. This was possible due to the fact that the aims of trade unions and the social democratic cooperatives were the most influential on policy at the time.12 The Hauszinssteuer Act passed in 1924 enabled local authorities to tax homeowners whose properties became mortgage free as a result of inflation.13 This was fundamental in generating the funding required for the housing developments. Ernst May was given full authorization to personally

Figure 4 housing layouts

select the personnel involved with options of exercising the services of professionals already employed.14 With the experienced personnel, extensive responsibilities, proper funding and centralized control, May and his men were able to facilitate the plan with unprecedented speed and flexibility. Construction commenced within a year of May’s appointment as head architect and planner in 1925.15 ZONING/PLAN APPROVAL PROCESS With the extension of Ernst May’s

powers controlling all aspects of development from zoning, site development, financing, construction, to building code, there was no approval process needed. Anything he approved of, was approved. DESIGN & PLANNING PRINCIPLES The aim of the New Frankfurt movement was not only to create low cost mass social housing to remedy the housing problem but also hygienic, comfortable homes that were sufficient in meeting essential 055

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modern living standards despite relatively inexpensive production costs.16 Maximizing performance with the minimum expenditure of resources was the prevailing imperative. These goals were met with May’s insistence on economy and efficiency from design to construction.17 May conducted extensive research on the logistics of use and production of every component on all scales. Through this process, he developed standardized components of part and whole that could be manufactured, constructed, and rapidly repeated.18 The practice of utilizing standardized parts proved to be an extremely economical solution regarding time and money because it took advantage of mass production capabilities provided by modern innovations. A common feature found in the constructed dwellings famously known as the ‘Frankfurt Kitchen’ epitomized this spirit.(See fig.3) The mass prefabrication of its parts combined with a universal organization facilitated production and installation that was quick yet inexpensive. The simplistic and formulaic approach to its design resulted in a product that excelled in functionality.19 Iteration of these initiatives are also apparent in larger scales such as its construction of structural components and layout plan organization. As a response to escalating costs, Ernst May developed and utilized one of the first prefabricated concrete slab systems in construction.25 Unlike the garden city with semi-detached homes, dwellings were organized into long and continuous blocks of midrise buildings of uniform height and form.(See fig.1) It is apparent that with budget constraints and the urgency of the housing problem, redefining the city by means of enhancing the appearance of the public realm with 056

aesthetically ambitious civic centers or any non-functional additions was never considered. This inevitably lead to the monotonous tone found throughout every aspect of design and construction. The user experience may have been one of austerity, but it was consoled with careful attention to human scale considerations such as proportions, lighting, and shading.21 The virtues of this method along with its aesthetic established the ‘International Style’, which remained a major influence on modern architecture in the following decades to come.22 IMPACT Under Ernst May’s leadership, the New Frankfurt movement produced 15,000 units between 1925 and 1930 in Romerstadt, Praunheim, Westhausen, and Hohenblick settlements which accounted for over ninety percent of housing built during the entire period of duration.23 The accomplishments of the movement undoubtedly eased the housing problem with its substantial

Figure 5 Ernst May’s buildings and projects in Frankfurt am Main, 1925-1930

contributions. Frankfurt was the closest of any German city with a population of 100,000+ to overcoming its housing shortage.24 The concepts and methods deployed showcased an unprecedented achievement in effectiveness establishing the common practice of standardization and mass prefabrication which is still carried on today. The success of this experiment brought forth a shift of focus on family dwelling types which fueled the discourse of CIAM 2. CRITICAL ANALYSIS Aside from considerations of speed and ease of production, May’s planning objectives were not unquestioned. Walter Gropius moved on to high-rises immediately after May’s departure. Even during May’s administration, the single family row house was questioned.25 The argument that 2-3 story apartment buildings were the most rational and efficient building form with regard to mass housing may be the only fundamental contradiction of May’s compulsion to maximize efficiency. The low density dwellings managed to provide families with gardening spaces but at the expense of more built infrastructure. The maximization of efficiency and speed of travel endorsed by CIAM as a key planning objective was seemingly neglected or carried out without enough foresight with a lack of parking spaces and lanes designated for vehicular traffic. May’s plan does follow CIAM’s stance on exerting an influence on public opinion with its New Frankfurt magazine. This project also follows the CIAM approach in recognizing and responding to a problem with architecture. The main advantages of this plan lie in its technical solutions and administrative structure. It was the standardization

of parts and mass production of these prefabricated parts that contributed to its effectiveness, while the structural organization of the administrative powers dealing with planning policy and construction contributed to the speed of implementation. The New Frankfurt movement in comparison to previous programs addressing mass social housing reveals a fundamental difference that immediately increases the likelihood of success. A previous attempt such as James Hobrecht’s assignment in 1858 in Berlin presents an instance with similar preconditions. Hobrecht’s plan was developed but plans for parks were excluded.26 Whenever there are oppotunities for private interests to intervene, there is a risk for non profitable parts of the plan to be excluded. Ernst May was able to provide gardening spaces and parks because he was blessed with financial and political support which is an extremely rare scenario. The absence of anybody who could challenge May’s authority allowed full realization of his plan. CONCLUSION Considering the conditions of the period the New Frankfurt movement took place in, the general design values and principles implemented can be considered an appropriate solution. Most of the practical objectives were met. The uniformity of everything from fixtures to layout may be considered too monotonous for today’s standards and more accommodations for the car could have been included but the merits outweigh its shortcomings.


NOTES 1.  John Robert Mullin, “City Planning In Frankfurt, Germany, 1925-1932: A Study In Practical Utopianism,” Journal of Urban History 4, no. 1 (1977):. 2.  Ibid., 6. 3.  Le Corbusier, The Athens charter, Translated by Anthony Eardley, (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973),15. 4.  Eckhard Herrel, Constant Maturing, edited by Claudia Quiring, Ernst May, (Munchen: New York: Prestel, 2011),18-19. 5.  Mullin, “City Planning In Frankfurt, Germany, 1925-1932: A Study In Practical Utopianism,” (1977): 7. 6.  Ibid., 8. 7.  Ibid., 4. 8.  John Reader, Cities, (NY: Grove Press, 2004), 148-149. 9.  Mullin, “City Planning In Frankfurt, Germany, 1925-1932: A Study In Practical Utopianism,” (1977): 4. 10.  Ernst May, Flats for subsistence living, edited by Tim Benton, Charlotte Benton, and Denis Sharp, Architecture and Design 1890-1939 (New York: The Open University Press, 1975),203. 11.  Christoph Mohr, The New Frankfurt, edited by Claudia Quiring, Ernst May, (Munchen: New York: Prestel, 2011),60. 12.  William J.R. Curtis, Modern Architecture since 1900, 3rd ed. (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1996),166. 13.  Mullin, “City Planning In Frankfurt, Germany, 1925-1932: A Study In Practical Utopianism,” (1977): 5. 14.  David H. Haney, Birds and fishes vesus potatoes and cabages, edited by Claudia Quiring, Ernst May, (Munchen: New York: Prestel, 2011),69. 15.  Christoph Mohr, The New Frankfurt, edited by Claudia Quiring, Ernst May, (Munchen: New York: Prestel, 2011),53. 16.  Ernst May, Flats for subsistence living, (New York: The Open University Press, 1975),204. 17.  Kenneth Frampton, modern architecture A Critical History, Fourth edition, (London: Thames & Hudson, 2007):137. 18.  Curtis, Modern Architecture since 1900, 3rd ed. (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1996),167. 19.  Kenneth Frampton, modern architecture A Critical History, Fourth edition, (London: Thames & Hudson, 2007):138. 20.  Ibid.,138. 21.  Curtis, Modern Architecture since 1900, 3rd ed. (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1996):167. 22.  Charles Jencks, Modern Movements In Architecture, 1st ed. (N.Y.: Anchor Press, 1973),38. 23.  Frampton, modern architecture A Critical History, (London: Thames & Hudson, 2007):137. 24.  Mullin, “City Planning In Frankfurt, Germany, 1925-1932: A Study In Practical Utopianism,” (1977): 21. 25.  Mohr, The New Frankfurt, (Munchen: New York: Prestel, 2011),51. 26.  Charles Jencks, Modern Movements In Architecture, 1st ed. (N.Y.: Anchor Press, 1973),38.

FIGURES 33.  Leonardo Ho, single row housing 34.  Leonardo Ho, development plan, appropriated from Christoph Mohr, The New Frankfurt, edited by Claudia Quiring, Ernst May, (Munchen: New York: Prestel, 2011),50. 35.  Kenneth Frampton, Frankfurt kitchen, 138. 36.  Leonardo Ho, housing layouts, appropriated from Ernst May, Flats for subsistence living, edited by Tim Benton, Charlotte Benton, and Denis Sharp, Architecture and Design 1890-1939 (New York: The Open University Press, 1975),202. 37.  Leonardo Ho, Ernst May’s projects, appropriated from Christophy Mohr, Ernst May’s buildings and projects in Frankfurt am Main, 1925-1930, 52.

PHOTOS 1.  Christoph Mohr, Romerstadt Siedlung seen from northeast, c. 1928


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927

BARCLAY-VESEY BUILDING Ralph Walker of McKenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin 1923-1926 Manhattan, New York by Caeleigh Kinch

The Barclay-Vesey Building is a bold arrangement of masses that covers a city block between Barclay and Vesey Streets. Ralph Walker’s design makes its presence on the street by extending the lower floors up to the site boundaries and setting back the upper floors while stretching them higher to provide light to the streets below. During the eighteenth century, new advancements in the steel industry as well as a zoning ordinance, which was formed ten years prior to construction, appeared. Both of these developments affected the design causing it to be an experiment with height, massing and zoning restrictions. The cultural context of the time was very conservative form-wise however Walker makes an effort to embellish the building with a small amount of ornamentation to allow for the building to be less of a combination of masses and more intricate. The overall design of the Barclay Vesey building is a step forward in the direction of CIAM principles in the way that the building is devoid of ornamentation save for a small amount near the roof of the building. Consequently, although the design is simple it combines the use of height, massing and lack of ornamentation to create an impact on the Manhattan landscape.


PRE-CIAM 1850-1927


he Barclay-Vesey Building was designed to express the achievements of contemporary American Architecture. The building needed to be as modern as the telephone, a machine which also communicates emotion.1 The connection to the telephone was due to the clients being the New York Telephone Company. The building today, has stayed true to its other well-known name, The New York Telephone Building, since it`s tenants are the Verizon phone company. There were many influences that affected the design of this building. The site and historical context influenced the program while the political and zoning developed the main form. In light of CIAM principles, the design was a precursor to the goals that evolved from the CIAM gatherings. The final design even influenced the planning decisions that occurred after it was built. This combination of height, massing and simple ornamentation could only have been conceived during the time it was built and with the surrounding context it was in.

Figure 1 1924 Proposal for improved rapid transit


PHYSICAL CONTEXT The Barclay-Vesey Building is located at 140 West St. between Barclay and Vesey streets, hence the name. The site is a trapezoid which influenced the design decisions.2 At the time, New York was in an expansion period. The population was increasing as well as the number of large scale buildings. The Financial district, which BarclayVesey is located in, was becoming the center of the region.3 Cars were becoming more popular, which combined with the sudden increase of large scale buildings, lead to an issue of congestion.4 The streets were not large enough to accommodate both the car and pedestrian. The city brought this issue to the New York Telephone Company and demanded they provide an arcaded sidewalk along the streets to allow for the expansion of the streets.5 In response to the increase in congestion, the city was also looking to improve the rapid transit of New York. In 1925, the plan to connect Manhattan with the rest of New York and make transit more effective was begun.6 This plan for better transit developed at the perfect time since Barclay-Vesey was designed to accommodate 6,000

workers.7 Therefore, the physical context surrounding Barclay-Vesey directly relates to design ideas behind it. SOCIAL & CULTURAL CONTEXT Barclay-Vesey was designed in a period where the skyscraper was becoming a new architectural style. The idea of business being performed in an office tower was just starting to form. The aesthetic style of the time was very conservative. Forms were very simple and all detail was put into the ornament.8 There wasn`t much experimentation because it wasn`t accepted by the public. It was also a time of technological innovation. The most important innovation was the invention of steel as a structural material because it allowed for greater heights to be reached. The increase in height created the innovation of wind bracing due to the high winds on the upper parts of the towers. In addition to height, depth was also a new innovation in foundations to account for the extra height of skyscrapers. Manhattan happened to have the perfect conditions for foundations with skyscrapers since it was on glaciated bedrock. There were also interior innovations with the invention of heating, lighting, ventilation, plumbing and elevators. These innovations allowed for larger floor spaces since natural lighting and ventilation were no longer needed. The elevator innovation allowed for faster vertical circulation in the tall towers. Finally the last innovation was poweroperated construction equipment which decreased the construction time period.9 If Barclay-Vesey was designed in a different time period, the final design would be very different from its current state.







In 1916, the first zoning legislation was passed. It was created to regulate use by district and to limit the height and bulk of tall buildings.10 Essentially it was ensure the skyscrapers of Manhattan didn`t block out the sunlight and there would continue to be fresh air on the streets.11 The 1916 Zoning Ordinance was created by the Commission on Building Districts and Restrictions and the Heights of Buildings Committee. The Ordinance introduced separation of program based on three districts: residential, commercial and industrial. It also separated buildings based on height into five districts all with various heights decided on multiples of the width of streets. The final new introduction to planning was separation into five area districts which were based on minimum and maximum percentages of lot coverage.12 The specific zoning of the Barclay-Vesey building was as follows, 75% of the lot was a restricted height while 25% could have any height and the street fronts were not permitted to rise higher than one or one and a half times the width of the street.13 The resultant of this zoning ordinance was a wedding cake style for skyscrapers.14 In 1916, the zoning approval process was very similar to the current approval process. The applicant would file an











. T ST




























































C6-4 C6-4





Figure 2 Zoning from 1916 (left), 1960 (center) and current (right).

Figure 3 Zoning setbacks

application for appeal, and then when the examiner decides the application is complete, a public hearing would be scheduled. The public hearing would then decide whether to approve the application or not.15 Ralph Walker did not apply for a zoning appeal instead he was very interested in using the zoning law to his advantage to create an influential form on the New York skyline.16 Barclay-Vesey is a combination

of an 11 storey platform and an 18 storey tower.17 The clients wanted maximum leasable space with this building. This requirement gave Walker the challenge of trying to maximize the space but also create an aesthetically pleasing building. The building design is completely formed out of setbacks and zoning requirements. It represents a move toward modernism with its combination of masses devoid of ornament and its 061


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colossal scale. Walker combines the arrangement of masses, that fulfills the leasable space requirement, with his own personal touch of ornament in the interior, around doors and decorating the tops of the masses.18 Overall, the design for Barclay-Vesey was created from the planning of the time and could only have been created when it was. CIAM PRINCIPLES The goals of CIAM was to the contemporary program of architecture, advocate the idea of modern architecture, forcefully introduce this idea into technical, economic and social circles and see the resolution of architectural probems.19 Basically they wanted to move forward from the old styles of the Renaissance, Baroque and other periods and create a new modern style in architecture. Barclay-Vesey was a precursor to CIAM. The principles used in its design were very much in line with the goals of CIAM. Le Corbusier, one of the architects that started CIAM, really appreciated Walker`s treatment of mass, surface and volume in BarclayVesey.20 Barclay-Vesey was designed to be a new modern design for the skyscraper. Walker didn`t believe in taking concepts from past architecture, he believed in creating a new style unique to New York. He wanted his design to reflect the current way of life.1 His ideas and beliefs are the same as the CIAM principles, especially in his thoughts about reflecting the current way of life. The one element that could be seen to differ from CIAM is his treatment of ornaments, since he kept the past way of using ornaments to decorate the building. However he changed the use of ornaments to match his own style by using them only in certain areas to emphasize his design rather than overwhelm it. The 062

treatment of ornament to emphasize is also in line with CIAM principles since he took the old style and used it to his advantage in a new modern style. Overall, the Barclay-Vesey building uses all the principles of CIAM in its design and is a precursor to the development of CIAM principles. PLANNING ANALYSIS Barclay-Vesey, although not the most aesthetically pleasing building, is an architectural masterpiece of its time. It was awarded New York`s prestigious Gold Medal, the first modern design to win an award.21 Barclay-Vesey is an accurate response to the zoning restrictions, the trapezoid shaped site, the client`s desires, the city`s desires and the cultural context of the time. It addresses the need for sunlight on the street through its massing arrangement and follows through on the arcaded sidewalk without making it look out of place. The building design in today`s time period would be considered too bulky, not very welcoming or open, and generally unappealing. However since it was designed and built in an age where zoning was new, forms were supposed to be conservative, and when architecture was on the point of changing to a new style, it is an architectural masterpiece. The building was planned and designed to stand out and make a statement about changing to a new modern style. Its masses make that statement but it also relates to the recent style for architecture, which is ornament. From a planning perspective, this piece of architecture takes into account the two of the three considerations for bulk. The aesthetic relates to the context and for economic, the design maximizes the amount of leasable space which will gain the costs spent back in the long run. The one

consideration it doesn`t address is the land use and the effect of 6,000 more workers travelling to that area, however the city introduced a plan for new rapid transit so that will be address. Overall, this building could only be planned and designed for its specific context. CONCLUSION In conclusion, the Barclay-Vesey Building expresses the CIAM principles and the planning considerations of the time it was built. It takes into account the physical context, social and cultural context, and planning context to create a design that reflects the way of life of the time. The Barclay-Vesey building is an appropriate response to the design challenge given to Ralph Walker.

NOTES 1.  Walker, Ralph. Ralph Walker Architect. New York: Henahan House, 1957. 2.  Adams, Thomas. “The Skyscrapers of New York.” The Town Planning Review, May 1926. ca/stable/10.2307/40101683?Search=yes&searchText=The%20 skyscrapers%20of%20new_York_%20Town_Planning_Review&searchUri=/action/doBasicSearch?Query=The+skyscrapers+of+new+york+Tow+Planning+Review&prq=Town+Planning+Review&hp=25&acc=off&wc=on&fc=off&so=rl&racc=off&(accessed October 24, 2013). 3.  Ford, Larry R. Cities and Buildings: Skyscrapers, Skid Rows, and Suburbs. Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994. 4.  Fischler, Raphael. “The metropolitan dimension of early zoning: Revisiting the 1916 New York City Ordinance.” Journal of the American Planning Association. no. 2 (1998): 170-188. 5.  Walker, Ralph. Ralph Walker Architect. New York: Henahan House, 1957. 6.  “Extensive Rapid Transit Plan Proposed for North Jersey (1926-1927).” Electric Railway Journal. no. 6 (1926): 239-242. http://www.nycsubway. org/wiki/Extensive_Rapid_Transit_Plan_Proposed_for_North_Jersey_ (1926-1927) (accessed October 24, 2013). 7.  Nash, Eric P. Manhattan Skyscrapers. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. 8.  Ford, Larry R. Cities and Buildings: Skyscrapers, Skid Rows, and Suburbs. Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994. 9.  Landau, Sarah Bradford, and Carl W. Condit. Rise of the New York Skyscraper 1865-1913. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996. 10.  Willis, Carol. Form Follows Finance. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1995. 11.  Young, Michelle. “How Zoning Shaped the New York Skyline.” untapped cities (blog), July 12, 2011. September 14, 2013). 12.  Fischler, Raphael. “The metropolitan dimension of early zoning: Revisiting the 1916 New York City Ordinance.” Journal of the American Planning Association. no. 2 (1998): 170-188. 13.  Adams, Thomas. “The Skyscrapers of New York.” The Town Planning Review, May 1926. ca/stable/10.2307/40101683?Search=yes&searchText=The%20 skyscrapers%20of%20new_York_%20Town_Planning_Review&searchUri=/action/doBasicSearch?Query=The+skyscrapers+of+new+york+Tow+Planning+Review&prq=Town+Planning+Review&hp=25&acc=off&wc=on&fc=off&so=rl&racc=off&(accessed October 24, 2013). 14.  Willis, Carol. Form Follows Finance. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1995. 15.  New York City , “NYC Board of Standards and Appeals.” Last modified 2013. Accessed November 7, 2013. mission/mission.shtml. 16.  Dolkart, Andrew S. Columbia University, “The Architecture and Development of New York City.” Last modified 2003. Accessed September 14, 2013. 17.  Nash, Eric P. Manhattan Skyscrapers. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. 18.  Walker, Ralph. Ralph Walker Architect. New York: Henahan House, 1957. 19.  Matthew Pilling, “Eric Mumford: The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism 1928-1960 (2002),” Architecture Urbanism (blog), Mar 31, 2011, http:// 20.  Nash, Eric P. Manhattan Skyscrapers. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. 21.  Ibid.

39.  Department of City Planning, “New York City.” Last modified 2013. Accessed October 25, 2013. zh_zmaptable.shtml. 40.  Willis, Carol. Form Follows Finance. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1995.

PHOTOS 1.  Gobetz, Wally. flickr, “NYC - Financial District: Barclay-Vesey Building.” Last modified Jan 6, 2007. Accessed October 25, 2013. http://www.

FIGURES 38.  “Extensive Rapid Transit Plan Proposed for North Jersey (1926-1927).” Electric Railway Journal. no. 6 (1926): 239-242. http://www.nycsubway. org/wiki/Extensive_Rapid_Transit_Plan_Proposed_for_North_Jersey_ (1926-1927) (accessed October 24, 2013).



PRE-CIAM 1850-1927

THE GARDEN CITY OF WELWYN Ebenezer Howard 1951-1952 Hertfordshire, England by Naveed Khan

In 1898, Ebenezer Howard published his book To-Morrow! A Peaceful Path to Real Reform. Four years later, the same book was republished as Garden Cities of Tomorrow. His book set the tone for the next wave of city planning ideals, and was received so warmly by designers and planners that even half a century after its publication, and two decades after his death, his book enticed a Parliamentary Act and the creation of numerous new towns in England. His publication induced a countless number of Garden Cities to come to fruition across the globe, with the primary determining concept being that of a self-sustaining, economically independent city with a green belt around the perimeter which provided a natural landscape with which to serve the city within. Historically, it is not often that a book can have such extraordinary impact1, and the fact that Howard’s ideas of city-living brought forth novel concepts of city planning and growth that were actually applauded rather than outwardly dismissed garner him significant merit. His “Garden City” was intended to end class distinctions and social separations within neighbourhoods, and instead create a vibrant community where citizens were able to travel freely between home and work with ease and without leaving their own city. Putting his ideas quickly to work, Howard established the First Garden City of Letchworth in 1890. Although globally accepted as an overall success, Letchworth was purely a test of his ideas, and ultimately did not meet Howard’s expectations.2 Thus, he began the planning and execution of the Second Garden City, and in 1919, Howard founded the site of The Garden City of Welwyn, which sought to be superior to Letchworth in both design and planning. 065

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Located along the Great Northern Railroad, the location chosen for the Second Garden City was approximately thirty four kilometres north of London and consisted of twenty four thousand acres of land. Positioned upon a greenfield, the site was free of prior developments and was chosen specifically as it was an untouched, pristine parcel of land. It was well-framed within the principles Howard had outlined in his publication, and had the key feature of being within proximity to London.3 The site was divided into four large sections by the Great Northern Rail line and the main line, and while the commercial and civic areas followed a fairly rigid and formalized plan, the surrounding residential areas featured organic, natural road plans and spaces which formed unique living blocks and an infinite combination of quaint culde-sacs and boulevards.4 In 1921, the overall plan for Welwyn was drafted by Louis de Soissons, the architect planner of Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Louis de Soissons in 1921, who had trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and became the Second Garden City Company’s architect until his death in 1962.5 Soissons was very stubborn over building quality and the city’s architecture, and “the consequences

Figure 1 Growth of London : 1840, 1900, 1929


of [his] long and very comprehensive supervision of the physical development of Welwyn Garden City is a high overall standard of harmony,”6 as the city is manifested cleanly in a neo-Georgian architectural style. Furthermore, the implementation of a stringent landscaping design became a defining design feature and principle of Welwyn Garden City, as it created the feel of a rural-country landscape along with all the ‘English front gardens,’ all of which resulted in a low density planned community.7 The Garden City movement was also a driving force in shaping discussions about city planning in the coming decades, as justifications developed by proponents of the Garden City movement laid the rhetorical foundation for CIAM.8 The concepts of light, space and gardens that Howard espoused as being essential to the health and wellbeing of citizens and their cities were echoed in Raymond Unwin’s 1912 publication Nothing Gained by Overcrowding, which referred to the concept of existenzminimum, defined by “its goal of ‘secur[ing] adequate light and fresh air for healthy, adequate unbuilt-on ground for convenience,’. With Howard’s ideals at the forefront, planners and designers finally began to define a

minimal standard for a healthy city-living environment.9 However, while modernist thinking would espouse the ideas of light and space, discussion in CIAM3 lead to the abolishment of the “garden city” with the argument that while the idea satisfies the individual, it loses the advantages of collective organization. In his 1933 publication The Athens Charter, Le Corbusier would go so far as to say that poor street planning, adversity to industrial advancement, and lack of socioeconomic diversity made garden cities “one of the greatest evils of the century”.26 Prior to the industrial revolution, London’s population growth was entirely dependent on the steady influx of immigrants, and by 1900 over six million individuals from overseas had come to call London their home.10 By the late 1890’s, the growing population of immigrant lower class farmers had begun to turn to the city in the hopes of finding jobs and better living situations, abandoning the rural farms and driving agricultural output towards obsolescence. What was more troubling was the dual tax on both the occupation of and resulting income from commercial land, which ultimately rendered low income immigrant farmers horribly desperate,

lost without the means to earn income or build worthwhile livelyhoods in their own neighbourhoods.11 As the risk of serious social structure collapse waned, the government adopted a new idea of a single land value tax, which significantly reduced the impoverished conditions of rural citizens, and provided insights which Howard incorporated into the ideals of the Garden City movement.12 This idea promoted the return to land cultivation in two ways; the prospect of taxation based on the unchanging value of land provided relief to those reluctant to cultivate their land, while deterring those who would purchase land solely as an investment, and thus monopolizing its value. However, such measures did not eliminate all hardships, and high land taxes, land expropriation and evictions continuously brought rural countrymen into the city in search of better living alternatives. “In particular, there was a drift of population from the heartland of British agriculture … into the capital, which grew at great speed and – coupled with conversion of homes to offices and railway building – left many people trapped in centralcity slums.”13 Without appropriate infrastructure to support the influx of low income farmers, the cityscape did very little to provide the relief that so many sought. As well, the resulting twenty years of agricultural depression

Figure 2 Welwyn transportation roads and zoning boundaries

Figure 3 Three Magnets Model

caused a redundancy in the appointed agrarian land, as it was estimated that by 1902, 20% of farms in Hertfordshire, England were unoccupied.14 With the collapse of agriculture, the lack of fresh, easily available produce naturally lead to dramatic price increases as food items became difficult to acquire15,16 or came from further away.17 Lack of food combined with horrific living conditions to breed resentment among the working

class, and it was obvious to the apparent upper class that a vicious uprising was at hand.18 This was, perhaps, one of many reasons that Howard’s publication was so sonorously received. Howard’s primary goal was to reverse the flow of migration1 back out into the rural countryside, as proposed in his city model of the “three magnets”: the town, the country, and the town-country. The new formality addressed here was that of the town067

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country, which sought to embody the most seductive qualities of both urban life and the countryside into one master-planned, self-sustaining city.19 Despite CIAM’s many contentions with garden cities, the idea of having concentrated combinations of nature and residences were echoed in the Athens Charter, and ultimately became a feature of Le Corbusier’s Radiant City design. The Second Garden City of Welwyn eventually, and inevitably, suffered ailments similar to those that plagued Letchworth. Class division soon followed an inept overall scheme. Soissons “placed the civic and commercial centers in the southwest parcel with the two sections east of the main line reserved for an industrial district with adjacent working-class housing creating, in effect, a wrong side of the tracks”20 which reduced overall quality of living by not creating a mixed social and economical atmosphere. Furthermore, the associated communal housing projects which proposed shared kitchens, laundries and family spaces were abandoned,21 resulting in a shortage of low-income housing. Finally, in 1931-34, major financial woes threatened the success of Welwyn, and major economic and reorganizational moves were made that eventually removed the limit on stock dividends,22 which made the Second Garden City Company’s stock suddenly more appealing to investors and speculators,23 overtly and suscinctly negating the basic pillar of the Garden City Movement: that the “unearned increment in land values must benefit the community rather than profit the speculator.”24 In 1919, Howard ... stated the “purpose of Welwyn Garden City as the ‘illustration of the right way to provide for the expansion of the industries and 068

population’ of London.”25 The movement of the working class to peripheral cities not only guaranteed working class Londoners adequate housing and living conditions, but also allowed for the revitalization of inner city slums within the city of London. While design values are consistently in a state of flux, a conscious design decision to enhance the lives of current and future generations of users may always be deemed as appropriate - especially when taking London’s working class urban living conditions of poverty, disease and overcrowding into consideration. Howard hypothesized and enacted a realistic model to curb unmitigated urban sprawl while preserving a walkable, liveable built landscape for inhabitants. While The Second Garden City of Welwyn now serves as a major commuter’s city in London, and has sucuumbed to a fate similar to Letchworth in its failures, it can be stated without a doubt that Howard’s efforts in devising new methodology and proposals for

Figure 4 Streetscape of Welwyn boulevard; exemplified by wide radial streets, large individual lots, and ample landscaping

manners in which people can live in cities broadened our understanding and blurred the line between what is rural and urban, and our capacity to live within each type of setting. In fact, Welwyn’s shortcomings served as a pivotal stepping stone in the design and planning of cities in a preindustrial era, and ultimately framed the discourse around which future modernist planning ideals would be enforced by members of CIAM.

Figure 5 Welwyn Howardsgate town centre


NOTES 1. Peter Hall and Colin Ward, Sociable Cities: The Legacy of Ebenezer Howard. (West Sussex: Wiley, 1998), 3. 2. Walter L. Creese, The Search for the Environment, The Garden City: Before and After. (Conneticut: Yale, 1966), 2 03-218. 3. Dugald MacFayden, Sir Ebenezer Howard and the Town Planning Movement. (London: Manchester University \ Press, 1933), 43-47. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid. 6. Richard J. Busby, The Book of Welwyn. (London: Barracuda Books Limited, 1976) 36-41 7. Ibid. 8. Konstanze Sylva Domhardt, “The garden city idea in the CIAM discourse on urbanism: a path to comprehensive planning,” Planning Perspectives, 27 (2012):2, accessed October 24, 2013. 9. Ibid. 10. John Reader, Cities, (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2004), 1-88. 11. Stanly Buder, Visionaries and Planners: The Garden City Movement and the Modern Community. (New York: Oxford, 1990), 1-44. 12. C.B. Purdom, Town Theory and Practice. (London: Benn Brothers, Limited, 1921), 84-85. 13. Ibid. 14. Ibid. 15. Maurice de Soissons, Welwyn Garden City. (London: Publications for Companies, 1988), 157-243. 16. Roger Filler, Welwyn Gardern City. (London: Phillmore & Co. Ltd., 1986), 14-165. 17. Ibid. 18. C.B. Purdom, The Building of Satellite Towns. (J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd, 1925) 120-124. 19. Merwyn Miller, “The Origins of the Garden City Neighborhood,” in From Garden City to Green City: The Legacy of Ebenezer Howard, ed. Kermit C. Parsons and David Schuyler. (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2002), 99-130. 20. Stanly Buder, Visionaries and Planners: The Garden City Movement and the Modern Community. (New York: Oxford, 1990), 1-44. 21. Stanly Buder, Visionaries and Planners: The Garden City Movement and the Modern Community. (New York: Oxford, 1990), 1-44. 22. Tony Rook, Welwyn Garden City Past. (London: Phillmore & Co. Ltd, 2001), 3-126. 23. Ibid. 24. Ibid. 25. Ibid. 26. Le Corbusier, La Charte d’Athenes. (France: Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, 1946), 62-63. 070

FIGURES 1. Alix Daguin, “Emancipation of the City,” photograph, 2012, http://gastronomyspace.files.wordpress. com/2012/07/london-growth.jpg (accessed October 17, 2013). 2. Alan Cash, “Alan Cash Web Pages: Welwyn Garden City,” photograph, 2004,, http://cashewnut. (accessed October 17, 2013). 3. Alan Cash, “Alan Cash Web Pages: Welwyn Garden City,” photograph, 2004,, http://cashewnut. Punch%20%281%29 (accessed October 17, 2013). 4. Alan Cash, “Alan Cash Web Pages: Welwyn Garden City,” photograph, 2004,, http://cashewnut. corner%20of%20Brockswood%20Lane%20and%20 High%20Oaks%20Road (accessed October 18, 2013). 5. Tom Dyckhoff, “Let’s Move to Welwyn Garden City,” photograph, 2012,, http://www. (accessed November 24, 2013).

PHOTOS 1. Alan Cash, “Alan Cash Web Pages: Welwyn Garden City,” photograph, 2004,, http://cashewnut. Punch%20%282%29 (accessed October 17, 2013).



In 1927, a group of forward thinking architects met in La Sarraz, Switzerland and out of this meeting, the Congrès internationaux d’architecture moderne (CIAM) was founded. This collection of European modern architects discussed their ideas of modern architecture and town planning and decided that architecture is to be economical, sociological and a structure of service for humanity. In their first meeting, the CIAM members identified that “Town planning is the design of the different settings for the development of material, emotional, and spiritual life in all its manifestations, individual and collective and it includes both town and country”. Over the course of these meetings through 1929 and 1930, matters of housing, transit and planning were discussed, although in 1933, the most influential discourse that had arisen from the organization was the Athens Charter. In addition to having addressed the problems of the modern city and the conventions of urban planning, the Athens Charter also played a large role in influencing architecture and urban planning during the life of CIAM. CIAM influenced n building projects by initiating them into redefining the skyscraper design through the combination of public urban spaces and increasing vertical heights which allowed for open horizontal space. The following essays examine how CIAM ideals and urban planning informed the design of buildings and urban spaces as conceived during the period in which the Congrès internationaux d’architecture moderne was active.



CIAM 1928-1959

HUFEISEN SIEDLUNG Bruno Taut and Martin Wagner 1925-1930 Berlin, Germany by Stephanie Wu

The social, political and economic activity in post-war Germany gave rise to massive public housing projects known as siedlungen, built in the “new style” between the years 1924 and 1930 under the building reform policies of the Weimar Republic. Following the first world war, European cities faced a critical shortage of affordable housing and poor living conditions for the working class. In Germany, architects and planners turned to an emerging, radical style known as modernism, embuing the aesthetic born in the pre-war period the spirit a new social consciousness. The Groβsiedlung Britz, or hufeisensiedlung (“horseshoe estate”), designed by Bruno Taut and Martin Wagner, is a preeminent example of the lowincome housing estates which flourished under a stable mark and laws establishing the right to “sound dwelling.” The hufeisensiedlung utilizes an emerging typology—the two-span garden home, encapsulating the three principles which became the foundation of the Congrès internationaux d’architecture modern (CIAM): light, space and greenery. The development consists of rowhouses and three-story apartment blocks, arranged with sensitivity to open space and communal facilities. While embracing the new style, the horseshoe estate also references the intimacy and human scale of Camillo Sitte and Raymond Unwin in interior streets, balancing openness and containment with community as its focal point. Six of Berlin’s Berlin’s modernist housing estates were inducted in 2008 as UNESCO World Heritage sites, citing their importance to the revolutionary housing policies of the early 1900s. They remain relevant to this day as desirable homes for the middle-class and thriving communities.


CIAM 1928-1959

Image 2 “The Horseshoe”


In Berlin, the severity of the housing crisis immediately before, during, and after the First World War was unparalleled on the European continent. By 1914, the city’s average building occupancy had swelled to seventy-six people, tenfold the density of London and twice that of Paris.1 These concerns became a matter of national policy following the war, during

Figure 1 Hufeisensiedlung marked as 3

a period of intense social, cultural and economic activity. Between the years 1918-19, the Weimar Republic passed 076

a series of laws ensuring “the right of every citizen to a sound dwelling within his means.”2 After decades of private speculation and exploitation, the idea of land as a fundamental human right found its place in the constitution of the Republic. Strict zoning, clear building regulations and funding from a controversial new tax became the means by which architects, planners and building societies put rhetoric into action. Following a period of inflation, massive housing developments went underway. THE HOUSING REVOLUTION Between 1924 and 1928, nearly 87,000 new dwellings were constructed in Berlin alone, of which 61% were completed by public enterprises.3 A new term was coined— gemeinnützig, in the public interest rather than private profit.5 The Groβsiedlung Britz, commonly known as the hufeisensiedlung, was the first of Germany’s large-scale, lowrent housing developments called siedlungen. The siedlungen were experiments in merging urban and rural life in the transition era between garden cities to garden suburbs. Low density

and decentralization were primary goals. High land prices in Berlin forced development to outer regions where vast tracts of land were purchased by limited-dividend building corporations. These siedlungen ultimately became the cornerstones of development and zoning in these areas, which remain thriving residential communities even to this day. URBANITY, RURALITY & HUMANISM The Groβsiedlung Britz consists primarily of two-story rowhouses and three-story apartment blocks designed under the principles of air, sunlight and greenery, the cornerstones of modernism later defined in the Congrès internationaux d’architecture modern. It was commissioned by the “Gemeinnutzige Heimstatten-Spar und Bau-AG” (Non-Profit Housing Savings and Building Shareholding Company) for approximately 5,000 people, located in a borough of Neukölln, southeast of the city center on what was formerly unzoned agricultural land.4 The project was designed by Bruno Taut and Martin Wagner, who collaborated on a number of other housing estates.

The hufeisensiedlung was planned as a contained neighbourhood, clearly discernible from the surrounding urban fabric with its vast open spaces and small one-way streets, organized along the north-south axis. Green buffer zones border the northern and western edges of the site, while the conservative aesthetic of “the Red Front” DeGeWo estate, developed in the same period, dominate to the east. Gradation is used to reinforce these borders, with threestory apartment blocks delineating the edge while rowhouses populate the interior of the neighbourhood. Internal streets are minimized for economy and the creation of an intimate, human scale, recalling the theories of Camillo Sitte and Raymond Unwin. Narrow pedestrian pathways cut through the backs of private gardens, creating an intricate network of lanes throughout the site. The residential areas were conceived of as “outdoor living spaces.” laid out with fastidious attention paid to placement, or displacement, in the creation of shifting building frontages and asymmetrical gaps.5 The horseshoe, now iconic of the siedlungen, is a 350 m ribbon building of the three-story apartment block typology. Taut’s sensitivity to landscape is best exemplified here, where he uses a natural depression in the topography as the generator of building form, creating a pond and shared green space enclosed by the building edge. The horseshoe’s curvilinear shape allows each of the dwelling units to face into the courtyard and a private allotment, but as a result, one third of the apartments have balconies facing north.6 The building was conceived not only as the metaphysical heart of the community but also as a grand access point and node of activity, with

Figure 2 Context map 1:25000

convenience shopping and community facilities including a cafe and restaurant at the entrance off Fritz-Reuter-Allee.7 West of the horseshoe, along a shared axis, is “De Husung,” a diamond shaped courtyard named after the right of habitation that farm workers were required to have from their landlords. The two together create the axis mundi of the community and comprise the initial development phases. THE RIGHT TO SOUND DWELLING The principles of the housing reform movement were based on the idea that healthful living conditions were intimately connected to the earth. Overcrowding, filth and poverty had become synonymous with city life, and the problem of housing became the problem of returning people to the land. The void became an integral tool for shaping urban form, a radical divergence from the enclosed streets,

squares, and maximum lot coverage common in nineteenth century building practice. In 1925, a zoning ordinance forbade the building of back courts, effectively putting an end to the “rentable barrack” tenements forced upon the working class.8 In responding to the narrow, dim and poorly-ventilated housing blocks that prevailed in working class settlements, the standard zeispännertyp, or “twospan type,” was developed.8 In the siedlungen, both single family and multi-unit dwellings were two rooms deep at maximum and open on both sides, allowing the penetration of both air and light. Buildings were planned consistently on a north-south axis, emphasizing the east-west facades. This two-span type was particularly important in conjunction with floor plans based on the nuclear family, which clearly separated different functions by room. While this has given way to open077

CIAM 1928-1959

Image 3 Photograph of rowhouse gardens

concept spaces today, architects and planners of the time were responding to conditions of incredible overcrowding and disorder. In the old tenements, families often shared a single room with perhaps a kitchen, while shared washrooms were located outside. The hufeisensiedlung shows a particular sensitivity to the relationship between dwellings, open space and communal facilities. Every effort was made to have rooms face onto gardens rather than streets, no doubt the justification for Taut’s iconic horseshoe form. Subsistence gardens were essential, and for residents in apartment blocks, private allotments were provided nearby. But while these long, narrow plots of land were private gardens, the spirit of Taut’s modernism was a spirit of community. Between 1930 and 1937 regular newsletters were sent to residents on the maintenance of home and garden, most of which had no 078

Figure 3 Site Plan 1:25000

hard separations from each other and were at most delineated by hedges.9 But despite such low lot coverage and building height, the hufeisensiedlung is relatively compact and high density. The settlement was planned for 5,000 people on 29 acres of land for a density of 172 people/acre. In contrast, the density of the Scarborough district in Toronto was only 12.8 people/acre in 2001.10 THE SPIRIT OF MODERNISM While the housing conditions in post-war Berlin were exceptional, they are only rivalled in the immediacy and effectiveness with which the city responded to these problems. Modernism was embraced nowhere as early or with such enthusiasm as it was in Germany, where it became the triumphant style of a new social consciousness for the Weimar Republic.11 The modernist housing estates were built at a time of incredible progress

and upheaval, successfully employing the principles of modernism established in CIAM: air, sunlight and greenery. The Groβsiedlung Britz ultimately did not house the proletariat workers it was meant for, but along with the other estates, represents a paradigm shift in which housing became the concern of not only humanitarians and individuals but of governments and the country’s best and brightest.11 Even more significantly, it represents a revolution in the way societies inhabit the land—the idea of shelter not as a privilege, but a fundamental human right.





Figure 3 Standard single-family rowhouse. The front yard and private garden occupies the majority of the lot area, 204 m2 out of 264 m2, or approximately 77%.



Figure 4 Neighborhood pattern, 1:2000 Private gardens face onto each other to maximize the sense of openness. Adjacent gardens often have no hard separations. Interior and exterior circulation are connected by narrow pedestrian pathways which cut between the parallel gardens and tie into two-lane vehicular streets.

Figure 5 Green space & typology, 1:10000 This diagram shows the relationship between built form, open space and circulation in the neighbourhood context. The block is punctuated with a network of two-lane streets and pedestrian footpaths. Rowhouses shown in black, three-story apartment blocks shown in light grey.


Figure 6 Solid-void, 1:10000 Buildings are oriented along the northsouth axis to emphasize the east-west facades. Minimal lot coverage creates a very high percentage of open space. The voids between buildings are primarily green spaces, of which there are three significant areas: 1) Horseshoe 2) Husung and 3) Park.


NOTES 1.  Wiedenhoeft, Ronald. Berlin’s housing revolution: German reform in the 1920s. Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1985. 2.  Bärnreuther, Andrea. City of architecture of the city: Berlin 1900-2000. Berlin: Nicolai, 2000. 3.  Lane, Barbara Miller. Architecture and politics in Germany, 1918-1945. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968. 4.  Rowlands, Rob. Mass housing in Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. 5.  Sutcliffe, Anthony. Metropolis, 1890-1940. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984. 6.  Wiedenhoeft, Ronald V.. Berlin’s housing revolution: German reform in the 1920s. Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1985. 7.  Jager, Markus, Jörg Haspel and Annemarie Jaeggi, eds. Siedlungen der Berliner Moderne: Eintragung in die Welterbeliste der UNESCO = Berlin Modernism housing estates : inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Berlin: Braun, 2009. 8.  Wiedenhoeft, Ronald. Berlin’s housing revolution: German reform in the 1920s. Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1985. 9.  Friends of the Hufeisensiedlung Berlin-Britz eV. “Hufeisensiedlung.” Accessed November 1, 2013. 10.  Statistics Canada. “2001 Community Profiles.” Last modified August 26, 2013. Accessed November 2, 2013. 11.  —. Siedlungen der Berliner Moderne: Eintragung in die Welterbeliste der UNESCO = Berlin Modernism housing estates : inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Berlin: Braun, 2009.

FIGURES 41.  —. Siedlungen der Berliner Moderne: Eintragung in die Welterbeliste der UNESCO = Berlin Modernism housing estates : inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Berlin: Braun, 2009. 42.  ”Britz, Berlin.” Map. 2013. Google Maps. maps?safe=off&q=britz,+berlin&ie=UTF-8&ei=sjqQUoOzEOS62wXxsYD4CQ&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAg. 43.  “Hufeisensiedlung.” Map. Friends of the Hufeisensiedlung Berlin-Britz eV. 44.  Wu, Stephanie. 45.  Wu, Stephanie. 46.  Wu, Stephanie.

PHOTOS 1.  “Großsiedlung Britz.” Photograph. Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment. denkmal/denkmale_in_berlin/en/weltkulturerbe/siedlungen/britz.shtml (accessed November 1, 2013). 2.  Godel, Addison. “britz hufeisensiedlung 1.” Photograph. 2010. http://www. (accessed November 1, 2013). 3.  “Untitled.” Photograph. ONK___PAS_oD_Quelle_Roehricht.jpg (accessed November 1, 2013).


CIAM 1928-1959

ROCKEFELLER CENTER Raymond Hood 1930 - 1939 New York City by Charles Bennett

Built between 1930 and 1939, the Rockefeller Center is an excellent example of civic and urban planning in New York. Designed by Raymond Hood, in collaboration with a team of New York’s renowned architects and urban planners at tbe time. The project was originally comprised of 14 buildings and occupied 22 acres of Manhattan. The site is located in the heart of Manhattan, bordered by Fifth and Sixth Avenue and 49th and 51st street, a neighborhood that was once considered to be a slum of decaying Victorian houses that was beginning to be overrun by nearby industrial expansion. Architecturally restricted by the 1916 Zoning Act, the design imposes itself on the site by extending its lower levels to the perimeter of the footprint while setting back the upper floors to build higher, allowing natural light and air to reach the ground levels. The design draws from CIAM idylls incorporating variety of program combining residential, commercial and public spaces through the complex. The project continues to embrace CIAM by accompanying these masses with a large plaza, acting as a public open space within the complex counteracting the density of the surrounding buildings. The project also addresses the city’s transportation at a larger scale merging with manhattans expanding subway system. Though the design maintains many elements CIAM, the economic and political desire at the time to create an ambitious building that contradicts elements relating to monumentality mentioned in Le Corbusier’s Athens Charter. Being influenced by CIAM as well as New York’s cultural, political and economic settings at the time, conclude with a center which addresses and fits within the urban context and scale of the city. 081

CIAM 1928-1959


he Rockefeller Center occupies 22 acres of Manhattan, and is an excellent example of civic and urban planning in the city of New York. Originally compiled of 14 buildings the Center takes up two entire city blocks and is officially regarded as a National Historic Landmark.1 Built between 1930 and 1939 the project takes place in the early stages of the 1928-1959 Congrès Internationaux d’architecture moderne’s movement. It is obvious that the project is conscious to the some of these CIAM idylls being discussed at the time though the complex is not confined within its principles.2 There are undoubtedly ideas relating to spatial and contextual planning that can be connected to CIAM however; there are also elements within the design which neglect and in some cases conflict these CIAM idylls such as the buildings monumentality. Raymond Hood was the chief designer though there were a number of architects collaborating at the time working with the Rockefeller Family, specifically John Rockefeller.3 The plans formed

by social, physical and cultural contexts generated a monument of a building that conveyed power and wealth that would also serve as a destination and icon within the city. PHYSICAL CONTEXT The site is bordered between Fifth and Sixth Avenue and 49th and 51st street putting Rockefeller Complex in Central Manhattan. This was a place starting to experience some of the negative effects relating to the expanding city at the time specifically relating to congestion and density. 229 Victorian brownstone houses existed in the 1930s prior to the sites demolition in order to clear room for the Rockefeller Center. The immediate physical context of the site was also being affected by the variety of land uses surrounding the site, a neighborhood that was starting to be overrun by nearby industrial expansion.4 The site was located in Central Manhattan, bound between two streets that served as north-south arteries though the city. 5th Ave., a well

Figure 1 Victorian Brownstone Houses existing on the site before their demolition (left) Figure 2 Rockefeller Site 1925 (middle) Figure 3 Rockefeller site 2013 (right)


maintained and paved route to central park that provided efficient circulation for pedestrians accessing the center as well as desirable views overlooking the site.5 This drove the decision to address 5th Ave as the main entrance , 6th Ave. on the other hand was the less favorable entrance though it still had the ability to draw pedestrian flow into the site.6 It was also required that the building was joined underground to the cities subways system on 6th Ave., this would further connect the complex with the network of the expanding city.7 The Rockefeller Center was designed in such a way that it integrated itself along pedestrian flows of the surrounding blocks and as well as to the city on a larger scale to draw people to the site. Its program includes retail, theaters, performance spaces, plazas, gardens and of course residential program catered to multiple users creating a social hub and destination within Central Manhattan.8

PLANNING CONTEXT During the time that the project was conceived, the city of New York was going through a depression which lead to obvious negative effects on the cities expansion. Nearing the end of the 18th century the citizens of New York began to become aware of the growing problems relating to congestion within the city. There was a high demand for housing because of the immigrants that were entering the Manhattan looking for places to live. Because of this residential buildings that were being built at the time were designed with the intention of maximizing space. This generated the Tenement House Act of 1901 setting guidelines for the bulk of these buildings.9

By restricting the bulkiness of buildings planners were able to improve air quality and the amount of light reaching the street level by establishing height and setback requirements. It wasn’t long before the city realized additional laws would have to be added to the Act of 1901 after the Equitable building office tower was built as an extrusion of its entire footprint bypassing the city’s residential zoning restrictions.10 Another issue of zoning that needed to be addressed was the assortment of land uses that were located amongst the residential. The fear that “Warehouses and factories began to encroach upon the fashionable stores along Ladies’ Mile, edging uncomfortably close to Fifth

Avenue”11 would have had a significant economic impact on the value and ability to market the Rockefeller Center. The 1916 Zoning Resolution resulted in the implementation of segregated land uses; this dedicated certain areas of the city to residential and others to industrial.12 This zoning act also affected other skyscrapers that reached similar heights (70 Floors) such as the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Trump Building that were also being built in New York, some of which also incorporating CIAM ideas into their plans. The Rockefeller Center was able to increase its height by sacrificing some of their height at lower levels so that the same area could then be multiplied and used vertically in the

Figure 4 Set backs and height limitations generated the tall slender bulk of the GE tower. Figure 5 The setbacks provided light at the street level while allowing fresh air to flow freely. (middle) Figure 6 The project embraces CIAM by accompanying these masses is a large plaza, acting as a public open space within the complex counteracting the density of the surrounding buildings. (right)


CIAM 1928-1959

RCA tower.13 The original plans for the site were for the Metropolitan Opera who originally planned on leasing the site from John Rockefeller however; in 1929 due to the stock market crash the Metropolitan Opera were forced to back out of the deal. Despite the client changing it was still some of same architects that were commissioned for the design.14 CIAM INFLUENCE Evidence suggests that elements of the Congrès Internationaux d’architecture moderne were incorporated into the Rockefeller Center design however; it did not exclusively adhere to them. Elements such as natural light, fresh air, mixed program and public open spaces are prominent within the design though it does not strictly adhere to all its principles. This was due partially because the Rockefeller Center was conceived relatively early within the CIAM movement which had not yet established itself in the United States as it had in Europe.15 The cities problem with congestion was solved due to economic conditions. “The most densely populated districts

are located in the least favored zones.”16 6th Ave., prior to the sites demolition, had been considered a place darkness, home too many of the suspicious businesses in New York. Considered to be “a gas lit carnival of vice”17 the addition of the Rockefeller center strived towards CIAM idylls by removing the old unfavorable tightly packed brownstone houses. In exchange the RCA building, a tall and slender form that with a narrow floor plate containing ample openings resulting in fresh air and light both inside and outside the building. Raymond Hood even went so far as to ensure that every room would have access to natural light, an intention of CIAM that was consistent within the Athens Charter. 18 Establishing the complex allowed to increase the density in which people were living but change people’s opinions about the site. The Rockefeller plan is conscious of 6th streets past and responds with high rise buildings while addressing 5th street with the low rise buildings to draw attention to the square. This would draw attention to the plaza which would then in turn

draw attention to the land.19 This organization of space opposes the CIAM theory that “Magnificent layouts, intended for show, may once have constituted awkward obstacles to traffic flow, and they still do.”20 The Rockefeller center is undoubtedly a magnificent layout, intended to be a landmark in Manhattan. However, at the same time, the design aims to increase the efficiency of transportation for the city as well as pedestrian traffic within the center, something unrelated and even conflicting to the concept of monumentality in CIAM.21 This is an excellent example of how the Rockefeller Center’s design was selective with what principles it drew from CIAM, responding more specifically to the site when opportunities arose. The mixed use nature of the Rockefeller Center coincides with CIAM idylls incorporating the fundamentals of urbanism within the design. “The keys to urbanism are to be found in the four functions: inhabiting, working, recreation and circulation”22 These 4 elements are tied together through the buildings program allowing its

Figure 7 Access Points and transporation routes displaying the efficiency of circulation around the site.

Pedestrian Circulation Vehicular Circulation Subway Line


inhabitants to maximize their recreation time while minimizing the time wasted moving from one place to another. The design also incorporates plazas and outdoor gardens which catered to people’s needs for recreation space contrasting the high density spaces, a need repeated throughout Corbusier’s Athens Charter.23 CONCLUSION Given the trend that the city was starting to follow after the 1916 Zoning act, the Rockefeller Center jumps on board with larger movement in New York during the 1930s, reaching heights similar to other skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Trump Building. In relation to the rest of the expanding city, the Rockefeller Center provides an appropriate response to the ailments of congestion and density within the existing neighborhood. The intention is selective, and consisted of design and planning responses that were relevant to the quickly evolving context of Manhattan. By embracing certain CIAM idylls in tandem with the effects of economic and political drivers at the time, a center is generated with programs, density and bulk that create an appropriate contextual response.


NOTES 1.  “Rockefeller Center - Raymond Hood - Great Buildings Architecture.” GreatBuildings. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. <>.hamberlain, Samuel. Rockefeller Center . New York: Hastings House, 1947. (accessed October 23, 2013). 2.  Mumford, Eric Paul. 2000. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 3.  Orkent, Daniel. Great Fourtune The Epic of Rockefeller Center. New York: Penguin, 2003. 4.  Chamberlain, Samuel. Rockefeller Center . New York: Hastings House, 1947. 5.  Orkent, 2003. 6.  Orkent, 2003. 7.  Planning, NYC Department of City. About Zoning . n.d. gov/html/dcp/html/zone/zonehis.shtml (accessed October 24, 2013). 8.  Orkent, 2003. 9.  Planning, n.d. 10.  Planning, n.d. 11.  Planning, n.d. 12.  Planning, n.d. 13.  Planning, n.d. 14.  Corbusier, Le. La Charte d’Athènes. Le Corbusier, 1943. 15.  Mumford, 2000. 16.  Corbusier, 1943. 17.  Morris, Lloyd R.. Incredible New York; high life and low life of the last hundred years. New York: Random House, 1951. 18.  Orkent, 2003. 19.  Orkent, 2003. 20.  Corbusier, 1943. 21.  Mumford, 2000. 22.  Corbusier, 1943. 23.  Corbusier, 1943.

FIGURES 47.  Chamberlain, Samuel. Rockefeller Center . New York: Hastings House, 1947.

PHOTOS 1.  “City, New York, Rockefeller Center, United States | Top travel lists.” City, New York, Rockefeller Center, United States | Top travel lists. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. <> 2.  Google Inc. (2009). Google Earth (Version 5.1.3533.1731) [Software].


CIAM 1928-1959

ROCKEFELLER CENTER Raymond Hood 1930-1939 New York City by Amanda Crisp

Rockefeller Center is a plaza consisting of nineteen commercial buildings located in the heart of midtown Manhattan. In 1930s, Raymond Hood built this complex reflecting the new implications of Congrès internationaux d’architecture moderne. This organization extremely influenced New York and how one wanted to see this state grow and develop in the future; thus using a concept of a more “functional” city and a push to Urban Planning. Raymond Hood was dealing with CIAM in the very beginning of its impacts on architects and planners, therefore noted in his work there is a mix of the old New York reflecting its context and the new modernism of the time to come. Raymond Hood made sure to provide more light and air in this dense center, reflecting spaces on the ground and roof level. He was working with Zoning of the new Law implemented in 1916 that impacted choices that were made. One can see how these influences shaped the Rockefeller center and how it was designed better for the future of how the city functions and how the public uses the space daily.


CIAM 1928-1959


Rockefeller Center is a plaza consisting of nineteen commercial buildings located in the heart of midtown Manhattan. Valuing utility as beauty, Raymond Hood designed this Center. New York was just getting over the Great Depression, the Economic Crash in the 1930’s and the pre-World War II Era. It was also dealing with new technologies such as aviation, film and radio, thus opening up the eyes of Americans and providing a new way of living and working downtown. Rockefeller Center was constructed at the beginning of the CIAM organization in 1930. Manhattan was growing and needed a central core. Hood took this chance to create the Rockefeller Center and a new heart to downtown1. KEY DESIGN FEATURES This complex was influenced by the CIAM organization directly and was shaped based on the new technologies and movements of planning. The three main achievements Hood was striving for were light, air and transportation. These concepts relate to planning and the 1916 Zoning Bylaw of New York City, which are discussed in further detail below. Hood also strived for a strong

Figure 1 Rockefeller Center Contextual Map


relationship between skyscrapers and open places for this Urban Design. Open spaces do not need to be huge, but well designed by staying active during the day and night hours. This leads to the concept of being placed in an urban context and having to design specifically for an urban context. Hood used the design features and the Zoning Bylaw to make this Plaza fit in its context and still act as the Center it was designed to be.2 Before this area of Manhattan was the commercial realestate area it is now, it consisted of low-rise housing. With the context of a growing working city, it needed offices and a work place for the residents of New York.3 The population of immigrants was increasing drastically and integration into the planning of New York took this into consideration when developing transportation and density of building spaces.4 Concepts of this bulkier building are hidden with the gently sloping landscape into the plaza and use of motion throughout the Center. The stepping back provided views in the exterior context that Manhattan had not seen before.3 The City was striving for money and it was a depressing time

for America. As the center was being built, things started looking up for New York. The aspects of hiding bulk and stepping back are really encouraged in the Zoning Bylaw. Creating an airy space and making the streets feel wider and more open for pedestrians is something Hood really considered while designing the complex. TRANSPORTATION The plaza is sunken to attract the public to the underground concourse, which now contains a subway and restaurants.3 When Hood incorporated circulation, it consisted mainly of pedestrian views. Vehicular traffic was also a consideration because The Rockefeller Center provided the first parking garage in an office in New York, therefore, attracting the car directly to its location, as opposed to a plaza a car just passes by. Hood added an underground concourse, which connects all nineteen buildings. The concourse is seen as the “spine” or link between this complex. Hood also created an extra street, which acted as a mid block connection to split up the blocks, making it easier for people to access and move through the spaces. To have a sunken plaza, Hood needed to pay close attention to how this space would function. The Rockefeller Center did not resolve this issue at first because the initial plans were claimed to be too dense and expensive, so the scale was adjusted.2 It needed to become a dynamic transition between the ground and underground to create a welcoming area where people would want to gather. HISTORICAL RELEVANCE AND URBAN CONTEXT John D. Rockefeller was approached by the Metropolitan Opera House for

the construction of a new building and he took this opportunity to include the Rockefeller Center as a centerpiece. Due to the Economy Crash, they pulled out of the project and Rockefeller was stuck with only an office and entertainment plaza. He decided to carry on with the project and make it work economically with the situation he was in, while others doubted him. Now the GE building sits in the Center, it is 70 stories of skyscraping stepping back in setbacks and cladded in limestone, resembling the buildings of the time.5 Atmosphere of the “downtown” was very art driven to artists, dancing, music and film. During this time, film was being created and the downtown provided a spot for all these new technologies to develop because it brought people together and allowed for work to be displayed. Racial integration started to come about with the inclusion of blacks into the writing profession and more. This led to diversity and a more including City and the Rockefeller Center acts as a great place for new ways of looking at diversity to happen. The Center contains many famous art pieces, giving it ‘beauty’. Politically, this space became a gathering spot for the whole City. Somewhere to meet up and combine large groups of people for different reasons became a central

Figure 2 Connection of Spaces throughout Rockefeller Center, New York

Figure 3 Manhatten Maps, before 1925 and after Rockefeller Center was built

focus.6 CONNECTING TO CIAM AND PLANNING Looking further into the organization of CIAM, in 1930. Brussels looked into the concept of High-mid-low rises buildings, specifically heights and how it affects the City socially and not just economically. This was discussed in a CIAM meeting.7 Also discussed was the

impact of the 1916 Zoning Bylaw in New York, allowing light and air to penetrate into the streets, by creating a law that after one hundred feet the building had to step back. This prevents shadowing over the neighbouring buildings.8 In the case of Rockefeller Center, it was located in an urban context; there were other tall building heights formed and high densities. Hood saw the GE building as a potential to use 089

CIAM 1928-1959

height as the focal point for the plaza; the other surrounding buildings were lower creating the 70-story building to rise. Regarding the social aspect; it is noticed that one cannot tell how tall the building is because of how pleasing the ground is to a human scale. Stepping back was achieved and the key design features additionally (light and air), for example, Hood made sure that the way the buildings were placed allowing for maximum sunlight and flow of air. By making the other surrounding buildings shorter it provided air and light to penetrate in. By only building on half of the lot size, but building higher, it shaped a pin tower. Popular of the time, this bulk created less shadowing, and more light and air. SERVING MANY USERS Architecture needs to serve many and not just a few. 7 Hood took this acknowledgement into concern and incorporated into the planning a Center that can serve many. He achieved this by providing open spaces that are well designed and a well-planned transportation system to access the site, also having the program of an “entertainment” plaza attracted people from all distances. Concerns such as “Necessity of punctual Automobile and pedestrian circulation” were brought up in the final statements of CIAM, 1949. 7 By this time, the Rockefeller Center was already a successful core where transportation was an initial design feature and the concern was how to get people to the site. Public Transportation, by foot and automobile, were all taken into account, mainly achieving it with the underground concourse. CREATING A SOCIAL ATMOSPHERE Another statement made, “So the 090

buildings were placed in such a way that they created social atmospheres on their own” 7 Therefore Rockefeller Center created it’s own impact on New York and was influenced by exterior context, fitting in by using the same stone/brick cladding, while still maintaining an aesthetic connection to the context. Hood combined this complex with culture and monuments to create artwork and symbolic gathering places. Le Corbusier concept of Monumentality was spoken about in a CIAM meeting and the need for “an open platform with freestanding buildings-seen as a longstride from the Renaissance Piazza.” 9 The Center takes this stand as a place in the City where Hood allowed for an “open platform” and these open spaces for congregation, but mainly allowing the light to filter through. The buildings are seen to be freestanding because Hood was more worried about the space in between; the space that the public used and flowed through daily.

Figure 4 Shows the massing of the plaza and how pedestrians and cars circulate through, as well as the movement of the sun. The poisition of the building work with the sun to create an open, airy and bright space in the core of Rockefeller center,

CREATING A FUNCTIONAL CITY Another concern brought up in CIAM was the “functional city” where “land planning would be based upon functionbased zones.” 7 The Rockefeller Center transformed from residential to all office/commercial mix, which was seen as appropriate by CIAM because it was all a base zone and seen as a public attraction. This made it easily recognized by the public as to what its purpose was. The plaza functions well based on the mix it provides and because of its many attractions, people want to come to a place like this. Cornelius van Easteren asserted that “districts for the masses, with their high population densities, suffer the consequences of incorrect development.” He argues that, “block form of street walls and lot lines, were unnecessary.” 7 Although the Center provided these large masses on the street blocks, Hood provided

open spaces that connected with the buildings always taking into account the human scale and how one feels as they move through the space in relation to the large surrounding buildings. CONCLUSION The Land-use Legislation at the time under a comprehensive Planning Act, “land-use planning is to further the welfare of people and their communities by creating convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient, and attractive environments for present and future generations.” 10 The Rockefeller Center achieved this plan by providing transportation in all motives and healthy green spaces on the ground and roof planes. These were healthy because they were well designed to attract many people and had aspects such as monuments, seating, skating, shopping and restaurants. The fact that they were well populated left a secure feeling to

the public because there were always “eyes” on the street. One looks at this complex and thinks of it as a symbolic location for New York; that alone will make it a successful project. All the aspects that come with that statement lead to why it has become symbolic for the present time and the future. At the time it was appropriate mainly based on the contexts of New York and how it was evolving. The Center created a direction that New York was heading as the City grew and developed.

Figure 5 Section Cut through Rockefeller Center showing relationship of space and materiality


NOTES 1.  Koolhaas, Rem. Delirious New York: a retroactive manifesto for Manhattan. New ed. New York: Monacelli Press, 1994. 2.  Vyas, Alok. “Rockefeller Center - An Adventure in Urban Design.” Principles & Practice of Urban Design. 14 (Dec. 1998). plan_port/rc519.html (accessed September 29, 2013). 3.  Horsley, Carter. “The Midtown Book: Rockefeller Center.” The Midtown Book: Rockefeller Center. (accessed October 20, 2013). 4.  Department of City Planning. “NYC Zoning - About New York City Zoning.” NYC Zoning - About New York City Zoning. html/dcp/html/zone/zonehis.shtml (accessed October 20, 2013). 5.  Okrent, Daniel. Great fortune: the epic of Rockefeller Center. New York: Viking, 2003. 6.  Balfour, Alan. Rockefeller Center: architecture as theater. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1978. 7.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 8.  Dolkart, Andrew. “The First U.S Zoning Bylaw.” The Architecture and Development of New York City with Andrew S. Dolkart. (accessed October 15, 2013). 9.  Pilling, Matthew. “ARCHITECTURE + URBANISM.” : Eric Mumford: The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism 1928-1960 (2002). (accessed October 17, 2013). 10.  “American Planning Association.” American Planning Association. http:// (accessed October 23, 2013).

FIGURES 48.  “Villard Houses and Rockefeller Center, NYC.” Summer Studio. http:// (accessed October 25, 2013). 49.  “Salem Public Space Project.” Salem Public Space Project. (accessed October 25, 2013). 50.  “Land Book of the Borough of Manhattan, City of NY, Desk and Library Ed. - WardMaps LLC.” Land Book of the Borough of Manhattan, City of NY, Desk and Library Ed. - WardMaps LLC. viewasset.php?aid=6287 (accessed November 3, 2013).“Villard Houses and Rockefeller Center, NYC.” Summer Studio. (accessed October 25, 2013). 51.  “Villard Houses and Rockefeller Center, NYC.” Summer Studio. http:// (accessed October 25, 2013). 52.  “Villard Houses and Rockefeller Center, NYC.” Summer Studio. http:// (accessed October 25, 2013).

PHOTOS 1.  “City, New York, Rockefeller Center, United States | Top travel lists.” City, New York, Rockefeller Center, United States | Top travel lists. http:// (accessed October 25, 2013).


CIAM 1928-1959

SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM Frank Lloyd Wright 1943-1959 New York City by Carol Nguyen

What defines a building as remarkable architecture may be subjective, but to deem a piece of architecture as a cultural icon within architectural history is a much easier task. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is undeniably an architectural landmark that is located in the urban setting of Manhattan, New York. As with any other memorable piece of architecture, the Guggenheim has its fair share of controversies due to its profound impact on the local context. Wright struggled during the design stage with New York’s building code and the severe structures imposed by their zoning regulations resulting in him redesigning the Guggenheim multiple times in response. Frank Lloyd Wright’s organic approach to architecture was a stark contrast to the typical rectangular Manhattan buildings that surrounded the site of the Guggenheim. Through the organic forms of the Guggenheim, Frank Lloyd Wright made it culturally and socially acceptable for the museum typology to be as expressive and spirited as the art it contains. The Guggenheim’s presence changed the dynamics of the local context to the extent that it is now symbolic with New York and renowned internationally. By understanding the impacts on the physical, social, political and cultural context, one is able to understand the success and status that the Guggenheim achieved within an urban context.


CIAM 1928-1959


rbanism is defined as “the way of life associated with urban dwelling and the interactions within the urban environment.”1 In 1943, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation assigned Frank Lloyd Wright a commission that would lead to his ultimate statement of urbanism.2 The commission was going to be an art museum located in the urban fabric of New York City. Despite Wright’s contempt for New York City’s overpopulation and glass skyscrapers, he accepted the project, as it was an opportunity for him to experiment with his organic architecture ideals in an urban context.3 The Guggenheim was erected during the post-war era of New York City. The city was growing dramatically and more importantly it was growing vertically. Due to postwar

Figure 1 Existing site conditions of blockfront


inflation that was happening at the time, construction costs were rising, but that did not stop the new skyscrapers of New York City from getting built.4 Modernist designs with its sleek and rationally composed geometries were fully embraced by the city. Initially Wright envisioned a low sprawling building for the museum, but due to the constricted nature of the sites in Manhattan, he had to follow the local context and start designing vertically instead.5 However, Wright maintained his determination to not conform to the “glass prison” approach to vertical density in which corporate modernist designs at the time were being constructed as.6 By breaking the physical and conceptual ideals of what a conventional modern building in an urban setting like New York City should

look like, Wright had an opportunity to showcase his approach to urbanism and change the general perception of what urbanism could encompass. SITE CONTEXT Wright made it no secret that he wished for the project to be situated in another city, however his clients were adamant on Manhattan.7 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation gave Wright several options and eventually he chose a site on 5th Avenue and 89th Street. Wright viewed the site as the “lesser evil” compared to the other sites, because of its proximity to Central Park. Wright believed that Central Park was a unique and important space that provided the inhabitants of Manhattan with a place of refuge from the chaos of ctty life. Furthermore, this meant the site was adequately distanced from areas with higher noise concentrations and congestion. From 1944-1951 the parcel of land needed were bought in pieces and tenants were bought off to eventually acquire the full blockfront.8 During the time, the neighbourhood was a stable one, consisting of mostly brick apartment buildings.9 Nearly all the buildings had flat facades that were parallel to the street and built right up to the property line.10 More importantly Central Park was right across the street from the acquired site. The site’s proximity to the major urban public green space was crucial to the design development of the Guggenheim. The iconic organic curves of the Guggenheim are embodiments of the natural shapes that could be found in Central Park.11 Pedestrians observing from 5th Avenue claim that the broad spirals of the Guggenheim seem to be reaching towards the park, making it the only building that tries to make a connection with the urban public

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1959)

Seagram Building (1958)

Lever House (1952)

United Nations Headquarters (1952)

space.12 But by solely designing the building in reference to Central Park, Wright ignored the physical context of the surrounding buildings. However, this was a conscious decision made by Wright, as he wanted the Guggenheim to stand against the typical box-like buildings and rectangular street grids of Manhattan.13

5th ave. 89th st.

LOCAL CONTEXT Although Wright was determined to disregard certain aspects of the Manhattan urban context, there were many obstacles that compromised his ideals. Wright saw architecture as a social art and designed the Guggenheim to be a place where people could interact with one another.14 This social idea aligned with his client’s ultimate goal, which was to promote and educate the public on art by enlightening them.15 Furthermore, they both wanted to change what is culturally perceived as a museum aesthetically by playing with forms not generally associated with the museum typology.16 However, it was this last intention and Wright’s deliberate ignorance of the local context that caused controversy regarding his contribution to the urban fabric of Manhattan. Many groups were unhappy with Wright’s design approach

Figure 3 New York’s grid block and significant buildings in surrounding context prior to the construction of Wright’s Guggenhiem.

to the museum. Artists thought that the design was simply there to feed Wright’s ego and ignored the needs of the artists as the slanted walls was not ideal in the display of artworks.17 Most irksome to Wright was his struggle with New York’s building code and zoning ordinances.18 He prepared way for his unusual design with the New York Board of Standards and Appeals.19 The media got involved with the issue,

with the New York Times advocating the city to grant Wright an exception.20 However, this was not enough and Wright was not granted the exemption and was told he must redesign to control the bulk and height of the building.21 Thus, Wright redesigned the Guggenheim multiple times in response to the severe structure imposed by New York’s zoning regulations and building code. Wright’s blunt and unapologetic 095

CIAM 1928-1959


Figure 4 The Guggenheim right after it was built in 1959 within its surrounding context. The contrast between the organic curves of the building and the flat facades of a typical Manhatten building can be seen. Figure 5 Context map of the Guggenheim and its current surroundings (2013). Despite being an iconic building it had little influence on the urban architecture of Manhatten. Manhatten failed to embrace the free forms that Wright advocates as ideal for urbanism.

av e.

RELATIONSHIP TO CIAM During the long design process of the Guggenheim, overseas in Europe CIAM (Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne) was also trying to redefine what modernism and urbanism encompasses.22 The Guggenheim was Wright’s American approach to both modernism and urbanism by using his ideas of organic architecture. CIAM adamantly pushed the idea that architecture had the power to be an economic and political tool to contribute to the improvement of the urban fabric and thus should be based on practical economical and sociological considerations.23 Although people may argue whether the Guggenheim was successful in achieving such goals, all along Wright intentions were in correlation with what CIAM was proposing. The controversial design of the Guggenheim created interest in the building and attracted visitors internationally, which positively affected Manhattan’s economy. Furthermore, by attracting various types of visitors, Wright was able to expand the reaches of his client’s social goal, of which was to enlighten the public with the culture of art. As the growth of cities at the time was dependent on industrialization, CIAM recognized this relationship and claimed that it was vital for architects to

utilize the technologies available.26 To fully embrace the technology available for architectural design, CIAM’s La Sarraz Declaration claimed that a design should consider prefabrication, rationalization and standardization.27 This will simplify the working methods on site to make the construction process more efficient without a need to decrease in quality, which was the ultimate goal.28 Wright was a huge supporter of new technological innovations, and has used the ideas of standardization and rationalization in his designs for Prairie Houses. However, when given a project in an urban setting, Wright chose to not embrace the rationalization and standardization that could be seen in the new buildings being constructed in New York at the time. Instead Wright chose to design the Guggenheim in respect to sculptural free organic forms. This design choice went against what CIAM addressed as efficient architecture, and resulted in a longer constructive time. Furthermore as the desired curves were uncommon in Manhattan, Wright has difficulties finding a contractor who were knowledgeable in the creation

Central Park




design of the Guggenheim was his critique on Manhattan urban society, which left some people either offended or confused, however overtime people eventually gained appreciation for his individual take on urbanism. Despite the Guggenheim’s iconic status and eventual success as an individual building, it had little influence on New York’s urban architecture.





of such forms.29 The design of the Guggenheim was “before its time” and due to the lack of knowledge and available technology, Wright could not follow the CIAM principle of efficient architecture while still maintaining the integrity of his design intent. STATEMENT OF URBANISM Although many people of the time mocked Wright for his “inverted oatmeal bowl” design, it has now become one of the historical symbols of New York City.30 Whether Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim was appropriate or not for it’s context is no longer an issue to linger upon. Wright’s experimentation was just that- an experiment. Nothing can be proven without a proper trial and this was Wright’s attempt at improving the idea of urbanism and modernism. Whether the Guggenheim succeeded in its goal could be discussed endlessly, but Wright’s determination

to create a building that completely contrasts against the static urban fabric established in New York City was commendable. If one is not capable of appreciating the individualistic design of the Guggenheim, one could at least respect his attempt at doing something new. As CIAM’s Hugo Haring stated: “All individuals, and the stronger they are as personalities, and at times the louder they are, the more this applies-are an ostable in the path of development, and in fact progress takes place in spite of them. But nor does progress take place without them, without individuals, and strong personalities.”31 Thus if architecture did not have these individuals who attempted to go against the current, architecture would not be the interesting and constantly evolving industry it is today. The Guggenheim was Wright’s ultimate statement on urbanism and urban living but more importantly it was a statement

of individualism in a collectivist society through the creation of a monument that conciously and bravely ignored the local contexts.

Figure 6 The Guggenheim presently as it stands in contrast to its surrounding context.


