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GEOG 340: Day 15. The City as Text. Housekeeping Items. We’re a little ahead of ourselves, but that’s OK in terms of getting back to developing world cities and having time for presentations on the final projects.

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geog 340 day 15
GEOG 340: Day 15

The City as Text

housekeeping items
Housekeeping Items
  • We’re a little ahead of ourselves, but that’s OK in terms of getting back to developing world cities and having time for presentations on the final projects.
  • Next week we’ll hear from Sarah and Keltie on messages of the city, and from Melissa on architecture and its relationship to the evolution of capital and society.
  • On Wednesday from 10:30 to 11:30, Geography is hosting a session on what you should know about grad school in Room 217. Topics include: Why go to grad school? What is the role of the supervisor? How can I get funding to support grad school studies? What is the application process? Are there any timelines I should be aware of? Alan will also talk about the ADGIS program.
  • There is a farmers’ market on campus today ‘til 1:30 and again on Thursday from 11:00 to 1:30.
architectural traditions
Architectural Traditions
  • The book argues that Arcadian neo-classical design sought to impose a moral order. I would say, rather, it sought to legitimize the new bourgeois ruling class. What its functions, at least it was beautiful.
  • This was followed by the Beaux Arts style on display at the Columbian Exposition of 1893 (see p. 328) as part of an emerging City Beautiful movement which influenced the design of American cities until the rise of the automobile and the emergence of the ‘City Efficient’ movement.
  • In the late 1800s, the technology to build skyscrapers had also emerged and was being acted upon.
architectural traditions1
Architectural Traditions
  • The Beaux Arts style coincided loosely with the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements, inspired by William Morris, which effected a simpler, more vernacular style.
  • This was soon replaced by early modernism, led by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright (though with some overlap) and, in Europe, with the Bauhaus movement, featuring Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe.

Pattern designed by William Morris

.

architectural traditions2
Architectural Traditions
  • Le Corbusier (“crow-like”) in French was a radical modernist who wanted to demolish the historic sections of Paris and replace them with a few tall skyscrapers and freeways, and to regiment everything, making everything a subject for standard-ization and mass production.

.

architectural traditions3
Architectural Traditions
  • Whereas Le Corbusier wanted extreme alienated density, F.L. Wright wanted each family to have a home on their own 5-acre homestead. As indicated by his design for Falling Waters, his architecture was more in tune with nature.

.

architectural traditions4
Architectural Traditions
  • Minoru Yamasaki, the architect behind the twin towers of 9/11 fame, designed the housing project in St. Louis, Pruitt-Igoe, that proved so dysfunctional that it eventually had to be dynamited between 1972 and 1976.

.

architectural traditions5
Architectural Traditions
  • Some have seen the New Urbanism that has emerged in the last thirty years as merely nostalgia for the past – bland, elitist, and not actually reducing car dependence or promoting walking (not entirely true).

.

architectural traditions6
Architectural Traditions
  • Tendency in the U.S. towards “homeless-proof-ing” and “skate-boarding-proof” public infra-structure and creating more gated communities.
  • Though other architectural traditions have come in, modern-ism is still dominant in many ways.

.

the characteristics of modern architecture
The Characteristics of Modern Architecture
  • Functionalism- support (along with planners) for single-use zoning and for buildings with minimal ornamentation. Belief that “form should follow function.”
the characteristics of modern architecture1
The Characteristics of Modern Architecture
  • Formalism- ‘magazine cover’ approach to buildings (emphasis on formal design, sometimes to the detriment of function).

Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

For further examples, see http://freshome.com/2012/08/17/iconic-legends-the-10-greatest-modern-architects-of-our-time/

the characteristics of modern architecture2
The Characteristics of Modern Architecture
  • Formalism- ‘magazine cover’ approach to buildings (emphasis on formal design, sometimes to the detriment of function).

Rem Koolhaus’ public library in Seattle

the characteristics of modern architecture3
The Characteristics of Modern Architecture
  • Elitism- Le Corbusier was of the opinion that city planning was altogether “too important to be left to the citizens” – that architects and other experts had to decide.
the characteristics of modern architecture4
The Characteristics of Modern Architecture
  • Economism- the belief (quite evident in Nanaimo) that the most important consideration is economic profitability.

Where is the beauty in the modernist equation?

palimpsest
Palimpsest
  • “a manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed on effaced earlier writing.”
  • In North America and increasingly China, the heritage of cities is increasingly being wiped out, and there is no longer any layering of different historical periods, though this is not uniform.
  • Continuity with the past is part of what makes our lives meaningful; it gives us a context into which to set future actions, and a sense of place.
  • In Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, this sense of continuity is still largely present.
  • European cities, in some cities even rebuilt their historic cores exactly as they had been after the devastation of World War II.
palimpsest1
Palimpsest
  • It can even consist of something as ‘trivial’ as the image of a 1920s ad that is revealed on a building when the building next to it is demolished.
the built environment and values
The built environment and values
  • The built environment encodes messages about what society values – for instance, materialistic consumption, individual competition functionality, making money, the needs of cars, the grandeur of society’s rulers (be they aristocratic, plutocratic, or ideologically correct), the subordination of the individual to absolute authority.
  • Or beauty, spirituality, social soli-

darity, the needs of people, or the

respect we accord to nature.

On this latter point, see the film

“Biophilic Design” in the VIU Library.

the built environment and values1
The built environment and values
  • We also need charm. To inspire care, places must – according to William Howard Kunstler – possess charm: “The word charm may seem fussy, trivial, vague. I use it to mean explicitly that which makes our physical surroundings worth caring about. It is not a trivial matter, for we are presently suffering on a massive scale the social consequences of living in places that are not worth caring about. Charm is dependent on connectedness, on continuities, on the relation between private space and public space, or the sacred and the workaday, or the interplay of space...”
  • What are some charming and ‘funky’ places for you?