Urban Objects

The placing of elements in the urban scene has an important impact on cities. They include a wide variety of types. Objects of sculpture (monuments, art works and curiosity objects), clock towers, fountains, and street furniture all add lustre to the cityscape (see Figure 6.17). They can make focal points, terminals to vistas, instantly recognizable places for people to meet, and generally provide an additional amenity to the environment. They can also add unnecessary clutter. As many urban open spaces are boring because they are poorly related to their surroundings, there is a tendency for designers to want to fill them up with something. They become over-designed. The deck at La Défense (see Chapter 8) was improved considerably when sculpture was added to it, but well-designed open spaces (in terms of size and what surrounds them) have no need for much in the way of added elements.

Banners and signs form an important part of cities and the way they are handled often says much about the culture of which they are a part. Architects have generally desired to neaten the environment but the chaotic nature of objects and appurtenances that crowd many lively streets makes one pause to think about the way to move ahead. Recently, large screens, used for advertising, but also for entertainment have begun to appear in public squares. Buildings are now being developed with 'smart skins' that are able to portray images. In some places (e.g. Singapore) great attention is paid to the illumination of buildings that adds much liveliness to the night-time urban environment. The introduction of such items into the city is seen as urban design by some observers. It changes cities.

Figure 6.17 Urban objects. (a) Union Square, New York in 1997 and (b) sculpture by Picasso, Daley Plaza, Chicago in 1993.

Figure 6.17 Urban objects. (a) Union Square, New York in 1997 and (b) sculpture by Picasso, Daley Plaza, Chicago in 1993.

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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