NOTES 1.  H. W. Fowler, F. G. Fowler, and R. E. Allen. The Concise Oxford dictionary of current English. 8th ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990, 779. 2.  Alan Hess, and Alan Weintraub. Frank Lloyd Wright: the buildings. New York: Rizzoli, 2008, 10-11. 3.  Hess and Weintraub. Buildings, 10-11. 4.  Hess and Weintraub. Buildings, 38-39. 5.  Jack Quinan. “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum: A Historian’s Report.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 52, no. 12, 1993, 466-482. 6.  Hess and Weintraub. Buildings, 10-11. 7.  Stella Starita. The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright And The Making Of The Modern Museum And Keeping Faith With An Idea: A Timeline. New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 2009. 8.  Quinan, Historian’s Report. 466-482. 9.  Quinan, Historian’s Report. 466-482. 10.  Quinan, Historian’s Report. 466-482. 11.  Starita, Timeline. 12.  Hess and Weintraub. Buildings, 10-11. 13.  Quinan, Historian’s Report. 466-482. 14.  Hess and Weintraub. Buildings, 10-11. 15.  The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. “Guggenheim.” The Frank Lloyd Wright Building. frank-lloyd-wright-building (accessed October 20, 2013). 16.  “Guggenheim.” 17.  Starita, Timeline. 18.  Quinan, Historian’s Report. 466-482. 19.  Quinan, Historian’s Report. 466-482. 20.  Starita, Timeline. 21.  Starita, Timeline. 22.  Eric Mumford. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge Mass.: The MIT Press, 2002. 23.  Mumford, CIAM. 24.  Mumford, CIAM. 25.  Frank Ching, Mark Jarzombek, and Vikramaditya Prakash. A global history of architecture. 2nd ed. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2011. 26.  Mumford, CIAM. 27.  Mumford, CIAM. 28.  Mumford, CIAM. 29.  Quinan, Historian’s Report. 466-482. 30.  Starita, Timeline. 31.  William W. Braham, Jonathan A. Hale, and John Stanislav Sadar. Rethinking technology a reader in architectural theory. London: Routledge, 2007, 51


Stella Starita. The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright And The Making Of The Modern Museum And Keeping Faith With An Idea: A Timeline. New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 2009. 54.  Referenced: Gobetz, Wally. “NYC - United Nations Headquarters” Photograph. 2007 (accessed October 20, 2013). Unknown. (accessed October 20, 2013). Unknown. (accessed October 20, 2013). Naos, Ted. Guggenheim Graphic. al-diagrams/solomon-r-guggenheim-museum-graphic-by-ted-naos/ solomon-r-guggenheim-museum-graphic-by-ted-naos-graphic-dia gram2.jpg (accessed October 20, 2013).


55.  Referenced: (accessed October 20, 2013). 56.  Retrieved from: (accessed October 20, 2013). 57.  Referenced Google Maps. (accessed October 20, 2013). 58.  The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. “Guggenheim.” The Frank Lloyd Wright Building. frank-lloyd-wright-building (accessed October 20, 2013).

PHOTOS 1.  Thomas, Christopher. “Guggenheim Museum.” Photograph. 2008. (accessed October 20, 2013).

CIAM 1928-1959

BAKER HOUSE DORMITORY Alvar Aalto 1946-1949 Cambridge, Massachusetts by Yupin Li

Finnish architect Alvar Aalto’s MIT Baker House Dormitory, completed in 1948, is discussed in regards to CIAM and the International Style. Situated on an urban campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Baker House is characterized by its unique curvilinear shape, its divergence from the International Style, and the level of detail devoted to its architecture. The building snakes along the north side of Charles River and was designed for optimal views of the river without right angles to the main street. The plan consisted of a singleloaded corridor which allowed all of the 43 dorm rooms to face the river. A distinctive staircase is located on the north side where Aalto refused to place any rooms, as they did not have a view of the water. The dining hall was intended to be the focus of the building with many circular skylights and walls of glass. Aalto’s use of red brick on the facades and other natural materials such as wood and terracotta was an unprecedented departure from the white of the International Style. His personal approach permitted a design determined by human experience and a new concept of communal living contained in a architecture embracing both individualism and unity.


CIAM 1928-1959


rising from a need for housing in the aftermath of World War II, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology commissioned Finnish architect Alvar Aalto to create a dormitory for students returning from the war. MIT itself was adjusting to its relocation to its new site in Cambridge on the Charles River. This was a time of expansion for not only the school, but the city as well. The school had been utilized as a military research base during the war and received more attention and funding from the government.1 It was a very welcome opportunity for Alvar Aalto, who had taught at the school prior in 1940. As an emerging prominent architect, his career should have been in its prime. However, he had had no major projects from 1939 to 1946 due to disruption in Europe caused by the Second World War.2 During these seven years, Aalto

Figure 1 Plan of Baker House.


theorized and wrote about architecture and his ideas were realized in his first project in America, the Baker House. He received the commission in 1946 and the building was completed three years later in 1949. With this project, Aalto was able to physically manifest many of the principles he had wrote about such as flexible standardization and the role of an individual in a modern world of industrialization and urbanization. The Baker House was a way for Aalto to redefine mass-housing in an urban society with a humanistic approach. THE BAKER HOUSE The Baker House was to be situated on a narrow strip of land on the north bank of the Charles River. Influenced by Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, Aalto believed that views up and down the river were much more desirable than views directly at the river.3 To

achieve these views, he designed a curvilinear form embracing the curves of the river. This not only allowed the best views of the river, but also allows a softer angle to the busy street in front. Aalto maintained that every dorm room should have a river view and so refused to place rooms to the north side of the building. Instead, he designed for a single loaded corridor with a monolithic cantilevered staircase which transverses through the entire building. The building form creates a variety of plans with 43 room plans and 22 different room shapes per floor. The dining room is located centrally in the building and is lit with skylights above. A second floor provides extra seating as well as views of the river. The building was clad in a rustic red brick inspired by New England brick as well as Frank Lloyd Wright.4

Figure 2 1949 aerial photograph showing context of Baker House in context of MIT campus. A diagonal axis leads to the main neo-classical domed MIT Main Group building.

Technology, had been built with respect to modernism, Aalto’s Baker House was unique in its juxtaposition to its existing neo-classical context. The building both embraces the functionality and flexibility of modernism and the sensitivity to the other older buildings on campus. This was a departure from the traditional monumental and permanence sought by previous institutions.5 It was also a departure from the aesthetic of Modernism. Alvar Aalto has long been known for the cultural Nationalistic style in his buildings. Even with his International Style buildings, he would incorporate natural materials such as wood into the white. The Baker House was the climax of his interest in regionalism and context, utilizing the textured red brick which was ubiquitous in Boston during the 1930s. An issue which arose during the planning process was concerned with the height of the building. With new principles of zoning, it was necessary to determine a height that would not block

out all the sun. With new principles of zoning, it was necessary to determine a height that would not block out all the sun. CIAM’s principles regarding planning and heights were probably also in Aalto’s design thoughts. Another issue came with Cambridge’s new building codes, which was difficult to adhere to for the large flowing spaces which Aalto had proposed.6 A further economic difficulty occurred when the University asked for more rooms than originally intended. This was reluctantly resolved by Aalto through the addition of triple rooms at the ends of the building which did not have river views, but did not face north and maintained good natural light. Despite these problems, the building was highly successful and still ranks as one of the most popular on-campus housing. It still continues to have a powerful presence on the Charles River representing MIT as both a historical and progressive institution.

CONTEXT The Baker House was one of the first attempts at on-campus housing built by MIT. The intensification of Cambridge put forth new laws regarding zoning and heights. As the site was situated by the river, it was necessary to accommodate so as to not block future views from behind. Traditionally, institutional buildings have always been grouped together, and the Baker House carries that forth especially in light of CIAM ideals regarding zoning. In the context of American campus planning and the modern movement, the Baker House was very advanced in its design. Although other academic buildings, such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s work at the Florida Southern College and Mies Van Der Rohe’s work Illinois Institute of

Figure 3 Current solid/void context.


CIAM 1928-1959

CIAM Congres International d’Architecture Moderne was a group of international architects who organized a series of conferences discussing ideas of Modernism. Many of their ideas were derived from concepts which had already been established such as zoning and functionalism and CIAM was created as a vehicle to implement and advance these concepts. Among these architects was Alvar Aalto, who was introduced through his Swedish friend Sven Markleius. He was invited to represent Finland and was a member of the working committee, CIRPAC. Aalto was largely impacted by the second CIAM meeting in Frankfurt, Germany, where the Minimum Dwelling Unit was presented. The exhibition displayed apartments designed embracing minimalist functionalism where different functions were separated into their own spaces. The plans influenced Aalto’s belief that a modern world begins with careful consideration of everyday life, as can be seen in his 1930 show Minimum Apartment Exhibition in Helsinki which explored ideas of single and multifunctional living spaces.7 Exposed to international ideas of how architecture can be the means to a socialist modern world, Aalto’s return to Finland followed with explorations of housing and urbanism with the conviction that architecture should be for the many and not the few.8 One of his goals was to eliminate isolation and detached living of individuals and families. Aalto’s opportunity to realize these ideas came in the physical manifestation of the Baker House. He sought to overcome the generic stereotypical dormitory which he believed did not provide sufficient pleasure to its users. However, layouts should not differ so 102

much that standardization could be not be fulfilled. The resulting form of the Baker House allows for the flexible standardization Aalto advocated. The rooms themselves express individuality but are still functional by being only slightly different from each other. The furniture in the rooms were also personally designed by Aalto and are deliberately emphasized as architectural elements.9 Students are able to move the furniture around, further creating a sense of individuality. Explored in CIAM 3 was the concept of the psychological role of architecture, which Aalto had a profound interest in. He was particularly intrigued by the physiological effects of colour which led to his consideration of different materials. Aalto’s design strategy came out of careful analysis of the social and human needs of the student users while still meeting the technical and economic demands. Aalto was concerned with the problem of living in isolation, and so designed spaces for interaction. These spaces,

Figure 4 This was a future plan for MIT created in 1946. The Baker House was just one of the many new developments planned for the campus.

located in the corridors and main staircase, sought to break the abrupt relationship of private to public space. The corridors then became semi-private living spaces. Human needs referred to the comfort of the inhabitants and Aalto met these needs through designing for maximum natural light through skylights and south windows. Users are not isolated from the outside but can sense it through the permeable wall planes. Although CIAM affected Aalto’s design in a number of ways, he also deviated from many of Le Corbusier’s core principles regarding Modernism with the Baker House. Primarily, the building wasn’t the anonymous white of the International Style. Aalto had already begun to experiment with other materials and curves in his previous projects such as the Paimo Sanatorium and Viipuri Library, but that could be attributed to his previous nationalistic style. In the Baker House, his cladding of textured red brick went completely

against the smooth and blank white of the popular International Style. The building was also neither symmetrical nor monumental and it responded to its site and context. He was always critical the way CIAM propagated internationalism and believed it to be more of constraints and not ideals.10 The Baker House can be seen as a critique of the problems with the International Style and demonstrates an alternate path for Modernism. He believed that architecture cannot be resolved solely by analysis, but required intuition and art. Intangible forces must be synthesized along with concerns into a form which can address all of the issues.

CONCLUSION When student users were asked how they felt about the Baker House, the reply was not that it was beautiful but that it had spirit.11 Alvar Aalto’s focus on the concerns of the users and his sensitivity to site led to the design of a successful and practical building. His approach of humanistic functionalism took CIAM principles and further developed them into an original and responsive building. The Baker House is now considered a monumental building in the history of Modernism and shows what can be accomplished with an architect who cares. Half a century later, Aalto’s building is still enjoyed by its users and so perhaps having spirit is greater than having beauty.

Figure 5 Baker House dictated by and dictating its surrounding heights.


NOTES 1.  Report of the Committee on Educational Survey, (published by MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, December, 1949). 2.  Lawrence Speck, Baker House and the Modern Notion of Functionalism, in Alto and America, ed. Stanford Anderson et al. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2012), 194. 3.  Lawrence Speck, Baker House, 195. 4.  Nicholas Ray, Alvar Aalto (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2005), 99. 5.  Paul Bentel, The Significance of Baker House, in Alto and America, ed. Standford Anderson et al. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2012), 245. 6.  Stanley Abercrombie, Happy Anniversary, Baker House, Architecture Plus (1973): 60. 7.  Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Aalvar Aalto: Architecture, Modernity, and Geopolitics (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), 99. 8.  Eric Mumford, The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism 1928-1960 (Diss. Princeton University, 1996). 9.  Abercrombie, Happy Anniversary, 64. 10.  Pelkonen, Aalvar Aalto, 115. 11.  Abercrombie, Happy Anniversary, 65.

FIGURES 59.  Li, Yupin. Baker House Spatial Analysis. 2013. 60.  MIT Museum. Baker House Aerial View. In Aalto and America, 163. Cambridge, MA: Yale University Press, 2012. 61.  Li, Yupin. Solid and Void. 2013. 62.  M.I.T. Reconversion. Accessed Nov. 23, 2013. 63.  Li, Yupin. Heights. 2013.

PHOTOS 1.  Stoller, Ezra. South Elevation. in Aalto and America, 164. Cambridge, MA: Yale University Press, 2012.


CIAM 1928-1959

THE UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS Wallace K. Harrison, Le Corbusier, and Team 1947-1953 New York City by Demitri Delean

Located on 1st Avenue, between 42nd and 48th Street along the East River in New York City, lies the site of the United Nations Headquarters. The project was the result of a collaborative design effort from a team which included architects from 11 different nations. Among them was Le Corbusier, one of the core members of CIAM, who later emerged as the project visionary. Grounded deeply in political, economic, and social context from its inception, the United Nations Headquarters became one of the most important urban planning projects of the CIAM period and was to be a symbol of new political ideas. In the wake of the Second World War, the design vision was to use modern architectural and planning theories to convey confidence in a prosperous and peaceful future for the city. The project was designed on strongly developed ideas from CIAM such as rational urban planning, the importance of open spaces, the emphasis on views within the city, and buildings that are informed by their physical, economic and social context. This paper will research the context under which the design of the United Nations Headquarters responded to and which planning elements, zoning restrictions, and design decisions led to its international recognition as a symbol that represents the transformation of the modern world.


CIAM 1928-1959


he United Nations Headquarters, located in New York, is an iconic work of architecture that left an undeniable mark on the city in 1947. Following World War II, representatives from 50 different nations came together in hopes to find a way of protecting human rights, to preventing another war, and to find a permanent location within the United States to house their new operating headquarters. This group became known as the United Nations. Wallace K. Harrison, one of the most prominent American architects at the time, was chosen to head the collaborative design effort to develop a master plan for the United Nations Headquarters. He assembled a design team which included architects from 11 different nations. Among them was Le Corbusier, who later emerged as the project visionary. As one of the founders of the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) and modern architecture itself, Le Corbusier not only incorporates many ideas derived from his modern urban concept Radiant City, but also urban planning approaches listed in CIAM’s Athens Charter. Ideas such as rational urban planning, the importance of open

spaces, the emphasis on views within the city, the efficiency in economy, and public health where some of the many essential CIAM items that were considered in the final design. Being grounded deeply in political, economic, and social issues due to its involvement with the United Nations, this project was one of the most important urban planning projects of the CIAM period to date. It is a truly modern symbol that sums up the transformation of the modern world.1 PHYSICAL CONTEXT AND PROGRAM The United Nations Headquarters is located on 1st Avenue between 42nd and 48th Street along the edge of the East River in New York City. Originally planned to be located in a more suburban context, it was decided by Le Corbusier that the project would be more effective if it were located more central within New York. The selected site was formally a group of six city blocks owned by the Rockefeller family (see Figure 1), destined for a development called “X-City”, but was later donated to the city due to the importance of the project and in an attempt to keep the UN within New York.2 Contextually,

Figure 1 Figure Ground of site prior to and after construction.


the original surrounding typology was becoming more dense due to the recent industrialization of the city and was composed primarily of low industrial type buildings which were organized very densely on the site (see Figure 2). This created a complete contrast to the Modern International style of the UN project, working in favour with the key design objective which was to create a monumental piece of architecture, using height and openness, that would alter the face of the New York skyline. The completed design consisted of three principle buildings grouped within an open green plaza: A thin, glazed office tower rising thirty-nine stories above a low, fan-shaped assembly building and another low rectilinear building containing conference rooms.3 Additionally, the openness of the site allowed for multiple levels of pedestrian and vehicular circulation throughout, breaking away from what was and still is a very rigid city grid. The fluid circulation of spaces and forms at ground level are balanced by the static slab of the office tower.4 SOCIAL, POLITICAL, CULTURAL, AND PLANNING CONTEXTS With a project of this nature, contextual social, political, and cultural issues were an integral part of the planning and design process. To avoid any sense of political inequality in the design process of this building, the diplomatic niceties were handled by the formation of an “International Board of Design” which brought together a group of ten architects from ten countries: France, Brazil, Sweden, U.S.S.R., Belgium, Great Britain, Australia, Uruguay, the Island of Taiwan and, of course, the United States.5 For this project in particular, it was crucial to develop a form which would create

a sense of social and cultural stability and to become a symbol for revitalizing cities and their people worldwide. For the United Nations, what could be more hopeful than a new form of architectural and planning ideas?6 Other important factors which affected the process were the planning contexts such as the American Urban Renewal Program and the city’s Zoning By-Law (The 1916 Zoning Resolution). These plans determined certain formal constraints which the design had to comply with and were an attempt to resolve the issues of rising levels of congestion within the city due to industrialization and urbanization. It addressed height and bulk regulations of structures in relation to street widths and land uses.7 As long builders could construct it and zoning regulations permitted it, some form of high-rise was inevitable due to the land being so valuable in New York City. Traditionally, high-rises in New York were bulky extrusions of the sites property lines which would step back in order to allow light and air to reach the street level (See Figure 3) and were typically driven by economical motives. On the other hand, for the design of the United Nations Headquarters the high-rise was designed to be uniformly tall and thin allowing for vast open spaces, creating a unique design while still conforming to the zoning regulations. CIAM AND PLANNING INFLUENCES Due to the constant intensification and urbanization of New York City, CIAM and the Athens Charter heavily influenced its zoning regulations and planning process. It addressed the urban conditions and aimed to revolutionize city planning and building design at a fundamental level.8 It was responding to poor planning, congestion, and foul

Figure 2 The Site - 1940 Vs. 2013

living conditions of the industrial city which made it an ideal design framework for the rigid grid of Manhattan. The development of buildings began to set forth in a direction that would make a more functional city and give control over a chaotic environment.9 The

Figure 3 Zoning Regulations - This graphic illustrates two different approaches that could have been and were applied to this site.


CIAM 1928-1959

Figure 4 Public Health - This graphic shows how the tall-thin shape of the office tower provides the opportunity to maximize natural light, ventillation, and views.

Figure 5 Open Space - This graphic shows the design approach to creating open space

essence of CIAM was one of rationality, economic efficiency, openness, and human comfort. The intention was to “clean-up” urban congestion, public health, efficiency, and living conditions using rational site and city planning. Le Corbusier implemented these fundamental ideas, all of which heavily also influenced the final design of this project. Striving for economic efficiency was an important factor in a developing city however the United Nations Headquarters was not designed on the premise of complying with the minimum requirements of the zoning regulations. It was CIAM principles that gave rational to the idea of creating a different form of architecture that was not solely focusing on maximizing the bulk and height of a site. That being said, there was still a drive for efficiency in its conception. The

manufacturing industry after the war led to technological advances of prefabricated components and exactitude of building materials. Repetition of the building elements, its rectilinear form, and standardized design were major steps towards designing modern economically efficient architecture. This was most prominently reflected in the high-rise office tower where a uniform curtain wall system was applied to both the north and south faces of the building, consistent geometry of the floor plates where used throughout the building, and a simple steel structural grid which lowered the construction time and labour costs. Furthermore, the narrow high-rise office tower reinforced the idea of an open plaza and allowed the project to maximize light, ventilation, and views, all components to help create a healthy environment for its users (See


Figure 4). By limiting the intensification to one side of the project, it opened up the ground level to be used for more of an exterior public program (See Figure 5). Other Corbusien ideas were proposed to further expand the openness of the site such as lifting the buildings off the ground on pilotis however; the idea was shut-down by the design team as this device which separates a structure from its basement and traps cold air beneath it, was an impractical solution where winters are cold.10 By the late 1940’s – early 1950’s CIAM’s focus shifted towards relief and postwar planning as well as to create a new monumentality.11 As with all urban planning concepts, this shift was responding to the context of the time which in this case was the end of the Second World War. Nearing the end of the CIAM era, the United Nations Headquarters project was developed on a strongly developed sense of urban planning. The essential CIAM planning ideas were implemented along with an

attempt to create an eye-catching piece of architecture that would forever alter New York’s skyline.12 The result was a new form of modern architecture which broke away from current planning standards of the time. CONCLUSION The United Nations Headquarters to this day remains an architectural icon that represents an important shift in political, economic, cultural, and planning contexts. The final design that was conceived and built was clearly appropriate and an exemplary piece of architecture which successfully altered the current urban planning framework. This was largely due to the nature of the project, its location (New York), and its prosperity after the Second World War. These factors allowed the architects to play with new forms, planning ideas, and construction practices. Having one of the founders of CIAM on the design team, it was inevitable that the project was going to be influenced and controlled by a lot of its principles. The proposed building was an amalgamation of the fundamental planning ideas of CIAM in conjunction with the current city planning framework. The project broke away from the current bulky architecture of the time which conformed to the minimum zoning requirements and brought forth a new vision. It is this successful shift in architecture and planning that led to this project’s international recognition.


NOTES 1.  Betsky, Aaron. The U.N. Building. London: Thames & Hudson, 2005. 2.  Stoller, Ezra. The United Nations. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. 3.  Stoller, Ezra. The United Nations. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. 4.  Gans, Deborah. The Le Corbusier guide. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Architectural Press, 1987. 5.  Jordan, R. Furneaux. Le Corbusier. New York: L. Hill, 1972. 6.  Stoller, Ezra. The United Nations. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. 7.  Dolkart, Andrew. “The Architecture and Development of New York City with Andrew S. Dolkart.” Columbia University. http://ci.columbia. edu/0240s/0242_2/0242_2_s7_text.html (accessed October 29, 2013). 8.  Dr. Ian MacBurnie, “Urbanization, Regulation & Design Part 2” (Lecture, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, September 25, 2013). 9.  Dr. Ian MacBurnie, “Urbanization, Regulation & Design Part 2” (Lecture, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, September 25, 2013). 10.  Stoller, Ezra. The United Nations. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. 11.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 12.  Guiton, Jacques. The ideas of Le Corbusier on architecture and urban planning. New York: G. Braziller, 1981.


“United Nations headquarters sustains damage under Hurricane Sandy.” WNN – Women News Network. http://womennewsnetwork. net/2012/10/31/united-nations-hurricane-sand/ (accessed November 3, 2013).

FIGURES 1.  “United Nations Archives.” Flickr. N07/sets/72157632213595613/ (accessed November 2, 2013). 2.  “Headquarters of the United Nations.” Flickr. (accessed November 2, 2013).


CIAM 1928-1959

NATIONAL PENSIONS INSTITUTE Alvar Aalto 1948 - 1957 Helsinki, Finland by Chelsea Campbell

Alvar Aalto, one of the most notable Finnish architects, was influential in the CIAM architectural revolution, specifically for his functionalist values, not only in architecture but in urban planning as well. Developing furniture, detailing, and working with materiality and fenestration techniques in an expressive way characteristic to the modern era of architecture, Aalto made his mark as a principle architect of this period. This essay will illustrate Aalto’s exemplary work in response to the rapid urbanization of the time through the analysis of his building, the National Pensions Institute in Helsinki, Finland. Aalto aimed to create a unified whole within the mixed-use programming of the building that was human-scale, user friendly, and functionality accessible. Through varying elevation heights, distinct hierarchy of spaces, and implementation of a courtyard system parti, he was able to o just that. More important, was his focus on how the building fit into the urban fabric, creating a collaborative relationship between structure and site. It will be evaluated how he responded contextually to the state of political, social, and economic affairs of Helsinki, with both connection and distinction from the city appropriated into the design. Lastly, it will be explored the ways in which his planning followed the principles of the CIAM ideals and the extent to which he challenged them through his design.


CIAM 1928-1959


rom 1928 to 1960, a very influential movement was taking place that would shape the way architects practice for years to come. Le Congrès Internationaux d”Architecture Moderne, known as CIAM, was a catalyst for change that built a solid framework for for city and building planning that is still relative today. Alvar Aalto was a prominent figure in driving this movement. It was Le Corbusier himself who stated that Aalto’s work “represented a unique, regional interpretation of Moderist orthodoxy”. 1 He thought of planning as a guardian of ethics, freedom and should be socially responsible above all else.2 For these reasons, Aalto entered a competition in 1948 to design a community building that would house the welfare institute and semi-public bank for Helsinki, to create a building responsive to human presence and spatial perspectives. He entered two proposals for this buildings, both titled “Forum Redivivum” and with the same principles applied to the design. His main idea was to create a series of open squares or “courts” varying at different elevation heights that acted as spaces catering to the sensory experience of

Figure 3 Site’s connection major roads and the axis to the sea.


the visitor, specifically sheltering these spaces from the street and traffic of the city.3 It was Aalto’s architectural ambition to create buildings which are “symbols of social life symbols of what may be called democracy -- the building owned by everybody”. 4 Recognized as a monumental building in Helsinki, it is clear that Aalto did just that. PROJECT & SITE Though the site was changed in 1952 from a more high profile corner facing Töölo Bay to a less-central area of the city, it is still located along an axis to the sea that marked the space as easily accessible to the community by both automobile and on foot. 5 This made Aalto alter the plans of the building but not the inception of the idea. The proposal originally housed commercial and cultural centre programming including a large performance space that were to be held elsewhere in the city. The density of the office space as was spread out to create the illusion of multiple buildings arranged on the site and connected like a “functioning organism sensitive to human perception. “6 Different building masses held separate functions but were joined on

the site as a cohesive whole. The final plans for the building were completed in 1954 containing 310 rooms, most of which are offices, and covering 22 300 square metres in area on the triangular site. The National Pensions Institute finally opened its doors to the citizens of Helsinki in 1957. 7 By juxtaposing the inner and outer finishes and staggering the levels throughout the building, Aalto created a sense of protection in the outdoor portion and a sense of intimacy within. 8 Most of the office spaces were restricted to the public, but the areas that were accessible, including the library and the case work hall, were detailed with crystal skylights and circular lense rooflights to create a pleasing atmosphere for the occupants. It is a representation of the state’s care for its citizens. 9 CONTEXTS With the restructuring of industry due to WWII and the economic dependence on the USSR, Aalto was lead to believe that “far-reaching mechanization leads directly to dictatorship”. There were even political problems that caused the change in site and the delay in erection such as shifts in government focus and differences in opinion between city planning officials. He thought that Architecture was an integration of man and nature and was an anarchist to the authoritarian aesthetic systems. 10 This is why he built with concern for “the little man” and was empathetic to the human experience in city life. He believed in the struggles of the everyday person trying to make an honest living in the city, not the capitalist or power driven existance also present around him. The political context of the time is evident in the architecture through the library inside which is an exact smaller scale imitation of the Vilpuri Library Aalto has

Figure 1 Interior public spaces lit from above.

designed previously that Finland lost to Russia during the war. 11 Due to the massive influx of population to cities from the countryside during this time, there arose a need for new public buildings. Aalto was concerned that most institutional buildings of the time were losing their sense of government and becoming merely another building in the street scape. 12 Through materiality and techtonics, he distinguished the building from the common curtain-walled office building by breaking up the density and into scattered volumes and detailing them with brick and glass. The building unfolds as a series of explicit or implicit courtyards raised to separate heights to differentiate use and to create a sense on enclosure and safety. 13 CIAM & PLANNING The CIAM declaration was intended to address the problems facing the profession of architecture and suggest a framework with which to bring it to modernity. In light of these principles, Aalto constructed the National Pensions Institute with many of the same goals in mind. First and foremost, the project had a primary goal of serving the public, as recommended in CIAM that “private interest be subordinated to the

Figure 4 Access, circulation, and courtyards.

collective interest”. 14 Aalto’s defense for “the little man” in the city was expressive in the design throughout with the public areas of the building designed for their comfort taking priority over the businessman. An example of this can be seen in the natural lighting of the case-workers atrium that acts as a protected internal courtyard. The angled components of the wall in the waiting hall provide a sense of security and

enclosure, juxtaposing the the feeling of cold formality that ordinarily surrounds office buildings. The boardroom was designed to be calm and elegant, not ostentatious, to symbolize the state’s care for its citizens. The charter states that when offices are located on the best sites in town and are provided with the most complete circulation systems, they rarely meet their potential with respect to creating 113

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an environment that is both aesthetically pleasing, comforting, and functional to the people it serves. 15 With the staggered internal and external courtyards in the massing, the triangular site creates interest from all three roads adjacent to it. Hierarchy of these spaces supports their functionality and distinguishes between what is accessible to the public and what is not. It is suggested that business programming must be well integrated into a mixed use context at a confluence of traffic channels connecting the city. 16 Though not directly in the centre of Helsinki, the site is still located on a major street along an axis to the Seurasaarenselkä sea. Since the site borders roads on each side, it asserts its status as a government building over the mixed use programming the surrounds it. The charter states that open spaces are inadequate and are not situated in such a way that is accessible to the user and meets their needs. 17 Aalto was in agreement with this statement and planned the open spaces in the building, both indoor and outdoor, to be positioned in such a way that they created both functionality and delight for the user. The outer courtyard was accessible from both the podium building and the employee restaurant. CIAM is concerned that building tall and dense areas creates an absence of sunlight, casts shadows onto open spaces, and disrupts views. 18 For these reasons, the courtyard has massing of varying heights around it, with the southern edge only reaching one storey to allow light into the square. Section 82 of the charter insists that “Urbanism is a three-dimesnional, not a two-dimensional science. Introducing the element of height will solve the problems of modern traffic and leisure 114

by utilizing open spaces thus created.” For this reason, Aalto blocked the courtyard from the traffic of the street with both a visual and auditory barrier. On one side, the building has a blank wall to the street but on the other is an entirely glazed facade opening it up to the restaurant in the building, giving the space a feeling of intimacy. A waterfall wall extends across the facade of the institute’s library to aid in blocking the noise of street traffic from filling the courtyard as well. It was Aalto’s strong belief that “Modern squares need to be at an appropriate physical and psychological distance from traffic to protect people and nature.” 20


Figure 5 A view of the exterior court yard illustrating the staggered massing and hierarchy of building heights allowing the space both privacy from the street and desireable conditions for the users.

CONCLUSION The National Pensions Institute is an urban planning project very typical of the peak of modernization that occurred in the CIAM period. Aalto stresses the needs of the individual by manipulating the site plan in response to the perception of the user both functionally and aesthetically. Always rooting for “ the little man� in the modern world, Aalto created a sense of place and enclosure at a comfortable human scale with this institutional building. With ideals of democracy laced throughout the design, the National Pensions Institute by Alvar Aalto proves to be exemplary of how architecture could mediate between the individual, the institution, and the city in the context of a rising modern society. 21


NOTES 13.  Schildt, Goran. Alvar Aalto: Masterworks. Italy: Otava Publishing Company, 1998. 97 14.  Weston, Richard. Alvar Aalto. London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1995. 152 15.  Ibid - 153 16.  Ibid - 157 17.  Ibid - 168 18.  Schildt, Goran. Alvar Aalto: Masterworks. Italy: Otava Publishing Company, 1998. 101 19.  National Pensions Institute, “The social ainsurance institution of Finland, Kela”. Alvar Aalto Foundation. php?id=312. (October 3, 2013) 20.  Plummer, Henry. Masters of Light: Alvar Aalto: National Pensions Institute. A + U: architecture and urbanism, 2003. 373 21.  Ibid - 374 22.  Weston, Richard. Alvar Aalto. London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1995. 168 23.  Plummer, Henry. Masters of Light: Alvar Aalto: National Pensions Institute. A + U: architecture and urbanism, 2003. 377 24.  Weston, Richard. Alvar Aalto. London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1995. 169 25.  Ibid - 170 26.  Le Corbusier, The Athens Charter. New York: Grossman, 1973. 105 27.  Ibid - 75 28.  Ibid - 78 29.  Ibid - 66 30.  Ibid - 55 31.  Ibid - 98 32.  Weston, Richard. Alvar Aalto. London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1995. 150 33.  Ibid 151

FIGURES 64.  National Pensions Institute, “The social ainsurance institution of Finland, Kela”. Alvar Aalto Foundation. php?id=312. (October 3, 2013) 65.  National Pensions Institute, “The social ainsurance institution of Finland, Kela”. Alvar Aalto Foundation. php?id=312. (October 1, 2013) 66.  National Pensions Institute, “The social ainsurance institution of Finland, Kela”. Alvar Aalto Foundation. php?id=312. (October 3, 2013) 67.  National Pensions Institute, “The social ainsurance institution of Finland, Kela”. Alvar Aalto Foundation. php?id=312. (October 2, 2013) 68.  National Pensions Institute, “The social ainsurance institution of Finland, Kela”. Alvar Aalto Foundation. php?id=312. (October 1, 2013)

PHOTOS 1. National Pensions Institute, The social ainsurance institution of Finland, Kela (Alvar Aalto Foundation, 2005)


CIAM 1928-1959

860 - 880 NORTH LAKE SHORE DRIVE Mies van der Rohe 1949-1951 Chicago by Jaehyung Chun

860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments designed by GermanAmerican Architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, are located along the lakefront in Chicago, Illinois, facing Lake Michigan. The site that 860 – 880 Apartment buildings sit on is a trapezium shaped site, situated right on the shore bearing Lake Shore Drive between Lake Michigan. Although Mies as a CIAM member participated in the movement, he never believed that CIAM should even deal with urbanism because urbanism is a political matter, not an architectural one. As CIAM had a goal to regain control and order over an increasingly chaotic urban environments, Mies played a key role in redeveloping downtown Chicago post-war. During his time in Chicago, he worked closely with the real estate developer, Herbert Greenwald. Two projects were commissioned by Herbert Greenwald that later shaped the downtown Chicago. Chicago zoning after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 drastically changed. The building height restriction was a critical factor in development of Chicago. The restriction was 264 feet by the time Mies was commissioned 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments, but taller towers were allowed to be built only for ornamental purposes. What this meant to Mies is that he had no business of designing above 260 feet since he never believed in the value of ornamentation, thus the height of the apartments ended up being 254 feet. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe played an important role in developing downtown Chicago expressing his style of architecture, within the zoning provided. This again reinforces his belief about urbanism as a CIAM member that urbanism is a political matter, and that architecture comes afterwards. 117

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ies van der Rohe as a German architect played a key role in redeveloping downtown Chicago. As Bauhaus had been closed by Nazi because of the disagreed architectural style that Bauhaus was pursuing, Mies van der Rohe as the head of the school left the country and migrated to Chicago, US, further spreading his architectural style. This particular architectural style refers to his minimalistic design approach. He was pursuing a style that was universally acceptable, the style that is reduced to the absolute pure and minimal form. His architectural style is also famously spoken as “Less is more” and “God is in the detail.” As a German CIAM (Congrès internationaux d’architecture modern)

member, he did not completely agree with the direction CIAM was headed, but he was designing downtown Chicago with similar intentions.1 CONTEXT The site of 860-880 Lakeshore Drive apartments resembles trapezium shape. The site is directly facing the Lake Michigan bearing the Lakeshore Drive road in between. The eastern portion of the block is dedicated to the apartment buildings. Pedestrian walkways exist along all sides of the property. Originally, the apartments were accommodated with ground level parking space on the west side of the block, however the parking space was turned into another development for a tall building. Two apartment towers are

perfectly aligned with the streets. This alignment illustrates something about Mies’ style. The street grid was first planned in the Plan of Chicago, whereas the shoreline is naturally created by the Lake Michigan. Since the site is on the edge of the downtown area, it is the most dramatic place amongst the city because the site is in contact with the chaos of the Lake Michigan, but is ruled by the grid of the city. The ground level of 860-880 Lakeshore Drive Apartments is open plan where the walls are pushed towards the core of the building to form the space for free circulation both horizontally and vertically. Only the columns remain along the perimeter of the towers. Most of the ground plane of the site is green space except the pedestrian path and building footprint space, and this clearly indicates paved walkways.

URBANISM AND POST-WAR The Chicago skyline began to develop not long after the World War II. Daniel Burnham’s Plan of Chicago was an attempt to replicate European cities in Chicago believing that people’s lives are influenced by their surrounding conditions, and that European cities were optimized environments. This plan was intended to bring back places that were destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. Until 1902, the height restriction has been 130 feet, but was doubled to 260 feet to trigger a mass downtown development as well as a recovery from the WWI period, however majority of developments were focused on industrial manufacturing buildings for war supplies.3 In 1911, the height Figure 1 Site Plan - Red representing pedestrain path, blue represents vehicular path


restriction was reduced down to 200 feet. It was raised again to 260 feet in 1920, but with an exception: Ornamental towers were permitted above 260 feet up to 400 feet, but the upper portion could not be occupied. Lastly the height restriction was changed to 264 feet with the same exception.2 8 When Mies van der Rohe was commissioned his first projects in Chicago by Herbert Greenwald, all of his projects stayed under 264 feet in height because Mies did not believe in ornamentation. Mies as a minimalist believed that ornaments obscure the true style.7 CIAM-URBANISM Urbanism that CIAM (Congrès internationaux d’architecture modern) pursued was a method of architecturally resolving problems or many cities all around the world individually, thus urbanize the cities. Architects as members would develop new plans that address issues that had come up in response to technological advancement. Many plans that the members have come up with are designs that focus on pure functionality.6 CIAM under Le Corbusier’s direction, hosted Eleven conferences in total. Fourth conference that took place in Athens in 1933 was such a controversial and critical conference consisted of many renewal plans of cities all around the world on the topic of urbanism, urbanism meaning growth of city and urban context. This conference was later recorded and published as Athens Charter.6 Contemporary City and Radiant City plans by Le Corbusier are examples of CIAM design principles to achieve functional city design. These plans were very standardized and hierarchically organized. There is a clear distinction between residential and commercial districts. The proposals were complete

overhaul of the city from its roots. As opposed to the plans behind CIAM ideas, Mies van der Rohe, German CIAM-member did not believe that CIAM should even deal with urbanism at all, as urbanism is a matter of politics and that architecture comes afterwards. He believed that urbanism is something that slowly evolves and builds itself over periods of time, and not something that can be completely renewed. Mies van der Rohe reinterpreted ideas presented at Athens Charter and practiced his own belief about urbanism in Chicago. NEW PLAN OF CHICAGO The new Plan of Chicago consisted of 25 feet by 125 feet rectangular size property lots under residential category that populate the evenly spaced grid of streets.4 Overall zoning map also

Figure 2 History of height restriction in Chicago

indicates that residential areas are located around the outer perimeter of the city, whereas the downtown programming (mixed, residential, service, core) is mostly located along the lakefront. Chicago’s unique feature, the Chicago River has multiple roles in the city of Chicago. The river serves as transportation routes and buffer space.5 Similarly in Contemporary City by Le Corbusier, office/ residential towers are located in the centre, using green space as buffer zone that leads to industrial city surrounding the towers. In Radiant City, the layout is on Cartesian Grid. High-rise housing blocks, free circulation and green spaces are consistently used. It is heavily concentrated on the idea 119

CIAM 1928-1959

of zoning. Strictly ordered zones for specific use (business, entertainment, residential or commercial) is evident. The two plans by Le Corbusier show a heavy focus on transportation. Use of public transit and separation between pedestrians and vehicle paths were proposed as well. The problem that Mies saw in plans in Athens Charter was that they were very limited to expansion of the city. Chicago on the other hand, is the city where urbanism is achieved politically was built on the foundation of Daniel Burnham’s Cartesian grid, and gave rooms and options for appropriate developments, but CIAM-oriented plans were so standardized and regularized that they discourage city expansions. As opposed to CIAM principles, Chicago’s new plan was proposed with much more flexibility, and this meant urbanism.2 7 ORDER By taking a look at 860-880 North Lake Shore Drive Apartments, one can notice that the physical form of the apartment towers does not necessarily follow CIAM principles. The programming of the 860-880 Lake Shore Drive is significant in terms of the trend of the time the project was commissioned. Herbert Greenwald the real estate developer commissioned Mies two consecutive apartment building projects: Promontory Apartment building on the South Lake Shore Drive, and 860-880 North Lake Shore Drive apartments. 7 9 As population increased after the WWII, there was a housing boom in the suburban area. The downtown Chicago, lakefront specifically had started to become populated by skyscrapers around 1950s to 60s. The 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartment towers are the evidence of the early stage of city’s growth, and of urban context formation. During this 120

process, the chaotic environment of post-war period started to organize its own order.8 The alignment of 860880 Lake Shore Drive to adjacent streets also reinforces Mies’ ideas of politically driven urbanism, where the urban context rules architectural design, as opposed to CIAM’s creation of both simultaneously. The evolution of urban context in Chicago is so evident as if it was bound to happen. The grid provided from the New Plan of Chicago played a key role as an empty canvas. The language that Mies speaks about the context and the trend of the time

Figure 3 Downtown core, urban context and urban sprawl

in the design of 860-880 Lake Shore Drive not only reveals his own belief in urbanism, but also his intention of using such architectural language. By introducing the purest form, the order is obtained. CONCLUSION In conclusion, 860-880 North Lake Shore Drive Apartments is the project that is very significant in the history of urbanization in Chicago, as it was

the start of international style in the American soil, as it was very influential to the development of skyline in Chicago. Although Mies did not agree with the direction CIAM was heading, CIAM was addressing issues in a very different standpoint from Mies. He believed that the urbanism was processed politically and that architecture is applied afterwards. Chicago is the main example of his belief. CIAM – driven plans posed limitations for urbanism, where Chicago’s urbanism began with no limit. 860-880 North Lake Shore Drive apartments provided the template of appropriate high-rise design in Chicago, as this style was widely used to form the Chicago skyline as a tool to bring calmness to the chaos of post-war environment.


NOTES 1.  Abrams, Janet. “Modernity...860-880 Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.” Metropolis. no. 3 (1992): 76-77,101. 2.  Barr, Jason. Skyscrapers and Skylines: New York and Chicago, 18852007. working paper., Department of Economics Rutgers University, Newark, 2010. 3.  Carl Conduit, 1930-70 Chicago, (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1974), 3-11. 4.  -(Chicago: University of Chicago, 1974), 51-57. 5.  -(Chicago: University of Chicago, 1974), 270-277. 6.  Mumfod, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1958), 151-160. 7.  Schulze, Franz. MIES VAN DER ROHE: A Critical Biography, (London: The University of Chicago Press, 1985), 239-245. 8.  Schwieterman, Joseph, & Heron, Jane. “Chicago’s Zoning History.” American Planning Association. Web,, (Accessed October 20, 2013). 9.  Swenson, Alfred. “Promontory Apartments.”, (Accessed October 20, 2013).

FIGURES 69.  Plusmood, “860-880 Lake Shore Drive Mies van der Rohe.” Accessed October 25, 2013., (Accessed October 21, 2013).

PHOTOS 1.  Plusmood, “860-880 Lake Shore Drive Mies van der Rohe.” Accessed October 25, 2013., (Accessed October 19, 2013).


CIAM 1928-1959

YALE UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY Louis I. Kahn 1950 -1953 New Haven, Connecticut by Samuel Iun

The Yale University Art Gallery at first glance is a simple modernist design, yet was the culmination of a rigorous planning and design process. It is important to recognize that the environment in which Louis Kahn and project proponents worked in was rife with particular contextual challenges that restricted the design. However, it is through these restrictions that Kahn and his team’s creativity and planning skills were exhibited. The university’s desire for modernisation at this time meant that Kahn was given many liberties in his design. Despite this, he took it upon himself for architectural and contextual excellence. The Gallery’s success rested on how Kahn would consider the immediate context of an existing Romanesque-style art gallery that he had to link with his own design. He considered the maintenance of the fabric of this established historic neighbourhood; he massaged the form and location in regards to streetscape patterns, proportion to other buildings, materials, and building orientation, among other things. Kahn designed in a time when CIAM ideals were on the cutting edge of architecture. Kahn never fully embraced the ideas of CIAM; this is demonstrated in the context, planning, and construction of the Gallery. CIAM principles are not prominent in the architecture and its relation to urban design in this instance. The building’s conception in relation to the city as a whole does not reflect the economy and dominance of logic in CIAM urban planning principles. When finished, the Gallery marked the beginning of a new practical integration of various conceptual ideas that were existent at the time, and demonstrated a new, more human side of Modernism to the public, as opposed to an abstract sterility that did not contextualize with the existing public realm.


CIAM 1928-1959


ver present in the modern world, professionals such as urban designers and architects exist to guide a building’s design relative to the ideas of the culture and of the time. As iterated throughout this book, architecture is informed and influenced by its context. This particular study will look at institutional architecture during the 1950s, in New Haven, Connecticut and focus on Louis I. Kahn’s Yale University Art Gallery. The Gallery was New Haven’s first ‘modern’ building, being built at a time when the University planning committee moved to modernise the ‘old-world’ campus through new built form. Kahn’s Gallery does demonstrate some of the modern ideas espoused by CIAM, but overall, is reflective more of his own theories and processes which he had been developing for some time through early commissions and BeauxArts training. Underneath its seemingly simple design, the Gallery shows Kahn’s attention to context, rational order as well as instinct, appropriate monumentality, Kahn’s desire to highlight materiality and tectonics, creating beauty with humble materials, timelessness, and his understanding of

the need for integration of structure and services. These qualities were desirable in a town steeped in tradition like New Haven, and demonstrated that Modern architecture need not be vulgar, which was a flaw of many other buildings’ pursuit of economy and rationalism. To this end, Kahn worked closely with the University and city such that his design would be appropriate to their vision. THE PHYSICAL SITE On the physical site itself, Kahn was tasked with creating an addition to an existing Romanesque Revival art gallery. This gallery was initiated in 1926 by Egerton Swartwout, but was stopped in 1928, with only one-third built.1 This property was originally abandoned by the Skull and Bones Society and included a generous courtyard space, with Jonathan Edwards College and Weir Hall to the north.2 Swartwout’s original plan was to enclose the courtyard and present a symmetrical façade of arcaded windows along Chapel Street.3 Chapel Street, a prominent Yale street that formed the southern edge of the campus at the time had an important role as a portal into the campus. In addition, the area of Chapel and York

Figure 4 Main floor exhibition space with tetrahedronal ceiling grid


Streets had become the arts sector of the campus.4 Historically, New Haven was a pedestrian-oriented town – the downtown location of Yale and the many amenities of the area guaranteed a healthy pedestrian life there.5 In the post-war highway building frenzy, New Haven’s landscape was interrupted by large roads, which threw cars into the fray; a one-way traffic system was put in place in many roads, making for inefficient travel routes.6 Programmatically, there needed to be public exhibition spaces for showcasing art. There also was space to store collections offices and work areas, and classrooms for architectural classes. Other integral spaces was a courtyard space for sculptures and central vertical circulation core, a major design issue for Kahn because it had to fit with the spatial/programmatic layout and concrete structural grid.7 THE CONTEXT To gain an understanding of the Gallery not only as an object, but an object in a particular space, one must understand the context. New Haven occupies an almost mystical place in the lexicon of American history, being one of its oldest cities, founded in 1638.8 Founded by ten ministers in 1701, Yale’s formative vision was to “propagate, in the American wilderness, the Puritan faith in its purest form”.9 By the late 19th Century, the school had become conspicuously elite and separated from the town.10 The school had turned its back on New Haven and created its own inward-focused oasis. Yale was never comprehensively ‘planned’, with no clear architectural scheme.11 The main means of architectural expression on the campus had been, up until the 1950s, a Gothic Revival or BeauxArts style. Yale’s established reputation

Figure 5 & 6 Plan of site, before and after Kahn’s addition

as a first-rate educational institution meant that the people on campus were increasingly scientifically minded and open to adoption of modern ideas.12 Within the university, a new president had taken up leadership. Arthur Whitney Griswold (1906 – 1963) was a proponent of enlightened school policies as well as being a patron of modern art and architecture. Under his leadership, he was able to generate great modern architectural activity within the campus.13 As per Yale tradition, it was not imperative for buildings to be of a certain height, density, or zoning. Griswold promoted freedom and pitted architects to outdo each other.14 Kahn however, did pay attention to height and setback in relation to the old gallery, and strove for aesthetic as well as functional harmony between the two. Another major influence to architecture and construction in America at the time (not only in New Haven), was the Korean War. With the war effort taking precedence over cultural projects and with precious materials relegated for military purposes instead of civilian ones, constructing an art gallery was difficult.15 Khan’s design therefore, was under close watch not only by the University and the New Haven Building Department, but the Department of

Figure 1 Yale’s linear art gallery complex; the scale and setback is appropriate

Defence.16 Critical things like structural form or building form needed to be proven as valid to these entities before the design could move on. RELATIONSHIP TO CIAM As outlined in their 1928 declaration, CIAM strove to develop links between architecture and the economic system, build with efficiency, and develop efficiency through rationalisation and

standardization.17 CIAM emphasized building rather than architecture, construction without craftsmen, a new functional order of cities that was not incumbent on tradition, and mass housing production.18 At its fundamental level, Kahn’s Gallery did not have a strong connection with these principles. The very intent of this building was not for economy’s sake, but to create a unique building on site. Such a project 125

CIAM 1928-1959

required multiple design iterations, because Kahn was not satisfied with how it came together. The first schemes were very methodical and utilized typically sized and shaped concrete slab systems, but were not inspired, causing Kahn to disregard them.19 The desired ‘smoothness’ of construction was not present here – there were many contingencies. The tetrahedral ceiling system was proposed after construction documents had been issued. Though this system was efficient, it was the first of its kind to be built, and therefore was a risky and complicated venture.20 Kahn had to solve problems as they arose and relied heavily on the skill of the craftsmen on site. Contrary to CIAM’s annihilation of tradition, Kahn was able to use contemporary design language to respect Swartwout’s gallery, evident in the connecting mass between the two. Although the interior organization was quite contrary to the existing gallery, Kahn intentionally create a neutral detail at the connection point, and utilized horizontal brick stringcourses which strengthen the existing gallery’s horizontality. Attitudes about economy are also different Kahn constantly had to convince the school for more funding, as his designs changed. Though components of the building are technical, like the vertical circulation, the ceiling, or the curtain walls, Kahn married these with the overall theme, such that they become ornamental as well.21 Another issue that emerged in CIAM urban design was their treatment of streets - they saw them as chaotic when combined with cars and pedestrians. Their anti-street/ pedestrian polemic is contrasted by Kahn’s entrance which gently brings pedestrians off the sidewalk, up a shallow set of stairs, into a glazed slit of the building, whose curtain wall is 126

framed to a human-scale. Despite being built in a era when the car was ‘king’, Kahn provides no parking. He maintains the pedestrain nature of the campus in how his building meets the street. He does however, realize the contemporary issues of servicing and loading, so he provides a generous area on the west facade for it. The isolation by-product of a city developped under CIAM principles is not found here as well - the building seeks to be of the neighbourhood, despite its outward appearance. The building size and mass do not belittle pedestrians. The transparency of the building makes its function known to passer-bys. CONTEXTUAL RESPONSES IN PLANNING AND DESIGN The building addresses context on multiple levels. The physical context of the existing gallery is addressed above, with the design team conceiving of many ways connecting the two. The final iteration was the result of previous ideas being too unwieldy and

Figure 2 Diagram indicating east/west movement along the major artery known as Chapel Street. From there, pedestrians slip into a clear but unorthodox entrance, into the building. The setback applied to connecting portion is further back than both ends of the gallery, implying a break from the monumentality of the facade. Inside, circulation throughout all 3 art galleries is possible; a bridge was provided to span High Street. Quite common to Yale Buildings, Kahn continues the practice of maintaining the oasis-like quality of Yale’s greenspaces, blocking it off from the street and making the inward surfaces permeable and warm with light.

emphasizing the separation. The Gallery recognized the traffic movement of people along Chapel Street and located its entrance parallel with the sidewalk to promote a natural ‘slip-in’ into the building. Kahn’s building maintained the height of the previous building, though mechanical systems housed on the roof detract from the old building’s beautiful bell tower. Kahn’s Beaux-Arts training had a respect for the order that the existing gallery’s Gothic windows had, which prompted him to put the main lines of order vertically (on the curtain walls), or horizontally (on the brick façade).22 The orientation of his building strongly suggests an east/west movement, which further maintains the unity to the old gallery.23 Other phyiscal zoning issues include maintaining the grade of the site, east/west sightlines (which is parallel to the street), and proportion of building. Nothing seems to be out of place when compared to

the neighbouring buildings. Ultimately, Kahn had to answer to political entities. This building was of great significance to Yale and to the city as a whole. Presently and historically, planning committees strived to maintain the historical value of the campus and city, yet were open-minded to new ideas and forms. To that end, it was the Building Department that gave approval for project components, like the structural frame. They were supportive, despite Kahn’s violation of code, and provided opportunities to prove his design by making a test panel to circumvent going through the city’s Board of Examiners.24 With Kahn’s changing designs requiring more material, extensive political manoeuvring was done by Yale to convince the Department of Defence for material allowances, such as renaming the project and adding in functions to educate men in civil services.25 Kahn

also engaged in campaigning for his new tetrahedral grid system by highlighting its efficiency and architectural effect. Looking back, the Gallery would not have been finished if not for the efforts and enthusiasm of the consulting engineers, the school, the city, or the Federal government. The main goal of a governing body to enforce zoning requirements is rooted in the fact that the intangible quality of ‘neighbourhood unity’ must be preserved and seeks to be sure that buildings be appropriate to the neighbourhood. CONCLUSION When completed, the Gallery was well received and caused the architectural world to consider the opportunities of modern architecture, by the appropriate way that Kahn had laid it out. On site, the Gallery has aged gracefully still remains relevant to this day, and retains its clarity of design and function.26 The Gallery was conceived of in a holistic way, with special attention paid to the context and accommodating its users and given them a sense of delight through the flow of spaces, by the beauty of its resolution of firmness and commodity. The Gallery is not only an example of a manifestation of Kahn’s developing theories and his BeauxArts background, but is a building that complied with unique planning and contextual challenges with a sense of harmony, subtlety, and appropriateness.

Figure 3 A harmonious connection between Swartwout’s Gallery and Kahn’s addition


NOTES 1.  Leslie Thomas, Louis I. Kahn: Building Art, Building Science (New York: George Braziller, Inc, 2005), 48. 2.  Ibid. 3.  Ibid. 4.  Megan Sveiven, “AD Classics: Yale University Art Gallery.” Arch Daily. Last modified October 21, 2010. Accessed September 9, 2013. http://www. 5.  Robertson Cooper & Partners, “Yale University: A Framework for Campus Planning,” last modified April, 2000. Accessed October 17, 2013. http:// 6.  Ibid. 7.  Thomas, Louis I. Kahn: Building Art, Building Science, 52. 8.  Vincent Scully, et al., Yale in New Haven: Architecture & Urbanism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), 30 9.  Ibid., 32 10.  Ibid. 11.  Ibid., 65 12.  Ibid., 67 13.  Ibid., 181 14.  Kenneth Frampton, Modern Architecture: A Critical History (London: Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2007), 267 15.  Thomas, Louis I. Kahn: Building Art, Building Science, 50 16.  Ibid., 52 17.  Frampton, Modern Architecture: A Critical History, 114 18.  Ibid. 19.  Thomas, Louis I. Kahn: Building Art, Building Science, 56 20.  Ibid. 21.  Ibid. 22.  Ibid., 70 23.  Ibid. 24.  Ibid., 67 25.  Ibid., 52 26.  Don Metz, New Architecture in New Haven (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1966), 13

FIGURES 70.  John , MacNeill. The Daily Traveler, “New Haven’s Yale University Art Gallery Reinvents Itself.” Accessed October 25, 2013. http://www. 71.  UMass Dartmouth, “Art and Architecture Building, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Site plan including Church Street and museums..” Accessed October 25, 2013. node/3890. 72.  Wikipedia, “Yale University Art Gallery”. Last modified February 9, 2007. Accessed October 25, 2013. 73.  Xavier de Jaureguiberry. Flickriver, “Yale University Art Gallery.” Last modified September 25, 2011. Accessed October 25, 2013. http://www.

PHOTOS 1.  A nave do bom gosto, “Yale University: Art Gallery.” Last modified May 4, 2012. Accessed October 25, 2013. http://anavedobomgosto.blogspot. ca/2012/05/yale-university-art-gallery.html.


CIAM 1928-1959

THE LEVER HOUSE Gordon Bunschaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 1951-1952 New York City by John Sirdevan

Lever House, located at 390 Park Avenue in New York City, was designed by Gordon Bunshaft and Natalie de Blois for Skidmore, Owings, and Merril, and completed construction in 1952. Lever House stands 22 storeys high, and sits atop a two storey podium at ground level. Lever House was New York’s first all glass curtain wall office building and, when built, stood in stark contrast to the residential masonry buildings that lined Park Avenue at the time. The building of Lever House also marked another significant landmark in New York City and North American history: the Lever House was the first tower to be built under a zoning regulation that allowed no setbacks if the tower only occupied a maximum of a quarter of the site. This bylaw was a product of modern planning principals based on the Corbusian and CIAM idea of ‘towers within a park’. The ‘towers within a park’ idea recognized the need for density within cities, while retaining large amounts of open, public green spaces. Thus, the Lever House tower occupies only 25% of the property area, while the rest of the land incorporates a public plaza and podium, complete with a roof garden. The influence that CIAM ideas had over New York City Planners in post-war America, and how the Lever House subsequently came to be., is signifficant to both the history of planning in North America, and the way in which Noth American cities evolved in the 20th century.


CIAM 1928-1959


ever House is located at 390 Park Avenue in the borough of Manhattan, New York City. It was designed by Gordon Bunshaft and Natalie de Blois for Skidmore, Owings, and Merril, and completed construction in 1952. Lever House was built to house the American Headquarters and Offices of the Lever Soap Company, who were also the clients. Lever House is 22 storeys high, and sits atop a twostorey podium at ground level. The ground floor contains no occupants, but rather an open plaza with pedestrian zones and walkways. Lever House was New York’s first all glass curtain wall office building, and marked a shift in corporate American architecture from traditional, masonry constructed office buildings, to European “International Style” glass and steel modernism. Lever House was a vast departure from the masonry residential buildings that lined

Figure 1 Figure Ground - Pre Lever House


Park Avenue at that time. Lever House is the by-product of a 1916 New York City zoning resolution, which stated that buildings had to be stepped back after reaching a certain height in order to let light penetrate the street. However, if the tower of the building only occupied 25% of the property area, it could be built with no setback. Lever House was the first building to utilize this provision in the resolution1, and is therefore not stepped back from the street, but rather from its adjacent buildings. Because the tower occupies only 25% of the property area, the tower is able to rise to 22 storeys. Lever House was also built within the context of “urban renewal” ideas of post-war American city planning, which related heavily to CIAM ideologies of city planning and their “Functional City” construct. THE SITE - 390 PARK AVENUE, NYC

Until 1888, Parked Avenue was named 4th Avenue, and carried the New York and Harlem Railroad. In 1875, the railroad was buried underneath 4th Avenue, making way for further residential and commercial development to take place on the street itself2. In the 1920’s, pedestrian medians in the middle of Park Avenue were reduced to make way for more automobile traffic, and it became a popular north south arterial route for commuters looking to travel to lower Manhattan, or Grand Central Terminal. Park Avenue, previous to the erection of Lever House, was a “street of masonry apartments and institutions”3. However, Lever House marked the beginning of the transition of Park Avenue from masonry residential and institutional buildings, to a corporate hotbed of steel and glass office towers3. Park Avenue continues to be a heavily trafficked route, with 4 to 6 lanes of vehicular traffic, and heavy pedestrian activity. Park Avenue is home to many important corporate office towers, including Citigroup, J.P. Moran Chase, KPMG, Major League Baseball, and British Airways, among many others. Additionally, Park Avenue is home to some of the most expensive residential real estate in the world. The site of Lever House, at 390 Park Avenue, is 38560 sf in total lot area, and the building itself has a gross floor area of 219,469 sf 5. Lever House is part of a C5 zoning district, which is described as “a central commercial district with continuous retail frontage intended for offices and retail establishments that serve the entire metropolitan region” 4. SOCIAL CONTEXT The 1950’s trend towards suburbanization impacted the population of New York City, as new suburban developments such as Levittown on Long Island drew many

CIAM TO URBAN RENEWAL: RETHINKING NEW YORK CITY While CIAM ideologies with regards to city building were conceived of in Europe, the Urban Renewal movement in the United States was very much related to CIAM ideologies and planning practices. Perhaps most importantly, Urban renewal and CIAM ideals shared the idea of re-imagining urban centers in the context of the congested postindustrial city, with a focus on the automobile, efficiency, speed, density



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New Yorkers out of the city and into these new developments. Midtown Manhattan, however, continued to change and grow due to the postwar prosperity of New York’s economy. Urban renewal, a post war movement in which “proponents intended to use the powers of eminent domain.. to sweep away the built environment of the 19th century and replace it with a new cityscape”5, became an important idea in the New York of the 1950’s. Urban renewal proponents such as Robert Moses, sought not only to replace the old city with the new, but also “saw modern rebuilding projects as a way to make Manhattan a symbol of American power during an age of metropolitan transformation and the Cold War” 5. In 1916, New York City enacted a zoning resolution, which established massing restrictions at certain heights, resulting in tall buildings having a series of setbacks. The idea was to ensure that light and air reach the street, and that buildings retain a sense of human scale. However, if the tower of the new development took up less than a quarter of the property area, the building could reach any height, without massing restrictions or setbacks. This is the zoning context in which Lever House was built.


Figure 2 Zoning boundaries in Midtown Manhattan



CIAM 1928-1959

Figure 4, 5 Sketches of Park Avenue before and after Lever House.

and functionality. In the book The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, Mumford writes “aspects of the CIAM agenda were appropriated for the populist, consumer oriented modernism of the 1939 New York Worlds fair.. CIAM like approaches in the service of a urbanistic vision of remade American downtowns served by highways”6. In the 1940’s, Harvard’s Graduate School of Design hired CIAM member Walter Gropius as chair of the department of archietcure, “a post from which he promulgated the functionalist ideas developed in the German Neues Bauen movement and the CIAM network generally”7. The conception of Lever House thus stood at a time when American attitudes with regards to city building were shifting, and the embrace of a new modern “international” style of architecture became ubiquitous, especially amongst American Corporations. A CIAM AESTHETIC FOR AMERICAN CORPORATISM With the exception of the UN Headquarters building (1947) by Le Corbusier and other CIAM affiliated architects, it was corporations that first adopted the modernist, “International Style” aesthetic for their new corporate office towers in Manhattan. This style of 132

building was intrinsically rooted in CIAM ideals, but stripped void of political and intellectual meaning for American consumption. A 1932 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York showcased the International Style but “stripped the European movement of its radical manifestos to present it as pure abstraction.. Ironically for an aesthetic once steeped in revolutionary rhetoric, corporate America adopted the mantle of modernism ”7. Lever House became the first corporate office tower in New York built in the International Style, and, as a by-product of the city’s 1916 zoning resolution, it displayed many tenets of CIAM ideals in its manifestation. Perhaps most notably, the Lever house features a 22 storey tower that floats above a public plaza at ground level,

Figure 6 Figure Ground Diagram Post Lever House

which features a series of pedestrian zones and walkways. This very much mirrors the “towers in a park” idea that characterized much of Le Corbusiers Contemporary and Radiant City plans. Additionally, Corbusian planning is evident in both the open plan, created by structural pilotis, as well as the roof garden, which sits atop the podium. These ideas represent two of Le Corbusier’s 5 points of architecture manifesto, which he described in his book ‘Toward and Architecture’. CONCLUSION Lever House continues to be recognized as an extraordinarily important building, both in the history of modern architecture, and in the context of modern city planning. Lever House’ importance within this lexicon cannot be

questioned, but was the original Lever House an appropriate intervention for Park Avenue at that time? Did its scale, materials, aesthetic quality, and integration into the street draw a wholly successful outcome? The appropriation of the European International Style by Corporate America feels ubiquitous today. Glass and steel towers in North America have become monuments to American corporatism, wealth, opulence, and capitalism. Perhaps, then, public indifference and occasional aggression at modern architecture, in this context, can be understood. What is lost, perhaps, is the appreciation of what was once a beautiful, abstract, radical, and revolutionary expression of creativity. What is appropriate, however, is the functional nature of the building itself.

The public plaza that Lever House created at its base became a reprieve from the wall of masonry buildings, and hustle of the street that defined the burgeoning Park Avenue of the 1950’s. Functionalism, an important tenet of CIAM ideologies, can be appropriate in any context; it can improve the way we move through and experience buildings, and it can have a positive impact on the surrounding urban context in which the building exists.

Photo 2


NOTES 1.  Allan Freeman, “Proving Ground,” Landscape Architecture, January, 2005, accessed September 13, 2013, lam05/January/feature3.html 2.  Christopher Gray, “When Vanderbuilt Did Not Get His Way,” The New York Times, September 10, 2009. 3.  Andrew Dolkart, Guide to New York City Landmarks (New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2009), 115. 4.  “New York City Department of City Planning,” last modified 2013. http:// 5.  Samuel Zipp, Manhattan Projects: The Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal in Cold War New York (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 51. 6.  Eric Mumford, The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960 (Boston: MIT Press, 2000), 143-150. 7.  Christopher Klemek, The Transatlantic Collapse of Urban Renewal: Post War Urbanism From New York to Berlin (Chicago: Univeristy of Chicago Press, 2011) 53. 8.  S.T.A. Pickett, M.L. Cadenasso, Brian Mcgrath, ed., Resilience and Ecology in Urban Design, Linking Theory and Practice for Sustainable Cities (Dordrecht: Springer Sciene + Business Media, 2013.) 242.


PHOTOS 1.  Retrieved from 2.  Retrieved from


CIAM 1928-1959

THE LEVER HOUSE Gordon Bunschaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 1951-1952 New York City by Rémi Carreiro

The Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) meetings of 1928 to 1959 aimed to revolutionize city planning and building design at a fundamental level. Lever House by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) addresses the urban conditions of New York City, a city who’s zoning regulations CIAM heavily influenced at the time. As it made use of Le Corbusier’s “towers in the park” model, it caused interruption along the row of oversized towers lining Park Avenue. SOM reinterpreted the Athens Charter by CIAM by using a comparatively narrow tower and reinforcing the importance of the open spaces, plazas, views within the city and the importance of the automobile. CIAM ideas are continuously reinforced throughout the project with the emphasis on economic efficiency. The importance of rectilinear form and of standardized design are prevalent in this project as a testament to efficiency. In analyzing the social, physical and cultural contexts surrounding Lever House, this paper investigates how this project triumphed zoning restrictions during this time and how later restrictions were influenced by CIAM idylls – it dissects the issues at both the scale of the building in addition to those at the wider scale of the city.


CIAM 1928-1959


he Lever House for the Lever Brothers company remains as an icon of CIAM principles and significant zoning influence in Manhattan. Completed in 1952 and designed by Gordon Bunschaft of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill [SOM] the building is located amongst the original stone and brick-clad facades of Park Avenue. Many of these have since been replaced by more modern skyscrapers. The client’s of the project were the Lever Brothers (Unilever), well-known soap manufacturers, and the building was to be their new headquarters. The initial interest in utilizing a modern building style like the International Style arose from Unilever’s president Charles Luckman, an architect by profession, who had the good fortune of witnessing Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for the Johnson Wax Company (S.C. Johnson & Son).1,2 As a result of this observation, Luckman understood first-hand the benefits of utizling modern design techniques. Postal mentions that this building is viewed has having been heavily influenced by the ideas of Le Corbusier, thus CIAM, and Mies van der

Rohe.3 The project utilized Corbusier’s “tower in the park” model to determine its form. SOM reinterpreted the tenets placed by the Athens Charter by using a comparatively narrow tower and reinforcing the idea of open spaces, plazas, views within the city and the importance of the automobile. Moreover, the emphasis on economic effieciency has been also been carried over from the CIAM decree. CIAM’s ideas as well as those resulting from the design of Lever house had mutual effects to the city’s Zoning Act, updated during the 1960s.4 PHYSICAL CONTEXT AND PROGRAM Lever House is located at 390 Park Avenue, across from the later built Seagram Building by Philip Johnson. The site’s surrounding buildings’ facades were composed primarily stone and brick with relatively little fenestration.5 This resulted in a stark contrast for the Lever House which was clad almost entirely is glass curtain-wall, the first of its kind for a commercial building in Manhattan. The shift of city from a manufacturing and industry to

0m 50

Figure 1 Figure Ground prior to and following consutrction. Demonstrates rigid grid form



commecial changed the landscape in which these buildings were formed. Manhattan was becoming increasingly dense – they hoped to bring in qualities of the suburbs with its open and spacious appeal. An emphasis was placed on the automobile with an underground garage. This feature allowed executives of the company to simply drive into the building and avoid the mess of the streets. The building featured a scant tower in terms of the city’s real estate with only 8700 square feet per floor and it provided many benefits, which will be further discussed. There was also a cafeteria on the third floor for the employees. SOCIAL, POLITICAL, CULTURAL AND PLANNING CONTEXTS The project was privy to very many influences during its formation. The first of many was Charles Luckman. The Lever Brothers originally held their headquarters in Cambridge, Massuchussetts. Luckman eventually decided on a site in New York City. He then brought SOM in for a meeting and settled a deal to have them design a distinguished building for the company.6 And according to Bunschaft, this building was the “first really contemporary building, the first major one.”7 Bunshaft recalls that there had been certain air slopes and that they were focused on building a glass building. The aim was to be as avantgarde as possible. He notes that the tower could not be further moved north because of the setbacks, and that it could have been more centered on the lot but they desired assymetry.8 A significant influencer of the building’s final form was certainly the zoning act for the city that determined certain formal aspects of the building. The building fell under the constraints

of the 1916 Zoning Resolution. This resolution came about as the result of rising levels of congestion in the city along with the randomized arrangement of building types.9 It looked to regulate heights and bulk of structures, the widths of streets and land uses.10 This comprehensive zoning ordinance came about as the solution to the bulky towers occupying the city blocks.11 The height to which you could build depended on the width of the street onto which the elevation faced.12 Therefore, wider streets could have higher street walls in comparison to narrow streets. The alternative to doing this was the option of the tower on only a portion of the lot, as Bunshaft had chosen to do. Dolkart notes that this feature of the Zoning Resolution determined the form of many skyscrapers in the United States and around the world during this period, which can be see in the tiered form of many of the city’s most notable skyscrapers.13 Additionally, this building came at a time of prosperity for the United States. Post World War II and the great depression, the United States of America saw a large boost in its economy which allowed many companies, like the Lever Brothers, to invest in new facilities like this skyscraper. It made New York City one of the few places that could attempt such a remarkably different design.14 CIAM AND PLANNING INFLUENCES This particular project was heavily influenced by the 1916 zoning regulation in addition to the ideas put forth by the meetings of CIAM during this period. The development of the city’s skyline has as much to do with the trends as to do with the zoning code. In accordance with the 1916 zoning regulation, only utilzing only a quarter of the space for a tower they were able to bypass the height

and setback limitations. By utilizing a slender tower that occupied about 25 percent of the lot, the skyscraper could be built to any height without the need to step back (see fig. 2).15 Without this, the Lever House would have been required to step back at a height of 135 feet (40 meters). It was part of a

Stepback Stepback Line from Line from centre centre of Streetof Street

regulating the city over a century before with its rigid and relentless grid and flattened landscape (see fig. 1). The grid arose from the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811.19 Prior to the mass organization of real estate that began in the early 19th century, New York City had no official plan. This changed when city

75% Open 75% Space Open Space

25% Tower 25% Tower from SetbackSetback from North Edge North Edge

N The 1916The Zoning 1916 Act Zoning required Act required building building stepbacks stepbacks at determined at determined heights in heights order in toorder allow to forallow light for light and air to and reach air to street reachlevel street more level easily. moreIt easily. often It often resultedresulted in the tiered in the“wedding-cake” tiered “wedding-cake” look thatlook that was used was forused decades for decades since itssince enactment. its enactment. This This is what the is what Lever the House Levermay House have may looked have like looked like had Bunshaft had Bunshaft followedfollowed the trend. theOnce trend. the Once tower the tower occupied occupied 25% or less 25%oforthe lesssite, of the it was site, free it was to free to rise to any riseheight. to any height.


Gordon Gordon BunshaftBunshaft reinterpreted reinterpreted the clause the clause allowingallowing for the tower for the that tower occupies that occupies 25% of the 25% of the site to rise siteconsistently to rise consistently and without and stepbacks without stepbacks to to the desired the desired height. height.

Figure 2 Zoning Requirements

1½ times district, a height determining element of the zoning ordinance, and with a street width of approximately 90 feet along Park Avenue the tower would only be able to rise a total of 90 feet plus 45 feet before needing to step back.17 The final choice of form created a negative space out of the remaining three quarters of the space that could not be infringed upon. The building’s location amongst a defined commercial district significantly defined the formal conditions.18 The building was equally impacted by the ideas of CIAM meetings and the Athens Charter. Thankfully the city had already begun

commissioners finally took interest in regulating development of the city.20 Then came the influence of CIAM and the Athens Charter. Several tenets of the Charter were addressed in order to create a superior design. An emphasis on the use of new materials, primarily the adoption of structures of made out of steel or reinforced concrete. These techniques allow the structure to rise higher than ever before and this led to a tall, light and airy structure with an almost entirely glass curtain-wall facade. perhaps the most noticeably influenced part of the design is the slender tower that makes the project 137

CIAM 1928-1959


N Parking Space for 65 cars was included in the space below ground. This went beyond the requirements of the 1916 Zoning Act which had not foreseen the dominance of the automobile. This also helped to create the seperation between automobile and pedestrian that CIAM felt was so needed.

The original Thezoning originalact zoning did not actopt didfor notopen opt for open spaces within spaces thewithin city and the thus city and left thus manyleft sites many sites with buildings with buildings occupying occupying 100% of the 100% lot.of the lot.

Pilotis raise Pilotis theraise structure the structure to permittoforpermit openfor open space along space much along of much the ground of theplane ground and plane a and a courtyardcourtyard space within space thewithin podium the allows podiumforallows for light andlight air toand enter air the to enter space. theThe space. appropriateThe appropriately placedlyslender placed tower slender reveals towerthe reveals ground theplane ground plane and courtyard and courtyard below. The below. covered The covered ground below ground below the podium the is podium reclaimed is reclaimed along itsalong rooftop. its rooftop.

FIgure 3 Inclusion of subgrade parking.

Figure 4 Benefits of the inclusion of open spaces.

look like two blocks, one vertical and the oher horizontal.21 The choice to build a slender tower provided multiple benefits. Not only did it help abide by the zoning requirements but also in setting it apart from its surroundings and freeing up the ground for broad verdant areas. The seperation of the automobile and the human is also present in this work. Le Corbusier states that “the pedestrian must be able to follow other paths than the automobile network.”22 The inclusion of the underground parking garage aids in delineating the difference in spatial occupation by man and automobile (see fig. 3). Further inclusion of Corbusian ideals is present in the use of pilotis to raise the podium and allow proper flow between the courtyard and the street.23 The pure rectilinear form of the building arises from the disdain for the curve.24 In order to promote the maintenance a healthy lifestyle the amount of open space on the site was kept as a priority as to address the demands and resulting tolls taken upon our bodies and minds.25 In order to do

this the building expands vertically to regain useable space (see fig. 4). The interest in economic efficiency has lead to the use of pure geometries and repitition; both of these points of Le Corbusier’s Contemporary City.26 The use of repetitive components was a result of the wartime manufacturing conditions. The harsh demands upon manufacturing at the time resulted in increased efficiency and the assembly of prefabricated components and a focus on exactitude. This is reflectected in the incredibly uniform curtain wall system as well as the structural grid and its pure geometric and repetitive arrangement. The final point is the importance of sun, coincidentally air quality as well, in bathing the city. By stepping back the tower towards the Northern portion of the site, its allows for the shallow office floors and the courtyard at ground level to be bathed in light (see fig. 6).27 This feature is also aided by the deliberate use of glazed facades in reflecting the light and the building’s surroundings.28 This features benefits have only been increased as



50% Built 50% Open



Figure 5 Proposed proportions of site use.

a result of new construction around the building leading to more curtain-wall glazing being used. As a result of the Lever House’s innovations and those of several others following its completion. The Zoning Act was updated in 1961 to reflect many of the ideas put forth by the Bunshaft and the project. The original 1916 Zoning Act no longer offered proper regulations according to the city. The previous act would have allowed for a city of 55 million and new ideas, primarily those of Le Corbusier and CIAM, were capturing city planners attention.29 The new act incorporated mandatory parking requirements, addressed use and bulk regulations and opted for the creation of open space.30 All factors

CONCLUSION The Lever House remains as an icon for a pivotal shift in architecture and planning at a crucial point in history. New York City was one of the few places capable of such a feat – prosperity resumed after the war and the great depression, allowing for people to attempt new and innovative ideas. The building put forth a package of new ideas in a largely stagnant cityscape. Gordon Bunshaft managed to bring to light many hitherto unused ideas to the North American landscape. It pushed the envelope and envisaged a new interpretation of the zoning that satisfied its conditions while demonstrating an entirely foreign idea without breaking regulations. And as a result of such a successful project many zoning regulations were updated in hopes of coontinuing the results that the Lever House achieved. This project went to show that some change was needed in this once dense and bulky and that the work of CIAM and city planners in conjunction were enough to fix it.

