Tuesday, April 27, 2010
CNU New York Conference: Sprawl Retrofit
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Live from New York
The New York Metropolitans at Citifield
The New York Metropolitans at Citifield
We thought the Co-op City buildings were model worthy
From CNU President John Norquist:
One way to help CNU and be in the middle of the action at the Atlanta Congress is to stay at the Atlanta Hilton, where your stay will help the CNU obtain reasonably priced meeting space. If you register before April 27 you get a discount. Like most hotels in downtown Atlanta, the Hilton was built after the Civil War. In fact it was built after the Vietnam War too in that glorious era in the late 1970s when hotels were built to look like HUD headquarters in DC. But consider that the Atlanta Hilton was just refurbished and, as you can see below, the rooms are very nice.
Reserve a room for CNU 18 at the Atlanta Hilton and you will automatically be entered in a contest to win a dinner at the Congress with Duany and Norquist. Register for the Congress at http://www.cnu.org/congresses and then reserve a room at this page: http://www.cnu.org/hotel_and_transportation.
At http://gallery.me.com/massengale I've put two more photos from the Senato, along with a photo from the roof bar at the Raphaël and couple of photos taken by Eric Watson at the Minerva. Missing, so far, is a photograph from the penthouse at the Albergo Nazionale, but I'm trying to get one.
I wrote the following seven years ago but forgot to post it while I was running around Rome:
I'm happy to say that I arrived in Rome today for a friend's wedding. Lucky me. I brought with me a little book (pocket-sized) that's great for visiting Rome once you know your way around the city a little bit.
New York architect Robert Kahn joined with the American Academy in Rome to produce a book with comments about favorite places in Rome from Fellows of the Academy and others. These include churches, museums, streets, stores, restaurants, cafes and gelaterie.
Famous New York restaurateur Danny Meyer names his favorite Roman restaurant. Famous contemporary Classicist Thomas Gordon Smith comments on two Roman churches. Academy Fellows talk about their favorite finds and fill us in on local lore, like the Roman saying about the papal family that famously pillaged the Pantheon for materials for the construction of their own palazzo: "Quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt Barberini" (What the barbarians couldn't do, the Barberini did).
City Secrets Rome (New York, The Little Bookroom, 1999).
After the jump, a few quotes from the book:
San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane
After seeing the dome and crossing piers of St. Peter's, keep in mind the size of the plan of one of its piers -- and realize, as Paolo Portoghesi pointed out, that the entire plan of San Carlino could fit within that space. A comparison of San Carlino's own piers, arches, oval dome and lantern should be maintained with the interior of St. Peter's. The smaller church's dependence on that model will help the viewer to decipher its clear structure and rational format despite the profusion of its resplendent and brilliant decoration and embellishment.
Thomas Gordon Smith
Architect, University of Notre Dame
The hemispherical dome implicitly scoops the viewer on the floor up into its scope. Nowhere else does one feel so firmly located on earth, where the earthly and the heavenly combine -- in contrast to the elevated Christian domes, which wrench the heavens from earth.
If it is ever snowing when one is in Rome, head directly and as quickly as possible to the Pantheon. Seeing a white column of snow drifting down the middle of the Pantheon is a once in a lifetime experience.
Rare book seller
Stand inside the portico and watch the rain fall on the piazza from the doorway. From this vantage, it is useful to remember Vitruvius's role as Rome's engineer and his influence on drainage systems. The Pantheon piazza and many others in Rome are not flat. They are uneven places sculpted by rain, run-off, and traffic. Rome is a watershed.
Professor of planning and landscape architecture, Arizona State University
Stendhal wrote in his Promenades dans Rome wrote that he had never met anyone who could remain impassive at the sight of the Pantheon's interior, where its great dome vault creates the sense of the sublime.
Classicist, Cornell University
A Design Competition seeking Low Impact Design (LID) solutions for a previously conceived suburban master plan for 640 acres of raw land near Katy Texas. Existing adjacent patterns consist of typical suburban sprawl. Competitors were invited to apply LID stormwater principals to what was otherwise intended as a conventional suburban development. The “Base Program” was loosely defined as follows:
The “Base Plan“ was simply a representation of the existing pattern of sprawl in the region with the requested addition of gestures aimed at mitigating storm water only. No other environmental mitigations were requested. The developer was seeking to add the LID layer as a means to ‘green up” an otherwise standard sprawl solution. Anticipated elements included the usual suspects of pervious paving, green roofs, water consuming landscaping and constructed wetlands enmeshed in a pattern of isolated boulevards, cul-de-sacs and strip malls.
Recognizing the absurdity of overlaying LID principles on otherwise destructive sprawl, we chose to prepare a polemic proposal that would demonstrate the greater opportunities available with Traditional Neighborhood patterns focusing on Compact Urban Form as an idealized LID method, not only for stormwater, but as a means to address a much wider collection of problems.
Thus the Project was designed as a “counter-project and offers the following:
As a polemic expression, the proposal was designed to resonate with local sentiments regarding traditional values and culturally familiar neighborhood and community icons, even though these things are not always present in the immediate lives of the target audience. Local recollection of small towns is strong, however, and when presented as a still-viable, non-obsolete option we hoped the target audience would take note and raise the bar on local development.
While the expected response to the competition was a single layer of storm water related practices, it was our intent to demonstrate to an unsuspecting audience the possibility that Compact Urban Form not only addresses the stormwater issues, but that a host of other environmental questions can be addressed.
Thus we establish Compact Urban Form as a universal Best Management Practice (BMP) Rather than addressing storm water only while leaving all the other negatives of CSD in play, the Proposal makes the claim that the design approach not only produces a more viable economic response, but can have the added benefi t of reducing VMT, GHG production, decreasing embedded resources and energy per capita and, when coupled with re-localization, can have dramatic effect on environmental issues that re much more far reaching.
When looking at externals such as the negatives of industrial agriculture, the “1500 mile salad”, the massive commute pattern evident in the immediate area of the Project site, the compact form of the proposal, coupled with the embedded economic and functional advantages can be readily compared on on environmental and social basis by event he uninitiated.
For the polemic argument to be successful, the revolutionary aspects of the proposal must be encased in a cloak of familiarity such that the audience, who does not consist of trained professionals and may, at best, include seasoned developers/ planners with a predilection for sprawl, can access the useful elements before they are turned off. For this reason certain design elements are minimized. We avoided extensive representation of green roofs, extreme walkability, regional transit elopements and other things that would distract from the discussion about town form.
Additionally all architecture was expressed in familiar terms based on existing traditional neighborhoods and towns in the region.
Thus the town plan is restrained and familiar, similar to historic towns only fully populated end energized. Streets are tree lined and familiar as a way to cause skeptic to pause, just prior to rejection, and note that there is something attractive about all this, particularly when compared, side by side, to the likely sprawl examples.
Transect Zone(s): T2 rural, T3 sub-urban, T4 general, T5 center.
Project or Plan's Scale: Region
Land area (in acres): 640
Project team designers: Dreiling Terrones Architecture, Crabtree Group, Inc.
Project team developers: Texas Coastal Watershed Program & Texas Sea Grant, HBL Architects