Commentary Are these Architectural Products Urban Design

Individual buildings are important. The Chrysler Building in New York has shaped people's view of what good urban buildings are as objects and as space making elements. It is a well-fitting design for a city but it was not an urban design project! It is the catalytic effect of the buildings in some of the cases covered here that might make them urban design. Others can be regarded as urban design because they incorporate mixed-uses that are part of the traditional city into a single unit. Most are, however, simply architectural works on an urban scale, as interesting and as important as they may be. Much of the difference comes from the scope of the goals set and the concern or not with their potential multiplier and side effects on their environments.

All the schemes described here have in common a major concern for their geometry, their formal aesthetics. This observation does not mean that the architectural idea has totally led the program rather than come out of it. Kresge College is an example showing a great concern for the development of a coherent behavioural and building program before design began. What all the cases do show is that the quality of the program is crucial to the development of high-quality work.

Three of the schemes included here, Arcosanti, Kresge College and Ghirardelli Square owe much to philanthropic gestures. The Guggenheim Museum, the Unité d'Habitation and Bielefeld University were amongst those publicly funded. What they have in common is that they are architectural works completed by single teams. They have evolved and will continue to evolve as time goes by. Ghirardelli Square has had a formal makeover already. The Unité has seen a reduction in the number of shops it contains. Arcosanti evolves on the drawing board day-by-day. At Kresge College students have added trellises and planting that were not intended as part of the original idea of making a flexible scheme. All of the buildings have shown wear and tear due to use and the effects of the climate.

Designs evolve. Robust buildings and open spaces survive in new guises, adding a sense of place and continuity of spirit to locations. All new buildings change the urban scene when they are built - some radically, some not. Individual buildings are nevertheless, not urban designs as envisaged in this book, complexes of buildings may well be. The projects described here all have strong architectural ideas behind them. However paramount the central architectural idea guiding a design may be, it is essential that the design be based on a multifunctional model of human behaviour and can evolve as the world evolves. Alternatively, it should be designed to be demolished.

Canary Wharf, London in 2004
Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.

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