As a result of the “tower in the park” form of the Lever House, light is able to reach the courtyard as well as the shallow floors of the offices in the tower.

Figure 6 Benefits of sunlight as a result of building form.

which Lever House incorporated long before. Additionally it incorporated incentive zoning, allowing developers to gain extra floor space by providing public plazas in their projects.31 In all, Lever House was both a product of its time and an significant informant on those to come. 139

NOTES 9.  Muschamp, Herbert. “Charles Luckman, Architect Who Designed Penn Station’s Replacement, Dies at 89.” The New York Times, January 28, 1999. (accessed October 15, 2013). 10.  Zucker, Steven and Mathew A. Postal. “Gordon Bunshaft for Skidmore Owings and Merrill, Lever House, 1951-52.” Youtube video, 3:57. October 14, 2011. 11.  Ibid. 12.  Russell, James S. “Icons of Modernism Or Machine-Age Dinosaurs?” Architectural Record 177, (06, 1989): 142-147. http://ezproxy.lib.ryerson. ca/login?url= 13.  Zucker. “Gordon Bunshaft for Skidmore Owings and Merrill, Lever House, 1951-52.” 14.  Mertins, Detlef. “Gordon Bunshaft Interview | SOM | Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP.” Gordon Bunshaft Interviewed by Betty J. Blum. https:// (accessed October 15, 2013). 15.  Ibid. 16.  Ibid. 17.  Dr. Ian MacBurnie, “URBANIZATION, REGULATION & DESIGN PART 2” (lecture, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, September 25, 2013). 18.  Ibid. 19.  Dolkart, Andrew S.. “The Architecture and Development of New York City with Andrew S. Dolkart.” Columbia University. http://ci.columbia. edu/0240s/0242_2/0242_2_s7_text.html (accessed October 16, 2013). 20.  Ibid. 21.  Ibid. 22.  Zucker. ““Gordon Bunshaft for Skidmore Owings and Merrill, Lever House, 1951-52.” 23.  Dolkart, “The Architecture and Development of New York City with Andrew S. Dolkart.” 24.  Bressi, Todd W.. Planning and zoning New York City: yesterday, today, and tomorrow. New Brunswick, N.J.: Center for Urban Policy Research, 1993. 14. 25.  Ibid. 14. 26.  Ibid. 14. 27.  Ibid. 14. 28.  Dr. Ian MacBurnie, “URBANIZATION, REGULATION & DESIGN PART 2” 29.  Zucker. “Gordon Bunshaft for Skidmore Owings and Merrill, Lever House, 1951-52.” 30.  Corbusier, Le. The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 84. 31.  Corbusier, Le. “”The Pack Donkey’s Way and Man’s Way” and “A Contemporary City”.” In The Urban Design Reader. Second ed. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2013. 92. 32.  Ibid. 92. 33.  Ibid. 94. 34.  Ibid. 96. 35.  Ibid. 98. 36.  Ibid. 99. 37.  “NYC Zoning - About New York City Zoning.” Welcome to | City of New York. (accessed October 16, 2013). 38.  Ibid. 39.  Ibid.

PHOTOS 1.  Ezra Stoller, The Lever House. 1952.


CIAM 1928-1959

THE SEAGRAM BUILDING Mies van der Rohe, associate Philip Johnson 1954-1958 New York City by Marwa Tawfiq

German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the Seagram Building in central New York City in 1958. It was a project to take on a modern urban design methodology and a modernistic architectural approach with its tall height and distinctive realtionship to the road. It was Mies’s first project that dealt with tall office building construction that took on CIAM principles such as the consideration for urban living, space, and a sense of belonging. Mies being famous for his “less is more” implementation in his architecture, he became a prime figure in the CIAM period. He applied many of the CIAM principles to his own ideologies, to form one pure and simplistic form. This building became one of New York’s monumental structures, attracting great attention due to its isolation in form, size, and materiality during its time. It brought a new outlook and definition on urban design and new ways of how architecture can be perceived. The Seagram Building had an effect on urban design strategies, by constraining certain spaces and opening others to allow for particular movements to occur in and around the building. It became a prototype for tall buildings in New York City that were constructed after its time; it is now no longer of a contrasting figure.


CIAM 1928-1959


he history of the site that the Seagram Building lies on today dates back to the mid 1800’s, when the area first started to form. The new developments in the city, such as malls, railroads, and access to Grand Central Terminal, all came to define the area, and in particular Park Ave. This avenue was progressively dedicated for the wealthy with large apartment housing and fancy retail stores. This area began off only as a residential area in 1916, that originally limited the buildings’ heights to a maximum of six stories, but in 1929, they changed the zoning by law to accommodate for commercial use as well, which allowed for taller and denser building types 1. This drew a major change on the Park Ave commercial office buildings, with the first one being Universal Pictures Building at 445 Park Ave. This was the start of the new trend on Park Ave. THE MOTIVE Samuel Bronfman and Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, founders of the Seagram Company, chose the 375 Park Ave as the location for its corporation due to the rise of the area

Figure 1 - Site Map


as an international business district. The Seagram Company paid $ 4 million for 50,950 sq. ft. for the 375 Park Ave property in 1951. The company, in 1954, announced that it wanted to build the companies headquarters at this particular location. After several months of discussion of which architect would be most appropriate to bring something new to this project, a final decision had been reached to hire Mies van der Rohe and his associate Philip Johnson. This significant choice was precisely undertaken in the belief that Mies is the most ideal person to create an iconic and modernistic design for the Seagram Company. The Seagram Building was built with the aim of fulfilling new desires for new architectural motivations and intentions of more CIAM guided principles used in construction. The site had strong intentions of creating new architectural aspirations due to the emergence of wealthier surrounding context. And as it was constructed in later years, the Seagram truly came to be a contrasting figure and one of a kind during its time. START OF THE SEAGRAM BUILDING After getting a start on the project,

Mies decided that more land was needed to accomplish this project. Extra land of 9000 sq. ft. was then purchased at a cost of $900,000. The final design of the Seagram headquarters was out on April 1955 and construction started on March 1956. One of Mies’s objectives when he designed this building was to observe in detail the area that he will be building in. His final observations included the repetition in designs and the ziggurat-like masses that followed local zoning laws on Park Ave and 52nd and 53rd streets 2. This is exactly wwhat Mies did not want to repeat in architecture; Mies thought he could play a role in starting a new trend in architecture and urban planning that applied CIAM concepts. Mies wanted to begin the change in the Manhattan, as it had not been made yet. He began his architectural challenge and its implementation on the site with the simple zoning by-laws and the footprint the building will occupy. Mies’s first approach was to set back the building 100 ft from the streets and turn much of the site into a plaza that would extend from 52nd to 53rd Street. 52% of the site was to only be occupied by the actual building and the rest is to be an outdoor open space. This allowed the building to be comprehended from the street view at eye level; from particularly Park Ave. Mies designed the front plaza in a way that provides unity between the indoor and the outdoor spaces by allowing the pavement to be one continues slab. This design statement brought on a new urban planning approach in regards to the connection between the street and the building. Influenced by modern CIAM ideas and the motive to change from the contemporary building styles, the Seagram slowly formed.

Figure 2 - Site Analysis

The structure used new construction methodology, chosen to achieve the simplistic form of the building brought on by CIAM concepts. The Seagram Building came to be known as one of the first modular office buildings due to its unique gridding system. CIAM PRINCIPLES One of the main design features that Mies concentrates on when designing the Seagram Building were his principles in simplicity in form. This building was built during a time period where architecture was changing to a more modern stance. New York emerged as a leading city of the world financially, commercially, and culturally after the WWII. It was a central place of growth in the United Sates and North America. It took on new developments and new concepts of urban design.Being a practicing architect in the mid 20th century, Mies was exposed to CIAM ideas that had grown out in 1928 3. Along side Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, all three of them were regarded as the masters in modern architecture. The CIAM movement brought on an ideology where modern architecture is to represent today, as Gothic and Classical architecture was able to represent their time during their era. Mies’s simplistic thinking was influenced

Figure 3 - Interior lobby view looking out to the plaza

by designs and art movements of the time; he adopted theoretical ideas and applied it to architecture and planning. He gave value to simple rectilinear forms, clean lines, pure colors, and extension in space, believing that every small element plays a role in conveying a unified simple expression4. Mies’s viewpoint on setting better change to urban planning overlapped CIAM concepts of the same nature, as the

CIAM movement was founded due to the same reasons. CIAM AND THE SEAGRAM BUILDING Mies’s vision on architecture and urban design came to be known as an abstraction of some sort in relation to previous design concepts. The Seagram Building became one of his most famous buildings that conveyed simplistic CIAM concepts; it conducted 143

CIAM 1928-1959

its modern message very directly and in a straightforward manner. A major CIAM concept was to start enforcing simplistic forms in architecture, which is exactly how the Seagram Building first generated. Mies conceptualized it as a simple, tall block, rather than a complex form with extensive detailed work. Its structural framework was amongst the new construction methods at the time, giving off more of a free flowing concept with easier visual access between the public and the private spaces. The Seagram Building used a skin and bone effect with minimal framework as well as a new cladding system of curtain walls to convey the simplistic and modern concepts aesthetically from the exterior 5. Mies chose to work with easier materials of transparent features to show this intention. The cladding material was more of a modern material that contrasted the marble pavement of the outdoor plaza. The relationship between the building and the open space surrounding it represents a ‘less is more’ CIAM concept. The plaza was able to play an important role in the bulk of the building, limiting the city’s congestion of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. This formed constraints in particular movements that occured in and around the building. The open plaza demonstrates a very simplistic approach to space management that allows the showcasing of the tall building from better and further viewpoints. The plaza gives depth to the site, helping reduce its direct connection to the street. If we were to compare the Seagram building to its neighboring buildings (at the time), we would say that all the buildings had a direct relation to the streets, with the buildings’ footprints taking up as much space on their sites as possible. CIAM categorized tall buildings of a dense character in 144

Figure 4 - Represents the contextual relationship between the Seagram building and its plaza with the rest of Manhattan’s urban setting and skyline; offset relationship of the plaza with the road and the simplistic cubic form of the Seagram Building in relation to the ziggurat-like masses surrounding it.

order for it to be a good solution for dwelling and office habitation, as it increases open space at the ground level, creating a less congested city. The Seagram Building encouraged CIAM principles such as the improvement of light and air within the city in order to build a healthier living space. It also promoted open green spaces between tall dense buildings to encourage the collaboration of different activities. The plaza brought on and influenced later zoning by laws to encourage the use of plazas and to introduce more open spaces on the ground level. Zoning was renewed in response to this new CIAM principle. Mies was able to think ahead and consider future approaches to city design. The Seagram Building was of such great power that it brought about change; change in how architecture can be perceived as a whole, and

how it plays a role contextually in the Manhattan urban setting. It rapidly came to be recognized as a fast growing concept of change, making the CIAM movement of great success at the time, bringing about modern ideology to a more technologically advanced age. CONCLUSION The Seagram Building achieved great importance historically in architecture and urban planning, becoming a monumental figure that many looked up to as a great exemplar. It is a very successful building, changing many design innovations and contextual characteristics. It defined positive and negative space on a given land area within Manhattan’s urban context. It was able to stand out from the contemporary and repetitive

Figure 5 - View of the Seagram Building from Park Ave looking South-East

schemes and contrast the neighborhood around it. The Seagram Building was of a different nature, bringing on a modernistic and simple approach to modern city planning and architectural design. With the help of a great and professional architect like Mies van der Rohe, this project was able to accomplish great success for the many years that followed.


NOTES 40.  Breiner , David. “Landmarks Preservation Commission-The Seagram Building.” (1989). files/Seagram-Building--Including-The-Plaza.pdf. 41.  Stoller, Ezra. The Seagram building. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. 42.  Le Corbusier. “The Athens charter” New York: Grossman Publishers. (1973). CIAM_4_The_Athens_Charter.pdf. 43.  —. “Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.” (2011). wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Ludwig-Mies-van-der-Rohe.pdf. 44.  Scott, Felicity D.. “An Army Of Soldiers Or A Meadow.” JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIANS 70, no. 3 (2011): 330-353.

FIGURES 74.  Stoller, Ezra. The Seagram building. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. 75.  Drawn by Marwa Tawfiq 76.  Stoller, Ezra. The Seagram building. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. 77.  Drawn by Marwa Tawfiq 78.  Stoller, Ezra. The Seagram building. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999.

PHOTOS 1.  Perez, Adelyn. 2010. “AD Classics: Seagram Building / Mies van der Rohe | ArchDaily.” ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwide. http:// (accessed September 14, 2013).


CIAM 1928-1959

INLAND STEEL BUILDING Bruce Graham and Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 1956-1958 Chicago by Dong kyu (Dennis) Han

The Inland Steel Building, located in the Loop of Chicago, is one of Chicago’s the most noteworthy high-rise building representing the urban planning strategy of Chicago in 1950s and integrates well with the city’s atmosphere even after 55years of being established. In 1951, during CIAM 8, an urban planner focused more on the core, the heart of the city, and moved towards the humanization of urban life. In building the core idea, they narrowed in on four different topics: town planning, visual art, new building techniques, and the social background of the core. The Inland Steel building was the first office building to be built in downtown Chicago since the depression of the 1930’s, moreover it introduced the building techniques that supported CIAM 8’s idea of new techniques, like steel piling and indoor below grade parking, to move into a new era of architecture by forming the urban scale rather than building itself. These new innovations support CIAM 8’s four different topics to support the core. An essential aspect in designing the building was concentrated on the treatment towards the surrounding streetscape following the zoning by-laws along with the interactions in social and cultural context to improve the humanization of urban life. The Inland Steel building pioneered the series of high-rise office towers which interact with the Loop of Chicago and created the foundation of the Loop’s infrastructure to have the skyline that we see today.


CIAM 1928-1959


uring the early 1950s, the architectural firm known as Skidmore, Owings and Merrill was commissioned to build a skyscraper in Chicago for the Inland Steel Company. The Inland Steel Company was a firm that operated in the Illinois and Indiana area during 1893-1998. Hence, like most of the steel companies, during World War II, there was a great demand for steel for weaponry and as such the Inland Steel Company had more business than it could handle. As a result, during 1950s, the company was one of the top ten largest steel companies in the United States.1 This allowed the Inland Steel Company to gain a competitive advantage and construct a building which would be the first in the city but also the first in the Loop as it was the Great Depression that improved the zoning and urban context of the city through CIAM’s idea of “The Core”, mainly the “New building Technique”. The Inland Steel Building is located at 30 West Monroe Street. It was surrounded by an old masonry building that defined the landscape of the Loop. The city moved away from the Great Depression as the Inland

Photo 2 View of Chicago Skyscrapers


Steeling building broke away from classically designed neighbourhoods. Even though the building is only 19 stories high, it was the highest building during its time.2 SITE: THE HEART OF THE LOOP The Loop is one of the Chicago’s neighbourhood but also the central business district. The name originates from the location where the cable cars rotated on a pulley in the downtown of the city. This concept was extended and emphasized by the ring of elevated rail tracks which wraps the Loop of Chicago. The Inland Steel building marked and ignited the beginnings of the revival in both building structures and building surrounding areas in the early 1950s. The site of the building itself is the centre of the Loop, at the northeast corner of Monroe and Dearborn Street. During 1944 and 1954, another subway line was created to extend along the South Dearborn Street, accordingly the Inland Steel Building became the heart of the Loop not only in terms of location but also by means of the transportation.3 The site was chosen by the Inland Steel Company as a demonstration of the future development of Chicago,

moreover the company had decided to build its headquarters in Chicago. The key design principle was to design a high rise in the core of downtown Chicago utilizing steel highlight the success of the Inland Steel Company. The former Vice President of the company, Leigh Block, commented on the objective for the new headquarters’ design, “We are the only major steel company with headquarters in Chicago. We wanted a building we’d be proud of, one that spelled steel.” Not only did the Inland Steel building ‘spell’ steel with its pleasingly use of flat stainless steel panel and curtain walls, but also became a catalyst for a new wave of high-rise office structures within the urban community.4 CONTEXT AND PLANNING Since the early days of the skyscrapers, Chicago had been one of the world’s leading skyscraper cities. Chicago tried to regulate the building’s height after the Great Chicago Fire and was able to cap the height of the building ever since. In 1893, the maximum allowed height of the building was 130 feet (39.6m). The height limit of the building increased from time to time and by 1923, the maximum limit was 664 feet (202.4m). The zoning department changed the height limit to accommodate its volume. The information pertaining to the density and bulk is found in the Chicago zoning ordinance in 1942. In 1942’s zoning code, the city introduced two map systems, one regulating land usage and another regulating the volume. The height limit was replaced with a maximum volume of the building capped at the area of site times 144 feet (which would translate roughly a 12 floor area ration). This regulation reduced the maximum bulk of the building but

it provided more flexibility to the shape and height of the building. This was the first time Chicago introduced the floor are ratio (FAR) idea and has been used until now.5 The Inland Steel building follows under 1942 zoning since the project started in 1956 and maximized the height of the building by creating taller volume using only 66 percent of the site.6 Along with the height regulation, the city tried to widen the pedestrian walkway and create a commercial corridor for the building and city. The zoning code in 1942 supported this idea by addressing the volume of the building. In given site in order to build higher, building floor areas have to be reduced and that reduced area became a commercial corridor for the city. A significant dimension in shaping the public space of the Inland Steel building concerns the treatment of the streetscape. The both the Dearborn and Madison Street are traditionally a busy intersection due to the heavy traffic flow. Special attention was given to the sidewalk which wraps the building for the pedestrian movement. SOM created a sensitive and open streetscape by expanding sidewalk space making it inviting. The glazing face is further back than the column to widen the walkway of the Dearborn Street but also for

Figure 1 Development of transit in Loop of Chicago (from left 1954, 1965, and 2003)

Figure 2 Building Height Restriction

the Monroe Street walkway; the street level has a two story entrance creates an overhang as the building extends at the third floor, in some ways like a canopy, giving more open space for the streetscape and in some ways more inviting due to the available space.7 CIAM After the Great Fire occurred in 1871, most buildings in the Loop were

destroyed and Chicago started to recreate the skyscrapers and business district itself. The Chicago urban plan began with Daniel Burnham’s Plan of Chicago trying to duplicate the European beautiful cities into Chicago by improving the lakefront, and highway and railway system. Later, urban planning strategies implement to created better cities was pushed forward by CIAM (Congrès internationaux d’architecture 149

CIAM 1928-1959

modern). The urban planning strategy CIAM followed was urbanizing the city, architecturally resolving problems that many cities have all around the world. One of the well-known ideas was the Athens Charter where urban planning was based on its pure function zone and connecting the zones. Chicago is divided by functional zones furthermore, the Loop of Chicago is consider as downtown’s commercial zone and acts as centre of the connection by public transit and roads. Among the entire CIAM meetings, the Inland Steel Building shows its influence during the eighth meeting. In 1953, the eighth meeting of CIAM happened in Hoddesdon in England and the topic of the meeting was “The Heart of the City”. At the eighth meeting, MARs (Modern Architectural Research) group established commissions to prepare for the congress which mirrored those of the CIAM itself. These were the four topics that have been dealt with MARs, “Town Planning”, “Visual Art”, “New Building Technique”, and “Social background of the Core”. During the presentation, Sert emphasized the relevance of the theme in the context of postwar urbanization. “He followed the MARs group proposal in stating that at five different levels of communal organization, from the village to the residential neighbourhood to the town to the city to the metropolis, there should be special physical environment devoted to expressing the sense of community.”8 As the new high rise building in the Loop of Chicago constructed after the Great Depression, the Inland Steel building redefines the community of the Loop, the core of the city. By developing a high population density building in low land coverage of the Loop, it shows the influence of CIAM’s 150

basic idea of creating a city and at the same time supports MARs idea. It introduced “New Building Techniques” with innovations such as steel piling. It creates “Visual Art” by using new materials such as stainless steel and dual glazing. Also, in early 1950s, the Department of Public Works started to make an effort to open the streets and reduce the number of standing vehicles by creating parking garages. The Inland Steel building includes indoor below grade parking to support the idea of urban planning which occurred at that time period and helped to reduce the high density of parked car on the street to make better roads and connections with in the city. Finally, the idea of CIAM, “The Core” is represented in the Inland Steel building located at the core of Chicago and acts as social art in the form of architecture. CONCLUSION Located in the centre of the Loop in Chicago, the Inland Steel Building is one of the most defining commercial

Figure 3 Zoning district in the Loop of Chicago base on 1923 Zoning Map.

high-rises of the Post-War era of modern architecture further shows the development of the urban context in the city. During 1950s in Chicago, there were lots of developments which had happened not only economical but also socio-politically. The urban renewal idea was pushed forward with new zoning and infrastructures. The Inland Steel Building well adapted to these changes and integrated well with the CIAM’s urban idea of “The Core” to become the building that stands today and landmark as one of the innovated highrise building in Chicago. The Inland Steel building pioneered the high-rise office towers in Chicago and created foundation of the Loop infrastructure to have the skyline that we see today.

NOTES 1.  Chicago Historical Society. “Inland Steel Co..” Encyclopedia of Chicago . (accessed October 30, 2013). 2.  Saliga, Pauline A., John Zukowsky, and Jane H. Clarke. “Inland Steel Building.” In The Sky’s the limit: a century of Chicago skyscrapers. New York: Rizzoli, 1990. 181. 3.  Condit, Carl W.. “Urban Problems and Urban Renewal.” In Chicago, 193070; building, planning, and urban technology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974. 84-86, 232, 270-272. 4.  Agamben, Giorgio. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Translat”Art: How to Spell Steel.” Time Magazine, February 10, 1958.,9171,868272,00.html (accessed October 18, 2013). 5.  Schwieterman, Joseph P., Dana M. Caspall, and Jane Heron. “A City of Skyscrapers.” In The politics of place: a history of zoning in Chicago. Chicago, IL: Lake Claremont Press, 2006. 79-96. 6.  Menges, Axel. “Headquarters building, Inland Steel Company.” In Architecture of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 1963-1973. London: Architectural Press, 1974. 75. 7.  Gorman, Thomas J.. “Inland Steel Building.” In Architecture in detail: Chicago.. New York: PRC Pub.;, 2003. 72-75. 8.  Mumford, Eric Paul. “From the “Heart of the City” to the End of CIAM.” In The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 202, 206.

FIGURES 79. “Chicago ‘’L’’.org: System Maps - Route Maps.” Chicago ‘’L’’.org: System Maps - Route Maps. route/ (accessed October 31, 2013). 80.  SOM. “SOM | Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP.” Inland Steel Building. (accessed October 30, 2013). 81.  Chicago zoning ordinance; with amendments up to and including September 1, 1927.. Chicago: City council of the City of Chicago, 1927.

PHOTOS 1.  SOM. “SOM | Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP.” Inland Steel Building. (accessed October 30, 2013). 2.  Wallpapers Shop. “Chicago, Skyscrapers, Building | Wallpapers Shop.” Chicago, Skyscrapers, Building | Wallpapers Shop. (accessed November 5, 2013).



CIAM 1928-1959

LAFAYETTE PARK Mies van der Rohe & Ludwig Hilberseimer 1956 Detroit by Mahan Navabi

Lafayette Park is a part of Mies van der Rohe’s Residential District in Detroit, Michigan, comprising 78 acres of four high rise apartments, many one or two-storey townhouses, all adjacent to a park and shopping district. The project is located just east of downtown Detroit, and is zoned to Detroit Public Schools. The area was previously a slum, but is now considered a great example of urban renewal, with an economically and racially diverse population. Lafayette is an example of Mies van der Rohe putting into practice, the principles set forth in CIAM. This is evident in the project’s substantial utilization of modernism, urban planning, functional segregation, and architecture as an economic and political tool. For instance, the project values the residential district with the best location, increases density through height, and avoids alignment of dwellings to transportation routes through a superblock. According to many academics, the district is a precedent for working urbanization, because it is able to maintain its inhabitants and high property values, despite a high frequency of foreclosure and vacancy in the area, and the evident dwindling Detroit cityscape. The project’s success can be credited to the fact that it was completed collaboratively with developer, Herbert Greenwald, planner, Ludwig Hilberseimer, landscaper, Alfred Caldwell, and the municipal government. Lafayette Park is therefore multifaceted and integrative of many disciplines, and it is through such interdisciplinary efforts and management of CIAM values that the urban renewal is realized.


CIAM 1928-1959


n Detroit, a city which is presently a shell of its former self, there exists Lafayette Park: a working model of urbanism built in 1956 during the postwar era of Modernism, Brutalism, and the International Style.1 Located just east of downtown Detroit, Michigan, in the cities Residential District, the project is 78 acres consisting of four high rise apartments, many one or two-storey townhouses, all adjacent to a park and a shopping district. Authorship of the project can be attributed to architect, Mies van der Rohe, city planner, Ludwig Hilberseimer, landscaper, Alfred Caldwell, developer, Herbert Greenwald, and the client: the municipal government. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, the team produces a functional integration between organizational, architectural, landscape, and economically viable design. Mies was responsible for the design of individual buildings and for modifying spatial and architectural qualities of the site plan. Hilberseimer on the other hand was responsible for the ambitious urban vision of reintegrating both country and city into Lafayette Park. He attempts to rectify the expanding urban metropolis through modestly

Figure 2 Lafayette’s central park


sized units within a country atmosphere. Caldwell implemented Hilberseimer’s ideas into a palpable organization, and was also accountable for conceiving of the programmatic combination of housing, school, shopping, and a public park. Greenwald, was able to merge different parties and their conflicting interests in order to allow for the project to be built.2 The project is greatly informed by CIAM planning principles such as open green space, sun and wind exposure, demolition of unsanitary conditions, increased density through height, and leisure based programs. Therefore, through a multifaceted and integrative inclusion of many disciplines and a careful management of CIAM values, urban renewal is realized.3 THE SUPERBLOCK Through land use zoning, infrastructure, and reintegration with the land, the collaboration sought to achieve a modern Detroit vision in order to solve issues of congestion and disorientation. These issues are alike to those that were initiated by the Garden City movement of which Mies and Hilberseimer were deeply influenced by, as well as those of CIAM

Figure 1 Blue indicates areas of “urban renewal“

and the Athens Charter. Mies claims that from a theoretical perspective with Lafayette Park, his aim is to “ensure an integrated whole”, “seek the essence of things”, and “understand the relationship between the individual and the community”. The superblock is bounteous with pedestrian pathways designed for people to interact with and be a part of their surrounding community and superblock. This method of circulation is supported by places of leisure placed beside them. Vehicular flow on the other hand is prevented from entering the insides of the block so that vehicular and pedestrian traffic is completely divided.4 There are three housing types included in the neighbourhood: apartment, town-house, and courthouse. Each housing type incorporates a different relationship between interior and exterior, together organizing a spatial clarity indicative of Miesian plans. In terms of planning, Hilberseimer mainly applies decentralization and landscape in order to remedy the uninhabitable industrial city that Detroit had become. Through the center of the superblock there is a nineteen acre park for active and passive recreation. Placed on the South of the park is a public school, and to the north, a baseball pitch. To the

Figure 3 In red, demolished ‘Black Bottom’ building fabric (1949) vs new Lafayette superblock, and surroundings (1963)

west and east of the park are apartment towers, two storey townhouses, and one storey row houses. The project supports a highly self functional neighbourhood, somewhat secluded from its surrounding urban landscape.5 DETROIT’S SOCIAL, POLITICAL, AND CULTURAL CONTEXT A rapid population increase was the result of the rise of Detroit’s automobile industry. The city enjoyed prosperity extensively before dwindling into what it is today. The decline can be attributed to rapid development which was met with little to no planning. The city’s urban planners were without the administrative structure or capacity, necessary to respond to such growth and decline. In consequence, city growth proceeded in disarray. Another reason for the ensuing ineffective action was the racial bias of white preference that disallowed neighbourhood upgrading and stunted redevelopment efforts. According to Ludwig Hilberseimer, “only a structural change in the city could bring about the necessary order”.6 Lafayette was built during Detroit’s redevelopment phase of the 1950s and 1960s, which relied mostly on

Vehicular Flow Pedestrian Flow Figure 4 Superblock Pedestrian and Vehicular Flow

urban renewal. The city plan consisted of clearing out deteriorated housing, improving the central business district, and completing economic development projects. At the time, the city’s planning values were geared towards eliminating low income neighbourhoods located near financial districts and replacing them with more ‘worthy’ uses: Lafayette Park bounds the financial district. It was preceded by “Black Bottom”, which was categorized as a slum. Planners believed that they must decrease

density and increase open space by eradicating the neighbourhood of the industrial class, mostly African American community, and replacing them with Suburban dwellers which were typically of European descent. However, developer, Greenwald was able to conceive of the project as a mixed income and mixed race neighbourhood. To this day, Lafayette Park maintains high property and market value. It houses one of the greatest racial and class diversities in the city and contains the attractive amenities of suburbia such as well developed landscaping, decreased density, and safe places for leisure or children.7 Reminiscent of a Garden City, the project attempts to provide residents the positive qualities of suburban life and the conveniences of urban life due 155

CIAM 1928-1959

to its proximity to downtown Detroit. In order to demolish the buildings and gridiron streets of the former slum, Hilberseimer had to undergo extensive approval processes with urban renewal officials. Concurrent with CIAM, the super block encapsulated the desired program while disallowing unwanted street frontage. Density was controlled while opening up green space by building vertically.8 LAFAYETTE WITH RESPECT TO THE TENANTS OF CIAM Lafayette Park borders downtown Detroit and is located directly south of the Eastern Market Historic District. It places the highest value to the residential district occupying the best location in urban space, just as CIAM stated. Furthermore, the area was previously a slum, so concurrent with the tenants of CIAM, it was entirely demolished due to unsanitary living conditions and replaced by residential towers that employ modern building technology and materials.9 The built form allows for the penetration of sun and wind. Sunshine and access are considered through building orientation, street connections, and density. Additionally, the buildings are set apart from one another to free the ground for broad green areas, while 156

maintaining density through height. CIAM states that leisure, athletics, and schools must be in close proximity to residential areas. Accordingly, the project implements functions, such as a school and leisure spaces including parks and a shopping mall. With these parks, gardens, baseball field, and tennis courts, Lafayette Park allows for safe outdoor leisure, just as the 38th tenant of CIAM proposes. A significant design intention is for the occupant’s to pass free time in meaningful and beautiful outdoor space. The superblock programming makes it so that dwellings never align with the street. Each dwelling faces green space instead, thus complying with the 27th tenant of CIAM.2 Mies van der Rohe’s architecture employs the International Style of the era. Therefore, the latest construction techniques of the time are initiated while maintaining a neutral atmosphere for dwellers, so that the landscaping can flourish. Work and housing is kept separate. Vehicular and pedestrian flows are also kept divided.10 SUCCESSES AND SHORTCOMINGS Lafayette Park was conceived in light of the preconceptions and values of its era and its home city’s aspirations. However, unlike many similar failed attempts at ‘urban renewal’ or Detroit

Figure 5 Detroit’s Density: 1950, 1970, 2010 Evidently, many urban renewal projects of the time such as Lafayette Park contributed to eradicating Detroit’s downtown density

restoration projects, Lafayette Park is able to execute the ideals placed forth by planning movements of the time such as CIAM in an effective manner that has more or less stood the test of time in the market and the urban landscape. Success can perhaps be attributed to an effective collaboration between disciplines. Despite its successes however, the project contains a major flaw in that it had a devastating and uncompromising effect on the original inhabitants of the site.11 Like so much other urban renewal projects of the time, Lafayette Park

ultimately eliminated more low-income housing than it produced, albeit in a more occupant friendly neighbourhood. In the end, it could not retain the middle class of the city despite its innovations and preservation of property values and occupants.

Figure 6 Lafayette’s Landscaping


NOTES 1.  “Mies Van Der Rohe House In Detroit, Lafayette Park Co-Op Designed By Famed Architect, For Sale (PHOTOS).” Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. (accessed September 14, 2013). 2.  Waldheim, Charles. CASE--Hilberseimer/Mies van der Rohe, Lafayette Park Detroit. Munich: Prestel ;, 2004. 3.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 4.  Waldheim, Charles. CASE--Hilberseimer/Mies van der Rohe, Lafayette Park Detroit. Munich: Prestel ;, 2004. 5.  Ibid 6.  Thomas, June Manning. Redevelopment and race: planning a finer city in postwar Detroit. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.“Detroit Public Schools 2009-2010.” web archive. http://web. school_boundaries_middle.pdf (accessed November 7, 2013). 7.  Pommer, Richard, David A. Spaeth, and Kevin Harrington. In the shadow of Mies: Ludwig Hilberseimer, architect, educator, and urban planner. Chicago, Ill.: Published by the Art Institute of Chicago in association with Rizzoli International Publications, 1988. 8.  Ibid 9.  The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 10.  Ibid 11.  Waldheim, Charles. CASE--Hilberseimer/Mies van der Rohe, Lafayette Park Detroit. Munich: Prestel ;, 2004. 12.  The Biggest Mies Collection -” The Wall Street Journal Breaking News, Business, Financial and Economic News, World News & Video - Wall Street Journal - SB119827404882045751.html (accessed September 14, 2013). 13.  “Detroit Urban Design: 005: Lafayette Park (An Example in Collaborative Design).” Detroit Urban Design: 005: Lafayette Park (An Example in Collaborative Design). http://detroiturbandesign.blogspot. ca/2011/01/005-lafayette-park-example-in.html (accessed November 8, 2013). 14.  “Google Maps.” Google Maps. maps?f=q&hl=en&q=Detroit,+MI&ie=UTF8&ll=42.339435,-83.0319&spn =0.008993,0.025578&t=k&om=1 (accessed November 8, 2013).

FIGURES 82.  “Zoning Map Index.” Zoning Map Index. aspx?tabid=3093 (accessed November 23, 2013). 83.  arquitectura, Wiki. lafayette. 2003. wikiarquitectura, Detroit. wikiarquitectura. Web. 8 Nov. 2013. Waldheim, Charles. Diagrams. 2004. CASE, Detroit. CASE: Hilberseimer/Mies van der Rohe Lafayette Park Detroit. By Charles Waldheim. Cambridge: Harvard Design School PRESTEL, 2004. 124-133. Print. 84.  Waldheim, Charles. Diagrams. 2004. CASE, Detroit. CASE: Hilberseimer/ Mies van der Rohe Lafayette Park Detroit. By Charles Waldheim. Cambridge: Harvard Design School PRESTEL, 2004. 124-133. Print. 85.  Waldheim, Charles. Diagrams. 2004. CASE, Detroit. CASE: Hilberseimer/ Mies van der Rohe Lafayette Park Detroit. By Charles Waldheim. Cambridge: Harvard Design School PRESTEL, 2004. 124-133. Print. 86.  Drawingdetroit. <i>Detroit Density</i>. N.d. drawingdetroit, Detroit. <i>drawingdetroit</i>. Web. 8 Nov. 2013. 87.  Griffioen, James. Photographs of Lafayette. N.d. Photographs of Lafayette, Detroit. james griffioen. Web. 8 Nov. 2013.

FRONT PHOTO 1.  Imperio. “Lafayette Park Housing” http://elimperiomoderno.blogspot. ca/2010/10/lafayette-park.html


CIAM 1928-1959

AMSTERDAM ORPHANAGE Aldo Van Eyck Completed in 1960 Amsterdam, Germany by Jennifer Grant

Figure 1

As a member of the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne and a well-known architect, Aldo Van Eyck held strong beliefs regarding the practice of architecture. During this time the “functional city” was the main interest for this particular group of architects, expanding the aspect of architecture into concerns of urban planning. As was a common view during the CIAM era, he criticized previous periods claiming that the architecture was void of a human element and lacked a sense of community1. In 1954 Van Eyck was commissioned by the city of Amsterdam to design a municipal orphanage. For the design of the Amsterdam Orphanage Van Eyck had a vision to create a modern home for orphans that held similar design principles to those of a city. Those principles included the importance of the four functions of a city in which CIAM was so fond of, in which the “dwelling” stood as the most important. During this time modern urban renewal was part of the overall plan to deal with issues of growth and welfare. This building was not only meant to be a typical space, but to be a place in which humans could live and feel comfortable based on the interpretation of ones own space within a modern city. This modern concrete orphanage located on the outskirts of the city contains many points of interaction within the plan with little to no hierarchal division between spaces, encouraging the development of relationships among the people. The construction of new towns in an effort to lower the denisty in rural areas sharpened the division between city and country, creating large suburban areas that could house lower and wider structured dwelling such as the Amsterdam Orphanage2. 159

CIAM 1928-1959


uilt on the outskirts of Amsterdam in 1960, the design for Aldo Van Eyck’s Amsterdam Orphanage targets the idea of creating both a home as well as a small city. He wrote, “a house must be like a small city if it’s to be a real house, a city like a large house if it’s to be a real city” in an essay published in 1962 entitled ‘Steps Toward a Configurative Discipline3. This building includes special programs including bedrooms, kitchen, gymnasium, library, administrative spaces and a laundry room. He broke down the hierarchy between spaces by proving ‘in between spaces’ of which multiple points of interaction were formed by hallways or “indoor streets” throughout the plan. The site itself is located on the edge of the 20th century plan for extending the city, situated on a relatively flat site without any neighboring buildings to draw attention from it. INTODUCTION TO THE BUILDING In terms of the planning process, while Aldo Van Eyck wanted to accommodate the residents with multiple functional spaces, the Institution Director was more interested in having the building designed horizontally, in order to reduce the height of the building and promote interaction among the

Figure 3: Aerial view of orphanage


children and the outside world. Having a low and wide set building not only spoke to its modern suburban context, but also enabled the liveable floor area to become extended, creating an inner city with maximum street frontage. This creates that connection for the residents to the ‘real world’. This speaks to Van Eycks persistent ‘in-between’ conept in which opposites meet and unite as one. He believed that there are no different things but rather two halves that make up one enity. To him, the children and the people in the outside world are what make the city work as a functional whole. In his book Aldo Van Eyck mention ed “if a building was one space that could be adaptable for everyone, it would in turn fit adaptable for everyone, it would in turn fit the needs of no on”.4 In light of his point of view, Van Eyck created this building to function specifically for the orphans, providing places for playing and living while having the circulation space joining them throughout the building. This home acts similar to the Functional City proposed by CIAm at the time, however Van Eyck applies its principles to be a small scale demonstration of CIAM town planning.

Figure 4: Program Spaces

Figure 2: Site Plan



Figure 5: Relationship to parks


Figure 6: Orphanage interaction with courtyards

SOCIAL, POLITICAL, CULTURAL AND PLANNING CONTEXT Aldo Van Eycks plan for the Amsterdam Orphanage speaks to the social, cultural and political events from its particular era. Peak housing productions were reached during this period after World War Two where many people were in need of better living conditions. The state and federal government provided funds to improve this major issue, developing suburban areas with street to provide access to them. During the 1950’s and 1960’s interaction among the people and the functionality of a building was of utmost concern, with urban planning becoming a major focus for architects. In the Amsterdam Masterplan proposed bye CIAM members, a program of “self-help” through urban renewal began, allowing the city to rebuild more suitable and valuable facilities. It was meant to represent a shift toward more process-oriented planning that relied on detailed statistical data to project areas for various uses without designing them in detail 5. This influenced Van

Eyck to design a home rather than just a typical building, which CIAM members such as him criticized, were previously built. This home promoted the interaction among the users as well as interaction with the outside world while partaining to those four main function set by CIAM. This plan was meant to guide future urban planning in USSR in zoning the city into four function; dwelling , work, recreation and circulation, with landscaped squares that contained community programs allowing light and air to pour into the district. Supporters of the parks movement believed that the opportunity for outdoor recreation would have a civilizing effect on the working classes, who were otherwise consigned to overcrowded housing and unhealthful workplaces 6. A long cultural shift at this time of hardship developped in which dwellings in Amsterdam were placed around these green public squares. Also, each home

could be in such close proximety to one another to enable increased social interaction at grade level, as seen in figure 5. In terms of public and private space, relationships were crucial in developing a well planned city. Van Eyck accommodates to this by having floor to ceiling glazed walls in which certain areas within the orphanage that are privately separated from the rest of the world become more public within the orphanage. The transparency of the walls that form a relationship between two spaces, as seen in image 6 of the main courtyard create a blurred division of interior and exterior. Furthermore, public building policys at the time state that the size of the building should be both minimal and practical with accessibility to private outdoor spaces. The modular designed Amsterdam Orphanage greatly abides by this, being a one-story building that contains multiple 161

CIAM 1928-1959

STREET Figure 7 : Effect on the street

Figure 8: Interior natural light

courtyards, placed specifically towards the center of the building, in which a private atmosphere is both created and easily assessable to its users. By placing the orphanage right up to the street with minimal front lot set backs, this building speaks to the modern CIAM values on transportation and the importance of the suburban dwelling. Having direct access to the site was an important factor for all buidlings at the time, especially one such as this that strives for an important relationship to the outside world.

As seen in emage number eight, the roof of the building contains multiple circular skylights, allowing light to penetrate the centre. These skylights enable light to flood the interior of the building, while highlighting certain areas of a room, depending on the time of day.7 The walls lining the hallways and looking into the courtyard as previously discussed have a dual purpose, to create a visual connection between spaces as well as to allow for providing natural light to most of the interior areas within the orphanage.


Nestled in Amsterdam suburbia, the building was restricted to a low height which also reinforced the modern idea at the time of creating a street that has maximum access to daylight as seen in image 7. It it were a taller buidling it would require designated open space below (similar to the office building districts of CIAM) to free up the ground to enable light to pour into the street. With this in mind, a low building, partaining to these principles, could be built up to the street without imposing on the adjacent resdents or the street with the additional interior benefits discussed previously.

The form of the building attains to the function of Van Eyck’s in-between spaces, the combination of contemporary and classical ideas of the time, the building program and its relationship to daylight. His aim to create architecture of “place” was in light of his shared values to the rest of the CIAM era. In this case, lot lines were unnecessary and the best position of the building was one where sunlight could reach all areas of a city.


The development of transportation technology was one of the most influencial factors of this era. This meant that traffic control as well as social facilities needed to be designed with care and function kept in mind. The organization of the orphanage was based on these planning and design principles, rationalizing the idea of the dwelling within the city and how people are intended to move through space. As seen in the following image, Van Eyck created circulation paths for the people to view their destination ahead as well as the destination they came from, all while standing in one place. This created a clearly defined combination of indoor pathways in which the circulation of people and their interaction with the surrounding space is easily understood. These pathways are the key elements to the connection between different age group dormitories, inviting the interaction between the residents of all ages. Meeting spots at certain courtyards along the way as seen in figure nine create a destination not only for meeting with others but for incorporating the playful aspect which is a key function for the design

of an orphanage especially one that is built during the CIAM era of social and physical functionality. From images nine and ten these comparisons begin to show the relationship between figure and master plan. CONCLUSION As a product of post war propaganda to dominate the then- neoclassism architecture, the CIAM movement brought forth a whole new purified type of architecture. This new form of architecture was successfully reflected in Aldo Van Eyck’s Amsterdam Orphanage by creating a home that revolves around CIAM planning principles with the building functioning as though it were a small city. Not just an ordinary city, but one that takes into account its

own purpose, with the function being the main important factor. With the changing social and political factors at the time, this building enabled interactive spaces both within and outside of the orphanage while still pertaining to the private and public atmosphere that an orphanage required. As children engage and connect to these places growth occurred within groups outside the family unit to enable mobility and form clusters from within the community 8.

functional city principles resulted in projects that truly highlighted communities. proposed and built projects such as the Amsterdam orphanage suggested a new way of planning that better connected the individual to their community through urban re-identification. It is here that urban growth found its true structure 9.

Through circulation, natural light and multiple common spaces the function of the Amsterdam Orphanage encouraged the well being of its occupants, which was the main goal of CIAM planning. Furthermore, CIAMs


Image 9: Circulation within orphanage

Image 10: City circulation






5. 6.



NOTES Nai Publishers, Rotterdam, “Municipal Orphanage (1955 1960).” accessed September 14, 2013. orphanage-space-analysis-mcfeeters.pdf. Fainstein, Susan, ed. Encyclopaedia britannica. 2013. s.v. “Urban Planning.” topic/619445/urban-planning/258085/Postwar-approaches (accessed November 5, 2013). Sophia, Balters. “Amsterdam Orphanage/ Aldo Van Eyck.” Arch Daily, August 26, 2011. http://www.archdaily. com/151566/ad-classics-amsterdam-orphanage-aldo-van-eyck/ (accessed September 16, 2013). Victoria, Lowell. “Amsterdam Municipal Orphanage.” Last modified 2012. Accessed October 8, 2013. http://myweb. Mumford, Eric. The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 19281960. Masachusettes Institute of Technology, 2000. Fainstein, Susan, ed. Encyclopaedia britannica. 2013. s.v. “Urban Planning.” topic/619445/urban-planning/258085/Postwar-approaches (accessed November 5, 2013). Victoria, Lowell. “Amsterdam Municipal Orphanage.” Last modified 2012. Accessed October 8, 2013. http://myweb. Clearly, . Rhetoric Platform, “The Rebirth & Redefinition of the Master Plan Post-WWII.” Last modified march 11, 2013. Accessed November 3, 2013. http://rhetoricplatform. ADDITIONAL REASEARCH Francis, Strauven . Aldo Van Eyck. NAi Publishers, 1997. Ibaligns, Hans. “Aldo Van Eyck: The Architectural Review.” Last modified january 2013. Accessed September 23, 2013. docview/1271870788/fulltextPDF?accountid=13631. Peter, Jones. Modern architecture through case studies. Oxford: Architectural Press. Pilling, Mathew. “Architecture and Urbanism.” Last modified March 31, 2011. Accessed October 14, 2013. FIGURES 1-3. “Amsterdam Orphanage/ Aldo Van Eyck.” Last modified 2012. Accessed October 13, 2013. edu/pdfs/orfanato.pdf. 4-10. Diagrams produced by Jennifer Grant




A steady shift in ideals and paradigm ensued in the thirty years following 1928’s International Congresses of Modern Architecture. Subsequent to the final CIAM meeting in Otterloo in 1959, architecture saw a transition between the disciplines of design and planning. New ideals reflected different methodologies and architectural configurations, further liberating the field of urban design, planning, and CIAM urbanism. With the new architectural and planning model, cities and communities, and their respective planners and architects pushed the contemporary, modern ideals of “The Functional City”, as outlined in the Athens Charter. Some were successful models of urban renewal whereas others became infamous disasters in planning. CIAM’s policies based on destruction and recreation were for the most part mitigated, and urban renewal matured into a practice based upon renovation and investment. This period witnessed the sequential evolution and logic of new ideas and movements with respect to the different aspects of architecture and urbanism. Prior to this era, construction was increasingly modernist, but As the 1950s drew to a close, the rigid style of modernism began to fade, going beyond building aesthetics and becoming more concerned with awareness ofsocial, political, and economical issues; establishing a more humanistic architecture. The post-CIAM era displays examples of architecture which reflects CIAM principles as interpreted by and implemented in light of a post rationalist form. The following are essays reviewing how architects and planners looked to CIAM principles and revaluated them through design, treating the edifice as a reconsideration of the Functional City.



POST-CIAM 1960-1980

MARINA CITY COMPLEX Bertrand Goldberg 1959-1964 Chicago, Illinois by David Kotewicz

Marina City Complex, designed by Bertrand Goldberg in 1959, had reinforced the image of Chicago with its sculptural façade and the numerous design and construction innovations. Commissioned by the Building Service Employees International Union, the cylindrical twin towers are located on the edge of the Chicago River in the heart of the city. A complex idea that Bertrand Goldberg perceived within his mixed-use complex was the idea of “A city within a city”. Twenty floors of parking and forty floors of apartments, this construction contains everything a person may need, at the foot of their doorstep. These two reinforced concrete towers are situated on a city of its own. Intended to remove “suburban flight” and entice the people to relocate into the city, removing the commute, and providing a more affordable and efficient style of living. Removing the idea of a street, Marina City Complex creates a European styled plaza with five interrelated building’s comprising of one city block. Upon completion in 1964, Marina City followed many ideas put forth by the multiple meeting of the Congres International d’Architecture Moderne. Relating directly to the CIAM principle of change within the city and designing for the intent of the future, Marina City designed to its furthurmost knowledge of future development and possible implications. With implications of its own, Bertrand reclassified the zoning for the site to “mixed-use development” as well as made Federal mortgage available to the public for this residential complex. Marina City, had instantaneous success for being the “iconic” original mixed-use building. This created a unique environment for the people by carefully planning each detail to the absolute. 169

POST-CIAM 1960-1979


he Marina City Complex, designed by Bertrand Goldberg, was a POST-CIAM design, which directly relates to the multiple principles discussed within the several meetings of the Congres International d’Architecture Moderne. This 36 million dollar living centre is located on the North bank of the Chicago River, becoming the first mixeduse development in Chicago, Illinois. During the 1950’s Chicago was losing a substantial amount of population to citizens leaving the city. “Suburban Flight”, discarded the downtown core and left Chicago declining. The expense of living within the city was too great, leaving poeple to find cheaper living outside the city. Marina City was part of an effort to re-establish Chicago’s downtown core as a more attractable and affordable place to live, to ensure the future of the downtown.1 Bertrand Goldberg’s unique idea of, “living above the store”, is intended to create an affordable urban lifestyle the heart of the city. CONTEXT/PROGRAM/TRANSIT PLAN Removing the idea of a street, the Marina City Complex creates a European styled plaza. The plaza was designed to recognize the disappearance of the







Figure 1 Programatic Section

Figure 2 Programatic Site Plan 2

standard corridor street. Marina City controlled the large array of programming and high density of people in the area with a plan of uncontrolled circulation, where automobiles and pedestrians can move freely.3 Marina City is situated on a 3-acre lot, on the North bank of the Chicago river.4 Being situated alongside the river, the marina stores up to 700 boats, and was the first building to visualize/utilize the “dirty/ polluted” water of the Chicago River. Marina City is a complex of 5 structures in which; an office building consisting of 180,000 square feet, offering work and living coinciding together, and the skating rink (which is no longer apart of the site) was one of the more significant aspects the public admired within this space.5 The Chicago transit plan

drastically changed between the 1950’s and 1970’s. This plan greatly affected the design of Marina City in the way it was accessed. Several transit lines were in the process of being closed and expressway’s announced, Chicago was creating a more efficient way too, from, and through the city. This slowly came to a decline in the 1970’s, the Chicago transit was forced to make cutbacks and plans were cancelled for crosstown expressways. This decreasing era, directed public concern towards an energy and environmental efficiency. The Marina City Complex took the fluxuating transit developments into account, by creating onsite parking and taking a large interest into a more sustainable design.6 “Living above the store”, reduces the need/implications of

Figure 3 Transit Plans: 1950,1960,1970


transportation with the idea of travelling just downstairs and having everything a person may need within this three-acre complex.7 POLITICAL OBSTACLES For the proposal to be financially viable for The Marina City Complex, two significant obstacles needed to be overcome; The Chicago zoning code needed to permit “mixed-use development”, and the federal mortgage insurance needed to be available to the public for the downtown apartments. The Chicago zoning at this time, was based on individual lots and also a single-use category. To find a solution, Bertrand and Swibel worked with Ira Bach of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, in an attempt to reclassify the site and surrounding land as a mixed-use district. This act of Goldberg cleverly brought this project to code without having to change the zoning, and the project became a planned urban development. The second significant issue took a more substantial amount of time, wanting to reclassify married couples without children and single individuals as a family so more would be eligible for a federal housing mortgage. This would create living in Marina City affordable and possible for the public in this declining city. Goldberg travelled multiple times to Washington, DC to present a conservative proposal of two square residential towers. Although the design was cylindrical, Bertrand felt the more familiar square and rectangle to the public would ease this policy shift, and once he returned to Chicago, the design was returned to its prior cylindrical state.8 The city of Chicago was in a state of urban renewal. Between the 1950’s to 1970’s, the city was demolishing many rundown buildings in attempt to rebuild the city with new transportation hubs

and modern housing developments.9 In an attempt to create no cultural differences within Marina City, Bertrand attempted to design for no conflict, creating its own cultural community. Marina City was its own city within itself, and containing different tenants that were all treated the same and had equal access to all the different programming available.10 RELATIONSHIP TO CIAM Marina City, although being built in the POST-CIAM era, the planning and design still reflect many views of the Congres International d’Architecture Moderne. The CIAM principle of change, and the development of cities, is within relation to the prosperity or decline of that city. Marina City was designed to help influence the citizens of Chicago to live within the downtown district and to show the public, that although moving to the suburbs were affordable, it was still cost efficient to live within the city.11 Throughout the past 50 years, Marina City has been continually affected by the prosperity and “hardtimes” of Chicago. Directly after being built, Marina City took a financial hit while the country was in economic trouble. Marina City had an ample amount of planning and design which revolved around the city in an attempt to control the changing growth.12 CIAM

Figure 4 Prior Development

clearly states that the city is part of a movement, being subject to change and being unable to control the difference, one can only plan with the furthermost knowledge but may always be subject to change, and to confront several issues throughout the development of the city. Marina City was built and awarded for being the tallest concrete structure at that time. Designing two residential towers on one site, attempting to create a higher density. CIAM principles involving, “high buildings”, states that tall buildings adjacent from one another need to be designed at great distances apart, in attempt to improve the area or may in fact, worsen it. Marina City’s design and plan originally had 3 square shaped towers within its three-acre site. Having multiple schemes of the design, Goldberg looked at every possible outcome revolving the density and extension of the housing. Removing one tower out of the three and actually raising the two remaining another 20 stories. The two cylindrical towers are placed beside each other on top of a commercial plaza. Although having a very large density, Bertrand planned for the ground floor of the plaza to be very open and spacious so that the overwhelming size of the towers, would not immediately affect or pertrude the area around this complex.13

Figure 5 Present Development


POST-CIAM 1960-1979

TRAVELLING DISTANCE Reducing the distance between living and work was a significant aspect to Bertrand’s design. Following the idea of CIAM, the time travelled between the “office” to home was considered a waste of leisure activity. Goldberg advances the idea of “living above the store”, which was from a larger idea of living closer to work. Recreational activities, groceries, banking, and offices, these were just a few of the mass programming within the planning and design of this complex. Quite literally, work begins when you steps outside your home. The Marina City Complex removes the need for transportation.14 Transit at the time was a significant focus within city planning due to the large traffic congestion of automobiles, especially during “rush hours”.15 CIAM stated the operation costs of the public transit were not being covered by the public; So Bertrand supported the use of automobiles while attempting to remove excess need for them as well. Creating a twenty level parking garage within each of his residential towers. Reducing the issue of automobile overcrowding in the heart of the city. Also Bertrand uses the river as another mean of transportation, people were able to dock their boat within the marina, giving another access point in the time of this congested city.16 CONCLUSION The Marina City Complex, conceived briefly after the CIAM movement still offered upon many of the same principles and concerns. The urban planning gone into the design of this tower was extensive. With many different schemes, the design had been changed to accommodate the cities problems and concerns multiple times in order to re-establish Chicago’s downtown core. 172

With the effort of many, this project faced hardship in the sense of zoning, and city restrictions. Creating a space for the people of Chicago, this urban mixed complex was unparalleled. After understanding the building more clearly, I believe the Marina City Complex was appropriate at the time of construction. It adhered to many of the cities plans and concerns for the future regarding transportation, “suburban flight”, and the cities most significant problem with congestion. Marina City designed for the needs of the city and the people within, while creating an iconic structure revolutionizing the way we design buildings, with its large amount of accomplishments and feats. Marina City, although having some financial hiccups and some negative publicity, was successful in the design using multiple principles from CIAM and precedents from Le Corbusier. Marina City is creating a “functional city” of it own while not ignoring or impeding the city of Chicago.

Photo 2 Marina City Complex view from South bank.

NOTES 1.  2.

3.  4.

5.  6.

7.  8.  9.  10.  11.  12.  13.  14.

15.  16.

Marjanovic, Igor, and Katerina Ruedi. Marina City:Bertrand Goldberg’s urban vision. 54-55. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2010. Jameson, David. “Marina City, Chicago – Bertrand Goldberg.” ArchiTech Gallery of Architectural Art – design drawings- photography- prints. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Sept. 2013 bodies_of_work/goldberg_marina_city.html Marjanovic, Igor. Marina City:Bertrand Goldberg’s urban vision. 54-55. Rogers, Christy . “Marina City by Bertrand Goldberg Associates.” galinsky. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Sept. 2013. Marjanovic, Igor. Marina City:Bertrand Goldberg’s urban vision. 54-55. McClendon, Dennis. “Chicago Growth 1850-1990.” UIC. http://tigger. (accessed October 24, 2013). Jameson, David. “Marina City, Chicago – Bertrand Goldberg.” Marjanovic, Igor. Marina City:Bertrand Goldberg’s urban vision. 97-99. Rogers, Christy . “Marina City by Bertrand Goldberg Associates.” Jameson, David. “Marina City, Chicago – Bertrand Goldberg.” The Athens charter. 55. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. Marjanovic, Igor. Marina City:Bertrand Goldberg’s urban vision. 100-104. The Athens charter. 64. “Marina City - Bertrand Goldberg - Great Buildings Architecture.” Architecture Design Architectural Images Drawings History and More - ArchitectureWeek Great Buildings. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://>. Bor, Walter G.. The making of cities. 20-32. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1972. Print. The Athens charter. 89.

PHOTOS 1.  Nordstrom, Michael. “Home Page.” michaelnordstrom. (accessed October 25, 2013). 2.  “LUXESSED: Memories of... Chicago.” LUXESSED: Memories of... Chicago. (accessed October 25, 2013).

FIGURES 1.  Jameson, David. “Marina City, Chicago – Bertrand Goldberg.” ArchiTech Gallery of Architectural Art – design drawings- photography- prints. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Sept. 2013 bodies_of_work/goldberg_marina_city.html 2.  Jameson, David. “Marina City, Chicago – Bertrand Goldberg.” ArchiTech Gallery of Architectural Art – design drawings- photography- prints. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Sept. 2013 bodies_of_work/goldberg_marina_city.html 3.  McClendon, Dennis. “Chicago Growth 1850-1990.” UIC. http://tigger. (accessed October 24, 2013).



POST-CIAM 1960-1980

FEDERAL CENTER Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 1959-1974 Chicago by Daniel Rosati

The Federal Center of Chicago, designed and constructed from 1959 to 1974, is a realization of paradigmatic urban space within a North American city; a revolutionary idea in shaping a new urban landscape. Project architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, reveals the synthesis of an architectural model conceptualized ten years earlier. The Federal Center is a maturation of spatial principles, in relation to the multibuilding urban complex, investigated in earlier projects at 860-880 Lake Shore Drive and the Seagram Building. Analysis of physical, cultural, social and political contexts reveal a dynamic urban condition requiring a new organizational form; unification of the high-rise block and public plaza. The Miesian complex establishes generous public space within a congested situational condition, while realizing a spatial permeability at the human scale; a subtle integration with the existing urban fabric. Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (La Sarraz Declaration, 1928) influence a rational organization of tower, pavilion and plaza to a degree of planning standardization intended for repetition within urban contexts. A simplification of building tectonics, materiality and construction methods follow tenements outlined by CIAM, promoting economic efficiency; an urban architecture infused with the general economic system. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Federal Center rejects representational notions of American government, revealing an objective approach to an architectural model for the North American city.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


he Federal Center of Chicago, initiated in 1959, is a response to federal development programs implemented in the 1950’s throughout the United States. A demand for appropriate spatial accommodation for administrative and judiciary centres in several American cities motioned the General Services Administration of the United States Federal Government to engage the architectural services of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in association with Schmidt, Garden & Erikson; C.F. Murphy Associates and A. Epstein & Sons, Inc. Project requirements specified the development of federal government offices and courts to be sited on a block and a half of Chicago’s ‘Loop’ business district.1 Primary concerns of urban congestion established a need for adequate public space with regard to the project scope, achieving a subtle integration of the multi-building urban complex with the existing city fabric.2 Modern design and urban planning

Figure 1 Site Plan


tenements established by Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (La Sarraz Declaration, 1928) are infused into the Miesian concepts of objective design promoting economic efficiency.3 As in previous undertakings, Mies’s architectural response focuses upon technological, sociological and economic forces driven by modern tools and construction techniques.4 Universality and standardization are guiding principles in the development of the Federal Center, rejecting representational overtones of American government. TOWER, PAVILION & PLAZA Engaging along South Dearborn Street, between West Adams Street and West Jackson Boulevard, the Federal Center is comprised of three buildings varying in height, arranged so as to form two interlinked public plazas. Located east of Dearborn, the Everett McKinley Dirksen Building

(United States Courthouse) rises 383 feet, occupying nearly the entire length of the block at 368 feet wide. It’s highrise counterpart, the John C. Klucynski Building (Administrative Office), is sited on a full block to the west, 545 feet in height. The public plaza to the northwest contains the one-story United States Post Office Building, a 197-square-foot freestanding pavilion.5 The Miesian complex reveals an organizational form conducive to establishing clear spatial relationships between tower, pavilion and plaza. Functionless space at grade induce a visual and spatial permeability, developing a free flowing continuity through either high-rise structure and across South Dearborn Street. Glazing recessed from perimeter columns affords a level of protection from the elements, while easing pedestrian traffic at building access points. The United States Post Office Building establishes an appropriate scale in relation to the individual, while intimately referencing the public plaza as an extension of interior spatial conditions.6 The Federal Center reveals an approach to urban design focussed upon engaging the individual through an ensemble of intrinsically related parts. A consistency of spatial treatment at the scale of the individual, imposes a development of uninterrupted access, regardless of scale or programmatic function; opening space to the urban context. THE UNIVERSAL Volumetric and spatial relationships established among structures comprising the Federal Center reveal a developed organizational form which departs from traditional methods of urban design. The initially fixed structural geometry and position of the Everett McKinley Dirksen Building engages a series of iterative schemes investigating

Figure 2 Developmental Sketches

an appropriate arrangement for the remainder of the Miesian complex.7 An initial organizational approach, Scheme A, is comprised of a single 56-story structure occupying the half-block east of Dearborn. Planned to accommodate programs of Administrative Office and United States Courthouse, the arrangement is completed by a onestory pavilion sited on the western full block. Scheme B provides a base for the realized development, consisting of the United States Courthouse and Administrative Office located on either side of South Dearborn Street, while the freestanding pavilion shares the western portion of the site. The arrangement proposes high-rise structures of identical height, Mies’s initial preference in providing a “more quiet” sense of place. Scheme C proposes three structures of the same height, two of which are positioned symmetrically to flank the United States Post Office Building at either side, formally communicating as twin high-rise buildings. Respectively, the United States Courthouse and Administrative Office remains fixed, east of Dearborn. A variation of Scheme B defines the realized organizational form for development of the Federal Center, engaging a universal, rather than specific solution. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe asserts a common architectural

Figure 3 Spatial Relationships; Public Plaza

language while disregarding “individual ideas”.8 The schemes present traditional approaches for organizing urban form, a practice imposing symmetry and identical sizing among related elements. Conversely, Mies presents asymmetrical arrangement and formal variation, as evident in project realization.9 Essentially, the selected scheme is open-ended and therefore, universal in principle; a unique spatial condition materializes through built form. TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS Developed on 4.6 acres of government land, the Federal Center provides a gross floor area of 2 439 000 square feet, while occupying 54% of its urban site. Within the district of interest, the maximum permitted floor area is determined on the basis of a 16:1 floor area ratio. Despite exemptions

from local zoning ordinances, the development remains well below maximum permissions, resulting in a density of 3140 individuals per acre on a basis of 200 square feet per person.10 Programmatic function is concentrated within 30 and 42 floors of each highrise structure, easing user and built density at grade.11 Allocating $100 000 000 US toward the development, Federal Congress envisaged a twostage process, requiring the existing United States Courthouse remain in operation on the western portion of the site until relocation. Provided, program requirements stipulate the proposed structure be sited east of Dearborn, dictating a structural organization of 13 - 28 foot bays stretching across the narrow half-block portion of the site. The result is a ground floor plan placed directly on the property line, measuring 116 feet in width by 368 feet in length, further determining the number of floors organized vertically.12 The Everett McKinley Dirksen Building is comprised of 21 courtrooms, featuring two-story-high spaces with associated activities and general-purpose office space. Courthouse functions are housed within the buildings twelve upper floors, accommodating judges’ chambers along the eastern structural bay and courtroom activities along the 177

POST-CIAM 1960-1979

Figure 4 Organizational Schemes: Scheme A, Scheme B, Scheme C

west. At grade, a 26 foot ground floor is devoted to entrance functions, public seating, a government information and exhibition space.13 SKIN & BONES Rising amidst Chicago’s ‘Loop’ business district, the Federal Center exudes an aesthetic sobriety that may be referred as harsh. A barebones architecture characterizes the skeletal composition of tower, pavilion and plaza. Matte black rolled steel and tinted glazing induce a uncompromising material palette, contributing to a monumental and resolute presence appropriate with regard to programmatic function. For Mies, implementing steel as a structural and aesthetic building component, is an architectural mandate in-tune with technological and economic forces of a modern age. The idea that architecture be intrinsically linked with the general economic system establishes a dialogue and infusion of tenements between Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne and Miesian conceptions of built space.14 Technological priority governs what Mies claims to be the beginning of an epoch, guided by a new spirit and driven by technological, sociological and economic implications manifest in new tools and new materials.15 The result affords efficient methods of production which arise from a rationalization and standardization of independent elements combined to engage an integrated whole with a universal society. La Sarraz Declaration 178

of 1928, describes a relationship between the conception of a modern architecture and realization through industrial processes of minimum input; a universal adoption of rationalized production.16 REPETITION & STANDARDIZATION The Federal Center reveals a maturation of spatial principles associated with the multi-building urban complex, comprised of tower, pavilion and plaza. The Miesian organizational form engages both user and urban context at a variety of scales, distinguishing a consistency in spatial principles among structures. Earlier investigations of a similar form at 860-880 Lake Shore Drive and the Seagram Building reveal an objective approach to architectural and urban design, similarly influenced by tenements guiding material selection and tectonics. The architecture is divorced from representational notions supported by program, a principle infused throughout the building: tectonics and materiality, structural

Figure 5 Height/Massing Relationships: Scheme A, Scheme B, Scheme C

organization, spatial arrangement and urban form are independent of program its representations of American government. Specificity of function is distinguishable only in plan.17 Mies develops an architectural language removed from traditional methods and toward universality. As such, the Federal Center presents a synthesis of CIAM tenements implied through spatial characteristics. A model for urban intervention arises, one which supports a rational, standard and economic viewpoint for repeated application.18 CONCLUSION Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Federal Center of Chicago is an embodiment of an architectural endeavour toward the qualitative notions of universal space. Miesian spatial concepts infuse with CIAM tenements supporting modern design and urban planning methodologies. The Federal Center demonstrates a focus toward political, social and economic forces of relevance, generating an architectural response in relation to demands of the 20th century multi-building urban complex; a rationally conceived organizational model intended for repetition within the North American city. In recognition of such principles, the Federal Center provides open and generous public space “flowing

in, out, around and beyond” the immediate context.19 This approach to inner-city space had yet to be considered as a viable option with regard to urban design, “creating an urban symbol by opening out space” to the surrounding context.20 Tower and pavilion correspond to plaza as a continuous spatial extension, relating on a larger scale, to the existing city fabric. In essence, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Federal Center of Chicago extends beyond a referential viewpoint focussed upon urban planning methodology, but exemplifies a holistically conceived and executed project relative to Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne, evident through urban design strategies, tectonics and materiality, methods of construction and conceptions of universality; an intrinsic link to the physical, cultural, social and political context.


NOTES 4.  Carter, Peter. Mies van der Rohe at Work. London: Phaidon, 1999. 5.  Blaser, Werner. Mies van der Rohe, Continuing the Chicago School of Architecture. Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag, 1981. 6.  Frampton, Kenneth. Modern Architecture: A Critical History. London: Thames and Hudson, 2007. 7.  Blaser, Werner. Mies van der Rohe: Federal Center, Chicago. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2004. 8.  Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, Phyllis Lambert, and Werner Oechslin. Mies in America. Montréal: Canadian Centre for Architecture, 2001. 9.  Carter, Peter. Mies van der Rohe at Work. London: Phaidon, 1999. 10.  Blaser, Werner. Mies van der Rohe: Federal Center, Chicago. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2004. 11.  Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, Phyllis Lambert, and Werner Oechslin. Mies in America. Montréal: Canadian Centre for Architecture, 2001. 12.  Blaser, Werner. Mies van der Rohe: Federal Center, Chicago. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2004. 13.  Carter, Peter. Mies van der Rohe at Work. London: Phaidon, 1999. 14.  Blaser, Werner. Mies van der Rohe, Continuing the Chicago School of Architecture. Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag, 1981. 15.  Blaser, Werner. Mies van der Rohe: Federal Center, Chicago. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2004. 16.  Carter, Peter. Mies van der Rohe at Work. London: Phaidon, 1999. 17.  Frampton, Kenneth. Modern Architecture: A Critical History. London: Thames and Hudson, 2007. 18.  Blaser, Werner. Mies van der Rohe: Federal Center, Chicago. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2004. 19.  Frampton, Kenneth. Modern Architecture: A Critical History. London: Thames and Hudson, 2007. 20.  Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, Phyllis Lambert, and Werner Oechslin. Mies in America. Montréal: Canadian Centre for Architecture, 2001. 21.  Frampton, Kenneth. Modern Architecture: A Critical History. London: Thames and Hudson, 2007. 22.  Blaser, Werner. Mies van der Rohe: Federal Center, Chicago, 17. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2004. 23.  Blaser, Werner. Mies van der Rohe: Federal Center, Chicago, 29. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2004.

FIGURES 88.  Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, Phyllis Lambert, and Werner Oechslin. Mies in America. Montréal: Canadian Centre for Architecture, 2001. 89.  Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, Phyllis Lambert, and Werner Oechslin. Mies in America. Montréal: Canadian Centre for Architecture, 2001.

PHOTOS 1.  Ludwig, Samuel. Federal Center (Chicago) no. 08. Chicago, Illinois, 2010. Photograph.


POST-CIAM 1960-1980

THE WORLD TRADE CENTER Minoru Yamasaki 1962-1981 New York City by Brandon Bortoluzzi

The World Trade Center designed by Minoru Yamasaki between 1964 and 1981 is an example of complex and urban architecture and planning. Through an analysis of the planning and design process, as well as the actual design and construction itself, the building reveals the work to be multifaceted in the way that it operates. An idea which initiated in 1946, but was put on hold and redesigned multiple times, was finally carried out as part of an urban renewal project for New York’s Lower Manhattan area. The city of New York was the perfect location for such an international trade hub as it has operated as the United States’ economic activity hub for most of recent history. The idea of a complex designed independently and not as part of a whole scheme of revitalization seems contradictory to the CIAM ideals which were taking hold in Europe at the time but had not yet reached America with much force. There were many political issues with the project including the State of New Jersey’s original refusal to allow the Port Authority to continue the development, as well as legal and political issues imposed by the city and local businesses who lost property. When all aspects of legality were handled the focus was able to shift to the actual built project, which combined a variety of programs and spaces and had seamless connection to transportation and city infrastructure, displaying that perhaps the scheme was not completely anti-CIAM. The final design, an international hub and icon of the city, had a monumentality that showed a departure from Yamasaki’s earlier implementation of CIAM ideas in the Pruitt Igoe project .


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


he cities we live in are not created by the thoughts of one man, no building is erected through a single effort. The effects of politics, and legal issues on the fruition of our ideas are crucial along with the cultural implications of the time. In the field of architecture, and to an extent urban planning, the CIAM movement had an effect that continued into certain areas long after its conclusion. In some cases design continued along with these ideals while others appeared to strictly oppose. The World Trade Center design by Minoru Yamasaki was by no means immune to the contextual issues previously outlined. Designed in the Post-CIAM era in New York City the design was the end result of politically loaded discussions on a revitalization of the Lower Manhattan area.1 Further political and legal actions were the result of neighbouring businesses and residents of the area. In terms of formal planning the outstanding height of the two main towers required intensive

looks into the zoning and restrictions of the site. Although designed in the Post CIAM era by an architect previously known for his utilisation of Corbusian ideals it is difficult to pin point whether or not CIAM had a conscious effect on the design. In some areas the relations are striking while others provide a very stark contrast. CONTEXT AND PROGRAM Designed for the Financial District of New York City, and more specifically its revitalization, the World Trade Center was located amidst a variety of buildings of different size, shape and to some extent purpose. With the faultering state of this financial-office region much of the surrounding area was in a state of transition with some office towers up to 60 stories, such as the Chase Morgan Bank headquarters, and some low rise retail “slums”, as David The Rockefeller considered them.2 blocks which made up the final site were particularly covered with these

1750 1500 1250 1000 750 500 250

Figure 1 Relative Building Heights Depicted is the main towers of the World Trade Center at the Time of its completion next to some of New York’s other skyscrapers of the time. In the red box the Empire State Building and Chrysler building are the closest in height but are located elsewhere in the city whereas One Chase Manhattan and the Woolworth Building are the largest within the context of the financial district


sparse retail tenants. Before the construction of the World Trade Center there was no particular public transit route to give immediate connection to the area. The major arteries servicing the area for vehicular traffic both before and after the construction were the North, South Running West St. and Church St. Most recognizably the site is one block west of Broadway. With the construction completion, and the idea of a revitalized financial area around the complex, public subway rail transit was introduced to connect to commuters in the suburbs and reduce congestion from vehicular traffic. Programmatically Yamasaki was given the most simple yet complex brief possible. He was told simply to build leasable office space but under the stipulation that it must be 10,000,000 sq ft worth. This program came to dictate the height which struck fear into the hearts of citizens who believed such tall buildings would not be plausible or safe.3 The program of offices, broken down into seven towers with two main landmark skyscrapers and connected with a plaza was simple yet effective work by Yamasaki to meet the Port Authority’s requirements. POLITICS The idea to create a center for world trade was politically laden from the time it was first proposed by the World Trade Commission in 1946, a proposal eventually dropped due to the prohibitive amount of financial backing from tenants it would have required. 4 The political discussion was reignited when the prospect of the collapse of this important financial zone of New York was imminent. As a possible revitalization project the Downtown-















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Lower Manhattan Association, composed of major executives from the area was formed and eventually partnered with the New York Port Authority.5 Due to the Port Authority’s dual association with New York and New Jersey the earliest political dispute was the use of the public funding for a project mainly benefitting New York. Eventually after certain compromises were made and the project location was changed from the East to West side of the island both parties were able to pass legislature allowing the development.6 The politics were just beginning at this point however as the new site created much issue with local businesses. In the 13 block area where the proposed development would occur 286 business’ existed ranging from hardware to clothing and predominantly electronics and food. These business owners, through the Downtown West Businessmen’s Association, attempted to stop the development through legal action claiming that the private nature of



Figure 2 Progressive Figure Ground Diagram (From Left to Right) The Lower East Side pre-World Trade Center displaying the existing Radio Row Business Zone, The site with the original World Trade Center Complex, The site as planned for the New World Trade Center Complex and Ground Zero Memorial.

the buildings future tenants disallowed the defence’s use of eminent domain. Although the DWBA was originally successful in the Appelate court the decision was ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court and was dismissed at the Federal level, and so the businesses relocated.8


200 m 400 ft

zones constituting 10 and 15 times coverage.11 It was this fact along with a clause allowing an extra 6 square feet for every square foot of plaza that allowed the otherwise prohibitive height and floor areas of the building.12The BUILT AREA

Building WTC 1 WTC 2 WTC 3 WTC 4 WTC 5 WTC 6

ZONING AND INFRASTRUCTURE Political issues aside the project required a certain depth of thought in terms of its relation to planning concepts as a whole. As far as programmatic zoning there were no real issues in this regard. As part of the financial district all of the properties which composed the final site fell under the commercial classification.9 Where close attention to detail was required was in regards to the building heights. From the 1961 Zoning Resolution, buildings were restricted based on site coverage and gfa and had no explicit height component.10 The WTC site fell into

100 m 200 ft


Area (sq ft) 4300000 4300000 500000 500000 500000 500000 10600000

BUILDABLE Factor Site Plaza

Area (sq ft) Multiplier Allowable Built Area (sq ft) 696960 15 10454400 217800 6 1306800



Figure 3 Built Area Compared to Allowed These charts show the total built areas of the WTC complex and compare them to the allowable built areas within New York Zoning at the time, showing that no additional approvals were required. (Note that 7WTC is excluded as it was a later addition to the complex)


POST-CIAM 1960-1979




30 West Broadway BARCLAY ST.

U.S. Post Office












1 Liberty Plaza


. N ST



PATH Rail Line

Bankers Trust

. N ST

200 ft


















130 Cedar St.

100 m 0

Figure 4 Major Transportation Access









This image highlights the major means of circulation to the site from highways to public transit routes.


