Some Notes on Detailing the Environment

Much of the detailing of the design of the public realm of cities is a problem of landscape architecture. The quality of the detailing, as displays and as behaviour settings, makes a major contribution to our feelings about places and about the cities of which they are a part. By detailing is meant the small-scale patterns - the kerbs and kerb cuts for making an environment barrier free, the grates and manhole covers, the paving, the steps and staircases, and the seating designs. The architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is often quoted as saying 'God is in the details'. Certainly the quality of the public realm is not simply a function of its overall design but its details. The quality of the 16th Street Mall in Denver, Colorado owes much to its detailing (see Figures 1.1 and 5.20).

Figure 5.20 The 16th Street Mall, Denver.

The quality of the detailing depends on how the elements are handled, their composition, patterns, colours, the precision of the workmanship and what they afford in terms of human activities. Of particular importance are paving patterns, the nature of illumination, the design of street furnishings and the nature of the signage. What is fashionable can be important for it gives both designers and users of the environment a sense of being up-to-date. What is regarded as fashionable does, however, change. Sometimes a richness in patterning is held in high esteem but simpler patterns seem to be the ones that endure (e.g. Piazza San Marco, Venice; see Figure 5.2).

The manner in which the pubic realm is illuminated - naturally and/or artificially, day or night - contributes substantially to its ambient qualities. The concern is not only for safety but also for aesthetics. The perceived quality of spaces between buildings - streets, alleys, squares and nooks and crannies - is very much dependent on how the architecture and landscape architecture are organized and illuminated. The way fa├žades of buildings are illuminated can enrich the experience of being in places. There are many examples of finely detailed environments but many more that are carelessly designed and deteriorating rapidly. Detailing the environment is a fine art.

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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