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Lecture 11

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Architecture Urban
ARCU 4600
Benjamin Gianni

Post WWII Urbanism – Lecture 11 March 20, 2014 City building office towers and using federal money – change of use and changes of grain from last week • Superblock growing • Size of infrastructure from a rail based infrastructure prior to WWII to everyone owning car • Blue-collared workforce leaving, white-collar jobs replacing those in the core • Funds came through three primary sources: Title 1, Title 2, Title 3 and various Hgihway Acts o Necessary to wipe out trainyards for towers Initiatives taken by municipal governments to revive downtown – today’s lecture Blocks into Superblocks • Le Corbusier thinking that NY towers are still too small – wanted to really open up groundplane Golden Triangle in Pittburgh, 1940/50s • Gateway Center project • No civic building, resembling Plan Voisin – was a new office development downtown • Railway was invited into the heart of the city to create a waste of freightyards • Much of the area given away for reconstruction given away to train stations • Geographcially located behind two rivers • Flood control brought to bear • Residential usages of coal made the city filled with smoke – City eventually re-instated smoke enforcement laws • Bridge torn down and pushed back • Looks like Plan Voisin – concentration of office towers in a park • Grid was basically just stopped where the development starts for a park • Whole complex behind the park is built on a plnth • No streets in this complex The Prudential Center, Boston 1954 • Took the challenge of creating automobile, white-collared office district • City of landfill • Downtown Boston – has the big dig – one of the most expensive infrastructure projects in the world o Elevated highway • Old highway as a giant tunnel underneath the river • 590 – another highway built after the war that pushed into the city for commuting purposes o At some distance from the old core, but the idea was for people to commute in from the suburb • Masacusetts Hgihway Authority involved • 590 from West, 593 from North • Similar to Pittburghs Gold triangle in that it was a railwayrd but it was a new center in comparison • First thingt o do is to get a major tenant for the tower o Primary tenant ended up becoming an insurance company o Eventually becomes a point twer design • Project is one giant superblock – tower called the ‘pru’? o One giant tower and smaller buildings floating around in the block Le Corbusier’s proposal fro the rebuilding of St. Die in 1945 • Grand allee – one side has civic uses, other has office • The plinth is elevated above the transportation network – people rise up towards a great civic area • Very influential – looks a lot like the Prudential Center in Boston The Toronto Dominion Center, Toronto, 1960s • Aggregation of office towers • Developed by the Fairview corporation o The same one who owns the Rideau Center • Fairview owned by pension funds from teachers • Begun in 1962 – Mies van der Rohe brought in as the architect • Key historical buildings demolished for the making of this complex • 2.5 millino quare feet of office space between two towers, banking pavilion and a shopping mall • Four more towers have been added • 21 000 people work in the TD center • Complex as originally built had over 2 000 000 square feet of office space – now has 4 000 000 sq. feet of leasable office space • A collection of buildings are sprad across a granite plinth – underneath is a shopping mall where skylights are cut • Underground concourses • Office space that minimizes the contact to the city o Cities were in rough shape at the time • The entire block was torn down for this center suggests the extent of how architects, planners, and developers that the future should look different from the past • A campus – city within a city • Transformation of the office tower – increase in the size of the floorplates of the tower o Office likes large continuous floorplates o Wanted a lot of space in the same building o A correlate increase on the dependence of artificial lighting and ventilation • Also a strong change in the attitude towards the grid – no longer necessary to respect to integrity of the block or to hold the street o The higher the streetwall, the less light the street will receive o Traditionally, you would build along the street on both sides and the primary space of the city is the street in between o Mies’ idea was quite different – the block was the main space and the streets were spaces between blocks o Street more of a nuisance to cross o Describes the problem that if you build a street wall continuously, then it will block all the light from getting onto the street o The higher the streetwall, the less light on the street – modernists felt that large gaps should be placed in the streetwall to let in light o Narrow East-West blocks were residential while commercial will occur on the North South Avenue East West Streets in NY built at 4 to 5 stories as a solution and taller ones on north south • Blocks long in East West direction • Perfect grid for tall buildings Other cities – planning not like this • Toronto – commercial streets run East-West o i.e. Bloor, Dundas, Queen • with the exception of Yonge St., the majority fo the commercial runs East West street, casting large shadows on the street • a continuous streetwall basically cuts off light entirely • TD center is located on King and is a giant East-West block – Mies’ towers oriented to allow light to fall on King St. • The modernist approach is appropriate – the blocks are like plans on which you organize buildings in a better way • A south facing building, no matter how low it is will still block sunlight Also in NY • SKyplane – zoning ordinance which requires a setback once you reach a certain height • Skyplane based off the angle of the sun at various times of the year • Mies didn’t want to do this in Toronto – set the building back instead Streets that are good for pedestrian aren’t good for cars – these streets are at odds with one antoher because of speed • Opening up the block into courts and then plazas reflects a discontent of streets for the pedestrian • Streets becomes less and less convidial? as the street wall rises • Increasing discontent with the street – from the horse dung of horse rail, to the dangers of street rail, to the street as the wrong scale for both car and pedestrian • Streets became increasingly hostile – but pulling pedestrians off streets into the blocks and areas like shopping centers meant that streets become places to be avoided • Alternate places for streest, but the streets become even worse as new replacements for the street are created • i.e. retail not on streets but shoved underground • Lewis Mumford wrote that the next step in city development is for underground expansion o Vertical extrusion of the block as an extrusion from underground • Floorplates get so large – less people have contact with the outside(more artificial light) – you ne
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