. T ST







Many of the World Trade Center’s ideals and driving forces were inherently CIAM related. The most obvious of these principles is the idea of a center for trade and business. The Charter of Athens highlighst the separation of housing, working and leisure through points such as “Plans will determine the structure of each of the sectors allocated to the four key functions and they will aslo determine their respective locations within the whole”.15 Due to








Highway North/South Artery


22 Cortlandt St.


The architect chosen for the World Trade Center complex was the relatively unknown Minoru Yamasaki. Although in a project with so much history and complexity it is impossible to imagine every aspect with regards to planning as the responsibility of the architect, there are always some aspects that are inherently theirs. When looking at Yamasaki it is crucial to note that he publicly acknowledged the influence of Mies and Corbusier in his work and often noted his attempts to unify the two. This merger can be seen in projects such as the infamous Pruitt Igoe.14 With Corbusier at the heart of CIAM it is impossible to say that there is no intent in Yamasaki’s work to meet with these ideals.



World Trade Center Plaza









World Trade Site


. N ST






45 Park Place




ST .





planning of such a building drawing people from a distance also requires significant infrastructural interventions. Luckily the addition of a new station for the Hudson-Manhattan PATH rail and a connection to New Jersey had been mandatory aspects of the State of New Jersey’s compromise and thus access was made simple. 13

its concept as a center for trade and business amongst a district of similar program the World Trade Center could not be more aligned with this ideal. The creation of a subway connection to the suburban Newark, New Jersey seems to be an interpretation of CIAMs views on transportation. “zoning reforms bringing the key functions of the city into harmony will create natural links between them, in support of which a rational network of major traffic arteries will be planned.”16 speaks to these connections and how this will harmonize the otherwise separated districts. While this may have been forced upon the Port Authority by New Jersey it did work out for the good of the project. CIAM CONTRADICTIONS MONUMENTALITY It is important to note however that not all aspects of the project directly found connection with CIAM. The monumentality of the project

Figure 5 Major Transportation Access This render of the complex highlights its break from CIAM through monumentality as well as its relation through high density offices with open plaza levels and circulating air space around each. The highlight of blue on 7 WTC displays that parts of the complex were designed to meet contextual heights of its surroundings.

for example starts to separate itself from the movement. Although this may surprise considering Yamasaki’s attitudes towards Le Corbusier it is quite possible to view this as a simple oversight. The project itself was inherently of a monumental concept and so it was natural for it to push the boundaries of what had been previously done. It was probably more the Port Authorities demand for 10,000,000 sq ft. of office space that forced this, than Yamasaki’s design intent, which still reflected Corbusier’s high density office towers with air space between. CONCLUSION The World Trade Center was a building that matched complexity with simplicity. Laden with political and legal issues as well as a prohibitively large program the complex was in no way a simple task. The use of simplicity in the design by Yamasaki was the only way to let the design take form as much more would have just meant further opposition. On the level of planning the financial district was reborn and so it would be simple to consider the project a success on its base level. Looking further into its individualized planning processes however it is even more remarkable to note the iconic image that the center became, an idea that seems a perfect marriage given its role as an office not only for New York but for the world. The CIAM principles that were applied were able to make this project succeed on the level of the city but the monumentality which set it apart was able to give it international success.


NOTES 1.  Cohen, Roger. “Casting Giant Shadows: The Politics of Building the World Trade Center.” Portfolio: A Quarterly Review of Transportation and Trade 3, no. 4 (1990): unknown. 2.  Gillespie, Angus K.. Twin towers the life of New York City’s World Trade Center. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1999. 3.  Flowers, Benjamin Sitton. Skyscraper: the politics and power of building New York City in the twentieth century. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009. 4.  Cohen, Casting Giant Shadows. 5.  Ruchelman, Leonard I.. The World Trade Center: politics and policies of skyscraper development. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1977. 19-20. 6.  Ruchelman, The World Trade Center, 22-24. 7.  Ruchelman, The World Trade Center, 26. 8.  Ruchelman, The World Trade Center, 27-28. 9.  Department of City Planning. Zoning Maps & Resolution. New York: City Planning Commission, 1961. Map 12b. 10.  Department of City Planning. Zoning Maps & Resolution. New York: City Planning Commission, 1961. 11.  Department of City Planning. Zoning Maps & Resolution, 126 12.  Department of City Planning. Zoning Maps & Resolution, 127. 13.  Ruchelman, The World Trade Center, 24. 14.  Glanz, James, and Eric Lipton. City in the sky: the rise and fall of the World Trade Center. New York: Times Books, 2003. 15.  The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 16.  Ibid

FIGURES 90.  Brandon Bortoluzzi, 2013 91.  Vector Line work: MesserWoland, WTC Building Arrangement and Site Plan.svg Available from: Wikimedia Commons Final Image: Brandon Bortoluzzi, 2013 92.  Brandon Bortoluzzi, 2013 93.  Vector Line work: MesserWoland, WTC Building Arrangement and Site Plan.svg Available from: Wikimedia Commons Final Image: Brandon Bortoluzzi, 2013 94.  Brandon Bortoluzzi, 2013

PHOTOS 1.  Andrew Fogg, Lest we Forget. 2000, Digital Image. Available from: Flickr, (accessed October 22, 2012).


POST-CIAM 1960-1980

LAKE POINT TOWER John Heinrich and George Schipporeit 1965-1980 Chicago by Haya Alnibari

In the 1960’s cities like Chicago started to move towards revolutionary architecture influenced by the urban context. It started to provoke a new way of urban planning and address the ambitions of CIAM. Therefore, the planning of the built environment in the city seeks more efficiency and introduced new values in the social ground. Lake Point Tower serves a great example of how Post CIAM architecture came to be. It reflects the non-traditional planning in the urban context. Lake Point Tower extracts a new geometry that refrains from cubic architecture, builds up a line of sight with no sense of hindered spaces and addresses mixed used spaces. However, it presents a powerful proposal through setting off the urban laws and being the first building in the lakeshore of downtown Chicago. This independent planning encouraged to extend building further in the grid of downtown Chicago. It congregate the social ground by providing an efficient dwelling with mixed use spaces such as implementing green space, retail, living and leisure. Even though it diverges from the collective organization that is existent in Chicago`s skyline, it is a building that brings out a beginning of optimizing building high-rise structures that are separated by green spaces that allow extended vistas.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


skyscraper with no intrusive views was the aim for Lake Point Tower. It was built in the PostCIAM era by Jogn Heinrich and George Schipporeit, students of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. They were inspired from Mies unbuild office tower in berlin and reinterpreted it in Lake Point Tower. Lake Point Tower started in 1965 and its completion was in 1986 during the urban renewal of Chicago planning. Both architects wanted to follow the architecture of the Bauhaus movement that Mies was known for. It is reflected through the curvilinear glass curtain wall façade.6 Lake Point Tower is a great example of what a CIAM building is to be. It has a commanding presence that urged the development in open spaces and setting away from the congestion of the rapid development in Chicago. It encompasses the idea of non-rectilinear architecture that intensifies efficiency in living through mixed-use spaces, which harmonizes with the new social values that started to arise during that time. THE PHYSICAL CONTEXT

Figure 1 the idea of a the green roof1

Lake Point tower is situated by Lake 188

Michigan in the near north district of lakefront. (fig 6)5 It is moderately built away from the Chicago skyline. It is significantly the first residential development by the lakeshore when it was an industrial area. 1 Although it creates a demand in the aesthetical considerations of the lake shore because of its bulk, it carries on with the identity of the lake. It preserves the typology of open spaces along the lake through the green roof. (fig1) 1 Moreover, it takes on an environmental response through its exterior curved envelope in which it offers an expansive view of the Lake Michigan and it with stands the winds through its core. Navy Pier is a community area that offers mixed-use facilities to the public and is across from Lake Point Tower.2 Lake point tower offers other amenities such as a green roof that includes a swimming pool, lagoons and playground. fig1 The area however lacks connectivity with the rest of the programming that exists in the lakefront because the program is fragmented throughout and interrupts the continuity of the lake front. (fig 2)2 Lake Point Tower also takes into play the poor connectivity in both the program and traffic flow

Figure 2 interription shown on the Navy Pier towards Denial Burnham proposal of open space continuity along the lakefront 2


Figure 3 Lake Point Tower relationship with the context 3

Lake Point Tower consists of 70 stories and a total of 752 units above street level. It is considered to be a luxury condominium with a penthouse. The first two storeys are for commercial use, the third level is the open green roof and from level 4 to 68 is residential.3 Although it preserves the open space typology in the context of the lakefront, It takes on the continuality of park spaces in a different manner

through building up a green roof. ( fig 1)1 Green roofs are important by which they signify the idea of lowering the urban air that is grasped from the congestion in the central downtown core. As well as it is a symbol of giving back to the environment. The green roof typology is still not relevant to the program of the lakefront, where the open space became a private space that doesn’t correlate with the open streetscape of the lakeshore drive.

Figure 5 lakfront development 1870 and 19726

Figure 4 Lake Point Tower doesnt offer a Walkable street 4

In the understanding of the building bulk and relationship to context, the bulk of the building builds up horizontally in the lower ground then vertically which is not consistent with the typology that exists on the site. Most of the surrounding is landscape and low rise buildings. (fig 3) 3 The relationship of the building with the street doesn’t coincide to the idea of a walkable street. It lacks fenestration in the lower ground and street furniture in comparison to the surroundings. (fig 4) 4 However, because it’s a private residence it is reasonable to provide safety and privacy to the residences. It works as an individual building itself, but it doesn’t correspond with the existing site program.


The planning of the Chicago lakefront was very crucial as it was following the 1909 plan of Chicago by Denial Burnham. (fig 9) 9 Denial Burnham focused greatly on the Lakefront ‘’ he said everything possible should be done to enhance its attractiveness and develop its natural beauty’’ Denial Burnham believed this is achieved by increasing open spaces to direct the flow of people from downtown to lakefront, by that the density of Chicago downtown is managed. Furthermore, he interpreted beaches, lagoons, islands to be developed in that area.4 Lake Point Tower takes on Burnham’s notions of the city beautiful and creates a green roof that has a lagoon, children’s playground. There were no buildings by 1836 in the lakefront; however, it later on changed because of the economic downturn in 1955-1977. (fig 5)6 There was an increase of immigrants and

different ethnicities coming in to the city, which lead to several conflicts at the time and an attempt to changing the residential plans.4 The urban area needed to expand from the downtown core because of the demographic change, so many projects started to develop and Lake Point Tower was one of them. 5 The area of development was mainly of the west edge of Lincoln Park

Figure 6 districts of lakefront6


POST-CIAM 1960-1979

and the lakefront near north side (fig 6) 5 and private ownership started to arise in the lakefront area. (fig 7) 6 It was going against the design guidelines of plan of Chicago.6 Some of the factors that Lake Point Tower doesnt follow up with such as improving the public facilities on the lake shore, continuing the public open space along the lakeshore, and enhancing the accessibility of the lakefront. According to the zoning by law, this area only permits programs such as cultural and recreational buildings. Moreover, it was under the Danial Burnham proposal, where the properties of Lakefront only allows public buildings for harbor uses such as the Navy Pier.7 However, Lake Point Tower is a private residence with a private open space that does not serve the public interest. The economic situation of the city was one of the biggest reasons why the architects were given permission to build on the lakefront even though it doesn’t correspond to the program and density that is mentioned in the zoning by law. 4 Currently, Lake Point Tower is under the DX-12 zone according to the zoninng by law in Chicago. (fig7) 6 RELATIONSHIP TO CIAM At the end of CIAM 1953 many of the CIAM ambitious principles has already been taken effect in Chicago. Since 1960, it greatly reflected on Lake Point Tower. Lake Point Tower carried the idea of a functional city8, where it went beyond building within the downtown core and expanding to the lakefront. Thus, offering new opportunities such as taking on the idea of decentralization and lowering the density in the center. As well as building in an open spaceup which supports le Corbusier’s notions of 190

Figure 7 zoning for lakfront 6

a contemporary city.9 Other factors that demonstrate the functional city, is the formulation of a programming that goes beyond the needs of the dwellings. For example, Lake Point Tower conveys the main functions of dwelling, leisure, work, but not quite circulation. It does offer a mixed use facilities in the residence with its amenities in the green roof. Because it is built on the edge of downtown Chicago by the lakefront, it offers more pleasurable living for workers than the ones who live in the high density, loud downtown area. Lake point sits in a vibrant area on the strip of lakefront, where many programs are recreational facilities and parks, as it carries out the open space on a roof top and preserves the existing program through contemporary architectural means. Even though Lake Point Tower was under the city beautiful movement, it didn`t correspond to its principles entirely, but reinterpreted it

Figure 8 Three-lobbed Plan of Lake Point Tower 7

on its own way such as the green roof idea, but not really optimizing the public space. (fig9)9 In the Post CIAM era Chicago was in need to optimize its economy and the need for new residential buildings was high.5 The design of Lake Point Tower introduced new technical, economic aspects, where at its time it became the first residential tower on the lakefront; as well as, the highest residential tower, and highest reinforced concrete structure. It is also significant for the use of bronze tinted glass and aluminum frames. 1 Lake Point Tower takes on a nontraditional architecture8, through the curvilinear plan that is shapes as a three-lobed envelope laying out the apartments in a new manner. This new geometry offers expansive vistas to residences by refraining from obstructive views and also providing high privacy to each resident. Thus, it resolves the issue of a dwelling that needs quietness , good view and sufficient sun lighting. One of the other concerns in CIAM is going through extensive research on new building tectonics in order to build in correspondence to the changing environment.8 By that, the curvilinear façade of Lake Point Tower doesn’t only respond to the aesthetical and visual needs , but also responds to the exterior environment. It keeps the building sustained from the prevailing winds, through its concrete core and the three-lobed plan.(fig 8)7 This makes it a continuing laboratory of understanding the wind effects on the building structure, even after it was built. CONCLUSION In conclusion, Lake Point Tower serves a great example of a PostCIAM building that carries out new

innovations in building tectonics and urban planning. It opened up ideas of the possibility to expand from the downtown grid. It resolved issues that existed at that time such as economic factors by responding to the need of new residential buildings in downtown chicago due to the increase in population and demand in jobs in downtown. Second it responded to the new postmodern movement and corresponded with the new cultural values through holding onto CIAM principles and creating better and efficient dwelling. Third, Lake Point

mixed-use space; as well as, moving towards a postmodern design that refrains from rectilinear forms. Even though the building didn’t respond well with the context of lakefront, it doesn’t abolish the access to the lakefront, but somewhat marks the beginning of the lakefront and the edge of downtown Chicago. In the end Lake Point Tower encompasses the built form by standing out profoundly in the skyline of Chicago.

Figure 9 Planning effects of Danial Burnham 9

Tower is a great example for how politics is linked to the urban planning of a city. This building skipped the zoning by Law of Chicago and the architects got permission to build the first residence in the lakefront. Therefore, Lake Point Tower is appropriate for its context. It responded well with the architectural ground by seeking for 191

NOTES 1.  Schulze, Franz, and Kevin Harrington. Chicago’s famous buildings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. 2.  City of Chicago. Chicago central Area Planning. Chicago: Municipality, 1970. 3.  Skyline reality Chicago . 4.  Condit, Carl W. Chicago, 1930-70; building, planning, and urban technology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974. 5.  Lughod, Janet L. New York, Chicago, Los Angeles : America’s global cities. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999 6.  Blog word press. “Lake Point Tower: The building who skipped Chicago’s urban laws.” 1980. http://skylinearchitecture.wordpress. com/2013/03/27/lake-point-tower-the-building-who-skipped-chicagosurban-laws, 2013. 7.  City of Chicago . The lakefront plan of Chicago. Chicago: Municipality, 1980. 8.  Mumford, Eric P. Defining urban design : CIAM architects and the formation of a discipline, 1937-69. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009. 9.  The Athens charter. N.p.: Grossman Publishers, 1973.

FIGURES 95.  Alnibari, Haya. Hand drawn 96.  City of Chicago . The lakefront plan of Chicago. Chicago: Municipality, 1980. 97.  Schulze, Franz, and Kevin Harrington. Chicago’s famous buildings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. 98.  Google street view. “ maps?ie=UTF-8&q=lake+point+tower&fb=1&gl=ca&hq=lakepoint+tower &cid=0,0,17846122051592697798&ei=4sRqUv_qAcjx2wXkkYHoAg&ved=0CMUBEPwS. 99.  City of Chicago. Chicago central Area Planning. Chicago: Municipality, 1970. 100.  City of Chicago . 101.  Schulze, Franz, and Kevin Harrington. Chicago’s famous buildings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. 102.  City of Chicago . The lakefront plan of Chicago. Chicago: Municipality, 1980. 103.  City of Chicago. Chicago central Area Planning. Chicago: Municipality, 1970.

PHOTOS 1.  Shore, Bart. “George Schipporeit, co-architect of Chicago’s Lake Point Tower, has died.” Archinet News.


POST-CIAM 1960-1980

TORONTO NEW CITY HALL Viljo Revell, John B. Parkin Associates 1965 Toronto by Rachel Law

The end of the Second World War proved the turning point for development opportunities and implementation of planning ideals that originated from Modernist thinking, consolidated at CIAM. Toronto was no stranger to these principles of planning. By the 1950s, notions of universal mobility and the definition of the city as the centre of the modern landscape were commonly accepted and advocated. Since its opening in 1965, Nathan Phillips Square and City Hall have brought downtown its symbolic focus, serving as a national and provincial landmark in the City of Toronto. At the heart of the metropolis, the design of Toronto’s first premier Civic Square represents the extent at which careful development has become central to public interest and political concern. As the center of a vibrant mixed-use district, the diversity of land use and surrounding development has contributed immensely to the vitality and popularity of this urban core. With its pure and fluid formalism, Viljo Revell’s Toronto City Hall has embodied the optimistic spirit and technological innovation of the postwar modern era, outlined in CIAM, and in doing so has occupied a place in the collective imagination of the City. With an overall objective of creating a humane environment and a radiant downtown, the planning and eventually the construction of City Hall transformed the image of the city, and with it, the public perception of Modern architecture.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


ach period of architectural history reflects its era’s particular world view; and each region contributes a further particularization to that more widely set of ideas. Between 1945 and 1965, Toronto strayed from its parochial past of conservatism and adopted a bold plan for its downtown core. The development designed during the post-World War II period embodies a unique expression of cultural aspirations that were highly influenced by the world view of International Modernism. “Unlike preceding architectural periods, Modernism was a movement”1 with a prime focus on reinventing the art of making buildings and rending that process scientific and rational. Within modernism was a “belief in linear progress, positivist, technocratic, rational planning of social and geographic space; ‘standardized conditions of knowledge and production and a firm faith in the rational ordering of urban space’ to achieve individual liberty and human welfare”2. The organization of the plan, the order of the façade, the general massing of a building’s parts, and most importantly, the establishment of open urban space were all considered in these rational

Figure 1 FIgure Ground A) 1947 B) 2013


principles. Since the CIAM Congress in Athens, the focus has shifted to strengthening the four key functions of urbanism: inhabiting, working, recreation (leisure), and circulation, giving each order and classification to the usual conditions of life, work and culture. The key to urbanism are to be found in the four functions: inhabiting, working, recreation (leisure), circulation. Completed in 1965, City Hall remains one of Toronto’s most iconic structures, expressing its emergence as a dynamic, forward-looking international metropolis. Designed by Finnish architect, Viljo Revell’s extravagantly sculptural and expressionistic masterpiece—two curving office towers cupping a saucer-shaped council chamber, atop a wide, low podium—has long transcended its initial controversy and established itself as a beloved Toronto landmark and a timeless icon of Modernism in Canada. THE FINNISH ARCHITECT AND THE COMPETITION On September 24, 1956, City Council adopted a resolution calling for ‘an open competition’ recognizing the need for

the design of a new city hall and an adjacent civic square and city hall. This congested 13-acre site immediately west of the third City Hall was purchased and called for a total clearance to create this new civic centre. City Council approved funds to acquire the land for the incoming proposals immediately west of the third City Hall earlier in 1946. Inherent in the modernist project was a belief in the ‘tabula rasa.’ As a result, enormous areas were cleared with completely new environments inserted. The destruction of two of the City’s best-known landmarks, Shea’s Hippodrome, a theatre on Bay Street, and the Beaux Arts Provincial Registry Office at Albert and Chestnut Streets, as well as much of old Chinatown, substantial opposition developed3. The resulting discussion foreshadowed the great political conflicts of the following decades between those supporting new development at all costs and those advocating preservation of the City’s architectural history. In 1958, Viljo Revell’s exciting monumental design was chosen among an array of proposals due to his diversion from the cool geometric “slab tower”. This international design competition drew over 500 entries from 42 countries and was adjudicated by architectural luminaries such as Ernesto Rogers, Eero Saarinen and Sir William Holford. Revell’s design was both a landmark for architecture and planning in Toronto. The northern portion of the site was occupied by the dynamic New City Hall itself, with its two curving towers facing the paved plaza and reflecting pool to the south. Around the perimeter was a walkway a dozen feet above grade, enclosing the whole plaza and providing a strong definition to the site

as well as designating a hierarchy to the circulation within. The large public space to the south that seemed incidental became more of a radical departure than Revell’s building itself. Undeniably a civic space, Nathan Phillips Square was a stage that promoted social encounters and serve the conduct of public affairs, allowing people to identify themselves as citizens rather than consumers and workers in the midst of a realm so greatly influenced by the Industrial Revolution. Since 1911 the idea of a civic square “lodged in the local imagination”4 was already established and recognized as a local necessity. The embodiment of this idea finally came into fruition with the proposal of the new City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square. Embracing aspects of the City Beautiful Movement, this Square became the city’s first piazza, a completely pedestrianized area that encouraged interaction. It was through this international competition that shows a major step in the evolution of Toronto’s civic consciousness, ultimately showing how “city-building has become an art of public revelation rather than a private expression”5.

Figure 2 Major compositional elements of Toronto New City Hall


The profession of urban planning as it came to be was a response to the worst excesses of the Industrial Revolution. Local Toronto’s responded through its 1963 Plan for Downtown Modern in every sense of the word, it was clearly inspired by the CIAM traditions as first defined by Le Corbusier in 1931: “The word city indisputably signifies the centre of gravity for a geographical region, the natural centre of gravity for a given producing area. But it also signifies, because of much more subtle attractive forces at work, the centre of gravity for an even vaster, sometimes immense spiritual hinterland”6. Toronto’s downtown was destined as the centre of the metropolitan area; it would be designed and built to reflect this new role. The City Hall competition and the Civic Square design brought the downtown its symbolic focus that it needed to achieve an identity. To break with the past and be truly modern demanded a new architecture that would ultimately create a humane environment. “The design specifically

ruled out any connection – in design, form, or colour – to the remarkable buildings on the other side: the romantic Old City Hall to the east, and Osgood Hall to the west”7. The New City Hall was to be linked to the future, not the past, echoing the Modern ideals illustrated in CIAM. The machinist era has introduced new techniques which have brought new methods, facilities and dimensions to modern construction. It is through the astute use of these new methods that solutions can be found. Revell’s City Hall not only manipulates the new technologies in concrete to express the simple optimism of the era, but also demonstrates clarity of composition with the unequivocal formal expression of its functional programmes. One can observe how Modern ideas governed the design of City Hall through its radical form and emphasis on organization. “A city made for speed is made for success,” Le Corbusier wrote in 1924. Toronto’s interpretation of this maxim states the importance of a plan that is receptive to “the new, the big, and the 195

POST-CIAM 1960-1979

monumental design, but also be geared to human needs and modern business efficiency”, according to W. Harold Clark, Chairman of the Planning Board8. Efficiency was also classified by scientific planning principles, demonstrated through data collected in studies and reports. Recognizing that urbanism is a three-dimensional science9, the element of height was introduced to alleviate the problems of modern traffic, specifically those pertaining to congestion and overcrowding. The reduction of densities within Toronto’s downtown core resulted in the creation of amenities such as plazas and arcades necessary for communications and for leisure. The CIAM Athen’s Charter specifically describes open spaces are the lungs of a city10. Thus, the maintenance and the establishment of open space in congested inner areas of a city are needed to improve public welfare, encompassing physical and mental health, with an ultimate goal of enhancing the quality of life of its citizens. The key is to be found in a 196

new urbanism, focusing on the factors bearing the “essential joys” : the sun, space, and verdure11. What is unique about Nathan Phillips Square lies in the emergence of civic consciousness of what was initially a necessity, an open space to allow for daylight and proper air circulation. It is a well-conceived plan as it allows fruitful cooperation while making “maximum provision for individual liberty, for the effulgence of the individual within the framework of civic obligation”12. The Square has become a place for the individual and the collective. The walkway surrounding the perimeter of the Square is a reinterpretation of the hierarchy of transportation systems, introduced in Le Corbusier’s Contemporary City vision. In elevating this walkway, Revell has allowed for efficiency in circulation and has answered the problem of overcrowding and congestion on the ground plane. CONCLUSION As a civic centre, Toronto New

Figure 3 Toronto City Hall adjacent to Old City Hall

City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square has addressed the issues of identity and overall improvement by adapting the Modern ideas consolidated in CIAM. Revell’s building itself as an image of genial modernity profoundly transformed Toronto opening the city’s prejudices towards Modernism, giving it legitimacy and respect. The Square, however, is the real triumph as it has awakened public interest to an extent that “careful development has become a political concern”13. Toronto City Hall and the 1963 Plan as well as the resulting development in the surrounding area confirm the extent to which Modernist Principles then held sway. Unlike many Modernist designs, Toronto City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square remain as landmarks that continue to evolve within its community due to its direct communication with the public.


NOTES 1.  Baraness, Marc. “Building Modern Ideas.” In Toronto modern architecture, 1945-1965: catalogue of the exhibition with critical essays. Toronto: Coach House Press :, 1987. 20-21. 2.  Irving, Allan. “The Modern/postmodern Divide in Urban Planning.” University of Toronto Quarterly Summer (1993): 474-488. 3.  “Toronto New City Hall.” Toronto New City Hall. points/newcityhall.htm (accessed November 8, 2013). 4.  Fulford, Robert. “Going Public.” In Accidental city: the transformation of Toronto. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. 1-16. 5.  Fulford, Robert. “Going Public.” In Accidental city: the transformation of Toronto. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. 1-16. 6.  Kapelos, George. “A Modern Vision for Toronto.” In Toronto modern architecture, 1945-1965: catalogue of the exhibition with critical essays. Toronto: Coach House Press :, 1987. 38-45. 7.  Sewell, John. The shape of the city: Toronto struggles with modern planning. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993. 8.  Kapelos, George. “A Modern Vision for Toronto.” In Toronto modern architecture, 1945-1965: catalogue of the exhibition with critical essays. Toronto: Coach House Press :, 1987. 38-45. 9.  The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 10.  The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 11.  The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 12.  The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 13.  Sewell, John. The shape of the city: Toronto struggles with modern planning. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993.

FIGURES 1.  Cronin, Dan . “Ward 18 - 1947.” Toronto City Hall Archives. (accessed October 25, 2013). 104.  Nott, Herb. “Base Model.” No Mean City. wp-content/uploads/2010/09/panda591052-58_w1.jpg

PHOTOS 1.  Cronin, Dan . “City Hall Reflected.” Flickr. dcronin/8644606727/ (accessed October 25, 2013). 2.  Nott, Herb. ``Model.” No Mean City. (accessed October 22, 2013). 3.  Law, Rachel. “Panarama.” July 10, 2013.


POST-CIAM 1960-1980

COMMERCE COURT WEST I.M Pei and Associates Page and Steele Architects 1965-1972 Toronto by Valerie Gershman

The rise of skyscrapers in Toronto’s downtown core is defined by I.M Pei’s development of the 784 foot high Commerce Court West. The design’s strength comes from its utilization of the site’s size rather than its zoning, ultimately taking advantage of the urban fabric of King Street West and Bay Street while refraining from overwhelming its surroundings. Through the placement of the building and its relationship to the street level, Pei fashions integrated answers to the issue of close proximity and traffic in such a developed context. Simultaneously, the design’s use of setbacks eases the linear congestion of public circulation in the area, while reducing its impact on its built surroundings at the same time. Through these one can see that the earlier ideas of CIAM (Congrès internationaux d’architecture moderne, 1928-1959) influenced the design of the building significantly, whether it is the separation of the pedestrian from the street, the use of efficient rectilinear forms or the development of open space for the public to use. The end result is a building whose urban scheme grants space to the public in the heart of Toronto’s dense financial sector, while attaining the initial goal of reestablishing the dominance of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce on the ever rising Toronto skyline.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


n Post-Ciam 1965, world renowned architect I.M Pei was approached by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce for a project based in Toronto. Having recently come into possession of several lots adjacent to their current building, they desired to restore their dominance on Toronto’s skyline while creating a civic space at street level and incorporating the aforementioned building - 36 stories of limestone-clad Art Deco architecture now known as Commerce Court North – into the design. The result is the erection of three new buildings, all of variable height, radiating around a central fountain court that is the namesake of the complex.1

The pride of place in the complex is Commerce Court West, a 784 foot, 57 storey skyscraper designed in International style.1 I.M Pei and his associates Page and Steele took special care to take the building’s considerable bulk to their advantage. If it had followed the zoning setbacks allotted to the site, a building with the density and bulk of Commerce Court West would have been significantly overpowering. Indeed, it takes up 1.2 million square

Figure 2 Circulatory diagram


feet of space where the total square footage of the complex is 2 million 2. However, Pei succeeded in designing the urban fabric in such a way that the building enhanced its surroundings through placement, circulation and contextual integration, where all were faded reflections CIAM themes. Begun in 1928, CIAM’s influence persisted far beyond its official conclusion in 1959 to touch Commerce Court West’s design. The complex itself was completed in 1972. THE PRIDE OF PLACE Toronto’s financial quarter in the downtown area is a garden of skyscraper architecture. Beneath their towering heights, traffic is arranged on a grid of arterial streets and smaller roads that create a web of circulation around the core. While the entirety of the Commerce Court complex is nestled between Bay, King and Wellington Streets, Commerce Court West is bordered by King and Bay where vehicular and pedestrian traffic are often highly congested. A considerable level of sound and car pollution was to be expected considering the context. What is unique about the site of the complex

is its paved outdoor courtyard described in Figure 1.3. The elegant public space ties the old and the new buildings together on the street level. From it one can observe the surroundings: how Commerce Court South and East (5 and 13 storeys respectively) are clad in limestone as a callback to the nearby Commerce Court North 3, and how the stainless-steel clad Commerce Court West looms above them all, creating a local historical roulette of banking institutions and offices. Furthermore, it is set away from the busy perimeter of the site, allowing users of not just the immediate offices but also the area in general a place to relax and get a breath of fresh air. A PERIOD PERSPECTIVE “I hate black buildings.” Declared Neil McKinnon, the president of CIBC to I.M Pei in 1965 4. It was not said unreasonably. Fronting King Street, Commerce Court West happened to across the street from Mies van der Rohe’s Toronto Dominion Centre rising dark and bold. Agreeing with the sentiment, Pei created a light, reflective design to his tower in contrast to the neighbouring one. Prior to the development, the site was divided by Melinda Street, checkered with individual lots between Wellington and King Streets as seen in Figure 1.1. The original building fronted King Street West, with the only significant setback on the north face, When the banking institution purchased the land between the two streets, Melinda Street was shortened to Jordan Street’s end point, so as to remove the road entirely from the proposed public courtyard. This action gave CIBC a considerable chunk of Toronto’s prime real estate for their holding, simultaneously putting them side by side with the Dominion Centre

Figure 1 Solid and void 1950 - 2013; program

The rise of both these skyscrapers was a testament to the change Toronto was undergoing in the 1960s and 1970s, and there were several overlays. The first is an economic context, where the aforementioned real estate played a key role. Toronto was growing as a financial centre in the world. While at that time period skyscrapers were not overly common in the city, they began to appear rapidly, replacing older midrise instutions. Before the construction of Commerce Court as we know it, the original CIBC headquarters was the tallest building in the British Empire until 1962 5, it was displaced from its post by the TD building, 56 storeys. The height of a building is a reference to the power and prestige of its owners in the cityscape. Therefore, to re-establish itself on the skyline while expanding its presence in the city, CIBC commissioned Pei and Commerce Court West soon topped its rival at 57 storeys. Interestingly there was a strong anti-car movement at the time 6. It was possibly this influence - along with Toronto’s desire to decongest streets that affected the setback of Commerce Court West, as well as the creation of its inner courtyard, all choices aimed for the person and not the vehicle. PLANNING IN CONTEXT

Figure 3 Transverse Site Section

The setbacks on site serve two purposes. The buildings that surround Commerce Court are all generally built up to their zoning setbacks, reducing the size of sidewalks and putting pressure on pedestrian movement. Commerce Court West puts itself further back than its neighbours to reduce that pressure, relaxing circulation while giving a breath of fresh air and light in an already dense core, depicted in Figure 2. I.M Pei hits

another bird with the same stone by tying the setback in to what the clients wanted the design to have in the first place: the old building integrated with the new development. As shown in Figure 3, the 22m setback from King Street does this admirably. Instead of obstructing the view of Commerce Court North’s east face, the office tower gives way to it, “leaving the prominence of the old building unchallenged”. 7 201

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Commerce Court West removes itself from its built context in the south and the east faces as well. Where the tower faces the Deloitte building (or Commerce Court South), the office steps back significantly more than it could so as to create a grand threshold from the sidewalk and street into the hidden court. In terms of height, Commerce Court was a forerunner. At the time period Toronto only had Commerce Court North and the Toronto Dominion Centre as its height deviations. Most of the masonrybased buildings in the downtown core were of mid-rise levels. A common method of bringing a design to context is often to put it in a relationship to its surroundings through height, but with the first skyscrapers in Toronto this was not the case. The steel construction and cladding allowed for much greater heights. Due to these deviations from given zoning conditions, it can be said that the form of Commerce Court West was not particularly influenced by planning: the building footprint was not set to match a neighbouring setback, neither was the height relative to the surroundings except for the skyscrapers already present. But on an extended viewpoint, I.M Pei does consider the height context: both the east and the south buildings are relative to the smaller heights on Wellington and Jordan Street. CIAM INFLUENCE Commerce Court West and the complex as a whole were designed in a period that began to move on from the rigidity of the Congrès internationaux d’architecture moderne. Even so, there is plenty of influence from the earlier period in the decisions made to the building, both in terms of urban 202

planning and design. As mentioned previously, the fountain court was the centerpiece, around which the four buildings pinwheeled. They all shared a rectangular prism geometry, simple and efficient, a nod towards the ideals CIAM espoused 8. Commerce Court West itself was designed with a Modern sleekness, a CIAM theme of machine aesthetic 8 that appears reflective and responsive rather than sterile. But what strikes out as an interesting point is the site’s open space, and how it is separated from the street and rendered exclusive to the person as a user. A common theme of CIAM planning is that the street – being an exceedingly important element in urban planning – is something that has little place for pedestrians. Separate parks and recreational areas should be placed away from traffic, and that is just what Commerce Court does. Instead of having the users of the buildings pour into the streets during lunch or after work, they have a quiet courtyard to themselves to use as they wish. Furthermore, even

Figure 4 Longitudinal Section: it becomes clear in this diagram how the fountain courtyard is tucked away behind the body of Commerce Court West. This separation from the busy streetscape of Bay Street is a very prominent aspect of CIAM thinking. The separation is physical, but visual contact is maintained by the pathways between the buildings, which are big enough to be inviting to the pedestrian.

though Commerce Court West could not be completely removed from the traffic of Bay and King, its setback from Bay Street could definitely be considered a gesture of separation, of extricating the pedestrian sidewalk from the vehicular street while reducing the impact of the building’s density on its environment. The form and design of Commerce Court West on the street is thus informed by the memory of CIAM.

one of Toronto’s only two skyscrapers defining the skyline of the city, it is now one of countless that rise towards the downtown core and beyond. However, it remains one of the few to provide an extensive courtyard for public use, also providing an expansive sidewalk for the pedestrian to distance themselves from the street. It can safely be said that for all its height and bulk, Commerce Court West is the “considerate neighbour” in the core of Downtown Toronto.

CONCLUSION Given the parameters not only of the site but also the clients’ interests, Commerce Court West delivers a project that thoughtfully integrates itself with its surroundings. It is the product of its times, but it still takes the essence of CIAM’s ideas and uses them in a successful manner, while making less use of zoning in informing and defining its design. Where it was once

Figure 5 City of Toronto, Mid 1970s, Commerce Court West to the right.


NOTES 1.  “Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Commerce Court.” Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. (accessed September 20, 2013). 2.  GWL Realty Advisors. “Commerce Court.” Commerce Court. http://www. (accessed September 18, 2013). 3.  Bernstein, William, and Ruth Cawker. “Commerce Court .” In Contemporary Canadian architecture: the mainstream and beyond. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1982. 119 - 123. 4.  Jodido, Philip , and Janet Adams Strong. “Commerce Court.” In I.M Pei: Complete Works. New York: Rizzoli International Publications Inc., 2008. 5.  Cawker, Ruth. “Commerce Court.” In Toronto: le nouveau nouveau monde : contemporary architecture of Toronto. Toronto: Government of Ontario, 1987. 12-13. 6.  “War on cars.” gettorontomoving. on_cars.html (accessed October 22, 2013). 7.  Jodido, Philip , and Janet Adams Strong. “Commerce Court.” In I.M Pei: Complete Works. New York: Rizzoli International Publications Inc., 2008. 111. 8.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 9.  City of Toronto. “City of Toronto Archives.” City of Toronto Archives. http:// (accessed October 15, 2013). 10.  Flack, Derek. “Aerial photographs of Toronto from the 1920s to 1980s.” blogTO . toronto_from_the_1920s_to_1980s/ (accessed October 23, 2013). 11.  Frampton, Kenneth. Modern architecture: a critical history. 3rd ed. London: Thames and Hudson, 1992. 12.  Moffatt, Robert. “ I.M. Pei’s tower of stainless steel .” Toronto Modern. (accessed October 19, 2013). 13.  City of Toronto. “Toronto survey map, 1950s.” City of Toronto: City of Toronto Archives 1950 Toronto survey map. archives/maps/1950-toronto-survey.htm (accessed October 23, 2013).

PHOTOS 1.  Harris, Steve. Skyscrapers. Flickr, Toronto. stevenharris/3484299935/ (Accessed October 22nd 2013). 2.  City of Toronto Archives, Toronto. (Accessed October 22nd 2013)


POST-CIAM 1960-1980

JOHN HANCOCK CENTER Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 1965-1969 Chicago by Mark Melnichuk

The John Hancock Center located in Chicago and designed by the renowned architectural firm SOM (Skidmore, Owings and Merill) was completed in 1969. Two mid-sized towers were proposed on the site to accommodate either residential or commercial uses. However, due to concerns of lack of space on the site to accommodate two towers as well as creating an inhospitable pedestrian area and the conflict of privacy and sunlight between the two buildings, a single tower design was chosen instead. The tower required significant zoning amendments to the site which were approved by the city and the tallest building in the world was constructed. Even though the building was conceived after the dissolution of CIAM, the programmatic development of the tower followed the CIAM principle of planning for dwelling, working, recreation and circulation, all of which can be found encompassed in a single complex. The CIAM principle of vertical city growth is also fulfilled in the project which rose to a height of 344m creating controversy over its scale relative to the urban context as well as increasing traffic to the already congested “Magnificent Mile.� However, this increase in traffic is one of the reasons for further growth and development in the area which reduced the contrast of the tower relative to the neighbourhood, and continues to attract visitors and city residents to experience the unique urban fabric.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


he John Hancock Center in Chicago, completed in 1970, was at one point the tallest building in the world. Standing at 497m to the tip of its duel antennas, the tower overlooks Michigan Avenue, Chicago’s premier district for shops, restaurants, offices and galleries.1 Designed by Bruce Graham and Fazlur Khan of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the tower stands as one of Chicago’s iconic landmarks. Its design was largely influenced by site design and planning done by the architects as well as utilizing innovative technology to deal with forces acting upon the tall structure, seen in the striking bracing system on the facade.2 THE SITE The John Hancock Center is located at 875 N Michigan Avenue. The 13,485m2 lot is bound by E Delaware Place to the north, E Chestnut Street to the south and Mies van der Rohe Way to the East.3 On the west side of the building, Michigan Avenue runs alongside the site. Michigan Avenue is often called the “Magnificent Mile,” known for its upscale retail, restaurants and apartments. The original client, John Wolman, was looking for a prestigious location for the new development and the site provided

Figure 1 Figure Ground Plans of the surrounding neighborhood before and after the construction of the John Hancock Center.

the prominence and opportunity he was looking for.4 The John Hancock center tower occupies a portion of the site while the western side of the site is left open for a sunken urban plaza which was a unique feature for the densely built downtown.5 The plaza is a popular place for pedestrian traffic on the heavily populated Michigan Avenue. The public plaza provides seating and shade near trees and planted vegetation and a water feature helps mask the noise from the busy street.6 Michigan Avenue is a heavily used transportation route for automobiles as there are no subway stations nearby.7

Figure 2 Site Plan and graph illustrating the proportions of site coverage


Even before the construction of the Hancock center, it was speculated that the street was at rush hour capacity and could not handle an increase in traffic.8 The construction of the Hancock center added approximately 750 parking spaces to the area, serving the office and residential uses of the tower.9 The ground and below ground levels provide commercial spaces located underneath parking and office spaces. The top portion of the building houses residential units, recreational uses for the residents such a swimming pool, as well as an observation deck and a restaurant.10

SOCIAL, POLITICAL, CULTURAL, PLANNING CONTEXT In 1966, the city of Chicago introduced the Comprehensive Plan of Chicago, a plan designed to model the expansion of the city well into the 1980’s. The plan dealt with issues of family life, the environment, economic growth and efficient transportation means for the city. However, the plan did not address some crucial and pressing concerns of the period including racial segregation and the shift of the middle class to the suburbs resulting in urban population decline.11 The Comprehensive Plan of Chicago was quite controversial and created political arguments between the government and community and racial groups and organizations. The plan was not implemented on a large scale because of the political tensions and caused a “laissez-faire” response to planning. As a result, large corporations were given large tax breaks and zoning laws were bent in their favour.12 It was this political and social context which granted the zoning allowance permitted for the construction of the John Hancock Center.13 14 PLANNING THE TOWER The original plan for the building came in the form of two 1 million sq.ft towers resting on a podium joining them together at the base.15 The residential and commercial use for the site was to be segregated. However, due to concerns over congestion on the lot caused by the overbearing podium and towers as well as the negative “canyon effect”, privacy and daylighting issues that would be produced by placing the towers so close together on a tight site, led to eventual final design. A 100 storey single tower was then proposed to house retail, office, parking

and residential use all in one single complex as one of the world’s first tall multi use buildings.16 17 The single tower would free up the site to provide for more human interaction in the form of a public plaza instead of bringing an 80 foot tall podium right up the sidewalk.18 (see figure 3) To fulfill the client’s needs, the tower rose to a height greater than that which was allowed by zoning. According to the Comprehensive City of plan for Chicago of 1946, the site was zoned for residential, located just north of a business district along Michigan Avenue.19 A series of zoning amendments were needed not only for the land use but also for the extreme height. The city council passed a series of zoning allowances for the site as they realized the opportunity to increase revenues as well as add residential development to the area

Figure 3 The orignal plan is shown on the left compared to the realized plan on the right

to sustain economic growth.20 The height of the John Hancock center was quite controversial as it essentially dwarfed surrounding buildings with its stature and clothed the area with its shadow. It set a precedent for high rise development outside of the central downtown core where most existing high rise development was concentrated.21 INFLUENCE OF CIAM The Congrès internationaux d’architecture moderne (CIAM) was an influential organization which promoted the principles of modern architecture and investigated building design as well as city planning.22 The ideals and views the group held influenced many building and urban designs during the period it was active and its influence stretched its reach beyond the life of the orgainization. The John Hancock center was designed in the 1960’s and completed in 1970, over a decade after the dissolution of CIAM. However, the principles that were established by CIAM still managed to inadvertently inform some of the decisions made during the design of the tower. One of the fundamental goals of CIAM was to organize planning into four crucial functions: dwelling, work, recreation and circulation.23 Though the planning of the four functions was meant for city as a whole, the John Hancock center encompasses all of the functions within one building. (see figure 4) The commercial areas on the ground floor along with the office levels provide the work function of the building. Residential areas are located on the upper levels. As the building tapers upward, the floor levels decrease in size. As commercial and office spaces require larger areas, the residential levels were placed at the top.23 This also follows the CIAM principle of providing space, fresh air and most 207

POST-CIAM 1960-1979

Figure 5 Tallest buildings in Chicago in 1969 compared to the John Hancock Center

Figure 4 Vertical Programmatic Organization of the tower

importantly daylight which isn’t impeded by any buildings on the upper levels. Recreation areas are provided through a swimming pool and other amenities provided for the residents as well as restaurants located in the building and the public plaza in front of the building. Transportation access is provided to the tower through a spiral structure providing access for automobiles into the parking levels contained in the building. Through careful programmatic 208

planning, all four functions of planning were fulfilled in one comprehensive complex.24 Another important aspect of CIAM’s Athens Charter that was evident in the John Hancock center was the importance of vertical growth in the city. CIAM calls for harnessing the tendency of horizontal growth of cities in favour of vertical growth in order to provide natural elements such as daylight to residential areas. The Charter calls for the recognition of the three dimensional nature of cities and the necessary use of height of buildings in order to reclaim land for recreational spaces.25 As Chicago was trying to prevent the flight of the middle class to suburban areas, this principle was vital to planners in Chicago at the time.26 By providing a dense residential development in the Hancock center, SOM reduced the

land required for suburban housing outside the city. The influence of CIAM on the architects of SOM is especially evident when Nathan Owings defended the height of the tower by arguing “our approach was to decide what was needed to solve the urban and suburban problems, and the 100-story tower is part of the answer - denser housing to make way for open space.”27 CONCLUSION Architectural valor and structural elegance could not mask the starch contrast between the John Hancock Center and its surrounding physical context. At the time of completion, it was the tallest building in the world and a whole 43% taller than another other building in Chicago, let alone its neighborhood.28 Though it fit into the economic and social context of

the neighborhood, it was sharply criticized for its height and disturbance to the ecology of the area. It was seen as a representation of the broken planning department and their interests in making a profit.29 The large scale building was said to have increased traffic on the already heavily congested Michigan Avenue by another 10%. Ironically, the CIAM principle of vertical city building was to be a solution to

modern traffic problems.30 Eventually, the urban development of the area caught up to the tower. It took almost twenty years for the building to be recognized positively in its physical context by critics.31 In 1999, the John Hancock center was awarded the 25 Year Architectural Excellence Award by the AIA.32 Its urban design qualities have finally caught up to its architectural and structural accomplishments as it

spawned growth in the area. The urban traffic generated by the John Hancock center and other nearby developments in the Streeterville neighborhood have created a dynamic downtown destination for tourists, visitors and city dwellers that would have been missing from the urban experience in Chicago had the grand tower know as “Big John� not been built.

Figure 6 Outline of the skyline as seen from the lake. The red outline represents the skyline in 1969 and the black outline represents the skyline in 2013. The John Hancock stands proudly above the rest of the surrounding buildings. None of the consecutive tallest towers illustrated in Fig. 5 can be seen in the illustration as they are mostly located in the central buisness distric of the loop rather than the neighborhood the Hancock center is located in - Streeterville.


NOTES 14.  Skidmore, Owings . Architecture of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 19841996. New York: Monacelli Press, 2009. 15.  Iyengar, Hal. “Reflections on the Hancock Concept.” CTBUH 1, no. 1 (2000): 44-52. en-US/Default.aspx (accessed September 7, 2013). 16.  Khan, Fazlur R.. “100 Storey John Hancock center, Chicago: A case study of the design process.” Engineering Structures, January 1983. http:// (accessed September 7, 2013). 17.  Condit, Carl W.. Chicago, 1930-70; building, planning, and urban technology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974. 18.  John Hancock Center, Chicago.” Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. JohnHancockCenterChicago/tabid/1959/language/en-US/Default.aspx (accessed October 25, 2013). 19.  Ryan, Terry. “John Hancock Building Plaza.” PPS - Project for Public Spaces. (accessed October 1, 2013). 20.  Adams, Nicholas. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill: SOM since 1936. Milan: Electa Architecture ;, 2007. 21.  Ibid. 22.  “John Hancock Center Facts | CTBUH Skyscraper Database.” on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. john-hancock-center/ (accessed October 25, 2013). 23.  Skidmore, Owings . Architecture of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 19841996. New York: Monacelli Press, 2009. 24.  Cutler, Irving. Chicago, metropolis of the mid-continent. 4th ed. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2006. 25.  Ibid. 26.  Ibid. 27.  Ibid. 28.  Khan, Fazlur R.. “100 Storey John Hancock center, Chicago: A case study of the design process.” Engineering Structures, January 1983. (accessed September 7, 2013). 29.  Adams, Nicholas. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill: SOM since 1936. Milan: Electa Architecture ;, 2007. 30.  John Hancock Center, Chicago.” Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. JohnHancockCenterChicago/tabid/1959/language/en-US/Default.aspx (accessed October 25, 2013). 31.  Khan, Fazlur R.. “100 Storey John Hancock center, Chicago: A case study of the design process.” Engineering Structures, January 1983. (accessed September 7, 2013). 32.  “CIAM’s “The Athens Charter” (1933).” Modernist architecture. (accessed October 25, 2013). 33.  Condit, Carl W.. Chicago, 1930-70; building, planning, and urban technology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974. 34.  Ibid. 35.  Ockman, Joan, and Edward Eigen. “1947 Reaffirmation of the Aims of CIAM.” In Architecture culture, 1943-1968: a documentary anthology. New York: Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation :, 1993. 100-102. 36.  “John Hancock Center Facts | CTBUH Skyscraper Database.” on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. john-hancock-center/ (accessed October 25, 2013). 37.  Skidmore, Owings . Architecture of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 19841996. New York: Monacelli Press, 2009. 38.  “CIAM’s “The Athens Charter” (1933).” Modernist architecture. (accessed October 25, 2013). 39.  Cutler, Irving. Chicago, metropolis of the mid-continent. 4th ed. Carbon-


dale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2006. 40.  Adams, Nicholas. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill: SOM since 1936. Milan: Electa Architecture ;, 2007. 41.  Ibid. 42.  Condit, Carl W.. Chicago, 1930-70; building, planning, and urban technology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974. 43.  “CIAM’s “The Athens Charter” (1933).” Modernist architecture. (accessed October 25, 2013). 44.  Adams, Nicholas. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill: SOM since 1936. Milan: Electa Architecture ;, 2007. 45.  Iyengar, Hal. “Reflections on the Hancock Concept.” CTBUH 1, no. 1 (2000): 44-52. en-US/Default.aspx (accessed September 7, 2013).

FIGURES 105.  “Department of Zoning Mapping Home.” Department of Zoning Mapping Home. (accessed November 1, 2013). 106.  “AD Classics: John Hancock Center / SOM.” ArchDaily. http://www. (accessed October 25, 2013). 107.  Khan, Fazlur R.. “100 Storey John Hancock center, Chicago: A case study of the design process.” Engineering Structures, January 1983. http:// (accessed September 7, 2013). 108.  “Flickriver.” John Hancock Center Chicago. photos/faasdant/5083392005/ (accessed October 25, 2013). 109.  “John Hancock Center (1969) by Google 3D Warehouse - 3D Warehouse.” John Hancock Center (1969) by Google 3D Warehouse - 3D Warehouse. (accessed October 25, 2013). “3D Warehouse.” Daley Center by Andrew. details?mid=7b17643dd573537d3c1485669311352d&prevstart=0 (accessed October 25, 2013). “3D Warehouse.” Chicago Board of Trade by Andrew - 3D Warehouse. (accessed October 25, 2013). “3D Warehouse.” Lake Point Tower by Google 3D Warehouse - 3D Warehouse. (accessed October 25, 2013). “3D Warehouse.” One Prudential Plaza, Chicago, IL by Google 3D Warehouse - 3D Warehouse. http://sketchup. (accessed October 25, 2013). Wikimedia Foundation. “List of tallest buildings in Chicago.” Wikipedia. (accessed October 25, 2013). 6. “Department of Zoning Mapping Home.” Department of Zoning Mapping Home. (accessed November 1, 2013).

PHOTOS 1.  Rostad, Bernt . “John Hancock Center in Chicago, Illinois.” Wikimedia Commons. Center_in_mist.jpg (accessed October 24, 2013). 2.  Skidmore, Owings . Architecture of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 19841996. New York: Monacelli Press, 2009.

POST-CIAM 1960-1980

THE JOHN HANCOCK CENTER Fazlur Khan and Bruce Graham of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 1965-1969 Chicago, Illinois by Amanda Zuliani

It was 1871 when the great Chicago Fire blazed through the streets of this once roaring City. With so much lost and destroyed, Chicago had no other choice then to rebuild. It was perhaps the work of Daniel Burnham, an architect who published a plan for the city in 1909. In collaboration with the City Beautiful Movement, the rebuilding of Chicago was developed based on improvements for a fast growing American City. Skyscrapers began to tower the now organized streets, public transportation advanced and open parks were scattered throughout. The CIAM continued this legacy of planning in the later 1900s, adapting principles based on “The Functional City.� Their influences created buildings that dominated their address by becoming political landmarks for business and pleasure. The John Hancock Centre is one such landmark. Towering 100 floors, this large-scale building encompasses commercial, retail and residential spacial qualities. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill Architects designed the John Hancock Centre with the intention of inviting the local business associate, the resident and the visitor to all share in the beauty of this dynamic City. Completed in the year 1970, The Centre demonstrates the importance of embarrassing social order and the new technology of materials, such as the iconic black steel facade. The John Hancock Center welcomed the possibility of change and invited people to understand the powerful working relationships between design, context and history.


POST-CIAM 1960-1980


he City of Chicago brings out the best in architectural stature and city planning. From the infamous skyline to the cultured and fluid street grids, the city was built primarily on the principles of “The Functional City.” The historic methods of functionality in city design were developed by Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne, better known as CIAM, in the late 19th century. As time passed, architects and planners of large cities were inspired to explore new city design possibilities, not only to improve city life for residents, but to build grid systems that would allow buildings to be a part of that city life. The John Hancock Center, whose foundation lies in Chicago, Illinois was completed in 1969, post-CIAM. Originally devised by Jerry Wolman, a developer in Chicago, the project was commissioned by John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co in the hopes of opening up new building opportunities on Michigan Avenue.1 Designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill, the John Hancock Center dominates its address

Figure 1 Circulation paths around the Center.


by becoming a political landmark for business and pleasure. Towering 100 storeys, the center is spatially diverse, encompassing commercial, retail and residential levels. Fazlur Khan and Bruce Graham, architectural partners on this project, were determined to create a structure that embodied both private and public spaces. THE SITE The John Hancock Centre is located on 875 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago. Originally, the site served as a surface parking lot until urban development opportunities superseded.2 At this time, Michigan Avenue, which runs in both directions, connecting the City of Chicago from North to South, was lined with mid- and low rise buildings.3 Buildings were tasteful and uniform and could be compared to the streets of Paris.4 Politically Chicago was prepared to support taller buildings to become more prominent and the business and cultural centre of the Country. When the John Hancock Center was erected, it guided a wave of skyscrapers to be built along the now “modern canyon of commerce.”5 While the skyscrapers created a lively and vibrant street which was socially desirable at the time, it is also created the base line of the City’s traffic. East Delaware Place and East Chestnut Street lie to the North and South of the Centre.6 They are both one way streets running to the East and the West. Located in the downtown district of Chicago, the John Hancock Centre is surrounded by many other notable highrise office and residential towers. The streets are crowded with local residents, employers and business associates and tourists from all over the world. The Centre is comprised of: commercial office space, dynamic retail space (Best Buy, The North Face, Hanig’s Footwear,

Figure 2 Ground Floor Plan.

The Cheesecake Factory and The Signature Room), world-renown tourist attraction - John Hancock Observatory, TV and radio broadcast facilities, 700 Luxury Residential Condominiums and a 10 level above-grade parking garage.7 The original design for the John Hancock Centre was not to be a single tower, but rather two large masses that divided programmatic areas. One tower was meant to be for commercial and offices spaces, and the other tower entirely for apartments.8 Both architects on the project, Khan and Graham, disliked many urban centres so they constructed and developed a design that would create ‘a better urban environment for the site.’9 They eventually came to the conclusion that if they combined all program spaces into one tower then there would be a greater percentage of the ground that they could use for publicly accessible open spaces. With this in mind, Khan and Graham explored many building shapes to fit programmatic requirements. The final idea was to build on diagonal scheme and use new technology to brace and support the building.10 There are two entrances to the Centre, one on the main floor and one located in the sunken plaza. People descend down large staircases to the entrance doors. There are water features, a multitude of seating and a large open space for live entertainment.

ZONING According to the Planning & Zoning Bureau of the City of Chicago, The John Hancock Centre is illustrated as ‘Downtown Mixed’ on Chicago’s zoning map. 11 Located in the downtown core of Chicago, at the edges of the transit Loop, the Centre is classified as: mixed high rise, office and residential.12 The specific zoning district of the site, DX-12, has no concerning setbacks or height restrictions on the buildings site.13 There is however, a collective agreement in Chicago’s zoning properties that states that although most high-rises have no height requirements, if the tower is to exceed the districts “building height thresholds” then it requires a Planned Development review. Since the specific building height threshold for DX-12 is 470 feet, the John Hancock Center which stands 1,506 feet (including the antenna mast) received political approval through the Planned Development review process. 14 HISTORY OF THE CITY In 1871, the Chicago Fire tore down 9 kilometres of the great city.15 Hundreds of people lost their homes and lives to the fire and many historic buildings burned down to ashes. Once the fire was burnt out, the city was forced to rebuild. The World’s Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893 was perhaps the first movement to rebuilding. The World Fair celebrated 400 years since Columbus arrived in the New World.16 The grande exposition was designed by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted, and was imagined to be the ‘perfect city.’17 It was constructed based on the Beaux Arts principles of design; symmetry, balance and splendour.18 The prototype city, designed for the exposition, devised a planning-oriented development that

Figure 4 Chicago Plan 1900.

Figure 5 Chicago Plan 2013.

Figure 6 City Beautiful proposal for Chicago.

was meant to emphasize the spatial configuration of massing rather than the single structure itself for future city designs.19 The World’s Columbian Exposition was an ‘influential social and cultural event’ for planning improvements in Chicago and also ignited the City Beautiful movement.20 CITY BEAUTIFUL MOVEMENT The City Beautiful movement was created by William H. Wilson in the late 19th and early 20th century before CIAM.21 “The movement advocated for sizable public investments in monumental spaces,

street beautification, and classical architecture.”22 Wilson was disturbed by ‘traditional planning history’ and sought to change the way planning was developed.23 He thought of planning as being practical so that the city could function effortlessly.24 In his efforts, he demonstrates that the movement is not just based on an aesthetic experience, but rather a new functional way of life.25 Wilson studied the progress of Frerick Law Olmsted, an American journalist and landscape designer in Chicago, who ‘began the shift from simple landscape architecture to municipal beautification.’26 These ideologies are 213

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seen along the streets of Chicago, especially Michigan Ave, where the John Hancock Center thrives. The rapid growth of American cities sparked planned developments, like the City Beautiful Movement. By the 1990‘s it became more important to establish public spaces, while keeping up with the growth of retail, production and entertainment facilities.27 This explains why architectural partners on this project, Fazlur Khan and Bruce Graham needed to build high to free up ground spaces. The surrounding ground level plaza and the sunken plaza become the most important spaces of the building. These plazas interact with the street life, drawing people into the space at all times of the year. But in order to continue such planning design initiatives, the beautification process had to involve the government and a consultation process in order to use public money to create such developments. The ‘parks, tree-lined boulevards and great civic buildings’ were all orders of City Beautiful, but could only be brought to life if the government and public agreed to these decisions.28 THE CHICAGO PLAN Daniel Burnham was a member of the ‘Commercial Club’ that was promoting the City Beautiful Movement in the 1900’s. Soon after he published the Plan for Chicago in 1909, he along with other fellow club members advocated for the Plan’s objectives and ambitious scope for the future of Chicago.29 The Plan was compiled with contemporary planning ideas to produce a great city with a society that can sustain it.30 The plan, like the City Beautiful Movement was directed by the growth of Chicago’s population in a systematic way, addressing vital problems like 214

congestion, traffic and public health.31 There were lists of proposals suggested in the Plan. The first was to ‘reclaim the lakefront for recreational purposes, extending the city’s system of parks and parkway circuits.’32 The second was to arrange city streets systematically and develop a regional system of highways.33 By creating a better system of roadways various parts of Chicago could be connected to each other.34 A multiple of proposals focused on decongesting business districts of the city and improving the Chicago’s Loop train system. A final proposal intended to relieve traffic congestion by creating diagonal street patterns through the original grid.35 The diagonal street pattern was intended to reveal a proposed monumental civic centre in the ‘heart of the city.’ Daniel Burnham’s final proposal was meant to rival St. Peter’s in Rome.36 CIAM CIAM was one of the last major influences on architecture and planning before the John Hancock Centre

Figure 8 Sunken plaza activities.

was proposed for construction. The International Congresses of Modern Architecture was founded in 1928.37 As a prominent union they spread principles of architecture including landscape, urbanism and industrial design.38 Their most vital contribution was devising the ‘Functional City’ which expanded the scope of architecture into urban planning.39 In the past, cities attended to a rapid growth in population by providing gas, electricity, school systems and professional institutions. But in cities like Chicago, the new generation of problems were providing air, healthy recreation spaces, relief from traffic and congestion and improvements to unattractive surroundings.40 CIAM developed four principal functions in town planning, all of which are addressed in the design of the John Hancock Centre. The first being convention housing, or specifically; places in which space, fresh air, and sunshine are plentifully guaranteed.41 The second, organising work spaces

to create proper environments and locations for employers in different trades. Third, to develop recreational spaces for leisure and pleasure and fourth, to create efficient network systems in transportation so that people and organisations could move from one place to another productively.42 Each function was designed to be manipulated depending on the circumstances of location, climate, topography and customs.43 It seems that the developers and designers of the John Hancock Center decided to stack the principles of town planning vertically in order to create one of the first multi-use buildings in the City

Figure 9 Multi-use Functions.

Figure 10 Chicago skyline circa 1969.

of Chicago. The residential units are spacious and the amenities are plentiful. Business opportunities and office units lie in thriving financial and political districts of the City. The sunken plaza and entrance offers beneficial leisure spaces for residents and the public to move freely and the building’s public parking and central location provides access to transportation stations in a close proximity. In addition to the four functions, the CIAM also generated ideas about the importance of height in town planning.44 They suggested using height as a new factor in building design so that ground level spaces could be recovered and used for planned leisure and recreation spaces.45 When the John Hancock Center was completed in 1969, it was Chicago’s tallest skyscraper. Towering 100 stories, the tapered tower allows for a multitude of opportunities, impossible before CIAM. The condition of engaging in new technologies was perhaps one of the most important principles developed by CIAM. “Modern building techniques have established new methods, provided new facilities, permitted new dimensions. They have opened an entirely new cycle in the history of architecture.” 46 Designed and developed by a series of trade specialists, the John Hancock Center serves to be an admirable building designed with many concepts postCIAM.

the existing and surviving infrastructure; street grids, train circuits, sewage systems and water ways, could not be shifted to the extent demanded by the new ideal plans. Michigan Avenue, the main street in which the John Hancock Center resides on, is what I believe to have been most influenced by the city beautification movement. Large public spaces and improved landscape design were first developed at the street level, transitioning the old traditional streets into prospering intersections. When CIAM came into vogue, the remainder of these principles of planning and beautification developed into functional architectural concepts that were used to improve the designs of new buildings. CIAM was then perhaps the greatest influence in the design of the John Hancock Centre itself. Complying with the principles and functions of town planning, the Center exceeded new heights and opened up a new urbanism revolution of multi-use sky scrapers in Chicago. In hindsight, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill Architects created a building that dominated it’s address in downtown Chicago by becoming a political landmark for business and pleasure. The John Hancock Center welcomed the possibility of change and invites people to understand the powerful working relationships between design, context and history.

CONCLUSION While the elements of The City Beautiful Movement and The Plan of Chicago circa 1909 were meant to create American cities of ultimate beauty, Chicago would not be able to mimic such ideal designs unless the City was demolished and rebuilt from scratch. Even though the Great Chicago Fire required massive redevelopment, 215

NOTES 1.  “John Hancock Center: The Building.” John Hancock Center. http://www. (accessed October 16, 2013) 2.  “The John Hancock Center in Chicago.” Chicago Architecture Info. http:// (accessed October 17, 2013). 3.  “The John Hancock Center in Chicago.” Chicago Architecture Info. http:// (accessed October 17, 2013). 4.  “The John Hancock Center in Chicago.” Chicago Architecture Info. http:// (accessed October 17, 2013). 5.  “The John Hancock Center in Chicago.” Chicago Architecture Info. http:// (accessed October 17, 2013). 6.  Harrison, Mayor Carter H. Chicago’s Greatest Issue. An official plan, etc. . The City of Chicago: The Chicago Plan Commission, 1911. 7.  “John Hancock Center: The Building.” John Hancock Center. http://www. (accessed October 16, 2013) 8.  Carlino, Gerald. “Beautiful City.” Business Review Q3 (2009): 10-17. www. (accessed October 10, 2013). 9.  Carlino, Gerald. “Beautiful City.” Business Review Q3 (2009): 10-17. www. (accessed October 10, 2013). 10.  Carlino, Gerald. “Beautiful City.” Business Review Q3 (2009): 10-17. www. (accessed October 10, 2013). 11.  “Planning & Zoning Bureau.” City of Chicago: The City of Chicago’s Official Site . (accessed October 16, 2013). 12.  “Planning & Zoning Bureau.” City of Chicago: The City of Chicago’s Official Site . (accessed October 16, 2013). 13.  Burnham, Daniel Hudson, and Edward H. Bennett. Plan of Chicago,. New York: Da Capo Press, 1970. 14.  Guthman, Jack , Joseph P Gattuso, and Scott R Borstein. “Processing a Land Use Application in the City of Chicago.” City of Chicago 11S-1 (2007). Land%20Use%20Application%20in%20the%20City%20of%20Chicago%20Supplement-111.pdf (accessed October 16, 2013). 15.  “Zoning districts - 2nd City Zoning.” 2nd City Zoning. http:// 16. (accessed October 16, 2013). 17.  Harrison, Mayor Carter H. Chicago’s Greatest Issue. An official plan, etc. . The City of Chicago: The Chicago Plan Commission, 1911. 18.  Harrison, Mayor Carter H. Chicago’s Greatest Issue. An official plan, etc. . The City of Chicago: The Chicago Plan Commission, 1911. 19.  Harrison, Mayor Carter H. Chicago’s Greatest Issue. An official plan, etc. . The City of Chicago: The Chicago Plan Commission, 1911. 20.  Tarn. “The Town Planning Review .” The City Beautiful Movement 61, no. 4 (2013): 502,503. (accessed October 11, 2013). 21.  Harrison, Mayor Carter H. Chicago’s Greatest Issue. An official plan, etc. . The City of Chicago: The Chicago Plan Commission, 1911. 22.  Carlino, Gerald. “Beautiful City.” Business Review Q3 (2009): 10-17. (accessed October 10, 2013). 23.  Carlino, Gerald. “Beautiful City.” Business Review Q3 (2009): 10-17. www. (accessed October 10, 2013). 24.  Blodgett, Geoffrey. “The City Beautiful Movement .” The American Historical Review 96, no. 3 (1991): 976-977. (accessed October 11, 2013). 25.  Blodgett, Geoffrey. “The City Beautiful Movement .” The American Historical Review 96, no. 3 (1991): 976-977. (accessed October 11, 2013). 26.  Tarn. “The Town Planning Review .” The City Beautiful Movement 61, no. 4 (2013): 502,503. (accessed October 11, 2013). 27.  Tarn. “The Town Planning Review .” The City Beautiful Movement 61, no. 4 (2013): 502,503. (accessed October 11, 2013).


28.  Baker, Laura E. “Civic Ideals, Mass Culture, and the Public: Reconsidering the 1909 Plan of Chicago.” Journal of Urban History 36, no. 6 (2010): 748-770. 29.  Tarn. “The Town Planning Review .” The City Beautiful Movement 61, no. 4 (2013): 502,503. (accessed October 11, 2013). 30.  Baker, Laura E. “Civic Ideals, Mass Culture, and the Public: Reconsidering the 1909 Plan of Chicago.” Journal of Urban History 36, no. 6 (2010): 748-770. 31.  Baker, Laura E. “Civic Ideals, Mass Culture, and the Public: Reconsidering the 1909 Plan of Chicago.” Journal of Urban History 36, no. 6 (2010): 748-770. 32.  Harrison, Mayor Carter H. Chicago’s Greatest Issue. An official plan, etc. . The City of Chicago: The Chicago Plan Commission, 1911. 33.  Baker, Laura E. “Civic Ideals, Mass Culture, and the Public: Reconsidering the 1909 Plan of Chicago.” Journal of Urban History 36, no. 6 (2010): 748-770. 34.  Baker, Laura E. “Civic Ideals, Mass Culture, and the Public: Reconsidering the 1909 Plan of Chicago.” Journal of Urban History 36, no. 6 (2010): 748-770. 35.  Harrison, Mayor Carter H. Chicago’s Greatest Issue. An official plan, etc. . The City of Chicago: The Chicago Plan Commission, 1911. 36.  Baker, Laura E. “Civic Ideals, Mass Culture, and the Public: Reconsidering the 1909 Plan of Chicago.” Journal of Urban History 36, no. 6 (2010): 748-770. 37.  Tarn. “The Town Planning Review .” The City Beautiful Movement 61, no. 4 (2013): 502,503. (accessed October 11, 2013). 38.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 39.  Mumford, Eric Paul. 40.  Mumford, Eric Paul. 41.  Mumford, Eric Paul. 42.  Mumford, Eric Paul. 43.  Mumford, Eric Paul. 44.  Mumford, Eric Paul. 45.  Mumford, Eric Paul. 46.

Mumford, Eric Paul.

FIGURES 110.  Purcell. Looking Down At The Garden Plaza Level of The John Hancock Center in Chicaco. Photograph. Purcell Pictures. Online, (accessed October 12, 2013) 111.  Duque, Karina. Classics of Architecture: John Hancock Center / Bruce Graham, SOM. Photograph. Arch Daily Mexico. Online, http://www. October 12, 2013) 112.  Blodgett, Geoffrey. “The City Beautiful Movement .” The American Historical Review 96, no. 3 (1991): 976-977. (accessed October 11, 2013). 113.  Theo, Adam. John Hancock Plaza. Photograph. Flickr. Online, http://www. (accessed October 12, 2013) 114.  Duffy, Roger. John Hancock Center. WallTV. Online, share?q=%23architecture&page=30 (accessed October 20, 2013)

PHOTOS 1.  The John Hancock Building. http://chicagochickblog.wordpress. com/2013/10/03/sights-to-see-the-john-hancock-building/ (accessed October 16, 2013).

