Siegel's book explains the failings of modernist architecture in aesthetic, physical, and cultural terms. He points out its failings in terms of scale and design in ways that are similar to the ones that I mentioned in my post on de-structured space. Many of these are failings that we've known about since Form Follows Fiasco. Some of them focus on planning matters that New Urbanism has been dealing with. Siegel, however, is more critical of Clarence Perry's Neighborhood Unit and what we might call the commodification of urban life.Read More
Prompted by a 2015 meeting in Charleston South Carolina, I have worked with a few people to craft a set of "Canons for Humane Architecture," to complement the Canons of sustainable Architecture and Urbanism adopted by the CNU. This is a very preliminary draft, yet it probably comes fairly close to what most New Urbanists who prefer traditional architecture would agree with.
I will be proposing this in an "Open Source Congress" meeting at CNU 24, and welcome comments and suggestions.
Most crafts and ornament are very structured: symmetrical, rhythmic, and so on. Naturalistic design is de-structured. It is not random and unstructured. De-structured space is structured artfully to look like compressed, perfected nature – without being random at all.The following is an excerpt from Structured and De-structured Space (pdf).Read More
The style wars between modernism and traditional design usually get stuck on the false choice between continuity and change, as if tradition just means copying the past, and breaking tradition equals modernity. Neither really captures the algorithm we need to follow in order to build better places: evolution. Evolution begins with the past, copying it. Then it goes much further.Read More
There used to be a big debate on the beautiful versus the sublime. Forest edges are usually beautiful. They do not usually include things like sheer cliffs or water that goes to the horizon. Those have an "awesome beauty" or “sublime” quality that puts one at least slightly on guard. Our ancestors usually sought out beautiful places and were appropriately on guard around the sublime or awe-inspiring.Read More
Recently, Andres Duany has been floating the idea of "Lean Urbanism" publicly -- in Sarasota and High Point. While it isn't entirely clear what "Lean" might be, on-line discussions are starting to give it some form.Read More
Last August, I posted on codes and building types. As I mentioned, there are two main ways of doing codes. One is a matrix-based approach of clean categories, and the other is type-based. The type-based one tends to branch. A townhouse is a kind of house: a branch off the “house” trunk. A major advantage of this approach is that the code can refer to, in that instance, all houses, or just townhouses. It can prohibit all types of houses except townhouses. It’s an extremely supple and flexible way of working. It dovetails with the way that we talk and think about buildings and places.Read More