POST-CIAM 1960-1980

THE FORD FOUNDATION BUILDING Roche-Dinkeloo 1963-1968 New York City by Max Komyshenko

Photo 1

The Initial intent of the architect was to design a building with a sense of community within the organization. The planning that went into the creation of The Ford Foundation building had considered the following; to emphasize community, to conform to the existing streets and surrounding buildings, and to develop a new urban public space. The building design was a radical change when compared to other typical New York City office buildings. An office building that uses less space than the site’s zoning allows, not a common practice in New York to this day. The Ford Foundation was one of the first buildings of its time to implement environmental ideas into its building, such as inclusion of green space, abundance of natural light and irrigation. The design process required many adjustments in order to integrate the high-rise to the west and park to the east so as to blend it into the existing physical context of the neighborhood. The massive height and scale of the inner garden was one of the main gestures of modern architecture. The whole design is born from interest of the workplace, the proper placement on the site, and scale relationships to adjacent buildings.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


he Ford Foundation Building was designed by the architectural firm, RocheDinkeloo.1 The building has some formal elements similar to many other Manhattan skyscrapers in the city, but is departure as well. Begun in 1963-completed in 1967, the Ford Foundation Building, situated on 42nd St., East of Times Square stretches north to 43rd St. The building is representative of liberal ideas in the post world-war II reconstruction period when CIAM, the European high-modernist architectural movement was in vogue in the U.S., but beginning to wane in influence.2 Roche’s association with Mies van der Rohe and other European architects associated with CIAM reveal in use of materials and design principles CIAM influence. For example, Le Corbusier’s Citrohan House (1925-7) is geometric, prismatic, “an expression of volume rather than mass, the walls reading as thin membranes”.3 One could place the two buildings side by side and intuit

Figure 2 The garden acts as an urban anchor that binds the atrium with the existing park to the East


Figure 1 The local zoning law permits 160 feet (48.8m) high building from the sidewalk before the setback takes effect.

visual reference in Roche’s project. As the U.S. attained its key superpower status, the Ford Building opened at the

height of civil rights militancy, anti-war struggles, and internal strife whether black power, 2nd wave feminism or gay rights.4 The radical-liberal philanthropic Ford Foundation itself5 wished for open space, a garden-like atmosphere of atriums and skylights to encourage ideas and create a community of employees to address national and international problems. Roche’s work points in new directions anticipating for example, FAT or biomimicry, green-conscious, sustainable building movements now emerging out of post-modernism, named and described by Jencks, a member of FAT.6 THE SITE (PHYSICAL CONTEXT, TRAFFIC, PEDESTRIAN FLOW), PROJECT DETAILS The street address of the Ford Foundation is 321 East 42nd Street, Manhattan, the central borough of New York City. Economically, thinking

in terms of geography-as-power, it is a formidable address within the key world city of its time. The building’s public face abuts the wider, “wilder” 42nd street, a central thoroughfare of Midtown, further to the West of which at the time of its construction, lay the then infamous, dangerous neighbourhood of Times Square. There is a very intense daily flow of pedestrian traffic, as well as consistent grid-lock automobile traffic along 42nd Street. The site is in the Tudor City neighbourhood and incorporated or built around a small park and a high-rise pre-war residential living complex directly east and west of it.7 Architecturally it is highly detailoriented, revealing a smaller footprint and a unique presence.8 Exterior materials included use of steel that ages to produce a worn look.9 The structure is a rectangle, 200 x 200 feet in diameter, with two subterranean floors, and two upper executive floors suspended via large spandrel girders.10 The garden is 1/3 of an acre (vertical and horizontal). Outside materials include Cor-Ten and glass curtain 10 stories high with pink brown-speckled granite frame. The glass wall looks south and east and enables pedestrians to see the garden and park. The interior L-shaped office space follows the grid lines of Manhattan streets.11 The concept is both open and closed, with executive offices separate but linked to the atrium, enabling privacy.12 At the top a C shaped promenade enables anyone to look down 150 feet to the garden. The skylight is “lozenge patterned” constructed from I-beam trusses with glazing layers.13 The interior courtyard’s columns and walls are 4 inches thick granite facing, visible, emphasizing material and the contrast between built and natural.14

Figure 3 The figure ground of 1928 showing the 12 storey hospital for special surgery in red

Figure 4 The figure ground of 2013 showing the 11 storey Ford Foundation Building in red

SITE AND PROJECT -- SOCIAL, CULTURAL, POLITICAL & PLANNING Planning decisions and struggle, both north and south of midtown, characterizes New York through the 1960s. Ongoing community struggles

against Robert Moses, chief city planner, engineer and hierarchical technocrat, were attempts to challenge his plan to renovate New York by destroying older neighbourhoods, abandoning them to highways and redevelopment 219

POST-CIAM 1960-1979

for elite transformation.15 The despair of poverty and crime intersecting with big money and privilege shape the social and political landscape of urban life and inform planning where the city can be read as a social map of geographical and social contradictions embedded in high urban density.16 The Ford Foundation was designated a New York City Landmark in 1997. In New York City, land is designated according to use type. The Ford Foundation is classified under Administration (ADM) and Landscape (LND).17 At the time of its realization, the Ford Foundation, like the UN which the Roche firm also designed, encapsulated a vision of progressive involvement, like neighbourhood community groups of the Village or SOHO in downtown Manhattan, coming up with new ideas of the organic and urban.18 Gratz notes divide between a community-based urban planner like Jane Jacobs and the entrenched establishment technocratic vision of Robert Moses, who in the high-modernist period, was a key figure advocating topdown centralized design and efficient hierarchically driven planning, amounts to a struggle against what Gratz calls an evisceration process that characterized the city’s zoning department and its chief architectural guru from the 1930s to the 1970s.19 The Ford Foundation structure can be therefore deemed as a strong departure from the usual Manhattan modernist ethos, the specs of high and tall, lack of green space, and anti-community aesthetic. It is opposed, in actuality, to the ‘canyon avenues’ oppressiveness that defines Manhattan planning that destroyed many of the older areas of the city. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS As a firm notable for designing award-winning and sometimes uniquely 220

sited innovative buildings, it is also a firm subject to much recent critique. Writing in Archiseek, it is noted that many see Roche’s buildings as overbearing, an architect of “hulking megastructures”.20 Kevin Roche (b. 1922) of Irish background has life-time connections to European modernism and CIAM, revealing contradictions and an interesting place in 20th century architectural culture. In formative years, whether studying with Mies, a key architecture of the International style, or the years of his employ along with partner John Dinkeloo in the firm of CIAM architect Eero Saarinen and Associates, the ties are evident. After he won the prestigious Pritzker prize in 1982 he paid homage to Saarinen and was noted for work in styles that create “abstractions in glass and masonry”.21 His adherence to the unique programmatic quality of Saarinen’s work, such as the bird-like shapes of the massive New York TWA terminal Roche also worked on, reflect a mix of late modernist

Figure 5 The full height-atrium along with the garden on the lower level create a whole new circulation and traffic patterns between the private and public spaces.

form, Brutalist tendencies of massive glass, concrete, and a post-modern theatrics, anticipating as Palwayn suggests biomimetics and a precursor to biomimicry which he traces back in CIAM work to Le Corbusier.22 The emerging paradigm shift of the late 1960s into the 1970s would notably lay in post-modernism.23 One can argue that in part, Roche incorporated into his repertoire designing the Oakland Art Museum (1966), with its mix of elaboration, ornament, environmental architecture and pastiche, elements of vernacular, mixed with high modernism, Brutalist tendencies of a certain bleakness, and a new softer California earth-arts environmental sensibility. New sustainable concepts and greencity concerns that show how modernism as a diverse movement or set of ideas also contained its humanitarian-spiritual elements as well, show that the RobertMoses form of the high-modernist, postWorld War II International Style, prevalent in New York is challenged by Roche’s Foundation building. Le Corbusier, a founder of CIAM, in the early 20th century, left unfinished or abandoned his own modernism concepts of a skyscraper green city of Paris, in the post world-war II period, himself opting for a more vernacular-spiritual vision of modernism.24 Therefore, the Ford Building is as much an example of a building which by necessity of the surrounding locations references elements of late modernism or the so-called International Style II, but the innovativeness surpasses and transforms architectural aesthetic templates. As many architectural writers and commentators noted the design of the Ford building was seen as “an altogether new kind of urban environment…original, highly Romantic…” a sign that corporate culture

could contain humanitarian and civic conscious through building design.25 Though not all agreed with this, in truth the entire open space and public street-level atrium gives the structure a feeling of light, air and open space not usual in Manhattan’s almost oppressive overbearing urban growth, which has been likened by critics of the city such to a form of celebration of brute capitalist hegemonic dominance.26 In general his firm’s work reveals a growing sense of importance of sculpture, glass, light environment and a humanist civic tendency one does find as well in CIAM philosophy.

of styles and approaches that are even anticipatory of more recent biomimicry. It is a kind of late-modern, post-modern oasis in a Manhattan fabric of intensity, a sign of calm, of innovation in a city of fear, paranoia but also incessant change and hope.

CONCLUSION If the International Style era of Mies et. al. fleeing Europe for America, in one way define a European influence on America, the Ford building is akin more to the emerging California green earth movement and vernacular utopia. Hegemony in American architecture in the post-war period was contained in the steel and glass rectangular thrust of skyscrapers. In contrast, Roche’s cubebox with open light, gardens and atriums invites new hope for human harmony and elegiac sustainability necessary for long-term survival in the face of climate change and overcrowding. The Ford building is unique in midtown Manhattan among skyscraper designation because it is much lower in height than many other modernist buildings with such pedigree, yet remains reflective of the skyscraper style in terms of its relationship, visually, to the surrounding area. It is a good example of the continued influence of CIAM and of modernism, of how influence can be traced from Europe to America but also how architecture is also a fluid cultural opportunity for influence and reshaping, such that Roche’s vocabulary 221

NOTES 1.  Marvel Jonathan et. al. “The Ford Foundation Rediscovered Masterpiece. Metropolis 5:12 (2008) 90-104. 2.  Alan Colquhoun. Modern Architecture. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002). 3.  Colquhoun, 45. 4.  William O’ Neil. Coming Apart. An Informal History of America in the 1960s. (New York: Ivan R Dee. Publisher, 2004). 5.  Karen Ferguson. Top Down: The Ford Foundation, Black Power and the Reinvention of Racial Liberalism. (Pittsburgh: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013) 6.  Charles Jencks and Sean Griffiths. Radical Post-Modernism: Architectural Design. London: John Wiley & Sons, Publishers, 2011), 7. 7.  International Committee for the Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites and Neighbourhoods of the Modern Movement. “Ford Foundation Headquarters” fiche/ford_foundation_headquarters 8.  Ibid, 1. 9.  Ibid, 1. 10.  Ibid, 1. 11.  Ibid, 1. 12.  Ibid, 1. 13.  Ibid, 1. 14.  KRJDAI Ford Foundation Headquarters Kevin Roche-John Dinkeloo and Associates. html 15.  Roberta Gratz. The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs. (New York: Nation Books, 2010 16.  Gratz., 89-91 17.  Ibid, 1. 18.  Gratz, 80-90. 19.  Gratz, xx-xxii 20.  Archiseek. “Turning a rearview mirror on Kevin Roche” (http://archiseek. com/2011/turning-a-rearview-mirror-on-kevin-roche/#.UmFZPylzbmQ). 21.  Paul Goldberger. “Kevin Roche wins Pritzker Prize in Architecture,” New York Times April 15, 1982. 22.  Michael Pawlyn, Biomimicry in Architecture. London: RIBA, 2 23.  Jencks and Griffin, 2011 24.  Pawlyn, 2; Frampton, 2007 25.  Ibid, 1. 26.  Gratz, 2012

PHOTOS 1.  “Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment.” : Yale Press: Places: Design Observer. (accessed November 8, 2013).


POST-CIAM 1928-1959

THE TORONTODOMINION CENTRE Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, Rohe, John B. Parkin and Associates, Bregman + Hamann Architects 1963-1969 Toronto by Jaspall Gill

The Toronto Dominion Centre’s main two buildings were constructed in two parts; the TD Bank Tower in 1967 and the TD North Tower in 1969, of the financial district of Toronto, Ontario. The towers were designed by Mies Van Der Rohe, who was selected due to his previous work on New York’s Seagram building. The TD buildings encompass many of the CIAM ideals which helped inform the final design, such as building high for office spaces, including a connection to the public (achieved through the connection to the PATH), and integrating public open space on the building’s lot. At its completion, the towers were 56 and 46 stories with the tallest being at 223m making them the tallest buildings in Toronto at the time. The height, complexity, and fame of the designer reflects Toronto’s post war plan to become a city of international stature through its monumental display and intensity of built forms. From the perspective of a planner and architect, these buildings mark an era of densification for Toronto.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


fter the industrial revolution caused a wave of overcrowding, poor working environments, and unhealthy cities, business owners began to notice the efficiency that could be gained by building with a sensitivity to social wellbeing. This became an issue due to the increase in workplaces that started to pop up around perimeter of the city and nearby towns which were starting to attract more employment talent. The result of this caused a re-evaulation of cites resulting in an incorporation CIAM principals into city planning in order for downtown employers to remain competitive in their recruitment. This started a wave of mixed use office buildings to be created in downtown cores to provide various onsite amenities for its users. This new building methodology became attractive to developers who saw the new financial benefits of onsite amenities such as malls and restaurants, causing them to be implemented regardless of whether or not it was required by the planning authorities.1 The Toronto-Dominion Centre is an example of this new urban design approach, incorporating shops, restaurants, a theatre, and landscaped

Figure 2 The TD Complex in 1980.


Figure 1 Pre Developement Figure Ground

open space to complement the offices. Built between 1963-1969, located in the financial district of Toronto Canada, commissioned by Toronto Dominion Bank and Fairview Corporation, designed by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe in partnership with John B. Parkin and Associates, Bregman + Hamann Architects, the building incorporates CIAM principals such as, decreasing

commute times, providing space for parking, and grouping of offices.2 PHYSICAL CONTEXT Mies Van Der Rohe’s goal was to accommodate both the work and relaxation needs of his 20,000 office workers within the complex in a unified urban environment. This lead him to impose a vastly different building typology and methodology which, till that point, Toronto had never seen. With a project brief calling for 3.1million sq ft (290,000m2) Mies devised a plan to build on a third of the land, occupying only the absolute necessary foot print, and leave the majority of the site to landscaped open space.3 The one story clearspan building shows his sensitivity to urban design; the banking pavilion houses the the public banking function of the complex, and is made to contrast the skyscrapers with its 1:1 length/width ratio. Due to its public component, Mies decided to address the street and create a more inviting presence

Figure 3 Current Developement Figure Ground

by restricting the building’s height to that of a low rise. The Banking pavilion is situated on site alongside the skyscrapers to lightly define two complementary outdoor squares, each flanked with a the long and short side of both buildings. These squares often serve as an outdoor eating area for the surrounding buildings and a diagonal pedestrian shortcut through the block. In warm weather these area’s often serve as a venue for performances, assemblies and spontaneous collective activities. The building includes underground parking that accommodates over 700 cars, is only 5 blocks away from Canada’s biggest transportation hub, Union Station, and is located nearby a subway station as well as Toronto’s most frequently served streetcar route.4 The buildings are connected underground through an extensive underground shopping facility that became the stimulus for the PATH and included theatre that sat 700 people. The overall plaza was funded

in partnership with the City of Toronto in an attempt help foster the business district as a whole.5 SOCIAL CONTEXT During the post war period the City of Toronto started to become home to European and Chinese refugees

and labourers who were attracted by Canada’s abolishment of racially discriminate immigration policies.This caused a boom in economic growth for the city and allowed the Dominion Bank and The Bank of Toronto to flourish.6 The two banks then merged in Toronto Dominion Bank in order to tackle new prospects as a national canadian bank and commissioned these towers to be built as a display of their stature. Mies responds to their desire by defining a focal point within Toronto’s landscape and setting the constructs back from the street. What results is high tower instead of wide low rise, by taking advantage of the 1:12 permissible floor area site ratio.7 At its completion the towers soared at height of 223m as the tallest buildings in Canada and one of country’s most dense. The building, situated on a 5.5 acre (2200m2) plot of land, housed 3280 people per acre (1.23 people per m2). By providing an open space among Toronto’s dense urban fabric the building stands in accordance with its magnitude it was given.8 The City of Toronto, being interested with the economic growth and international

Figure 4 Skyline of Toronto during 1970


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


Circulation Vegitation

Figure 5 Site plan showing cirulation and plublic space. Interior footprint of the building is illistrated in black

fame the building would bring was aroused by the proposal and even helped fund some aspects of the complex. In this race for stature that the bank as well as the City of Toronto could potentially gain through this project, the Toronto Dominion Centre erased one of Toronto’s oldest high-class hotels. The Rossin House Hotel built in 1856 once stood as one of Toronto’s tallest buildings and occupied the site of which the Toronto Dominion Centre now stands.9 226

It was demolished along with the Bank of Toronto’s original headquarters, built in 1915, and a few other buildings that occupied that lot at the time. In an ironic turn of events, they were replaced with a building that 30 years later achieved protection under the heritage act while the Bank of Toronto and the Rossin House Hotel were over 50 and 100 years old respectively when they were torn down.10 URBAN DESIGN PRINCIPLES In terms of both site selection, urban design, to architectural design, the Toronto Dominion Centre heavily

exemplifies the treaties of CIAM as outlined in the Athens Charter and is perhaps Toronto’s best urban design display with heavy influence from Le Corbusier’s Radiant City. Though his incorporation of on-site landscaped green space to minimize the building footprint, Mies shows a level of constraint and his rejection of the typical ‘build to site footprint’ mentality that most buildings were built with.11 He does this because he sees the contextual benefit that ‘building against the land’ will provide for his client, the aesthetic advantage that landscaped

open space brings to city of which it lacks, and the financial benefit that comes along with building attractive workplaces with unobstructive views to the city.12 The landscaped space also acts as a buffer between the street and the place of work and help separate the building from adjacent lots, reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s office towers in the Radiant City. The selection of the site also lends itself to a conformity of CIAM ideals; the Toronto Dominion Centre is built in the heart of the financial district, in an area that is highly serviced by public transportation and is built on top of a brownfield with pre-existing infrastructure. The Toronto Dominion Centre also includes a link to the PATH, an alternative to the sidewalk to traveling about. By providing a network of shops and entertainment he is both providing an alternate cleaner and safer route than the sidewalk while designing an shopping and entertainment concours. This is especially significant because the complex was one of the first buildings to host the underground tunnel and the

PATH is perhaps one of the worlds best realization of Le Corbusier’s attempt to separate the street from sidewalk.15 There is also a distancing from the roads seen on the sidewalks, where most include stairs, requiring the user to go through a change in elevation to access any of the buildings, all of which are set much further back than any zoning requirement would impose. Figure 7 Landscaped areas

The main aspect of this building that sets it apart from all other buildings prior to it in Toronto, was level diversity of program incorporated within it. The building despite being labeled as an ‘office tower’ included an observation deck, a restaurant, a shopping mall and a theatre.16 This in turn gave the building its own contained ecosystem with its users all provided for without ever having to leave the building, or go very far. Even though this building is protected under the heritage act, it is still evolving, The PATH keeps expanding, the building recently achieved LEED platinum, includes a green roof, and 4 more towers have been erected and added to the complex.17

800m 700m 600m 500m 400m 300m 200m 100m 0m

Giza Pyramid

TD Center

Eiffel Tower

Empire State Willis Tower Building

CN Tower

CONCLUSION The baby boom and rapid immigration has lead to a rapid and chaotic development of cites in an era where city planning is relatively new. This has lead to a type of piece meal assemblance of fairly dense cities. Mies Van Der Rohe takes on the risky challenge of imposing an alien complex into a transforming city and in doing so popularized a new architectural language for other architects to respond to in the City of Toronto. The best way to educate the public it seams in Toronto is to lead by example, with the present-day Mies buildings being overshadowed by new complexes such as Brookfield Place, the Eaton Centre and Toronto City hall -all of which have a design language that stems from CIAM and made popular by the Toronto Dominion Centre. Had Mies not received this commision, Toronto’s downtown could have just as easily turned into Los Angeles downtown progressing in building at a much slower rate, rather today Toronto houses the most skyscrapers under construction in North America.

Burj Khalifa

Figure 6 Height Comparison


NOTES 27.  Stanwick S, Flores J, Arban T. Design city toronto. ; 2007. 28.  Bureau of Architecture and Urbanism. Toronto modern: Architecture 1945-1965 : Catalogue of the exhibition with critical essays. ; 2002 29.  Arthur E, Otto SA. Toronto: No mean city. ; 1986. 30.  Zimmerman C. Mies van der rohe, 1886-1969: The structure of space. ; 2006. 31.  Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, Sandra Dachs, Patricia de Muga, and Laura García Hintze. 2010. Mies van der rohe. 32.  Brantz D, Dumpelmann S. Greening the city: Urban landscapes in the twentieth century. ; 2011. 33.  Mumford EP. Defining urban design: CIAM architects and the formation of a discipline, 1937-69. ; 2009. 34.  Bureau of Architecture and Urbanism. Toronto modern: Architecture 1945-1965 : Catalogue of the exhibition with critical essays. ; 2002 35.  Brantz D, Dumpelmann S. Greening the city: Urban landscapes in the twentieth century. ; 2011. 36.  Stanwick S, Flores J, Arban T. Design city toronto. ; 2007. 37.  Blaser, Werner. 1999. Mies van der rohe: Lake shore drive apartments : High-rise building = wohnhochnaus 38.  Arthur E, Otto SA. Toronto: No mean city. ; 1986. 39.  Zimmerman C. Mies van der rohe, 1886-1969: The structure of space. ; 2006. 40.  Mumford EP. Defining urban design: CIAM architects and the formation of a discipline, 1937-69. ; 2009. 41.  Brantz D, Dumpelmann S. Greening the city: Urban landscapes in the twentieth century. ; 2011. 42.  Stanwick S, Flores J, Arban T. Design city toronto. ; 2007. 43.  Blaser, Werner, and Johannes Malms. 2001. West meets east: Mies van der rohe.

FIGURES 2.  Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, Sandra Dachs, Patricia de Muga, and Laura García Hintze. 2010. Mies van der rohe. 4.  Schulze, Franz, and Mies van der Rohe Archive. 1989. Mies van der rohe: A critical biography. 7.  Blaser, Werner. 1999. Mies van der rohe: Lake shore drive apartments : High-rise building = wohnhochnaus


POST-CIAM 1960-1980

THE UNITED NATIONS PLAZA Kevin Roche & John Dinkeloo 1967-1974 New York City by Mark De Souza

In 1976 the United Nations Plaza, rising forty stories above grade and descending five publically functional stories below, was completed by Roche-Dinkeloo. This dominant steel structure offers an elegant green tinted glazed façade, which slopes and cuts accordingly to respect surrounding buildings. These zoned restrictions were a result of the rapid growth of cities. This rapid growth brought with it a demand for future planning as conceived by Modern Movements, such as the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM), in previous years. During this time of urban redevelopment, after the world war, infrastructure was key. The CIAM Movement saw this redevelopment as an opportunity to plan for the mass growth of cities, allowing them to sprawl by dividing work, home and leisure while utilising strict forms of transportation to connect these functions. As demand and growth continued, the ideas of the modern movement were rejected and urbanism progressed as can be witnessed in urban buildings such as the U.N. Plaza. Here, functions now came together to create a more efficient and versatile building, directly opposing CIAM’s effort, as residential sectors became feasible in the upper floors of commercial high-rise buildings within the working city. The UN Plaza demonstrates its practicality at an urban scale, incorporating shops and restaurants below grade, making the building publically versatile, while achieving its main function by providing office space above. These multifunctional towers are therefore instrumental within the urban redevelopment figure as it offers opportunities for efficiency in space and time, which has become a greater concern in modern times. However, the principals of the CIAM, which includes ensuring better living through green space, should be pursued to compliment the mixed use skyscrapers giving way to our connection with nature in a less condensed setting by creating new networks which are appropriately linked to others through major transportation systems. 229

POST-CIAM 1960-1979


he United Nations Plaza stands elegantly on 44th street and First Avenue in Midtown Manhattan New York away from the busy city core. The tower stands adjacent to the United Nations headquarters and the East river, acting as a hub for social activity in this mixed used area. Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo were commissioned in 1966 for a $300 million project by the Ford Foundation to deliver leasable space joining the United Nations to accommodate the activity brought in by the corporation on a daily basis1 . Built in a city with a concentration of business and activity, the building reflects the ideal of the CIAM and modern planning in an attempt to efficiently use space. The building’s minimalist approach is also representative of the modernist movement during a shift into the postmodern, which would idolize the modern and the classical aesthetics. New York city was immediately an unquestionable leader after World War II but with a rise in crime and deteriorating city conditions, the migration of people influenced innovations in transport systems.. This though left the question of the efficiency

Figure 1 United Nations Plaza


of transport as principles of CIAM and today demand close proximity or ease in commute. Architects Kevin Roche and John Dinkello were familiar with New York City having worked on recent projects within the city such as the Ford Foundation building and the Federal Reserve Bank (un-built but inspired innovation planning). This caught the attention of local planners and businessmen who saw the economic and urban potential for a plaza below buildings. This project represented a change in aesthetic and principles as it departed from structural expression to a weightless form, introducing mixed uses, which accommodated a change in economic needs, and planning principles, when compared to CIAM’s distinctions of land use. SITE CONTEXT Situated in midtown New York on the edge of the dense urban fabric, the multifunctional tower supports needs of nearby residential and commercial entities. With amendments to zoning in consideration of the significance of the corporation, the tower stands out amongst neighboring midrise, residential and commercial buildings.

In 1968 Mayor Lindsay and Governor Rockefeller, were presented two towers at a forty-five degree angle raised on a platform for a public park. However, the feasibility of this proposal was not financially economical, thus increasing the FAR to 18.0 for additional rentable office space, resulting in a total floor area of eight million square feet and the elimination of the open space to the public2. During conception of the UN Headquarters, the relocation of highways and ramps were determined to introduce a tunnel between 41st and 47th street to guide traffic swiftly past the U.N. buildings for security reasons. This led to the expansion of the road at grade to 140ft, promoting a pedestrian friendly street and a spacious approach to the U.N3 . In close relation to CIAM’s principles to benefit the living conditions, the municipal government of New York aimed to respect their streets and the built form, in accordance with the 1961 Zoning Resolution, controlling heights, light and air conditions and recreational space. The United Nations site however, zoned as a special district had the benefit of a higher rise and no set backs to the street in an effort to establish a network on the city’s edge in recognition of the international attention from the corporation4 . This contributed to an effective design with appropriate orientation and requirements but diminished the value of properties in the shadow of the building. The use of land being exhausted within the city did not allow the opportunity for the green space and buffer zones as Le Corbusier emphasized in the charter. Kevin Roche however adapts to these modern constraints by implementing sport and leisure within the building, including a tennis court, a gym and swimming pool.


United Nations



United Nations

Grand Central


Figure 4 Current


Figure 3 UN Site - 1928 Figure 2 Zoning

It can be argued though that this mix of uses may be functionally efficient but do not support healthy living as outlined by the CIAM. connecting people back to nature. URBAN SETTING The ultimate challenge as an Architect in New York City was the congestion of the built form, loss of public space and deteriorating living conditions, catalyzing the flight to the suburbs in the 1950s due to the increasing need for affordable housing no longer available in the city. Nelson Rockefeller, acting mayor of the 1960 was a driving factor in the conception and completion of Roche’s mega-project. Created under his term, the United Nations Development Corporation (UNDC) determined an income from the project, twice of that received by the existing context including business, housing and retail5. Manhattan proved to be a challenge to architects within the design and planning context in terms of political and legal considerations as newly implemented zoning Laws and building codes were accompanied by complicated approval process. As land become more scarce, value of real estate created controversy about what should be public and private. The two main campaigns, concerned by

the shrinking middle class and instable economics, were Jane Jacobs who fought for the quality of life for the citizens against business leaders and government officials who advocated for business at all costs. Meeting the requirements of the UN, the plaza below grade acts as a hub of amenities for the surrounding context of residence and industry.(Fig 2) In relation to the principles of CIAM, the idea of a tower in an already built up context would be absurd. Roche and Dinkeloo’s design resolves the contention between Jacobs and government officials by designing a building that satisfied each parties concern. The building provided housing and recreation, accommodating efficiency in space improving the quality of life for the citizens in the city while functioning as a place of business that lent itself to productive economic activity. . Roche’s design therefore constructs itself to fit the needs of the city in opposition to the separation of land uses seen in the functional city as modern day goals demand a more stringent use of land. INFLUENCE OF THE AGES With a change in economic stability and visions for the development of New York, the United Nations plaza

proved essential to growth of the area to promote the implementation of the recent changes in New York City’s planning. With rapid growth and concentration of business activity in Manhattan, the mix of land uses were essential for proximity to the workplace. This reflected the ideas of the CIAM as they recognized the need to create a diverse use of the land. This would increase pedestrian activity and the communication to the street as New York developed to be a pedestrian focused city after the proposal of expressways through the city were rejected by the public. This adjustment in planning to that of CIAM’s principles of large arterial roads though cities, reflected the modern needs of business men and clients, and the need for proximity to their workplace without the reliance on the automobile. The UN Plaza portrays this innovation in land uses accommodating the needs of the public and corporation, combining the 3 functions. Without the availability of open space though, these high rise towers, essential to modern day planning and CIAM’s principles merely contribute to the concrete jungle of growing cities. New York City moved to accommodate the congestion and issues of light and polution by introducing height and setback controls 231

POST-CIAM 1960-1979

along with sky exposure set backs. These are highly articulated in the glass tower achieving elegant shapes but still not in an appropriate setting according to Le Corbusier. This was in consideration of loss of light to and already densely built city with unviability of land as CIAM’s principles promoted an ideal city by spacing towers widely apart for light and green space, on the premise of a move to new sites for city growth. Cities therefore prohibit healthy development with allowances such as these as economic benefit has proven to be of greater concern to those who benefit from it. SITE INFLUENCE In conception of the functional city by CIAM they accounted for the “concentrated city” in the modern world with individual needs, incorporating daily life and connection to recreation. Le Corbusier emphasized the primary importance of the dwelling and its orientation to the solar system, as this regulates our notion of time6. These dwellings would be part of a standardized and industrialized movement in construction to ensure minimal housing for density and regulate costs for mixed income to avoid slums The United Nations Plaza corresponds to this as it provides a residential and hotel component with minimal use of space for economic benefit of the project. These rooms also have floor to ceiling windows due to the curtain wall used for maximum used of natural sunlight accommodating building cost for heating and cooling. Both towers that stand apart, but visually whole, are effectively oriented to capture maximum sunlight throughout the day. This coincides with Corbusier’s contribution in CIAM as they intend for these skyscrapers to be designed with utmost efficiency in 232





Figure 5 Mixed Uses

space allowing minimal requirements for housing, increasing the density of site to be accommodated by surrounding abundance of green space.. Designs such as these are crucial to the city as it was not oriented axially to the sunlight but created effective angles capturing sunlight and daylight, which could be used in the development of the future planning of cities. DESIGN INFLUENCE In the development of this tower like any other, form followed its multifunctional uses but subtly portrays both in unison whilst complementing and standing out in its context. Using the full building bulk of the site to utilize the designated special zone, the façade to rises the full 39 floors straight off the edge of the side walk. This unfriendly pedestrian to building relationship was determined by the feasibility benefits of the project due to the recent crash in real estate, inspiring investors to

The UN Plaza is a mixed use building acting as a hub for the neighbourhood and the UN Headquarters.

Figure 6 Site Plan


Figure 7 Plaza below grade

maximize rentable space. The elegant slants were also determined in consideration of neighbouring buildings as their zoning restriction influenced a corresponding slant, which also referred to its change in function between floors. This exaggeration in verticality though, has cast a shadow on its neighbours for hours at a time throughout the day, questioning its consideration in its context. In an afterthought of pedestrian consideration, designers sliced off the

Figure 8 Ground Floor

building at the corner of 1st avenue for a more spacious corner and also created a small public park which opens to an exhibition space on the ground floor with its exaggerated lobby connecting the towers. This solution to design contradicts the ideas of CIAM’s tower in the park as it does not incorporate sufficient outdoor activity space for residents and reduces the value of properties in its shadow. Conclusion Bere vent as recaeperchil incitium aut moluptat. Anientur apid quis maximillecae ipsaper untius est apeles dolupta quiaest, simaximus ex et, solut que dionsen distio exces quis sendendaesto cum harum eost re, tet faccus molum aut et archiciet quisi cullit doluptae vition nobis pa etur re laborum autemol uptaspero quam quossime dolupta cumet, ommoluptiam etur sitione et experch ilitat arum none natusdam ut porupist, susapedis aut esequaturit is mos et, sunte dolorrorro quam veruptae. Nam aboreiumet esto mo et pla nem si beaquat. CONCLUSION As years pass by, cities continue to grow beyond their capacity and more stringent uses of land are exercised

separating man and nature even more. Buildings such as the United Nations Plaza exemplify these modern needs and constraints of the overcrowded city, with narrow dark corridors and no room for play. These forseens cocerns by the CIAM continue to challenge the growth of cities, and question their effectiveness of living conditions to the efficiency in space. We must therefore question the benefit of the old buildings which continue to deteriorate and lack the multifunctional requirements of modern day needs as the feasibility and functionality of the mixed use buildings offer space and connectivity, essential to good living and an efficient economy.

Figure 9 Hotel Units


NOTES 44.  Pelkonen, Eeva, Kevin Roche, Kathleen Alder, Olga Pantelidou, and David Sadighian. <i>Kevin Roche: architecture as environment</i>. New Haven [Conn.: Yale University Press :, 2011. Print. 45.  Pelkonen, Eeva, Kevin Roche, Kathleen Alder, Olga Pantelidou, and David Sadighian. - Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment 46.  New York Times. “ The Planning Debate in New York (1955-75) . New York: The Center of the World . WGBH American Experience | PBS.” PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. (accessed September 14, 2013). 47.  Babcock, Richard F., and Wendy U. Larsen. Special districts: the ultimate in neighborhood zoning. Cambridge, Mass.: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 1990. 48.  Pelkonen, Eeva, Kevin Roche, Kathleen Alder, Olga Pantelidou, and David Sadighian. - Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment 49.  Domhardt, Konstanze Sylva. “The Garden City Idea in the CIAM Discourse on Urbanism: A Path to Comprehensive Planning.” Planning Perspectives: PP 27, no. 2 (04, 2012) 50.  Artifice Inc. . “U. N. Plaza - Roche-Dinkeloo - Great Buildings Architecture.” Architecture Design Architectural Images Drawings History and More ArchitectureWeek Great Buildings . http://www.greatbuildings. com/buildings/U._N._Plaza.html (accessed September 14, 2013). 51.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 52.  AIA journal. Washington: American Institute of Architects, 1984. 53.  Pelkonen, Eeva, Kevin Roche, Kathleen Alder, Olga Pantelidou, and David Sadighian. <i>Kevin Roche: architecture as environment</i>. New Haven [Conn.: Yale University Press :, 2011. Print. 54.  Pelkonen, Eeva, Kevin Roche, Kathleen Alder, Olga Pantelidou, and David Sadighian. <i>Kevin Roche: architecture as environment</i>. New Haven [Conn.: Yale University Press :, 2011. Print. 55.  “KRJDA | UN Plaza Graphics.” <i>KRJDA | UN Plaza Graphics</i>. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. < html>.

FIGURES 115.  Fig 1 - “KRJDA | UN Plaza Graphics.” <i>KRJDA | UN Plaza Graphics</i>. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. <>. 116.  Fig 6 - 117.  Fig 7- 118.  Fig 8 - 119.  Fig 9 -

PHOTOS 1. jpg


POST-CIAM 1960-1980

CANADIAN BANK OF COMMERCE COURT WEST (CIBC) York & Sawyer Page + Steele Architects I.M. Pei & Partners 1968-1973 Toronto by Parastoo Mossannen Mozaffary

The Canadian Bank of Commerce court headquarters located in Toronto, Canada, was designed by Leon Ming (I.M) Pei, 1973. The design displays the ideas of the new architecture that fruited from the ideas of the CIAM movement. This movement revolutionized architecture to serve the interest of the society. Purifying architecture was its main goal for the newly emerging anti traditionalist city of the early 20th century. It resulted in the ideas of the functional city which are present in the post CIAM building of the Commerce Court. By connecting the downtown office and retail community via a walkway through the Commerce Court, part of the complex for the Bank of Commerce has become a very functional and essential part of the urban fabric of the financial district in the core of the city. Directly connected to the subway to the central transportation terminal for the city, union station, commerce court is accessible through all corners of Toronto creating hybrid between the social and political context of the site. The dynamic and powerful vision of the architect can be perceived through the bold and modern lines that extenuate the many details. These demonstrate his genius for spaces and his appreciation for human elements in architecture. The seamless stainless steel and glass skin rising over a transparent base connects the complex through its courtyard. In doing so, a new inviting modern vision for an emerging city is introduced. Through its integration of sociopolitical and commercial context, the commerce court has become an architectural icon appreciated worldwide.


POST-CIAM 1960-1980

The 2.5-million-square-foot headquarters of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce west tower, Designed by IM Pei, 1973, is an extension to the existing bank of commerce headcounters built in the 1930s. This complex now consists of four different sized buildings that are constructed around a court. The innovative ideas which formed this complex arise from the Post-CIAM movement which was a result of the emerging city of Toronto after the war1. This anti traditional complex connects to underground parking, retail and subway lines. The goal of the project was to identify a unique skyline while highlighting the civic space located at the street level. The contemporary design of the steel and glass west tower of the commerce court reflects in contrast the client’s already existing 36-story headcounters building made out of limestone which expresses the CIBC’s existing banking hall2. The building’s design and intensions follow the CIAM principle of new anti-traditional solutions such as new material and transparent ground floor. After WWII city of Toronto faced political and financial growth thus resulted in the growth of its financial district. Buildings became a way to show power and importance

hence creating competition within the city urban scape to create the most unique and impressive symbol to characterise their use. There were several projects going on at the same time by famous architects which all have CIAM influences. Anti-traditional design creating a new city escape. Designed by the famous architect I.M Pei, the commerce court west tower, was the tallest stainless steel building in the world and the tallest in Canada at the time it was built, 1973. The buildings wide span structure and seamless spandrels set a powerful trending sense of rules and principles for the city’s growing downtown core.

Figure 1 City Built Form

Figure 2 Underground Pathways


ZONING The city of Toronto was undergoing a major change economically and improving the infrastructure of the city for the city of the future. The influences of CIAM and its revolutionary changes had made a dramatic effect on major cities around the world. The zoning by laws at the time were changing4, and Toronto was becoming a modern city thus requiring modern city planning rules which were being studied and taken notes of at this time. They consisted of a few general rules for the

commercial zones, C1S, which applied to most which were arranged along the major streets. Economic set the highest rules which effected the architecture and the planning of the city. The building of the future had to promise of future revenue and bring economical advantage to the future city, by creating a more pleasurable place for the people to live and work in. The setbacks and the height restrictions weren’t forced on to the buildings strongly. the height, bulk, was to be five times the building area, the commerce court building exceeds this limit however in the outcome it offers something new to the urban fabric of the city a civic space which improved the urban health of the area, and a reflective surface which minimised the bulk in the appearance. These ideas all elevated form the CIAM perceptions and continues to influence the architecture and the urban landscape of the city. These innovative design solutions represented in the Commerce Court and its complex set an exemplary references which are still being looked upon. CIAM INFLUENCES CIAM, Congrès internationaux d’architecture modern , sought to divert architecture from academic concerns. The organization was the major instrument for circulating new ideas in architecture and town planning during the periods from 1930 to 1934 and from 1950 to 1955. The main goal of this movement was to set aside rules and regulation for a “functional city”. Urban planning ideas and regulation that were being seeded in the city focused on uses of space which were related to the physical form, economic functions5, and social impacts of the urban environment which depended

on the location of different activities within it. All of which influenced the living health of the people and the city. These effects are implemented in the design of the Commerce tower and its complex. The open ground floor and the buildings strong connection to the city realm represent a new way of thinking which erected from the CIAM Movement. CONTEXT Commerce court is situated in the commercial and financial center of Canada, Toronto, in the financial district. Many of the country’s largest firms are based there, and most others keep a major architectural presence in the city. Among Canada’s oldest and most noticeable firms are the Big Five banks of this country, and the banks have erected many of Toronto’s most swelling buildings. The Commerce Court rooted in the major intersection of Bay and King Street in the heart of the downtown Toronto. Each corner of this intersection is dedicated to office towers for the major banks. This collection includes four of Canada’s five tallest buildings. At the southwest of Bay and King is Mies van der Rohe’s Toronto-Dominion Centre which was the tallest tower in Canada from 1967 to 1972 right before the erection of the Commerce Court west tower, on the southeast corner of the street. The Commerce court west tower being a major part the many landmarks that make up the financial district in Downtown Toronto, is one of the most elegant buildings which exist on the site. It stands out for its simple yet encouraging solutions which the dense urban fabric was suffering from. The buildings brilliant design wheels pedestrian traffic not only on the ground floor but also underground (Figure 1&

Figure 3 Glass Connection

the building, creating continuity with the exterior features. Hovering over this transparent ground floor sits 57 storey office tower which is based on large wide open functional floors. The floors above have horizontal bands of glass alternating with bands of steel, a simple play with scale, of its surroundings makes this building timeless and fitting in the emerging and changing city. The elegant glass connection to the original headcounters of the CIBC, 1930, makes an elegant transition from the old to the new architectural style revealing

Figure 4 Reflective surface and set back

Figure 2). The heavy pedestrian current is pulled into the bank by a simple set back from the street to emphasize a platform which introduces the entrance this maximizes public access and guides the flow into a very open double height, 2 storey, ground level emerged of glass walls which leads into the civic space. The transparent ground floor floats over only four interior columns, the platform seems to be continues inside

the changing architecture through time (Figure 3). Unlike most of the surrounding structures I.M Pei’s revolutionary design brings light down to the street level by reflecting the sun off its glass and steel wall thus making a pleasurable experience on the sidewalks for the pedestrians ( Figure 4). On a sunny day the seamless reflection of the sky makes the tall bulk building look as if 237

POST-CIAM 1960-1980

25 King St

Jordan St.

ay ST

21 Melinda st

199 B

it is transparent thus making it timeless and a contemporary projection of the building of the future. This office tower is dedicated to the CIBC headcounters and is used by its employees on a day to day basis6. Its powerful connection to the city escape, the cities underground pathways introduced a new move in city planning which was influenced by the CIAM revolution in architecture and city planning. These pathways introduce a new way of thinking about the city and its connections the path ways connect to many other important buildings and the main subway lines making the building accessible, and also presents this building for opportunities for growth and existence in the future city7 (Figure 5). CONCLUSION The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce west tower, Designed by IM Pei, is an exceptional example of the new emerging architecture of its time. The tower exemplifies innovative ideas which have inspired architecture in Toronto and worldwide. The smooth connections to the city escape both street level and underground have made a remarkable design icon which has been followed worldwide. The underground pathways, the connection to the subway and the retail shops which connect the building within the city core have evolved all around the city exceptionally. Their smooth connection to the city escape with the transparent ground floor has made a friendly gesture within the busy downtown Toronto. The Commerce Court west tower is very good example of the Post-Ciam movements which made the city a better place for its inhabitants. 238

Figure 5 Circulation, ground and underground connections

NOTES 1.  “Commerce Court is a destination like no other.” Commerce Court. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2013. <>. 2.  “Commerce Court West.” , Toronto. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2013. <http://>. 3.  - Eric , Mumford . The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960. London: MIT press, 2000. 4.  Toronto (Ont.). Development Dept. Research and Information Division., . Commerce Court; the redevelopment of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce lands in the financial core of Downtown Toronto.. toronto : 1971. 5.  “ARCHITECTURE + URBANISM.” : Eric Mumford: The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism 1928-1960 (2002). http://architectureandurbanism.blogspot. ca/2011/03/eric-mumford-ciam-discourse-on-urbanism.html (accessed September 25, 2013). 6.  Mumford, Eric Paul. Defining urban design: CIAM architects and the formation of a discipline, 1937-69. New Haven: Yale University Press], 2009. 7.  “SNSF-Research ProjectOrganising Modernism. The Case of Post-War CIAM.” SNSF-Research Project — Organising Modernism. The Case of Post-War CIAM — Chair for the Theory of Architecture Dr. Laurent Stalder. (accessed October 25, 2013).

FIGURES 120.  Produced by Parastoo Mossannen Mozaffary

PHOTOS 1.  Taken by Parastoo Mossannen Mozaffary



POST-CIAM 1960-1979

YALE CENTER FOR BRITISH ART Louis Kahn 1969-1974 New Haven, Connecticut by Ailsa Craigen

Yale University is an urban campus located in New Haven, Connecticut, that is characterized by its city-block scaled building grounds and open courtyards. It is intertwined with the city, overlapping city districts and neighbourhoods and sharing public streets. The declaration signed at the 1928 CIAM meeting stated that as a society became more industrialized, architects and the construction industry should embrace new technologies and strive for greater efficiency. Additionally, members of the CIAM attributed importance to the interaction of the built living environment and the city. Louis Kahn’s Yale Center for British Art does not fully embrace new technologies to achieve the design, but Kahn does; however, pay close attention to how the building responds to its surroundings as an urban building and also how it programmatically serves the needs of both the educational and public community. At the time, New Haven was in fiscal posterity and did not want more noncommercial uses in its commercial district; thus Kahn also had to respond to the socioeconomic needs of the city. This rejects late CIAM ideas that private interests were offsetting the balance of power within the city. This paper will utilize the analysis of the Yale Center for British Art in various frameworks to validate conclusions in how it responds to its urban context and how the ideas of the CIAM and the planning of the Yale University campus, as well as New Haven as a whole, affected its design.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


he Post-CIAM architectural period from 1960-1980 saw the development of many works still influenced by the organization after it disbanded. In 1969, Paul Mellon, an art collector and Yale University alumni, commissioned architect Louis Kahn to design a museum for his collection of British art on a site that he owned facing the Yale Art Gallery, also done by Kahn in 1953. The new Yale Center for British Art would convey his collection to the university.1 New Haven zoning requirements posed obstacles that required programmatic changes to the Center. Among others, the shared benefits of the project between the university and the public fall in line with CIAM principles of life flourishing when both the individual and the collective benefit. Contrary to his monumentality approach to the Yale Art Gallery the building has an extremely reduced formal language due not only to budget cuts, but also to respect his own neighboring building.2 Furthermore, Kahn believed that “museums should be a secondary entity that fades behind the artwork.


Figure 1 Figure Ground Diagram


It should pay homage to its holdings and display them well. The museum should be spread out and be completely free.”3 Two years after Kahn’s death, the museum was opened to the public. During the 1960’s Kahn strived for perfection in many of his works, particularly by implementing the golden ratio.4 “Kahn affirmed the importance of such design principles as the poché or “pocketed plan […] and the inseparability of light and built form.”5 The southern facing light wells play an integral role in the lighting of the building as they allow for moderate illumination that does not affect the artwork when directly exposed. THE URBAN CAMPUS Located at the southwest corner of Chapel Street and High Street, the Yale Center for British Art sits on a 0.78-acre site. The Center is situated at the south end of Yale’s urban campus, which is characterized by city-block scaled building grounds with open courtyards. The campus is intertwined with New Haven and shares city districts,


Figure 2 Light Wells

neighborhoods and public streets. The Yale Campus Framework plan outlines a variety of changes and consideration to traffic and pedestrian flows campuswide. New Haven converted regional streets such as Chapel Street to oneway traffic to reduce travel time. Chapel Street is not only a one-way vehicular traffic route (Fig. 3) but is also a major pedestrian artery through campus and the city. The campus comprises of a basic ladder structure that includes primary pedestrian circulation routes and a network of side streets, campus walks and paths to reach various destinations more directly. The twoway traffic for pedestrians and cyclists helps rebalance the needs of individuals who choose to take alternative means of transportation. Finally, the effect of lowering traffic speeds and reducing the amount of cars going through campus is creating a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists alike.6 PROGRAMMING The project was influenced by several social, political, cultural and planning factors. The design prompt called for very specific programmatic needs including several learning oriented spaces. The third to fourth floor of the building accommodates stipulations of exhibition space for pieces, a rare


books collection, a research library, photograph archive, auditorium, classrooms, workshops and offices, and a conservation facility. At the time of its conception, New Haven was in fiscal posterity and therefore did not want more noncommercial uses in their commercial district. As a result 16% of the ground floor surface and a portion of the second floor is dedicated to retail. The storefronts sit at the edge of the property line directly adjacent to the sidewalk to animate them. The four-storey height falls in line with New Haven’s vision to create density without high-rise towers. 7 During the design process it was recognized that the program for the Center would have to be scaled down considerably. Construction costs increased 42% since the time of Mellon’s gift. The Yale office of Buildings and Grounds Planning issued the revised building program on May 6, 1971, which included special sizes. 8






Figure 3 Vehicular and Pedestrian Circulation. Surrounding street are one way vehicular traffic to control congestion, and serve as major pedestrian arteries through the campus and city.

NEW HAVEN IN THE POST-WAR ERA The post-war spirit in New Haven can be best described as a reaction in opposition to the policies and architectural strategies of the pre-war era. Previously, buildings were to be built in locations that best realize a dominant center and grand overall pattern for the campus. In the post-war period from 1953-1976, the location for new buildings, instead, were on sites, which best served their individual functions, and whose architectural style followed the modern “style for the job.”9 This style of thinking was a new phenomena and drew international attention from other urban campuses. New Haven was at the same time trying to reinvent itself and rebound from its financial problems through urban renewal and highway construction programs. This was not; however, reflect in its

relationship with Yale University. Instead of its cooperative relationship, which existed in the late 1960s, an adversarial rapport developed and caused issues with the approval process for major projects such as the Center for British Art. Due to budget restraints, few new university buildings in this time received any sort of architectural recognition, and old buildings became harder to maintain. Area plans for sections of the campus were created; however, it has only been recently understood the importance for the campus’ complex structure to be properly integrated with the City of New Haven.10 INFLUENCE OF CIAM PRINCIPLES Through the use of material, geometry and light, it has been said that in the Yale Center for British Art, Kahn had successfully created a building that resonates with the influence of many architectural periods; however, cannot be traced to any specific one.11 Elements of CIAM principles and by extension, the Athens Charter can be seen in how the Center for British Art sits within its campus, and urban context. The Athens Charter states “Life flourishes only to the extent of accord between the two contradictory principles that govern the human personality; the individual and the collective.”12 From this, the integration of personal and community benefit is an important aspect of buildings in relation to their context. This principle is illustrated through the programmatic uses present in the Center for British Art. Yale University benefited from the building as it houses many resources and spaces that are beneficial to its academic legacy, and the city benefited from its existence as it facilitates economic and social growth on the commercial centre of 243

POST-CIAM 1960-1979

EDUCATION EXHIBITION R E T AI L Chapel Street. The Charter illustrates how a universally beneficial building becomes the most successful in an area where economic, political and social considerations are prevalent, such as an urban campus. The Charter also outlines the impact of economic circumstance. The project constraints are “affected by economic circumstances, by the resources of the region, by its natural and artificial contacts with the outside world [and] the political situation and the administrative system.”13 The financial stability of New Haven greatly affected not only the building of the Center for British Art, but also the development of Yale University as a whole. The economic situation determines whether its movement will be in a “progressive or recessive direction.”14 In the case of Yale, the poor economic state of New Haven was detrimental to its growth and development. Beyond the occasional renovation, the university saw little to no updating during this period. Operational budget deficits made the building and planning program less immediately visible and also affected the aesthetic of the buildings that were erected. Not only was the aesthetic of Kahn’s building a reflection of his personal principles on what the role of a museum is, but also responds to poor economic conditions through the use of few materials limited to concrete, steed, and oak wood.15 244

Figure 4 CIAM principle of Collective and individual benefit expressed through the programmatic division of spaces. Educational spaces directly benefit Yale University as an individual, and exhibition and retail space benefit both the university and the city of New Haven as a collective whole.

With respect to the location of the building as an academic institution, the Charter condemns the situating of schools close to heavily used traffic routes. The Yale Center for British Art is located on one of the main traffic arteries of New Haven; however, this benefits the institution as the increased foot traffic increases the utilization of the retail spaces and its easy accessibility to students and the community enriches the special use and is beneficial to the individuals who have access to such rich academic resources. The Charter also mentions the importance of having housing in close proximity to schools and academic buildings.16 The Center for British Art has apartment buildings located on the same block and is also in close proximity to a number of restaurants and various amenities. The Athens Charter also highlights the importance of green and public space. While the Yale campus has many public parks and gardens, there is no

open public space situated on the entire city block where the Center for British Art is located. Since the city was facing economic posterity, making as much use of land in the most diverse way possible was important for its economic revitalization. This being said, the lack of greenery and open space negatively impacts the aesthetic of the location. In this case, the landscaping qualities of the site do not adhere to CIAM recommendations. CIAM not only intended to formalize the architectural principles of the Modern Movement, but also saw architecture as “an economic and political took that

Figure 5 Majority of green space on the Yale University campus is located in the “Upper Prostpect”, “Science Hill” and “Old Campus” sections, which are the oldest parts of the university.

could be used to improve the world through the design of buildings and through urban planning.”17 Not only was the Yale Center for British Art intended to enrich the academic resource collection of Yale’s fine arts community, but its construction was also used as an economic tool of revitalization for the city and the university. CONCLUSION While Louis Kahn’s work on the Center for British Art cannot be associated to any particular architectural movement, it observes several CIAM principles even after its disbandment. The principles, which were recognized in the project, generally benefit the university and the city simultaneously through cultural and economic growth and prosperity. Considering the economic condition in New Haven at the time and the programming required, the project as conceived and built was appropriate to its context as a building on an urban campus. The value of the Center for British Art is fully recognized in today’s society and is undergoing a conservation plan by the university to accommodate for the growing art collection.18 The Yale Center for British Art not only serves as a university building where students have access to invaluable resources but also hosts exhibitions available to the community. As CIAM advocates, a successful building serves the uses of the individual and the collective.


NOTES 1.  Gast, Klaus, and Louis I. Kahn. Louis I. Kahn: the idea of order. Basel: Birkhäuser, 1998. 2.  Gast, K., & Kahn, L. I. (1998). 3.  “AD Classics: Yale Center for British Art / Louis Kahn | ArchDaily.” ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwide. Semptember 9, 2013. <> 4.  “Louis Kahn / - Design/Designer Information.” Louis Kahn / - Design/ Designer Information. (accessed November 8, 2013). 5.  Jordy, William H., and Mardges Bacon.”Symbolic essence” and other writings on modern architecture and American culture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005. 6.  Cooper, Robertson & Partners. Yale University: A Framework for Campus Planning. New Haven, CT: Yale University, 2000. p. 59 7.  Jordy, William H., and Mardges Bacon. p. 24 8.  Loud, Patricia Cummings, and Louis I. Kahn. The art museums of Louis I. Kahn. Durham: Published by Duke University Press in association with Duke University Museum of Art, 1989. 9.  Cooper, Robertson & Partners. p. 25 10.  Cooper, Robertson & Partners. p. 25 11.  Kehagias, Nicholas. (2010). Formal Analysis: Louis Kahn’s Yale Center for British Art. Yale University: New Haven. 12.  The Athens Charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. p. 45 13.  The Athens Charter. p. 46 14.  The Athens Charter. p. 46 15.  Gast, K., & Kahn, L. I. (1998). 16.  The Athens Charter. p. 59 17.  Sert, J. L. and CIAM. Can Out Cities Survive? An ABC of Urban Problems, Their Analysis, Their Socutions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1942. 18.  Building Conservation Project | (n.d.). YCBA Home Page | September 9, 2013. < http://britishart.yale. edu/architecture/building-conservation-project>

FIGURES 1.  2.  3.  4.

FIgure Ground. Ailsa Craigen Light Wells. Ailsa Craigen Vehicular and Pedestrian Circulation. Ailsa Craigen Programming. Base Image: North Elevation: Chapel Street retail fronts. Yale Center for Britsh Art Official Website. < architecture> 5.  Green Space. Base Image: Cooper, Robertson & Partners. Yale University: A Framework for Campus Planning. New Haven, CT: Yale University, 2000.


Jovare, ALNNJ CT Trip Yale British Art Museum 06. Flickr. July 28, 2007. <>


POST-CIAM 1960-1980

THE WILLIS TOWER Bruce Graham and Fazlur Khan of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 1970-1973 Chicago by Pritish Pathak

Completed in 1973, the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower in Chicago by SOM (Skidmore, Ownings and Merrill) is a major skyscraper that was constructed of the International style. Although the Willis tower epitomizes the simple aesthetic and functional possibilities of the International style, it breaks convention of the modern skyscraper by not rising as a simple extrusion. Influenced by CIAM principles of using architecture as an economic and political tool, the tower was designed, in collaboration with the Mayor’s office, to bring major economic development to an undeveloped part of Chicago. At 108 stories tall the Willis tower is famous for not only once being the tallest building in the world, but also for its unique structural system. Nine interlocking tubes that are separate 75’ X 75’ buildings come together creating the bundled tube configuration with each tube rising out of the ground at varying heights, giving the building its unique staggering characteristic. The variations in height due to this stepping effect back allow the building to meet set back regulations. This structural system provides the building with large open office spaces on the lower floors and smaller offices on the upper floors with unhindered views of the city. Structural elements of the building are clad in dark aluminum panels while the rest in bronze tinted glass panels providing the interior with sufficient warm natural light.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


ompleted in 1973, the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower located in downtown Chicago was once the tallest building in the world. Sears, Roebuck, & Company (Sears) commissioned Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) in 1969 to design a building that would house their headquarters. Completed in the Post-CIAM era, the Willis Tower makes several references to CIAM principles in regards to its political, economic, social contexts, and aesthetics. The main design principle of this building is the “bundled tube configuration” developed by project architect Bruce Graham and project engineer Fazlur Khan1. Nine tubes that are separate 75’ X 75’ steel framed buildings interlock in a 3 X 3 configuration and rise out of the ground at varying heights, giving the building its unique staggering characteristic2. SOM were able to provide Sears with the tallest building while saving $10 million3 in steel and construction costs due to the building’s efficient design; coinciding with the CIAM principle of “assembly-line” like efficiency in building construction as outlined during CIAM 2, 19294.

SITE: PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION Located towards the western edge of the Loop, Chicago’s central business district, the Willis Tower site occupies an entire city block. The site boundaries are Adams Street and Jackson Boulevard on the north and south respectively; and Franklin Street and Wacker Drive on the east and west respectively. The site experiences a natural decrease in elevation as it extends eastward towards Lake Michigan. The building lies at a significant intersection in the city, south-east corner of Adams Street and Wacker Drive, as Adams Street is a major axis terminating at the Art Institute of Chicago on the east and Wacker Drive defines the western edge of the Loop. Primary vehicular and pedestrian circulation occurs along the four site boundaries. The pedestrian plaza is a key feature of the site as it stitches together Franklin Street and Wacker Drive by providing pedestrians an alternative besides the sidewalk along Jackson Boulevard. Access points into the offices/commercial spaces of the building are located on the east and west however due to the slope of the site, the east access point is a story below the west. A separate entrance is

FAR: 1 Number of units: 4

Figure 1 Diagram explaining Floor-Area RatioFAR: 1


Number of units: 4

located on the building’s southern end for access to the Skydeck (observation deck), a major tourist attraction. The building was designed to function as an office tower and that was its primary program until Sears vacated the building in 1992 when their bold growth projections were not met. Today the building houses a host of corporate offices and smaller commercial / retail spaces. SITE: HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Early zoning attempts in Chicago began in the late eighteenth century with Daniel Burnham’s City Beautiful Movement. This movement was primarily a response to concern over public health and safety; it was a European style beautification of the city based on Beaux Arts principles. Burnham’s “Plan for Chicago” was never fully implemented however5. The zoning ordinances of the next few decades were piecemeal attempts at land use regulation by city officials6. The 1957 zoning ordinance was the first cohesive ordinance and is still the primary regulatory ordinance today. In a city of skyscrapers, this ordinance focused heavily on building heights. The ordinance adopted the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) to control building heights and bulk. The FAR approach replaces the more restrictive height / volume / setback regulations by giving developers a choice between designing tall lean buildings or short bulky buildings. The Willis Tower site was designated “Downtown Core District” with a FAR of 16, (DC-16) and classified as commercial7. The FAR approach was implemented with a bonus system by Chicago city officials that provided developers with incentives if their buildings set back as they increased in height, admitting sunlight and fresh

air to the street level, or if they provided open space on the site, creating a public plaza8. Thus the Willis Tower’s setbacks as it increases in height and its inclusion of a pedestrian promenade are reflective of these planning bylaws. The development of this project was influenced by CIAM principles of using architecture as a social, political, and economic tool; thus in collaboration with local political entities, the Willis Tower brought about economic prosperity, affecting social perception of the building. Sears had expanded to become the largest retailer in the US by 1969. A net income of $441 million that year afforded Sears the opportunity to develop an impressive modern building to house their new headquarters9. Sears chose Chicago due to the company’s significant financial gains locally and as a sense of loyalty to the city where it was founded. Chicagoans today are still hesitant to call it the “Willis Tower” due to Sears’ importance to the city. Sears collaborated heavily with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to purchase the Wacker Drive site due to its key location in the Loop. Daley was keen on bringing Sears’ new headquarters to Wacker Drive due to the commerce that it promised to bring to the Loop area; a part of Chicago which was still partially undeveloped10. Through a series of zoning ordinances, Daley lifted the existing height restrictions of the site11. However, Daley had to fight city council to lift these restrictions to gain approval for this building12. With the height restriction lifted, SOM were able to design the world’s tallest building for Sears, with a FAR of 3613. Due to the more than double permissible FAR, the Willis Tower has a much higher density than would have otherwise been achievable. The bundled tube system reflects the economic context

Figure 2 L: Streets left as void by buildings R: Sites/buildings carved out by streets


Floors 1-50


Floors 1-66


Floors 1-90


Floors 1-108

Figure 3 The bundled tube configuration

surrounding this project. This system provided Sears with large open office spaces on lower floors for their workers where access to windows and views wasn’t a key requirement and more intimate, exclusive offices with unhindered views of the city that Sears planned to rent out, for a high rental value, until the company expanded into the upper floors. Therefore the economics behind the building dictated

its shape. In 2009, as Sears’ naming rights expired, Willis Group Holdings leased a portion of the tower and obtained its naming rights. CIAM INFLUENCES CIAM 4, 1933, was arguably the most important meeting of the organization as it developed the idea of “The Functional City” as documented in the Charter of Athens. During CIAM 4, 249

POST-CIAM 1960-1979


Stepping back of the Willis Tower permits fresh air and natural light to reach street level.

Pedestrian promenade on the south end of the site.

Jackson Blvd.

Public park. The Willis Tower pedestrian plaza acts as an extension to this park.

Adams St.

Le Corbusier, one of CIAM’s founding principals, presented a revolutionary idea regarding urbanism. He argued that urbanism is a three dimensional science, stressing the importance of height as one of those dimensions14. Le Corbusier was a proponent of tall buildings because they “offer[s] the possibility of freeing spaces for modern traffic circulation and for recreational purposes15.” The Willis Tower reflects this planning principle. The building soars 1450 feet16 into the sky yet occupies only the northern 2/3 of the site; the remaining 1/3 is an open pedestrian plaza. The Charter also states that high density cores are key to a city. Designed to accommodate for and occupancy of 12000 people, the Willis Tower has an extremely high density17. The Charter further states that high density zones must be combined with open parks and public squares to create better living and working conditions18. By providing a generous public promenade on the south of the site, the project not only accommodates for this, but also aligns with the Charter’s tenet that “pedestrian routes and automobile routes should follow separate paths19.” A key tenet of the Charter of Athens was its rejection of the idea of recycling architectural styles. It states “The reuse of past styles of building for new structures in historic areas under the pretext of aesthetics has disastrous consequences. The continuance or the introduction of such habits in any form should not be tolerated20.” Although the Willis Tower is located in a historical neighbourhood, surrounded my numerous heritage buildings, it does not imitate their aesthetic. Instead the Willis Tower is constructed of the International Style that emerged during the CIAM period. The Willis Tower has a simple, unornamented aesthetic

and a humble material palette of dark aluminum cladding, bronze tinted glass and steel that is characteristic of this style. However, due to the “bundled tube” configuration, the building breaks convention of the International style by not rising as a simple rectangular extrusion. The use of steel in the building can be considered a response to Le Corbusier’s argument that the urbanist has the choice between either “extending or contracting the city21.” Should the choice be made to contract the city, concrete or steel must be used to maintain “the essential joys of the sky, trees and light22.” CONCLUSION Today the Willis Tower is still heralded as an engineering marvel and an architectural gem. While constructed of the International Style, the simplicity and efficiency of the “bundled tube” configuration succeeds in giving the tower its iconic staggering profile that sets it apart from the pure rectangular extrusions that are representative of

Figure 4 North-South site section

this style. Completed in the post-CIAM era, several links can be made between the building and CIAM principles. These links are most poignant in the building’s reflection of social, political, and economic contexts; its use of the site by including a pedestrian plaza; and in its response to the city’s zoning ordinances including height, setbacks, and density. However the Willis Tower does contradict a key CIAM principle as outlined in the Charter of Athens. The Charter states “The dimensions of everything within the urban domain should relate to the human scale23.” In a city of skyscrapers however this argument can apply to all the buildings. The Willis Tower’s sheer scale overrules human scale. However the building’s bulk and density is concentrated on two thirds of the site. Thus by providing the remainder of the site, a significant portion, to enlarge the pedestrian promenade, the building’s

bulk becomes more bearable. The contexts surrounding this building have undoubtedly stitched it into the fabric of Chicago’s architectural history.

Figure 5 The Chicago skyline


NOTES 19.  Adams, Nicholas. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill: SOM since 1936. Milan: Electa Architecture, 2007. 20.  Littlefield, David, and Will Jones. Great modern structures: 100 years of engineering genius. London: Carlton, 2007. 21.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. Print. 22.  Menges, Axel. Architecture of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 1963-1973. London: Architectural Press, 1975. 23.  Schwieterman, Joseph, and Dana Caspall. The Politics of Place: A History of Zoning in Chicago. Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, 2003. 24.  Menges, A. Architecture of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 1963-1973. 1975. 25.  Schwieterman, J. Caspall, D. The Politics of Place: A History of Zoning in Chicago. 2003. 26.  Bush-Brown, Albert. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Architecture and Urbanism 1973-1983. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company Inc., 1983. 27.  Schwieterman, J. Caspall, D. The Politics of Place: A History of Zoning in Chicago. 2003. 28.  Kriken, John Lund, Philip Enquist, and Richard Rapaport. Principle Eight: Density. In City building: nine planning principles for the twenty-first 29.  Corbusier, Le. La Charte D’Athenes. Paris: Les Editions De Minuit, 1957. 30.  Mumford, E.P. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. 2000. 31.  Littlefield, D. Great modern structures: 100 years of engineering genius. 2007. 32.  Kriken, J.L. Enquist, P. Rapaport, R. Principle Eight: Density. 2010. 33.  Corbusier, Le. La Charte D’Athenes. Paris: Les Editions De Minuit, 1957. 34.  Mumford, E.P. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. 2000. 35.  Mumford, E.P. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. 2000. 36.  Mumford, E.P. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. 2000. 37.  Mumford, E.P. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. 2000. 38.  Mumford, E.P. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. 2000. 39.  Corbusier, L. La Charte D’Athenes. 1957. 40.  Corbusier, L. La Charte D’Athenes. 1957. 41.  Mumford, E.P. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. 2000.

FIGURES 121.  122.  123.  124.  125.

Pritish Pathak, Floor area ratio, 2013. Pritish Pathak, Streets as voids, 2013. Pritish Pathak, Bundle tube configuration, 2013. Pritish Pathak, North-south site elevation, 2013. Smith, Chris . Into Chicago. N.d. Flickr, Chicago. photos/cjsmithphotography. Web. 25 Oct. 2013.

PHOTOS 1.  Smith, Chris . Into Chicago. N.d. Flickr, Chicago. photos/cjsmithphotography. Web. 25 Oct. 2013.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979

WILLIS FABER & DUMAS HEADQUARTERS Foster + Partners 1971-1975 Ipswich, England by Danielle Van Ooteghem

The town of Ipswich, England is a town in which the preservation of its historical, social, political and physical context is a prominent focus for town planners and architects. Working within the site constraints of the historic buildings and the abstract geometries of the medieval winding streets, Foster + Partners were given a particular challenge when asked to design a commercial office building in the heart of downtown. Not only was this building to reflect the principles of CIAM in the post-CIAM era, but also to contribute to the history of the old city. In response to the site, Foster + Partners designed the Willis Faber & Dumas Headquarters at the scale of the surrounding buildings, contradicting the innovative skyscraper that was being erected in most major cities. The building also flowed to the edges of the site constraints, creating a glass faรงade that followed the structure of the winding streets. This faรงade mirrored the surrounding historic buildings during the day, and was transparent to the inner social interactions at night. This faรงade was part of the contribution to the post-CIAM principles of innovation demonstrated by Foster + Partners. The building also encompassed open concept floors, connected through an atrium and a series of recreational spaces. This represented the connection between changing communication in new buildings as well as the division of labour and leisure, both at the scale of the individual building and at the scale of the city itself.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


mongst the low rise rectilinear Renaissance and Tudor style buildings and winding medieval roads is a monumental glazed form, unlike anything of its era1. The Wills Faber and Dumas Headquarters is an iconic building located in the historic centre of Ipswich, England built for the Willis Faber and Dumas Insurance Company. Commissioned for the project in 1971, architects Foster + Partners were faced with the challenge of creating a modern building that was functional, responded to the historic urban fabric and applied to the principles of post-CIAM town planning. The initial challenge was creating something that responded both to the old and to the new – the old town character and the new technologies of the business atmosphere. To do this, Foster + Partners developed the idea of a free formed plan that flows to the extents of the site, formed by the outline of the medieval street pattern. The building is three stories tall, keeping within the scale of the surrounding buildings. It reflects the buildings, literally, with its dark glass façade during the day and becomes transparent to the lit interior at night2. The parti of the building

Figure 1 Solid to void of Ipswich 1970 - Present


– two working floors of offices in between spaces for leisure and support functions - is an important response to the social context of the town, incorporating a multi-functional and flexible programming space consisting of workplace, recreation and leisure space, a restaurant and a green roof.3 Its central location at the hub of the city creates an important connection to the increasing residential population of the area as well as a vital transportation connection to major centers such as London, the location of Willis Faber and Dumas Insurance Company main building. Completed in 1975, the building was an exploration into a new image for the center of Ipswich while still maintaining its important historic context.4 SITE CONTEXT The Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters building is largely a product of its physical context within the site and within the city as a whole. At the scale of the city, the building is situated near the centre of the historic downtown core at the edge of the old city and is classified as a conservation area. It is one of two Grade 1 listed

buildings on the city block, the other being the Unitarian Meeting House, which is directly adjacent and uses this new uniform façade as a backdrop.5 The site was more than ideal for the Willis Faber and Dumas Insurance company client because it had good facilities, good communication links for new families and new development and because of its location and connectivity relative to the big city centre of London. The building was meant to encourage a healthy living environment and evoke a sense of community in the workplace, and for this, the smaller suburban centre of Ipswich was more appealing. At the time, Ipswich was growing economically and was more than welcoming to the idea of this building bringing workers and their families into the town. The site within Ipswich was also a good choice because of its immediate physical context. Since the building would be bringing workers and their families to the city, a variety of residential areas, good schools, and open green space and countryside were located close by, as well as market shops. For families, the site was designed at a human scale, with everything they need in close proximity. The building itself incorporated a restaurant, usable green roof, and a public swimming pool – something that the city did not have access to at the time. The building not only acted as a economic and business base for the town, but also as a supporting element for programming and physical context.6 The plan outlines the curves of the medieval street patterns that still exist in the town. Originally, there was a street that travelled directly through the site, but as the project developed, more and more land was required and approved. The building now intersects what used to be a small road intersection

that has been rerouted to follow the outline of the building. This created a small pedestrian outdoors area with connection to the green space to the East of the building. The building is very accessible as it is surrounded on three sides by main roads and on all sides by pedestrian and biker walkways. It has connection to the train station and train tracks, which are accessible from the ring road to the West of the site.7 PLANNING CONTEXT AND ZONING Faber + Partners had an important job to do when designing a building in such a historically sensitive area. It was a method of the times to introduce high-rise office towers and glass facades, however, although the firm considered this as an option, they found that the response to social, political, historical and cultural contexts were much more important for this particular project. Without ignoring the principles, they managed to combine the two efforts to create a contextually sensitive response both as a building within the city and as a community within the building itself.8 Social context was considered through the development of the building

Figure 2 Initial Design Ideas

as a multi-purpose programmatic space. Not only was it an office building with open concept floors, but also a building of recreation and a place of social gathering by including a public swimming pool, rooftop garden and restaurant. The social dimension was added to the workplace by creating a greater sense of community, both within the building and within the residents of the town. Every aspect of the interior detail was planned and designed by Foster + Partners. The free circulation, open floor plans, and central core of escalators were also meant to create a social dimension within the building. Cultural context was an important consideration in the formation of a modern building on a historic site. The scale of the building, although high in bulk, responds to the cultural context of the building in a number of ways. First, it responds to the height of the surrounding buildings by keeping within the scale, reaching a final height of only 21.5m. It also responds to the low-density historic core of Ipswich, providing ample green space, open concept working areas and free flowing circulation for a capacity of 1350 workers. There is minimal imposition on the buildings and streetscape surrounding it. Finally, it responds to the character of culture in a literal way by reflecting the images of the historic buildings during the day onto its innovative curtain wall that encompasses the entire building envelope. At night, the business culture of the building can be seen as the curtain wall becomes transparent to display the interior spaces.9 The political context is referred to through the planning processes and the need to do what was best for the town and the good of the people at that time. Although many buildings of the time following CIAM principles

Figure 3 Site Development in chronological order from top to bottom


POST-CIAM 1960-1979

were looking at efficient high rise office towers, the historic context of Ipswich led town planners to place a height ban on new developments in the downtown core. The original site of the Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters was divided by two streets and contained a variety of old low-rise buildings including warehouses, shops, and pubs.10 These buildings were decreasing the value of the downtown core because of their lack of usage and shabby appearance. They were to be demolished, however, because of issues concerning gaining the rights to the land and relocation and reassembly of historic buildings, development on the project was postponed.11 Even after the site was obtained, it was a while before any type of solid site boundaries were defined, as the architects worked with planners to take over more ground plane to make up for loss in height envelope. Decision making processes moved rapidly as there was the need to build quickly and efficiently on such a central urban site.12 Once the building was completed and began to be occupied, employees and their families began moving to the area, creating an influx in the need for residential accommodations and providing the city of Ipswich with economic prosper.13 CIAM PRINCIPLES AND ANALYSIS Constructed not in the period of time not long after CIAM, the Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters building is a smart response to many of the planning and design principles enforced through The Athens Charter. The charter covers guidelines for the return of the individual to nature to the building both through open green space and access to sunlight.14 The Willis building does this in a number of ways. First, more than half of its roof 256

is a programmable green roof for use of both the workers and the public. Secondly, the faรงade on all sides of the building is a solid glass curtain wall, allowing light into the building through all sides at all times of the day, all throughout the year. This innovative curtain wall, first of its time to be without mullions along with the flexible open floor concept, raised floors, the use of escalators, solar panels, and planning for the future of computers can all be related to the planning guideline that refers to the use of modern technologies in new developments. This building is known for its innovation at the time.15 The business city should also be an extension of the dwelling and should be intended for collective use, and therefore the distance between work, recreation, residential and industry must be minimal, remaining within the heart of the city.16 The Willis building speaks to this, as it is an office building, a recreation facility, food stop and outdoor space for the workers

Figure 4 The Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters (shown in black) is in a central location in relation to roadways and the historic centre of Ipswich. It is in close proximity to the central shopping area, residential areas, business offices, recreation centres, and commercial areas. The downtown core is created at a human scale with ammenities for transportation and accessibility to closeby cities.

and their families to use located at the historic heart of the community. The design by Foster + Partners enforces the idea of creating a community within the workplace and a workplace at the centre of the community of Ipswich that is easily accessible from supporting programmatic areas. It is located at the junction of three major streets.17 This building also speaks to the majority of the historic guidelines set out by the Athens Charter. It refers to the need for new developments to improve existing city conditions and the need for the preservation of historic aspects of the community.18 The construction of the Willis building required that old industry buildings and pubs be demolished on the site – this improved the appearance of the downtown core. The building itself follows the contours of the historic road patterns and fits in with the scale of the surrounding town fabric rather than imposing on it.19

Finally, there are four key functions of urbanism as outlined by the Athens Charter listed as: inhabiting, working, recreation and circulation.20 The unique aspect of the Willis Faber and Dumas Building is that it responds to all these four elements as the building as a community and as the building within the community. As described in the site analysis this building inhabits the downtown core and created important relationships between areas of dwelling, working and recreation. It is located at a major intersection and easily accessible with important links to transportation outside of the city. These aspects are demonstrated within the building by having a multi-purpose building with the focus around central circulation.21 CONCLUSION The Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters is a sensitive response

to the historic, cultural, political and social context of Ipswich, England. It is an innovative solution to incorporate the needs of a developing business office into the needs to preserve the historic fabric of an old town, responding well to the scale and needs of the community. It also responds to the CIAM principles as outlined in the Athens Charter, allowing the guidelines to provide opportunity rather than constraints. This is done through the careful planning of the building within its greater connection to England, its connection to the city of Ipswich, the community of the downtown core, and the business community within the office. Although faced with a particular challenge, Foster + Partners, along with town planners were able to create a building that met the needs of the area both in the post-CIAM era and up until this day.





Figure 5 Overall Building Concept relating to CIAM


NOTES 1.  Bramante, Gabriele. Willis Faber & Dumas building: Foster Associates. London: Phaidon, 1993. 2.  Foster + Partners. “Willis Faber & Dumas Headquarters | Projects | Foster + Partners.” (accessed October 16, 2013). 3.  Foster, Norman, and Ken Powell. Willis Faber & Dumas headquarters: Foster + Partners. Munich: Prestel, 2013. 4.  Foster + Partners. “Willis Faber & Dumas Headquarters | Projects | Foster + Partners.” (accessed October 16, 2013). 5.  Foster + Partners. “Willis Faber & Dumas Headquarters | Projects | Foster + Partners.” (accessed October 16, 2013). 6.  Foster, Norman, and Ken Powell. Willis Faber & Dumas headquarters: Foster + Partners. Munich: Prestel, 2013. 7.  Bramante, Gabriele. Willis Faber & Dumas building: Foster Associates. London: Phaidon, 1993. 8.  Foster, Norman, and Ken Powell. Willis Faber & Dumas headquarters: Foster + Partners. Munich: Prestel, 2013. 9.  Foster + Partners. “Willis Faber & Dumas Headquarters | Projects | Foster + Partners.” (accessed October 16, 2013). 10.  Ipswich Borough Council. “Planning Online.” Ipswich Borough Council. (accessed October 17, 2013). 11.  Macdonald, Angus. The Engineer’s Contribution to Contemporary Architecture: Anthony Hunt. London: Thomas Telford, 2000. 12.  Bramante, Gabriele. Willis Faber & Dumas building: Foster Associates. London: Phaidon, 1993. 13.  Foster, Norman, and Ken Powell. Willis Faber & Dumas headquarters: Foster + Partners. Munich: Prestel, 2013. 14.  The Athens Charter. 63. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 15.  Foster + Partners. “Willis Faber & Dumas Headquarters | Projects | Foster + Partners.” (accessed October 16, 2013). 16.  The Athens Charter. 70-76. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 17.  Ipswich Borough Council. “Planning Online.” Ipswich Borough Council. (accessed October 17, 2013). 18.  The Athens Charter. 85-88. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 19.  Foster + Partners. “Willis Faber & Dumas Headquarters | Projects | Foster + Partners.” (accessed October 16, 2013). 20.  The Athens Charter. 95-96. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 21.  Foster, Norman, and Ken Powell. Willis Faber & Dumas headquarters: Foster + Partners. Munich: Prestel, 2013.

FIGURES 126.  English Heritage. “List Entry The Willis Building.” English Heritage. http:// (accessed October 25, 2013). 127.  FostFoster + Partners. “Willis Faber & Dumas Headquarters | Projects | Foster + Partners.” (accessed October 16, 2013). 128.  Norman, and Ken Powell. Willis Faber & Dumas headquarters: Foster + Partners. Munich: Prestel, 2013. 129.  Ipswich Borough Council. “Ipswich Local Development Framework.” One Area Action Plan. (accessed October 15, 2013). 130.  Foster + Partners. “Willis Faber & Dumas Headquarters | Projects | Foster + Partners.” (accessed October 16, 2013).

PHOTOS 1.  Foster + Partners. “Willis Faber & Dumas Headquarters | Projects |


Foster + Partners.” (accessed October 16, 2013).

POST-CIAM 1960-1980

THE POMPIDOU CENTRE Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers 1971-1977 Paris by Kristen Smith

Monumentality in architectural pursuit stands to remain as the barometer of political interest and historical consciousness within a project’s context. As Paris sought to align itself with the financially prosperous images of cities such as London and New York, city officials fought over the changing landscape of a slumblock cleared 40 years prior and divided into two sections known as Les “Halles” and “Le Plateau de Beaubourg”. As a response to the country’s post-modern identity, France’s former president, George Pompidou, had decided upon a museum of contemporary art, with this expansive media centre being constructed in alignment to the CIAM principles prevalent in central Europe. Through the structure’s density of programming the building form extends vertically to contract the site, consequently defining the remaining land as a public piazza. Furthermore, this density of programming through the structure’s expansive floor plates places circulation around the perimeter of the building in its most efficient state. Efficiency only in its physical manifestation, however, still does not encompass the vessel that carried Beaubourg forth. Decision makers in Paris had also merged to create a varied corporation of both private and public interests, joining these three currents in conjunction with functional city planning to express the greatest signifier of Parisian post-CIAM development.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


n the midst of corporate mobilization1, monumentality and iconography in architecture play key factors in the affirmation of political power and impression over the general public. In an attempt to secure Paris’ status as the most influential city of post-CIAM Europe, a competition was announced heralding the desire for a centralized, cultural institution2 by then president Georges Pompidou. The winning entry was proposed by the partnership of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers in 19713 whose design built upon a site previously cleared according to CIAM principles4. Paradoxically, the resulting construction was one that posed as an extension to primary urban design principles of CIAM, but only so far as to unify a great number of public and private interests under a single political agenda. Once this political instrument had been satisfied Piano and

Image 2 Street character of Rue du Renard.


Rogers were than capable of creating a structure permeable to light, circulation, and most controversially, information flows5. On a basic level the building occupies only 50% of the site with the rest creating a traditional piazza of flexible, exterior space. The flexibility of the exterior is then continued on the interior through the creation of an open plan framework6. This was possible through locating all structural, mechanical and circulatory components on the exterior of the building, ultimately giving the Pompidou Centre its dynamic facade. Consequently, it is through this translation of France’s future ideals to its general public that allows the Pompidou Centre to be a great Trojan Horse7 of CIAM ideals, functioning as a machine of the culture conceived by its users. POLITICAL STANCE The Pompidou Centre is a source of

criticism for many due to the fact that it turns the consumption of culture into a commodity8. Its identity as somewhat of a cultural supermarket was, however, brought forth due to a drastic change in political structure immediately preceding the original competition announcement. Three new political factors eventually enabled the centre’s construction, those being the personality of France’s president, Georges Pompidou, the status of Paris politically in the French system, and finally, Paris’ prospective role in Europe’s future economic expansion of the 1960s. At the time Paris did possess an elected city council; however, it did not have a mayor. Consequently, all approval processes, especially in terms of urban planning, were directed towards the Prefect and central government as a whole for approval9. This syndicalism10 provides the political framework thought to be idyllic by the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne11 whereby economic corporatism combines multiple, disparate parties into a collective, cooperative unit. These parallel political frameworks then set the stage for the physical manifestation of CIAM ideals during later design iterations and further investigates the notion of a union democracy that ensures fairness and favorability to the public majority12. Likewise, as Europe moved towards a greater unity the continent as a whole was searching for a capital. With Paris being a forerunner approvals were underway to expand the city’s financial district13. While this ensured that Paris’ stance in banking and commerce was solidified, what was still missing in the comprehensive scheme was an apparatus of central, institutionalized culture14. According to this stance the creation of the Pompidou Centre was a logical, and in fact necessary, feat in the eyes of the French government.

The specific organizations eventually housed in the centre were the Institut de Recherché et Coordination Acoustique/ Musique, Le Centre de Création Industrielle, Le Bibliotheque Publique d’Information and Le Musee National d’Art Moderne15; however, this density of programming later engendered the belief that the French government were institutionalizing such creative efforts “in the name of public order and of a marketable cultural product,” as stated by Jean and Marie Eiffel16. TRANSLATION INTO SITE DEVELOPEMNT This sense of urban design elitism17, expressed by both CIAM’s early proponents and the French government at the time, occurred at a point where key political structures opened up. In 1930 the Pompidou Centre’s site was cleared of its slum blocks, as shown in Figure 1, being deemed unsanitary by early CIAM advocates. While this action correlated directly to the level of revitalization needed according to CIAM principles, no new recreation space was created in return18 counteracting a primary CIAM urban design initiative. The commission of the Pompidou Centre in such a pro-city era consequently posed the opportunity to offer Paris an atypical urban space, both indoors and out19, ultimately fulfilling the vision endorsed 35 years earlier20. This was achieved through locating the building over only 50% of the lot area with the remaining space being dedicated to a public piazza21, as shown in Figure 3. Due, however, to the required areas explicitly expressed by the institutions moving into the building, Piano and Rogers’ only other option to retain the piazza was to build vertically. While physically the Pompidou Centre stands significantly taller than surrounding buildings, as

additionally shown in Figure 4, at the time the only zoning restriction was the height of a fireman’s ladder22. Likewise, the disregard for surrounding scales was nearly thought to be inevitable due to the shear volume of programming being housed23. Referencing the Campo in Siena, this era of traditional gathering spaces had been rendered completely out of fashion. Piazzas still belonged to a more traditional dialogue of urban design, largely only being practiced in historicist fields like Neo-Classicism and Rationalism. Through updating this long-established spacial technique, the Pompidou Centre consequently became entwined in the cityscape through its busy public square24. A second major urban statement was to align the building along the site’s eastern face, as seen in Image 2, reinforcing the streetscape of the busy Rue du Renard and leaving the rest of the site to gently slope toward the building’s entrance25. While this delicately entices pedestrians to enter, the placement of the Pompidou Centre most importantly makes a controversial statement on its status as an icon. Resisting the temptation to place the building in the middle of its site, as shown in Figure 7, this decision communicates that it is part of the city fabric as opposed to an overt monument26.

Figure 1 Pre 1930

Figure 2 1930 - 1971

Figure 3 Post 1971 50

100 Public Space


EXTENSION OF PROGRAMMATIC IDEALS Deemphasizing the Pompidou Centre’s iconography within the French government27 consequently allowed Piano and Rogers to articulate an architectural concept that liberated the dense programming of the building’s interior. What is additionally inherent through the centre’s design is that the very union democracy idealized by the proponents of CIAM becomes 261

POST-CIAM 1960-1979

inverted through the building’s inherent programming. Being a cultural institute by nature means to reflect the values of the public it serves; therefore, the question is raised of who is in control? The individual liberty of the building user or the collective action of those who preside over it? Rogers and Piano addressed this issue satirically through the flexibility of spaces provided28. The architects ultimately remained faithful to the belief that if a framework is provided and deemed acceptable by higher authorities then consequently the interior may be open and mobile to the public and the building’s institutions29. Much credit is owed to Cedric Price and his work with Archigram for previously developing concepts of high-tech centres of liberal beliefs constructed amidst industrial sprawl, as seen in Images 3 and 4. Rogers and Piano translated these extreme concepts30 and programmed them with a density known to traditional urbanism. The resultant construction kept the interior programming physically and imaginatively free, as opposed to rigid and politically oppressed31. Meanwhile, this freedom still laid in contrast to the CIAM notion that newly created open spaces must be designed directly around the program being considered32. This concept was, however, promptly dismissed by Rogers and Piano whose first line of their competition brief read, “A place for people, all ages, all creeds. A place for the young and the old...”33 For a design to remain accessible to all people, and especially all future programming, the key variables were simplicity and legibility34. Simplicity was achieved through long-span, space frame structures being investigated by designers in an attempt to break free from the modernist masters like Le Corbusier himself. Consequently, 262

Image 3 Industrial Context of Cedric Price’s “Fun Palace.”

Figure 4 Structural and Circulatory Concepts of Cedric Price’s “Fun Palace.”

Figure 5 Adjacent building proportions.

Figure 6 Pompidou Centre placement: functional with creation of piazza.

the Pompidou Centre possesses uninterrupted floor plates that span the length of the site, allowing all institutions present to rearrange themselves as they feel necessary35. Finally, legibility was created through exposed structure and circulation, adding movement and life to the centre’s facades36. From political conception to structural detailing it remains clear that the Pompidou Centre is not a monument to any one particular movement. Instead the goal was to create a functional building37 whereby any iconic label is a reflection of the quality and freedom of programming contained within.

CONCLUSION While Rogers and Piano created a building that visually contrasts its contextual surroundings, I personally feel its design response was appropriate in consideration of the structure’s original political environment. The evolving state of the Plateau de Beaubourg provided the opportunity for Piano and Rogers to interpret CIAM’s proposed dichotomy between individual liberty and collective action in a contemporary manner. As an extension of many physical CIAM design principles, and with a site directly

Figure 7 Monumental building placement.

impacted by previous renewal schemes, the resulting expression of the architects’ design was one of maximum flexibility and transparency, yet remaining under the complete control of a single, political voice. The volatility of this relationship is what finally returns the Pompidou Centre back to its vehicle of the CIAM Trojan Horse38 within the French society. A shell of a cultural institution was provided for the public to populate; however, with the public ultimately being the generators of the building’s content, government must remain wary of the messages they themselves are projecting.

Pompidou Centre (1971) L’Eglise Saint Eustache (1637)

L’Eglise Saint Merri (1550)

Bourse Commercial (1783) Centre de Reseau Express Regional (1972)



Figure 4 Pompidou Centre Elevation in Reference to Adjacent Landmarks39


NOTES 2.  Savitch, H. Post-Industrial Cities: Politics and Planning in New York, Paris, and London. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991. 3.  AD Profiles: Centre Pompidou. Architectural Daily, 1977. 4.  Rattenbury, Kester, and Samantha Hardingham. Supercrit 3: The Pompidou Centre. New York, NY: Routledge, 2012. 5.  Savitch, H. 1991. 6.  Renzo Piano, interview by John Tusa, London”Renzo Piano Interview,” British Broadcasting Corporation, Podcast Audio. 7.  Ibid. 8.  AD Profiles. 1977. 9.  Ibid. 10.  Savitch, H. 1991. 11.  Encyclopedia Britannica, “Syndicalism.” Accessed October 24, 2013. 12.  Branda, Ewan. “The Architecture of Information at Plateau Beaubourg.” PhD diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2012. eScholarship (0084) 13.  Encyclopedia Britannica 14.  Savitch, H. 1991. 15.  AD Profiles. 1977. 16.  Renzo Piano. 17.  AD Profiles. 1977. 18.  Savitch, H. 1991. 19.  Rubin, Eli. Themenportal Europaische Geschichte, “The Athens Charter.” Last modified 2009. Accessed October 24, 2013. http://www.europa. 20.  Rattenbury, Kester, and Samantha Hardingham. 2012. 21.  Rubin, Eli. 2009. 22.  Rattenbury, Kester, and Samantha Hardingham. 2012. 23.  Ibid. 24.  Savitch, H. 1991. 25.  Rattenbury, Kester, and Samantha Hardingham. 2012. 26.  Ibid. 27.  Ibid. 28.  Ibid. 29.  Ibid. 30.  Ibid. 31.  AD Profiles. 1977. 32.  Rattenbury, Kester, and Samantha Hardingham. 2012. 33.  Mumford, Eric. The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928 - 1960. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2002. 34.  Rattenbury, Kester, and Samantha Hardingham. 2012. 35.  Renzo Piano. 36.  Ibid. 37.  Rattenbury, Kester, and Samantha Hardingham. 2012. 38.  Ibid. 39.  AD Profiles. 1977. 40.  “The Transformation of Les Halles and Plateau de Beaubourg.” Accessed November 8, 2013. http://drscsparkman.files.wordpress. com/2011/12/sparkman_animation.pdf.

PHOTOS 1.  Steve, Bart. Flickr, “Pompidou Centre: Front.” Last modified March 03, 2009. Accessed October 24, 2013. photos/11665506@N00/3531054793/in/photolist-6o2zz4-dnnHSW-dnnEoK-e98qFv-6o2wF4-duBt3P-duH4nf-4Quea8-4QyqSqfca4Gy-9oo2vU-wqUTz-8mgHJJ-oWvap-6VCs73-p7mbN-5LCF5N5LyqBV-cZRsjW-cZRnxY-cZRphE-cZRrtA-cZRqxS-cZRs9j-cZRnof-cZRqGA-cZRoP3-cZRmLY-9GMFJr-dzvf3X-67zK7z-7uiy2y-Mz1LY-bVpWKt8LvMYG-4pwktL-mgz7r-2TN41y-2THBs2-2TN1pq-51YHj5-51YHmU7xSvG1-51UtPB-51Uu2a-4Yqprw-756GM7-7CBofb-7yissy-95UhqE-bWgDR6. 2.  The Other Paris, “Hôtel de Ville and the 4e Arrondissement.” Last modified June 16, 2010. Accessed October 25, 2013. http://theotherparis. net/june16/june16.htm.


3.  Hacedor De Trampas, “Arquitectura en la Memoria: Fun Palace.” Last modified February 27, 2010. Accessed November 8, 2013. http:// 4.  Ibid.

POST-CIAM 1960-1980

LAW COURTS COMPLEX Arthur Erickson Architects 1973-1979 Vancouver by Suk Jun Kim

Designed by Arthur Erickson in 1973, Law Courts Complex – in unison with Robson Square and Vancouver Art Gallery – is a terraced urban park that offers citizens of Vancouver much needed open space in the central downtown core, as well as the ingredients necessary to creating a civic cultural centre in a park-like setting. This monumental piece of architecture sits on a three-block site bordered by prime eastwest streets (Georgia Street and Nelson Street), and north-south streets (Hornby and Howe Streets). It was originally planned to become Vancouver’s tallest building by the Social Credit Party, but the change in power – to New Democratic Party – altered the general scope of the complex, to become the first major step towards the city planning department’s objective of lower density and greater emphasis on pedestrian amenities. The building is an outcome of sophisticated understanding of CIAM principals and this is demonstrated thoroughly by its focus on public spaces; Erickson’s strategy to educate the public. Finally, Law Courts Complex is a symbolic event that sets out to become an essential precedent for urban planners in the world, showcasing the close relationship between architecture and economy, politics and urban planning.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


esigned by Arthur Erickson in 1973, The Law Courts Complex – in unison with Robson Square and Vancouver Art Gallery – is a terraced urban park that offers citizens of Vancouver much needed open space in the central downtown core, as well as the ingredients necessary to creating a civic cultural centre in a park-like setting. The grand scale and complexity of the project make it one of the most ambitious urban designs in North America. Erickson burrows the common application of grand stairway and classical portico from other traditional courhouse buildings in North America to foster appropriate dignity and solemnity, providing the processes of law an appropriate setting1, and allows the zoning regulations to be the tools which he uses to shape his building in a more civic way. More importantly, it takes a different approach from the typical layout of courthouses, in which the public space sits in between courtrooms. Rather, Erickson regards the courtrooms as being complementary to the public space, which, according to his philosophy, should be the focus, as the public involvement is crucial in the matters of justice2. He informs the public of the processes of justices, the very essence of a society’s ethical stance,

and expresses the special significance they should be given. Erickson writes, “The courts, in presenting the necessary dignity of the law, should not exclude or inhibit the true participation of the public. Thus the enactment of justice is a very public event and it is this very “publicness” that is part of it effectiveness.”3 SITE AND PROGRAM Designed during the time when any tower was seen as a political monument, Erickson and his team of architects decided to respond to local cries for something on a different scale.4 Composed of three main parts, the complex creates a natural movement from the massive glass roof of the Law Courts Complex to the sunken plaza, and finally to Vancouver Art Gallery. The Law Courts Complex opens to the sidewalk along Nelson and Hornby Streets, for pedestrian flow, while the Smithe and Howe Street edges of the block are treated in relation to the vehicular traffic. With a clear organization of the programs into four major components: public space, courtrooms, judges’ chambers , administrative and support facilities, the parti of the Law Courts Complex clearly responds to logical programmatic concerns: it apportions

Figure 1 Site Plan


the public spaces to the glass-enclosed western half, the private areas for judges’ chambers and jury rooms to the more closed eastern part, with courtrooms arranged in the center of each level.5 A large restaurant is also provided just above the connection to the provincial government office building in the central block, overlooking the pool of water. As a result of the clear organization of programs, security of the building is achieved through a clear division of secure and public circulations.6 The public areas appear virtually free of security restrictions because they are separated from the working areas. Since security was a key factor for the judges, there is a separate high security circulation pattern for them and others involved in court procedures. ZONING BY-LAWS The architects did not regard the zoning by-laws as restrictions, but rather as tools to make a sense of civic place emerge. In fact, the Law Courts Complex was planned to become the first major step towards the city planing department’s objective of low density and greater emphasis on pedestrian amenities.7 For instance, the height of the building was determined to not only meet the zoning bylaws’ limit of 18 metres, but also to create a relationship of scale with Rattenburg’s Classical Courthouse; by keeping the roofline approximately at the same level. Plus, the setbacks of 10 metres were applied from the surrounding streets and these landscaped sidewalks allowed the project to provide a safer and more comfortable environment in which the pedestrians approached the project from.9 The architects were also inspired by the setback distances in designing the prominent concourse as the width of the concourse was kept at a

similar distance as that of the sidewalks, therefore reinforcing their intent to extend the streets into the building. This was an architectural gesture that made the project more intimate; creating spaces that users felt comfortable in and therefore, maximizing its image as a civic building. PLANNING The project began in 1973 as an unseemly disagreement between the province and the city. The province wanted to consolidate its legal offices and law courts and expand them in a single 55-storey tower, Vancouver’s tallest, demolishing the city’s 1909 neoclassical stone-built courthouse in the process.10 The city objected strongly to the proposals, and the newly elected NDP provincial administration decided to proceed with public opinions, commissioning Arthur Erickson to undertake site studies while retaining the courthouse for public use (later used as Vancouver Art Gallery). (Some argue that the achievement of Erickson is dramatized by saying that there were six schemes that preceded the Erickson one, the fifth of which was the tower. The sixth scheme, however, was simply a new wing added to the old courthouse).11 CIAM PRINCIPALS Although the era of CIAM has ended in 1595, its principals remained to be deeply rooted in the modern philosophy of urban architecture and city planning. For Erickson, his thoughts were affected by ‘Architecture and Public Opinion’, the third statement of La Sarraz Declaration of 1928, which expresses importance on high level of public knowledge on the fundamentals of the modern architecture and the roles of architects to educate the public.12 Ericson once

Figure 2 These three blocks are locally referred to as Block 51 for the old courthouse square (Vancouver Art Gallery), Block 61 for Robson Square and the provincial government offices, and Block 71 for the Law Courts building.

stated, “education is an urban process involving everyone in a total mix as in the city ... more and more the needs of the university and the sollutions to those needs are the solutions common to any urban situation.” drawing connections between education and architectural solutions.14 This belief led to Erickson’s purpose of ‘opening’ the two aspects of government to the public, making the building a paradigm of social change. This openness becomes an architectural metaphor that allows civil servants to see and be seen by the general public while they are at their work.14 Further more, this particular vision helped Erickson establish his human-based logical interpretation of laws and law courts, which was later on developed to become the spatial and programmatic parti of the building. As previously mentioned, Erickson recognized that the law is determined by the mores of the society, not vice versa and thus, puts greater emphasis on the public spaces of the building.15 Additionally, relationships can be drawn between the design of Law Courts Complex and the Athens Charter by Le Corbusier. Particularly, paragraph number 82 states, “Town planning is

a three-dimensional science, not a two-dimansional one. By introducing the element of height it will become possible to solve the problems of modern traffic and of leisure, through utilizing the free spaces thus created.”16 However, the political vicissitudes that the Law Courts Complex underwent prior to its design phase suggest how ‘height’ may be interpreted in a false way, and may not always be the right solution. As previously mentioned, the Law Courts Complex was originally planned to be a 55-storey tower. This was the outcome of the Social Credit Party’s effort to create a monumental landamrk that would generate profit for the government. Such design response would have been out of context, both physically and socially, and over-intensified the downtown core, destroying Vancouver’s unique identity. Instead, Erickson’s response was to lower the height and density of the building and actually make the building part of the city life, including the pedestrian movement, urban parks, and human interactions. Consequentially, Erickson’s humble decision allowed the building to portray ‘law’ in its purest form. 267

POST-CIAM 1960-1979

Figure 3 Section

CONCLUSION Finally, Law Courts Complex is a symbolic event that sets out to become an essential precedent for urban planners in the world, showcasing the close relationship between architecture and economy, politics and urban planning. The building understands the ‘law’ and its process from a most basic and pure point of view and takes an extremely logical approach in setting its priorities of programs; public involvement being the most significant. However, the key failure of the project lies in the way it discourages pedestrian movement, kills the side streets, and creates awekward spaces where they are most needed – adjacent to the horizontal flow of Robson Street. Ways need to be found to make the spaces Erickson created over the offices more heavily used. Plus, this notion of the city’s buildings as an extension of the ground on which they are constructed is common enough in suburban locations, but in a downtown site it is wholly unexpected.17 Since it introduces a new idea, it does not ‘relate’ to its rather haphazard surrounds.17 Plus, this expensive pedestrian spine seems to 268

serve no strong circulation need, and its users tend to be tourists rather than local citizens.17 Downtown Vancouver’s main foot traffic is east-west rather than north-south and is concentrated well north of the site. Granville Street, the one strong north-south artery, is only a block from the project’s eastern edge, and Erickson’s natural amenities are no match for its strong concentration of shops, entertainment, public transportation, and people.18 In the end, the possible improvements mentioned contribute to the imperfect humane characteristics of the buidlding, stregnthening its public aspect and nevertheless, it is an undeniable fact that this grand complex has established a new core and character for its city.19 This three-block project was unquestionably a major gesture by the government to improve the overall quality of the urban environment and the citizens hope that these kinds of sensitive urban developements will make our cities more exiting and creative areas in which to live.

NOTES 41.  John Pastier, “Evaluation: Skyscraper on its Side: Arthur Erickson’s Robson Square, Vancouver.” Architecture: The AIA Journal 78 (1989): 64-67. 42.  Janet Nairn. “Vancouver’s Grand New Government Center.” Architectural Record 168 (1980): 65-75. 43.  Suzanne Stephens, “Law Courts and Robson Square Complex, Vancouver;Architects: Arthur Erickson Architects, Bing Thom, James K. Wright, Rainer J. Fassler.” Progressive Architecture 62 (1981): 82-87. 44.  Arthur Erickson, The Architecture of Arthur Erickson (Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas & Mclntyre, 1988). 45.  “Provincial Law Courts Complex, Vancouver, British Columbia, 1979;Architects: Arthur Erickson & Associates.” GA Document (1980): 110-124. 46.  Lance Wright, “Law Courts and Provincial Government Offices, Vancouver;Architects: Arthur Erickson Architects.” Architectural Review 167 (1980): 346-353. 47.  John Pastier, “Evaluation: Skyscraper on its Side: Arthur Erickson’s Robson Square, Vancouver.” Architecture: The AIA Journal 78 (1989): 64-67. 48.  John Punter, The Vancouver Achievement: Urban Planning and Design (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2003). 49.  Hugh Pearman, “Power Dressing Architecture and Democracy.” Blueprint (London, England) 197 (2002): 54-55,57-58. 50.  Arthur Erickson, “Vancouver’s Robson Square.” Urban Design International 1 (1980): 34-35. 51.  “An Oasis in the City: Robson Square and the Law Courts, Vancouver, B. C.” Landscape Architectural Review 2 2 (1981): 6-15. 52.  John Pastier, “Evaluation: Skyscraper on its Side: Arthur Erickson’s Robson Square, Vancouver.” Architecture: The AIA Journal 78 (1989): 64-67. 53.  John Punter, The Vancouver Achievement: Urban Planning and Design (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2003). 54.  Marco Polo, “III. Robson Square and Law Courts.” The Canadian Architect 39 (1994): 44-45. 55.  John Punter, The Vancouver Achievement: Urban Planning and Design (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2003). 56.  Ibid. 57.  Suzanne Stephens, “Law Courts and Robson Square Complex, Vancouver;Architects: Arthur Erickson Architects, Bing Thom, James K. Wright, Rainer J. Fassler.” Progressive Architecture 62 (1981): 82-87. 58.  Marco Polo, “III. Robson Square and Law Courts.” The Canadian Architect 39 (1994): 44-45. 59.  Suzanne Stephens, “Law Courts and Robson Square Complex, Vancouver;Architects: Arthur Erickson Architects, Bing Thom, James K. Wright, Rainer J. Fassler.” Progressive Architecture 62 (1981): 82-87.


Arthur Erickson, The Architecture of Arthur Erickson (Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas & Mclntyre, 1988).

FIGURES 60.  John Pastier, “Evaluation: Skyscraper on its Side: Arthur Erickson’s 1.  Robson Square, Vancouver.” Architecture: The AIA Journal 78 (1989): 64-67. 2.  “An Oasis in the City: Robson Square and the Law Courts, Vancouver, B. C.” Landscape Architectural Review 2 2 (1981): 6-15.


POST-CIAM 1960-1980

THE FIRST CANADIAN PLACE Bregman + Hamann Architects 1975 Toronto, Ontario, Canada by Kevin Bilics

First Canadian Place, located in Toronto, Canada, was built in 1975. It was designed by Bregman + Hamann Architects, with Edward Durell Stone as the design consultant, in the modernist style. The building is identical to the Aon Centre in Chicago, designed by Stone, save for the horizontal versus vertical orientation of the glazing. It has 72 floors that rise 298 metres above ground level. Some of CIAM’s innovative design principles can be seen in the simple aesthetic of the exterior, and the form was clearly derived from the function. Structural columns are placed along the perimeter of the building, according to a grid, resulting in large, open, column-free spaces on the interior. The development firm of Olympia and York obtained the property, however it took three years to get the project started because the mayor at the time, David Crombie, had ensued new zoning and height regulations banning skyscrapers from being built. This was a direct result of rapidly growing cities; which CIAM believed was a good opportunity for massive urban redevelopment. Their principles based on ‘The Functional City’, and its breakdown of a cities four functions: dwelling, work, leisure and circulation, resulted in the segregation of spaces in the building. The bottom three floors of First Canadian Place offer various retail spaces, from stores to restaurants, with the rest being open office space, and no residential.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


irst Canadian Place, located in Toronto, Canada, was constructed in 1975. It was designed by Bregman + Hamann Architects with the consultation of Edward Durell Stone. It was designed in the modernist style and many CIAM principles and influences can be seen throughout the plan of the building. First Canadian Place was conceived in the post-CIAM period, in a time of massive urban reformation and redevelopment. It has 72 floors which rise 298 metres above ground level, making it the 15th tallest building in North America (to the structural top), 9th tallest to the rooftop, and 62nd tallest in the world. It is the third tallest free-standing structure in Canada, after the CN Tower and the Inco Superstack, both also in Ontario1. The building was initially named First Bank Building, after the Bank of Montreal, until it was changed to First Canadian Place. The property was developed by Olympia and York, and the main contractors were the EllisDon Corporation. Brookfield Office Properties own and manage the building, and the tenants are the Bank of Montreal, as well as the business law firm of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt. In Toronto’s Official Plan, it states that

Figure 3 Bay St. & King St. 1902


‘mixed use is a key ingredient to the successful functioning of downtown and by creating “accessibility through proximity”, shows that moving less is clearly achievable’2. The idea of mixed use buildings and functions in cities is also talked about in ‘The Athens Charter’ by Le Corbusier3, and its influence can be seen in First Canadian Place. The location and proximity to public transit, and its ease of accessibility, also draws parallels to these ideals. Structural columns are placed along the perimeter of the building, according to a grid, resulting in large, open, column free spaces on the interior. The bottom three floors offer various retail spaces, from restaurants to stores to a bank, with the rest being open office space, and no residential opportunities. First Canadian Place is almost identical to the Aon Centre in Chicago, which was designed by Edward Durell Stone, save for the horizontal versus vertical orientation of the glazing. The building uses 29 elevators that are set up using the double-deck system (half of the elevators only stop on even numbered floors, the other half stops at odd numbered floors). The same white Carrara marble is used as an

Figure 2 Mixed Use

exterior and interior cladding on both buildings. There were around 45,000 marble panels, each weighing 91-140 kg each, used, and just like the Aon Centre, these eventually needed replacing. On May 15, 2007, during a storm, one of the

Figure 4 Bay St. & King St. 2013

that make us of GO Transit, this walkway connects the building to Union Station, as well as stretch all the way up to the Eaton Centre5.

Figure 5 Old Toronto Star Building

Figure 6 Toronto Skyline

marble panels fell onto the mezzanine below, prompting authorities to close off the streets below. Since then, Brookfield Properties has replaced all of the marble panels with new glass ones, and those on the main expanses with a white ceramic frit. They also upgraded the entire buildings mechanical, electrical, and lighting systems, making it more eco-friendly and eliminating the marble upkeep maintenance costs4. SITE: PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION First Canadian Place is located in the heart of the business district in downtown Toronto, at the intersection of Bay St. and King St., near the Toronto Stock Exchange. It is built on a podium, and the building entrance is set back from the sidewalk to broaden the walkway and open up the space. The tower itself is also set back from the

podium, making it seem less dense and bulky; allowing for more air and light to reach the ground level, rather than overcrowding the skies and casting large shadows. It is easily accessible by all means of transportation: pedestrian, public transit, and automobile. Downtown Toronto is abounded by the Yonge-University subway line, and the business district falls right in the centre of it. There is constant pedestrian traffic in the area, whether its people travelling north to go shopping, or south and west to the entertainment district. A streetcar runs along King St., allowing quick transport to the subway stations. First Canadian Place is also connected to PATH, which is an underground walkway lined with stores and restaurants, that offers a year-round controlled and sheltered pedestrian network. For anyone traveling further

SITE: HISTORY & DEVELOPEMENT Due to an extreme increase in birthrates and immigration rates, Toronto was going through a great redevelopment stage. This is often referred to as Toronto’s urban reform movement. At the time, the city council of Toronto had a very pro-development attitude, and had a rather business oriented agenda. This allowed for the demolition of older buildings and the erection of tall office buildings and large highways6. Then, on December 1, 1972, David Crombie was elected as the Mayor of Toronto. Opposed to CIAM ideals, Crombie was involved in Toronto’s urban reform movement and was a leader in a grassroots movement, which emphasized the importance of improving social services and prioritizing community interests. He was greatly influenced by thinkers such as Jane Jacobs, and as Mayor Crombie tried to impose a new height restriction of 42 feet for all new buildings, but this was not accepted by the Ontario Municipal Board. He was however able to initiate a new official plan that imposed varying height restrictions throughout the city. Crombie also opposed the replacement of poorer neighbourhoods with housing projects, contrary to more CIAM ideas. The development firm of Olympia and York had obtained many of the properties around the block, and they ended up buying the lot on which the Old Toronto Star Building lay abandoned. It took three years to gain approval to begin construction on the First Canadian Place, and in 1972 the Old Toronto Star Building was demolished. This site was the last corner of Bay and King to 273

POST-CIAM 1960-1979

Figure 7 Ground Setback

be redeveloped7. The four main bank buildings in the district, when looked at as a whole, create a brilliant image about the variety and power of cash: the Toronto Dominion Centre is black, the Commerce Court is silver, the Royal Bank Plaza is golden and the First Canadian Place is white. CIAM ANALYSIS CIAM believed that the greatly growing cities were a good opportunity for massive urban redevelopment and implementation of newer, more efficient ideals. One of the most important and influential meetings was CIAM 4, which took place in 1933 in Athens. It was during this meeting that the idea of ‘The Functional City’ came about, a significant topic of CIAM8. Le Corbusier, one of CIAM’s founders, stressed the principal that urbanism was threedimensional science, and that bodily movements imply the motion of time9. He placed emphasis on the importance of a user’s travel through the space and 274

their journey, and whether a building is at a human scale or not. Height was a big part of this experience, and he was a strong advocate of tall buildings because they free up space on the ground floor for circulation and recreation, and creates less clutter10. Le Corbusier believed that in areas of high density, it is important to have open spaces on the ground floor to create better working and living conditions. These principles can be seen in the First Canadian Place: the building reaches up to the sky with its height, however the tower does not occupy the entire site, instead it is built on a podium to create a strong yet open street presence, as well as allow light and air to reach down to the street level. CIAM’s principles based on ‘The Functional City’, and its breakdown of a cities four functions: dwelling, work, leisure, and circulation, resulted in the segregation of spaces in the First Canadian Place11. Zoning regulations did not allow for any residential space in the building, and so the bottom three floors are allocated to retail stores and restaurants, while the remaining floors consist of open office space. The completely open office floors result from a structural grid pattern, with columns placed along the perimeter, and allows for flexible space on the interior. CIAM supported Modernist architecture, because its ideals paralleled with their own, such as innovative and efficient design principles12. First Canadian Place embodies a very simple aesthetic, however the grandeur of the building is not lost, and the form is clearly derived from the function. Another important CIAM concern was the interaction of the pedestrian with the building. It was essential to place yourself in the realm of the pedestrian, and to ensure that it is built somewhat

at a human scale so they can relate to it and feel comfortable to participate with the building. It was important to plan with the people, not just for the people, and to supply for their every need13. One of the great parts of First Canadian Place is that its lower concourse connects to the underground PATH, which makes the building extremely user friendly. CONCLUSION Although constructed in the postCIAM era, many of their principles can be seen through Modern design in the First Canadian Place. The allocation of spaces, simple yet grand aesthetic, all result in a powerful and iconic building that stands out, yet doesn’t overcrowd, the heart of downtown Toronto in the middle of the business district.

NOTES 3.  “Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.” Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. (accessed October 25, 2013). 4.  “Toronto Official Plan.” Toronto Planning. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2013. <>. 5.  Le Corbusier. The Athens Charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. Print. 6.  Yang, Jennifer. “Bay St. landmark to lose its marble.” http:// its_marble.html (accessed October 25, 2013). 7.  “City of Toronto, Planning: PATH Master Plan Study.” City of Toronto, Planning: PATH Master Plan Study. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2013. <http://>. 8.  Whiteson, Leon. Modern Canadian architecture. Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers, 1983. 9.  Kuitenbrouwer, Peter . “Q&A: Former Mayor David Crombie on community achievement.” National Post. (accessed October 25, 2013). 10.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 11.  Towards a new architecture. New York: Dover Publications, 1986. 12.  Rogers, E. N., J. L. Sert, and Jacqueline Tyrwhitt. The Heart of the City: towards the humanisation of urban life. London: Lund Humphries, 1952. 13.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 14.  Curtis, William J. R.. Modern architecture since 1900. 3rd ed. London: Phaidon, 1996. 15.  Planning 1970: selected papers from the ASPO National Planning Conference, New York City, April 4-9, 1970.. Chicago: American Society of Planning Officials, 1970.

FIGURES 131.  “Welcome to Toronto City Guide.” Welcome to Toronto City Guide. http:// (accessed October 25, 2013). 132.  “Mixed Use”: Kevin Bilics 133.  “Bay St. & King St. 1902”: Kevin Bilics 134.  “Bay St. & King St. 2013”: Kevin Bilics 135.  “Thread: Miscellany Toronto Photographs: Then and Now.” Urban Toronto RSS. (accessed October 25, 2013) 136.  “First Canadian Place.” Urban Toronto. (accessed October 25, 2013). 137.  “Ground Setback”: Kevin Bilics



POST-CIAM 1960-1979

TORONTO’S EATON CENTRE Eberhard Zeidler 1977-79 Toronto by Mark Eyk

Toronto’s Eaton Centre is an urban fixture in the downtown city fabric, designed by Eberhard Zeidler it was completed in two stages, the North part in 1977 and the South two years later in 1979. Original plans for the expansion of the department store encompassed the entirety of the block including the historic sites, Old Town Hall and the Church of the Holy Trinity. Protests changed the mindset of the design to incorporate the history into the building. Using the mindset of the past, one of CIAM’s tenets, they decided to build a denser building. Using the space they had available to create a dramatic space. Designed after a period dominated by Brutalist architecture, Zeidler’s approach was a fresh and optimist view of the city. Modeled after a cathedral ceiling, the glass arch ceiling provides an interior space mimicking exterior qualities. CIAM further instructs a cohesive connection to the city through planning, therefore, it’s physically connected to the city as well as it provides access to the underground pedestrian pathway (PATH), access to TTC subway Yonge St line and retail front stores on the street. The building has grown up with the city around it, maintaining an appropriate scale and density to the buildings around it. This includes the historic Church of the Holy Trinity which it surrounds and forms a pedestrian square, retaining its historic valure. Overall it has become an icon of the City of Toronto, attracting tourists, winning the hearts of the residence of the city and becoming an example of modern city planning.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


oronto’s Eaton Centre was built in 1970’s and the first half was completed in 1977 and the second half in 19791. Built after the CIAM period and near the end of a Brutalist era there were large amounts of architectural influences at play. Architect, Eberhard Zeidler, designed the building for Timothy Eaton, the owner of a department store chain in downtown Toronto. He owned nearly the whole block from Queen to Dundas, and Yonge to Bay St. Many of the original buildings were factory buildings serving his flagship store on the northwest corner of Queen and Yonge. With the increase in suburbanized areas and shopping malls, Mr. Eaton wanted to capitalize on the downtown land value and create a central shopping destination. Partnering with Cadillac Fairview the original plan was to develop the entire block into a shopping mall, including the area of Old city hall and the Church of the Holy

Trinity. This was not widely accepted by the city so they had to redesign their vision2. Their second approach reflects some of the main tenements of the CIAM era, the use of vertical, high density areas separated by green space and a functional building set in the urban fabric. Zeidler mimicked a cathedral ceiling in the design of the Eaton Centre, giving the space an open airy feel, contrasting the past brutalist architecture3. Toronto’s Eaton Centre is an example of a post-CIAM building influenced by planning that fits well into the urban context. PHYSICAL CONTEXT Located in Toronto’s “Discovery District,” at the intersection of Yonge and Dundas as well as Yonge and Queen, the Eaton Centre is at the epicenter of Toronto. The area was known for its shopping and other attractions, bringing in many tourists from near and far. The block that the Eaton centre

is situated is bordered by the major streets of Yonge, Dundas, Queen and Bay4. All four contain four-lanes and are the main arteries for vehicular transportation. It is also surrounded by public transportation. The original Yonge-University Subway line borders the East of the building along with streetcars along Dundas and Queen to the North and South respectively. The building also has direct connections to both the Dundas and Queen Subway stations. Being at such a busy intersection brings in a lot of pedestrian flow as well. Before the Eaton Centre was built, Eaton’s Department store had one of the first underground pedestrian pathways connecting it to the Eaton Annex underneath James St. Further down the line a network of underground pedestrian paths developed into what is now called the PATH. It was one of the elements that lead to an increase in sub-grade retail spaces, providing a significant increase in the value

Figure 1 Eatons original department store seen on the corner of Yonge and Queen St. In the background to the left you can see Old CIty Hall along with Eaton’s large factory buildings and other developments. Additionally if you look north along Yonge street you can see the small scale retail buildings that were replaced.


of building’s basement floors. New Developments were removing many of the small shops off the street in order to create their projects and included underground shopping to compensate5. Likewise the Eaton Centre removed much of the street-side retail in favour of creating an interior street setting. This move started the transition from the city largely dependant on the automobile to one focused on transit. They preserved some of the street retail for restaurants and other businesses but the goal was to create a multi-level indoor shopping street6. The high vaulted glass ceiling keeps the interior lit and open to achieve this goal. The building houses over 300 retail stores ranging from clothing, restaurants, necessities and

everything in between7. SOCIAL, POLITICAL, CULTURAL AND PLANNING CONTEXT Eaton’s original plan in the 1960’s was to create a massive office and shopping complex spanning over several city blocks, including the demolition of Old City Hall, the Church of the Holy Trinity and many mid-block streets and lanes. His plans received so much negative backlash that he had to put his plans on hold. That was until 1971 when he came out with a new plan that preserved Old City Hall. This scheme was generally accepted by the public, however, members and parishioners of the Church of the Holy Trinity strongly protested and where

4-Lane Road Yonge Subway Line Street Car PATH System Subway Station Conection Figure 2 Access/Transportation. The PATH system was a result of the planning of the Eaton Centre, you can see how it has expanded today in this diagram.

Figure 3 A section taken East-West through the building shows the vaulted glass ceiling which allows the deep penetration of light, even to the lower sub-grade retail floors, creating a healthy, open condition.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979

able to save the church. The church was located mid-block which caused a large problem for the design of the Eaton Centre. Further plans for the designs moved the building towards the Yonge street frontage, away from Bay Street preserving both Old City Hall and Church of the Holy Trinity. With the inability to have a large floor plate, they were forced to make a more vertical design8. Being zoned in a Commercial Residential area it already was zoned for the programing of a shopping mall and with a gross floor index of 7.8, the design was compatible with the city planning for a higher density. The building was able to fit into the rapidly growing urban Toronto landscape that

started the charge towards a vertical city9. Being such a vertical design the members of the Church of the Holy Trinity applied for a requirement that the Eaton Centre not block of all sunlight and access to the site. The form of the building was modified in such a way the it was stepped back from the courtyard allowing the maximum light in. The church, originally accessed from a lane off Yonge Street, only was able to retain pedestrian access from Bay Street along with a section of the building that would allow 24 hour access through the part of the building that is built over the lane that they destroyed10. The building encloses the Trinity Square Courtyard creating an outdoor pedestrian square sheltered from the busy streets in the core of Toronto.

ANALYSIS Toronto’s Eaton Centre is an example of an urban project that was flexed and changed for the better by the people of the city. Many of its beneficial qualities were not present in the original conception or design, but were caused by a general protest by the public. They caused changes that CIAM mentions as being problems in many cities. One that caused a significant change in plans was the preservation of the historic buildings on the site, Old City Hall and the Church of the Holy Trinity. The original plans of Eaton were to create a shopping super centre taking over the whole block. As many of the residents of Toronto recognized, along with the members of CIAM declaration, seen in the Athens Charter, was that the buildings form the cities personality and are a window into the past. Their

Figure 4 Block Layout

Figure 5 Historic Solid/Void

Figure 6 Current Solid/Void


Figure 7 Interior Street

Figure 8 Exterior Facade

historical and sentimental values give the area its unique character11. Ultimately the end product was a building that fits well into the city fabric, an attempt to blend the program of past and present. However, not to be over looked is the main reason for this discussion in the first place, the private interest of the client. In a world driven by materiality, common good is pushed aside for personal gain. It shouldn’t come down to public protest for one to realize the negative effects of a project. Being considerate of the city character buildings can co-exist or even improve the nature of the city. One of the beneficial attributes caused by the redesign was the creation of the Trinity Square Courtyard. Mindful considerations to the amount of light that would enter the square creates a unique and healthy space at the heart of Toronto. The change in building scheme also created a higher density building,

which is one of the main tenements of CIAM address. They believed that a three-dimensional approach can improve the efficiency of land, addressing the growing problem of the time, modern traffic12. The Eaton centre accomplishes this goal well, by taking a different approach to the sprawling suburban shopping malls that were gaining a large popularity at the time. By stacking 3 layers of retail on top of each other along with office spaces above, they achieved the desired goal while keeping within the zoning limits and appeasing the public. The high vaulted glass ceiling further strengthens the design by providing adequate light to the lower floors. This is another point CIAM identifies, the use of light to create healthy spaces13. The result is a building physically and aesthetically connected to the city fabric through transportation and history.

CONCLUSION Overall the Toronto’s Eaton Centre is an example of a building flexed by the influence of the public. Major changes to the projects scope and definition allowed for a welldesigned building to be achieved. Consideration to the character of the area allows the building to fit and coexist alongside the historical context and be beneficial to city fabric. The public pressure caused a positive result in the overall architecture design of the process. The changes, whether they were consciously made or not, led to the development of a project that reflected some of the architectural qualities present in the CIAM declaration. Toronto’s Eaton centre is a current day icon of the city, giving it character, becoming a desired attraction of tourists and a pleasurable environment for the public.


NOTES 1.  “Our History.” The largest mall in downtown Toronto | Toronto Eaton Centre. (accessed October 25, 2013 2.  “Eaton Centre.” A View of Cities. http:// toronto/eatoncentre.htm (accessed September 14, 2013). 3.  “Our History.” The largest mall in downtown Toronto | Toronto Eaton Centre. (accessed October 25, 2013 4.  Barc, Agatha. “The origins of the Eaton Centre.” blogTO RSS. http://www. (accessed October 25, 2013) 5.  “PATH facts.” bgrd/2012-11-08-DZBL-ZN-Maps-H.pdf (accessed October 25, 2013). 6.  Flack, Derek. “The Eaton Centre turns 35 years old.” blogTO RSS. http:// (accessed October 25, 2013). 7.  “Eaton Centre.” A View of Cities. http:// toronto/eatoncentre.htm (accessed September 14, 2013). 8.  “Eaton Centre.” A View of Cities. http:// toronto/eatoncentre.htm (accessed September 14, 2013). 9.  “Toronto City Planning Zoning Map H.” http://www.toronto. ca/legdocs/mmis/2012/pg/bgrd/2012-11-08-DZBL-ZN-Maps-H.pdf (accessed October 18, 2013). 10.  Mosher, Max. “Retail Through the Ages: Toronto Eaton Centre | Toronto Standard.” Toronto Standard RSS10. style/retail-through-the-ages-toronto-eaton-centre (accessed October 25, 2013). 11.  Le Corbusier. “The Prevailing Condition of the Cities - Critical Examination and Remedial Measures.” In The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 86-87. 12.  Le Corbusier. “Conclusions - Main Points of Doctrine.” In The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 95-100. 13.  Le Corbusier. “The Prevailing Condition of the Cities - Critical Examination and Remedial Measures.” In The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 56-58.

FIGURES 138.  Barc, Agatha. “The origins of the Eaton Centre.” blogTO RSS. http://www. (accessed October 25, 2013) 139.  Base map: “Google Maps.” Google Maps. (accessed November 8, 2013). Diagram: Eyk, Mark. 140.  Eyk, Mark. 141.  Base map: “Google Maps.” Google Maps. (accessed November 8, 2013). Diagram: Eyk, Mark. 142.  “City of Toronto: Historical aerial photographs at the City of Toronto Archives.” City of Toronto: Historical aerial photographs at the City of Toronto Archives. (accessed October 25, 2013). 143.  “City of Toronto Property Data Map 2010.” Ryerson University. https:// (accessed November 8, 2013).

PHOTOS 1.  “New Facebook group revives old Toronto landmarks with vintage photos.” new_facebook_group_revives_old_toronto_landmarks_with_vintage_photos.html (accessed October 25, 2013). 2.  Flack, Derek. “The Eaton Centre turns 35 years old.” blogTO RSS. http:// old/ (accessed October 25, 2013). 3.  Flack, Derek. “The Eaton Centre turns 35 years old.” blogTO RSS. http:// old/ (accessed October 25, 2013).


POST-CIAM 1960-1980

THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART EAST BUILDING Ieoh Ming Pei 1978 New York City by Hovag Kara-Yacoubian

Urbanity has, over the years, placed numerous rules and constraints on the architecture of many cities. Masterful architecture takes these constraints and guidelines which it must conform to and capitalizes on them. In an era where the shadow of CIAM principles still loomed, wherein the elements of the international style and the construction of the functional city were key to the continual development of projects, the East Building of the National Gallery provides a new take on how to construct a building within a communal context while adhering to stylistic ideals. This project begins to relate the new construct to the older buildings and context of the National Gallery facility while paying close attention to the stringent rules of the National Mall, Presidential Inaugural Route and height and zoning restrictions which are pertinent to Washington D.C. The Mall itself forces certain circulatory measures while the need for internal communal spaces and gallery blocks drives the form in constitution with numerous irregularities of site shape and dimensions. Within the National Mall the East Building adopted old materials and rules with new design ideas and principles from which a new flexible gallery space with offices and archives emerged reflective of the programmatic needs of the facility. Sitting at the intersection of Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenue it reels in large amounts of pedestrian traffic and has through the stringent planning restrictions become an appropriate gateway to the rest of the gallery facilities and the Mall itself.


POST-CIAM 1960-1979


he National Gallery of Art’s East Building is found in Washington D.C. along Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets, adjacent to the national mall and the older West Building. The construct is a result of painstaking planning and tiptoeing around the stringent Washington zoning laws while trying to please a difficult company of board members. I.M. Pei, the architect and the mind behind the concept of the building’s format was selected by the wealthy American businessman, Paul Mellon to extend the original West building which had been designed by John Russell Pope commissioned and paid entirely for by the Senior Mellon, Andrew.1 The city of Washington D.C., particularly the National mall during the 1960s, is the result of several different planning commissions overlaid and developed on top of the original plan envisioned by Pierre L’enfant. In the shadow of the looming giant of Le Corbusier’s CIAM the resonance of

Figure 1 Before the completetion engagement of the 2 phases of the National Gallery of art by the Mellon’s the mall was relatively undefined by its built context


the project with some of its principles is uncannily undeniable.2 Pei being a modernist of sound taste and design principles was certainly influenced by some of these factors yet the building itself is most relevant to its context and function. As an extension to a previously existing program and one of the last pieces to be added to the National Mall, The East Building’s volume was heavily influenced by the sociopolitical context, not to mention very nature of the site’s shape and dimensions. Sitting on a trapezoidal plot which had been set aside since the West Building was completed in anticipation of an extension, the angles and setbacks provided an interesting challenge and in doing so informed the design of the building. RELATING TO AN OLDER CONTEXT Recognizing the contextual situation is always an important element to making a project effective. In the case of the East Building this rings very true.

Though it is not a direct extension connecting to the older West building, it remains indirectly connected to it through programmatic means and through the need of a small courtyard space. Mellon, a true patron of the arts, when commissioning Pei to design the building demanded there be a direct axial connection for the users of the West Building to directly engage in and be able to enter the main of the East Building.3 The National Gallery of Art was not envisioned as two separate entities, but as two parts of a whole. The Senior Mellon had already established this goal when he purchased and set aside the property adjacent to the first gallery in anticipation of the need to modernize and expand in the future. There was also a need for very specific programmatic spaces which the first building was either lacking or running out of. Pei and Mellon both understood the building had to accompany a variety of art and different gallery collections, as well as a study center, library and

Figure 2 After the completion of the project. It becomes apparent that the mall is complete with the addition of East Building on the final lot. It is one of the only additions to the mall aside from the completion of the West building in during the era

offices. Through these demands and the relationship with Pope’s neo classical design next door the form of three pod towers around a central mass was born.4 With this the building could capitalize on the awkward shape of the site, provide a museum which was walkableat least by the measure of Pei and his partners and also flexible enough in its functions to accommodate the serious programmatic needs the other building was posing. While doing so it created a relationship with the older West Building which very closesly adhered to neo classical style which was so dominant in D.C.’s government buildings. PLANS, PLANS AND POLITICAL NEEDS The contextual situation of the East building was not limited to its physical relationship with its sister building and the lot’s form and dimensions, but it was also subject to planning, zoning and height restrictions set within D.C.’s plan. Though the area comprising of the National Mall is not strictly zoned according the D.C. by-law maps there are governing elements of this area that define the design practices of a building abutting it. There is a need for monumentality which can be clearly seen in the East Building’s neighbours all through the Mall.5 Further, presumably in order to assist in this, the Mall’s height limit can exceed the cap of 130 feet (39 meters) set on the rest of the city, allowing buildings to rise up to 160 feet (49 meters) the buildings of the mall use this to its full extent with the East building as no exception.6 The lot itself is an awkward plot left over from L’enfant’s original plan for Washington with two slightly varied height caps and the radial streets cutting off awkward trapezoidal angles the provided space is one where only a creative mind could

Figure 3 Comparing the neo classical West Building to the new modern East Building

Figure 4 Courtyard Traffic and Pedestrian Relationships

build a visionary building.16 That said, it is likely the reason why the site was, for a very long time, used only for tennis courts and earlier in history as a shooting range for members of congress to shoot ducks on their way to the Capitol.8 The East Building’s lot also finds itself on the President’s Inaugural route meaning the building had to concede more than the regular setback as demanded by the Washington by-law system to account for the parade and views that must be preserved as Washington is a city with streets anchored by monuments and directed by vistas. 9

RESONATING WITH CIAM I.M. Pei as a master of modern architecture was no stranger to Le Corbusier and his work. It is even cited at one point that he considered referencing La Tourette as an informal precedent for the East building Design.10 With that said, CIAM was one of Corbusier’s greatest accomplishments and it severely influenced architecture both during its implementation and after it was dissolved. By the 1970s when the East building’s proposal was brought up and Mellon essentially overrode all affairs pertaining 285

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to approvals CIAM was already but a memory.11 Yet this memory resonates still very strongly with the principles of the movement and the Format of this building. Corbusier’s International style severely influences not only the formal design of the East building but also the spaces around it.12 Despite the city’s master plan being heavily influenced by by the Beaux Arts style the modernist approach can clearly be seen within the building’s layout. Similar to CIAM principles and projects like the United Nations headquarters and the format of Niemeyer’s Brasilia, the east Building purports a presence on a large national square of sorts littered with monuments and artwork thus becoming a monumental element in itself. Further it creates its own courtyards, one within the building itself and another between the West building’s East Façade and the main entrance to the East building. This courtyard would have been deemed a healthy well lit meeting space by CIAM standards and is a communal location designed for gathering as Corbusier would have envisioned within his own radiant city.13 In addition to this there is an act of preservation being taken here for 286

a building of architectural significance. Rather than intervene directly with the West Building the East Building acts as an entity of its own and directly services and enhances older elements of the city that carry architectural significance. This is all likely a result of Pei’s own fascination and deep influence through Corbusier’s writings. Having a Beaux Art’s background and generally being dissatisfied with the movement Pei’s own actions began to consciously emulate elements of the CIAM, the movement of the era. CIAM also attributed a very deep importance to city streets and their relationships to the adjoining spaces including parks, offices and public buildings. The context of the city directly agrees with the Athens Charter’s statement that initiatives must fit into and overall plan and that they will be subordinate to the collective interests in order to further the public good.14 The west building never for a moment breaks any of the rules set within Washington. It is a solemn modern piece among a slew of neo classical building types, yet it services the public and regulates its dimensions in accordance to the rules of the city which were of

Figure 5 The heights of the two buildings are relaitive two each other as well as adhering to the maximum height limit of 160 feet as specified by the zoning regulations of the District of Columbia facing the mall

course created to further the public good. In this sense Pei has fulfilled one of the most important elements of CIAM type planning, a fundamental acceptance that the ego of a building must be set aside for it to truly become a participating unit of a functional urban fabric.

CONCLUSION The many different factors that shaped the East Building, certainly provided an opportunity for an exciting project to emerge. Dealing with height restrictions, social issues, a neo classical context along with a very elaborate program it is no wonder that it remained I.M. Pei’s most illustrious project until the renovation of the Louvre in Paris.15 While he did implement some elements of CIAM dogma, the individual design sense and adherence to the city’s master plan and height zone restrictions make it a very appropriate addition to

the Mall and D.C. as a whole. Mellon’s decision to choose Pei as the architect of this premier project, in concert with Pei’s visionary approach to inserting modern architecture into a context where neo classicism held dominance resulted in a new building language that speaks both to the modern nature of the galleries within the East building and the historical and sociopolitical context around which the building was built. With such a minimal and simplistic modern gesture Pei managed to sway the context into a new direction, completing and unifying the segment of the Mall and filling one of the final plots with a rich addition both relating to local culture and architecture simultaneously.

Figure 6 The Resulting program spaces generated from the lots dimensions, this include the 3 pods/towers, the gallery main, the central circulation block as well as the exterior courtyard and greespace


NOTES 1.  Wiseman, Carter, and I. M. Pei. “8.The East Building of the National Gallery.” In The architecture of I.M. Pei: with an illustrated catalogue of the buildings and projects. Rev. ed. London: Thames & Hudson, 2001. 155-169. 2.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 3.  Wiseman, Carter, and I. M. Pei. “8.The East Building of the National Gallery.” In The architecture of I.M. Pei: with an illustrated catalogue of the buildings and projects. Rev. ed. London: Thames & Hudson, 2001. 155-169. 4.  Boehm, Gero von, and I. M. Pei. “New York and Beyond.” In Conversations with I.M. Pei: light is the key. Munich: Prestel, 2000. 50-71. 5.  “DC Zoning Map.” DC Zoning Map. (accessed October 25, 2013). 6.  “Building Heights in the Nation’s Capital.” National Capital Planning Commission. (accessed October 25, 2013). 7.  National Capital Planning Commission. “Planning in Pictures.” NCPC in Action. Album_2.html (accessed October 25, 2013). 8.  Heidi, Hinnish. “I.M. Pei’s east Building.” School Arts April (1999): 43. GALE%7CA54256625/69606f7c47833db1ab21df8b89afedd0? (accessed September 10, 2013). 9.  “Memorials in Washington DC | National Capital Planning Commission.” Memorials in Washington DC | National Capital Planning Commission. (accessed October 25, 2013). 10.  Wiseman, Carter, and I. M. Pei. “8.The East Building of the National Gallery.” In The architecture of I.M. Pei: with an illustrated catalogue of the buildings and projects. Rev. ed. London: Thames & Hudson, 2001. 155-169. 11.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 12.  Boehm, Gero von, and I. M. Pei. “New York and Beyond.” In Conversations with I.M. Pei: light is the key. Munich: Prestel, 2000. 50-71. 13.  “The Prevailing Conditions of the Cities.” In The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 53. 14.  “The Prevailing Conditions of the Cities.” In The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 53. 15.  Wiseman, Carter, and I. M. Pei. “8.The East Building of the National Gallery.” In The architecture of I.M. Pei: with an illustrated catalogue of the buildings and projects. Rev. ed. London: Thames & Hudson, 2001. 155-169.

FIGURES 144.  Gevorkian, Vitaly, and David Akopian. “The monumental and commercial center of the national capital.” Three dimensional map of central Washington. (accessed October 24, 2013).

PHOTOS 1.  Groucho, S. “National Gallery of Art.” Flickr. sonofgroucho/2436694357/ (accessed October 25, 2013).


POST-CIAM 1960-1980

THE PORTLAND BUILDING Michael Graves of New York, Michael Graves & Associates 1979-1983 Portland, Oregon by Diana Koncan

The CIAM was an organization of architects who were devoted to promote modern solutions to challenges in urban life1. Members explained Urbanization as the idea of functional order in a community2. The city of Portland, although not part of CIAM, supported many of the same principles. They too wanted a functional city3. One of the founders of CIAM said a functional city was a grid network that could further develop4. A plan called the “Central City Plan” was introduced to Portland in 1988, which organized the city to function in the grid network. People would live in high density areas, and the city transit system connected them to neighbouring areas. On its outskirts are residential units as single homes, eventually converted to multifamily homes5. CIAM principles stated serving more is better than few6. Part of the City Plan was to reach out to the larger community and promote regulations in the city. Municipal government office space was needed therefore funded by Portland in 1979. Michael Graves designed a low cost building that conveyed physical, social, political and cultural aspects of Portland through symbolic elements connecting the past and present7. The CIAM approach to urbanism comes from previous planning concepts8. Similarly, Graves uses Classical Period elements in architecture to achieve social reform. His architecture stands as the first large scale work of postmodern architecture, creating a turning point in history. He is moving from the modern era of “sameness” within the building and the city9. In combining architectural form with social change, Graves unintentionally holds architecture, urbanism and social transformation aspects of CIAM. 289

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he Portland, Oregon area during the post CIAM era was in a time of great flux. Residents were very concerned for the future of Portland, therefore citizens became involved and advocated for change1. Change was happening to improve the city. The Portland building is Portland’s government service building, designed by Michael Graves in 19792. The client is the government of the city of Portland. It was conceived through a design competition that the city sponsored. Graves designed it as a symbolic gesture to try and re-establish a language of architecture and values not part of modernist standardization. This is considered the first work of postmodern architecture, designed to show change, just as the city was undergoing3. This is seen especually in the facade, not designed with standardization but on aesthetics, serving no functional purpose. The quick and easy way of creating buildings in the CIAM era through standardized design is officially lost from this point forward. Le Corbusier wanted unity among buildings and this building compared to all other buildings presents itself as a more monumental building. The building makes direct

Figure 4 & 5 Pedestrian flow.


references to the Classical era, creating ties with the past and the present4. Similarly, much of the CIAM approach to urbanism is derived from previous concepts5. The height for instance is in accordance to what the city planned for; the city wanted a dense core of highrise buildings and a very open outer area of single dwelling units surrounding it. The plan of the building is following Le Corbusiers pilote effect, showing uniform collinades6. Similarly the plan of the city is very uniform with a grid iron layout of the streets. The facade of the building is not standardized, as the city layout and the plan of the Portland building is7. Many people were critical of the building because buildings from this point forward were supposed to be fully functional in every design decision, benefiting the community8. With the building’s lack of functional purposes associated with its highly stylized design, some did not agree it was the right choice the city made. Even so, this building puts Portland on the map, and marks a turning point in Portland history. PHYSICAL CONTEXT AND PROGRAM The Portland area is surrounded

by mountains in the North, with mild temperatures all year. The culture of the region is an outdoor one9. Portland focused its city plans on: access to parks, civic uses and public buildings, and the quality of these communal spaces. The Portland building is located on a 40,000 sq ft block of downtown Portland. It is located adjacent to City Hall, Courthouse buildings on either side, the Chapman Square Park, and the Public Transit mall; three civic buildings, public open space and a mall that draws in residents from suburbs and beyond10. The building was designed to address the urban context and program within. With this in mind Graves mimics qualities seen in classical architecture, framing a view to the building that welcomes users from the streetscape of the parks and streets to this building11. The pathways through the adjacent parks are for pedestrian traffic to approach from the streetscape parks and streets. Due to the downtown location, cars and streetcars create traffic on the surrounding roads. The pathways integrated into the parks are there to bring people to this building, following Portlands plan that strives for greenspace. The streets “Fourth and Fifth Avenue” as well as “Madison” and “Main” direct pedestrians toward the service building. Public activities in the building are positioned at the base of the building, where they are most easily accessible12. This fits the pilote principle that Le Corbusier believed to be important, however it is still diverging these CIAM principles because it is not completely open on the first floor as a pilote building would be. Government offices are located on the second floor to fifth floors, behind a large window that represents the nature of activities being held in the building itself, represented by the reflection it creates13.

Figure 1 Portland map perspective 1879 Figure 2 & 3 Portland 1970 vs. 1980

SOCIAL, POLITICAL, CULTURAL AND PLANNING CONTEXTS The deteriorating environment and uncontrolled suburbanization in the 30s were turned around in the 60s. This was a time of transition of leadership from an older generation to a younger generation therefore new and optimistic views in city planning were about. They created a Downtown Plan, planning for growth, with minimal sacrifice on economy and the environment14. They aimed to improve urban form and quality of urban life. They developed regulations for both the metropolitan and the city, with the local government, civil society and citizens. The plan was successful because it equally incorporated culture, institution, urban and the environment in one strategic plan15. There was social reform occurring now emphasizing community instead of businesses, and thinking about environmental and social issues. They sought to provide affordable housing, social support, and revitalization. They valued interaction in public spaces because it encouraged social and cultural diversity16. Portland created the neighbourhood plan in the 70s to protect and enhance the environment through historical, cultural and natural preservation. The city

Figure 6 CITY PLAN 1978

was created around urban livability and preserving the environment17. The official city plan was the Central City Plan of 1988 where high density apartments and commercial buildings would be at the centres and corridors, connected by a transit system. Outside the core, single family housing would be the main housing type18. In 1982, the city created its first zoning setbacks to conserve nature, setting back land uses from

waters. In 1969, Oregon developed a forum where the government, the courts, local planners, citizens and privatepublic interest groups can participate in making choices for the city19. THE CONTEXT AND PROJECT IN RELATION TO CIAM The way that CIAM understood American cities was similar to how Portland was organized: vast area for 291

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single family housing, and high rise downtowns, accessible by transit or car. Planning allowed the Portland Building to be a high-rise building in the area, as it was situated in the core of Downtown Portland. It also suggested the programmatic layout would be public on the ground floor and offices on upper floors. The exact location with neighbouring government buildings made it obvious this building would be a service building, keeping all government buildings close in proximity20. The International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM) was an organization of architects who were devoted to promote modern solutions to challenges in urban life. They were a group that offered strategies of reorganization, and analysis to modern cities21. They pushed that modern industrial cities should be designed to improve living conditions of the majority, increase economic efficiency through transportation improvements and to protect the natural environment. In light of this we can argue that Graves did not design the building meeting CIAM standards because its aesthetics did not serve any functional purposes, it was merely aesthetic. During the 9th CIAM meeting, the congress states architecture ‘will concentrate upon living and everything man plans and constructs for living.’22 CIAM also states design must preserve the natural essentials, the sky, trees and light23. The Portland building was designed to connect to the streetscape, incorporating landscape around the building and a connection to the neighbouring park. In being very monumental and large, it could be argued that it would block natural sunlight and the sky, but in the façade, the sky and trees are incorporated into the tri part classically divided facade24. 292

Members explained Urbanization as the idea of functional order in a community. The city of Portland, although not part of CIAM, supported many of the same principles. They too wanted a functional city25. One of the founders of CIAM said a functional city was a grid network that could further develop. “Central City Plan” introduced as Portland’s official plan organized the city to function in a grid network. People would live in high density areas, and the city transit system connected them to neighbouring areas. On its outskirts are residential units as single homes, eventually converted to multifamily homes26. Furthermore, CIAM recognized the Garden Cities developed in 1898, serving the individual, and how the concentrated city would allow the individuals to experience a life organized collectively27. Portland is organized so that its downtown core is concentrated and single family housing outside the high density core28. It is structured the way Le Corbusier stated is fundamental to taking advantage of

Figure 7 & 8 The first floor plan of the Portland Building shows public circulation in the hatched areas, and the pilotes organized in a grid iron formation. The next image shows how the portland building follows classical principals in the facade of the design.

collective organization. Le Corbusier also states Modern urbanism can bring reduction in overall area of cities so that the distances are shorter, habitation can be grouped… [with] Separation between traffic and habitation… [situating] routines… [to] give the city its reason for being29. Portland is organized to have a small but dense downtown core, allowing quick traffic to flow through streets and transit. CIAM principles stated serving more is better than few, and urbanism comes from previous concepts30. Not only does this connect to Portland’s City Plan but it also relates to the program of the Portland Building to the surrounding area. It is a building of physical, social, political and cultural integrity, equally addressing the needs of the entire city through the program within and façade symbolism. Design for minimum working effort, through rationalization and standardization of building components were approaches that were not taken. In using Classical period elements, the Portland building has standardized elements, but has not made them relevant to the types of buildings built at that time. The way Portland conceived of this design was thoughtful in the way they involved the general public and created a competition but it was through minimum effort by doing so. This piece of architecture stands as the first large scale work of postmodern architecture, creating a turning point in history31. He is moving from the modern era of “sameness” within the building and the city. In combining architectural form with social change, Graves unintentionally holds architecture, urbanism and social transformation aspects of CIAM32.

CONCLUSION CIAM principles state Cities must be understood as part of an economic, social and political whole, as well as to create an identity for themselves, which is exactly what the city of Portland planned in their City Plan. Portland equally addressed social, economic and political issues when creating a master plan for the development of the city, and the Portland Building itself. The culture of the region is an outdoor culture, hence why the plans of the city heavily concern themselves with access to parks, civic uses and public buildings, and the quality of these communal spaces. Portland’s aim is to improve the quality of urban life. This time period was at a stage where a plan was sought out to be developed aiming for growth that would give Portland a lifetime of success, without compromising their city’s economy or environment. Just as CIAM was a group providing direction of the Modern era, Portland’s city plan was comprised of a group (the entire city) creating guidelines for the future of their place. The project built had the right intensions; however it would have given the city huge benefits if Michael Graves created more function to the aesthetics of the building. Portland was and continues to strive for great design that adds to their community, and if this building had more purpose to its outer visual appearance, more citizens would have been happy with the architectural choices Graves made.


ABSTRACT NOTES 1.  Mumford, Eric Paul, The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000), 30. 2.  IBID 45 3.  Planning and Sustainability, “The City of Portland.” Last modified 2013. Accessed September 13, 2013. bps/34249. 4.  Pilling, Matthew. MA Architecture Urbanism, “Eric Mumford: The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism 1928-1960 (2002).” Last modified March 11, 2011. Accessed September 13, 2013. http://architectureandurbanism. 5.  Planning and Sustainability, “The City of Portland.” Last modified 2013. Accessed September 13, 2013. bps/34249. 6.  Pilling, Matthew. MA Architecture Urbanism, “Eric Mumford: The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism 1928-1960 (2002).” Last modified March 11, 2011. Accessed September 13, 2013. http://architectureandurbanism. 7.  Michael Graves, Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1966-1981, (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1982, 1982), 195. 8.  Mumford, Eric Paul, Defining urban design : CIAM architects and the formation of a discipline, 1937-69 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 103. 9.  Michael Graves, Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1966-1981, (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1982, 1982), 195.

162.  Planning and Sustainability, “The City of Portland.” Last modified 2013. Accessed September 13, 2013. bps/34249. 163.  Planning and Sustainability, “The City of Portland.” Last modified 2013. Accessed September 13, 2013. bps/34249. 164.  Graves, Michael, Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1966-1981, (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1982), 192. 165.  Mumford, Eric Paul, The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000) 166.  Mumford, Eric Paul, Defining urban design : CIAM architects and the formation of a discipline, 1937-69, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 25. 167.  IBID 30 168.  IBID 45 169.  IBID 32 170.  IBID 60 171.  IBID 250 172.  IBID 251 173.  IBID 50 174.  Mumford, Eric Paul, The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000). 175.  Graves, Michael, Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1966-1981, (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1982), 192. 176.  Mumford, Eric Paul, The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000).

ESSAY NOTES 145.  Connie P. Ozawa, The Portland edge : challenges and successes in growing communities, (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2004), ch. 1 . 146.  Graves, Michael, Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1966-1981, (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1982), 192. 147.  Graves, Michael, Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1966-1981, (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1982), 192. 148.  Pilling, Matthew. MA Architecture Urbanism, “Eric Mumford: The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism 1928-1960 (2002).” Last modified March 11, 2011. Accessed September 13, 2013. http://architectureandurbanism. 149.  Pilling, Matthew. MA Architecture Urbanism, “Eric Mumford: The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism 1928-1960 (2002).” Last modified March 11, 2011. Accessed September 13, 2013. http://architectureandurbanism. 150.  Pilling, Matthew. MA Architecture Urbanism, “Eric Mumford: The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism 1928-1960 (2002).” Last modified March 11, 2011. Accessed September 13, 2013. http://architectureandurbanism. 151.  Graves, Michael, Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1966-1981, (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1982), 202. 152.  Graves, Michael, Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1966-1981, (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1982), 192. 153.  Connie P. Ozawa, The Portland edge : challenges and successes in growing communities, (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2004), ch.1. 154.  Graves, Michael, Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1966-1981, (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1982), 192. 155.  Graves, Michael, Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1966-1981, (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1982), 192. 156.  Graves, Michael, Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1966-1981, (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1982), 193. 157.  Graves, Michael, Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1966-1981, (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1982), 192. 158.  Clara Irazábal, City making and urban governance in the Americas : Curitiba and Portland, (Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate, 2005). 159.  Robert Fishman, The American planning tradition : culture and policy, (Washington, D.C: Woodrow Wilson Centre Press, 2000) 160.  Clara Irazábal, City making and urban governance in the Americas : Curitiba and Portland, (Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate, 2005). 161.  Robert Fishman, The American planning tradition : culture and policy, (Washington, D.C: Woodrow Wilson Centre Press, 2000)


FIGURES 1.  Portland 1879. 1879. Map. WardMaps LLC, Portland. Web. 6 Nov 2013. <>. 2.  Solid - void diagram of Portland during 19179, October 12, Koncan, Diana. Original site map courtesy of City of Portland Environmental Services. 3.  Solid - void diagram of Portland post 1980, October 12, Koncan, Diana. Original site map courtesy of City of Portland Environmental Services. 4.  Site plan showing connection to the park and surrounding spaces, October 12, Koncan, Diana. Original plan courtesy of Michael Graves. 5.  Perspective showing framed view and pedestrian traffic through park, October 12, Koncan, Diana. Original perspective courtesy of Michael Graves. 6.  Land use diagram. 2011. Infographic. City of Portland, Portland. Web. 25 Oct 2013. <>. 7.  Graves, Michael. 1982. Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1966-1981. New York: Rizzoli International Publications. Floor Plan 8.  Graves, Michael. 1982. Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1966-1981. New York: Rizzoli International Publications. Fifth Avenue Elevation

PHOTOS 1. Etherington, Rose . The Portland Building. 2011. Photograph. de zeen magazine, Portland. Web. 25 Oct 2013. < the-portland-building-by-michael-graves-associates-added-to-national-register-of-historic-places/>.



More than 30 years after the disbanding of CIAM designers found themselves in a new era of architecture, urban planning and design. It became apparent that in our current state, one overarching strategy for planning cannot always be effective. Through the works of architects and planners projects now respond directly to their context instead of attempting to create a new one. In some areas design discussions are revolving around topics such as the maintenance and heritage preservation while others focus on connections to transportation systems, nonetheless the responses are no longer static as before. This dynamism has been brought into the method of programming of our urban fabrics. While some in the past have called for a strict segregation of programming many today utilize design to connect and integrate elements in a city. In the contemporary era, architecture, urban planning and design have utilized fluid ideas for achieving this integration allowing for adaptability and flexibility in a growing and ever-changing society. This progression is attributed to the development in design focuses that respond to changes in our political, economic and environmental climates. We now find projects that adjust themselves to many changes in the urban condition. While some may draw on ideals from CIAM, others choose to ignore them in favour of looking for new means to reach outcomes in specific urban contexts. The following essays are dedicated to exploring the new architecture, urban planning and design that has developed directly in response to current political, economic and cultural contexts. Such is the contemporary era, where urban organization has realized its dependence on the dynamic changes and growth of a city.




HONG KONG AND SHANGHAI BANK Foster and Partners 1979-1986 Hong Kong by Ariel Cooke

Foster’s design for the HSBC building stands 183m over Statue Square in Hong Kong, and is said to have reinvented the skyscraper and set the pattern for contemporary design in Hong Kong. Following CIAM ideals, Foster’s design served as a political and economic tool following Hong Kong’s political turnover, and challenging the current standardization by making the building welcoming to the public at an urban scale, thus making the building speak of the nature of banking in Hong Kong. Foster broke from the homogeneity of modern architecture by designing the HSBC building with cultural considerations in an attempt to incorporate traditional elements with modern practices. ‘Feng Shui’, for example, played a major role in the design of the building. Additionally zoning requirements heavily influenced the building’s design, but Foster viewed regulatory constraints as opportunities. Several key features of the building, such as its displacement from grade, voids in its façade, uneven loading, and even use of light materials came as a result to zoning regulations. In total, 3,000 tons of steel and 4,500 tons of aluminum were used. Steel was an uncommon material in Hong Kong at the time. The lack of a local industry led to most of the building components to be shipped to the site. Foster set the stage for contemporary architecture in Hong Kong.




oster and Partners designed the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters, between 1979 and 1985. It is said to have reinvented the skyscraper and set the pattern for contemporary design in Hong Kong, and today still stands as an example of contemporary architecture. Until then, high-rise buildings followed a traditional disposition; with a central nucleus and spaces arranged around it. Foster broke from that pattern by distributing the core into the edges of the building, resulting in more open, larger floor plates and better views in almost every direction.1 It also allowed the building to be displaced from the ground, making way for an inviting public space. In doing so, Foster followed ideals set by Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) in the early 1930s, and requirements expressed in The Athens Charter. Following zoning regulations enforced by the Building Ordinance Office (OCC), the building looks at zoning restrictions as opportunities as can be seen in the changes in volumes and in the voids on the façade.

THE BANK ON STATUE SQUARE Foster’s design for the HSBC building stands 183m over Statue Square in Hong Kong, a big public square between Connaught Road Central and Des Voeux Road Central. Pedestrian flow on the site is very important, as pedestrian traffic on the square is very dense. The building sits on the site of HSBC’s old building, thus Foster had to pay close attention in order to respect the great symbolism of the old bank.2 The site demanded innovative thinking in order for a project of such magnitude to take place. HSBC demanded that the old bank building remain functional during construction, which led Foster to envisage the construction of the building upward and downward at the same time; Foster was against the idea of demolishing the old bank building. Instead; he proposed not to demolish the existing building, and to construct the new tower over it, only demolishing the old building after construction. This was very important, as the cost of land was extremely high, and more importantly, the site had been home to the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation since the 1880s.3 In doing so, the bank would be

Figure 1 Figure-ground showing the site in 1923 and 2013 respectively.


allowed to continue to function during the construction process.4 In order to do so, Foster implemented the use of a suspension structure, much like that of a bridge, arranging large steel masts on three bays. This innovative move allowed for the old building to continue its operations while the new headquarters was built over it.5 POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC TOOL The Bank was to serve as a political and economic tool following the region’s recent political turnover, as the bank was an arbiter in the region’s economic policy. Furthermore, Hong Kong had not experienced any significant architectural development since 1945 due to the heated relationship between Communist-controlled China and the English colony of Hong Kong.6 Furthermore, the headquarters was designed long before china opened to the world by embracing a capitalist economy. Zoning laws at the time were very constraining and strictly controlled; all proposals had to go through the Building Ordinance Office. Due to this, the architecture in Hong Kong was very homogeneous, following the same pattern of design consisting of a central elevator core; an economic layout, but very restraining.7 This model would not suffice for the new headquarters, as it was to represent HSBC as a strong figure in banking, following its growth to a worldwide investment bank.8 Additionally, land was very expensive, leading HSBC to build on their existing site rather than expanding outwards. Strict zoning requirements also led to the final building form, as its volume sets back in the form of three separate towers. Foster viewed this


Figure 2 View from Victoria Peak, 1980s

Figure 3 1986. Following construction.

Figure 4 2012. Contemporary skyline

as an opportunity and as a result he created multi-story floors with varying heights and garden terraces.9 Several key features of the building, such as its displacement from grade, voids in its façade, uneven loading, and even use of light materials came as a result to zoning regulations. The building’s mass steps back in order to meet with Hong Kong planning regulations which required that the sidewalks at street level to receive sunlight.10 The approval for this building was very complicated. Once approved, it only took 35 months to construct on site, thanks to the heavy use of prefabrication, but the entire project took from 1979 to 1985 to complete, seven years in the planning process. Furthermore, Foster was deeply interested in the Chinese culture, especially with the use of Feng Shui in design. In Chinese culture, it is believed that those who have a direct view into a body of water have a higher chance of prosperity, as water is greatly associated with richness. The HSBC Headquarters is privileged to have the vast open space of Statue Square in front of it, without buildings to block its views towards Victoria Harbour.11

Figure 5 Traditional structural core vs. Foster’s suspension structure

CIAM INFLUENCE CIAM was focused on the idea that redesign, and the future developments of 20th cities, must be based on the biological, psychological, and social needs of the working classes.12 Though Foster’s work does not belong to the CIAM era, its ideas are still evident in his designs. Foster’s respect for culture, his use of Feng Shui, and making the bank building welcoming

to the public, are closely related to Corbusier’s ideas in the Charter of Athens to merge economic, social and political values with psychological values. Foster achieves this by bringing together the individual (HSBC), and the collective (the public).13 Furthermore, his innovative approach to designing, the use of prefabricated components, and the integration of landscape within the built environment are all strategies 301


of analysis and urban reorganization discussed by the members of CIAM. Perhaps inadvertently, but with direct influence from CIAM ideals, the building’s public space is separated from the heavily trafficked automobile realm, giving pedestrians a safe place to circulate through by separating the pedestrian and the driver, and also giving the public an enjoyable space, isolated from the disturbances of a busy street.14 Foster wanted the new HSBC headquarters to break from the paradigm of traditional banking architecture and give back to the city by making the building be more than just a bank.15 He did so by making the entire ground plane an active and open public place. Removing the central core as the main structural element, in order to open up the plan, resulted in the use of a suspension structure. This allowed the service cores to be moved to the building’s perimeter, creating open floor plans, and broader views from within.16 This new public space separates the pedestrian from the automobile, as is one of Corbusier’s requirements in The Athens Charter, closely related to his plan for the Ville Radieuse. Foster created a public space within the urban fabric, coinciding with CIAM ideals. Though the lack of available land restrained him from setting the building back in order to “free the ground”, he created the space by lifting the building off from the ground, completely opening the ground floor to the public. The plaza created is now the host of several public activities, including picnics and peoples’ everyday commute, creating a strong relationship between HSBC, and the people of Hong Kong.


CONCLUSION Foster was successful in creating a bank building that served as an economic and political tool in light of an embrace of a new capitalist economy, a break from colonist rule, and a deep respect for culture and the city around it. The Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters set the precedent for skyscraper design in Hong Kong as it successfully used new technologies and merged the interests of the HSBC as an individual, with the needs of the public and the city as a collective. With heavy influence of CIAM planning ideals, mainly those proposed by Le Corbusier in The Charter of Athens, Foster was able to create a building that met the demands of HSBC, while at the same time giving back to the city by creating a very open public place within the heavily congested streets of Hong Kong. Using zoning regulations and restrictions as opportunities, Foster developed an unprecedented structural system similar to that of a bridge, and by suspending the stories was able to

Figure 6 Illustrates the height restrictions at the time. Foster set a precedent for contemporary construction which was followed by future develpments in the city. Foster’s innovation was not in height, but in design principles. New technologies were used in the construction of buildings. Soon after the completion of the HSBC heeadquarter, I.M. Pei’s design for the Bank of China was erected, as can be seen to the left.

open up the floor plate, allowing for a vast open space, both in the public and private spaces, and broad views towards the waterfront. The HSBC stands as a symbol of Hong Kong’s economy, and is still today a great example of contemporary architecture.

NOTES 1.  Sudjic, Deyan. Norman Foster: a life in architecture. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2010. 2.  Oles, Kevin. “Norman Foster: Envisioning Design at the Edge of Reality.” University of Notre Dame (2007) 3.  Le Pichon, Alain. “In the Heart of Victoria: the Emergence of Hong Kong’s Statue Square as a Symbol of Victorian Achievement .” Revue LISA/ LISA e-journal VII, no. 3 (2009) 4.  Oles, Kevin (2007) 5.  “Hongkong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters | Projects | Foster + Partners.” Hongkong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters | Projects | Foster + Partners. (accessed September 24, 2013). 6.  The Telegraph (UK), “HSBC’s luck of the jaw,” December 30, 2002. 7.  Oles, Kevin (2007) 8.  Sudjic, Deyan (2010) 9.  Foster + Partners 10.  Lai, Lawrence Wai. Town planning in Hong Kong: a review of planning appeal decisions, 1997-2001. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press ;, 2003. 11.  Sudjic, Deyan (2010) 12.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 13.  The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 14.  Mumford, Eric Paul (2000) 15.  Sudjic, Deyan (2010) 16.  Foster + Partners

FIGURES 177.  1924 Map of Central & Western. Gwulo: Old Hong Kong. Web. <http://> 178.  Old Hong Kong in Color Photos from 1953-1985. Web. < http://www.> 179.  Nisudapi. Hong Kong From the Peak in 1986. (1986) Web. < http://> 180.  Maxfield. A View of Hong Kong. (2012) Web. < http://upload.wikimedia. org/wikipedia/commons/2/2c/A_view_of_Hong_Kong.JPG> 181.  Ariel Cooke. 2013 182.  Building Free Zone to Preserve Views to Ridgelines. Planning Department. Web. < ch11/ch11_fig_2.htm>

PHOTOS 1.  Atrium and Exterior. N.d. Photograph. Foster + Partners. Web. <http://>




THE SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY Rem Koolhaus of Office for Metropolitan Architecture 1998-2004 Seattle by Nathaniel Mendiola

The construction of the Seattle Public Library was only possible through an extensive and tumultuous planning process. OMA’s design initiated a dialogue with CIAM ideals, as their project established a new social core for the city, while carefully navigating social concerns and remedying economic and political conditions. The unification of Seattle’s neighbourhood groups, civic organizations and political figures reinvigorated the population, allowing for the political backing and support that would go on to establish a new central library, and urbanizing the existing library system to a modern standard, reinforcing a CIAM characteristic of democratic design. At the turn of a new century, the idea behind the Seattle Public Library embodies a shifting modernist mindset towards the digital age, as it integrates the accessibility of information and its new mediums. The project’s modernist approach also challenges conventional building systems through the use of intricate angular steel design, that contrast the traditional high-rise buildings surrounding it, yet still respects the scale of the neighbouring buildings and the appropriate zoning bylaws. This paper dissects the Seattle Public Library through the various exemplified contexts, filtering its rich foundation of political, economic and social factors that affected the planning and ultimate construction of the project on a foundation of CIAM principles.




ituated in Seattle’s downtown core on the same site as two previous central libraries, OMA’ Seattle Public Library currently stands, bounded by Fourth Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Madison Street and Spring Street. Rem Koolhaus and Joshua Prince-Ramus’ project is a product of an international design competition, held by the City of Seattle in May of 1999, in which OMA was not initially invited to. Koolhaus and his firm would go onto win the competition for his experimental strategies, regarding flexibility and growth, which create a new paradigm in a city known for architectural blandness1. The tumultuous planning processes are largely responsible for the feasibility and realization of the project in 2004, which reinforce CIAM principles, specifically those outlined in the Charter of Athens, as political and private entities carefully navigated social concerns, while remedying economic and political conditions. In a city renowned for its public process, the private and political bodies limit the communal voice to maintain the integrity of the architectural concept. An understanding of the project is facilitated through the exploration of

Figure 1 Seattle Public Library’s Reading Room


CIAM principles that address these particular contexts, relating the Seattle Public Library to a larger functional city. TRAFFIC, PHYSICAL CONTEXT & PROGRAM As a project that occupies an entire sloping city block, primary pedestrian traffic occurs around the entire building, with entrances on Fourth Avenue and Fifth Avenue. Large volumes of vehicular traffic are brought into the neighbourhoods through two major arterial highways, the I-90 and 1-5, which connect prominent areas and features throughout the city. The project forms a visual connection with all of these landmarks from the interior of the library, with Lake Union to the North, Mount Rainier to the South, and the closeneighbouring Elliot Bay to the west. These clearly exposed views stimulate the inner workings of the Seattle Public Library, which are governed by a strict control of flexibility and growth that comes with the innovation of a modern age. Koolhaus’ project intertwines the conventional stagnant programs of a library with the dynamic activities of intellectual life. The resulting staggered form is a 33,700 square-metre building

that stands 11 storeys that complies with the zoning bylaw of a minimum 35-foot building height. Koolhaus describes the library as a functional and representative space, in which the design makes a gesture distinguishing itself from the generic office buildings from the surrounding neighbourhood2. SOCIAL, POLITICAL, CULTURAL AND PLANNING CONTEXTS For a city notorious for it’s public processes, early civic voice governed the foundation for a new central library and the resources required to materialize a design. In October 1998, Seattleites agreed to further tax themselves under the “Seattle Proposition 1” campaign, in which a $196.4 million bond would go on to fund the new library3. While political bodies would organize these social processes, select figures such as the Mayor Paul Schell, and City Librarian Deborah Jacobs would work in tandem with OMA to create a widely accepted building. Various social parties wished the building to reflect their cultural values that would express the richness of Seattle’s public and intellectual life. Seattleites would not be content with a generic “box for books” but declared a communal sensibility stating that they wanted ideas to brew within the new library4. At the dawn of a modern era, in which digital mediums of information have started to garner significance alongside printed books, Koolhaus extends this opportunity to extend this social ideal within the of the Seattle Public Library. PRIVATE VS SOCIAL INTERESTS The late 20th century was an era of transition for the city of Seattle. In a period where a modern city was defined as a product of its historical ideals and forms being superimposed

upon another, Seattle’s cultural identity was to be further refined. What has remained constant throughout the city’s past is their reputation for public process. This characteristic is of mutual importance to CIAM ideals, as the Charter of Athens postulates “private interest will be subordinated to the collective interest” 5. Throughout the duration of the library’s design, City Librarian Deborah Jacobs organized 10 workshops and over 100 meetings on a periodic basis. The workshops addressed certain needs of the different populations, such as arts, business and disabled concerns, while the meetings were a less restrictive format for the general public to voice their personal interests. Of the revisions that were made, programs were reorganized between floors, floor layouts were restructured, entrances became grand and accessible, public spaces were made visible at street level, spatial characteristics were refined, based on public input6. While the themes and concept of the building were predominantly constant throughout every design stage, major decisions were still made by the experts: the architect, the library’s governing body and the City Librarian. The imbalanced relationship between private enterprises and social interest

Figure 2 Buildings on site have to be built to a minimum 35 feet to meet zoning bylaws. Figure 3 Figure ground diagram of the city before the construction of the Seattle Public Library. Figure 4 Figure ground diagram of the project in context. Figure 5 Ratio of stable programs (white) to instable and dynamic programs (orange). The programs were seperated and intertwined to derive the basic conceptual form of the building.

and it’s consequences have also been outlined and explored in the Charter of Athens, in which administrative controls have been rendered nearly powerless7. With regards to the Seattle Public Library, the funds for the project were inadequately managed, and actions regarding financial decisions were being poorly communicated to the taxpayers. In late 1999, a minor calamity emerged as $15 million in bond money was reallocated from

the neighbourhoods to the downtown central library8. As a sense of distrust formed between the private enterprise (OMA) and political powers, and the administrative and social interests, the public’s role decreased. Where the taxpayers initially believed they had a strong foothold, much of their input was limited in terms of form and the character of design9.



AVOIDING THE CONSEQUENCES The sensible resolutions to past practices stem beyond the internal workings of the Seattle Public Library. Arguably the most evident of these is the innovative and provocative structural skin, which corresponds to another postulate of the Charter of Athens. Observation 70 states “the new practice of using styles of the past on 308




PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE As the activities of urban behaviour evolve and create new life, they begin to affect the inner workings of the city. In order for these daily activities to unfold into professional craft, they must be situated and stimulated within the internal concentrations of the city. The Functional City, as outlined by CIAM principles, supports this premise and defines this constant as a timeless, never-ending trend. Going forward, there are no clues as to what potential these activities and professional craft hold. While keeping in mind this unpredictable dynamic growth, OMA’s project plans for the future to accommodate this instability, through a strategy they termed “compartmentalized flexibility”10. One of the features in the library, produced by this approach, includes the Book Spiral. As a traditional library would organize their book departments by corresponding to a particular floor, Koolhaus explains that the Book Spiral accommodates the expansion of the Dewey Decimal system. As a result, excessive materials avoid storage or relocation to a different floor in an unrelated department11. These shortcomings of historical practices are not only elucidated, but they are logically rectified in the Seattle Public Library and also extend to other aspects of the project.

aesthetic pretexts for new structures erected in historic areas has harmful consequences. Neither the continuation of such practices nor the introduction of such initiatives will be tolerated in any form”12. The modern application of the curtain wall rationally mold the form and surfaces of the skin of the library providing an unique aesthetic quality. The form of the building and its skin is a logical derivation of internal function and response. While it offers structural soundness and efficiency, it also responds to the surrounding views and the maximum exposure to daylight in order to stimulate the creative minds

Figure 6 Critical views from the Seattle Public Library’s site. These physical contextual views had a heavy influence on the form of the building and the internal program spaces.

within. Whether the coincidence of the project and this CIAM principle, and those previously mentioned was intentional, the Seattle Public Library addresses a dialogue with CIAM in various contexts and conditions. CONCLUSION Understanding the Seattle Public Library from its inception to its construction, a clear presence of various social, political, and cultural factors are evident. While Koolhaus’ project may not completely subordinate itself to public opinion, he expertly justifies an narrative that corresponds to many other CIAM ideals, particularly those associated with the fourth CIAM summit and the Charter of Athens. The project ultimately satisfies the great demand of a building that reflects Seattle’s intellectual life, but also expands and eases the accessibility

to arts, cultural activities, new forms of information and library resources. As this shift in cultural representation occurs, the Seattle Public Library is a product of political and private parties overturning the public process. As the project satisfies the cumulative Seattle Comprehensive Plan, outlined by the Department of Development and Planning, the Seattle Public Library also conforms to the fundamental CIAM principle of contemporary planning under strict control of professionally qualified circles.

Figure 7 Traditional flexibility and growth versus Koolhaus’ compartmentalized flexibililty and growth.


NOTES 1.  Kubo, Michael, and Ramon Prat. Seattle Public Library, OMA/LMN. Barcelona: Actar, 2005. 2.  Mattern, Shannon. “Just How Public Is the Seattle Public Library?: Publicity, Posturing, and Politics in Public Design.” Journal of Architectural Education 57, no. 1 (2003): 5-18. http://onlinelibrary.wiley. (accessed October 16, 2013), 15. 3.  Kubo, 43. 4.  Mattern, 6. 5.  Eardley, Anthony. The Athens Charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973, 105. 6.  Mattern, 16. 7.  Eardley, 94. 8.  Mattern, 7. 9.  Ibid, 6. 10.  Kubo, 14. 11.  Ibid, 34. 12.  Eardley, 88.

FIGURES 183.  Carreiro, Remi, photographer. “Reading Floor.” photograph. Toronto,ON. From (accessed November 7, 2013). 184.  Mendiola, Nathaniel “Zoning”, 2013. 185.  Mendiola, Nathaniel “Figure Ground Before SPL”, 2013. 186.  Mendiola, Nathaniel “Figure Ground After SPL”, 2013. 187.  Mendiola, Nathaniel “Derivation of Form and Program Organization”, 2013. 188.  Mendiola, Nathaniel “Critical Views Influenced by Physical Context”, 2013. 189.  Mendiola, Nathaniel “Traditional Flexibility VS Compartmentalized Flexibility”, 2013.

PHOTOS 1.  Prat, Ramon. Seattle Public Library. N.d. Seattle Public Library, Seattle. ArchDaily. Web. 24 Oct. 2013.



BIBLIOTHECA ALEXANDRINA Craig Dykers and Kjetil Thorsen of Snøhetta 1980-Present Alexandria, Egypt by Michael Mazurkiewicz

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina located in the city of Alexandria, is a significant architectural project on a global scale, designed by the international firm Snøhetta. Since the city’s founding in the 3rd Century BC, the library has remained a symbol of academic progress and the new building coherently responds to its historical/cultural/social context. The site was designated a location for educational or community development projects prior to the project’s conception. It was assumed the ideal location for three reasons: it sits close to where the original library stood, it promotes tourism within the city, and it is a chief resource for the University beside which it sits. In an effort to prevent urban growth in the vital agricultural areas surrounding the city, the central zone has become denser. As a result, the project causes intense congestion for neighbouring buildings by/affecting both locals and non-locals. Though it illustrates some functionality within the physical constraints of the site, it seems impractical for such a densely populated area. The library, connecting planetarium and conference centre act as a hub for users, while the main plaza connects the building to the street. The rebuilding of the library more than 2000 years since its destruction reflects the ambition and determination of the human soul, and solidifies it as a project of international architectural recognition.




he University of Alexandria originally began campaigning for the project in 1974, designating the current site, arguing that the original ancient library likely stood close to the current location1. This accounts for the location of the site – a phase which the architects had no part in. Officially, the project began on a national level with the creation of the General Organization for Alexandria Library in 19882. Subsequently, an international competition was held with funding from Egypt’s Ministry of Education, supported by UNESCO and the UNDP. The winning design was submitted by the international architecture and design firm Snøhetta, who formed the Snøhetta Hamza Consortium with Cairo-based firm Hamza Associates. The project was completed in 1995 and occupancy began in 20013. The purpose of the project was to create an architectural and historic monument, and to restore the glory of this monument to the city of Alexandria by means of its wealth of resources. PHYSICAL CONTEXT With 4.1 million residents, Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt, serving approximately four fifths of its imports and exports4. It sits on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the Nile Delta, a region in Northern Egypt where the Nile River drains into the sea, creating rich agricultural conditions. Though the city only has a population density of 1, 7395 per square kilometre, the urban area is bordered on three sides by the surrounding agriculture, forcing the city to either become more densely populated, or disregard the vital need for these areas, and expand out over them. Traffic restricts the site to the North by the corniche and that runs along the East Harbour 312

of Alexandria. To the South are Port Said Street and a number of mid-20th Century brick and concrete University of Alexandria buildings. The site is adjacent to a maternity hospital and two mid-rise residential buildings on the East and West sides. The property was reserved for educational or community development purposes at the beginning of the 20th Century6. During the 1980s and 1990s, the city did not have any large-scale policies on building types/uses. Institutional and industrial buildings sat among residential, with no predominant organizational strategies. The majority of the city’s urban fabric is created by large multi-block neighbourhoods that follow their own organizational orientations. The northern part of the city, where the library is located, contains predominantly formal housing. El-Gaish Road – the main vehicular artery – follows the corniche. The original design extended the pedestrian bridge from the university buildings on Port Said Street across the corniche, but the latter portion was never realized. This adjustment limits pedestrian traffic the North, and generates a primary flow of traffic from the South, creating major congestion along Port Said, where tourists, locals, and university students access the library. Additionally, a large accumulation of traffic forms where vehicles turn from El-Gaish onto the smaller roads leading to the library. PROGRAM DETAILS The 80,000 m2 project is comprised of the main library and a planetarium, which are connected beneath a public plaza to the existing conference centre. A pedestrian bridge connects the library to the university buildings across the street to the South. The plaza between buildings meets a large reflecting pool

on the North side of the building. The library extends four floors below grade and seven above, and contains several special collections designed for specific users, including children and the visually impaired. The core reading area contains eight terraces, each housing part of the library’s history and a number of museums, galleries, research centres,

Figure 11 The City of Alexandria (orange) in relation to the Alexandrian Governorate (white) and the Nile River Delta on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The city’s development causes controversy against the fertile land of the Nile Delta.

Figure 22 The Bibliotheca Alexandrina breaks the homogenous skyline of the city, while respecting height limits.

and offices. A key historical/cultural element is a granite wall enclosing the main space into which is carved characters from languages around the world. Although the design does comply with Alexandrian building regulations with regards to floor-area ratio and height limits7, it breaks homogenous contour of buildings along the coast. The architects have addressed noise pollution by tilting the library, while utilizing maximum natural light and indicating primary access from the South side. CULTURAL/HISTORICAL CONTEXT The project is a landmark in Alexandria, anchoring the past, present, and future of the city. It is a symbol of both knowledge and peace, and social and religious segregation, beginning with the city’s founding by Alexander the Great in 331 BC8. Alexander’s architect

created separation in status by dividing the city into three ethnic regions for native Egyptians, Greek-Macedonians, and Alexandrian Jews. For more than two centuries following its construction, the original library accumulated a reported value of more than 700,000 scrolls and manuscripts9 containing a variety of intellectual content. Before its complete destruction (sometime between the 1st Century BC and the 7th Century AD) the library was a centre of wisdom in the ancient world and the architects tried to recapture this concept. Alternating political beliefs and economic interests can often separate a population, but with this project, Snøhetta illustrates how culture can unite them. POLITICAL/ECONOMIC CONDITIONS During the conception/construction of the modern library, Egypt was ruled and governed by Hosni Mubarak10, whose

popularity was confirmed by referendum through twenty years in office, though the results are questionable due to Mubarak being the sole candidate for nearly all votes. This limited political reform until 2005, and by 1991 an economic reform program was in place to increase the role of the private sector. During this time, the country’s participation in the Persian Gulf War Coalition assisted their macroeconomic performance, allowing for an increase in cultural projects, among others. Additionally, Mubarak helped increase the gross domestic product per capita and lower inflation significantly through the 1980s and 1990s. This did not, however, have a significant effect on the lower class of the country. Political unrest was relatively inactive during the construction of the project – it was not until the 21st Century that unrest and overthrow ensued.

Figure 3 First Floor Plan indicating existing conference centre (West), planetarium (North), and library (East). Branching off from the structure at the North and South are the two halves of the pedestrian bridge. Only the South half (reaching the university) was built. Figure 43 Section revealing the multiple terraced floors below grade.



URBAN DEVELOPMENT IN ALEXANDRIA Due to Egypt’s climate, less than 4% of the country is inhabited, with roughly half the population residing in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, and Port Said11. Rapid development and increased population densities arise from the limited amount of inhabitable land in the country. Urban growth in Egypt is a continuous concern that must be evaluated at all scales. Recommendations have been made to develop Egypt’s rural areas in an effort to prevent internal migration to already overpopulated cities. Alexandria’s streets were originally designed to integrate less than a third of the current population; a large number of manufacturers have yet to comply with environmental waste regulations; and the city is responsible for a large portion of the Mediterranean’s pollution. The “Alexandria Comprehensive Plan till 2005” was prepared in 1984 by the University of Alexandria. The primary goal of the plan was to protect vital agricultural regions from expected urban development trajectories and suggested the implementation of greenbelts. Later, in 1997, the Ministry of Housing in Alexandria produced “General Planning of Alexandria City till 2017”12. The fault of this plan was its incompleteness, having not involved the many other organizations required to complete a comprehensive city plan (such as the Ministry of Planning). The plan attempted to control density by developing the southern and western areas of the city, leading populations away from agricultural regions. Additionally, it suggested establishing permanent housing in regions of the city containing informal/slum conditions. While neither plan was successfully realized, the application of a holistic sustainable urban development program 314

Figure 5+6 An example of urban development in one region of downtown Alexandria. The figures illustrate development in the city centre from 1990 to 2013. Boundaries of the site are indicated in orange.

Figure 7 Land use map of the city of Alexandria (2011). Agricultural areas Residential areas Industrial areas Lakes Fisheries Bibliotheca Alexandrina Figure 84 The library’s location results in heavy traffic and congestion along El -Gaish Road (the coast).

becomes increasingly necessary. The only reasonable long-term solution is to implement spatial decentralization through greenbelts and strict land-use programs. Further physical development in dense areas of the city should be avoided. The project’s location seems problematic in light of urban growth and congestion. THE PROJECT IN LIGHT CIAM Poor living conditions can ultimately leads to disease, deterioration, and revolt. Princples of the Congrès International D’Architecture Moderne would require the informal housing (lacking proper living conditions) to be demolished and replaced by green spaces. This effort would only create additional density and discontent among residents, and a city wide effort to reform housing would be necessary. The industrial areas establish themselves along the coast – an area with prime living conditions – for the purpose of ease of access to ports.

CIAM suggests that industrial areas be kept separate from residential, divided by a plot of green land. Due to personal economic interests of the population, however, this idea would likely never materialize. In old cities, urban areas and city centres were densely populated regions. Though easily accessible verdant spaces nearby allowed for fresh air and good quality of life, the growth of Alexandria has replaced vegetation with poor housing conditions and industrial sectors. With regards to traffic, CIAM principles would unquestionably require a redesign of the surrounding traffic conditions of the library. By these standards, the surrounding roads need to be redesigned as they near the library and surrounding areas. Additionally, the smaller streets surrounding the project also create major congestion for surrounding traffic, particularly at intersections. The traffic must be classified by purpose, vehicle, and speed, and

traffic at intersections should be dispersed by means of change in level. CONCLUSION Is it appropriate to disregard the principles of CIAM and sustainable urban growth in a city whose population is rapidly increasing? With an estimated population growth rate of 2.8% per year13, Alexandria cannot sustain even the most intrinsic quality of life standards for the majority of its inhabitants. By reconstructing the library as a monument of history, Snøhetta have preserved the historic heritage of the region, while evolving the modern architectural language of the city, but as just one part of the larger whole, the project challenges CIAM principles and overlooks the issue of sustainable urban development. Considering these factors, the library’s location within the Alexandria Governorate seems uninformed.


NOTES 1.  Alamuddin, Hana. “The Aga Khan Award for Architecture: Bibliotheca Alexandrina”. Aga Khan Development Network. Last modified 2004. 2.  Alamuddin, Hana. “The Aga Khan Award for Architecture: Bibliotheca Alexandrina”. Aga Khan Development Network. Last modified 2004. 3.  Alamuddin, Hana. “The Aga Khan Award for Architecture: Bibliotheca Alexandrina”. Aga Khan Development Network. Last modified 2004. 4.  Abdo, Mai, Hany Ayad, and Dina Taha. “The “Open Cities” Approach: a Prospect for Improving the Quality of Life in Alexandria City, Egypt”. PhD diss., Alexandria University, 2012. CORP2012_108.pdf. 5.  Ahmed Eiweida. “Liveable Cities: Alexandria Governorate”. Cities Alliance. Last modified 2005. org/files/CA_Docs/resources/cds/liveable/alex.pdf. 6.  Alamuddin, Hana. “The Aga Khan Award for Architecture: Bibliotheca Alexandrina”. Aga Khan Development Network. Last modified 2004. 7.  Alamuddin, Hana. “The Aga Khan Award for Architecture: Bibliotheca Alexandrina”. Aga Khan Development Network. Last modified 2004. 8.  Parsons, Edward. The Alexandrian Library, Glory of the Hellenic World: Its Rise, Antiquities, and Destructions. London: Cleaver-Hume Press, Ltd., 1958. 9.  Parsons, Edward. The Alexandrian Library, Glory of the Hellenic World: Its Rise, Antiquities, and Destructions. London: Cleaver-Hume Press, Ltd., 1958. 10.  Tignor, Robert. Egypt: A Short History. Princeton: Princeton Univerisity Press, 2010. 11.  Arandel, Christian, and Manal El Batran. “The Informal Housing Development Process in Egypt”. Working paper, French National Centre for Scientific Research, 1997. 12.  Azaz, Lotfy Kamal Abdou. “Monitoring, Modelling, and Managing Urban Growth in Alexandria, Egypt Using Remote Sensing and GIS”. PhD diss., University of Newcastle, 2004. 13.  Soliman, Ahmed M. “Legitimizing Informal Housing: Accommodating Low-income Groups in Alexandria, Egypt”. Working paper, International Institute for Environment and Development, 1996. http://eau.sagepub. com/content/8/1/183.full.pdf.

FIGURES 190.  Google Maps. “Library of Alexandria”. Last modified 2013. Accessed November 2, 2013. 99999%2C29.9084868&q=library+of+alexandria&spn=0.0028045365 34963243%2C0.004372137740902386&output=classic&dg=opt. 191.  Wikipedia. “Alexandria”. Last modified November 2013. Accessed November 2, 2013. 192.  Alamuddin, Hana. “The Aga Khan Award for Architecture: Bibliotheca Alexandrina”. Aga Khan Development Network. Last modified 2004. 193.  Google Maps. “Library of Alexandria”. Last modified 2013. Accessed November 2, 2013. 99999%2C29.9084868&q=library+of+alexandria&spn=0.0028045365 34963243%2C0.004372137740902386&output=classic&dg=opt.

PHOTOS 1.  North African Shipping Company S.A.E. “Over Day Alexandria – Cairo Hotel”. Last modified 2013. Accessed October 20, 2013. http://www.



COMMERZBANK HEADQUARTERS Foster + Partners 1991-1997 Frankfurt by Kayla Murrell

The 1997 Commerzbank is the headquarters situated in Frankfurt Germany that has architecturally set a precedent in the industry for the value and attention to sustainability that was not yet addressed; particularly in an office tower, because the 90’s was the transitional period for sustainability. The tower fit into the city fabric with the use of material and tectonic palette as well as undergoing a bit of restoration to further smoothen the connection between the bank and the older city fabric at street level providing shops, apartments and a banking hall, further connecting the separation between the Commerzbank and fusing the community, responding to urban planning, zoning and other conditions. The choice to build this headquarter in Frankfurt also speaks to the growing development of the city which advance the intention of urban life that imitates the rural. This project speaks to CIAM, which aimed to solve zoning of urban spaces and urban planning to create a comprehensive community, but German Traditional Regional Planning Policy, which solved regional problems of ever changing land use, traffic, tourism, socioeconomic and cultural problems and implications, challenged this. This essay will examine how this building was erected by considering building codes, plans and theories.




he Commerzbank Headquarters situated on Große Gallusstrasse 19 and Kaiserstrasse 16 is a contemporary building dating from its initial concepts in 1991, to its finalization in 1997 in Frankfurt, Germany. Norman Foster conceptualized the project with his design partners in hopes of creating a new headquarters that would create a higher quality space that would serve as a place to encourage teamwork among it’s employees from some 30 buildings in and around the Frankfurt am Main area around the late 1980’s.1 This 29-storey building situated adjacent to its existing headquarters, created its presence along the Frankfurt shoreline as one of the first environmentally friendly office towers. However, even though CIAM (Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne) originated some 60 years prior, it is noticeable the impact that not only Germany had in its’ evolution but its impact on German planning and values architecturally, as noticed in Commerzbank. The main objective of CIAM was to create order; the congress believed that cities were in chaos, so

Figure 1 Vehicular and Pedestrian Circulation


Germany took this and endeavoured to translate this aspect into healthier, sustainable, and economically feasible German cities. CIAM thus concluded that cities needed governmental control and must be regulated developmentally in terms of planning. Even though members of CIAM had different goals, they all concurred to promote modern solutions to urban challenges, which will be discussed further on in this essay.2 WHO AND WHAT IS THERE? As we notice in the image demonstrating the location of surrounding buildings the Frankfurt shoreline is among museums, banks, major offices, a central church, and generally heritage buildings that are meant to preserve and illustrate the history of Frankfurt. This is a very pivotal site because it is truly in the heart of Frankfurt. There are two main squares within 10-20 minutes walking distance from each other, the Goethe Place and Kaiser Place (which is situated directly in front of the south side of the headquarters). Due to this, major pedestrian circulation flows from the north and the south side of the building from each square. Train tracks pass just

south of the site, and vehicular traffic distributes around the Platz (place/ square) taking the form of a V eastward and westwards from the site converging to the bridge over the River Main. Uninfluenced by cultural movements, it is interesting to note the development of the city in rings such as a tree that grows around its’ root, and the street development was very similar to street development in this era, of the logic of placing a street where they we fit. They razed entire neighbourhoods at the benefits to public health, which offered further justification for the street projects ( just as we can see in Haussmann’s Paris).3 This can be clearly observed in these two plans of old Frankfurt. THE GERMAN URBAN VIEWPOINT WAS TO CREATE AN URBAN LIFE THAT IMITATED THE RURAL LIFE The strict political and economic tension in Frankfurt during the 90’s is what Foster and Partners had to manage, through their city government run by a coalition of Social Democrats who resisted large-scale development because of this historic state of this city centre. Because of economic pressure from the banks the government adhered to the demands, eliminating any height and zoning restraints, but they were sure in implementing some of the toughest sustainable requirements for an office tower the world had ever seen at that time, to fight the conflicts of an overly densified shoreline. The planning permission enforcers of Germany had no restraints, they believed in healthy buildings weather they were small or large scale, the rule was always enforced. In that case there had to be a 7 storey structure with shops, housing, a 500-seat auditorium, and parking for 500 cars and bicycles, 4meanwhile

maintaining the streetscape, and preserving the historical context of the neighbourhood. It is then arguable to say that the world’s first sustainable tower was forced in being such because of these massing parameters which translated into key design principles, noticable in Figure 6. Once the German market merged with the European Union, the Traditional Regional Planning Policy (Raumordnungspolitik- as a secondary plan)5 was still used but to a lesser extent. The development strategy was more so based on central places and development axes”. In West Germany, the goal was to relieve the central city in densely inhabited areas and to increase functional efficiency by the corporation among small and medium-sized cities in rural areas. While it was the opposite in East Germany where central systems were not yet developed. These central places are paralleled in Fosters incorporation of a central atrium that encourages the visual connection to the outside world anywhere throughout the building by the use of the gardens. This scheme puts the building on a human scale; anyone can orient themselves wherever they were just as if they were in a small scaled building. CIAM AND PLANNING… WHAT WAS

Figure 2 Boundaries as of 1910, New streets and Current city streets

Figure 3 Heritage vs. New construction

THE POINT? CIAM said that the city should have 4 functions: housing, work, recreation, and traffic. In the Commerzbank it was pivotal for there to be a balance. This sustainable tower was designed to create a work/rest environment for employees. This relates to the main functions discussed in the Athens Charter of 1933. The building has residential units, a store, an

auditorium and paring on the ground floor (housing, recreation and traffic) and evidently offices above (work), which introduce gardens on certain floors again encouraging the balancing aspect Foster designed for. Immediately we see how the German planning values were deeply embedded into the development of the bank. In the City Planning Office of Germany, they go so far as to say that 319


they have “had to adopt a scale in its thinking that goes far beyond the local dimensions of ensuring the livelihoods of the city’s inhabitants… 6The focus is on ensuring the future viability of needs of both the city and the region in a joint content.” Not only are these values part of the city planning but they are also embedded into their direct building code. The code states that Urban renewal of existing local centres, good health, maintenance, attention to social and cultural and economic needs, are to be addressed. Everything in the city is coherently interrelated, and it is due to the consistency of German powers strictly enforcing these values from the very beginning, to the point were up until today it is still be visible and very much prevalent in their society, and to a certain extent it has become cultural. In 3rd CIAM conference in Brussels, during the 1930’s the issue of Rational land development “The Functional City” arose.7 This development demonstrated the importance of favourable solar orientation in low-cost apartments. During CIAM 4 in Athens, Le Corbusier stressed that fundamental principal that urbanism was a three-dimensional science, and stressed that height was an important one of those dimensions. This was valued by the governing powers prior to construction of the Commerzbank, because in preserving the visual aesthetic of the town8, buildings would keep in maintaining the height of the building as well, and a large office tower would certainly deface this vision. For that reason, Foster needed to make the tower as transparent as possible, blending itself not only into the skyline, but into the urban fabric as well, making the ground floor and streetscape as preserved as possible. In order to do this, on 320

Figure 4 This diagram sums up planning fundamentals that coincided with CIAM. The idea of exact circulation being the quality that is to be sensible not based on abstract ideals of the renaissance such as geometry. The idea is to put people first and to alleviate confusion within the city. It is important for the facades to provide light as well as modern materials such as steel and reinforced concrete to be used. There is to be a free façade, and unity brings efficiency through harmony, which we can see, in the façade. Thus when all is emerged together the city will be accessible for traffic.

the north side Foster created a large open piazza, however on the west side where the most part of people would congregate is the even larger open piazza enclosed by a curved glazed wall and roof structure that brightens the entrance and further continues the street, blending the building into it’s context.

During CIAM 7 in 1949, they summed up their values in a different way;

•The Dwelling- organized, solar oriented •Land-use Legislation •Unity of visual groups

• Punctual Automobile and pedestrian circulation •Free disposition of the ground plane

CONCLUSION This 63-storey building is the culmination of Germany code, planning and CIAM ideals. Is it a building that could be appreciated 100 years ago, “no”; It was barely even erected had it not been for political pressure, but today it is seen as one of the most ingenious office towers in the world, never to be duplicated. But as design “values” are constantly in a state of flux throughout the years, what is important to take out of the design are the principles. Because it is how you execute these ideas that are most important. The question of how this building is going to “help and contribute” to the peoples of the future is the question of value, moreover whether it is an appropriate building in terms of design, because it is only the perception of form that changes. In that regard, the Frankfurt Commerzbank has successfully placed the citizens first, while maintaining traditional values in a modern fashion.

Figure 5 Planning values - demonstrating the financial district and it’s power amoung the industry planning and zoning laws of the city

Figure 6 Massing influenced by sustainable issues rather than planning


NOTES 1.  Colin Davis, Ian Lambot. “Commerzbank Frankfurt: Prototype for an Ecological High-Rise” (Davies). 2002. (accessed Sep 10, 2013).Dean, Jodi. Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. 2.  Mumford, Eric. “The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960.” Oxford Journals (Oxford University Press), 2002.Ede, Lisa and Andrea A. Lunsford. “Collaboration and Concepts of Authorship.” PMLA116, no. 2 (March 2001): 354-69. 3.  Ladd, Brian. Urban Planning and Civic Order in Germany. Mass: Harvard Historical Studies 106, 1990. 4.  Foster and Partners. “Commerzbank Frankfurt: Prototype for an Ecological High-Rise” (Davies). 2002. (accessed Sep 10, 2013). 5.  Morikawa, Hiroshi. “Urban Networks in Germany’s Regional Planning Policy.” Japanese Journal of Human Geography 52, no. 1 (1999): 49-71. 6.  Urban development | Stadtplanungsamt Frankfurt am Main. 2013. http:// (accessed 9 19, 2013). 7.  Matthew Pilling, Eamonn Canniffe. ARCHITECTURE + URBANISM. Mar 31, 2011. (accessed 09 20, 2013). 8.  Gerd Albers, Town Planning Review. Changes in German Town Planning: A review of the Last Sixty Years. Liverpool: Liverpool Univesity Press.

FIGURES 194.  Produced by Kayla Murrell 195.  Ladd, Brian. Urban Planning and Civic Order in Germany. Mass: Harvard Historical Studies 106, 1990. 196.  PlanASPLANUNGSAUSKUNFTSSYSTEM. “planAS - PLANUNGSAUSKUNFTSSYSTEM - Stadtplanungsamt Frankfurt/Main.” planAS PLANUNGSAUSKUNFTSSYSTEM - Stadtplanungsamt Frankfurt/Main. (accessed October 2, 2013). 197.  PlanASPLANUNGSAUSKUNFTSSYSTEM. “planAS - PLANUNGSAUSKUNFTSSYSTEM - Stadtplanungsamt Frankfurt/Main.” planAS PLANUNGSAUSKUNFTSSYSTEM - Stadtplanungsamt Frankfurt/Main. (accessed October 2, 2013). 198.  Foster and Partners. “Commerzbank Frankfurt: Prototype for an Ecological High-Rise” (Davies). 2002. (accessed Sep 10, 2013). 199.  Foster and Partners. “Commerzbank Frankfurt: Prototype for an Ecological High-Rise” (Davies). 2002. (accessed Sep 10, 2013).

PHOTOS 1.  Foster and Partners. “Commerzbank Frankfurt: Prototype for an Ecological High-Rise” (Davies). 2002. (accessed Sep 10, 2013)



MULTIMEDIA CENTER Foster + Partners 1995-1999 Hamburg, Germany by Victoria Tsang

The multimedia centre, designed by Fosters + Partners, was catered in parallel with many CIAM and planning ideas in response to the larger context of Hamburg. CIAM ideas emphasized the need to resolve the issue of city congestion while bringing ways to concentrate the population. In considering the dangers of urban sprawl, this project demonstrated another step towards densifying the city’s population. The multimedia centre merges both workplace (as a studio and office) with commercial and residential programs as well. Corbusier once stressed the importance of bringing the work place closer to home. By avoiding the horizontal single-use distribution of land (which is inherently one of the main reasons for urban sprawl), this closes the necessary commute distance, and encourages the use of local transportation, which in turn, slowly diminishes the need for automobiles on streets. Contrary to Corbusier’s thinking, the multimedia centre promotes the increase of pedestrian traffic on street level by providing wide sidewalks, easy access to public transportation, outdoor public gathering spaces, street level vendors, and many bike parking areas. Encouraging social interaction between large numbers and variety of people, forms the foundation of healthy communities, which in turn develops social relationships and civility that a city needs.




he Multimedia Center was conceived and built in 19951999. It was the winning design of an international competition held by Hanseatica, where it was realized in Hamburg, Germany. The architecture firm in charge of this project was Foster + Partners. As a firm that has acquired a very long list of works over several decades of practise, and especially one that operates in many different offices all over the world, they have surprisingly shown a firm consistency in practising solid values and beliefs. “A concern for the physical context has produced projects that are sensitive to the culture and climate of their place ... the optimum design solution integrates social, technological, aesthetic, economic and environmental concerns.”2 Rather than designing buildings in a solitary sense, they take thorough consideration in responding to the needs of their contextual surroundings, to the extent of accounting for their future applications as well. Sustainability is also at the forefront of their priorities, as it is closely tied to urban planning, and the quality of living3. Taking from similar principles of CIAM, Foster addresses the problems of urban sprawl and the need to increase density of cities. While Corbusier mainly advocated high density cities to resolve city efficiency and ease traffic congestion, Foster also views it from a sustainability standpoint, addressing the correlation between urban density and energy consumption. Assessing the building’s location, and how people are actually going to get there are just as critical as the building’s energy performance. “Higher urban density leads to improved quality of life when housing, work and leisure facilities are all close by.”4 CIAM was very fond of “community planning” where “the goal was not to separate residential 324

areas, business areas, community and cultural centers, sports grounds, and parks in isolated zones, but to combine these forms of land use within one continuous city space.”5 Corbusier himself encouraged mixed-used offices, retail, and residential buildings. However, Foster slightly differs from CIAM in that Foster sees potential in mixed-use developments with the inclusion of industrial typologies as well. Since, CIAM was founded in an era where industrial sites meant soot, pollution, and general unhealthiness, it was therefore, strictly separated from residential zones. However, in today’s current age, there are “clean industries such as microelectronics, and new service-sector offices and studios, [which] are completely compatible with residential areas.”6 Both CIAM and Foster encourage mixed-use buildings, but differences in time periods and the progression to a very technologically advanced society, have allowed the expansion of the present day definition

to mixed-use. So with both of these perspectives in mind, the main design principles of the Multimedia Center relate back to its function as an urban center. Design elements such as the wide setback from the sidewalk allow the street to open up and ‘breathe’. This extra space also allows room for street level activity and spaces for public gathering. Its five-storey multifunctional program also draws a variety of different people from the community. The building’s overall form and massing is rectangular and rigid in structure. Everything from the floor plan to the glazing is linear, repetitive, and standardized. An extensive use of glazing throughout this building provides unconditional transparency, security, and natural light. It is not just the facade that is glazed, but the roof as well as many of its interior partitions are also glazed. There are no decorative ornamentation on this building, everything has a funtional value. Fig. 1 Model of the Multimedia Center

Fig. 2 Elevation, location of subway entry

Fig. 3 Plan. Central atrium is joined to the Media Circus.

Fig. 4 Interior atrium

PROGRAM The Multimedia Center is located in the Rotherbaum region of Hamburg. It sits at the corner of the intersection between Hallerstrabe, a two lane street, and Rothenbaumchaussee, a four lane street. The building has multiple uses from residential, commercial retail, to offices and studio spaces. The horizontality of the building faces Rothenbaumchassee,

where there are heavier pedestrian and traffic flows. The building is separated from the busy traffic by its wide setback. The presence of an immediate passenger drop-off/parking curb running parallel to the block also acts as a buffer space between the two. On ground level there retail shops lining the street frontage along with a public outdoor seating area that serves the restaurant at the corner of the site. People arrive on this site by foot, public transportation, biking, or by car. There are many bike parking areas as well as a sheltered subway entrance/ bus stop. The upper floors of the multimedia center serve as office and studio spaces for a variety of different forms of media. There are proposed residential accommodations for seniors on the south end. An eight meter atrium cuts through the entire length of the building, and connects to an existing media center through a fully glazed, multi-storey height “Media Circus”. Sustainable design initiatives such as heat recover ventilation, passive thermal concrete slabs, double skin façade, and adjustable louvres for solar protection have been incorporated as a major design element.

WHY THIS SITE? One of the advantages of this site is that it is corner lot, therefore it has two exposed faces instead of one. This gives the building a greater street presence and allows for more opportunities to engage the public. The site is also part of the core of the neighbourhood where there are other offices, recreational facilities, and public buildings close by. Constant vehicular and pedestrian traffic flow by the Multimedia Center on Rothenbaumchaussee giving the

Fig. 5 The neighbourhood is structured around a centralized core.

Fig. 6 Corner condition, a buffer space separates the building from the street.

building great visibility and potential for attracting users. It is very opposite to being isolated. Other advantageous aspects of the site is its close proximity to public transportation. Since it is located right next to the subway entrance and bus stop, it is very convenient for people commuting. The presence of mixed-use residences in its immediate surroundings also makes it easy to serve the community. Therefore, this site is an ideal location for the Multimedia Center. CONTEXT Hamburg was once an active part of Germany’s shipping industry. Its location by Elbe river and proximity to Aubenalster lake gave Hamburg great opportunities to develop into Germany’s largest port, second largest 325


in all of Europe7. For centuries, the city was known for its wealth of mercantile businesses and was a major trade center for goods from all over the continent8. The city’s free trading rights and exemptions from customs duty taxes9 at the time, further encouraged the growth of this industry to an international level. This prosperity was interrupted however due to a series of events which caused Hamburg’s development to change direction. The Great Fire in 1842 destroyed a third of the city’s buildings10, leaving many people homeless. While Hamburg managed to recover during its 40 years of reconstruction, the city also had to face the destructive impacts of World War II, which destroyed over eighty percent of its facilities.11 When the city rebuilt itself, its media industry rose to become Hamburg’s new prominent identity. In today’s age, Hamburg is known as one of Germany’s major media centers where the city produces 15 of Germany’s 20 largest publications12. Other fields of media such as advertising, film, radio, TV, and music are also based in this media core. Most of the previous industrial and storage buildings have been replaced by tourist attractions, shopping districts, offices, mixed-use residential buildings, and recreational spaces. The city has also been directing resources to revitalizing the harbour front, and expanding on its performing arts culture. Hamburg has a very vibrant arts culture in opera, musicals, and dramatic performances13. The new Elbphilharmonie Hamburg which is expected to be completed in 2015 has already garnered a lot of attention. It has changed from the industrialized, shipping trade center, to become a more community friendly city, offering a very high quality of 326

life. Hamburg has been and still is establishing an international status through the media, tourism, and arts industries.

HAMBURG OFFICIAL PLAN Hamburg’s official plan, also known as The Spatial Vision, was created under their Ministry for Urban Development and the Environment. This was the plan that guided the city’s changes as mentioned previously. In summary of the 200 pages, Hamburg intends to develop greater international attractiveness and competence through improving their economy and quality of life. At the same time, they want to reinforce its urban qualities while still maintaining their image as a ‘green metropolis by the water’.17 The Spatial Vision contains five major objectives: 1. More city in the city, 2. Building on qualities: a home in family- friendly Hamburg, 3. Using expertise - boosting the region’s economy, 4. The Hamburg City Experience, 5. The metropolis is city and region18. Initiatives were taken to create new neighbourhoods where people can both live and work. They are seeking areas of the city that are not being efficiently used to their full potential, and are constructing new dwellings, workplaces, and recreational facilities. These sites include “land previously occupied by port, railway, post, army facilities, old hospital buildings, disused churches, industrial and commercial properties.”19 At the same time, sustainable land development is also one of their top priorities. The city has made a clear stance on the protection and expansion of green areas. Development into existing greenspaces is kept to a minimum, while additional green/open

spaces are added to densely populated neighbourhoods. With the construction of new neighbourhoods, Hamburg aims to increase their population and attract more families into the city. They are encouraging the sale of building lots and have set milestones of creating 5,000 to 60,000 households each year, of which a third of these will be subsidized to maintain affordability.20 “Emphasis is on residential sites that are well situated – by the water, next to parks, near bus stops or underground stations or else in the centre of built neighbourhoods.”21 As one of the initiatives to increase quality of life, a ‘Pact for the Living’ was created with the expected goals and standards for all new residential construction.22 This includes topics such as climate protection, energy consumption, and CO2 emmissions. It is evident that Hamburg has clear aims to developing a more sustainable future, and is one of the greatest pioneers in the sustainable movement. Along with the residential constructions, the city is also actively engaged with promoting sustainable business practices. The Senate created the Hamburg Environmental Partnership where companies volunteer to put in more environmental efforts with the help of government funding.14This includes investing in cleaner technology, optimizing energy consumption, and the introduction of environmental management systems.15 As mentioned ealier, Hamburg would like to gain better international perception. They want to work towards creating a more pronounced identity, particularly in the downtown and HafenCity areas, the port, airport, inner and outer Alster lakes, the shores of the Elbe and the Reperbahn. The government has stated that all new

projects in these locations have to be designed to keep with the city’s cosmopolitan character and its distinctive features.16 Resources are also directed towards creating better first impressions and more inviting environments for tourists. Regulations for preserving heritage areas have also been implemented for city tourists with cultural interests. In summary, the city of Hamburg would like to create a better image for itself, and aims to improve international attractiveness. CIAM & PLANNING INFLUENCES The Multimedia Center is a clear resultant of Hamburg’s ambitious goals. It is one of many buildings set to reinforce the city’s identity as a major media hub. It documents Hamburg’s shift from a shipping and trade oriented society to a media-based, tourism economy. The city’s planning has had an obvious impact on its architectural conception. From the very basics of land-use allocations, to zoning regulations, these have influenced the programming of the building, as well as

its buildable envelope. Due to the city’s allowance on mixed-use construction in that region, the Multimedia Center is able to include residential, offices, and commercial retail all in one building. Based on analyzing the surrounding buildings, it is also clear that the city has set a range for limiting the heights of buildings. All of the buildings in that area are mid-rise, 4-5 storeys in height; nothing less, nothing more. These limitations were set to maintain the city’s desired density. Another prominent aspect of Hamburg’s planning that has significantly influenced the outcome of the Multimedia Center has to do with their sustainability initiatives. Due to their regulatory standards on achieving certain sustainability requirements, this has taken a large role in shaping the architecture of the building itself. Sustainable architecture is not just about the addition of certain energy saving technologies onto a building after it is built. Sustainable architecture involves the entire building design from its orientation, form, choice of

Fig. 7 Wide setback enables room for the outdoor public spaces

materials, building envelop, and even considerations for the location of windows and openings, it encompasses many, many aspects of the architecture. It may not be apparent at first, but because the city has put mandatory regulations on sustainability, this impacts the type of architecture in the area quite noticeably. CIAM ideas are also reflected in Hamburg’s planning and in turn, carries over to influence the architectural conception of its buildings. The decision to build the Multimedia Center as five-storeys with mixedused programs reflects CIAM ideas of densities within urban cities and the need the bring work closer to home. Both the building and CIAM address the concerns over the dangers of urban sprawl. In an effort to avoid urban sprawl, they advocated the importance of building vertically rather than horizontal distribution. Cities should have a “high-density core surrounded by housing set amidst greenery.”23 While the planning of Hamburg slightly differs from Le Corbusier’s vision of density, they both have similar objectives: the ultimate goal is to incorporate sufficient green space while still maintain density. Fig. 8 Integration of green space with midrise construction



From Le Corbusier’s perspective, he envisioned skyscrapers on pilotis with roof gardens, while the buildings in Hamburg are mid-rise row houses surrounding a shared courtyard. Although the buildings in Hamburg are considerably less dense, they are more humanly scaled and easier to relate to within the context. Efforts to bring work closer to home were done through the structuring of small neighborhoods. Both CIAM and the planning of Hamburg involve the integration of the three functions to which defines urbanism: work, recreation, and dwelling. These three functions are not segregated into different land distributions, but put in close proximity of one another. The Multimedia Center helps reinforce that aspect of urbanism. The creation of CIAM also had to do with the movement of a new architecture. This new architecture, known as modern architecture, should include considerations for ‘light, air, and openness.’25 Le Corbusier also emphasized the incorporation of the ‘free plan and free façades, a strategy for which he asserted [that] steel and reinforced concrete were the best materials.’26 The Multimedia Center is reciprocal of these ideas in its design elements such as the inclusion of the atrium that runs the full length of the building, the extensive use of glass on a structured grid of concrete columns, and the way its setback from the street. Although Le Corbusier advocated the separation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, the Multimedia Center differs in that it promotes the increase of pedestrian traffic on street level by providing wide sidewalks, easy access to public transportation, outdoor public gathering spaces, street level vendors, and many bike parking areas. Through other influences like Jane Jacobs, the 328

Multimedia Center encourages the social interaction between people in the neighborhood which then plays a role in forming the foundation of healthy cities.

CONCLUSION In conclusion, I believe that the Multimedia Center is an approriate architectural project in the city. It reflects the contextual social, economic, and political aspirations of Hamburg. It plays a very important role setting up healthy neighbourhoods and incorporates the key ideas of planning for better cities. This projectis very successful in this sense.



Norman Foster, Foster Catalogue 2001, (London: Prestel, 2001), 6-14.

3.  Norman Foster, Foster Catalogue 2001, (London: Prestel, 2001), 6-14. 4.  Norman Foster, Foster Catalogue 2001, (London: Prestel, 2001), 6-14. 5.  Norman Foster, Foster Catalogue 2001, (London: Prestel, 2001), 6-14. 6.  Norman Foster, Foster Catalogue 2001, (London: Prestel, 2001), 9. 7.  Lonely Planet, “History.” Accessed October 25, 2013. 8.  Lonely Planet, “History.” Accessed October 25, 2013. 9.  Lonely Planet, “History.” Accessed October 25, 2013. 10.  Lonely Planet, “History.” Accessed October 25, 2013. 11.  Lonely Planet, “History.” Accessed October 25, 2013. 12.  —. “Hamburg Guide.” Accessed October 25, 2013. http://www.

1.  Foster + Partners. Photograph. Accessed October 25, 2013. 2.  Foster + Partners. Photograph. Accessed October 25, 2013. 3.  Foster + Partners. Photograph. Accessed October 25, 2013. 4.  Foster + Partners. Photograph. Accessed October 25, 2013. 5.  Victoria Tsang. Diagram on land-use allocations. 6.  Victoria Tsang. Diagram of the Site 7.  Google Maps.,9.9888. Accessed October 25, 2013. 8.  Google Maps.,9.9888. Accessed October 25, 2013.

burg-guide/. 13.  —. “Art & Culture - Hamburg.” Accessed October 25, 2013. http://www. 14.  Sustainable Cities Collective, “Hamurg is the European Green Capital 2011”. Accessed October 25, 2013. http://sustainablecitiescollective. com/helmuthziegler/18134/hamburg-european-green-capital-2011 15.  Sustainable Cities Collective, “Hamurg is the European Green Capital 2011”. Accessed October 25, 2013. http://sustainablecitiescollective. com/helmuthziegler/18134/hamburg-european-green-capital-2011 16.  Sustainable Cities Collective, “Hamurg is the European Green Capital 2011”. Accessed October 25, 2013. http://sustainablecitiescollective. com/helmuthziegler/18134/hamburg-european-green-capital-2011 17.  —. “Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg” Accessed October 25, 2013. http:// 18.  —. “Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg” Accessed October 25, 2013. http:// 19.  —. “Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg” Accessed October 25, 2013. http:// 20.  —. “Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg” Accessed October 25, 2013. http:// 21.  —. “Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg” Accessed October 25, 2013. http:// 22.  —. “Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg” Accessed October 25, 2013. http:// 23.  Eric Mumford, The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960, (New York: MIT Press, 2000), 45. 24.  Eric Mumford, The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960, (New York: MIT Press, 2000), 34. 25.  Lonely Planet, “History.” Accessed October 25, 2013. 26.  Eric Mumford, The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960, (New York: MIT Press, 2000), 39.




THE BANK OF CHINA TOWER I. M. Pei and Associates 1982-1989 Central, Hong Kong by Gary Luk

The ways of which The Bank of China Tower, built in 1989, affected the urban fabric of Hong Kong as well as its political position on a global scale are discussed. I.M.Pei was commissioned to design the tower on an intricate inland site with many planning constraints. He negotiated a deal with the government in order to circumvent the city’s planning guidelines, providing a precedent for future city planning processes. Influenced by the CIAM’s principles of the Modern Movement, the building was used as a political and economic tool to display the success of Hong Kong to the world. The building served as a symbol of modern China upon Hong Kong’s return from the British and the importance of political turn over. The fusion of Western capitalism with elements in Eastern tradition represents the Bank’s desire to be a dominant presence in both realms. The Bank of China Tower is synonymous with Hong Kong culture. As it now stands, the Bank of China Tower is one of the most iconic structures along the Hong Kong skyline, supplementing the identity of the city as a whole.




n 1982, the president of the Bank of China commissioned I.M.Pei to design their new Hong Kong branch. At the time, Hong Kong was still a British colony to be handed back to China in 1997; influenced by CIAM principles of the Modern Movement, the new Bank of China Tower was to be a symbol of this political turnover.27 The building was designed to be an iconic piece of the Hong Kong skyline, one that would illustrate the historical and political climate of the contemporary era in Hong Kong. Stemming from the form of bamboo shoots, known to be strong and fast growing, the Bank of China Tower is synonymous with Hong Kong culture; it was completed in 1989. The goal was to endorse the city on a global stage, displaying Hong Kong’s financial power and success.28 Although I.M.Pei was given creative design freedom, many limitations of the site and city planning guidelines posed as obstacles towards his vision. In addition, the land had already been purchased by the Bank of China, and was a poor location and size for the scale of the building requested.

Figure 2 Conceptual Massing


THE SITE & CONTEXT The 6,700 square meter site given to I.M.Pei to design on was located at the intersection of Queen’s Road Central and Cotton Tree Drive. The Bank of China Tower was to be 1.4million square feet (130,000 sqm), 40% of which were to be designated as offices of the Bank of China and 60% of which would be rented out.29 There were two major site conditions that were problematic to the project. Firstly, the site was sloped approximately 30° at the foot of Mount Victoria and was not parallel to the rest of the city street grid.30 To further complicate the site, elevated highway encircled the area, creating heavy flows of vehicular circulation in odd locations. Secondly, due to the site’s square configuration, programmatic and logistical issues arose. The only space for the entrance and exit would front onto a municipal garage, which was not the desire of either the client or architect. In order to circumvent these issues, I.M.Pei proposed two solutions that would ultimately lead to the re-evaluation of Hong Kong’s city planning guidelines. He proposed a new transverse road along the site’s north-

west corner to provide the building a formal entrance. Furthermore, he negotiated a land swap with the city; Pei traded one corner of the site for another creating a parallelogram shaped site that was parallel with the context, reoriented the building from the garage, and allowed for an improved view of the lush Charter Gardens and Victoria Harbour.31 By taking advantage of the city’s planning approval processes, Pei was able to manipulate the dimensions of the building site and create an ideal foundation for Bank of China Tower design to integrate with its surrounding context. According to Pei: “…if a building isn’t properly sited, no matter how beautiful or how well it functions, it will not have the right context. Siting is the first major step toward architecture.”32 ZONING & URBAN CONTEXTS The Bank of China Tower was heavily influenced by social, political, cultural and planning contexts. On a social and political level, the design firmly followed CIAM principles of seeing architecture as both a political and economic tool. The client hoped to express to the world of his ambitions for Hong Kong as a financial hub as well as reminding the citizens of Hong Kong the same. The idea was that the display of financial stability and prestige would help attract foreign investors and further support the Bank’s function.33 The building was to be a “symbol of modern China upon Hong Kong’s return from the British in 1997” in order to mark the importance of political turn over and be an integral part of a new Hong Kong, one with closer relations to China.34 Within its cultural context, the Bank of China Tower had to respect Chinese traditions. As with all buildings in Hong Kong, shape, form, and aesthetics were required to respect feng shui; the cross-bracing

out of context.

Figure 3 Land swap before and after development

created large “X” shaped patterned along the elevation of the building, which symbolized death in traditional Chinese culture. I.M.Pei honoured the tradition by modifying the structure to a more neutral diamond shape.35 The city’s official plan strongly also strongly influenced the design of the Bank of China Tower. Although the site had many disadvantages, the most unique characteristic of this site was that it was located just out the airport flight path. Therefore, zoning laws did not restrict any height limits unlike any of the other buildings to the north. As a result, the building was permitted to become the tallest in Hong Kong at the time.36 Until 1992, the Bank of China Tower was the first building outside the United States to be taller than 1,000ft.37 The land swap required for the success of this building that was negotiated with the city was a very linear process. According to Hong Kong laws, in a land exchange, the developer or client must first seek approval from the Town Planning Board of Planning Department, and then file an application with the Lands Department for a lease modification. The develop must then

surrender their old lot as well as their leases to the government. In exchange, the lot can be reconfigured or expanded with a new lease with amended terms, after paying the government a certain amount of land premium. This premium is calculated based on the difference between the “before and after” cost of the land.38 INFLUENCE OF CIAM PRINCIPLES The design of the Bank of China Tower is observed to have been influenced by CIAM’s principles of planning and architecture, more specifically, Le Corbusier’s The Athens Charter. There are multiple similarities between the Charter and Hong Kong’s Urban Design Guidelines, which the Bank of China Tower follows. According to CIAM, “Offices in the city are concentrated in business districts. Located on the best sites in town and provided with the most complete circulation systems, these business districts quickly fall prey to speculation.”39 The Bank is located within Hong Kong’s Central district, the most highly populated and dense business area of the city. As it was situated, it complemented and added to the developing skyline to avoid being

Furthermore, the Athens Charter declared the end of the suburbs and states that the construction of high buildings was made feasible with new emerging technology; when spaced apart, large areas of green space could be introduced to the urban fabric. “High buildings, set far apart from one another, must free the ground for broad verdant areas”.40 The Bank of China Tower is setback from the street in order to create a fully accessible and sheltered pedestrian area, flanked by cooling water gardens that complement the adjacent Charter Gardens. Furthermore, the broad promenade that surrounded the building allowed for dynamic pedestrian circulation under the neighbouring elevated highways. Pedestrian and vehicular circulation is seperated and mimics the initial idea proposed in Le Corbusier’s The Radiant City, which heavily influenced CIAM principles. The cause of CIAM’s manifestos was to advance architecture as a social art. The group saw architecture as an

Figure 4 Hierarchy of pedestrian and vehicular circulation



Figure 5 “High buildings, set far apart from one another...”. 1982

economic and political tool to improve the world. The Bank of China Tower was a tool for Hong Kong to display their financial success to the world and to its citizens. Hong Kong would attract foreign investment and be notable on a global scale. I.M. Pei fused the principles of Western capitalism with the foundations of Eastern tradition in order to be a governing presence in both realms. 41 CIAM also attempted to capture the spirit of the Machine Age. The Machine Age was the era of industrialization, one which influenced the structure of the Bank of China Tower. Using the steel cross-bracing vertical frame, the building’s innovative structural system only required 65% of the structural steel that is usually required for a building of comparable size. I.M. Pei states: “There is so much to be accomplished by staying architectural pure which in turn will be pure aesthetically. It is the union of technology and design that architecture has its fullest potential”. 42 There is a clear influenced relationship 334

between Pei’s view towards design and CIAM’s regards towards the Machine Age. CONCLUSION I.M. Pei and Associate’s Bank of China Tower is observed to have been influenced by CIAM principles. Although the CIAM era occurred decade before the building’s conception, it is evident that it, as well as future buildings, continue to borrow principles of design from their manifestos. The Bank of China Tower was successful in becoming a political and economic tool to promote Hong Kong on a global scale. Pei’s strategy to circumvent site and city planning restrictions became a precedent for future city planning guidelines. As of today, the tower still stands as an iconic structure on the Hong Kong skyline that dutifully symbolizes the Chinese pride, culture, and financial success.

Figure 6 Exterior Landscaping of the BOCT

NOTES: 27.

28.  29.  30.  31.  32.  33.  34.  35.



38.  39.  40.  41.


Valentine, Michelle. “The Bank of China Tower and Empathic Spaces.” Slideshare. Dec 12, 2011. 12 Oct. 2013. < michelle_valentine/the-bank-of-china-tower-and-empathic-spaces> Ibid. Ibid. Jodidio, P., & Strong, J. Adams. (2008).I.M. Pei : complete works. New York: Rizzoli.Lawlor, A. (1994).p.149 Ibid. Ibid. Boehm, G. von, & Pei, I. M. (2000). Conversations with I.M. Pei : light is the key. Munich: Prestel.De Botton, A. (2006). Jodidio, P., & Strong, J. Adams. (2008).I.M. Pei : complete works. New York: Rizzoli.Lawlor, A. (1994). p.195 ArchDaily. “AD Classics: Bank of China Tower / I.M. Pei | ArchDaily.” ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwide. 12 Oct. 2013. <http://>. Hong Kong Town Planning, Planning Department, Information Services Department, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, January 2010. 12 Oct. 2013. < orgs/L_BST_GE1303/ge1303/materials/town_planning.pdf> ArchDaily. “AD Classics: Bank of China Tower / I.M. Pei | ArchDaily.” ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwide. 12 Oct. 2013. <http://>. Kwok, V. “Empires on the cheap”. South China Morning Post. June 8, 2011. 12 Oct. 2013. <> Le Corbusier. The Athens charter [by] Le Corbusier. New York: Gross Ibid. Valentine, Michelle. “The Bank of China Tower and Empathic Spaces.” Slideshare. Dec 12, 2011. 12 Oct. 2013. < michelle_valentine/the-bank-of-china-tower-and-empathic-spaces> Jodidio, P., & Strong, J. Adams. (2008).I.M. Pei : complete works. New York: Rizzoli.Lawlor, A. (1994). p.200

PHOTOS 1.  Figure 1: LERA, Leslie E. Robertson Associates. Bank of China Tower. <> 2.  Figure 5: Warchol, Paul. 1982. < bank-of-china-tower-hong-kong-drawings.html> 3.  Figure 6: Kenzo*, Bank of China Tower. Flickr. June 6, 2010. <http://www.>



THE MUNSTER CITY LIBRARY Architektureb端ro Bolles-Wilson + Partner 1985-1993 Munster City, Germany by Zahra Bagheri

The Munster City Library is an architectural master piece which is designed by Peter Wilson and Julia Bolles in Munster, Germany. This building is designed in a way which represents the liberation of the 1970s. Although it can be seen as sculptural structure, it is extremely contextual in purpose. The main fabric of the Munster City is consists of concentric circles; however, The site itself needed to be attached to the city after a wartime bomb which caused a hole in the fabric of the citycenter that was a place for car park. Thus, in order to respond greatly to urban planning, zoning by laws, conceptual reasons and design this library is designed with an alley in between and division of the reference and lending libraries. The north part of the library is a completion for an existing urban block, whereas the south part completes the street pattern while facing a car showroom from 1950s. The library fully speaks to the CIAM tenets. The form of Munster City Library is unifying the urban environment while not using the modern architecture as the main reference. This paper, argues that how this library is an appropriate building for its context and urban environment while accompanying CIAM tenets.




he Munster city council started a competition on 1985 for a new library which would have a dynamic, popular and open information center in the historic city centre of Munster. The winner of this competition was Architektureb端ro Bolles-Wilson + Partner and finally the Munster city library completed at 1993 in the heart of the city. Munster City is consisted of many layers with an intricate relation between them. The library is located near the main monuments and public places of the city. The site of the library is connected to the Promenade Park, Mauritzstrasse and the Alter Steinweg by two major streets which are on the east and west side of the building.1 Furthermore, the Lamberti church is situated at the end of the axis which runs between the two buildings that embrace the library. Thus, this library could be counted as a structure which redefines the urban environment of the whole city specially the city center. The library design is relating itself to the CIAM principles by not only fitting into its urban fabric, but adding to the density and the complexity of the historical layering of

Figure 1 figure ground plan of Munster City 1965


Munster.2 In addition, the material was chosen by Bolles-Wilson for library walls creating a visual connection with the context of the Munster city. For instance, slanted red roofs is common in that environment hence, library used the slanted copper walls in order to mimic that feature of the city. Consequently, this building is not considered as a reaction to its surrounding context, but considered as an interpretation of it.3 SPATIAL FLOW Library improves the traffic by working with the existing circulation system and furthermore adding more pedestrian spaces. The division which is between the buildings is a powerful axis which causes a great connection between the library programs and spaces and the other urban elements in the city context. This slit which creates a great flow for the pedestrians is called library alley. This alley not only gives a great spatial experience due to the view it has to the Lamberti church at the end of its path, but also it is very successful in intertwining the interior space with the outer urban space. Therefore, the library is creating a quiet space for studying

Figure 2 figure ground plan of Munster City 1993

while it focuses on the communication with the outside world by its thoughtful quality of design.4 The construction of the existing buildings which are located in the neighbourhood of the library is in a way to create links between themselves and provide a strong contextual environment. The library raised the spatial and physical connections to a better level in terms of flow and movement. Although the library connects its structure to the existing context, it does not stop any movements but also create an exterior flow through its structure. The north side of the library is joined the present urban buildings. From the south side the building is facing the intersection of the Asche St. and the Alter Steinweg St. where the main traffic flow occurs because of the intersection of the streets. The offset from the east and the west side of the building and also the library alley are directing the movement of the public.5 The organization of the programming in this library can be summarized into three Near, Middle and the far zones. The long term storage is located in the far zone which the public access is forbidden in that area. The lending library is in the Middle zone, the quiet area. The near zone is the zone for the pure information and catalogues as the electronic memory. This new zone is separated from the other zones by the library alley and the connection between the two buildings is on the basement and on the second floor through the bridge.6 THE CONTEXT In Germany and especially in Munster City there is two types of context which should be considered. The historic city would be the first one and the surrounding areas on the edge of

the city which are unstructured is the second. The library has built in order to take a role in the city’s 1200th anniversary. Thus, it plays a major role in its historic city context; however, it does not only speak to the history but also creating a new layer in the context for the future generation in order to show the continuing development of the city organism.7 This building plays a major role in the city’s social context as well as the cultural context. In the era that communications mostly occur by the invisible media, providing an interior or exterior area which serves the public outside of the trade realm makes the social context of the city stronger. The library is the representation of the 1990s in the plan of Munster City. Accordingly, this building along with other important cultural buildings of the city such as the city theater which represents the post war reconstruction will create a strong chain of cultural context for the city.8 The relationship that is existed between the internal spaces and the spaces in the street creates an overlapping socialcontextual atmosphere for the whole city centre of the Munster. In addition, due to the size of the city which is not much large, library was successful in order to convince the city government that it will affect the context of the city by taking the responsibility of delivering

Figure 3 historic axis of library

Figure 4 Flow Accessibility

social functions for general population to use. Therefore, it has an obvious effect on the political context of the Munster city.9 Furthermore, due to the zoning regulations building should have respect the surrounding buildings in height, depth and width. That area does not allow for the height of more than 15 meter tall because of the light and view of surrounding buildings. library is structured with respect to all of zoning

rules. Thus, the library is acting in its site in a way that although it is a transition of viewing the future, it belongs to its historical, political and the cultural context of its site.10 BUILDING IN LIGHT OF CIAM Although this building is constructed 34 years after the CIAM disbanded, it still followed some of the major rules of CIAM tenets. One of the main tenet 339


in CIAM was that to transform the modern city into something better while the protection of architectural assets should be considered whether it will be in urban aggregations or isolated buildings. This tenet is achieved by the construction of this library in the city. The Munster city got affected from the air raids after the World War II. Thus, it needed a central leadership which could be monumental focal point of the city in order that the planning of the city would be improved after war.11 The urban structure of the city is redefined by the library while it focuses on repressed and explicit memories of the city’s history. The whole form of the library is designed towards unifying the historic city centre while establishing an interconnected urban environment. In the natural environment, elements could be find that their importance will be clear through their existence in the overall system and they might not have the actual effect if they will be examined by their own. The importance of the Munster City Library also could be found more effectively in the context of the city. Urban organism of the city is more defined as a complete and connected with the environment by having the library at the center of it. The physical or spatial links and order between the urban environments around the library is enhancing by the form of the library and the way it is designed in its site.12 CIAM had another rule in order to improve the planning of the cities. The new division of land order must be based on a functional order and the division of the land which was chaotic must be obsolete by a new land policy which is collective and methodical.13 The library is designed in a way which it could organize the flow and make connections with its surroundings by having the alley between two buildings. 340

Not only physically but even through the passage of time point of view the form of this building influence the planning of the urban context in a way which the building at the context surround it will be consider as a whole.14 Library is located in a very old portion of the city. The building is in the circle of old buildings of the city centre such as the triangular urban block which is connected to the library from the north and the older churches such as cathedral of Saint Paul and Lamberti church from the west. The library is connected to these old buildings and some other historic sites including the Promenade Park and the Prinzipalmarkt which are encompassing the city centre by the spatial axis of the library which is created through the exterior form of the building. In addition, because the height of the building is not more than the buildings around it will provide good pathways around itself in terms of lighting and creating a friendly planning for the city centre of Munster.15

Figure 5 Design of the library is in a way which it connects the existing historc buildings with the itself.

CONCLUSION The Munster city library is not embracing the past legendary or nostalgia; however, it reacts to both past and present and forward this into the future. Although this building has its own precise function, it is an illustration of the Munster City center’s continuing tradition of life. Thus, the building is appropriate for its context, city, and city’s history and even future. The library reshapes the city and integrate itself with the urban context and spaces which were existed and out stretch its spaces with the urban environment. It not only provides a better planning for the city but also gives the city a monumental building could act as the focal point of the Munster City itself and an image of the city’s transition from the early decades to its bright future.

Figure 6 Entrances


NOTES 1. Sanin, Francisco. Münster city library: Architektbüro Bolles-Wilson + Partner. London: Phaidon, 1994. 2. Roth, Manuela. Library architecture + design. Salenstein: Braun ;, 2011. 3. Interview with Professor Paul Floerke 4. “Stadtbücherei Münster.” Stadt Münster: Stadtbücherei. http://www. (accessed October 25, 2013). 5. “projekte1801 archinform.” projekte archinform.projekte1801 archinform. (accessed October 25, 2013). 6. Cruickshank, Dan. Architecture: the critics’ choice : 150 masterpieces of western architecture selected and defined by the experts. London: Aurum, 2000. 7. “Interview with Peter Wilson.” Interview. stadtbuecherei/interview.html (accessed October 25, 2013). 8. Worpole, Ken. Contemporary library architecture: a planning and design guide. London: Routledge, 2013. 9. Bauordnung für das Land Nordrhein-Westfalen: Textausgabe.. 3. Aufl., Stand: 1. Sept. 2005. ed. Heidelberg: Rehm, 2005. 10. Interview with Professor Paul Floerke 11. “Stadt Münster: Homepage des Vermessungs- und Katasteramtes.” Stadt Münster: Vermessungs- und Katasteramt. stadt/katasteramt/historische-karten.html (accessed October 25, 2013). 12. Interview with Professor Paul Floerke 13. “modernist architecture.” A Database of Modernist Architectural Theory. ciam%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cthe-athens-charter%E2%80%9D-1933/ (accessed October 25, 2013). 14. Interview with Professor Paul Floerke 15. Ibid

FIGURES 1. “Google Maps.” Google Maps. (accessed November 8, 2013). 2. “BOLLES+WILSON.” BOLLES+WILSON. projekt_flash.php?projektID=49 (accessed November 8, 2013).

PHOTOS 4.  “Bolles+Wilson.” wikipedia. (accessed October 25, 2013).



CENTURY TOWER Foster + Partners 1987-1991 Tokyo by Cornelia Kong

In the late 1980s, Tokyo rose to become one of the most dynamic cities in the world. Japan was undergoing a bubble economy; it was an era when many foreign architects and designer worked in Tokyo. Kazuo Akao sought out British architect Norman Foster to design a mixed use office tower in the city. The site was near a busy subway line but also next to a quiet historical neighbourhood. Different zoning laws on the north and south sides of the site of the Century Tower affected its form and program, so a flexible design was needed in the case that restrictions be modified. The ideas of the Functional City and the contemporary ideas of the Century Tower contrast because of different contexts. However, the focus on light and air for inhabitants in CIAM 2 are evident in the tower. In addition, the design of the project in response to its urban environment is much like the ideas of urban relationships presented at CIAM 8. Planning affected the project in a number of ways, most significantly influencing the concept of the twin towers at different heights. The site responses and the program integrated into the building make the Century Tower a diverse building. More importantly, the development adds to the urban fabric of the neighbourhood to make it livelier.




ate 1980s of contemporary Tokyo had a booming economy. In the midst of the boom in 1991 Century Tower, an office building, by Foster + Partners was built for client, Obunsha Corporation. The key design principle that sets the Century Tower apart from other ‘intelligent buildings’ of the time is transparency. Transparency is the driving principle of other design decisions made. Contrasting the functional city promoted at CIAM 4, the Century Tower project focuses on integration instead of segregation. Its architectural ideas were informed by CIAM 2 and CIAM 8, the former speaking of the importance of light and air while the latter focused on relationships between things. Planning constraints offered opportunities for the architects to develop a flexible design. The ideas of transparency and diversity, as well as an ideal site location, cause the Century Tower project to stand out

Figure 1 Map of Edo (Tokyo) 1859 showing space use


among other buildings in the area. PHYSICAL SITE AND CIRCULATION The site is situated in the high density and mixed use Bunkyo-ku ward of Tokyo, on a slight hill on the north side of the Kanda River. To the west of the site, there is a historic residential neighbourhood. To the east of the site, there is a hospital. There is an emergency water reservoir and green space to the north. There is a major four lane arterial road running alongside the Kanda to the south of the site. There are one way streets along the east, west, and north sides with signs telling motorists to watch for students and children. Many of the pedestrians in the area are students as there is a junior high, high school, and university nearby. The south side is significantly busier than the north because there is access to the Ochanomizu Station on the southeast, and the Sudobashi Station on the southwest, both offering train and subways services. The site enjoys open vistas on the north and south, a rare privilege in Tokyo. CENTURY TOWER The 136.6 meter building is mixed use; the main program of the project was office units that can be rented out. The program also included health club with a pool, tea house, restaurant, museum, penthouse with gallery space, and parking43. The core users are office workers, while the general public can access the other spaces. Office workers can venture up the building through elevators in the lobby, and then travel up staircases to access mezzanine floors. The twin towers are connected by a narrow bridge so users can easily access the other side. Occupants who want to use the other public spaces must take the elevator or use the

Figure 2 Before and After Development

staircase to the underground levels. The car park is at the lowest level, with the museum above it. The health club, tea house, and restaurant are all located under the concave sloped glass roof, on the northernmost part of the site. CONTEXT The bubble economy set the stage for a decade of major projects involving internationally known architects and designers to work in Tokyo44. During this time there was high demand for office space so many commercial buildings were being built, however, with only efficiency in mind. They were being marketed as “intelligent buildings”45.

Figure 3 Red shows residential area; yellow shows north zoning; blue shows south zoning

Figure 4 Traffic flow south of site, one way streets around site, and train stations

Late 1980s Japan experienced increased support for the arts. The rise of popularity in the arts in Tokyo is reflected through the twenty new cultural halls. In the spirit of globalization, the Japanese Art Association created the Premium Imperiale, awarding funds to artists based on a worldwide selection46. The inclusion of a museum and gallery space in the Century Tower shows that art was important part of Japanese culture. Politically, the government was

criticized and pressured to have stronger land planning laws. Tokyo had asked for authorities to create special zones in its central districts, but the response was to create new residential categories in the zoning system instead47. New zoning categories were intended to preserve some historic residential areas adjacent to the central business district while zoning the rest as mixed use48. The planning context specific to the site was quite complex since the south zone permitted high rise commercial buildings to twenty one storeys, but the north part was zoned for only ten storeys, responding to the residential area. Furthermore, the hospital on the east of the site would affect where the building can be located on the site. The permitted floor area ratio was 4.0, but had a possibility to increase to 6.25 because zoning was in the process of revision49. In addition, there was a consolidated method and a regular method to calculate the building envelope. After the architects and structural engineers conceive of a structure, buildings that are over sixty metres high must gain approval from the Ministry of Construction sub-committee of the Japanese Building Authority’s High Rise Buildings Committee. In addition, the Disaster Prevention Committee must grant waiver to any atypical design decisions made50. A building permit may be obtained for approved parts of the building, allowing for phased construction51. CONTRAST TO THE FUNCTIONAL CITY CIAM ideals and concepts used in the Century Tower project are opposite or similar depending on the time period. The ideals of CIAM 4 and the contemporary thinking that influenced the Century Tower are very different

because of their contexts. The concept of the Functional City was the main focus of CIAM 4. Four types of functions were defined in the “Constatations” of 1933: living, working, recreation, and circulation52. The separation of the uses was proposed, reminding one of the Contemporary City or the Garden City. Many architects and artists were influenced by the Soviet socialist realism policy in the arts53 and the

Figure 5 Light through the atrium and glass roof with views through the building Figure 6 Mezzanine floors allow light to penetrate deeper, and views from the south to north tower and vice versa



idea that everyone should be equal. This is reflected in Le Corbusier’s housing arrangements in Radiant City (1933) versus the class segregated Contemporary City (1922). In contrast, Century Tower was built in a flourishing time with a constitutional monarchy, at the end of the Showa era. The separation of land uses advocated in the “Constatations” contrasts with the Century Tower’s integration of a variety of live, work, and recreation programmes. TRANSPARENCY Periods of CIAM that has ideas which informed the architectural design of the Century Tower are the CIAM 2 in 1929 and the CIAM 8. CIAM 2 stressed the importance of light and air for healthy inhabitants54. Le Corbusier’s discussion about the use of the free façade and plan to allow for sunlight and views has informed the transparency in the Century Tower. The structure did not rely on the intermediate floors. This allowed the architects to set those floors back, creating a double height façade, offering even more impressive views of Tokyo. The full height atrium that connects the north and south towers also contributes to the transparency of the building. The atrium effectively extends lines of sights of spaces above and below each other within the building. RELATIONSHIPS CIAM 8 was titled the “Heart of the City”, and stressed the importance of the interrelationships and the cooperative actions between things rather than on fixed forms, which isolate people55. CIAM 8 informed the planning of a mixture of uses within a city. The Century Tower project is located on a busy street between two transportation 346

Figure 7 A variety of land uses near the Century Tower make the area lively Educational Hospital Residential Commercial Resiential Government

Figure 8 Mix of uses in the Century Tower

hubs. There is a relationship between the users of the Century Tower, nearby residents, and all the other types of land uses nearby. This is because these people need to visit buildings of various uses for different needs in their life. For example, nearby residents may eat at the restaurant in Century Tower and then go for a tour of the museum during their leisure time. The fact that the building is not just a commercial building makes it lively. When office workers are not present, other users can still be there using the museum, restaurant, or health club. This is comparable to a city because a city needs a mixture of uses in an area in order to be animate. When cities are designed like this people don’t have to inconveniently travel far to obtain a need or want; people stay in the area. Century Tower adds to the diversity of the area, thus increasing liveliness to that area of Bunkyo-ku. INFLUENCE OF PLANNING ON DESIGN The Century Tower’s massing and programming was greatly influenced by planning regulations. Firstly, because the north portion of the site faces a quiet residential neighbourhood, its

Figure 9 Planning effects on height of north tower

bulk is more restrictive than the south side. This means the design team must divide the building into two parts — essentially creating twin towers, twenty one storeys on the south and ten storeys on the north. The eventual decision to increase the floor area ratio resulted in a nineteen storey tower on the north; thus the building’s form is progressively taller from north to south. The revision also affected the structure because the towers were now close in height and could unify into a coherent seismic resistant structure56. Secondly, since the floor area ratio had a chance to increase, the team decided to redesign their scheme. Redesign allowed for the re-evaluation of urban amenities around the neighbourhood. Changes were made including setting back from the main road to continue the greenery that lined the street, adding softscape to the north side of the site, and making the ground floor more accessible. Accessibility was improved by designating the ground floor as publicly accessible, and incorporating a pedestrian bridge connecting an adjacent park to the north of the site57. Thirdly, the placement of the restaurant and health club show the design team’s consideration of the low rise buildings to the north. The restaurant and health club are placed on ground level in a separate two storey massing, north of the twin towers, with a sloped roof to reference traditional Japanese buildings.

there are two train stations and a major road nearby, the additional influx of people in the area will not cause a major congestion problem. The project responds to being on a boundary between the south commercial center of Tokyo and the northern historic residential area by locating the low rise health club and restaurant to the north of the nineteen storey tower. The health club creates a buffer between the tower and the residential neighbourhood. The development succeeds in its context. However, because the surrounding buildings are older, the appearance of the tower looks high tech compared to them. This difference can allow one to appreciate the difference in time periods and adds onto the diversity of the neighbourhood fabric. CONCLUSION The Century Tower is a striking commercial building compared to the conventional towers of Tokyo in the 1980s. CIAM 2’s focus of light and air —which could be translated into transparency, was the governing idea of the project. CIAM 8’s focus on relationships between forms was another idea present in the project. While the zoning and planning regulations could be seen as constraints, the architects saw it as an opportunity to create an indeterminate design. Its design, though informed by preceding notions, is reflective of Tokyo’s context at the time.

APPROPRIATENESS IN CONTEXT The appropriateness of the building must be assessed according to its context. The bubble economy was a major part of context and considering the economics at the time, yes, this structurally and architecturally ambitious office tower was appropriate. Since 347

NOTES 43.  Treiber, Daniel. Norman Foster. English language ed. London: Spon, 1995. 44.  Routledge handbook of japanese culture and society. S.l.: Routledge, 2013. 45.  Davies, Colin, and Ian Lambot. Century Tower: Foster Associates build in Japan. Chiddingfold: Watermark, 1992. 46.  August, Robert L. “Japan: Education and the Arts.” Japan : Country Studies. (accessed November 6, 2013). 47.  Davies, Colin, and Ian Lambot. Century Tower: Foster Associates build in Japan. Chiddingfold: Watermark, 1992. 48.  Sorensen, Andre, and J. Okata. “Tokyo’s Urban Growth, Urban Form and Sustainability.” In Megacities urban form, governance, and sustainability. Tokyo: Springer, 2011. 16-41. 49.  Davies, Colin, and Ian Lambot. Century Tower: Foster Associates build in Japan. Chiddingfold: Watermark, 1992. 50.  Davies, Colin, and Ian Lambot. Century Tower: Foster Associates build in Japan. Chiddingfold: Watermark, 1992. 51.  Davies, Colin, and Ian Lambot. Century Tower: Foster Associates build in Japan. Chiddingfold: Watermark, 1992. 52.  Curtis, William J. R.. Modern architecture since 1900. 3rd ed. London: Phaidon, 1996. 53.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 54.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 55.  Davies, Colin, and Ian Lambot. Century Tower: Foster Associates build in Japan. Chiddingfold: Watermark, 1992. 56.  Davies, Colin, and Ian Lambot. Century Tower: Foster Associates build in Japan. Chiddingfold: Watermark, 1992. 57.  Davies, Colin, and Ian Lambot. Century Tower: Foster Associates build in Japan. Chiddingfold: Watermark, 1992. 58.  Huang, Tsung. Walking between slums and skyscrapers illusions of open space in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Shanghai. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2004. 59.  Oles, Kevin. “Norman Foster: Envisioning Design at the Edge of Reality.” Journal of Undergraduate Research - ARTS — ART, ART HISTORY, AND DESIGN. pdf (accessed October 17, 2013).

FIGURES 200.  Sorensen, André. The making of urban Japan: cities and planning from Edo to the twenty-first century. London: Routledge, 2002. 201.  Own 202.  Own 203.  Own 204.  Own 205.  Own 206.  Own 207.  Own 208.  Davies, Colin, and Ian Lambot. Century Tower: Foster Associates build in Japan. Chiddingfold: Watermark, 1992.

PHOTOS 1.  Foster + Partners. Century Tower Exterior View at Night. 1991. http://www.



LA BIBLIOTHÈQUE NATIONALE DE FRANCE Dominique Perrault 1989-1996 Paris, France by Stuart Vaz

La Bibliothèque nationale de France was constructed in 1989 in the 13th arrondissement, a district in Paris, France. Dominique Perrault’s design was chosen by former President Francois Mitterrand at a time during East Paris’ revitalization when the district was a desolated area mostly covered by railway yards. The design was the last built out of the several other buildings selected in Mitterrand’s list of Grand Projets. This list was an architectural program to provide modern monuments in Paris to symbolize France’s role in art, politics and economy at the end of the 20th Century. Perrault’s design shared the ideals of modernism that were social, functional, economic and symbolic to ultimately become the key monument Mitterrand envisioned for this section of the city. The building sits south of La Seine on a hill and can be seen from the Porte de Choisy and Porte d’Ivry which are located north of the river bank. Its massing, consisting of four L-shaped 25 story towers from the corners of a sunken central park, makes it highly visible from great distances. The architecture has a strong connection to CIAM, forming a minimalist-style influenced by Mies Van der Rohe which uses using exposed reinforced concrete, steel and wood. The purpose of the building was to bring all of French Literature into a single location. This essay will discuss the ideals and values of socialism, the cultural heritage, the physical context and principles of CIAM that influenced the La Bibliothèque nationale de France.




a Bibliothèque nationale de France was constructed in 1989 in the 13th arrondissement, a district in Paris, France. Dominique Perrault’s design was chosen by former President Francois Mitterrand at a time during East Paris’ revitalization when the district was a desolated area mostly covered by railway yards1. Perrault was aged 36 when the competition project was awarded to him. This success is hugely due to the design’s response to the political and cultural need for a library that would convey democratic ideals while housing all records of French heritage.2 The design’s response to the social and physical contexts, as well as the urban planning principles of CIAM were also key to its selection above other project entries from the likes of accomplished architects such as Rem Koolhaus, Chaix and Morel 3. This paper will explore the CIAM urban planning strategies and the various contexts that informed this award-winning design. PHYSICAL CONTEXT There are several influential factors for why La Bibliothèque nationale de

Photo 1 Perspective view of one of the Towers


France was chosen to be built south of La Seine in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. In 1989, the 13th arrondissement was a district in Paris that was underdeveloped and mostly consisted of railway yards4. This district was located on the upper east side of Paris and the whole east side of Paris was viewed as a low density area with few civic buildings along the La Seine. The 13th arrondissement along with the entire east side of the city is mostly a working-class part of Paris5. Francois Mitterrand, the President of France of the time, was concerned with the image of this side of the city and felt the construction of a monumental structure that symbolized French heritage would help revitalize the desolated district. Dominique Perrault’s design was chosen before many other competition entries arguably because of the massing. The massing consisted of four 25 story tall L-shaped tower enclosing a green civic space 6. The towers took on the form of books. The great stature of the building, situated south of La Seine would make the library a monument visible to the residents of the low bulk and low density Eastern Paris. Also, the library,

being a beacon of Eastern Paris, would help fulfill Mitterrand’s Grand Projects of Paris7. In conjunction with this idea, other buildings in association with this citywide architectural plan that sat along La Seine, including the Parc de la Villette and Louvre Pyramid, would have a visual connection with La Bibliotheque nationale de France8. The zoning of the 13th arrondissement was accommodating to mid to low rise buildings along La Seine. There were variances accepted for the Grand Projects that stood along La Seine to help ensure their monumentality and striking visual relationship of height and materiality9. POLITICAL CONTEXT Francois Mitterrand’s list of grand projects was an architectural plan to provide modern monuments in Paris to symbolize France’s role in art, politics and economy at the end of the 20th Century10. The program was initiated while Mitterrand was in office and cost the government 16 billion Francs to build the civic buildings in what the president viewed as the revitalization of the city. These buildings would be contemporary architecture while also fitting the views of the Socialist Party11. The scale of this program would be comparable to Louis XIV and brought a lot of public attention towards Mitterrand in that he had other motives to strengthen his legacy as president in France for future years. The official plan began in 1982 and took two decades to complete12. The project included 8 buildings: Louvre Pyrimid, Musee d’Orsay, Parc de la Villete, Arab World Institute, Opera Bastille, Grande Arche de La Defense, Ministry of Finance and lastly, the most expensive of all the projects - La Bibliotheque de France13. The projects were mostly constructed in the working-class eastern side of Paris and brought re-emphasize to La Seine.

Photo 2 Views from La Seine

Figure 1 Monuments along La Seine

Figure 2 Vehicular and Pedestrian Circulation along the district

They received negative criticism because they were costly and that the creation of the 8 buildings continued the shift of citywide power between the east and west side of Paris. The buildings attested transparency with the use of glass as a major material to express the continuity between an expression of state and public. This expression was also were shown in their monumental stature14. SOCIAL CONTEXT The materiality of these projects – primarily glass – representing the openness of democracy and was described as architectonically representing social collectivity15. The Political influence to have a glorified building that represented the socialist ideals had lead to practical issues being overlooked - the ‘openness’ of the building risked the deterioration of the books from their exposure to UV rays16. Critics described the building as a threat to French culture – the very opposite of what it stood for – because of the hazard it imposed on the books that would be kept there. The building continued construction despite the city officials’ disapproval – Mitterrand saw that the state took control of the site over the city.17 Because of this

Photo 3 interior View

controversy, it is commonly believed that Mitterrand used the building to fulfill his own personal legacy. CULTURAL CONTEXT Prior to the construction of the La Bibliotheque Nationale de France, there were two libraries that existed in France. One of them, The Palais Mazarin on the Rue de Richelieu, was declared by the government of 1793 to have a copy of

every publication in its archives. It was the royal personal library of the early French kings – collection of books, manuscripts, maps, prints, and coins.18 It also housed films and electronically published media in France including videos and CDs.2 The material grew to 11 million volumes in 1988 and was estimated to be completely full by 1995.19 The library had limited access to its books. Entry to Labrouste’s 351


famous reading room was allowed through interview and after evaluation of research.20 This had restricted entry to the most elite of scholars. University libraries were underfunded, making it increasingly difficult for the public to access to French Literature. The only other access to books in the city was the Pompidou Center, which was overused and had several hour long line ups to enter.21 The public’s inability to learn about its own heritage prompted the president to open the country’s culture from the elites to the general population. Subsequently, the grand public were given a grand library to help bring them closer to their heritage. INFLUENCE FROM CIAM Dominique Perrault’s design was influenced by the principles of CIAM with regards to the massing he selected, the material used, and the building’s overall response to the physical context. The Charter states that resources offered by modern techniques for the erection of high structures must be taken into account 22. Dominique’s massing for the library were essentially four 25 story L-shaped towers enclosing a green space. The height of these buildings and the materials that were available in Paris influenced Perrault’s decision to use steel, glass and concrete. The massing was also influenced by the Charter’s recommendation to set high buildings far from each other for broad verdant areas 23. It is likely that Perrault must have carefully considered the space between the four towers to allow sufficient light to enter the court yard at a minimum amount of hours a day. It is also mentioned in the book that open spaces are generally inadequate24 and further states that even when open spaces are of an adequate size, they are often poorly located and therefore not readily accessible to the great numbers 352

of inhabitants 25. Perrault used these two points to shape his green space. The garden that sits in the center of the L-shaped buildings is not occupied by people and exists purely for aesthetic purposes only. Generally, open spaces are not common in cities as they used to, at a time when open spaces were used by the wealthy and designed for pricy mansions. This garden has a new purpose to generate an atmosphere that represents the opposite – an open space for the public’s enjoyment. It is a sanctuary from the busy city of Paris. These two statements from the charter also shape the monumental plinth that can be access from Quai on the north side of the site, south of La Seine. This architectural promenade is used to remove the user’s sense of engagement to the city and reengages the user’s senses toward the library and green space. The physical context of the site is especially influenced by the principles of CIAM. The doctrine states that in many cases, when the time comes for the expansion of the city, the track

Figure 3 Displays the massing floors and the four L-shaped Towers that enclose a green space made up of 30 ft high evergreen trees. The towers are offset from one another to allow direct sunlight into the green space. The purpose of the green space is to help expand public verdant spaces in an urban context

network of the railroad system proves a serious obstacle to urbanization. It hems in residential areas, depriving them of necessary contacts with the vital elements of the city.26 The 13th arrondissement was mostly rail yards before the construction of the library. The library in conjunction with the other 19 Grand Projects were intended to expand urbanization in Paris and to help successfully achieve this goal, railroads and other infrastructure deemed obsolete would have to be removed from the city context. The 13th arrondissement was a district that had a high density of urban dwellings occupied by the working class. The location of the site to be sat along a high residential population would be convenient for this eastern community

of Paris who were commonly thought to be lacking rich architecture. The Quai and the bridge across La Seine allowed these residents access the building much quicker, too. This goal for the building to help enrich the cycle of daily functions of the citizens of eastern Paris was influenced by the 79th principle of the Doctrine. This principle emphasized the dwelling to be the very center of urbanistic concern and the focal point for every measure of distance.27

this competition was owed to the design’s qualities that fit into the site on a physical, cultural, political and social context as well as its urban planning strategies used in CIAM. The building’s monumental status, its ‘openness’ to democracy, and its role to help urbanize Paris were critical characteristics that propelled the design proposal to Francois Mitterrand’s favor.

CONCLUSION In closing, La Bibliothèque nationale de France was constructed in 1989 in the 13th arrondissement, a district in Paris, France. Young Dominique Perrault presented a design that was chosen, by former President Francois Mitterrand, above the likes of accomplished architects such as Rem KoolHaus. His success for

Photo 5 View from La Quai


NOTES FIGURES 1.  Gleininger, Andrea, Gerhard Matzig, and Sebastian Redecke. Paris, contemporary architecture. Munich: Prestel, 1997. 2.  French National Library.” Dominique Perrault Architecture. http://www. (accessed September 17, 2013).Dean, Jodi. Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. 3.  Jaquand, Corinne, and Claus Käpplinger. Young French architects = Jeunes architectes français. Basel: Birkhäuser, 1999. 4.  Jaquand, Corinne, and Claus Käpplinger. Young French architects = Jeunes architectes français. Basel: Birkhäuser, 1999. 5.  Gleininger, Andrea, Gerhard Matzig, and Sebastian Redecke. Paris, contemporary architecture. Munich: Prestel, 1997. 6.  “French National Library.” Dominique Perrault Architecture. http://www. (accessed September 17, 2013).Dean, Jodi. Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. 7.  Gleininger, Andrea, Gerhard Matzig, and Sebastian Redecke. Paris, contemporary architecture. Munich: Prestel, 1997. 8.  Time Out Paris. 19th ed. London: Time Out Guides, 2011.Dean, Jodi. Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. 9.  Time Out Paris. 19th ed. London: Time Out Guides, 2011.Dean, Jodi. Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. 10.  Gleininger, Andrea, Gerhard Matzig, and Sebastian Redecke. Paris, contemporary architecture. Munich: Prestel, 1997 11.  Jaquand, Corinne, and Claus Käpplinger. Young French architects = Jeunes architectes français. Basel: Birkhäuser, 1999. 12.  Jaquand, Corinne, and Claus Käpplinger. Young French architects = Jeunes architectes français. Basel: Birkhäuser, 1999. 13.  Gleininger, Andrea, Gerhard Matzig, and Sebastian Redecke. Paris, contemporary architecture. Munich: Prestel, 1997 14.  Gleininger, Andrea, Gerhard Matzig, and Sebastian Redecke. Paris, contemporary architecture. Munich: Prestel, 1997. 15.  Gleininger, Andrea, Gerhard Matzig, and Sebastian Redecke. Paris, contemporary architecture. Munich: Prestel, 1997. 16.  Jaquand, Corinne, and Claus Käpplinger. Young French architects = Jeunes architectes français. Basel: Birkhäuser, 1999. 17.  Gleininger, Andrea, Gerhard Matzig, and Sebastian Redecke. Paris, contemporary architecture. Munich: Prestel, 1997. 18.  Jaquand, Corinne, and Claus Käpplinger. Young French architects = Jeunes architectes français. Basel: Birkhäuser, 1999 19.  Jaquand, Corinne, and Claus Käpplinger. Young French architects = Jeunes architectes français. Basel: Birkhäuser, 1999 20.  Jaquand, Corinne, and Claus Käpplinger. Young French architects = Jeunes architectes français. Basel: Birkhäuser, 1999 21.  Jaquand, Corinne, and Claus Käpplinger. Young French architects = Jeunes architectes français. Basel: Birkhäuser, 1999 22.  Corbusier, Le. The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 23.  Corbusier, Le. The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 24.  Corbusier, Le. The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 25.  Corbusier, Le. The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 26.  Corbusier, Le. The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973. 27.  Corbusier, Le. The Athens charter. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973.


209.  Gran Projects along La Seine. Stuart Vaz 210.  Vehicular and Pedestrian Circulation. Stuart Vaz 211.  Massing and Green space. “Bibliotheque Nationale de France.” Wikimedia Commons. (accessed October 13, 2013).

PHOTOS 1.  “Grands Projets of François Mitterrand - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Grands_Projets_of_Fran%C3%A7ois_Mitterrand (accessed September 17, 2013).Ede, Lisa and Andrea A. Lunsford. “Collaboration and Concepts of Authorship.” PMLA116, no. 2 (March 2001): 354-69. http://www. 2.  “Grands Projets of François Mitterrand - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Grands_Projets_of_Fran%C3%A7ois_Mitterrand (accessed September 17, 2013).Ede, Lisa and Andrea A. Lunsford. “Collaboration and Concepts of Authorship.” PMLA116, no. 2 (March 2001): 354-69. http://www. 3.  “Grands Projets of François Mitterrand - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Grands_Projets_of_Fran%C3%A7ois_Mitterrand (accessed September 17, 2013).Ede, Lisa and Andrea A. Lunsford. “Collaboration and Concepts of Authorship.” PMLA116, no. 2 (March 2001): 354-69. http://www.


GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM BILBAO Frank Gehry of Frank Owen Gehry Architects 1991-1997 Bilbao by Aris Peci

The ways in which the architecture of the Bilbao Guggenheim by Frank Gehry affected the urban development and regulations of Bilbao are discussed as well as the affect it had on the socio-economic aspects within Bilbao. The Guggenheim Bilbao reinterpretes many of the principles laid out by CIAM. One of the main differences is its break from the surrounding context in terms of design expression and material and tectonic selection. Built within an industrial urban context, the Bilbao Guggenheim became a part of a larger initiative within the Urban Zoning Plan of Bilbao drawn up by Bilbao city council to revitalize the city. One of the major principles behind this planning initiative was the revitalization of the waterfront where the GMB is located. This building not only has attracted over ten million tourists since its inception, but also has significantly boosted Bilbao’s local economy. This transformation following the construction of a significant piece of architecture has been termed the “ Bilbao effect”. As it stands the Bilbao Guggenheim not only largely transformed the urban development of Bilbao but also the potential of architecture to transform cities across the world. The museum is synonymous with Bilbao culture and has become an international brand for contemporary architecture.




he Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is an iconic and a monumental piece of architecture that greatly influenced Bilbao and different parts of the world. It was designed by Frank Gehry and Partners and was completed in 1997. At this time, the industrial region was undergoing economic decline and deterioration. Ten years prior to the opening of the museum, the city began to introduce a series of urban zoning by-laws in order to address the issue of making this area a prosperous and livable city1. The physical, political, social, and cultural contexts are very significant attributes that contribute to the identity of Bilbao as well as the genesis of the Bilbao museum and its comprehensive urban planning. The International Congresses of Modern Architecture, CIAM, movement attempted to create an outline in developing a successful city, which revolved around the efficiency of the city and mobility of people primarily through the use of the vehicle. The postciam era advocated for the building of open spaces and cultural facilities that would result in the city being more practical and more reputable in Europe and the world. The city of Bilbao, in a state of decline, outlined in their

1987 Urban Zoning Plan the framework on which cultural development would integrate with commercial and residential development to respond to the issue of a more modern city2.

character of the surrounding context and a representation of the digital tools architects had in the modern age.


The Urban Zoning Plan developed by the Basque governing body looked to develop the waterfront. The site extent to be developed and rezoned had a total area of 38.5 hectares and was to be developed with one main objective; regenerating the local economy and culture. Although the client was the city, a private company comprised of public officials were formed to handle the process of bringing the Guggenheim to Bilbao4. They first developed the design of the urban plan by holding an international concept competition that was eventually awarded to American architect Cesar Pelli5. The official plan rezoned the area from an industrial zone to a commercial, retail, and cultural facilities. At the initial planning level, The Basque government did not look for local knowledge to develop the urban plan but rather from international architects. The master plan set up a framework by extending the existing city grid into the area and strengthening the cities connection with the Nervion River where the Guggenheim museum is located6. The site for development was pinpointed by the official plan as the representative site left out by industrial and economic decline. It was intended that this site be a catalyst for the regeneration of the rest of the metropolitan area7.

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is located on the waterfront of the Nervion River and that is at the heart of the Bilbao metropolitan area. The site is important because it lies at the heart of the city and the key objective of the master plan is to revitalize the waterfront and also to strengthen the connection the city has with its surroundings natural assets3. The site lies within a dense urban fabric of the historically industrial as shown in the figure ground digrams shown below. Multiple levels of pedestrian and vehicle traffic are incorporated with the verdant spaces that surround the site. The built form surrounding the museum is composed primarily of stone and brick with 40-60 % fenestration. This provided a dramatic contrast for the museum, which has an innovative titanium panel cladding with glass curtain-wall, the first of its kind for a museum facility in the world. The built form and material selection by the architects pays homage to the historical



Figure 1 Industrial Area Pre Guggenheim


Figure 2Urban Renewal Post Guggenheim Construction

Although the project was designed in the contemporary era of architecture, the Guggenheim museum and the urban zoning plan reinterpreted the tenets discussed by the Athens

20 m

Guggenheim Museum

Figure 3 Surrounding Context

charter and reinforced the importance of natural light and verdant areas8. The urban plan design by Cesar Pelli, included open green spaces as a way to interconnect the new developed grid with the existing city grid9. We can see, in the surrounding context of the Guggenheim, that the city’s official plan accommodated for these spaces in close proximity to the museum site. The need for natural light was not only accommodated for in the official plan but also with the design of the Guggenheim museum. The height of the buildings in the surrounding area do not exceed eight - ten storey’s, allowing for good light penetration (Figure 3). The museum itself respects the height of the adjacent built form and is not an obstacle for sun penetration. Frank Gehry’s use of titanium cladding and building form was used primarily to respond to the lighting conditions the site had to offer10. In urban planning directed by the CIAM principles, there was a huge emphasis on the use of new technologies and construction techniques available to architects for urban interventions11. Frank Gehry was chosen as the architect for this museum not only due to his exciting

Figure 4 Layered Circulation. Red is pedestrian circulation and Blue is vehicular traffic.

Figure 5 Surrounding Urban Context and Density

form for the theatre but also for his incorporation of advanced construction techniques to create an iconic building. The titanium cladding and structural system utilized CATIA, an advanced 3D programs used by navy engineers. The program made possible the harmonizing of the cladding with the complex structure. This is heavily influenced from

Le Corbusier’s principles of mechanical efficiency and engineering aesthetic. This aesthetic pays homage to the sites industrial path while creating a landmark to drive tourism and economic growth in the region (Figure 5). One of the major underlying factors that brought the urban zoning 357


plan to fruition was the economic and physical decline of the area. The Athens charter identified the importance of economic efficiency in a developing city12. The charter also discussed that architecture was an important medium for intervention. There is no other project in contemporary architecture that exhibits this more. The Bilbao museum was shaped by these factors. The Bilbao museum reflects the needs of the client and political context of the time, and has been extremely successful in achieving these objectives. In the contemporary era, architecture has coined the term ‘Bilbao Effect’ to identify the effect monumental and iconic architecture can have in modern or developing cities13. The globalization of architecture is leading to brand architecture being developed on a global scale irrespective of the local context14. It has placed an emphasis on the use of new materials and construction methods to bring forth designs that do not respond to local contexts but rather to a larger global context of economy and architecture. While the Guggenheim Museum was designed for a larger global context, the official plan focused on four major functions that make up a successful city: inhabiting, working, recreation, and circulation15. The official plan looked to bring into the core mixed use developments that included cultural facilities, university facilities, commercial, and residential units, all which would increase the urban density. The Guggenheim museum is essential in achieving this objective. This requirement to produce a monumental and iconic building was extremely influential in Gehry’s process of form generation16. Frank Gehry was not only chosen for his unusual and drastic response but also for his reputation 358

as a world-renowned architect. This association the architect had with the building increased revenue through tourism and the appeal of the district to support the expansion of the other developments17. The Bilbao museum set a precedent for this type of expansion that we see more frequently today by architects such as Santiago Calatrava18. CONCLUSION

Great architecture such as the Guggenheim museum is not independent of the political, economic, and cultural context of its time; on the contrary, it relies heavily on these frameworks to come to fruition. It is clear that the objectives of the architect and of the urban planning framework in the city of Bilbao were successfully met. The genesis of the Guggenheim Bilbao museum was a result of an urban zoning plan that was put into place to revitalize the metropolitan area. The official plan

Figure 6 The Guggenheims dynamic form in contrast to the industrial neighborhood

looked to bring into the core mixed use developments that included cultural facilities, commercial, and residential units that would ultimately increase the urban density19. The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a vital component in this framework as it has brought in a significant amount of economic revenue to finance the infrastructure, thus making the rest of this scheme feasible. The monumental and iconic design by Frank Gehry has boosted Bilbao’s tourism and international reputation further showcasing the rise of globalization in the realm of architecture20. Although the architect delivered a project that successfully met the clients needs, the question that architecture now faces in the contemporary era is the effect developing global architecture can have on the local context21.

NOTES 4.  “West Kowloon Cultural District Project.” Republic of China Legislative Council. hs020323cb1-wkcd108-e-scan.pdf (accessed October 21, 2013). 5.  Ibid. 6.  “Management, Operation and Financing of a Cultural District: The Case of Abandoibarra in Spain.” Republic of China Legislative Council.. www. (accessed October 21, 2013). 7.  “West Kowloon Cultural District Project.” Republic of China Legislative Council. 8.  “Management, Operation and Financing of a Cultural District: The Case of Abandoibarra in Spain.” Republic of China Legislative Council.. www. (accessed October 21, 2013). 9.  “Abandoibarra Master Plan.” Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. http://pcparch. com/project/abandoibarra-master-plan (accessed October 25, 2013). 10.  “West Kowloon Cultural District Project.” Republic of China Legislative Council. 11.  Le Corbusier. “CIAM’s “The Athens Charter” (1933) | Modernist Architecture.” Modernist Architecture | A Database of Modernist Architectural Theory. (accessed October 21, 2013). 12.  “Abandoibarra Master Plan.” Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. 13.  Pagnotta, Brian. “AD Classics: The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao / Frank Gehry | ArchDaily.” ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwide. (accessed October 21, 2013). 14.  Le Corbusier. “CIAM’s “The Athens Charter” (1933) | Modernist Architecture.” Modernist Architecture | A Database of Modernist Architectural Theory. 15.  Ibid. 16.  McNeill, Donald. The global architect: firms, fame and urban form. New York: Routledge, 2009. 88. 17.  Vicario, Lorenzo, and P. Manuel Monje. “Another ‘Guggenheim Effect’? The Generation of a Potentially Gentrifiable Neighbourhood in Bilbao.” Scholars on Bilbao. (accessed October 25, 2013). 18.  Le Corbusier. “CIAM’s “The Athens Charter” (1933) | Modernist Architecture.” Modernist Architecture | A Database of Modernist Architectural Theory. 19.  McNeill, Donald. The global architect: firms, fame and urban form. New York: Routledge, 2009. 93. 20.  Ibid. 93. 21.  McNeill, Donald. The global architect: firms, fame and urban form. New York: Routledge, 2009. 94. 22.  “West Kowloon Cultural District Project.” Republic of China Legislative Council. 23.  Pagnotta, Brian. “AD Classics: The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao / Frank Gehry | ArchDaily.” 24.  Vicario, Lorenzo, and P. Manuel Monje. “Another ‘Guggenheim Effect’? The Generation of a Potentially Gentrifiable Neighbourhood in Bilbao.”

FIGURES PHOTOS 25.  Merodio, Iker. “AD Classics: The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao / Frank Gehry | ArchDaily.” ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwide. (accessed October 21, 2013). 26.  Buzas, Stefan. Four museums: Carlo Scarpa, Museo Canoviano, Possagno ; Frank O. Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa ; Rafael Moneo, the Audrey Jones Beck Building, MFAH ; Heinz Tesar, Sammlung Essl, Klosterneuburg. Stuttgart: Edition Axel Menges, 2004. Page 80.




100 WOZOCO APARTMENTS MVRDV 1994-1997 Amsterdam-Osdorp, Netherlands by Elisaveta Boulatova

As the European country with the greatest number of inhabitants per square kilometre, the Netherlands high occupation density has been a valued necessity to preserve valuable open spaces. Suitably, MVRDV’s WoZoCo Apartments, an elderly housing block of 100 apartments in Osdorp, Amsterdam, was a response to an increase in density and population growth. The apartment complex was commissioned by a large corporation as part of an intensification program of a low-to-mid rise garden city neighborhood built back in the 1950s. The ingenuity of the entire project centers around the treatment of Dutch architect and CIAM president (1930-1947), Cornelis van Eesteren’s original urban structure of Amsterdam as he describes in his ‘Functional City’ (1933) and later applies to the Amsterdam Expansion Plan (1929-1935). Developed shortly after Le Corbusier presented his Contemporary city in 1922, van Eesteren’s ideas and urban planning principles of CIAM focused on research/analysis and estimation of land use, planning the city as a whole and substituting traditional urban forms for the irregular, as it is evident in the design and planning by MDRDV. Nevertheless, WoZoCo has many physical limitations as: open space area, building footprint, height, number of units and natural light. The original van Eesteren plan for the WoZoCo site demands a much lower density than the housing scheme requires. The plan limits the number of apartments per block not to compromise lighting, as it is not viable to build apartments with only North facing glazing in Holland. Driven to conserve open green space, this zoning regulation challenge led to the conception of cantilevered apartments. In light of planning, thirteen full-width units cantilever on the north façade of the building to accommodate the requested 100 apartments by the housing corporation, instead of the obtainable 87 as permitted on the lot. 361



n the contemporary era, the advancement of Dutch architecture was lead by innovative ideas and theories, while at the same time there was a need for a new basis to maintain existing ideas. In comparison to other countries, many projects by young Dutch architects were becoming realized in Holland. This height of activity was guided by the fall of the Berlin Wall, which in turn opened the Dutch society and culture to internalization. The result creates a paradox between the criticism of international ideas, and the desire to take part in international developments. The Netherlands, however, has its own individual aesthetic. As the European country with the greatest number of inhabitants per square km, high occupation density has been a valued necessity to preserve valuable open spaces.1 Suitably, when MVRDV was chosen to design what would become one of their first significant projects — WoZoCo’s apartments, an elderly housing block — it became a response to increasing density and population growth. “It isn’t done to show how people can live; it’s about humanism and how it can be managed,” published Extra-ordinaire.2 The project


was commissioned by the Het Oosten Housing Association for a block of 100 apartments for elderly residents (55+) in Amsterdam, Osdorp, a garden city area in West Amsterdam (Westelijke Tuinsteden).3 Osdorp lives up to its name as a ‘park city’ with many large open spaces. Both the client and the market were aiming for a form of modernity that would resolve the paradox of high densities. In consequence, the housing complex presented various physical limitations such as: open space area, building footprint, height, number of units and natural light. Dictated by 2D zoning regulations, the project pushes its 3D boundaries to accommodate the requested 100 apartments by the housing corporation, instead of the obtainable 87 as permitted on the lot. An important objective of urban renewal of the western suburbs is to make residential areas more attractive. This is due to the mixing of residential, commercial and industrial. A rich variety of living and working environments improves the quality of life of the people living in the city. CIAM is a symbol of modern architecture and urbanism. The CIAM guidelines of living, working, recreation and circulation are

all reflected in this high-density urban project4, especially in Van Eesteren’s plan for the expansion of Amsterdam. The Plan was similar to a myriad of zoning plans that were implemented at the time, but explored more then simply trying to predict and locate future development. In Amsterdam, the political support for Garden cities is very high; therefore the specific housing strategies in the plan are somewhat overlooked. At the time there were no commitments to urban design, but rather van Eesteren was looking for a functional solution for Amsterdam. Here, the sheltered complex finds the cantilever solution in context to the height regulations of the area.

CONTEXT The building project is situated in West Amsterdam, in an increasingly dense Garden City Area (Westelijke Tuinsteden), built in the 1950s as a functionalist reaction to the Amsterdam School of architecture. Since then the area has been undergoing the process of urban renewal, dedicating more room for traffic and less for commerce. The spacious layout of the area is characteristic of Amsterdam’s western suburbs. The core consists of approximately 1,400 medium-rise homes, mostly commonly of 5 storeys, surrounded by roads and green and water connections. It faces a heavy main traffic road, Ookmeerweg street, beyond which are large green fields. The building can be accessed from either end of the block.5 The North façade is dominated by the cantilevered units. The South side overlooks an area of low-rise residential houses. The East side is framed by a green strip with a pond with a hint of gardening maintained by the residents of WoZoCo, while the

Figure 1ab Complex structure and form.

West is an access road to the residential area of the block and WoZoCo itself. Both the North and South sides house large parking areas. There are no streets and no hint of public activity. Situated on the edge of the residential blocks, the high density traffic road does not fit the suburban context. The design for WoZoCo called for a gallery type circulation that couldn’t fit on the given long and narrow linear lot in addition to the client’s request of 100 units. Huge wooden boxes containing complete flats, as wide as the main block, look as if they are hanging from the glass corridor, creating a sense of instability. The flat facade accentuates the effect of the suspended volumes. To ensure adequate sunlight in the surrounding buildings, only 87 of the required 100 units could be realized within the lot footprint. Not wanting to take away more open space, the remaining 13 units are cantilevered from the North façade of the block with steel trusses so that the hanging apartments get east or west facing facades, as it is not viable to build North facing facades in Holland. The light steel framing structures are clad with wood, fire proof plaster boards and insulation material, making the boxes water proof and sound proof. Drainage is incorporated into the wall cavity. By

Figure 2 Large green open spaces defined Figure 3 Site Plan

predetermining the number of inner walls in the basic block, almost 8% of the cost could be saved, which was enough to compensate 50% of the additional expense for the cantilevered units.6 All flats of a minimum size have balconies. Approached from a single corridor on each floor. The suspended timber–clad boxes humanize the large apartment block in a playful manner.

THE SITE Amsterdam is in the midst of major social, economic and spatial shifts, however this is no way contrasts its status as a livable city. The direction the city is moving in terms of spatial restructuration, economic development, social life and culture, is a healthy and livable city. Statistics showd that 363


the fastest growing areas of western Amsterdam were not its cities, but rather its suburbs and villages.7 The Netherlands has the highest percentage of social housing (35%) in the Europe.8 More than half the homes are owned by non-profit housing associations. This in term forms a mutual dependency between local government and housing associations.9 The 10 000 square meter lot is situated on a site that, in the 1934 van Eesteren’s zoning map of the General Extension (Algemeen uitbreidingsplan van Amsterdam 1934) designated the blocks to have a residential average of 70 dwellings per hectare.10 After the solely aesthetical infatuation marked by the City Beautiful Movement in 1920, the next two decades began a movement of architects and planners, led by Van Eesteren, that tried to unite various disciplines in planning. Planners became experienced in social, technical, and aesthetic aspects, such that planning became the product of all detailed research of a particular area. Similar to the current expectation of planners and architects. From this came the idea of the bird’s eye view, to survey an area.11 The “driving forces” were population growth, traffic flows and soil conditions. Van Eesteren’s sketches for the plan show a city of low to mid rise built form. Figure 4 shows the continuation of this idea as seen in the WoZoCo apartments. MVRDV uses the maximum height of the lot at 30 m. Nine residential blocks that are under urban renewal, located in the centre of the site, are zoned to a maximum height of 10 meters. There are also other neighbouing mixed use areas that range from 6-13 m.12 Based on the zoning regulations, it is the presence of the main road that allows the buildings facing towards traffic to be much greater in height (from 10m to 30m). This generally opposes van 364

Eesteren’s ideas of healthy and safe living. The Amsterdam plan was very similar to other zoning plans being implemented at the time, however it went further in trying to locate future development. Van Eesteren introduced more process oriented planning, which relied on detailed statistical data and research. Van Eesteren believed that new garden cities should be built as solutions to the housing shortage The plan covers public space at an abstract level, the birds eye perspective of AUP (Amsterdam Extension Plan) demonstrates an immense low density built form with large areas of green spaces and canals. There is a noticeable absence of street life, with only major roads, contrasted by a lot of open green space. A clear example of impact of the thoughts behind AUP on public space: more open space, strip-linear buildings (as guided by the plan and seen in the WoZoCo housing complex), and no hint of an interactive street. To this day Osdorp is guided by the Amsterdam plan based on automobile traffic. This is

Figure 4 An aerial view of the WoZoCo lot at 30 meters height in comparison to the low to mid rise residential units that surround the housing complex. Figure 5 Zoning heights and purpose diagram below. Nine central blocks under urban renewal have a maximum height of 10m, contrasted by the 30 m WoZoCo site at the North-east corner.

of dwelling, work, recreation and circulation. These four concepts come together even in Osdrop’s garden city where residential and recreation coexist in the Western suburbs, occasionally introducing a mixed-use building. CIAM requires that housing districts be given the best sites, although some cases are unavoidable as seen in the WoZoCo apartment complex that is built alongside a major road, however the main ideas, zoning, and urban planning of spaces is considered and remains intact. The ambition of the master plan is to support a collective scale of the built form and preserve large green open spaces.

Figure 6 Solid-ground figure of the WoZoCo site prior to development.

evident simply by the two large parking lots that sandwich the elderly housing complex, clearly iterating that without a car there is no where to go. The planned large high blocks of gallery flats located amidst green open spaces have become a garden city with the same amount of large open spaces. The WoZoCo block is long and narrow and exposes to the street as zoned decades ago. AUP 1929-1959 CIAM began the kind of thinking that guided planning and zoning at the time that Amsterdam was looking for a master plan to accommodate its growing population. The principles of CIAM involved the ideas of location, solar exposure, and hygiene into the development of housing districts. The originality of the WoZoCo apartment complex built more than half a century later is in the limitations it set up for the project. It is the way the architects

bypassed the zoning regulation that makes the design so appropriate to its context. Dutch architect and urban planner, Cornelis van Eesteren (18971988) developed the ‘functional city’ concept that later influenced his Amsterdam General Expansion Plan (AUP, 1929-1959) based on statistical forecasts of population growth, where he calculated the requirements for housing, leisure facilities, employment and traffic. Van Eesteren’s plan highlights a shift in planning that was process oriented. He studied statistical data to allocate area for various uses.13 This is similar to the approach of MRVDV, whose concept of designing takes research and data to create “datascapes” that project form directly out of numbers.14 Among data, Van Eesteren looked at such ideas as the importance of solar orientation in governing the direction of low-cost housing on site. Van Eesteren’s Amsterdam plan became a symbol of the sort of activity that the CIAM wanted to develop at the time, keeping with its four main urbanism functions

THE METAMORPHOSIS The Apartment complex demonstrates a functional and innovative solution to the zoning regulations in Osdorp, Amsterdam, and at the same time tries to solve the problem of density without compromising open spaces. Van Eesteren stated that ‘Urban beauty arises from the plastic equilibrium of the components, from which the city or the part of the city in question is constructed.” The bulky main block resembling a commode with pulled out drawers is a playful and clever design choice. The project situated in a residential area of two-storey houses doesn’t intrude, but rather brings interest and curiosity to the street. MVRDV’s original approach led to this project becoming one of the most published projects of the 1990s. The Plan was similar to a myriad of zoning plans that were implemented at the time, but much more accurate then simply trying to predict and locate future development. In Amsterdam, the political support for Garden cities is very high, therefore 365


the specific housing strategies in the plan are somewhat overlooked. There were no commitments to urban design, but rather van Eesteren searched for a functional solution. In this light, the sheltered complex finds the cantilever solution in context to the height regulations of the area. To highlight the end of the “urbanization” of this region within the last 20 years (19902010), the district of Osdorp combined with Slotervaart and GeuzenveldSlotermeer to form a new district named Amsterdam Nieuw-West that are home to several key architectural buildings by renowned architects, with WoZoCo promenent of its list.15 As design values change, the way in which the architects bypassed van’s zoning law will continue to be appreciated as the concept that originally emerged from the city’s history, is realized as a researched and calculated datascape that continues the growth of Amsterdam’s garden cities.


NOTES 27.  Faludi, Andreas, and Arnoud van der Valk. Rule and order: Dutch planning doctrine in the twentieth century. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994. 28.  Trottin, David. Extra-ordinaire.: Springer, 1999. Print. 29.  Szita, Jane. “Profile: The Placemakers.” Dwell May 2008: 185-192. Print. 30.  Ovink, Henk, and Ruimtelijke Ordening en Milieubeheer Volkshuisvesting. Ontwerp en politiek = Design and politics. Rotterdam: 010, 2009. 31.  “Kaart van West.” Osdorp Midden Noord. kaart/kaartweergave/kaartweergave_locatie/t/amsterdam_nieuw_west (accessed November 1, 2013). 32.  Melet, Ed.. The architectural detail: Dutch architects visualise their concepts. Rotterdam: NAi, 2002. 33.  White, Michael. De Stijl and Dutch modernism. Manchester: Manchester University Press ;, 2003. 34.  Faludi, Andreas. 35.  Mallgrave, Harry Francis, and David Goodman. An Introduction to Architectural Theory: 1968 to the Present. NY: Wiley-Blackwell , 2011. 36.  “Algemeen uitbreidingsplan van Amsterdam : [plankaart].” :: Historische kaarten. (accessed November 1, 2013). 37.  Grijzen, Jantine. Outsourcing planning what do consultants do in a regional spatial planning in the Netherlands. Amsterdam: Vossiuspers UvA, 2010. 38.  “Kaart van West.” Osdorp Midden Noord. 39.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. Print. 40.  Ovink, Henk, and Ruimtelijke Ordening en Milieubeheer Volkshuisvesting. Ontwerp en politiek = Design and politics. Rotterdam: 010, 2009. 41.  Betsky, Aaron, and Adam Eeuwens. False flat: why Dutch design is so good. London: Phaidon, 2004.

FIGURES 212.  Gausa, Manuel. Housing: new alternatives - new systems. Basel [u.a.: Birkhäuser [u.a.], 1998. 213.  “Kaart van West.” Osdorp Midden Noord. kaart/kaartweergave/kaartweergave_locatie/t/amsterdam_nieuw_west (accessed November 1, 2013).

PHOTOS 1.  “MVRDV WoZoCo.” MVRDV. (accessed November 1, 2013). 2.  Gausa, 1998. 3.  Gausa, 1998.




TATE MODERN Herzog De Meuron 1995-1999 London City by Alireza Kabiri

Tate Modern is one of Henry Tate’s foundation’s art galleries in U.K. The location of the site is a key aspect to this project. The building is located on the Bankside of central London, south of Thames river. Considering the history of the site, the planing of London city, and the fact that it was a power station before, it is clear why the building was located in south London sector which originally housed the working class. But even today, the site is mostly surrounded by a dense fabric of apartment building that still house people. Moreover, one of the other things that is of significant importance is how the building reflects and rejects the ideas of CIAM and concepts such as, zoning, regulation and etc. On that note, one of the main reasons that led Herzog& De Mouran keep the old power station and just renovate it, was only to use the the old building as a political strategy to bypass zoning and regulation requirements. Also, another Idea of CIAM that the architects used was the idea of maintaining historical buildings which in this case they fully kept the exterior of the power station, however, renovated the interior of the building to make it functional as a museum. Therefore, from an urbanist point of view,Tate Modern is one of the public cores of London city which reflects and rejects ideas of CIAM movement since its conversion.




ne of the most significant period in the history of architecture is the period that we live in right now. The contemporary era is an era in architecture in which the architects and designers started designing not only based on Modernist ideas, but also reflecting on their own ideas of what they thought would be more appropriated for, as Le Corbusier states, “ The Future”. On that note, to understand the relationship between the CIAM era and Contemporary era it’s beneficial to analyze a successful contemporary building from the perspective and ideologies of CIAM, in this case Tate Modern. TATE MODERN HISTORY Tate Modern is one of Henry Tate foundation’s galleries in the U.K. The location of the site is a key aspect to this building. The building is located on SouthBank, part of central London city, south of Thames River. The building is a renovated power plant designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1963 which was converted to function as a Museum of Contemporary Arts. It is in fact one the biggest and most advanced Museum

Figure 1 Entertainment District


in the world 1. This conversion was done by one of the world’s prominent architectural firms, Herzog De Meuron. Considering the unique characteristics of this building, it would be reasonable to analyze this building as one that is in the forefront of the contemporary era, on how the building fits in its physical context, responses to its social, political, cultural, and planning context, and its reactions to the ideas of CIAM. SITE CONCERNS As its true for any architectural project, the physical context in which a project is located is of a significant importance. In this case, since the north part of SouthBanks is mostly dedicated to the entertainment district of London, it houses a lot of Social/Cultural buildings such as the Tate Modern 2. However, Tate Modern’s site is even more significant and reveals much more. The building directly faces London’s most important building, St. Paul’s cathedral. Such surrounding character created an opportunity for the architects to create a monumental building that will respond directly to the cathedral and result in an architectural dialogue on either sides of Thames River (North and

South). This bond between these two monumental buildings is strengthened through the existence of the Millennium Bridge, which is directly in front of Tate Modern. The bridge extends the pedestrian path from central London to the SouthBank. In addition the architects created another circulation path through the building from north to south by introducing entrances to the site, in order to connect the southern industrial/residential part of SouthBank to the Millennium bridge and therefore to central London 3. Aside from this North to South pedestrian path, the site also lays along the Queen’s path that connects most of social/cultural buildings on the north of SouthBanks together. PLANNING CONTEXT As mentioned before, the location of the site is a key aspect to this building, it has a unique history and has been influenced heavily by the political forces of the past. The south part of London used to be mostly dedicated to industrial uses as well as warehouses. Followed by a good number of residential buildings that housed the working class people, whereas the rich would live in the north part of London away from industrial areas. Similarly, even today, this part of the city has a large number of residential buildings. However, some of the industrial parts of the area has transformed to create an entertainment district that houses social/cultural buildings, such as the National Theatre building, Globe Theatre, and London Television Centre, most of which lay along Thames River’s bank 2.As a result, due to the location of Tate Modern, its function as a Museum and the residential buildings around it, it has become the social/cultural core of London. (Figure 2)

Figure 2 Physical Context befor and after development

UNDER CIAM’S LIGHT In order to understand Tate Modern as a contemporary building in a better way, its significant to look at it under the lights of the CIAM movement and find the similarities and differences and how the building responds to those characteristics. CIAM AND ZONING One of the most significant and prominent ideas of the CIAM movement has been the idea of zoning, they believed in a city there has to be a clear distinction between the uses 4. The same Idea that Le Corbusier tried to perfectly place in his plans for “ A Contemporary City” and “ The Radiant City” 5. This is also the same idea that Ebenezer Howard introduced in his design for “ a Garden City”. By doing so, they tried to create different areas in a city which each are dedicated solely to one function. As a result, all the residential areas in a city will be located on one sector which is solely dedicated to living. By looking at the history of London it can be said that the city was divided into different zones, such as, living ( north and north west), working ( central London) and industrial ( south London). However, the South side of London also housed the working class as well as the slums and

Figure 3 Zoning boundaries.

ware houses such as the power plant building which is now Tate Modern. Even today, the SouthBank is a mixed used area where most of the social/ cultural buildings lay along the Thames River bank and the residential buildings are clustered towards the central part of Southern London. Such character of division results in a conflict when it gets compared to the zoning ideas that CIAM, in particular, the idea that

Le Corbusier introduced. The idea that the residence have to be separated from the industrial and business areas. ( Figure3) CIAM AND TRAFFIC CONTROL Moreover, another idea of CIAM that Tate Modern reflects is the eighty first point of Athens Charter which states that, “ The principle of urban and suburban traffic must be revised. A 371


classification of available speeds must be devised. Zoning reforms bringing the key functions of the city into harmony will create natural links between them, in support of which a rational network of major traffic arteries will be planned.”6 Tate Modern has is located on one of the most crucial sites in London city. On one hand, the building is located on SouthBanks in front of Millennium bridge functioning as the first impression of SouthBanks for the people who are walking down the bridge and also faces the great St.Paul Cathedral. On the other, it functions as a social/cultural hub of the city which serves millions of people every year. Thus, the architects visualized the building as a public space that serves as a threshold to southern London. In order to reinforce this idea the architects introduced a northern entrance to the building which sucks in the traffic from the millennium bridge, leading them through the building and through the introduction of another entrance on the south side of the building, the pedestrian traffic gets injected into the Summer st. on the south. From there, the traffic branches of into different areas in south London, towards the industrial, residential and public areas. By doing so the architects tried to continue the pedestrian path of millennium bridge through the building into south London in order to create a straight pedestrian path from South London to Central London. ( Figure 4) HERITAGE AND HISTORICAL MONUMNETS Finally, another significant CIAM idea that had impacted Tate modern is based on the Historic Heritage part of the Athens Charter in which the movement claims that the historic monuments should not be demolished if they have a healthy and live able conditions 6 4. 372

Although the power plant building was not in a healthy and living conditions, Herzog De Meuron decided to keep the existing volume of the building because of three reasons. First, the site needed a monumental building that could be strong enough to have an architectural dialogue with St.Paul cathedral. Second, the architects decided to keep the buildings exterior shell and use it as a political strategy to bypass the new zoning by-laws and regulations. And finally, Herzog De Meuron strongly believed that the society of future will be the society in which the buildings will be mostly renovated rather that demolished and this project can be a successful example of a renovation application 3. Therefore, by keeping the exterior shell of the building, the architects save the historical heritage of SouthBanks that responds to the St.Paul cathedral, yet it’s converted interior space serves as a functional, healthy, and efficient space.

Figure 4 This diagram shows the pedestrian circulation around the the site. The flow of pedestrians from central London, through Millenium bridge to the SouthBank area. It also illustrates how the traffic branches of into different parts from the south side of Tate modern.

CONCLUSION In conclusion, by analyzing Tate Modern based on the ideas of CIAM it becomes clear that Herzog De Meuron designed this building in a way that it both reflects and responds to the ideas of CIAM at the same time. As its true for any building, a building is just a small unit of a bigger whole which would be the context around it. These contextual values are not only physical, but also idealogical and conceptual. As it was described through the body of this essay, Tate Modern as a building project does take advantage of some the ideas of CIAM through its, monumentality and effect on cities traffic control. However, it also goes against some of CIAM’s absolutist ideas such as, separating the different uses in a city and zoning divisions. Therefore, as a Contemporary Art temple, Tate modern is a successful piece of architecture that goes above and beyond the ideas of Modernism

and showcases a building that is not only unique in its design, but it is also successful through the impact that it has on the life and urban fabric of London.

Figure 5 Residential areas on SouthBank


NOTES 1.  “History of Tate.” Home. (accessed October 15, 2013). 2.  “History.” South Bank London. (accessed October 15, 2013). 3.  “126 TATE MODERN.” HERZOG & DE MEURON. 4.  Mumford, Eric Paul. The CIAM discourse on urbanism, 1928-1960. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. 5.  Gilli, Merin. “AD Classics: Ville Radieuse / Le Corbusier.” ArchDaily. http:// (accessed October 15, 2013). 6.  Wolfe, Ross. “CIAM’s “The Athens Charter” (1933).” modernistarchitecture. (accessed October 20, 2013). 7.  “Ward boundaries map.” Ward boundaries map. ward-boundaries-map.aspx (accessed October 20, 2013). 8.  “History.” South Bank London. (accessed October 15, 2013). 9.  Pilling, Matthew . “ARCHITECTURE + URBANISM.” : Eric Mumford: The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism 1928-1960 (2002). (accessed October 19, 2013).

FIGURES 10.  Base Image-“Ward boundaries map.” Ward boundaries map. http://www. Pages/ward-boundaries-map.aspx (accessed October 20, 2013). 11.  Base Image-“Ward boundaries map.” Ward boundaries map. http://www. Pages/ward-boundaries-map.aspx (accessed October 20, 2013). 12.  Base Image-“Ward boundaries map.” Ward boundaries map. http://www. Pages/ward-boundaries-map.aspx (accessed October 20, 2013). 13.  Base Image-“Ward boundaries map.” Ward boundaries map. http://www. Pages/ward-boundaries-map.aspx (accessed October 20, 2013). 14.  Base Image-“Ward boundaries map.” Ward boundaries map. http://www. Pages/ward-boundaries-map.aspx (accessed October 20, 2013).

PHOTOS 1.  “TATE MODERN MUSEUM: THE XXI CENTURY LONDON | Architecture Insights.” Architecture Insights. (accessed October 24, 2013).



SENDAI MEDIATHEQUE Toyo Ito & Associates 1995-2001 Sendai City, Japan by Michelle Martinez

The influential factors affecting the design development of Sendai Mediatheque by Toyo Ito Associates are analyzed. For example, this paper seeks to explore on the CIAM ideas that have influenced and shaped the urban planning of Japan, in order to demonstrate how planning affects and comes before the architectural project conception. A site analysis is executed to understand how its location, history and climate such as seismic activities impact the preliminary design and how Toyo Ito responds to such complex conditions. The material choices and structure are discussed to see its contribution to the building’s idea of transparency and how it conforms to the planning and zoning requirements. The essay explores on how the architectural project design is appropriate in the intricate urban environment by examining the design principles and development of the building from an architectural idea to its execution. Furthermore, the social, physical, cultural and political contexts are shown to demonstrate its influence on Sendai Mediatheque’s preliminary design. This paper also aims to analyze the processes of administration, politics and planning. Results of this investigation are presented in the form of analytical drawings to support and show the contribution of the different factors to an appropriate building design.




he contemporary era (1980-present) had just emerged from the post-war period of Japan, where there was an increase in economic growth, new implementation of the 1968 City Planning Law and the development of new planning systems in Japan to solve the rapid growth and earthquake disasters. Early 1980s, Japan faced various urban problems, such as urban sprawl, and they needed to spend a great amount of money on groundbreaking projects such as Sendai Mediatheque in order to improve the current urban conditions. The City of Sendai, the client of the project, held a design competition for Sendai Mediatheque, which would be located on Jozenji Street in Sendai City, in the early 1990s in the attempt to provide an unconventional building that would become a civic symbol and would house an art gallery, a library and an audio-visual facility.1 Toyo Ito & Associates Architects, who worked with Sasaki Structural Consultants to form the astounding steel structure of the Mediatheque, won the competition and the building construction completed in August 2000. The key design principles the architect adopted was a mixture of Japanese and Western ideas such as the Metabolism, which the concept was introduced by CIAM 10 and later explored by Japanese architect Kiyonori Kikutake, and the concepts of Archigram, involving the influence of technology. Moreover, the Japanese building requirements greatly influenced the structural form of the Sendai Mediatheque due to the seismic conditions and historic earthquakes that occurred. SITE The site, which used to be a Pachinko gaming parlour, can be accessed 376

Figure 1 Jozenji Street: Mediatheque (right)

two ways: the one-way street on the north side and on the south side the main boulevard Jozenji street. The surroundings of the site are mainly composed of convenience stores at ground level, Japanese contemporary office buildings, apartment type residential buildings and a nearby gas station; Sendai’s population density is composed of 1304.10 persons per Jozenji Street can be described as an avenue because it has 3 lanes on each side and in the middle there is a designated path for pedestrians to walk on. As one drives through this avenue, they are able to experience a beautiful view of trees, which provide shade, along the side of the street and in the middle. Jozenji is heavily used during rush hour since it directly connects to one of the most heavily used streets in Sendai Kotodai Dori and Kotodai Subway Station. PROJECT DETAILS Function came after Form. The idea of space having the ability to adapt depending on the different functions happening throughout a day allowed flexibility. Transparency is one of the key elements that allow human interaction from the exterior with the interior. It is simply achieved by the use of glazing on the south façade and the ingenious tube structure, which minimizes the interior visual obstructions. People are

Figure 2 Program

Figure 3 Facades of the Building Each facade has its own function and corresponds to the site orientation. For example, the south facade is double glazed, which prevents from overheating. It also has a repetitive pattern on the glazing that acts as shade. On the other hand, the east and north facade is made of aluminum, concrete panels and a mixture of curtain wall that give off a opaque and transluscent qualities. Perforated steel diffuses the sun on the west facade.

able to visually interact with the building by seeing all the activities on each floor; this becomes an element to attract and bring people in the building to gather. The open floor plan is also an interesting element that maximizes the interaction of people, where the public and private space merges harmoniously. Moreover, this is a list of programs the Mediatheque provides: public library, arts and cultural building, information centre, children’s library, multimedia studio, galleries, ground-floor public plaza, café and shops. In the diagrams provided, it shows that each floor serves a different function and the flexibility is achieved through furniture design, where they are able to move around to accommodate each program. In an interview with Japanese magazine GA, Ito states he envisaged the atmosphere of a park when he designed the building, so that the structure would be just like a park when the character of the place changes according to the flow of people.2 SOCIAL, POLITICAL, CULTURAL Sendai City, also called “City of Trees”, is mostly constituted of individuals in their 20s, 30s and 50s, who live near subway stations and in the urban area of Sendai.3 The Japanese culture is known for their custom practice of self-reliance, where the contribution to the neighbourhood comes from participation. The quality of life in Japan is safe, clean and friendly as the citizens contribute to the community by taking initiative to teach others their customs and organizing yearly festivals that bring people together. In addition, a local government, who is in charge of the urban planning, governs each region in Japan; in this case, Sendai Mediatheque’s location is under the Aoba Ward. In Japan

Figure 4 Sendai City Zoning Floor Area Ratio Building Coverage Ratio Commercial District Category II Residential District

today, three progressive themes, the compact city, sustainable development and community participation dominate discussion of urban planning and the policy documents of urban planning departments.4 OFFICIAL PLAN, ZONING, PROCESS The City’s planning goals focuses on the positive impact on the well being of individuals and the long-term effects of its urban planning system. The Building Standard Law was enacted in 1950; the purpose is to safeguard the life, health and property of people by providing minimum standards concerning the site, construction, equipment, and use of buildings, and thereby to contribute to the furtherance of the public welfare.5 The building zoning, height, density and use is dependent on the values, divisions and the type of district it falls under of each region. For example, a categorization of divisions such as Urbanization Promoting Area and Urbanization-restricted area is required in large urban cities. Land use is categorized into 12 types of districts - 7 residential districts, 2 types of commercial districts and 3 types of industrial districts. The Mediatheque site, under the Urbanization Promoting Area, is located in the Commercial District where its floor-area ratio is 400 and building coverage ratio is 80. Since the total Mediatheque area is 3948sq.m, the buildable area, which is 80% of

the total area, is 3158 sq.m but the actual covered area is 2933 sq.m. The maximum height of the site is 36m; the building has 7 floors and 2 basements. The approval process for a future development must apply for and receive building confirmation from a building official; however, before the confirmation occurs, the building official must get a consent from the chief of a local fire station or the fire inspector. Next, a set of structural calculations must be provided to prove the building is able to withstand Japan’s seismic conditions, which is approved by the Minister. Then, construction work is commenced and interim inspections by an authority are performed during the construction. The owner is not allowed to open the building for use until the final inspection certificate is obtained. CIAM During the Meiji restoration period (1868-1912), Japan was intrigued by Western urban theories, which impacted the industrial growth, social and political organizations, because it was an era of change in society. They were astonished by Paris’ boulevards and public structures, which influenced Japanese urban planning in Sendai City. Hence, Japan constantly attempting to catch up borrowed Western urban ideas, in order to solve the worldwide urban conditions of sprawl. Most importantly, they were aware of CIAM activities that were 377


conducted in various parts of Europe; Japanese urbanists, who attended international congress meetings and presented their own theoretical projects, brought back new urban theories to Japan. The CIAM discourse on urbanism has taken part of the Japan’s postwar restoration period (1945), when land readjustment was executed. Land readjustment was used in the 1960s to create new towns, revitalize and reshape city neighborhoods, and provide opportunities to create higher density housing, infrastructure and public services.6 For instance, after the war, Sendai City was reconfigured into a grid system type city planning. The widening of major streets and implementing new streets in between enhanced the road systems of Sendai City; the major streets mimic the boulevards in Paris. CIAM’s “Functional City” idea has informed the urban planning of Japan under the categories of dwelling, work, transportation and leisure. CIAM recommended that travel distances should be reduced to a minimum and proposed that rigorous statistical methods be used to establish rational street widths.7 Japan responds to this issue by implementing effective transportation routes such as the railway stations and restructuring their roads as mentioned before. CIAM also stated the idea of categorizing parcels of land for different uses and incorporating more green spaces, which was executed in most Japanese cities. This is stated by Sorensen, “Broad arterial roads were laid out, parks areas were designated, extensive areas were planned for existing and future commercial, industrial and residential development, and future rail stations, port districts, and main infrastructure such as bridges were mapped out. “8 378

Figure 5 Roads before the War The roads before the war were not designed to provide boulevards filled with trees. The streets were narrow and not spacious. With influences from CIAM and Western countries, Japan implemented better roads for efficiency and the well-being of the citizens

Figure 6 Roads after the War: Grid System - Road Expansion is evident

The post-war movement called Metabolism, which involved the idea of organic biological growth and architecture, inspired Toyo Ito’s design for Sendai Mediatheque. CIAM 10 first introduced this concept in the 1959 meeting on “The Statement on Habitat”: “Urbanism considered and developed in the terms of the Charte d’Athenes tends to produce towns in which vital human associations are inadequately expressed. To comprehend these human associations we must consider every community as a particular total complex.”9 Hence, Sendai Mediatheque is designed like an organism, which has the ability to adapt in different circumstances; this can be seen in his early design sketches and process. Figure 7 New additions to the old road system New Additions Roads that were taken away Old roads that remained

Figure 8 Figure-Ground of present Sendai City

CONCLUSION From the beginning of the Meiji period to the present, the urban planning history of Japan has always been influenced by the Western urban theories. There was a need to implement effective solutions in the urban planning system to control the constant growth in the economy and population. Through the disasters, Japan saw a need to implement new laws to provide a prosperous and safe city for people to live in. CIAM formed ideas to bring awareness and solve the urban and architectural complications in a positive manner. It is clear that urban planning and the building laws affect and comes before the development of architectural projects conception. The building is appropriate because it addresses the different types of context such as political, social, cultural and physical. By addressing the contexts with an amazing design, it was able to enhance the quality of life of Sendai. Thus, Sendai Mediatheque stands out as a civic symbol in Jozenji Street more than any other public infrastructure. 379

NOTES 15.  Webb, Michael, [1937- ]. 2000. Toyo ito: Mediatheque. A + U: Architecture and Urbanism(2(353)) (Feb 2000): [62]-73. 16.  Bijlsma, Femke. 2003. Due anni dopo: Sendai mediathèque. Arca(186 p.20-25) (Nov 2003): 20-5. 17.  The Global Oneness Commitment, “Sendai Miyagi Demographics.” Accessed October 10, 2013. 18.  Wood, David Murakami, and Kayo Murakami. “Becoming the City of Trees: Spatial Planning in Japan and the Feeling of Place.” Planning Theory & Practice. (2006): 445-478. 19.  Tomohiro, Hasegawa. Building Center of Japan, “Introduction to the Building Standard Law.” Last modified February 2013. Accessed October 10, 2013. 20.  Bauman, Catherine. The Challenge of Land Use Planning after Urban Earthquakes: Observations from the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. DIANE Publishing, 1996. 21.  Mumford, Eric. The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism 1928-1960. The MIT Press, 2002. 22.  Sorensen, Andre. 2002. The making of urban japan: Cities and planning from edo to the twenty first century. Nissan Institute/Routledge japanese studies series. Oxon: Routledge. 23.  Mumford, Eric. The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism 1928-1960. The MIT Press, 2002. 24.  Daniell, Thomas, [1967-]. 2001. ‘Virtual light’ and ‘heavy metal’: Building toyo ito’s mediatheque in sendai. Archis(2) (Feb 2001): 117-24. 25.  Ito, Toyo, [1941-], and Thomas Daniell [1967-]. 2008. Beyond the virtual body: Toyo ito interviewed on his sendai mediatheque and tama library. Volume (Amsterdam, Netherlands)(15): 60-4. 26.  Japanese scene 11: Sendai mediathèque - toyo ito & associates, architects. 2002. A + U: Architecture and Urbanism(4(379)) (Apr 2002): 110-1. 27.  Pollock, Naomi R. 2001. Toyo ito imagines what the future of information and digital technologies might be, then builds it in sendai, japan, at mediatheque. Architectural Record 189 (5) (May 2001): [190]-201. 28.  Tominaga, Marin. Urban and spatial planning in japan. 2011 [cited September 6 2013]. Available from (accessed October 10, 2011). 29.  Toyo ito & associates, architects: Sendai médiathèque. 2002. Japan Architect(44) (Jan 2002): 98-101. 30.  Toyo ito & associates, architects: Sendai mediatheque, miyagi, 19952000. 2001. GA Japan: Environmental Design(49) (Mar 2001): 18-61.

FIGURES 214.  “Sendai Trip.” Last modified May 28, 2011. Accessed October 19, 2013. 215.  Produced by Michelle Martinez 216.  Produced by Michelle Martinez 217.  Produced by Michelle Martinez 218.  Produced by Michelle Martinez 219.  Produced by Michelle Martinez 220.  Produced by Michelle Martinez 221.  Produced by Michelle Martinez

PHOTOS 1.  Mediateca a sendai, giappone = sendai mediathèque, japan. 2002. Industria Delle Costruzioni(366) (Jul 2002): 56-65.